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February 28th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: “Red Rocket” .284 Win F-Open Match Rifle

Martin Tardif  Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Forum member Martin Tardif (aka “Killick” in our Forum) competes with a very accurate .284 Win F-Open rig fitted with a Barnard action, Brux barrel, and Eliseo F1 chassis. Unlike some F-Class shooters, Martin has tried many disciplines over the years, including service rifle and Mid-Range and Long Range sling competition. But he told us, “After experiencing arthritis in my hands and wrists, I decided I would dabble with F-Class. And that has turned into a happy obsession.” Today’s story features the object of that happy obsession — Martin’s tack-driving .284 Win he calls the “Red Rocket”.

F-Open Match Rifle — .284 Winchester “Red Rocket”

by Martin Tardif
This is the story of the new “Red Rocket”, my new F-Open rifle. It’s chambered in .284 Winchester (.317″ neck, .220″ freebore). This rifle features Barnard P action, Barnard single-stage trigger (4 oz.), and Brux 30″ one-inch straight-taper, 1:8.5″-twist barrel fitted with Blake Tuner. The barreled action rides in a Gary Eliseo Competition Machine (CMI) F1 F-Open metal chassis with Marine Corps Red powder coat. On top is March 48x52mm fixed-power High Master scope. In a previous incarnation, this same Barnard action served in a wood-stocked F-Class rig, a Red Retromod built from a modified Anschutz stock. I still have the Barnard action (and trigger), but mostly everything else is new.

Martin Tardif  Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo
Here’s the .284 Win “Red Rocket” with CMI F1 Stock, Barnard action, Brux barrel, and Blake Tuner on my SEB Mini at Burbank Rifle and Revolver Club in SoCal.

My previous F-Class rifle started out as a Palma rifle back around 2008. With a modified Anschutz prone stock, that .308 Win Palma sling gun served me well, helping me earn the 2009 California State Palma Championship. Much later I grafted more wood on and whittled that same stock into an F-Open specimen (shown below). That did get me to Long Range High Master but it definitely had limitations. For one it had annoying flex in the fore-end and the buttstock was not aligned with the barrel channel.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

I wanted to upgrade my stock to get a more consistent, better-shooting F-Open performer. So in April of 2020 I contacted Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine and ordered one of his streamlined, F1 “boom-stick” chassis units. These feature a very low Center of Gravity. I sent Gary my Barnard action and had Brux send him a barrel that I had won at the 2020 SWN raffle.

This video shows Martin shooting the “Red Rocket” in California

This rifle has been a success from the very start. At its first big match, the 2020 California State Championships, the Red Rocket tied for First Place on points but finished second overall on X-count.

Martin tells us: “The new red Eliseo stock is phenomenal and far surpasses the old red stock on my RetroMod project previously featured on the Daily Bulletin. The three things I like best about this Eliseo F1 chassis system are:

1. The lean, clean, efficient engineering and styling.
2. Easy manipulation of buttstock and cheek piece adjustments, ease of bolt removal.
3. Inherent confidence in its straightness and the durability of all the parts and finish.”

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

“I’m extremely impressed with the potential of this rig and I have still yet to fiddle with the tuner and test some of my Wolf/KVB primers. It’s all gravy now.” — Martin Tardif

I received the finished rifle in September and was impressed with its stark and consummate functionality and there is no doubt as to that function. The collinear aspect from any angle suggests a Red Rocket Car on the Bonneville Salt Flats, so that’s what I call this rig.

Martin Tardif  Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Reloading Methods and Load Development
My virgin brass prep starts with a .284 neck mandrel with the occasional squirt of WD-40, then to the drill press to turn the necks to 0.014″ wall thickness with my PMA Model B turner. After a quick dip in the media tumbler I run the whole batch through my DIY cake pan annealer and they’re ready for sizing. I like the Whidden Gunworks full length bushing dies. I use a .310″ bushing and a loaded round measures .312″. After sizing, I run the cases through the tumbler for 10-15 minutes to clean them up and then they are primed. I’m using my stash of S&B primers with an RCBS benchtop primer seater with a Holland Perfect Primer Seater add-on. I do point my 180-grain Berger Hybrid bullets with a Hoover die (see below).

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Here is Martin’s reloading bench. From left to right: A&D FX-120i Force Restoration Scale with Auto-Trickler V3, Hoover Bullet-Tipping Die, Whidden .284 Win FL Sizing Die with PMA click-adjust lock ring, Hodgdon H4350 powder. Martin reports: “I’m also using some of F-Class John’s Auto Trickler Methods — using two powder cups to speed up the process, hash marks on Auto Trickler gear drive, and minimal openings on FX-120i wind guards. These all improve the powder measuring.

Load Development and Accuracy Testing in Competition
I started load testing in November 2020. I tried both H4831sc and H4350 at 100 yards. I usually have excellent results with H4831sc but the Brux tube stubbornly preferred H4350. So I took a preliminary recipe (52.2 grains) to the California Long Range Championship and tied for First Place on points but got beat on Xs. Having seen a little too much vertical at the state match, I went with a lighter load that looked good for vertical at 100 yards (51.8 grains — see photo below). That load got me an overall win at our 1000-yard club match.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

I wanted to fine tune that load so I started a seating depth test. I did a final head to head test, comparing .015″ jump (away from first lands contact) and .018″ jump at 1000 yards. The .015″ jump load was the clear winner. This 15-round group was shot at 1000 yards with no flags on an overcast day with no mirage.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

The ShotMarker screenshot above shows 15 shots at 1000 yards with bullets seated .015″ out, switching winds and no flags, just watching the mirage. I added .25 MOA up after the first round ‘9’ (me fighting a clean barrel on first shot) and went to town.

Advice for New F-Class Shooters — by Martin Tardif

1. Watch a Top Competitor — Find a good shooter that you respect and watch and take note of their equipment, how they set up to shoot, how they shoot, what conditions they shoot in or don’t. Ideally you should ask to be squadded with them (if possible) so you can score for them. That way you’re not dividing your attention from the shooter you’re supposed to be scoring for. Be mindful not to pester them while they are setting up. Best to wait until they have finished shooting and try to ask questions off the firing line, others still shooting need to concentrate.

2. Cartridge Selection for F-Open– Go to Accurate Shooter’s 7mm Cartridge Guide and scroll to the .284 Winchester section by Charles Ballard. You can read further about the 7mm WSM and 7mm SAUM but for a caliber that’s not fussy you should stick with the .284 Win.

3. Reloading Equipment — To win, you really need ammo as perfect as you can make it. You should be able to find out everything you need to know about reloading equipment via the Accurateshooter Forum’s Reloading and Competition areas. It’s a one-stop shopping brain trust for everything F-Class, Sling, and Benchrest. And the Forum Marketplace is literally a never ending ‘Gun Show’ of For Sale items. It’s a great place to buy quality used stuff for newbies.

As a final bit of advice — BELIEVE the wind — it’s smarter than you are!

Commentary on Metal Chassis vs Wood Stock
I previously had a wood F-Class stock so flexible you could easily pinch the barrel to the fore-end with one hand and hold it there. My Eliseo metal chassis is MUCH more rigid. I don’t think there is any argument that a metal stock is more rigid than wood. I also think a metal stock with its monolithic properties has a more consistent cross-sectional density along its length than a wood stock would have due to the vagaries of grain structure. However I have no experimental data to support that theory, or how that might positively affect shot to shot consistency. I CAN say that the gun shoots better, with smaller groups and higher scores, than the previous wood stock version.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

The CMI F1 chassis has three main sections: rear assembly, main assembly, and fore-end. The main assembly is a 27″-long solid billet section with milled cavities for the rear assembly and trigger group. This also supports the action V-Block which cradles the full length of the action. The V-Block is mated to the top of the billet in a milled channel but doesn’t touch the sides to avoid uneven harmonics. The rear assembly hold the LOP-adjustable butt pad/bag rider and “easy off” cheek piece. The 3-piece fore-end is fitted to the main section with screws. The complete F1 chassis with grip and cheek piece weighs 6 pounds.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo
Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

F1 Chassis Maker Gary Eliseo Talks about His Design
The F1 was designed to incorporate the most important features needed in an F-Open rifle system. Top priority was placed on how the rifle tracked. The chassis had to be perfectly straight, and immune to weather so it will stay straight. On the F1, the fore-end is designed to keep the centerline of the barreled action as low as possible. This super-low center of gravity, along with the tall vertical sides, keep torque to a minimum, so the gun doesn’t twist or hop, but instead comes straight back.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

The F1 chassis can be fitted with bedding blocks to accommodate any action. These action bedding blocks are carefully epoxy-bedded to the chassis so the customer’s barreled action is perfectly in line with the central axis of the chassis. In addition to optimizing tracking, I also took a look at how the shooter interfaced with the rifle. I wanted the cheek piece to be narrow so that the shooter would not be forced into applying side pressure on the stock to get their eye behind the scope. The cheek piece is also easy to remove for those who shoot without one. This also facilitates bolt removal.

If you’re interested in an F1 F-Open Chassis, contact Gary via the Competition Machine eMail page. The current price for an F1 Chassis with Cerakote finish (any color) is $1150.00. Lead time is about 12 weeks.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Martin Tardif Eliseo Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Hollands Gunsmithing Perfect Primer Seater

Green Tools for Red Rocket — Martin uses an RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage press on an Inline Fabrication UltraMount. Primers are seated with an RCBS Bench Primer fitted with Holland’s Gunsmithing Perfect Primer Seater Adapter. This provides ultra-consistent primer seating.

F-Class Match Strategies for California Ranges
My strategy for a match clearly depends on the specific location. For instance, at my home range, the Burbank Rifle and Revolver Club, which has several cuts and gullies crossing the canyon, the wind comes primarily from NNE and since the range faces slightly NNE the predominant condition will be a head or right wind so I’m looking for R to L mirage and left angled flags.

By contrast, Coalinga CA is a much more open/exposed range which can make it much more challenging. When you see all the flags going against the mirage for the majority of the string (after you’ve gone for record of course) that can be tough. So I like to watch the wind while I’m scoring and for a few minutes during sighters and shoot them in a few ‘looks’ if I can get them. But sometimes you have to go with your gut if your sighters whisper “go-for-record-you-knucklehead” and so it’s off to the races. It often seems like I should have just chased the spotter when I’m waiting out a fishtail or let-up there.

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February 28th, 2021

Experiment with Fore and Aft Rifle Position on Rest and Bag

Benchrest stock

To get the best accuracy out of any benchrest rifle, you need to find the optimal position of front rest and rear bag. The important point to remember is that each rig is different. One gun may perform best with the front rest right at the tip of the forearm (Position ‘D’ in photo), while another gun will work best with the rest positioned much further back. This Editor’s own 6mmBR rifle has a laminated stock that is pretty flexy in the front. It shoots best with the front rest’s sandbag located a good 6″ back from the forearm tip (position ‘A’).

Here’s some benchrest advice that can help you reduce vertical and shoot tighter groups… without spending another penny. Many benchrest shooters spend a fortune on equipment and devote countless hours to meticulous handloading, but they never experiment with their rifle’s position/balance on the bags. This article explains why you should test your rifle in various positions. What you learn may surprise you (and improve your scores).

Next time you go to the range, experiment with the position of your rifle on the front rest, and try a couple different positions for the rear bag. You may find that the rifle handles much better after you’ve made a small change in the placement of your gun on the bags. Recoil can be tamed a bit, and tracking can improve significantly, if you optimize the front rest and rear bag positioning.

front rest Sally benchrest IBS
This competitor has the front rest positioned fairly far forward but not all the way out. Note the stop on the front rest — this limits forward stock travel.

A small change in the position of the forearm on the front rest, or in the placement of the rear bag, can make a big difference in how your gun performs.

Balance Your Gun BEFORE You Spend Hours Tuning Loads
In the pursuit of ultimate accuracy, shooters may spend countless hours on brass prep, bullet selection, and load tuning. Yet the same shooters may pay little attention to how their gun is set-up on the bags. When you have acquired a new rifle, you should do some basic experimentation to find the optimal position for the forearm on the front rest, and the best position for the rear bag. Small changes can make a big difference.

Joel Kendrick

Joel Kendrick, past IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, has observed that by adjusting forearm position on the front rest, he can tune out vertical. He has one carbon-fiber-reinforced stock that is extremely rigid. When it was placed with the front rest right under the very tip of the forearm, the gun tended to hop, creating vertical. By sliding the whole gun forward (with more forearm overhang ahead of the front sandbag), he was able to get the whole rig to settle down. That resulted in less vertical dispersion, and the gun tracked much better.

stock position benchrest forearm sandbag front rest
Fore/aft stock position is important even with very wide fore-ends.

Likewise, the placement of the rear bag is very important. Many shooters, by default, will simply place the rear bag the same distance from the front rest with all their guns. In fact, different stocks and different calibers will NOT behave the same. By moving the rear bag forward and aft, you can adjust the rifle’s overall balance and this can improve the tracking significantly. One of our shooters had a Savage 6BR F-Class rifle. By default he had his rear bag set almost all the way at the end of the buttstock. When he slid the rear bag a couple inches forward the gun tracked much better. He immediately noticed that the gun returned to point of aim better (crosshairs would stay on target from shot to shot), AND the gun torqued (twisted) less. The difference was quite noticeable.

A small change in the position of the forearm on the front rest, or in the placement of the rear bag, can make a big difference in how your gun performs. You should experiment with the forearm placement, trying different positions on the front rest. Likewise, you can move the rear bag back and forth a few inches. Once you establish the optimal positions of front rest and rear bag, you should find that your gun tracks better and returns to battery more reliably. You may then discover that the gun shoots smaller groups, with less vertical dispersion. And all these benefits are possible without purchasing any expensive new gear.

Rifle photo courtesy Johnson’s Precision Gunsmithing (Bakersfield, CA).

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February 28th, 2021

Wow Factor: Muzzle Brake Blast Patterns Revealed

Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Test Blast Powder

A while back, the Precision Rifle Blog conducted a fascinating study of Muzzle Brakes. PRB figured out a way to show the actual “blast pattern” of gasses ejecting from the ports of muzzle brakes. The result was a fascinating (and eye-catching) series of images revealing the distinctive gas outflows of 20+ different types of muzzle brakes. If you are considering buying and installing a muzzle brake on your rifle, you should definitely review this important PRB Muzzle Brake Test.

GO to PRB Muzzle Brake Blast Pattern TEST PAGE »

For a prone shooter, particularly on dusty, dirty or sandy ground, muzzle blast is a major bummer. Muzzle blast can be very disturbing — not just for the trigger-puller but for persons on either side of the gun as well. Some muzzle brakes send a huge shockwave back towards the shooter, and others send blast towards the ground, kicking dirt and debris into the prone shooter’s face. If there was a way to illustrate those factors — shockwave and debris — that might help shooters select one brake design over another.

Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Test Blast Powder

Cal Zant at PrecisionRifleBlog.com applied a unique blend of creativity and resourcefulness to try to answer that question for 20+ muzzle brakes. Using high-speed photography and household products, he captured the blast pattern of 20+ different brake designs for easy side-by-side comparison. Can you figure out how Cal managed to show muzzle brake blasts so clearly? His “hi-viz” solution, revealed in the article, is very clever. See the eye-opening results for 20+ brakes, with illustrative photos, by visiting the Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Ground Signature Test Page.

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February 27th, 2021

Gear Review: Lyman Reloading Press Stand — “It’s a Keeper”

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I absolutely love using this press stand. I use it with my Forster Co-Ax as well as my Dillon 550. The stand mounts those presses at the right height to minimize fatigue and maximize torque. Some products I merely review and return but this one is a keeper and won’t be leaving my bench anytime soon. — F-Class John

Lyman Universal Press Stand REVIEW

Product Review by F-Class John
Positioning your press at the optimal height is one of the oldest problems in reloading. Most presses sit low off the edge leading to uncomfortable arm strain or inconsistent pressure being applied while using. Lyman has set out to fix that problem with a reasonably-priced ($54.99 at Midsouth) press riser that works with the vast majority of reloading presses. This unit will raise just about any press up off your bench securely, allowing you to working more comfortably from a standing position. This also frees up vital bench space UNDER the press. Unfortunately this press stand is so popular it is back-ordered at most vendors.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I have used a variety of presses over the years. At times I’ve run into issues mounting a press at a level that doesn’t promote arm or hand strain during normal operations. In the past I’ve used blocks of wood or even tried other brands’ proprietary stands. But I had very limited success with those options. Accordingly, I was very excited to give the Lyman Universal Press Stand a chance.

Lyman’s Universal Press Stand comes complete with side plates, two different top plates, and a large collection of mounting hardware. The two top plates are pre-drilled for numerous popular Single Stage or Progressive presses. Helpful diagrams and instructions show which side of the top plate you need to use. The pre-drilled holes accommodate a variety of presses from RCBS, Dillon, Lyman, Redding, and Hornady. But surprisingly, the plates are not pre-configured for the Forster Co-Ax Press.

CLICK to WATCH VIDEO Showing Lyman Universal Press Stand

Setting up the stand was very simple. The two sides bolt to the lower shelf unit at which point you attach the top plate. All the supplied bolts made this a breeze and once everything was snugged down, I was able to place it on my bench where I wanted it and mark the drill holes to mount it. After securing the stand to my bench it was time to mount my press.

Lyman Universal Press Stand with Dillon 550 Press

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Adapting Lyman Universal Press Stand for Forster Co-Ax
At the time of testing I was primarily using a Forster Co-Ax press. With no pre-drilled Co-Ax configuration for either Lyman top plate, I decided to customize the blank side of one of the top plates. I opted to position the mounting holes so that the press could sit 100% on top of the mounting plate and not just off one edge. I found this process simple to execute. Mark your drill holes, then drill the plate. This can easily be done with regular drill bits although using a step-bit worked faster and cleaner to help enlarge the holes just a little when I needed some extra clearance.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Universal Press Stand Is Stable and Strong
Once set-up, I found the stand to be incredibly stable. The design allows for full force to be applied to the press no matter what the operation. Having used this Lyman Press stand regularly over the past few months with both my Co-Ax and a Dillon 550c, I still find myself loving it. The height is perfect and allows me to load as much as I like without straining my arm or getting fatigued. With an attractive price point (under $55.00 street price) and a simple design, I feel this is a great system for those looking for a secure and raised platform for their reloading presses.

The Universal Press Stand comes with two plates. If you have different presses that fit each plate you could easily swap presses just by changing plates while leaving the presses attached. It’s less functional if you have two presses that share one plate and would require removing one press before installing the next one.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Press Stand Unboxing and Set-Up (KFW Video Review):

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February 27th, 2021

Fundamentals of Marksmanship — Learn from a Champion

USAMU Basic Riflemans Course SFC Brandon Green High Power Shooting Training

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has produced an excellent series of videos covering the Basic Rifleman’s Course. If you are getting started in High Power shooting, or want to improve your position shooting skills, this series is well worth watching. And these videos are not just for service rifle shooters — even bench shooters can benefit from these videos, particularly Part 5, which explains how to estimate wind speed and direction. The lead instructor for these videos is SFC Brandon Green, three-time National High Power Champion, and 2017 Service Rifle Champion. When SFC Green talks, you should listen.

SFC Brandon Green is a shooting superstar. Green won his third NRA National High Power Rifle Championship in 2018 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. He dominated the HP Championship cycle, finishing eight points and ten Xs ahead of his nearest competitor. Brandon also won High Power National Championships in 2015 and 2013. One of the greatest marksmen in the nation’s history, SFC Green excels at all positions, both rapid-fire and slow-fire.

Part 5 — Wind and Weather Estimation (Very Useful for All Shooters)


Note: This video includes a hit location “target analysis” in the first 6 minutes.

Part 4 — Minute of Angle Explained

Part 3 — Ballistics and Zeroing

Part 2 — Positions, Sight Alignment, and Natural Point of Aim (Very Useful)

USAMU Basic Riflemans Course SFC Brandon Green High Power Shooting Training

Part 1 — Aiming and Sight Picture

SFC Brandon Green 2017 CMP Camp Perry USAMU Service Rifle
SFC Brandon Green (left above) has set multiple National Records at Camp Perry.

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February 27th, 2021

Indoor Range Etiquette — Safe Gun Practices Indoors

Safety Video NSSF Indoor Range Etiquette

There has been a long, cold winter in many parts of the USA. So if you want to maintain your shooting skills, shooting indoors may be the only convenient option. When shooting indoors you should always be extra careful and follow all key gun safety practices and adhere to proper range “Etiquette”.

The NSSF (NSSF) offers a useful Range Safety and Etiquette video. This 8.5-minute video explains safe practices, especially at indoor ranges. In the video, the moderator list the basic rules of gun safety, before covering key range etiquette topics such as range officer commands, how to uncase your firearm on the range when you first arrive, and what to do if a firearm is accidentally dropped. There are also safety tips specific to handling both semi-automatic handguns and revolvers.

Safety Video NSSF Indoor Range Etiquette

BAD RANGE BEHAVIOR — Five Things NOT to Do at the Range

Here are the five worst behaviors we’ve seen at indoor ranges. These behaviors are both dangerous and inconsiderate. Any one of these behaviors can get you permanently banned from an indoor range.

1. Sweeping other individuals after loading a weapon behind the firing line is very bad. All your weapons should be empty until you reach your shooting station.

2. Turning the handgun sideways while trying to clear a malfunction or insert/remove a magazine. This will point the muzzle at a fellow shooter. Or, after shooting a gun, the shooter fails to clear the weapon and then places the gun somewhere near the shooting station with the muzzle in an unsafe position.

3. Reacting unpredictably when firing a high recoil handgun. We’ve seen people take a second shot by accident with the muzzle way off target.

4. Not obeying range commands — in particular continuing to shoot during called cease-fires.

5. Poorly aimed shooting that hits target frames or carriers, causing ricochets.

Double-Up on Hearing Protection When Shooting Indoors
When shooting pistols indoors we recommend quality muffs with earplugs underneath, offering double protection. When inside an enclosed range, with other shooters blasting away right next to you, you really need effective hearing protection. But you also need to hear range commands and be able to communicate with your fellow shooters. That’s why we recommend electronic muffs with plugs underneath.

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30

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February 26th, 2021

Hodgdon Powder Update — Why Are There Shortages?

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortage

As any handloader knows, popular reloading powders have become difficult to find. And when you do locate the powder you want, the price might be twice what you paid a year ago (or even more on auction sites). Across the nation, shooters are asking “What gives? Why are powder prices so high? And when are the shortages going to end?”

Hodgdon Powder Company (“Hodgdon”), supplier of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders*, has attempted to answer these questions with a “Powder Update” posted yesterday. Along with addressing the shortage issues, Hodgdon explains the challenges involved in increasing production in the USA and/or increasing imports from overseas. The ultra-popular H4198, H4895, Varget, H4350, and H4831 family of powders are produced by ADI in Australia**. So Hodgdon can’t ship more Varget or H4350 in the USA unless Hodgdon can get more from Australia.

In the Powder Update reprinted below, Hodgdon answers many key questions, and debunks some misconceptions. For example, Hodgdon is NOT selling its powders on auction sites such as Gunbroker. That is completely false.

POWDER UPDATE from Hodgdon Powder Company

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortageWHY CAN’T HODGDON SHIP MORE POWDER?
The current powder situation is due to a record demand for all reloading components and NOT a reduction in the supply of powder. With long-time handloaders looking to stock up and new gun owners looking for ammunition, there is an unprecedented demand for powder and other reloading components. We shipped a record amount of powder in 2020 and will ship even more in 2021. We are doing everything in our power to get the most powder into consumer hands this year. We are running overtime in our facilities, have hired additional staff and have leveraged relationships with shipping partners to add new shipping options.

WHY CAN’T HODGDON BUILD ANOTHER POWDER PLANT?
The “normal” powder demand for the United States would not support an additional plant. Hodgdon, like most companies, cannot afford to build a new production facility then have it sit idle until demand spikes.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER TO THE GOVERNMENT?
Hodgdon does NOT sell powder directly to the government. We sell some powder to manufacturers making ammunition for our military, but that is a small part of our business.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER TO AMMUNITION MANUFACTURERS?
The heart of our business is smokeless powder for the handloading enthusiast. Yes, we sell some powder to ammo manufacturers, but that is a small part of our business. Every day, we receive calls from potential OEM customers looking for powder to load in ammunition. We politely decline so we can focus on our long-term, handloading customers.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER ON AUCTION SITES?
We don’t. Period. We recently began selling a limited amount of powder on our OWN websites but prioritize our shipments to our traditional sales channels to maximize powder availability at sporting goods and gun shops. [Editor: If you see Hodgdon powder on auction sites, that is listed by third party vendors.]

WHY IS THE PRICE OF POWDER SO HIGH ON THE INTERNET?
We do not set sale prices or MSRPs for the price of our powders at retail, nor do we encourage any of our retailers or dealers to sell on auction sites, but we cannot control what happens AFTER we sell to our traditional sales channels.

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortage


* Hodgdon also sells certain Ramshot, Accurate, and Blackhorn powders along with Goex black powder.
** Here’s a list of ADI to Hodgdon Powder equivalents from the ADI FAQ Page:

ADI / Hodgdon Propellants Equivalents
ADI Powder Hodgdon/IMR Name
Trail Boss
AR2207
AR2219
BM2
Bench Mark 8208
AR2206H
AR2208
AR2209
AR2213H/AR2213SC
AR2217
AR2225
AR2218
Trail Boss
H4198
H322
Benchmark
8208 XBR
H4895
Varget
H4350
H4831 / H4831SC
H1000
Retumbo
H50BMG
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February 26th, 2021

Mental Training for Shooting Sports — Recommended Resources

marksmanship training mental game chip lohman

To win in competitive shooting you need an accurate rifle, excellent ammo, good sights/optics, and good physical fitness. But in addition, there is the “mental game”. You need to be mentally prepared for the match. You should be focused yet relaxed, and be able to deal with stresses from a bad shot or rapid wind change. Experts say you also want to visualize the perfect shot.

One great Shooting Sports USA article, Shooting is 90% Mental, was penned by Chip Lohman (SSUSA’s former Editor). With the help of two very smart Ph.D types, Judy Tant and Mike Keyes, Lohman examines the mental processes involved in the shooting sports. Chip’s co-authors have impressive credentials. Dr. Judy Tant is a Clinical Psychologist and National Bullseye Pistol Champion. Dr. Michael J. Keyes, is a licensed Psychiatrist and former physician for the U.S. Shooting Team. CLICK HERE to read article.

Recommended Books to Focus Your Mental Game and Improve Your Shooting
Along with the article above, there are a number of good books than can help you improve your mental game and perform better in competition. Here are seven recommended books that can help your mental game and shooting skills. These are available from Creedmoor Sports and Amazon.com.

Mental Game Books at Creedmoor Sports

Sport Psychology and Competition: The Psyche of the Shot
This book is a guide to systematically preparing for shooting matches. It contains 1,000 pictures, 200 exercises, and a 6-week training plan.

The Bullseye Mind
Bullseye Mind is the first mental training book written specifically for sport shooters.

Mental Training in Shooting

Mental Training in Shooting
Mental training in Shooting” is a practical book packed with good, straightforward advice about techniques and mental preparation.

Mental Game and Marksmanship Books on Amazon

Mental Preparation for Shooting Matches

Advice from Emil Praslick
Along with these books we offer some smart advice from Emil Praslick III, former USAMU coach. Considered one of the best wind readers on the planet, Praslick also was known for his ability to help his shooters master the “mental game”. Here is an article from the CMP Archives in which Praslick explains how to focus your mind to achieve greater success.

Emil Praslick

Thinking Your Way to Success
by Emil Praslick
Why does it seem that the same small group of shooters wins the majority of the matches? What is the difference among shooters who are technically equal? Confidence. A confident shooter is free to execute his shots without the fear of failure, i.e. shooting a poor shot.

Negative thoughts (can’t, won’t be able to, etc.) will destroy a skilled performance. The mind’s focus will not be on executing the task, but on projecting fear and self-doubt. Fear is the enemy, confidence is the cure. How does a shooter on the eve of an important match … attain the confidence needed to perform up to his potential? A pre-competition mental plan can assist in acquiring that positive mental state. The plan can be broken down into a few phases.

Build a feeling of preparedness. Developing and executing a plan to organize your equipment and pre-match routine will aid you in feeling prepared on match day.

Avoid negative and stressful thoughts. Focusing on “winning” the match or shooting for a specific score (like making the “cut” or making the President’s 100) can cause undue stress. Good shooters focus on aspects that are within their control: their sight picture, their sight alignment, their position. Each shot should be treated as an individual event.

Train stage-specific tasks during your practice sessions. Instead of shooting matches or practice matches only, include some drills that focus on your problem areas. Training in this manner will assist your level of confidence.

As part of your pre-match routine, imagine yourself shooting perfect shots. Visualize getting into the perfect position, acquiring a perfect sight picture, and perfect trigger control.

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February 25th, 2021

Canadian Gun Confiscation Starting Soon

Canada Trudeau AR-15 gun confiscation government Larry Keene

The Great Northern Gun Grab is About to Begin
Article By Larry Keane, NSSF Gen. Counsel and Sr. VP (Gov’t Affairs)

New Gun Control Measures
Prime Minister Trudeau fulfilled his ill-advised promise by announcing the introduction of a bill in Canada’s Parliament, labeled C-21, that would usher in crushing gun restrictions. Included in the bill is everything from a provision to allow anyone to petition a police chief to revoke a firearm license and the courts to seize firearms for up to 30 days. The bill includes a magazine ban for handguns with a capacity greater than 10 rounds and centerfire rifle magazines with a capacity greater than five rounds. It would impose a strict regimen for those who choose not to participate in the confiscation program with onerous and nearly impossible requirements to keep their firearms. A two-year amnesty period for owners of these now-banned firearms will expire in April 2022.

Canada Trudeau AR-15 gun confiscation government Larry Keene

Canada Trudeau AR-15 gun confiscation government Larry KeeneGun Confiscation
The biggest concern of this gun control push is the outright confiscation of firearms by the government. Prime Minister Trudeau and his allies are labeling it as a government “buyback.” However, this is using Canadian taxpayer funds for the government to buy back something it never owned in the first place.

More shocking is that no government official will put a price tag on what this would cost. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said the government will have a better picture of the cost when it knows how many owners want to “sell” their firearms and for how much, according to a Canadian Broadcasting Channel (CBC) report. Minister Blair guessed it would run between $300-400 million if 150-200,000 gun owners demand $1,300 per firearm. Minister Blair earlier pegged the cost at $600 million.

Critics argue the cost would be much higher. Those critics were right about Canada’s previous gun registration scheme being a colossal failure with an enormous price tag. That was pitched at costing only $2 million but ran over $2.7 billion before being scrapped. The same critics are pointing to New Zealand’s confiscation model and [estimate] the Canadian cost at $1.6-$5 billion in just the first year. That’s just administrative costs, not including the bounty Prime Minister Trudeau would pay for each firearm.

Noncompliance — Are There Alternatives?
Canadians who don’t participate in surrendering their firearms to the government will be forced to endure a rigorous set of rules and inspections to keep their firearms – while they can and while they’re alive. Those who don’t hand over their firearms could keep them under strict conditions to not use, import, further acquire, sell or bequeath them. Those individuals would also be required to complete the Canadian Restricted Firearm Safety Course and upgrade their licenses to a “Restricted Possession and Acquisition Licence.” Of course, this would incur all associated course and license fees, along with registering any firearms with the Firearms Registrar, complying with enhanced storage requirements and periodically providing information on firearm storage to ensure compliance.

But Wait, There’s More
The proposed confiscation law would be so much more than just a gun grab. It would also give municipalities the option of enacting their own local ban on handguns. Some local laws might not go that far. Local laws might only regulate home storage of handguns, requiring them to be stored at shooting clubs and ranges. This would create a patchwork of differing gun control laws and pitfalls for Canadian gun owners. Enforcement would become a nightmare.

Matt DeMille of Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, told the CBC, “Adopting measures across the province in a patchwork is going to be very difficult for people to understand.” Conservative public safety critic Shannon Stubbs added, “This part of the bill doesn’t address the major problem, which is the illicit use of illegal guns in crime.”

Another provision in the bill would make it illegal to advertise a firearm that depicts violence against a person. Read strictly, that would make it a crime to advertise a gun as a self-defense tool. Instead of taking on the criminals who misuse firearms, Prime Minister Trudeau would lock up advertisers who tell his citizens they don’t have to be willing victims and can use firearms to defend themselves.

“Gun ownership in Canada is a privilege… not a right.” — Public Safety Min. Bill Blair

This sounds like a dystopian fairy tale, but the reality is this is happening on the doorstep of the United States. Minister Blair made it clear why Prime Minister Trudeau is able to get away with it: “Gun ownership in Canada, in this country, is a privilege and not a right,” Minister Blair explained to Canada’s Global News. It’s a privilege that’s predicated on the strict adherence to our laws, our regulations, and our restrictions.”

Opposition to Confiscation Program
That’s not stopping opponents from saying Prime Minister Trudeau is overstepping. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police said it won’t support a plan for handgun bans. Vancouver police chief Adam Palmer heads the organization and previously said there are laws against the illegal use of handguns. Further gun control laws won’t solve this problem.

Manitoba Premier Brian Palliste said the handgun ban is “not going to work.” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is critical of Prime Minister Trudeau’s gun grabs. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney denounced the moves for targeting law-abiding gun owners and not criminals. Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford said the national government should focus on enforcing laws and putting criminals behind bars, not seizing guns from law-abiding citizens.

In light of President Joe Biden’s gun control wish list, it’s worth nothing the importance of the 27 words of the Second Amendment. It’s also worth watching the cost of dollars and rights an out-of-control gun control agenda can do to a nation’s citizens.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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February 25th, 2021

Shiraz Balolia Book Recounts Remarkable Business Success Story

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly Industrial F-Class

If you are a F-Class competitor or use machine tools, chances are you know Shiraz Balolia. Shiraz is one of America’s top F-Class shooters, an all-star competitor who has won major titles, including three straight Canadian F-Open National Championships. Shiraz also owns Grizzly Industrial Inc., a large, successful enterprise he founded in 1983. For 38 years, Grizzly has provided quality tools to wood-workers and metal workers. Grizzly’s catalog is now over 700 pages.

Shiraz’s life story is an interesting one. He came to the USA from Kenya, and then became a very successful businessman, building Grizzly Industrial into a major player in the tools/parts/machinery business. Shiraz also founded Bullets.com, which sold firearms accessories and reloading components for some years. Shiraz’s effort to start Bullets.com was an outgrowth of his desire to “give back” to the shooting sports, the hobby he loves.

To cover his noteworthy business career and life, Shiraz has written an impressive 288-page autobiography, entitled A Bad Case of Capitalism (referring to his love for the world of selling products). This book covers Shiraz’s early years though the present, providing a “tale of travel through war-torn countries, courtroom battles, success, failure, and everything in between.” It explains the challenges of starting direct-to-consumer businesses, first via mail-order and then adapting to the new online world.

We enjoyed the book because it provides a clear inside look at the challenges of starting a business. And we are grateful that Shiraz, through his businesses, has been a strong supporter of AccurateShooter.com for more than a decade. Balolia’s autobiography has been described as “equal parts business primer, history, and collection of life lessons”. The book shows how vision and determination can create a true American success story.

Readers have enjoyed the book and the lessons it offers on how to build a business:

“As someone who loves to create things with his hands, I was immediately drawn to this book, as Mr. Balolia is basically the father of machinery for woodworkers like me. It’s a great read that opens your eyes to a place and time I’d never heard of before, and it paints a great picture of determination and grit…. This book is certainly a motivating tale, and it shows that with a supportive family and vision (and a ton of hard work) you can do anything you dream.” — Jameson H.

“This is as much a story of Mr. Balolia as it is of Grizzly Industrial. In this book, and probably real life, the two are inseparable. From humble beginnings to a substantial empire of industrial equipment you have to admire and applaud the success story and this chronicle of hard work and perseverance. Impressive, very impressive.” — Own One

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly

Grizzly Lathes for Gunsmiths

In this video, Shiraz talks about Gunsmithing Lathes sold by Grizzly.com:

Shiraz Uses the Machines That He Sells
Shiraz is not just a talented business leader and ace marksman. He is also a very skilled fabricator and woodworker. He has crafted guitars, and worked on his own gunstocks. This shows an F-Class Stock Shiraz upgraded using Grizzly Industrial machinery. The modified stock has a significantly lower Center of Gravity, riding 1/2″ lower in the front bag. Shiraz says the modified stock performed great.

Shiraz Balolia biography book

Shiraz Balolia lathe press tools stock

Shiraz Balolia (left) and Norma Managing Director Paul-Erik Toivo.
Shiraz Balolia

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February 25th, 2021

Watch Reloading Videos from Hodgdon Powder Company

Hodgdon Reloading Center Video

Hodgdon Reloading Center VideoHodgdon Powder Company (Hodgdon) offers a series of professionally-produced, “how-to” instructional videos through its online Reloading Data Center. These 3.5-minute videos present rifle, pistol, and shotshell reloading basics in an easy-to-understand,step-by-step format. These mobile-friendly, informative videos can also be viewed on a smart phone or tablet.

To watch the reloading videos go to the Reloading Data Center at hodgdon.com. Click to the right/left of the displayed video to switch between pistol, rifle, and shotgun videos. Or, for your convenience, we have embedded the Rifle and Pistol videos here. Just click to watch!

Click to Watch Hodgdon Rifle Reloading Video:

Click to Watch Hodgdon Pistol Reloading Video:

In addition to these videos, Hodgdon’s Reloading Data Center (RDC) provides a wealth of information on Hodgdon®, IMR®, and Winchester® propellants. Along with reliable load data, you’ll find explanations of reloading basics, safety procedures, plus answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ).

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February 24th, 2021

MDT Offers New 26-ounce HNT26 Carbon Hunting Chassis

MDT Modular Driven Technologies HNT26 MDT chassis carbon fiber light-weight

Modular Driven Tecnologies (MDT), known for its rifle chassis systems for PRS/NRL disciplines, has a new ultra-lightweight chassis for hunters. The new HNT26 Chassis System is MDT’s first truly purpose-built hunting chassis. The HNT26 weighs a mere 26 ounces for the fixed model, a few ounces more for the folding-stock version. This new hunting chassis includes V-Block bedding, LOP and comb adjustment, and a “snag free design” to help hunters moving through brush. The HNT26 chassis will be offered in a Cerekote finish in either Black Carbon Fiber or Cobalt Green starting at $1299.95. Ini

MDT Modular Driven Technologies HNT26 MDT chassis carbon fiber light-weight

The MDT HNT26 Chassis is constructed with a magnesium alloy base, carbon fiber fore-end, carbon fiber grip, and foam-filled carbon fiber buttstock. The HNT26 chassis will fit: Rem 700 Short Action (and clones), Rem 700 Long Action CIP 3.850 (and clones), Savage Short Action, Savage Long Action CIP 3.850, Tikka T3 Short Action and Tikka T3 Long Action. Initially, these are all right bolt version only.

CLICK photo to see full-screen BIG version.
MDT Modular Driven Technologies HNT26 MDT chassis carbon fiber light-weight

Tripod Compatibility with ARCA rail: “With the increased number of hunters using ARCA tripods, we have included an option to choose a carbon fiber fore-end with an integral ARCA rail, as well as a foldable buttstock version for compact storage.”

MDT Modular Driven Technologies HNT26 MDT chassis carbon fiber light-weight
MDT Modular Driven Technologies HNT26 MDT chassis carbon fiber light-weight

MDT HNT26 Hunting Chassis System SPECIFICATIONS:

Ultralight design weighs between 26 oz. and 31 oz. depending on configuration
V-Block bedding system with free floating barrels up to 1.25″ diameter
Fixed and folding buttstock version available (folding 31 oz.)
Chassis body machined from AZ61A magnesium alloy
Carbon fiber-enclosed fore-end with MLOK, QD mount, Sling Swivel Mount
Foam-filled carbon fiber buttstock deadens sound and vibrations
Low profile mag latch integrates seamlessly into trigger guard
Option for ARCA rail integrated into carbon fiber fore-end
Compatible with AICS-style mags (MDT 3-RD Polymer mag fits flush)
Front and rear sling swivel mounts and front and rear QD
Vertically adjustable cheek riser with soft touch foam pad
Accepts AR Grips and MDT ultra lightweight carbon fiber grip
12.5” minimum LOP with adjustable spacer system
Titanium action / grip screws

MDT Modular Driven Technologies HNT26 MDT chassis carbon fiber light-weight

The MDT HNT26 Chassis System is sold as a complete chassis kit including magnesium alloy base, foam filled carbon fiber buttstock, carbon fiber enclosed fore-end and a carbon fiber grip. Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) is precision rifle chassis manufacturer with offices and production in Chilliwack, BC Canada and Everson, WA USA.

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February 24th, 2021

Allen Offers New AR500 Hardrock Steel Targets at Good Prices

Allen AR500 Hard rock steel Targets gong squares rack rimfire pistol

Allen Company has introduced Hardrock AR500 Targets, a new series of affordable steel targets suitable for rimfire rifles and pistols as well as centerfire pistols. Note, these targets are NOT designed for centerfire rifles (you can damage the targets with repeated impacts). Most Hardrock targets are supplied with frames with front legs that slide into the ground for added stability.

Allen Hardrock Steel Target Systems
Allen’s Hardrock family of targets are constructed from heavy-duty 1/4″-thick AR500 hardened steel. They are all finished with a high-visibility cross/bulleye pattern that makes aiming easier. After a bit of shooting, however, you will need to paint the targets, and/or supply your own pasters. However we do like the red ring/black diamond/orange center graphics supplied on these Hardrock targets out of the box.

Allen AR500 Hard rock steel Targets gong squares rack frame silhouette

Allen AR500 Hardrock Steel Target Products:

Circular gong targets 4″, 8″, 10″ diameter
Note: These must be hung with chains or straps you supply*
MSRP $19.99 to $44.99

Circular centerfire spinner dual targets 3-4″ dual on frame or 4-5″ dual on frame
Comps with metal support frame
MSRP $31.99 to $37.99

Square plate centerfire spinner targets 4-5″ dual on frame or 7″ single on frame
Comps with metal support frame
MSRP $37.99 to $42.99

IPSC 1/2 Silhouette Large target
MSRP $48.99

Allen AR500 Hard rock steel Targets gong squares rack rimfire pistol

Allen Self-Healing Polymer Targets — Reactive Movement without the “Clang” of Steel

Along with its new AR500 targets, Allen offers some unique “self-healing” orange polymer reactive targets. These will move when hit, but the bullet hole will then close up, as the rubbery, orange polymer heals itself. There are 10 different EZ-Aim Self-Healing Targets including ground rollers, Spinners, and Silhouette-style “critter” targets. Here are three versions:

Allen Self-Healing Polymer Targets Reactive plastic orange

*To mount the Hardrock Gongs, Allen offers a Quick-set Steel Target Stand and a Rubber Strap Gong Hanging Kit, priced at $62.99 and $16.99 respectively.

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February 24th, 2021

Precision Rifle Challenge on Shooting USA TV Today

Shooting USA hornady precision rifle challenge Utah 2020 AccurateShooter

Precision Rifle Challenge on Shooting USA This Week
This week, Shooting USA TV features a show that should interest PRS/NRL fans, tactical marksmen, and long range hunters. Run in Utah’s backcountry, the Hornady Precision Rifle Challenge is a unique long range competition with serious wind and elevation changes.

This was a big match with 177 competitors at Hornady’s private 250,000 acre ranch property outside of Evanston, Wyoming, across the state line in Utah.

This isn’t a typical PRS Pro Series match by any means. Participants in this challenging Precision Rifle match encounter tough conditions not typically seen in other tactical matches.

Shooting USA hornady precision rifle challenge Utah 2020 AccurateShooter

This video is great — lots of equipment closeups, stage set-ups, plus drone footage of range.

Shooting USA hornady precision rifle challenge Utah 2020 AccurateShooter

This Shooting USA episode airs Wednesday, February 24, 2021, at 9:00 PM Eastern (8:00 PM Central) on the Outdoor Channel. If you miss that, it runs again on Thursday afternoon. In addition, you can watch all episodes of Shooting USA on the VIMEO channel by subscription. Each episode is just $0.99.

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February 23rd, 2021

Practical Tactical — Training Video Series with Ryan Cleckner

practical PRS NRL shooting tactical rifle videos ryan cleckner

Former Army Ranger sniper instructor Ryan Cleckner is the author of the best-selling Long Range Shooting Handbook. Cleckner hosts a series of videos that cover shooting techniques appropriate for tactical and PRS-type disciplines. Here are five short videos that cover various aspects of shooting techniques and rifle set-up. We think PRS/NRL competitors (and long-range hunters) can benefit from these videos.

“Consistency is the key to accuracy.

You need to think about a system of how you’re going to shoot that is not only comfortable, but [is] repeatable when you’re shooting.” — Ryan Cleckner

In this first video, Cleckner explains proper scope position. Ryan finds that some shooters place the scope too far forward or too far rearward. If the scope is too far back you may have issues with eye relief and stock reach to shoulder. If it is too far forward, you may have cheek-weld problems or get neck strain.

Cleckner offers a simple method to check your scope position: “To see if your scope is set up properly … close your eyes, lay your head on your gun, get completely comfortable, and only when you are set-up, then open your eyes. If you can’t see clearly through your scope, CHANGE something [such as comb height or scope position]”. “When you open your eyes, if you see some scope shadow [i.e. the black ring around the edge of the scope picture], figure out which way you need to move your head to get rid of that shadow, and then make adjustments to either your position, the rifle, or the scope.”

Cleckner prefers shooting off a bag when in the prone position, when that is practical. The bag provides a more stable support than a small Harris-type bipod, doesn’t require pre-loading the rifle, and there is less bounce or hop on recoil.

Former Army Ranger sniper team leader Ryan Cleckner explains how important it is to keep your rifle straight up and down when long-range precision shooting. Cleckner demonstrates with an AR-10 modern sporting rifle how slight cant to your rifle can cause a miss over long distances.

Here Cleckner covers some of the basic points of trigger control on tactical-style rifles. These basic principles apply to both single-stage and two-stage triggers. NOTE: For benchrest rigs, with ultra-light pull weights, more refined techniques may be appropriate.

In tactical events, when you’re shooting on the clock and loading from a detachable magazine, you should manipulate the bolt smoothly but strongly. Here Cleckner demonstrates how to cycle a tactical-type rifle. He says, “You should be running the bolt on your rifle with authority. Run it like you mean it!” NOTE: Completely different techniques are appropriate for custom benchrest rifles that manually feed.

Long Range Shooting Handbook — A Good Resource
Cleckner’s Long Range Shooting Handbook covers a wide range of topics important for precision marksmanship — both shooting skills and technical matters. You can view Sample Chapters from Ryan’s Book on Amazon.com. Cleckner’s book is designed as an intro to key concepts such as MOA vs. Mils, External Ballistics, and Environmental Effects. Included are personal tips and advice based on Cleckner’s years of experience as a sniper instructor and special operations sniper.

The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter.

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February 23rd, 2021

Fitness and Cardio Training for Marksmen — It Makes a Difference

In the archives of The First Shot (the CMP’s Online Magazine), SGT Walter E. Craig of the USAMU discusses physical conditioning for competitive shooters, particularly High Power competitors. Fitness training is an important subject that, curiously, is rarely featured in the shooting sports media. We seem to focus on hardware, or esoteric details of cartridge reloading. Yet physical fitness also matters, particularly for High Power shooters. In his article, Craig advocates: 1) weight training to strengthen the Skeletal Muscle System; 2) exercises to build endurance and stamina; and 3) cardiovascular conditioning programs to allow the shooter to remain relaxed with a controlled heart beat.

SGT Craig explains: “An individual would not enter a long distance race without first spending many hours conditioning his/her body. One should apply the same conditioning philosophy to [shooting]. Physical conditioning to improve shooting skills will result in better shooting performance[.] The objective of an individual physical training program is to condition the muscles, heart, and lungs thereby increasing the shooter’s capability of controlling the body and rifle for sustained periods.”


» CLICK HERE to READ FULL FITNESS ARTICLE

In addition to weight training and cardio workouts (which can be done in a gym), SGT Craig advocates “some kind of holding drill… to develop the muscles necessary for holding a rifle for extended periods.”

For those with range access, Craig recommends a blind standing exercise: “This exercise consists of dry-firing one round, then live-firing one round, at a 200-yard standard SR target. For those who have access only to a 100-yard range, reduced targets will work as well. Begin the exercise with a timer set for 50 minutes. Dry-fire one round, then fire one live round and without looking at the actual impact, plot a call in a data book. Continue the dry fire/live fire sequence for 20 rounds, plotting after each round. After firing is complete, compare the data book to the target. If your zero and position are solid, the plots should resemble the target. As the training days add up and your zero is refined, the groups will shrink and move to the center.”

Brandon Green
Fitness training and holding drills help position shooters reach their full potential.

Training for Older Shooters
Tom Alves has written an excellent article A Suggested Training Approach for Older Shooters. This article discusses appropriate low-impact training methods for older shooters. Tom explains: “Many of the articles you will read in books about position shooting and the one mentioned above are directed more toward the younger generation of shooters in their 20s. If you look down the line at a typical high power match these days you are likely to see quite a few folks who are in their middle 30s and up. Many people in that age range have had broken bones and wear and tear on their joints so a training program needs to take that into account. For instance, while jogging for an extended period for heart and lung conditioning may be the recommended approach for younger folks, it may be totally inappropriate for older people.”

READ FULL ARTICLE by Tom Alves

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February 23rd, 2021

Get FREE Data Book Scoring App for Android and iOS (Apple)

Creedmoor Sports High Power CMP Competition Scoring App Apple Android

Creedmoor Sports High Power CMP Competition Scoring App Apple AndroidTired of carrying old-fashioned paper Score Books? Well now you can go digital — Creedmoor Sports offers a full-featured Scoring Book App that lets you plot your shot locations/scores using an Android device or Apple iPhone or iPad. The price is right — FREE! Just visit the iTunes store or Google Play Store to download the App for FREE.

Record Match and Practice Data
This new App, available for free in the Apple App Store, and the Google Play Store provides all the same functions and capabilities of the traditional, spiral-bound print-format Creedmoor Rifle Data/Score Book, but with the convenience and ease of recording your match and practice information with your mobile device. With this App you can break your 20 shot slow-fire segments into either 10- or 20-shot targets, and also opt for sighting shots. All the specific event data can also be recorded, such as location, wind, light etc., along with wind and elevation adjustments.

creedmoor scoring app

CLICK HERE for iOS (Apple)

creedmoor scoring app

CLICK HERE for Android OS

creedmoor scoring app

COMMUNICATIONS Restrictions: In some matches you are not allowed to have electronic communication ability, so you may have to set your iPhone to “Airplane Mode”, or use this only with an iPod (which does not have two-way communication capability).
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February 22nd, 2021

Bargain Finder 283: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. KYGUNCO — Anderson AM-15 (AR) Lower Receiver, $89.99

ar15 gun rifle lower discount kygunco
More gun control is coming — get an AR lower while you can

With the developments in Washington, it will likely become more difficult to purchase an AR-platform rifle in the future. You may want to get an AR lower now, while you can, at a reasonable price. KYGUNGO (Kentucky Gun Co.) is selling the Anderson AM-15 AR15 Lower Receiver for just $89.99 (cash price) or $92.69 (credit card). This is a mil-spec 7075 T6 Forged aluminum lower, Type 3 Hard Anodized. Flat-Rate Shipping to your FFL is just $11.99. These will probably sell out quickly.

2. Midsouth — Delton AR-15 Lower Parts Kit with Grip, $52.99

ar15 gun rifle lower discount lower parts kit deltong kygunco
Very complete AR-15 parts kit at low price

Here’s what you need to fill up that AR-15 lower receiver featured above. This Delton Complete Lower Receiver Parts Kit contains all the attachment pins, trigger system parts, and springs you need, along with a classic AR grip. Installation is straight-forward with instructions available online.

3. Amazon — Tipton Best Gun Vise, $84.84

tipton gun vise sale
Versatile, stable, works with all rifles, including ARs

You need a stable platform when cleaning your long guns, but most gun cradles are too light or unstable to do the job properly. If you’re looking upgrade to a better solution, grab the Tipton Best Gun Vise. The vise was designed to accommodate the widest possible array of firearms for cleaning, maintenance, or gunsmithing. This vise is easily configurable to handle bolt-action rifles, break-open shotguns, AR-15s, and handguns. You can also purchase this excellent Gun Vise for $89.99 at Midsouth Shooters.

4. MidwayUSA — Stable Table Portable Shooting Bench, $178.39

caldwell shooting bench stable table midwayusa sale
Hard to beat bench at this price; swivel seat, 60-lb total weight

The Caldwell® Stable Table, a 60-lb tripod-style bench, offers a 34″L x 23″W top surface with a bench seat that adjusts from 16″ to 22″ in height. The polymer top has two integrated carry handles. These handles double as anchors for two gun-holding forks that can be used when cleaning your rifle. Leg adjustments keep the table and seat parallel even on uneven ground. The overall unit breaks down into seven pieces using a quick-release pin system. Maximum weight capacity is 350 pounds. This bench has earned 80% 5-star reviews from actual purchasers.

5. MidwayUSA — MagnetoSpeed Sporter Chronograph, $159.99

Deals of Week Magnetospeed sporter Kit
Great deal on easy-to-use, accurate, barrel-attached Chronograph

Priced at just $159.99 at MidwayUSA, the Magnetospeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to set up skyscreens. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using Magnetospeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily to your mobile device. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review. NOTE: You MUST add the item to cart to see the $159.99 SALE price. This typically sells elsewhere for around $180.00.

6. EuroOptic –$100 Rebate on Leupold SX-4 Spotting Scopes

Leupold SC-4 HD spotting scope $100 Rebate instant
Instant $100 savings on excellent HD Glass spotting scopes

Get Instant Savings of $100 with the purchase of any SX-4 Pro Guide HD Spotting Scope. Offer valid February 1, 2021 through April 4, 2021, while supplies last. Leupold offers SX-4 HD spotters in 65mm objective and 85mm objective models, with both angled and straight versions. If you can’t find your preferred SX-4 in stock at EuroOptic, this Rebate will be available at other authorized Leupold dealers such as Grafs.com.

7. MidwayUSA — Caldwell Rock BR Rest + Bag, $99.99

Caldwell Rock rest and rear bag
Good inexpensive system for varminters or sight-in duties

Here’s a great bargain for someone looking for a basic functional benchrest set-up. This Caldwell Rock BR Rest and Bag Combo could be a gift to a family member or a junior shooter. Or this $99.99 combo would suffice for someone testing a hunting rifle. The front rest adjusts for both windage and elevation.

8. Amazon — Sawback Bowie 3.5″ Tactical Knife, $10.95

Sawback serrated tactical bowie knife $10.95
Owners say it is sharp with good features for price

This Sawback Bowie spring-assisted folding knife, just $10.95 on Amazon, has a 3.5″ blade. There is a curved cutting edge with a serrated section near the handle. Actual purchasers state: “This knife is very well made with a tight feel. No play at all. The assisted open is excellent [and] they come very sharp too”, and “This is a good quality knife. It’s solid and a bit heavy, really good looking and comes pretty sharp. Overall its a great knife.”

9. Grafs.com — Lockdown Safe Accessory Package $12.99

lockdown safe gunsafe accessory organizer light kit
Great accessories for safes — light alone is worth the price

This Lockdown Safe Accessory Package includes one Large Organizer, a Vault Light, and a Large Document Holder. The bright LED Vault light runs on AAA batteries so no wiring is needed. The Document holder easily mounts to your safe’s door or sidewall. And the Large 18″x12″ Organizer will secure valuables, knives, and even small handguns. It comes with hooks for carpeted interiors and magnets for metal interiors. This KIT normally sells for $49.99 so it’s a STEAL at $12.99 — that’s 74% OFF.

Permalink Hot Deals, News, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
February 22nd, 2021

What Caused the Ammo Shortage? When Will Things Get Better?

Federal ammunition vista outdoors cause ammo shortage primer production Remington CCI Jason Vanderbrink

In a recent Federal Season Podcast, Federal Ammunition’s President Jason Vanderbrink discusses the shortages of loaded ammunition we have experienced for many months now. And it’s not just loaded ammo — powder and primers are very hard to find and prices are crazy, with 1000 primers selling for $300 or more in recent Gunbroker auctions.

This Federal Podcast episode attempts to answer key questions about the unprecedented demand for ammunition. Ammo buyers want to know what caused the shortage, when supplies will become normal again, and what Federal and its sister brands are doing to meet consumer needs.

Click Green Arrow to Start Podcast Audio:


Fast forward to 00:45 to skip intro.

We applaud Federal for addressing the issue. Many shooters think there is some kind of conspiracy — suggesting that the Federal Government is buying all the ammunition, or that companies such as Federal or Hornady have halted production. That’s nonsense. In fact Federal, Hornady, and Olin (Winchester) are all running at full capacity.

However, consumer demand has increased dramatically. This is because of political developments, with tens of millions of gun owners fearful that the new Democratic administration will impose new taxes or restrictions on ammo. In addition, demand has been driven by new gun owners. The NSSF tells us that over 7,000,000 Americans purchased their first firearm in 2020. If each new gun buyer purchased just two, 50-round boxes of ammo, that equates to 700,000,000 rounds of ammo. Think about that… the gun industry would have to produce an additional 1.91 million rounds of ammo EVERY DAY just to fill the demands from new gun owners.

ammunition ammo federal shortage supply podcast Vanderbrink

In the podcast Federal’s President Vanderbrink emphasized that Federal is running at full capacity. Vanderbrink also discusses the shortages of components, particularly primers, which are produced by both Federal and sister company CCI.

Vanderbrink pointed out that Federal had been at less than full capacity in 2017-2019, but Federal had also invested in new capacity over the last five years and that investment is now paying off: “We are investing where we need to invest… we have hired hundreds of new workers.”

Primers Are in Short Supply Because They Are Being Used in Loaded Ammunition
Vanderbrink explains why primers are not getting to retail outlets. The answer is that Federal is using a larger percentage of its own primer production for loaded ammunition. “We are making a lot more ammunition today. Our internal primer needs have gone up exponentially as we are shipping more ammunition. [Previously] we’d sell excess [primer] capacity to the reloading market. As the ammunition business picked up in March 2020, it came at the expense of the reloading primers. We are taking a bigger share just to make our ammunition” (Podcast 08:30 – 09:50)

Remington Bankruptcy DID Affect Ammo and Primer Supplies
Remington’s business problems HAVE reduced ammo supply said Vanderbrink: “When we acquired Remington, that factory wasn’t making hardly any ammunition, so that just starved that market already that was constrained. As we’re getting Remington up and going right now, we’re going to make more ammunition, so the market WILL have more ammunition[.] Along with the social unrest, along with the Pandemic fears that people had… you had Remington not making much ammunition, so that just added to the backlog.” Vanderbrink noted that Federal acquired the Remington factory in October and it plans to increase Remington ammo production significantly over previous levels.
(Podcast 10:20 -11:20)

Ammunition Shortage is NOT Caused by Federal Government Buying Everything
Vanderbrink also said flat out that the shortage has NOT been caused by huge new government ammo buys or Federal redirecting production to the government. The allocation to the commercial sector is actually higher than in recent years.

Federal Ammunition shortage

Vanderbrink asked for patience. While conceding that the pandemic has created challenges, Vanderbrink declares that the ammo plants are running at full capacity: “We know, ammo seems hard to come by right now. But rest assured, we are building and shipping more and more every day[.]”

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 8 Comments »
February 22nd, 2021

AR-15 Critical Failure — Bolt Breaks into Two Pieces

AR15 AR-15 Bolt failure Broken AR Bolt Police Department

A while back, our friend Dennis Santiago was conducting training for a Southern California Police Department. During a training session one of the unit’s AR15s stopped functioning. The problem — the bolt in the AR rifle broke in half. Dennis states: “They ran the gun dry, broke for lunch, shot it again. They don’t like that. I personally like to flood the bolt wet with lube on training days. It prevents stuff like this. Given that, it’s a simple remove-and-replace fix.”

AR15 AR-15 Bolt failure Broken AR Bolt Police Department

Here are some of the more interesting comments about this parts failure — an AR bolt that literally sheared in half:

“If I was a betting man [the steel] wasn’t made by Carpenter Steel. They are one of the few companies that use the correct [milspec-steel, C-158] called out on the drawing which they coincidentally developed. Most of the other companies that make [AR Bolts] use different steel with the same heat treat specification as what is called out which gives them the potential of being a little on the brittle side at the upper end of the tolerance. When it comes to the AR platform, bolts are probably the only part of the entire gun where I must admit to being a little bit of a brand snob.” David O’N.

[Editor’s Note: Actually Carpenter Steel does not make AR bolts. They are a steel supplier, and yes Carpenter did develop the original C-158 steel for AR bolts. Here is a contrary view, claiming that AISI 9310 Steel is actually stronger than milspec Carpenter C-158: 9310 Steel for AR Bolts.]

“Dry bolt and carrier shouldn’t cause that. Looks like a big pressure spike. What kind of ammo…?” Guy G.
Reply from Dennis: “55gr factory ammo. Piles of it.

“Is that the new two-piece bolt everyone’s been talking about LOL?” — Darren R.

“Let me guess…the PD called you in cause they didn’t know why it stopped going ‘pew pew’?” — Jim O.
Reply from Dennis: “I was there today for qualifications. It broke during the rifle phase. Simple enough to fish the bolt parts out of the action. The training didn’t miss a beat. I have an armory full of the things.”

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Tactical 1 Comment »