April 7th, 2020

Next Generation AR with Thumb-Activated Lever Trigger

Thumb-operated Receiver TOR T.O.R. Blackwater Iron horse AR15 thumb trigger

Thumb-operated Receiver TOR T.O.R. Blackwater Iron horse AR15 thumb triggerHere’s a radical new rifle. Instead of a vertical trigger that moves rearward when pulled by the index finger, this Blackwater T.O.R. A1 rifle has a lever INSIDE the lower receiver. That lever is moved by the operator’s THUMB, causing the rifle to fire. The claimed benefits of the “thumb-gun” are: 1) Improved Ergonomics (thumb stays in alignment with point of aim); 2) Better Mechanics (thumb is strongest digit and can manipulate lever easily); 3) Enhanced Safety (trigger blade/lever is not exposed).

This AR-type rifle was developed by Iron Horse, now partnered with Blackwater Worldwide. The new T.O.R. (aka “Thumb Operated Receiver”) A1 is the industry’s first AR-platform rifle incorporating patent-pending, lever-driven fire technology.

Thumb-operated Receiver TOR T.O.R. Blackwater Iron horse AR15 thumb trigger

Iron Horse A1 Precision Rifle
The manufacturer has made some interesting claims about this new thumb-lever system. Blackwater/Iron Horse claims that “Multiple samples of users show a shorter learning curve and reduced shot group size”, and that the design “lends to greater accuracy in precision shooting… with its inherent natural ergonomics.” One claim we do believe, is that the thumb lever may help disabled shooters. Additionally the manufacturer notes that because the “trigger guard completely encases the trigger” there is less chance of snagging the trigger in brush or vegetation.

How the Lever Trigger Works
The operator’s thumb goes into a port in the top of the polymer grip (see grip photo above). This allows ambidextrous firing by right- or left-handed shooters. The thumb points forward, in line with the barrel. The lever itself is contained INSIDE the lower. Watch this video to see how it works:

Is the Thumb Lever a Game-Changer?
“Ironhorse’s revolutionary trigger system has the potential to be a game changer” states Eric Prince, Founder of Blackwater Worldwide. “Our in-house testing has shown a significant decrease in shot group size when compared to a traditional AR-15 trigger set. We think this technology … could replace traditional triggers altogether at some point.” The manufacturer states that the thumb-operated trigger “has been shown to greatly enhance the experience of a large portion of the shooting community and makes shooting possible for those who have limited mobility or severely injured fingers.”

Thumb-operated Receiver TOR T.O.R. Blackwater Iron horse AR15 thumb trigger

About Iron Horse and Blackwater Worldwide
Iron Horse Firearms, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, was founded by a former U.S. Marine Ryan McDonald. The Patent-Pending Thumb-Operated Receiver was first developed in August of 2016 and became a fully operational system in the fall of 2018. Moving forward, Iron Horse Firearms will be doing business as part of Blackwater Worldwide.

In 2019, Blackwater Worldwide re-entered the firearms and ammunition market in the United States. In its first year of operation, it has acquired or developed multiple firearms lines and a proprietary ammunition line. The company is headquartered in Concord, NC.

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April 5th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Norway Adventure with .338 Lapua Magnum

Norway Fjord .338 Lapua Magnum Norma Blaser R8 Zeiss

For our readers who are stuck at home under government orders, we are reprising a video feature about hunting in Norway. For those whose horizons have been limited due to the “shelter at home” response to the Coronavirus pandemic, we offer this getaway to scenic Vesterålen in northern Norway…

This is one of the finest shooting videos we’ve ever seen. Set in the scenic Vesterålen archipelago of northern Norway, this high-quality 15-minute video is part National Geograhic travelog, part ballistics lesson, part gear review. Given the current COVID-19 lockdowns, we wish we had the opportunity to join Ulf Lindroth and Thomas Haugland on their remarkable shooting adventure. This video was originally created for Great Britain’s Fieldsports TV Channel.

This is an outstanding video, recommended for anyone interested in long-range hunting.

Long range shooters Lindroth and Haugland traveled to the Arctic Circle to field test a new .338 LM Blaser R8 (in GRS stock) fitted with a Zeiss Victory V8 4.8-35x60mm scope. (Ammo is Norma-brand .338 Lapua Magnum). The video shows how they confirm the ballistics of the Norma factory ammo in the Blaser R8 rifle system.

Norway Fjord .338 Lapua Magnum Norma Blaser R8 Zeiss

Ulf and Thomas initially test out the system confirming drop at multiple yardages, and then use the rifle for practical accuracy. Ulf says: “If you know your hunting will demand a long shot, and you want to push the limit but still be sure to make the first-shot kill… If you want to do an ethical hunt, if you want to push that limit, you have to do [this kind of testing].”

Norway Fjord .338 Lapua Magnum Norma Blaser R8 Zeiss

Ulf Lindroth (above) observed: “We shot [at 808 meters] observed the misses, clicked our way into the target, and now we have the true drop at that distance… in this air pressure, in this temperature. From there we can start working to find our TRUE trajectory. And when we have THAT… we can get serious about some target shooting.”

Norway Fjord .338 Lapua Magnum Norma Blaser R8 Zeiss

Norway Fjord .338 Lapua Magnum Norma Blaser R8 Zeiss

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April 4th, 2020

Hawk Spotting Scope Camera from Longshot (TargetVision)

Longshot cameras Targetvision spotting scope camera digital electronic camera telescope table

Spotting scopes are important tools for hunters and target shooters, but until now you had to position your head close to the eye-piece and look directly through the lens. LongShot Target Camera (aka TargetVision) has changed how we can use our spotting scopes with the company’s innovative Hawk Smart Scope Spotting Scope Camera. The Hawk employs a digital camera that “sees” through the lens of your spotting scope and then wirelessly transmits the real-time view to your mobile devices. This allows you to position the spotting scope anywhere you like, and then use a tablet or phone to observe exactly what the scope “sees” down-range. Priced at just $249.00, the advanced Hawk Spotting Scope Camera is a great value.

Hawk Review by F-Class John
As a frequent user of spotting scopes, I often find myself struggling to position my scope close enough without it interfering with my shooting setup. During a match this isn’t a big deal, but when I’m out doing load development or practicing there are plenty of times I’d like to set up my spotting scope out of the way but still see what it’s looking at. I’ve tried other digiscope systems but they’ve all required me to use a cell phone directly over the eyepiece. That can work but it still forces me to position the scope within my shooting space. All of these frustrations ended when I got the Hawk. Now I can put the Hawk anywhere I want, plus a shooting buddy (or coach) can watch the view through the spotter remotely.

Longshot cameras Targetvision spotting scope camera digital electronic camers telescope table

Setting Up the Hawk is Easy — WiFi Connection
The Hawk comes in a nice hard-sided case that is big enough to fit the unit and charging cable and easily fits in a range bag for transport. Once its battery is charged, simply slide the Hawk over your eye-piece, tighten the screw clamp down and then turn the Hawk on. To pair, go to WiFi settings, select the HAWK IP address, and then open the TargetVision App. You’ll be asked to enter the provided passcode (only required the first time) and then you’ll automatically begin to see what your spotting scope sees. I like that it connects using WiFi because that frees up my Bluetooth for other items such as a LabRadar. This allows me to use the HAWK alongside other devices without competing for functionality.

Longshot cameras Targetvision spotting scope camera digital electronic camera telescope table

Hawk Offers Shot-Marking System — GREAT Feature!
For use while target shooting, the Hawk has one outstanding built-in feature. The digital view from the scope can mark your shots! The Hawk’s shot marking software allows the Hawk to track and identify shots on target. The Hawk has a couple settings that allow you to change the color and size of the marked shots as well as showing your groups and group size. This is really a huge value-added feature of the Hawk. The shot-marking functionality turns your spotting scope into a highly capable shot-marker system. That’s especially great when doing load development.

Longshot cameras Targetvision spotting scope camera digital electronic camera telescope table

Longshot cameras Targetvision spotting scope camera digital electronic camers telescope tableRotating Camera Head Adds Versatility
Another ingenious feature of the HAWK is that you can rotate the head unit without affecting your actual scope set-up. This allows you to easily “level up” the output image on your device while leaving your scope tight in its mount after zooming in or out. I found this to be a really useful at my local range which has uneven ground. As I moved the scope around, I simply turned the head and kept watching. With variable-power spotting scopes, the Hawk’s rotating head really helps you adjust the picture output quickly after adjusting the zoom power on the eyepiece.

SUMMARY — Excellent Product with Multiple Functions
Overall the HAWK exceeded my expectations. The image quality was clear and in general matched what my eye would see through the scope itself. In testing I found it worked equally well on my iPad and iPhone with gallery photos and videos easily transferred from the App to my device files. The HAWK is easy to install and configure for your devices. The ability to see downrange remotely — without having to stare through the lens — makes this device a great accessory for any spotting scope.

Great for Training — This unit is especially useful for training purposes. The coach can be watching the shooter’s position/technique, while keeping an eye on target and windflags downrange using the streamed image from the Hawk camera. Overall, we think Longshot Target Camera (TargetVision) has built a winner, and the Hawk is unquestionably a superb value at $249.00.

Hawk Owners Also Praise This Spotting Scope Camera:

“Image quality is outstanding and the camera is very easy to attach, set up, and use. No more straining at the eyepiece of my spotting scope. I love it!” Ned T., Verified Buyer

“The unit is extremely easy to setup. The App has great features and the unit has endless applications. A great addition to a nice spotting scope.” Evan D., Verified Buyer

“Hawk is built very well and works perfect. The App is easy to operate. Marks shots on steel out to 935 yards at the range … would definitely recommend this item.” Brett D., Verified Buyer

This Video Shows the Features of the Hawk Spotting Scope Camera:

Longshot cameras Targetvision spotting scope camera digital electronic camers telescope table

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April 4th, 2020

Loading for the .45 ACP — VV N320 and Other Good Powders

VV N320 for .45 ACP

There’s an interesting thread in our Shooters Forum right now — all about good choices for a .45 ACP handgun. If you’re considering getting your first .45 ACP pistol, you should read that thread. If you already own one or more .45 ACP handguns, this article offers some good tips on handloading options.

Forum Thread: Which .45 ACP Handgun to Purchase — Members Offer Suggestions

VV N320 for .45 ACPGood Powder Choices for the .45 ACP
We know that many of our readers own .45 ACP handguns and load for this extremely accurate “classic” cartridge. When selecting a powder for the .45 ACP, there are many good options. All the major powder manufacturers make propellants with appropriate density and burn rate characteristics for the .45 ACP. Popular choices include: AA #5 (Accurate Powder); Bullseye (Alliant); Clays, HP-38, and Titegroup (Hodgdon); VV N310 and N320 (Vihtavuori); and WW 231 and WST (Winchester). We’ve tried all those powders in a variety of .45 ACP handguns. When we consider all the factors that make for a good pistol powder, we think N320 is one of the best available propellants for the .45 ACP.

Vihtavuori N320 is very accurate, it meters well, and it burns clean, with minimal smoke and flash. If you haven’t tried VV N320 yet, you should.

Pros and Cons of Different Powders for the .45 ACP
This Editor has personally tried out eight or more different powders for the .45 ACP. Bullseye works but it is very dirty (both smoke out the barrel and sooty powder fouling on case). Though it otherwise burns clean, Titegroup leaves a singular (and nasty) high-temp flame streak on your brass that is hard to remove. AA #5 is a good choice for progressive press newbies as you use more powder so a double charge will (usually) be obvious. I like AA #5 but N320 was more accurate. Clays burns clean but some powder measures struggle with flake powders like this. WW 231 offered excellent accuracy and metered well, but it kicked out sparks with little pieces of debris that would hit me in the face. Who wants that?

I personally tried all the powders listed above with lead, plated, and jacketed bullets. After testing for accuracy, consistency, and ease of metering, I selected VV N320 as the best overall performer.

Vihtavuori N320

  • No powder tested was more accurate (WW 231 was equally accurate).
  • Meters very well in all kinds of powder measures.
  • Produces very little smoke from muzzle.
  • Does not put nasty burn streak on brass like Tite-Group does.
  • Low Flash — you don’t get particles and sparks flying out like WW 231.
  • Cases come out from gun very clean — so you can tumble less often.

Forum member and gunsmith Michael Ezell agrees that N320 is a good choice for the .45 ACP. Mike has also found that WW 231, while accurate, produces sparks and a large flash. Mike writes: “I first started using N320 after my first night shoot, while shooting IDPA/IPSC matches. It was astonishing how much of a fireball the WW 231 created. I was literally blinded by the flash while trying to shoot a match. As you can imagine, that didn’t work out very well. I went from WW 231 to N320 and never looked back…and the flash from it was a fraction of what a kid’s sparkler would give off. I have nothing but good things to say about [N320] after using both. Night shoots are a real eye-opener! When it comes to a personal protection… there is, statistically, a very high chance that if you ever have to use a gun to protect yourself or your family, it’ll be in the darkness[.] Being blinded by muzzle flash (and deafened by the noise) are things that should be considered, IMO.”

This Editor owns a full-size, all-stainless S&W 1911. After trying numerous powders, I found VV N320 delivered the best combination of accuracy, easy metering, consistency, clean burning qualities, and low muzzle flash. My gun has proven exceptionally accurate using N320 with bullets from 180 grains to 230 grains — it will shoot as accurately as some expensive customs I’ve tried. At right is 5-round group I shot offhand at 10 yards with my 5″ S&W 1911.

NOTE: The bullet hole edges are sharp because I was using semi-wad-cutters, and the target paper is thick. Rounds were loaded with Vihtavuori N320 and 200-grain SWCs from Precision Bullets in Texas. We shoot Precision’s coated bullets in many of our pistols. These projectiles are accurate and they seem to reduce fouling in our pistol barrels. You can learn about them in this video:

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April 3rd, 2020

Gun Sales Soar — Record Number of FBI Background Checks

NICS FBI background check covid-19 coronavirus pandemic gun sales

The current Coronavirus Pandemic may be the most significant event to impact the United States since World War II. The majority of Americans are now “sheltering at home” under State Executive Orders. Across the nation, schools, shops, restaurants, and countless businesses are closed. The virus continues to spread at an exponential rate in the USA, which now has more confirmed Covid-19 cases than any other country on the planet. Yes, according to official statistics, we have more persons infected than does China, where this scourge originated. (However, there is considerable evidence that China may be deliberately under-reporting COVID-19 infections and deaths).

For obvious reasons, this Pandemic has Americans concerned about their safety and their security. As a result, citizens across the country are purchasing firearms. There are lines outside the doors of some gunshops. The rush to buy guns has led to a historic spike in NICS firearms background checks.

Record Number of FBI Background Checks for Gun Sales
According to MSN News, “With most of the nation in isolation to halt the spread of coronavirus, officials are seeing a spike in gun sales….the FBI has seen a 41% increase in background checks compared to this time last year.” According to the FBI, 3.7 million background check were run by the FBI in March.

Click Image to Go to MSN to Watch Video (then Click Speaker icon for audio).
FBI NICS background check

And Fox News confirms that we are seeing a huge spike in gun sales and background checks: “The FBI ran more than 3.7 million gun background checks on Americans under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in March, smashing the previous record as Americans armed themselves amid growing fears about the coronavirus pandemic. The NICS system ran 3,740,688 background checks in March, which is 33 percent higher than the previous record of more than 2.8 million, which was set in February. The February numbers were a 34 percent uptick from the same time in 2019. March’s background check numbers marked a 41 percent increase over March 2019.”

NICS FBI background check covid-19 coronavirus pandemic gun sales

READ Fox News Story HERE »

About the Numbers — There is NOT a 1:1 correspondence between NICS checks and gun purchases, because not all background checks involve an actual purchases. For example, some States run NICS checks for carry permit applications. It is estimated that at least 2.3 million March 2020 background checks were for firearms transactions.

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April 3rd, 2020

How to Watch Mirage and Trace with a Spotting Scope

Nikon MEP-30 Reticle Eyepiec
Nikon offers eyepieces with reticles for its flagship Monarch Fieldscopes. Eyepiece reticles help spotters call shot corrections with precise click values (MOA or Mils).

Spotting Scope Video mirage tipsUsing a spotting scope seems simple. Just point it at the target and focus, right? Well, actually, it’s not that simple. Sometimes you want to watch mirage or trace, and that involves different focus and viewing priorities. Along with resolving bullet holes (or seeing other features on the target itself), you can use your spotting scope to monitor mirage. When watching mirage, you actually want to focus the spotting scope not on the target, but, typically, about two-thirds of the distance downrange. When spotting for another shooter, you can also use the spotting scope to watch the bullet trace, i.e. the vapor trail of the bullet. This will help you determine where the bullet is actually landing, even if it does not impact on the target backer.

In this video, SFC L.D. Lewis explains how to use a spotting scope to monitor mirage, and to watch trace. SFC Lewis is a former Army Marksmanship Unit member, U.S. Army Sniper School instructor, and current U.S. Army Reserve Service Rifle Shooting Team member. In discussing how precision shooters can employ spotting scopes, Lewis compares the use of a spotting scope for competition shooters vs. military snipers. NOTE: You may wish to turn up the audio volume, during the actual interview segment of this video.

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March 31st, 2020

Get Hodgdon and IMR Loads from Reloading Data Center

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powderLooking for a good load for a new rifle? Or perhaps you want to try a new powder and bullet combo for an existing rig. One of the best places to start for load data is Hodgdon’s online Reloading Data Center for pistol, rifle, and shotgun reloaders. Check out the Reloading Data Center at www.HodgdonReloading.com.

In the Data Center, you’ll find thousands of load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Rifle shooters will find dozens of loads for their favorite Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders such as H4198, Varget, H4350, and IMR 8208 XBR. And Hodgdon’s Reloading Center is “mobile-friendly” so it works well with smartphones and tables. Navigation is easy, and you can set the search criteria easily choosing your favorite powder or bullets. After choosing a cartridge, you can pre-select specific bullet weights and powder types. That quickly delivers just the information you want and need. You won’t have to scroll through scores of entries for bullets or powders you don’t use.

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Mobile users will notice that the current Hodgdon Reloading Center is much more “user-friendly” for smart-phone and tablet users. Controls have been optimized for touch-screens, and buttons are large and easy to use. Likewise the results are displayed in a large, easy-to read format.

How to Get Started with Handloading

Getting started in Reloading? Ultimate Reloader offers a helpful introductory video that covers the basics. In addition, a recent Ultimate Reloader article reviews the types of reloading presses, plus the other gear you’ll need, from dies to powder dispensers.

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March 30th, 2020

New Four-Part Reloading Video Series from Tactical Life

tactical life reloading video series rcbs barnes

In Tactical Life’s new Reloading Zone Series, Frank Melloni, of Renaissance Firearms Instruction and the Hodgdon Reloading Roadshow, covers the basic steps of reloading. From equipment selection to reading a manual, Frank explains the process and demonstrates how to produce safe and accurate ammo. In the series, the host loads pistol and rifle ammunition using Hodgdon powder, Barnes Bullets, and Starline brass. RCBS Presses, Powder Measures, Scales, and Dies are used along with the impressive new dual-tube RCBS MatchMaster electronic scale/dispenser.

This 4-part video series first guides the new hand-loader through the gear/hardware selection process. Then the videos cover, step-by-step, all the key processes of reloading from start to finish. If you are new to hand-loading, or just want a reloading refresher course, we recommend you watch this 4-part series from Tactical Life, part of the Athlon Outdoors Network.

WARNING!! We have embedded the Videos below. You can watch ALL four videos, but each will play back at the TOP. NOTE: They are all the same for the first 30 seconds, so you may want to skip forward. These videos may play back better if you go to the Tactical Life Website. Access: CLICK HERE.

The complete book of reloading tactical life video seriesLearn More in Tactical Life’s The Complete Book of Reloading (2020 Edition)

This publication includes over 2000 handgun and rifle loads. In addition, The Complete Book of Reloading (2020) reviews 8 modern Progressive Presses. Take note — there is a special report on the LabRadar Chronograph. Long-range Hunters will enjoy a feature article on the new 6.5 PRC Cartridge. In the “Handloaders’ Stockpile” a variety of new products to make your hours at the bench more productive are reviewed. The issue also has feature stories on Wildcat Cartridges, Subsonic loads, and .44 Magnum loads for both rifle and pistol. There is a Bonus 33-Page Hodgdon and Alliant Load Data Guide.

CLICK HERE for more details.

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March 28th, 2020

RFiD Rapid-Access Gun Vault for Home Defense

AR gunlocker RAPID Safe gun vault instant access

With the USA in the throes of a pandemic, home security is more important than ever. A large, heavy conventional safe is still the best way to store your full firearms collection. However, when seconds count, a rapid-access system may be a smart option. Using RFiD technology, and a spring-loaded door, this kind of rapid-access vault lets you instantly get your hands on your primary defensive rifle or shotgun.

For home use, we like this RAPiD Safe AR Gunlocker from Hornady. The spring-loaded door opens instantly when activated by the owner’s personal RFID devices. The AR Gunlocker ($302.62 on Amazon) also has a keypad so you can enter a combination if your RFID “key” is not around. Or you can use the supplied manual barrel-style metal key. Watch the video to see how the system works:

The RAPiD Safe AR Gunlocker RFID safe secures long guns in a steel-walled vault that can be stored in a closet, under a bed, or even in your vehicle. This will hold an AR and a shotgun with foam inserts. There are several options for entry: 1) Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) tag system; 2) KeyPad; 3) Manual barrel-style metal key.

AR gunlocker RAPID Safe gun vault instant access

Provided Access Devices
For the AR Gunlocker, Hornady provides one RFID Wristband, one RFID Key Fob, and two RFID “stickers”. As a secondary entry method, you can program a four- to six-digit security code. Finally, you can use a manual lock if all power fails.

RAPiD Safe AR Gunlocker Specifications:
Exterior: 42″ Wide x 15.25″ Deep x 6.75″ High
Interior: 40.5″ Wide x 13.5″ Deep x 5.5″ High
Weight: 55 pounds
Power: 12-volt DC (with transformer from AC wall outlet) or four (4) AA batteries.

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March 27th, 2020

Introduction to Auto-Indexing Progressive Presses

USAMU Progressive Press auto  self-advancing

On Wednesdays, The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit regularly publishes reloading “how-to” articles on the USAMU Facebook page. One “Handloading Hump Day” article, part 5 of a 6-part series, relates to reloading on Progressive Presses. This article concerns proper procedures for Auto-Indexing Progressives, which advance the shell-plate with every pull of the handle. Auto Progressives are very efficient, but they also require special attention and focus, because so many things are happening at once. You need to train yourself to watch every station. If you run a progressive press now, or are considering getting a progressive, we recommend you read this article. Visit the USAMU Facebook page for other helpful handloading guidance.

Progressive Loading Presses — Self-Advancing Shellplate Type

USAMU Progressive Press auto  self-advancing
Photo courtesy UltimateReloader.com.

Recently, we addressed manually-operated progressive presses for the beginning handloader. This type press requires one to manually advance the shellplate after each handle stroke. An advantage for beginners is that nothing happens at any station until the loader wants it to. This helps users avoid problems from clearing malfunctions without noticing that the shellplate has advanced itself. (Read Previous USAMU Article on Manual Progressives.)

The next, more luxurious type progressive press advances the shellplate automatically whenever the handle is cycled. [Editor: This is also called an “Auto-Indexing” Progressive Press.] Typically, each stroke automatically sizes and primes a case, operates the powder measure (if used) and seats a bullet. Some also have case feeders that automatically put a new case in the shellplate with every cycle. Others require the loader to insert a case each cycle. With both types, the loader usually puts a bullet on each sized/primed/charged case.

[CAVEAT: While our Handloading Shop has several progressive presses, ALL of our powder charges are thrown/weighed by hand. We do not use powder measures on our presses. Our progressives are used for brass preparation, priming, seating, etc., but not for fully-progressive loading.]

The manually-advanced press can be a boon to beginners, but as one gains experience it can be a mixed blessing, depending on one’s style. If one pays close attention to every operation and loads without distractions, the manual press is very reliable and allows full scrutiny of each round as it is loaded. However, if one easily drifts into day-dreaming, or isn’t focused on paying careful attention at all times, the manual progressive can be a bit of a liability. The opportunity for forgetting a powder charge, leading to a squib load, is ever-present. [Editor: A lock-out die can help reduce the risk of a squib load, or a double-charge. See below.]

The automatically-advancing progressives help prevent this by ensuring a powder charge will be dropped each time the handle is operated. Experienced handloaders often appreciate this feature due to the savings of time and effort. Individual preferences between the two press styles are influenced by several factors. These include one’s comfort with more- vs. less-complicated mechanisms, how often one changes calibers (case feeders often must be converted, in addition to dies and shellplates), how many rounds one loads annually, relative ease of changing primer mechanisms from small to large, etc. Automatic progressives and their caliber conversion kits tend to be significantly more expensive than manual progressives and caliber conversions from the same maker.

One USAMU handloader, who likes simple, bullet-proof machines and maximum efficiency when converting presses, owns two manually-advanced progressives. One is set up for large primers, and the other for small primers. He can change calibers in the twinkling of an eye. As he loads for many different calibers, this fits his style. Another handloader here is just the opposite. He loads for a few calibers, but in larger quantities. He much prefers his self-advancing press with case-feeder for its speed. He makes large lots of ammo in a given caliber before switching, to improve overall efficiency. His caliber conversion kits are more expensive than those for the manually-advanced progressive, but he uses fewer of them.

Whichever type one chooses, it is VERY important to buy quality gear from a manufacturer with a long, well-established track record for quality, durability and good customer support. Avoid jumping on the “latest, greatest” model until it has a proven track record. For example, this writer knows a loader who got a brand-new, expensive, self-advancing model press some years back, shortly after its introduction. As is too often the case these days, the manufacturer released it before all the “bugs” were worked out.

Better Safe Than Sorry — the RCBS Lock-Out Die
RCBS Makes a “Lock-Out Die” that senses the powder charge. This will halt the Progressive press if you have a double charge, or an undercharge. Your Editor has the Lock-Out Die on his RCBS Pro 2000. It has “saved his bacon” a half-dozen times over the years. It can be used on Dillon and Hornady progressives as well as RCBS machines.

It would not fully seat primers to the correct depth. No amount of adjustment, extra force, or fiddling would do better than to seat primers barely flush with the case head. Any inattention could result in a slightly “high” primer, protruding above the case head. It created a risk for slam-fires, particularly in semi-autos without spring-retracted firing pins, such as the M1 or M1A. In desperation, he had a machinist buddy study the problem and machine a new part to correct it. No dice. Its engineering didn’t permit full primer seating, even with extended parts. He now wishes he’d heeded his shooting buddies’ advice to stick with the “tried and true,” reliable performer they all used.

Whichever press one selects, see if the maker has a kit or list of commonly-replaced parts. Having needed springs, pins, etc. on hand in the rare event that one breaks or “goes missing” can save the day when one is busy loading for a match! Another tip for improving one’s overall loading efficiency (rounds loaded with minimal set-up/tear-down time) is to plan one’s handloading by primer size. For example, if your machine is set to use small primers, load all the calibers that you intend to that take small primers, before converting the press to load large-primer calibers.

In our next chapter, we’ll discuss peculiarities of progressive loading for rifle cartridges, with remedies for problems such as excessive cartridge-case headspace variation when sizing, tips for ensuring best powder charge consistency, and so on. Until then, be safe, and good shooting!

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March 27th, 2020

How to Assemble Your Own AR-15 from Components

AR-MPR-Build-2-AR-15-Tools
Here are the main tools you’ll need to assemble an AR-platform rifle

In these challenging times, many Americans are buying an AR-type rifle, or starting an AR project — assembling the rifle from available uppers, lowers, and parts kits.
Planning to put together an AR-platform rifle? Or are you looking to upgrade your AR with a new barrel, stock, or trigger group? Then you should check out the AR-15 Rifle Build DVD from our friends at UltimateReloader.com. This DVD covers all the details of a custom build, using high-resolution video sequences, and helpful supporting graphics.

AR-15 DVD ultimatereloder.com

In this DVD, Gavin Gear guides you through the entire process including selecting components, acquiring and using the necessary tools, assembly steps and details for each component, and even mounting a scope. Building an AR-15 can be overwhelming, but with the right guidance and help it’s not difficult and can be very rewarding. With this DVD you’ll be able to build your AR-15 with confidence.

Upper: Barrel / Gas Block / Gas Tube
AR-MPR-Build-4-Barrel-and-Gas-Tube-2

Upper: Handguard Installation
AR-MPR-Build-5-Handguard

UltimateReloader.com’s AR-15 Build DVD is available just $9.90 (plus $3.80 shipping/handling). This DVD can pay for itself many times over by showing you how to do your own gunsmithing (and get quality AR components at attractive prices).

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March 22nd, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Desert Tech SRS-A1 7mm RSAUM Bullpup

Coldboremiracle SRA Desert Tech LLC Bullpup 7mm .284 SAUM RSAUM Remington short action ultra magnum
Here is the view from 9500 feet ASL. The SRS in 7mm Rem SAUM almost outran the Swarovski laser…

7mm RSAUM in a bolt-action bullpup? Yes it works. A talented shooter, who calls himself “ColdboreMiracle” in social media, has a Desert Tech SRS-A1 rifle chambered for the 7mm RSAUM, and it hammers. The 7mm Remington SAUM (Short Action Ultra Magnum) is popular with F-Open competition shooters. It can also work well for long-range hunting and tactical tasks. Learn more about the 7mm Remington SAUM in our 7mm Cartridge Guide.

Coldboremiracle SRA Desert Tech LLC Bullpup 7mm .284 SAUM RSAUM Remington short action ultra magnum

ColdboreMiracle owns the SRS-A1 “covert” model, which has a shorter handguard than the standard SRS-A1 model shown below. Desert Tech now offers an SRS-A2 model which has an M-LOK handguard and some refinements to the chassis.

Coldboremiracle SRA Desert Tech LLC Bullpup 7mm .284 SAUM RSAUM Remington short action ultra magnum

Here is a detailed video review of a Desert Tech SRS chambered in .308 Win. You can see a close-up of a 100-yard 5-shot group at time-mark 6:25:

Here is a review of the newer SRS-A2 Covert (shorter model), after 1000 rounds. The reviewer believe the SRS bullpup’s shorter length offers some advantages for precision shooters:

ColdboreMiracle says the bullpup design has many advantages: “The Stealth Recon Scout (SRS) rifle from Desert Tech is a bullpup-configured precision rifle with a shorter length than many carbines. The SRS has a multitude of barrel options that can be swapped in under a minute — all of them come with a 1/2-MOA accuracy guarantee and return to zero. The SRS’s bullpup design puts the rifle’s COG closer to the shoulder, making the rifle balance better off-hand. The straight-line geometry of the SRS makes recoil seem lighter, and barrel hop is reduced, allowing the shooter to stay on target better. It takes a little getting used to, when converting from a traditionally-configured bolt gun. But once you do, you won’t go back.” To learn more about this rifle (and other Desert Tech arms), visit ColdboreMiracle’s Facebook Page and YouTube Channel.

The 7mm RSAUM — Why It Was Chosen for this SRS

ColdboreMiracle explains how he selected the 7mm Rem SAUM chambering for his Desert Tech SRS Bullpup: “I just did a comparison between barrel life, velocity, brass, etc. and came to the SAUM. I can tell you this, if you go with one for your SRS, make sure you use long bullets like the 183 or 195, and seat them long. That will aid in smooth cycling.”

Mr. ColdboreMiracle tested the new generation 183gr Sierra MatchKings (item # 1983). These impressive projectiles are “tipped” at the factory. Claimed G1 BC is a lofty 0.707 (at 2300 fps and above). We have heard other reports that these bullets “hold waterline” exceptionally well at 1000 yards. That indicates the bullet-to-bullet BC is very consistent. No doubt the factory uniforming/pointing of the bullet tips helps in that regard.

As you can see, these 183-grainers shoot well in ColdboreMiracle’s SRS rifle. Here are five shots at 100 yards. That’s very impressive for a tactical-style rifle shot from a field-type bipod.

Coldboremiracle SRA Desert Tech LLC Bullpup 7mm .284 SAUM RSAUM Remington short action ultra magnum

ColdboreMiracle says: “This is the only reason I need to shoot Sierra bullets. On the right (above) you can see the results of the 183gr SMK from my 7mm SAUM. Five shots at 100. A huge thanks to Mark at Short Action Customs, LLC for [chambering this barrel] for my Desert Tech SRS.”

Coldboremiracle SRA Desert Tech LLC Bullpup 7mm .284 SAUM RSAUM Remington short action ultra magnum

7mm Remington SAUM — Key Considerations

7mm RSAUM short action ultra magnum mag remingtoIn some respects, the 7mm SAUM cartridge may be better than the 7mm WSM. The 7mm SAUM holds less powder — but that’s a good thing, since the capacity is more than adequate to do the job. You can drive the 180s at 3000 fps with a SAUM using less powder than with a WSM. Additionally, the SAUM case has a slightly longer neck. This gives you greater flexibility in bullet seating. With a long neck you can set the throat so the long 180+ graing bullets are above the neck shoulder junction, yet you can still seat shorter hunting bullets close to the lands. Additionally, long case necks, some believe, cause less throat erosion than shorter necks. That’s not “hard science” but it is certainly a view shared by many experienced shooters. The long neck is one reason many varminters favor the 6mm Remington over the .243 Winchester.

7mm RSAUM Is More Efficient than 7mm WSM
7mm RSAUM shooter Steven Ikeeda tells us: “I decided that some type of 7mm was the ticket for doing well at 1000-yard matches, especially if one could drive the high-BC bullets at 2900+ fps. Looking over various 7mm cartridges that could produce those velocities (and didn’t require case-forming), I was impressed by the 7mm SAUM and the 7mm WSM. According to the load manuals, the 7mm WSM offered a bit more velocity than the 7mm SAUM. However, to achieve its small velocity advantage, the larger 7mm WSM had to burn 7-10% more powder than the 7mm SAUM. (The 7mm WSM has 81.0 grains of capacity vs. 73.6 grains for the 7mm SAUM.) The SAUM is a very efficient case. It looks like a 6.5×47 Lapua on steroids.”

Coldboremiracle SRA Desert Tech LLC Bullpup 7mm .284 SAUM RSAUM Remington short action ultra magnum

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March 21st, 2020

With Kids Out of School, Keep Guns Locked and Stored Safely

NSSF gun storage safe safety locks NSSF

In many states, schools have been closed and citizens have been ordered to stay at home for days or weeks, as a response to the Coronavirus health issue. With more gun owners at home with their kids for extended periods, firearms safety is more important than ever. Given that fact, the NSSF reminds gun owners to keep their guns locked up so they cannot be accessed by children.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and its partners urge gun owners to keep firearm safety a top priority and are making safety resources widely available as gun and ammunition sales increase, especially among first-time firearm purchasers.

NSSF gun storage safe safety locks NSSF

“During this stressful time and with children spending more time at home, the firearm industry reminds gun owners that protecting yourself and your family includes making sure your firearms are stored securely when not in use”, said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO. “The last thing any firearm owner wants is to have their gun fall into the wrong hands, particularly those of a child or someone at risk of harming themselves.”

For anyone considering buying a gun, Project ChildSafe’s Road To Responsible Firearm OwnershipMany Paths to Firearm Safety video series helps gun owners determine the best safe storage device for their home/lifestyle. You also view the Safe Storage Options chart.

NSSF gun storage safe safety locks NSSF

NSSF encourages gun owners and non-gun owners to use the firearm safety resources available on its Project ChildSafe website. These include the McGruff Gun Safety videos for young children and this educational video explaining how to discuss gun safety with children:

“More parents are assuming the role of educators in their homes, so it’s a good to time have a talk with your kids about gun safety, even if you don’t own a gun”, Bartozzi said. “If you do own a firearm, be sure your family understands the safety rules regarding firearms in your home, and always store guns responsibly when not in use.”

For more information on firearm safety, visit ProjectChildSafe.org.

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March 20th, 2020

Savage Offers Expert Advice with Articles and Videos

Savage Arms Expert Advice website tech tips

Savage Arms has completed a major overhaul of the Savage website. Now the SavageArms.com site is more mobile-friendly and easier to navigate. Savage has expanded information on its rifle products, and also updated the Expert Advice area. This section of the website offers informative technical articles/videos, as well as numerous helpful tips for hunters.

You’ll find 30 informative topics in the Expert Advice section of the updated Savage Arms website. Below are FIVE of our favorites. Click each item to view the full text and linked VIDEOS. Even if you don’t own a Savage, these features are useful. And all new shooters should definitely check out the Advanced Optics selection. This features a good video covering mirage and light refraction.

1. Advanced Optics — Stan Pate

Savage Arms Expert Advice website tech tips

Light refraction can wreak havoc on your ability to connect with a target at extreme long range. Stan Pate offers some good advice concerning mirage and refraction.

2. Gun Motion Management — Patrick Kelley

Savage Arms Expert Advice website tech tips

3. How to Mount a Scope

Savage Arms Expert Advice website tech tips

4. How to Sight In a Rifle

Savage Arms Expert Advice website tech tips

5. How to Adjust the Savage Accutrigger

Savage Arms Expert Advice website tech tips

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March 15th, 2020

Review Shooting Fundamentals with Ryan Cleckner Video

Still Tac30 action tactical rifle Ryan Cleckner book
Photo by Forum member GAT. Chambered in 6-6.5×47 Lapua, this rifle features a Stiller TAC30 action, Krieger barrel, Harrells brake, Konohawk Stock, and Sightron SIII 6-24x50mm scope.

Ryan Cleckner has created many good shooting videos for the NSSF, such as his excellent Understanding MOA Video. Ryan is noted for his ability to explain complex topics in an easy-to-comprehend manner. This video, covering the fundamentals of shooting, has been viewed over 1.6 million times. It’s worth watching, particularly for guys getting started in PRS/practical competitions.

In this video, Ryan Cleckner reviews proper technique for rifle shooters. A stable platform, sight alignment, sight picture, and trigger control are key fundamentals to shooting properly. This is basic stuff, but Cleckner presents it in a clear, logical fashion. This is a good video for novice shooters.

Tip on Viewing Your Reticle:
Cleckner: “Sometimes it can be difficult to focus between the target and the reticle, even with the parallax adjusted properly. I recommend you focus only on the reticle. Just like the front sight on a rifle or a handgun, that reticle is what you can control, and it’s what matters. Focus on a crisp, clear reticle, in a stable platform, and all that’s left is trigger control.”

Tip on Trigger Control:
Cleckner: “Trigger control is pretty straightforward, as long as you think about it as a continuous process, and not just one thing that happens. I like to think about it as drawing a line in the dirt. I like to think about this constant pressure that I’m adding as I draw this line straight back, and then… continuing to draw that line even as the rifle goes off. That’s the good follow-through you’ll need.”

Long Range Shooting Handbook — A Good Resource
Cleckner has authored a book, the Long Range Shooting Handbook, which expands on the topics covered in the above video. You can view Sample Chapters from Ryan’s Book on Amazon.com.

Ryan Cleckner’s new book is designed as an intro to important fundamental 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.

As a long-range shooting expert, Ryan Cleckner has impressive credentials. Cleckner was a special operations sniper (1/75 RGR) with multiple combat deployments, and he has served a U.S. Army sniper instructor. Currently he works as a firearms industry executive and attorney.

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March 11th, 2020

Cheap Tricks — Make Your Own Case Lube with Lanolin

DIY yourself lanolin case lube lubricant One Shot Ultimate Reloader Gavin Gear 6.5 Guys

Tired of spending $15-$25 for a can of spray lube that doesn’t last that long? For about the same price as a single 10 oz. can you can make your own effective spray lube that should last for multiple seasons and lube thousands of cases quickly and easily.

In the YouTube video embedded below, our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com shows how to make your own case lube using simple, inexpensive ingredients. As recommended by the 6.5 Guys, this Liquid Lanolin + Isopropyl Alchohol mix works well and is very cost-effective. You can make a pint of this home-brew Lanolin case lube that will lube thousands of cases — many more than a typical commercial aerosol spray can (that’s mostly compressed air).

Complete Case Lube Instructions on UltimateReloader.com »

Gavin tells us: “Per the 65guys instructions, I ordered the same components and spray bottles, and these worked out great”:

1. Swan Isopropyl Alcohol, 99%, Pint, 16 Ounce (2-pack)
2. Home Health Liquid Lanolin, 4 Ounce
3. Chemical Guys ACC_121.16HD-3PK Chem. Resistant Heavy Duty Bottle/Sprayer (16 oz.)

Gavin describes the exact mixing process on his Ultimate Reloader website. Gavin says this lube mix is a good complement to the Hornady One-Shot (pistol) and Dillon DCL (rifle) lubes he has used for pistol and rifle reloading sessions. CLICK HERE to read more.

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March 10th, 2020

How to Avoid Misfires with .22 LR Rimfire Ammunition

rimfire Ammo 22 plinkster cheaper than dirt

“22 Plinkster” is an avid shooter who has produced a number of entertaining videos for his YouTube Channel. In the video below, he tackles the question “Why Do Misfires Occur in .22 LR Rimfire Ammunition?” This is the most common question posed to 22 Plinkster by his many viewers. He identifies four main issues that can cause .22 LR misfires or faulty ignition:

1. Damaged Firing Pin — The dry firing process can actually blunt or shorten the firing pin, particularly with older rimfire firearms. Use of snap caps is recommended.
2. Poor Ammunition — Some cheap brands have poor quality control. 22 Plinkster recommends using ammo from a manufacturer with high quality control standards, such as CCI and Federal.
3. Age of Ammunition — Rimfire ammo can function well for a decade or more. However the “shelf life” of rimfire ammunition is not infinite. You ammo’s “lifespan” will be shortened by heat, moisture, and humidity. You should store your rimfire ammo in a cool, dry place.
4. Mishandling of Ammunition — Tossing around ammunition can cause problems. Rough handling can cause the priming compound to be dislodged from the rim. This causes misfires.

rimfire Ammo 22 plinkster cheaper than dirt

Image courtesy Cheaper Than Dirt Shooters Log.
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March 6th, 2020

David Tubb’s Career Featured in “America’s Rifleman” Video

David Tubb

If you have ever competed in NRA High Power, Silhouette, or Long Range disciplines, you know the name David Tubb. Arguably the greatest rifle marksman in American history, David has recorded 11 High Power Rifle Championships, 6 Long Range National Championships, and 7 High Power Silhouette National Championships. Over his career David has won 130 NRA trophies for various competitions. No one has even come close to that number of Championships and honors in rifle competition.

NOTE: You can also view this David Tubb Video on YouTube.com.

David Tubb LR highi powerDavid Tubb Biography Video
Click the video above to view a great new documentary which covers David Tubb’s career in competitive shooting. Called America’s Rifleman, this fine documentary by filmmaker Sheldon Charron takes you inside the life and mind of legendary shooting champion David Tubb.

Learn how David evolved into the most successful rifleman in the history of competitive shooting, the challenges he faced, and how he overcame them on his road to success, both at the range and in his business, Superior Shooting Systems.

David Tubb Competition Shooting Accomplishments:

11 Time – NRA National High Power Rifle Champion – Camp Perry
6 Time – NRA Long Range Rifle (600-1000 yard) National Champion
7 Time (Consecutive) – NRA National High Power Rifle Silhouette Champion
6 Time – NRA National High Power Hunting Rifle Silhouette Champion
4 Time – NRA National Smallbore Hunting Rifle Silhouette
7 Sportsmen’s Team Challenge Championships
2 Time – Wimbledon Cup Winner
2019 ELR World Record Holder recognized by 50 Cal. Shooters Association
2019 NRA ELR Heavy Gun Winner
Over 130 NRA Championship Event Trophies (Individual Match Winner)

David Tubb

David Tubb
David Tubb with the ELR Adaptive Target Rifle (ATR) he designed which has set ELR records. You can see David shoot this rig in the video below:

“America’s Rifleman” Movie Credits:
Production Company: Enter360 Media
Producer/Director/Editor: Sheldon Charron
Production Assistant: Christie Tubb

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March 5th, 2020

Shooting USA — 2020 SHOT Show New Products Edition

Shooting USA SHOT Show 2019 AccurateShooter

SHOT Show 2020 Special Episode
This week, Shooting USA features a full hour of SHOT Show coverage. If you watch just one episode of Shooting USA this year, it should be the SHOT Show 2020 Special which runs today, March 5th at 3:00 pm ET on the Outdoor Channel. Jim Scoutten’s team works hard every January, bringing you highlights from the gun industry’s largest trade show. Jim, son John Scoutten, and other staffers prowled the 12 miles of aisles in the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, visiting many of the 1,600+ exhibitors. This episode provides a “first look” at the new guns, optics, and gear introduced for 2020. Click HERE to learn more about this week’s 2020 SHOT Show episode.

2020 SHOT Show Highlights: Colt Python, Hornady A-Tip bullets, Volquartsen Summit .17 WSM, Ruger-57 Pistol, Pinnacle Precision Rifle, HK SP5, Impact Sport Muffs, Laugo Arms Alien Pistol, Vortex 1-10X Scope, Glock 44 Pistol, and much more.

Shooting USA SHOT Show 2019 AccurateShooter

Shooting USA’s SHOT Show 2020 will air today, Thursday, March 5 at 3:00 pm ET on the Outdoor Channel. Look for Shooting USA on the Outdoor Channel. In addition, you can watch all episodes of Shooting USA on the VIMEO channel by subscription. The SHOT Show 2020 edition is jsut $0.99.

Here are some of the 50+ new products featured on the SHOT Show Special.
Click Images for detailed product information.

Colt Python
Shooting USA SHOT Show 2020 AccurateShooter
Hornady A-Tip Bullets
Shooting USA SHOT Show 2020 AccurateShooter
Ruger-57 Pistol
Shooting USA SHOT Show 2020 AccurateShooter
Howard Leight Impact Sport Muffs
Shooting USA SHOT Show 2020 AccurateShooter
Volquartsen Summit .17 WSM
Shooting USA SHOT Show 2020 AccurateShooter
Laugo Arms Alien Pistol
Shooting USA SHOT Show 2020 AccurateShooter
Glock 44 .22LR
 SHOT Show 2020 shooting usa
Vortex 1-10×24 FFP
Vortex Scope shot show 2020
H&K SP5 Semi-Auto
Savage MSR SHOT Show 2020 shooting usa
LaserLyte Training System
SHOT Show 2020 shooting usa
GA Precision Pinnacle Precision Rifle
GA Precision Pinnacle Precision Rifle SHOT Show 2020 shooting usa
Hornady Rapid Safe Ready Vault
 SHOT Show 2020 shooting usa
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March 5th, 2020

Mental Marksmanship — Visualize Success for Better Scores

shooting bipod Anette Wachter
In this video, Anette Wachter (the 30CalGal) offers tips for shooting from bipod.

Anette Wachter Mental Game VisualizationOur friend Anette Wachter, aka “30CalGal”, stars in a smart video from NRAWomen.TV. In this episode of Tips & Tactics, Anette talks about the “mental game” in competition. Specifically she explains how to “visualize success”:

I have found that a lot of my success in competition has come through what I call a ‘mental rehearsal’. I actually visualize every stage of the match and I visualize the success of the match and winning the match.

I actually visualize that round going downrange into the target, and the target coming up with a dead-center ‘X’. I visualize this over and over. If you visualize success you will achieve success.

Visualization is a process of mental preparation that is done before you get to the range. Many of the greatest shooting champions have used this technique to get ready for big matches, and to optimize their performance during record fire. If you want to enhance your “mental game” through pre-match visualization, we strongly recommend Lanny Bassham’s book, With Winning in Mind.

As a competitive smallbore 3P shooter, Bassham developed a mental management system. Using this system, Lanny Bassham won 22 world individual and team titles, set four world records, and captured an Olympic Gold Medal in Montreal in 1976. His techniques have been embraced by professional and Olympic athletes in many sports. With Winning in Mind covers a complete system of “mental management” techniques used by Olympians and elite champions.


About 30CalGal
Life is short. Go Shoot! — Anette Wachter
Along with being a talented competitive shooter, Anette has her own Gun Blog, 30CalGal.com, and she writes for several gun publications including GunUp Magazine, Shooting Sports USA, Sure Shots Magazine, and Wide Open Spaces. She also designs and crafts custom jewelry items, sold through her AW Collections webstore.

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