September 22nd, 2018

Best Ever — 1000-Yard Records Set at 2018 F-Class Nationals

F-class record raton new mexico f-class nationals Ray Gross Erik Cortina

200-22X New F-Open 1000-Yard National Record

200-22X — That’s a stunning score, at any distance, but to do that at 1000 yards, at the most important match of the year, in a notoriously tricky venue, is a remarkable achievement. This 200-22X, a pending new F-Class Open Division National Record, was shot by Norm Harrold of Team McMillan at the 2018 F-Class Nationals, running this week at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Norm’s brilliant 200-22X beat the existing F-Open record by five Xs.

Gun and Load: Norm’s F-Open rig features a McMillan stock and Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane. Norm loaded Berger 184gr 7mm bullets in Lapua brass. Erik Cortina joked — “the minute this video goes live, the 184s will be hard to find”. Norm says “Stock up guys — they shoot good!”

Keep Shooting — Don’t Stop!
How can you have more than twenty Xs in a 20-shot string? Here’s how it works — when you shoot all Xs for the entire string of fire, you are allowed to keep shooting. After his 20th shot, Norm recalled, “I said ‘I’m done, give me my target’, but … my shooting partner said ‘No! Keep shooting!'” So Norm did, drilling two more Xs to set the new National Record.

A 200-17X was shot (twice) by David Gosnell in 2015 to set the previous F-0pen 1000-yard record, which was later tied in 2017, first by Keith Glasscock, and then by Pat Scully. But right now Norm Harrold’s 200-22X is the best ever. To beat the previous record by five Xs, and to do that at Raton, during the Nationals, is a great achievement. And to top it off, this new record was shot in the rain!

200-16X New F-TR 1000-Yard National Record

Ray Gross and Mike Plunkett Both Shoot 200-16X to Share New Record
In the F-TR class, two men, Ray Gross (Team McMillan) and Mike Plunkett, both set a new pending 1000-yard record with a 200-16X score. That’s a perfect 10 points for all twenty (20) shots, with 16 of them in the smaller X-Ring. This F-TR division is limited to two cartridge types, .223 Remington (5.56×45) and .308 Win (7.62×51), and F-TR rifles must be shot with a bipod (no front rest). F-TR Weight limit, including bipod, is 8.25 kgs (approximately 18.18 pounds).

Ray, along with the vast majority of other F-TR competitors, was shooting a .308 Win. His load included Berger 220X bullets, in Lapua brass, with Vihtavuori N140 powder and CCI 450 bullet. Ray’s rifle features a 28″ Bartlein Heavy Palma barrel, mated to a Kelbly Panda action in McMillan stock. Up front was a Phoenix bipod with lowering bracket. The scope was a Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm.

Ray Gross Scorecard — 200-16X is mighty impressive, given Raton’s notorious conditions.
Ray Gross F-TR National Record F-Class Nationals Raton NM Team McMillan

The previous F-TR 1000-yard record was 200-14X shot by Derek Rodgers of Team McMillan. That record by Derek was also recorded at Raton, back in September, 2016.

CLICK HERE for current NRA F-Class and Long Range Records »

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September 20th, 2018

Power User Tips for Ultrasonic Cleaning Machines

Ultrasonic Cleaning RCBS Ultrasound .308 Winchester 7.62x51 brass casings

Tumblers and walnut/corncob media are old school. These days many shooters prefer processing brass rapidly with an ultrasonic cleaning machine. When used with the proper solution, a good ultrasonic cleaning machine can quickly remove remove dust, carbon, oil, and powder residue from your cartridge brass. The ultrasonic process will clean the inside of the cases, and even the primer pockets. Tumbling works well too, but for really dirty brass, ultrasonic cleaning may be a wise choice.

READ FULL UltimateReloader.com Article on Ultrasonic Case Cleaning.

Our friend Gavin Gear recently put an RCBS Ultrasonic cleaning machine through its paces using RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution (RCBS #87058). To provide a real challenge, Gavin used some very dull and greasy milsurp brass: “I bought a huge lot of military once-fired 7.52x51mm brass (fired in a machine gun) that I’ve been slowly prepping for my DPMS LR-308B AR-10 style rifle. Some of this brass was fully prepped (sized/de-primed, trimmed, case mouths chamfered, primer pockets reamed) but it was gunked up with lube and looking dingy.”

UltimateReloader.com Case Cleaning Video (7.5 minutes):

Gavin describes the cleaning exercise step-by-step on UltimateReloader.com. Read Gavin’s Cartridge Cleaning Article to learn how he mixed the solution, activated the heater, and cycled the machine for 30 minutes. As you can see in the video above, the results were impressive. If you have never cleaned brass with ultrasound before, you should definitely watch Gavin’s 7.5-minute video — it provides many useful tips and shows the cleaning operation in progress from start to finish.


The RCBS ultrasonic cleaning machine features a large 3-liter capacity, 60 watt transducer, and 100 watt ceramic heater. The RCBS ultrasonic machine can be found under $145.00, and this unit qualifies for RCBS Rebates ($10 off $49.99+ purchase or $100 off combined $299.99+ purchase). RCBS also sells 32 oz. bottles of cleaning concentrate that will make up to 10 gallons of Ultrasonic Solution.

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September 19th, 2018

Modern-Day Annie Oakley — Kirsten Joy Weiss

Kirsten Weiss trick shot Annie Oakley NRA All access

Our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss is featured in an episode of NRA All Access. The show covers Kirsten’s development as a competitive shooter, and her success as a trick-shot artist with her own popular YouTube channel. Here’s the All Access segment featuring many of Kirsten’s most famous trick shots.

During the video Kirsten also talks about her background in shooting and how she wants to be a good ambassador for the shooting sports, “spreading the positive reality of shooting”. Kirsten explains: “The fun challenge and joy of shooting is important to me because I really wanted to be a positive example. So when the media says the ‘guns are a bad thing and nobody does anything good with guns’, they can say ‘Well, what about her [Kirsten]’?”

Kirsten: “I think that it’s important for young girls to have somebody that they can look up to… I feel responsibility to show young shooters coming up, especially females, that you can respect yourself and shoot a gun as well.”

Kirsten Joy WeissA gifted “natural” shooter, Kirsten started shooting fairly late — at age 16. Despite her relatively late start, she learned very quickly, and managed to earn a place on the University of Nebraska shooting team. That literally opened up a new world for Kirsten: “During the course of my career, I’ve had a lot of success. I’ve gone to World Cups… in Zagreb, Croatia, in Munich, Germany. I’ve won National Championships, and got on to the U.S. Olympic short list, so it’s been a good career.”

Kirsten tells us: “A lot of people don’t think of shooting as a sport, but it absolutely is, and I would even go so far as to say that it is an art form.” We don’t know if this is art, sport, or magic, but very few shooters have the skill or flexibility to make this upside-down shot…

Kirsten Weiss trick shot Annie Oakley NRA All access

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September 18th, 2018

‘Quit Neck Sizing’ — Cortina Explains Full-Length Sizing is Better

Full-Length Sizing Erik Cortina Neck Sizing Video

Our friend Erik Cortina is at Raton, NM this week at the F-Class Nationals. When he’s not shooting (or working) Erik produces YouTube videos. One of his most popular videos explained why you should full-length size cartridge brass. In no uncertain terms Erik says: “Quit Neck Sizing!!!” Watch the Video:

Why It’s Smart to Full-Length Size Your Brass

Commentary by Erik Cortina

Should You Full-Length Size Your Cartridge Brass?

Absolutely. Let Me Explain Why…

I have seen it time and time again, shooters on the line wrestling with their rifle trying to get the bolt closed while the wind is switching. They were too focused trying to get their bolt to close and getting their rifle settled back on the bags that they missed the wind switch. Bang… Eight! The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was at the 2017 Canadian Nationals. I was paired up with a young girl and she would try really hard to close the bolt on her rifle. The majority of the time she would get it to close, but often times she could not even get the round to chamber. She was focused on her rifle the entire time rather than on the conditions. When we completed our strings, she had five rounds that did not chamber our of 15! That is way too many!. I told her she needed to think about Full-length sizing with 0.002″ shoulder bump, or Controlled Full-length Sizing like I call it. I told her not to worry about losing accuracy. I told her that I full-length size all my rounds and asked if she noticed how smooth my bolt was and noticed my score. She said yes, they were both great!

Full-Length Sizing Erik Cortina Neck Sizing Video

Controlled Full-length Sizing Does NOT Harm Accuracy
I have found that Controlled Full-length Sizing does NOT hurt accuracy or shorten brass life. I find that I can focus much more on the conditions when I don’t have to think about chambering a round nor extracting it. It has become second nature. After firing, I keep my head welded to the stock, I open the bolt by placing my thumb on top of stock and rotating hand upwards. I reach in and retrieve spent case, place it back in ammo box, and pick up another loaded round and put in chamber. I verify conditions and when ready, I push the bolt in and close it with my index and middle finger.

With Controlled Full-length Sizing you “bump” the shoulder around .002″ for bolt guns.*
full length sizing
Image courtesy Sinclair International which carries a variety of Full-length dies.

Whidden Gunworks DiesWhidden Full-Length Sizing Dies
by AccurateShooter.com Editor
For proper Full-length sizing, you want a quality die that’s a very good match to your chamber. For our project rifles we usually turn to Whidden Gunworks which offers both bushing and non-bushing FL dies. And if you want the hot new option, check out Whidden’s patent-pending, click-adjustable FL-sizing die. This gives instant, precise control over shoulder bump. It works great.

*With gas guns, such as the AR10, you may want to increase shoulder bump to .003″ or more. With some benchrest cartridges, .0015″ bump may prove optimal. But .002″ is a good starting point.

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September 17th, 2018

Kristy Titus Explains How to Prepare for a Hunt

Kristy Titus NRA Women Hunting guide

As part of the NRA’s Tips & Tactics video series, Kristy Titus explains how to prepare for a hunt. Titus, co-host of the Team Elk TV show, is a certified instructor has hunted around the globe. She grew up in the outdoors, running pack mules in Oregon with her father. In this video, Kristy discusses fitness training and demonstrates field positions that can be employed during a hunt.

Kristy explains: “Hunting can lead you into some steep, rough country. It’s really important that you train both your body and your mind to handle the elements and the rigors of hunting. With no two hunting situations being the same, we must train to be adaptable and make the most of every opportunity. The most important aspect of hunting success, ultimately, is the person behind the rifle. So, if you plan on going on a mountain hunt, get out and train your body. Train with your firearm. Get off the bench and have some fun with this. Do some positional shooting or, if you want to add a stress dynamic… have someone put you under a time parameter.”

Other NRAwomen.TV videos featuring Kristy Titus include: Rifle Fit (LOP, Cheek height, Eye Relief, Grip); Sight Picture, Natural Point of Aim, and Positional Shooting.

Kristy Titus NRA Women Hunting guide

“When it comes to bolt-action rifle fit, there is no ‘one size fits all’,” says Titus. “When picking out your rifle [consider options] after the purchase to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.”

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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September 15th, 2018

Physical Fitness and Mental Preparation for Competitive Shooting

Physical fitness Vera Koo physical training pistol shooting Bianchi cup

Shoot Better by Maintaining Physical Fitness
Even at age 68, Vera Koo was one of the top female shooters in the action pistol game. An 8-time Bianchi Cup Women’s Champion, Vera knows what it takes to win. She credits her success not just to dedicated practice, but also dedication to personal health. Vera has always regarded personal fitness as a key priority that helps her achieve competitive success. In this video, Vera explains the benefits of fitness training. Shooting practice combined with physical fitness training can bring your performance to the next level, says Vera. And Vera adds that shooting sports (or any competitive activity), provides key motivation to exercise — which will provide long-term health benefits.

“You cannot perform your best, if you are not AT your best. Stick with an exercise program that you enjoy, and see your strength and stamina develop. And then see your scores go up!

I noticed all the top shooters are in great physical condition. Since I entered the sport at a rather late age — at 47 — I took up weight lifting and aerobic excercise. My exercise programs have helped me gain strength and stamina that allows me to focus and shoot well.” — Vera Koo

The Competitive Mindset — Focus on the Victories
Along with physical fitness, mental “fitness”, i.e. having the proper competitive mindset, is also important to success in the shooting sports. In this second video, 8-Time Bianchi Cup Lady’s Winner Vera Koo explains how she works to develop focus, calmness, and self-confidence when she competes. Vera explains one needs to adopt a “Warrior Mindset”.

“Champions spend hours practicing for the smallest improvements. Even when they are good, they strive to be great. The common characteristic among [all Champions] is that they are all strong of heart — they are all warriors.” — Vera Koo


Learning from Vera Koo, video host Gabby Franco concludes: “Our mind is one of the most powerful tools we have to achieve our goals”.

Whether it’s getting involved in competitive shooting or firing a gun for the very first time, Vera Koo has overcome the fears that come along with new experiences. True champions are those who, like committed warriors, never give up. Vera encourages shooters to focus on each victory — no matter how small — in order to keep growing and improving.

Physical fitness Vera Koo physical training pistol shooting Bianchi cup

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September 13th, 2018

Miculek Nails 3 Targets at 400 yards in 4.37 Seconds — Offhand

Jerry Miculek AR15 400 yards
Jerry Miculek — that name is synonymous with revolvers. But Jerry is also one heck of a rifleman, as he demonstrates in this video.

Three Shots Standing at 400 Yards in 4.37 Seconds
For those of use who usually shoot from the bench, hitting a silhouette target at 400 yards from an standing position (unsupported) would be a big challenge. Here Jerry Miculek makes it look easy.

In this video, Jerry hits not one but THREE c-zone targets at 400 yards. And — get this — he does this in under 4.4 seconds starting with his rifle laying on a support. It took Jerry two tries (on his first run he hit 2 out of 3 in 4.65 seconds). On the second attempt (see video starting at 2:19), it takes Jerry just 4.37 seconds to shoulder his rifle, aim, and fire three shots, each hitting a separate steel target. Wow. That’s truly remarkable. Most of us would need ten seconds (or more) just to get the scope on the first target.

Jerry Miculek AR15 400 yards

Trust us folks, this ain’t easy. It takes remarkable marksmanship skills to shoot with this kind of precision at this kind of pace. As Jerry would say himself, “Not bad for an old guy who needs glasses”.

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September 11th, 2018

Cabela’s Deer Nation — Great Resource for Hunters

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

It’s hunting season in many areas of the country already. If you’re planning a fall hunt you want to do your homework — make sure your gear is checked out, your rifle zeroed, and your hunting grounds plotted. You’ll want to sight in your rifle, get the right clothing, make sure you have your hunting license, deer tags, and other needed paperwork.

Cabela’s has a ton of helpful information for hunters on its Deer Nation website. You’ll find numerous videos as well as articles from expert guides and experienced hunters.


This episode of Cabela’s Whitetail Season highlights ground hunting. While some hunters prefer a stand, the cover provided by the background and tall grasses can help with your stalks.


In this video, Bill Winke, host of Midwest Whitetail, shows how he hunts over small food plots.

Cabela’s Deer Nation portal offers over 100 informative articles for hunters. Here are six of our favorite features:

1. Hiding in Plain Sight — Finding Game

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

2. Binoculars Buyers Guide
(Very comprehensive and useful!)

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

3. Top Seven Hunting Apps for iOS and Android

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

4. How to Field Dress a Deer

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

5. Trail Camera Set-Up and Monitoring

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

6. Taking Kids Deer Hunting

Cabela's Deer Nation hunting info hunter tips

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September 10th, 2018

AMP MATE Automated Case Shuttle for AMP Annealing System

Annealing made perfect AMP annealer case shuttle carriage autofeed cartridge brass

Our New Zealand friends who created the advanced, computer-controlled AMP Annealing system have a remarkable upgrade available. The new AMP MATE is a clever, automated case-handling device that loads and retrieves your brass cartridges during the AMP induction annealing process. The AMP MATE installs right on top of a basic AMP Annealer, and takes all the manual labor out of the process. Once you set up the AMP MATE for your specific cartridge type, and adjust the AMP’s “brain” for your brass, then the AMP MATE takes over. Simply load your brass into the hopper, hit the start button and your brass comes out perfectly annealed. See how this works in this video:

The system essentially works automatically — feeding and retrieving cartridge brass. During initial set-up, you many need adjust the carriage system geometry and cycling rate. These functions are covered in the AMP MATE video. If you have other questions regarding how to set up and use the AMP MATE, email the manufacturer: info [at] ampannealing.com .

Annealing made perfect AMP annealer case shuttle carriage autofeed cartridge brass

Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) Basics
If you’re not familiar with the AMP (Annealing Made Perfect) induction annealing system, here’s a video that explains how the system works. Basically, a micro-processor controls an electrical coil. As electricity flows into the coil, the process of induction transfers heat to the cartridge brass. With exact control over the flow of electricity, this anneals the brass precisely each time. Specific profiles can be created for your brand of cartridge brass — with the exact duration and amount of heat for ideal results.

Annealing made perfect AMP annealer case shuttle carriage autofeed cartridge brass

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September 9th, 2018

USA Shooting Competitors Profiled in GetZone Video Series

USA Shooting GetZone Getzone.com Brett Favre olympics paralympics

A new video series featuring NFL legend Brett Favre and USA Shooting competitors is now available on GetZone.com. This series showcases the best aspects of our sport — the dedication and hard work of young shooters, including paralympian marksmen. Host Brett Favre talks with Olympic and Paralympic competitors about their challenges and achievements. In each episode, Favre and the featured athletes conduct shooting drills and share tips and tactics.

CLICK HERE to Watch Videos on GetZone.com »

Episode 1 — Brett Favre talks with two-time Olympic shotgun bronze medalist Corey Cogdell-Unrein. She explains that more financial support is needed: “I’ve watched so many of my teammates struggle, and scratch, and fight to pay just their training expenses, and go in debt financially to pursue this sport. I’ve thought, how good could we be if we had the funding that we needed?”

USA Shooting GetZone Getzone.com Brett Favre olympics paralympics

Episode 2 — In the second episode, Marco De La Rosa details his journey from service in the U.S. Marine Corps to competing for the USA as a Paralympian pistol shooter: “I traveled everywhere to find myself — then I found this — I found shooting,” said De La Rosa. “I didn’t get into this for myself. I’m representing the Corps, and the Army guys, and everybody at the VA. That’s what I’m about, I represent America,” he added.

USA Shooting GetZone Getzone.com Brett Favre olympics paralympics

Episode 3 — In the third episode, Brett Favre interviews Paralympic Rifle shooter McKenna Dahl, who explained: “Shooting gives me a purpose and a passion for life that I don’t think I ever would have found if it weren’t for the sport. It’s an honor to be able to go out and wear the American Flag on your shoulder. I wouldn’t be where I am in life today if it weren’t for the sport and… this country, and I’m really thankful for that.” [Editor: Compare this young woman’s ethics and dedication to a certain ex-NFL quarterback who is now being glorified by Nike for kneeling during the National Anthem. She honors the country, while he dishonors it. Yet he gets paid millions by Nike.]

NOTE: We’re proud to report that McMillan Firearms stepped up as one of the first major sponsors for the series, and will be featured in an upcoming episode of “USA Shooting Presented by 4Outdoors”.

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September 7th, 2018

Past PRS Champion Showcases Barricade Skills in New Video

PRS Tactical precision Dave David Preston 2015 National Champion POV video barricade stage

Report by Craig Arnzen, Area 419
As the PRS and other tactical/practical competitions continue to grow, a guy tends to wonder, just how good are the top competitors? And what are they actually doing (and viewing) as they complete a stage? Well, a great video from the new Long Range Precision Shooters YouTube Channel let us see what the best in the sport see through their scopes when they shoot.

This video features Dave Preston, 2015 National Champion and perennial powerhouse, shooting the PRS Skills barricade. Dave Preston is widely considered the best in the nation running this PRS stage. Dave nearly always shoots 100% with the fastest recorded time. In this video you’ll see him successfully engage all eight shots in under 43 seconds — that’s crazy fast. This includes a POV sequence (4:35 time-mark) showing the actual view through Dave’s scope as he completes the stage.

Watch this video! Dave offers excellent advice on gun-handling and body positioning for barricades. Listen to what he says and you WILL shoot better.

This video features the PRS Skills Barricade, an 8-round, 4-position stage featured at the majority of PRS matches throughout country. It’s called a “Skills Stage” as it is run the same way at every national match and gives shooters the ability to compare skill levels based on hit percentage and speed.

The target is a 10″ plate at 400 yards. There are four different positions, with two shots each. Most people run this stage in about 70 seconds, some in the mid-60s, the greats in the high 50s, and Dave does it in the low 40s… mighty impressive!

PRS Tactical precision Dave David Preston 2015 National Champion POV video barricade stage

The Right Gear Aids Stability and Lets You Shoot Faster
Let’s also take a look at two pieces of gear that really helped Dave Preston get stable and shoot fast.

1. BARRICADE BAG — To Get Stable, Really Stable
In the video Dave is using a Solo Sac from Short Action Precision This bag was designed by USMC Solomon Mansalala, and $5 of every purchase goes to help the Marine Scout Snipers buy gear. It’s a very soft/dense bag and is popular at matches.

PRS Tactical precision Dave David Preston 2015 National Champion POV video barricade stage

The other bag that sees a LOT of use, and is far and away the most used, is the patented Gamechanger Bag from Reasor Precision Solutions and Armageddon Gear.

2. MUZZLE BRAKE — To Make Your Follow-Up Faster
You’ll notice that in the video the rifle is very steady through firing, even though he is not applying a lot of pressure to the rifle. Dave is using a Hellfire Muzzle Brake from Area 419. Combined with the soft-recoiling 6mmBR cartridge he is able to spot his impacts and make adjustments, and can also make very fast follow-up shots as his rifle hasn’t bounced way off target.

PRS Tactical precision Dave David Preston 2015 National Champion POV video barricade stage

More Long Range Precision Shooters Videos Coming Soon
I think this series from Long Range Precision Shooters (LRPS) will be a good one. They already have a couple more videos ready to release including one with 2018 King of 2 Miles Champion Robert Brantley. CLICK HERE for the LRPS YouTube Channel.

This TECH TIP brought to you by Area 419
Oven anneal annealing Alpha Munitions Craig Arnzen Area419.com

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September 5th, 2018

New Bright-Colored, Arcade-Style Game Series Targets

Action Target Game Series Paper Targets

Looking for something really different for your next range visit — something fun to shoot with the kids or grand-kids? Then check out the new Game Series of paper targets from Action Target, a leading manufacturer of steel targets and shooting supplies.

Action Target Game Series Paper Targets

Inspired by arcade games, tabletop gaming, circus themes, and team sports, the new Game Series paper targets are designed to be engaging — to involve the shooter in a fun process, rather than just aiming at dots on paper. The sports targets let you enjoy Baseball and Hockey. The nostalgic arcade target designs capture the fun of an amusement park. Some targets, such as ‘Alien Invasion’ (below), feature fluorescent colors that “glow” when used indoors with black lights.

Action Target Game Series Paper Targets

The selection of games is impressive — there are currently 18 different Game Series targets — really something for everyone. NOTE: These Game Series targets are not inexpensive. A single Game Series target costs $1.12. However, with a 25-Pack, the cost per target goes down to $0.62, a 45% savings.

More Fun Targets from EZ2C Targets

Action Target’s new Game Series targets aren’t the only arcade-style targets you can buy. EZ2C Targets offers very bright, high-contrast targets printed with eye-popping fluorescent red/orange and Deep Black Inks. EZ2C’s Battleship Target (Style 22) would be great for precision rifles at 100 or 200 yards. The red circles are about 3/4″ in diameter. That’s 0.36 MOA at 200 yards. That’s a good test for an accurate rifle (and for any shooting pals who boast that their guns can shoot “1/4 MOA all day long”.) The Dartboard target is great for a two-man shooting competition. You can shoot the numbers in order, or for more challenge, shoot the red rings (for each number), from the outer diameter to the middle. Just as in a real darts game, there are many variations.

EZ2C TargetEZ2C  bright neon orange high contrast Target

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September 4th, 2018

MEC Marksman — Impressive, Strong Single-Stage Press

MEC Reloading Press Marksman Gavin Gear UltimateReloader

If you are looking for a new, full-size single-stage reloading press, definitely consider the MEC Marksman. Created by the makers of the popular MEC shotshell reloading systems, the MEC Marksman combines a sturdy cast-iron frame with a modern open-front design. With a $189.99 street price the Marksman press cost roughly $30 more than an RCBS Rock Chucker, but the MEC offers some distinct advantages — such as an open front plus a floating shell-holder system.

Our friend Gavin Gear got his hands on a MEC Marksman press and put it through its paces. He came away impressed with the product, saying it delivers excellent performance, and has many impressive features. Gavin tells us: “Cast iron tools and machines are a lifetime investment. The made-in-USA MEC Marksman features ductile cast-iron construction, an open-front frame design for easy cartridge access, a new floating shell-holder design with a unique retention system, and ambidextrous handle setup.”

CLICK HERE for REVIEW of MEC Marksman Single-Stage Press on UltimateReloader.com.

Gavin liked the Marksman’s system for holding spent primers. A tray sits behind the ram to catch spent primers exiting from a hole near the bottom of the ram. This is more foolproof than the plastic primer cups on some other single-stage presses. Expect less spent primer “spillage”.

MEC Marksman Relodading press

The Marksman is sold as a stand-alone unit. However MEC also offers a very nice steel mount/riser for the Marksman. Gavin tested the Marksman with this riser, and he says it was sturdy and well-built. Gavin liked the riser. He said that elevating the Markman press up above the benchtop made it easier to handle cases and to operate the handle. The riser also has “wings” on the left and right, providing a pair of handy die-holders on each side.

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September 3rd, 2018

For a More Successful Hunt, Build a More Stable Shooting Position

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

It’s hunting season already in many areas of the country. Improve your chances of a successful hunt by working on your position shooting skills before heading into the backcountry. Here are tips from Team USA Olympian and ISSF World Cup Winner SFC Michael McPhail.

One of the world’s best smallbore shooters, McPhail is also an avid hunter, who enjoys harvesting game with centerfire rifles. In this excellent short video from the USAMU, McPhail shows how competition shooting positions can be adapted for hunters. McPhail shows how well-established positions can provide a more stable platform for hunters in the field. That can help ensure a successful hunt. McPhail demonstrates three positions: kneeling, supported prone, and sitting in a tree-stand.

Watch SFC McPhail Demonstrate Positions for Hunters (Good Video):

McPhail first demonstrates the kneeling position. Michael notes: “I like kneeling. It’s a little bit of an under-utilized position, but it’s almost as stable as prone. It allows you get up off the ground a little bit higher to [compensate for] vegetation. For kneeling start by taking your non-dominant foot and put that towards the target, while at the same time dropping down to a knee on the dominant leg. At the same time … wrap the sling around wrist and fore-arm, lean slightly into the target and take the shot.”

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

McPhail shows a nice “field expedient” use of your backpack. He shows how the basic prone position can be adapted, using the pack as a front rifle support. McPhail recommends pulling your dominant (strongside) leg forward, bent at the knee. According to Michael, this takes pressure off the abdomen, helps minimizes heart beat effects, and helps with breathing.

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

Last but not least, McPhail shows some clever treestand tricks. McPhail recommends a position with your weakside leg pulled up and firmly braced on the front rail of the treestand. You can then rest your support arm on your leg. (That would be the left arm for a right-handed shooter). This provides a rock-solid position when shooting from a stand. The second half of the video shows how this works.

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September 1st, 2018

Mythbusters Film Pistol Shot at 73,000 Frames Per Second

Mythbusters 1911 Bullet Pistol slow motion high speed Phantom .45 ACP

What if you could see a speeding bullet in the milliseconds it exits the muzzle of a pistol? How cool would that be… Well, the Mythbusters folks (Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman) have made that possible. Using an exotic Phantom super-high-speed camera running at 73,000 frames per second, the Mythbusters recorded a .45 ACP bullet being fired from a 1911-type handgun.

Watch Mythbusters Super-Slow-Motion Pistol Video:

What unfolds is spectacular. First you see a ball of flame as the bullet emerges from the barrel of the 1911, then two distinct, separate swirling clouds form as the bullet races toward the target. Watch the video a couple times — it’s mesmerizing.

Mythbusters 1911 Bullet Pistol slow motion high speed Phantom .45 ACP

Co-host Adam Savage is nearly rendered speechless by the remarkable slow-motion footage from the Phantom. Filmed at 73,000 frames per second, the video reveals a dance of pressure and fire that would otherwise be missed by the unaided eye.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 5 Comments »
August 30th, 2018

Zeiss Victory RF RangeFinder Binoculars Field Test

Zeiss Victory 2018 RF rangefinder range-finding binos binocs bincoculars field review Colton Reid

Field Test and Review by Colton Reid
For years my “go-to” optic for hunting mule deer has been a high-quality set of Swarovski porro prism binoculars. They offer a sharp image, good low light performance, and were about half the price of a comparable roof prism design. I also carry a small, handheld laser rangefinder in my pocket while hiking. This setup has been “good enough” for a long time despite the inconvenience of separate optics and having to scramble for the rangefinder every time I spotted a buck.

But as I get older this setup becomes less favorable and my reasons for upgrading to binoculars with rangefinding capability are outweighing my reasons against. Accordingly, I decided to test if rangefinder (RF) binoculars could really deliver an improvement over separate binoculars and LRF. Fortunately, AccurateShooter.com acquired a new Zeiss Victory 10×42 RF and let me field test it. This is a premium unit, with a premium price tag. The 10×42 Victory RF currently sells for $3399.99.

Zeiss Victory 2018 RF rangefinder range-finding binos binocs bincoculars field review Colton Reid

First impressions were good. The Victory RF employs an Abbe-Koenig roof prism with a comfortable-to-hold black body that has a padded soft-touch surface. The Victory RF is marginally heavier than my older porro prism binocs. The central focus wheel is large, easy to turn, and is positioned to allow index and middle fingers to simultaneously work the focus wheel and rangefinder.

Great Glass with Excellent Low-Light Performance
Diopter adjustment was a bit more complicated due to the built-in rangefinder display, but once set didn’t require further adjustment. When all knobs were adjusted, optical performance was excellent. Compared with my tried and true Swarovski Habicht 10×40 porro prism binoculars, the Zeiss Victory RF exhibited an equally sharp image that was also brighter in the fading daylight. Additionally, the Victory RF had a narrower depth of field than the old Swaro porro. This produced a noticeable “3D” effect that helped the target pop out of its surroundings. The optics alone make the Victory RF an excellent product, but the Victory RF’s built-in rangefinder made these binoculars truly exceptional.

Testing the Victory RF Laser Rangefinder Capability
Having rangefinder functionality inside quality optics was remarkably convenient. This allowed spotting and ranging targets without having to re-acquire an image using separate optics. It also ensured that the image for ranging was the same magnification and quality as the binoculars. Beyond just convenience, the Victory’s ranging capability was superb.

During one testing session at dusk, distances out to an astonishing 2600 yards could be repeatedly measured. To dispel my skepticism I verified all ranges with Google Earth (Google earth image + range image). Ranging game-sized objects beyond 800 yards required a stable surface (or tripod) to hold the red dot on target. However, the rangefinder had no problem ranging trees or large boulders at longer distances by hand. Measurement to measurement variation was within about 5 yards, which is likely due to movement from the user, especially at long distances.

In most outdoor environments I’ve hunted, ranging nearby vegetation or rocks gives enough accuracy in distance to obtain a satisfactory ballistic solution. In my experience, the vast majority of hunters are taking their shots inside 300 yards. At that distance or closer, hand-holding the Victory RF works well. For shots that exceed 300 yards, where bullet drop is a concern for hunters, the rangefinder is able to incorporate ballistics profiles from the Zeiss Hunting App running on a smart-phone, and deliver a precise ballistic solution visible IN the binoculars.

[Editor: Press a button and right in the glass you can see the calculated elevation correction in inches or cm, with clicks in MILS or MOA. A Long-Range Only video review confirmed how well this works: “The sync was almost immediate. Gives you custom drop right in your binoculars, with one push of a button.” The Zeiss RF also calculates true horizontal distance for angled shots.]

Zeiss Victory 2018 RF rangfinder range-finding binos binocs bincoculars field review Colton Reid

The Victory RF was able to range larger objects at 2000 yards and beyond with the unit placed on tripod or solid support. In the example above, the Victory RF was targeted on a specific object on a ridge over one mile away. The Victory RF’s 1928-yard read-out was confirmed with a Google Earth GPS trace.

Zeiss Victory 2018 RF rangefinder range-finding binos binocs bincoculars field review Colton Reid

Zeiss Victory 2018 RF rangfinder range-finding binos binocs bincoculars field review Colton ReidSmart RF Binoculars with Built-in Ballistics Solver
Customized ballistics data can be transferred to the Victory HF’s display via a Bluetooth connection with the Zeiss Hunting Application*.

The Zeiss Hunting App deserves its own full review. But I can say the interface is clean, minimal, and FREE. There is much to be desired from the notes section, but the Ballistics Calculator makes it one of the better hunting apps I’ve used. Because ballistics data can be transferred to the rangefinder display, the App is a “must-have” accessory for the Victory RF.

GET iOS Hunting App (iTunes) | GET Android Hunting App (Google)

KEY FEATURES: Ballistics Solver, GPS Tagging, Weather Forecast, Field Notes with Photos

Comments on Zeiss Victory RF
Despite the Victory RF’s excellent optics and impressive ranging performance, there is some room for improvement in this product. The red rangefinder display proved difficult to see against a tan/brown backdrop during bright daylight hours. Also I noted that, if you look away from the center of the field of view, the read-out seems to dim. At full LED brightness the red dot target was always visible but still showed a tendency to blend in with a tan backdrop. [Editor: The Zeiss RF does offer 11 brightness curves, and the manufacturer notes the unit features an automatic brightness control.]

Setting the dual eyepiece diopters was also a bit more complex than a single diopter system. The “trick” was to first focus the rangefinder display using the right diopter wheel. After that the central wheel and left diopter could be focused as needed. The accompanying neck strap and binocular case were well made and may work well for birding or nature hikes, but would not be preferred for hunting. When performing extreme physical activity, a shoulder harness or chest pack carrying case such the Badlands Bino X (shown below) is needed for support and fast extraction.

Zeiss Victory 2018 RF rangefinder range-finding binos binocs bincoculars field review Colton Reid

CONCLUSION — Superb Binoculars with Outstanding Rangefinding Capability
All together the Victory 10×42 RF is one of the finest binoculars I have had the pleasure of using. The crisp image coupled with a reliable long-distance rangefinder gave me the confidence to spot and stalk game over a mile away. As a hunter who spends 70% of his time behind optics I am convinced that with the Victory RF my ability to observe and plan in the field has dramatically improved. And with a little bit of care, these binoculars will be a reliable field favorite for years to come.

Zeiss Victory 2018 RF rangfinder range-finding binos binocs bincoculars field review Colton ReidZeiss Victory RF Binoculars Features:

– Laser Ranging capability from 16 to 2,500 yards
– On-board B.I.S. II ballistic calculator with integrated sensors
– Custom ballistics input via smartphone or tablet
– Bluetooth connectivity
– Holds custom ballistic profiles
– Measures angle, temperature, and air pressure
– Calculates equivalent horizontal distance
– Displays holdover in inches/cm, MOA, MIL and clicks
– Features Scan and Target modes
– Automatic LED brightness adjustment (11 brightness curves)
– User-Programmable ontrol buttons and display
– One-touch ranging (right or left hand)
– Syncs personal settings and ballistic profiles to and from the RF
– Large focusing wheel for minimal rotation
– FL glass, ZEISS T and LotuTec® coatings

About the Author, Colton Reid, Ph.D.
Colton Reid is a hunter and outdoorsman, who is also an optics expert. A Ph.D. engineer in the high-tech industry, Colton works with high-resolution electro-optical measuring devices for microchips. Raised in Colorado, Colton’s favorite activity is a backcountry hunting adventure. AccurateShooter.com is fortunate to have Colton review optics products.

* The Zeiss Hunting App integrates many useful features — ballistics solver, compass, GPS tagging, hunt history. The “Field Notes” function can record a wide variety of info — save photos, record shots and hits, log animal sightings, and even plot game locations on a map. Shots can be tagged via GPS through the shooter’s and the target’s position, and then displayed on a map. The Field Notes hunt diary shows all entries in chronological order.

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August 28th, 2018

Budget Boomer — Ruger’s .300 WM Hawkeye Long Range Target

Ruger Hawkeye 300 Wm .300 Win Mag Magnum Long Range Target Rifle Brezny Review Ammo Test

Ruger has produced an interesting Big Magnum that combines a nice stock with a quality 5R barrel with muzzle brake. The new-for-2018 Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Target (LRT) rifle offers outstanding bang for the buck in a large magnum chambering. MSRP for the LRT is $1279.00 while best “street price” is now under $1000.00. Honestly you could easily pay twice that much and not get a .300 Win Mag that shoots significantly better.

Ruger Hawkeye 300 Wm .300 Win Mag Magnum Long Range Target Rifle Brezny Review Ammo Test

The Hawkeye LRT has some nice features, including:

– Barrel (26″) with 5R Rifling and Hybrid Muzzle Brake
– Target Stock with two-way Adjustable Comb and Adjustable LOP
– Flush-mounted Lower M-LOK® Rail for bipod or bag-rider
– Angled +20 MOA Picatinny Scope Rail
– AI-compatible Detachable Box Magazine
– 2-Stage Target Trigger adjusts to 2.4 pounds
– Mauser-style 3-position Safety

Video of New Hawkeye Long Range Target in .300 Winchester Magnum

3/4-MOA Three-Shot Accuracy with Factory Ammo
Ammoland.com gunwriter L.P. Brezny recently field-tested the Ruger Hawkeye LRT with a variety of factory .300 Win Mag ammunition. Most of his three-shot groups were in the 3/4-MOA range: Norma ECO Strke 150gr, 0.652″; Federal Premium BT Edge 200gr, 0.834″; Winchester Power Core 150gr, 0.726″. Handloads with 155gr Sierra TMKs did even better: 0.496″ for three shots.

Ruger Hawkeye 300 Wm .300 Win Mag Magnum Long Range Target Rifle Brezny Review Ammo Test

Tester Brezny was impressed with this rifle, saying: “I predict that like the [Ruger Precision Rifle], the Ruger Hawkeye Long-Range Target rifle that has been enhanced as an advanced tactical design at less than one-third the cost of most better-grade long range rifles, is going to see a whole lot of sales as a professional as well as civilian use in the year or two ahead.”

Ruger Hawkeye 300 Wm .300 Win Mag Magnum Long Range Target Rifle Brezny Review Ammo TestSolid Value and Good Features
With a tempting $1000 “street price”, we think this Ruger offers a lot of performance for the price. Accuracy is very good for a factory rifle. We like the two-stage trigger. It’s nice to have a +20 MOA scope rail. The toe of the stock works well with a rear sand-bag and the front M-LOK rail can be used to attach a 3″-wide bag-rider. This makes the gun very suitable for bench target use.

Too Heavy for Hunters?
The .300 Win Mag chambering is excellent for big game, but we doubt the LRT will actually harvest many big beasts. The reason? At 11 pounds before optics, (figure 13 lbs. with scope, rings, and sling) we doubt many Hawkeye LRT owners will carry this gun in the field.

However, for guys looking to punch paper and ring steel at 1000-1700 yards, this is an interesting option. We expect the main market for this rifle will be shooters who want to experiment with long-range (1000 yards and beyond) target shooting, without breaking the bank.

The Hawkeye Long Range Target rifle features a Mauser-style 3-position safety, plus a large, Mauser-type bolt release on the left side of the action:
Ruger Hawkeye 300 Wm .300 Win Mag Magnum Long Range Target Rifle Brezny Review Ammo Test

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product 7 Comments »
August 28th, 2018

UltimateReloader Video Demonstrates Pistol Case Gauges

Pistol Cartridge Gage Gauge ulimatereloader.com

If you load pistol ammo you should have a case gauge (aka “gage”) for each cartridge type you reload. Caliber-specific, precision-machined cylindrical gauges perform many important functions. They will instantly reveal if your rounds are too long or have excessive headspace. They will also show if your case is bulged or otherwise too fat to chamber easily. You can use the gauge with sized brass as well as loaded rounds.

Case gauges are a “must-have” for anyone loading handgun ammunition, particularly if you crank out large quantities of pistol ammo with a progressive press. An oversize round can cause a misfeed, jam, or other problem. That can ruin your day if you are in the middle of a shooting match. If you are relying on your handgun for self-defense, the last thing you want is a malfunction of any kind. This Editor personally runs every pistol round through a gauge before it goes into the ammo box.

UltimateReloader.com Video Shows How to Use Pistol Case Gauges:

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has prepared an excellent video that explains the benefits of pistol case gauges and shows how to use them. Gavin uses the quality gages produced by L.E. Wilson. These are available for the most popular handgun cartridges, both autoloader cartridges, and rimmed revolver cartridges. Gavin demonstrates gage use with .40 SW and .44 magnum cases.

READ Pistol Case Gage ‘How-To’ Guide on UltimateReloader.com

Gavin states: “Using a case gage is very simple, and I would recommend that you add one of these gages to your reloader’s tool chest for each of the pistol cartridge types you reload. It may just save you a lot of time and hassle. Peace of mind is hard to put a price on!”

Ulimate Reloader.com also covers the use of case gauges for rifle cartridges. Rifle cartridge gauges are especially useful in detecting headspace problems. Case gauges can avert many problems, particularly if you reload milsurp rifle brass. CLICK HERE for Rifle Case Gauge “How To” and Video.

Permalink - Videos, Handguns, Reloading No Comments »
August 27th, 2018

How to Expand Cartridge Brass in Stages with Progressive Press

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press
Photos from DJ’s Brass Service.

Have you ever expanded a .22 or 6mm cartridge all the way up to .30-caliber? If so, you know this can be a difficult procedure that stresses the case necks and neck-shoulder junction. A significant neck-size expansion done in one big jump can increase run-out, cause doughnuts, or worse yet, even split the brass. Therefore you want to proceed in increments, increasing the neck diameter in stages. One smart way to do that is to use a Progressive Press. This article explains how…

The most successful short-range brenchrest-for-score cartridge is the 30 BR. That cartridge, as well as 30 BR variants such as the 30 BRX, all start with the 6mmBR Norma parent cartridge, typically with Lapua 6mmBR brass. To get a nice 30 BR case you want to expand in stages, increasing the inside neck diameter incrementally from .243 to .308.

Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service creates thousands of 30 BR cases each year. He has found a clever way to speed up the process — Darrell uses a Progressive Press. He runs his 6BR brass through four (4) separate Hornady neck-sizing dies with expander mandrels. First there is a .257 die, followed by .264 (6.5mm), .284 (7mm), and then .308. Then a fifth and final K&M die provides one last, slight expansion so the newly-fashioned 30 BR cases perfectly fit the arbor of Darrell’s neck-turning tool.

So to repeat, the case starts as .243 (6mm), then moves in up stages .257, .264, .284, and .308, with a final “finishing” step prior to neck-turning. You can see the expansion in this video, which starts with 6mmBR brass that was first hydro-formed to 6 BRX:

Watch 6mm Cases Expanded to 30-Caliber (6BRX to 30 BRX)

For this demo video, Darrell expands just one case at a time. However, he can also put multiple cases in the progressive — one per station. This takes a little more effort, Darrell says, but the results are still excellent. Darrell tells us: “I do put multiple cases in the progressive to save time. The results are the same — I just wanted to show a single-step process and how it reduces run-out by not stressing the shoulder with one big expansion from 6mm straight to 30 caliber. Doing the operation in multiple stages avoids binds and helps keep the shoulders concentric.”

This same multi-stage procedure can be use to expand other cartridge types. For example you could take .221 Fireball brass in stages up to .308 to create 300 Blackout brass.

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press

Darrell uses caliber-specific, Hornady neck-sizing-only dies with elliptical expanders. Darrell tells us: “The Hornady elliptical expander has a reduced bearing surface that puts less strain on the brass when expanding the necks to the next size.” The fitting at the bottom of the die is the Lock-N-Load die bushing that allows fast die changes.

These particular cases used in the video were first hydro-formed to 6BRX then expanded to 30 BRX before neck turning. DJ’s Brass offers hydro-forming for many popular wildcat cartridges such as 6 PPC, 6mm Dasher, and .284 Shehane.

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
August 27th, 2018

Stay Alert — Don’t Drill a Range Worker at Your Next Match

RSO Range Safety violation

Here is a video every shooter should watch. It reminds us that our sport demands 100% attention. Lose track of individuals down-range and the results could be tragic. This video will give you chills (starting at about the 0:25 mark). We need to remember to follow all the firearms safety rules, and apply them all the time. At the range, all it takes is one brief moment of inattention to create a life-threatening situation. Never assume the downrange area is safe. Use your own eyes and ears.

This video shows a competitor shooting a stage at an action pistol match. He starts when instructed by the Range Safety Officer (RSO). But unbeknownst to both RS0 and competitor, a volunteer is downrange working on targets. Watch carefully. At 0:27 the shooter sweeps left to right, engaging a paper silhouette target to his right. Then, at 0:30, as he begins a mag change, his head turns downrange. A few yards away is a white-shirted range worker! The shooter yells “Hey what’s going on?!”

What’s going on indeed… The RSO should have ensured that nobody was downrange before the shooter even stepped up to the firing line. If other competitors standing to the side had been alert, they might have seen the worker changing targets and called for a halt. And the target-worker himself — even if he was wearing earmuffs, he should have noticed that live fire had commenced just yards away…

We also have to wonder about the stage design. This set-up made it very difficult to see downrange. The white panels (see 0:10-0:20) definitely hid the target worker from view. In hindsight, given the way the stage was laid out, this was truly an “accident waiting to happen”. It’s fortunate that no one got injured in this incident. But this chilling video provides a lesson to all shooters — “Safety First”.

How could this “near-fatality” have been averted? Post your comments below.

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