February 27th, 2015

Pistol Cartridge Reloading Tips from Starline

Starline Brass offers a series of videos with helpful reloading tips. Focused primarily on pistol cartridges, these short videos can help anyone get started with metallic cartridge reloading. If you load pistol rounds on a progressive, this video series is particularly helpful. The on-camera host is Hunter Pilant, son of Carroll Pilant of Sierra Bullets.

Preventing Double Charges
Tip: Use a bulky powder that fills your case more than half way with a correct charge. This will overfill the case if it is double-charged, making it very difficult to seat a bullet.

Tumble New Brass Before Loading the First Time
Tip: Tumble new pistol cartridge brass in used media for 30 minutes before loading for the first time. This will add enough graphite (carbon residue) to smooth case entry into dies. You can also lube the case mouths with graphite, or use spray lube.

Powder Through Expander — How to Eliminate Hang-ups
Tip: When loading pistol brass with a progressive press, sometime the powder-through expander is hard to remove, especially with short cases. There are two fixes — first, try deburring the inside of the case mouth on your cases. Second, the radius of the powder through expander plug can be modified to smooth entry and exit (see photo). Starline will do this modification for free.

modified powder through expander starline

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February 26th, 2015

Blast from the Past — Video Shows Ricochet Danger

This an older video from the YouTube archives but we expect many readers have still not seen it yet. It definitely teaches an important lesson — never underestimate the destructive power of rifle-launched projectiles. What appears a “safe distance” from steel may actually be well within the danger zone.

YouTube Preview Image

In this video a rather ignorant (yet lucky) fellow demonstrates what NOT to do with a large-caliber rifle (a 50 BMG apparently). He shoots at a steel target about 70 yards away and a bullet fragment comes back directly at him. He was lucky enough that the ricochet just smacked his left ear muff. Another inch to the right and he could have lost his eye… or worse.

If you have ever done much action pistol shooting at close range on steel targets, you’ll know about the hazards of ricochets and bullet splashback. That’s why you should only shoot low-velocity rounds with soft lead or frangible bullets when shooting at relatively close range.

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February 25th, 2015

Fabrique Nationale (FN) Featured on American Rifleman TV

Fabrique Nationale d'herstal FN Herstal TV NRATonight American Rifleman TV visits Herstal, Belgium, to examine the rich heritage of Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal (FN Herstal), a company originally founded in 1889 to produce one gun — the Belgian Mauser. FN Herstal has now been producing firearms for more than 125 years, including iconic designs of John Moses Browning. FN Herstal’s firearms are now used by the armed forces of over 100 nations.

The FN Herstal episode (on the Outdoor Channel) is previewed in this video starting at 00:30. You may learn some surprising facts. Did you know that FN’s factories also produced bicycles, cars, trucks and motorcycles?

Preview Fabrique Nationale Episode on American Rifle Television

Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal (aka FN Herstal) is a major firearms manufacturer located in Herstal, Belgium. This enterprise is currently the largest exporter of military small arms in Europe. Firearms manufactured by FN Herstal include the Browning Hi-Power pistol, Five-seven pistol, FAL rifle, FNC rifle, F2000 rifle, P90 submachine gun, M2 Browning machine gun, MAG machine gun, and Minimi machine gun.

History of Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal
FN Herstal originated in the small city of Herstal, near Liège. The Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre (French for National Factory of Weapons of War) was established in 1889 to manufacture 150,000 Mauser Model 1889 rifles ordered by the Belgian Government. FN was co-founded by the major arms makers of the Liège region, with Henri Pieper of Anciens Etablissements Pieper being the driving force and the primary shareholder of the new company. In 1897 the company entered into a long-lasting relationship with American Gun Designer John Moses Browning.

Fabrique Nationale d'herstal FN Herstal TV NRA

American gun designer John Moses Browning did the preliminary design work for the Browning GP35 ‘High Power’ (sometimes written as Hi-Power) pistol, the GP standing for Grande Puissance or “high power” in French. However, the weapon was finalized by Dieudonné Saive and did not appear until nearly a decade after Browning’s death.

Fabrique Nationale d'herstal FN Herstal TV NRA

The American Connection — Winchester and Browning
FN Herstal is a subsidiary of the Belgian Herstal Group, which also owns U.S. Repeating Arms Company (Winchester) and Browning Arms Company. FN Herstal is the parent company of two United States entities: FN Manufacturing and FNH USA. FN Manufacturing in Columbia, SC, is the manufacturing branch of FN Herstal in the United States, producing firearms such as the M249 and M240 machine guns and M16 rifle, among others. FNH USA, located in McLean, VA, is the American sales and marketing branch of FN Herstal.

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February 25th, 2015

Short-Range Benchrest Game Captured on Video

We know that many of our readers have never personally participated in a short-range (100/200 yard) benchrest match. That’s understandable — moving backers are required in registered 100/200 benchrest (for group) matches, yet only a small percentage of ranges have that equipment. If you’re curious about the “point-blank” benchrest game, but haven’t had the chance to see it first-hand, check out this video created by youtuber “Taofledermaus”. On his YouTube Channel, you’ll find many other interesting shooting videos, including slow-motion target impact clips. This video shows the LV and HV guns, the flags, the gun-handling, the reloading set-ups, and of course, tiny little groups on targets.

Registered 100/200 Benchrest Match

Viewer Comments on the Video:

“There is a lot more to this game than just pulling the trigger. Record targets are 5-shot groups, 5 averaged together for an Aggregate. Most times the winning Agg is under .250″ for 25 shots at 100 yards. Rifles weigh 10.5 pounds for LV class. Used rifles can be had for about $1500. Then add in another $1000 for rest, bags, loading tools, bullets, powder, not to mention windflags.” — Vmhtr

“Benchrest shooting is sort of an ‘academy of shooting’. Lots of academic thought and measurements, handloading made with anal attention at detail. It’s much more thought than action. Most of those people made their tools themselves. [There are] It’s plenty of seniors because it takes patience, lots of patience. Sure a teenager ain’t gonna bother it.” — THP

“I was surprised they did all their hand loading right there on the spot. — I think you nailed it. It’s a super-precise sport. It’s expensive, it’s slow, and it requires a lot of travel, so it’s well-suited for retired folks. It’s gotta beat golfing!” — Tao

“I used to shoot 6mm PPC in a BR rifle. I spent so much time at the reloading bench that I just gave up on it all and switched to 22 rimfire gallery matches. Saved a lot of my sanity doing that….” — Walt

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February 24th, 2015

Tech Trends: Precision Barrel Bore-Honing

Some custom barrel makers are now honing barrels (after drilling) to improve bore diameter uniformity, smooth the interior finish, and reduce barrel lapping times. For years, large-scale manufacturers of hammer-forged barrels have employed honing. Now the process is being used by smaller, “boutique” barrel-makers. This article explains how and why barrel honing is done. Take the time to watch the video. For anyone with an interest in barrel-making, this video is an eye-opener…

Barrel Honing Process Demonstrated (Worth Watching!):

Barrel Bore honing cut-rifled rifling hammer forging accurateshooter.com

For custom barrel makers, honing is a time-saver and cost cutter. A few minutes on a honing machine can cut lapping times in half, leaving a cross-hatched surface finish in single or low double-digit Ra. Honing is the same process used to make diesel fuel injectors with bore roundness and straightness controlled to fractions of a micron (<0.000040"), with surface finish Ra ≤0.15 µm (6 µin).

A key manufacturing process used for hammer-forged barrels is now getting attention from the makers of custom button-rifled barrels. This process is precision bore-honing. Honing produces a high-quality bore surface fast, which is critical to hammer forging. (Why is honing so important with hammer forging? Surface finish is the one feature of the barrel that cannot be controlled in hammer forging. Surface imperfections in a barrel blank tend to be amplified as the blank is formed on the rifling mandrel. And if the bore is chromed afterwards, imperfections in the surface finish become even more obvious.)

Honing dramatically improves bore diameter size uniformity and accuracy, surface finish and roundness throughout the length of the barrel. It can certainly be used in place of a pre-rifling lap. The chief difference between a lapped and honed bore is the direction of the finish lines in the bore. Honing leaves fine spiraling crosshatch lines, while a lap leaves lines going longitudinally in the bore. After rifling the manufacturer can remove the crosshatch finish with a quick lap if desired. Honing is fast, accurate, and can be automated. Its surface quality and geometry can duplicate lapping, except for the longitudinal lines of the lapped finish.

Barrel Bore honing cut-rifled rifling hammer forging accurateshooter.com

Frank Green of Bartlein Barrels told us: “We worked with Sunnen and we did all the initial testing on the prototype machine for them. The machine works great! We ordered and received last year a new manufactured machine with the changes we wanted on it and we just ordered a second one a month or so ago. Should be here next month.”

Computer-Controlled Bore-Honing
Honing can be done with great precision through the use of advanced, computer-controlled honing machines. Sunnen Products Company recently introduced a new machine for .17 to .50-caliber barrels (see control panel below). The spindles on this machine can correct bore size imperfections so small only an air gauge can measure them. The consistency this allows improves bore uniformity, which, in turn, produces more accurate barrels for the precision market.

Barrel Bore honing cut-rifled rifling hammer forging accurateshooter.com

Barrel Bore honing cut-rifled rifling hammer forging accurateshooter.com

Sunnen Products Company is the world’s largest vertically-integrated manufacturer of honing systems, tooling, abrasives, coolants and gauging for precision bore-sizing and finishing. Sunnen’s customers include manufacturers of diesel and gas engines, aerospace components, hydraulic components, oil field equipment, and gun/cannon barrels. Sunnen, which just celebrated its 90th anniversary, employs more than 600 people worldwide.

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February 21st, 2015

6-6.5×47 vs. Milk Jug at 1000 Yards

This website focuses on rifle accuracy and precision — normally indicated by small groups and high scores. But sometimes reactive targets are fun too — particularly when you can hit them at very long range. Here’s a video of a 6-6.5×47 Lapua hitting a milk jug at 1000 yards. This video was filmed on February 7, 2015 during the Long Range Shooters of Utah 1000-Yard Milk Jug Challenge. A remote camera shows a 95gr Sierra MatchKing penetrating a filled jug. The jug was hit with the fifth shot — you can see the fluid leaking out at 0:57. NOTE: Because the remote camera is positioned well off to the side, the jug-penetrating shot appears to impact low and slightly right (as seen in the inset close-up frame). The jug is actually suspended in front of the white square, and that’s where the fifth shot went, right through the bottom section of the jug.

Congrats to Mr. Clint Bryant of Green River, Wyoming for hitting the jug in challenging conditions. Clint had to dial 11 minutes of windage to compensate for a strong cross-wind (see 2:30 time-mark). Clint’s 6-6.5×47 cartridge is a variant of the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge, necked down to 6mm. This 6-6.5×47 case drives the 95gr SMKs at 3100 FPS, making for a very effective (and accurate) coyote cartridge. Rick’s rifle was a Savage Model 12, with 30″ barrel, in an aftermarket stock, topped by a Leupold scope.

Here is the parent case, the 6.5×47 Lapua:

6.5x47 Lapua

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February 20th, 2015

Navy’s New Railgun Shoots Mach 7 Projectile 110 Nautical Miles

Navy BAE Railgun

How would you like to “reach out and touch” someone 110 nautical miles away? Well America’s Navy may soon be able to do exactly that with an amazing new, high-tech weapon system. BAE Systems has developed (and successfully test-fired) an electro-magnetic rail gun that fires a 23-lb projectile at Mach 7 — (about 5300 mph or 7800 fps). This futuristic weapon can send its projectile 110 nautical miles (126 mi / 203 km), five times the range of the big 16″ guns on WWII-era battleships. This railgun has serious “knock-down” power — at Mach 7, that projectile carries a whopping 32 megajoules of energy. BreakingDefense.com says: “23 pounds ain’t heavy. But it sure hurts when it hits you going at seven times the speed of sound.”

Watch Video to See Navy Rail-Gun in Action:

The latest prototype of the railgun developed by defense contractor BAE, in conjunction with the Office of Naval Research, can accelerate a projectile up to Mach 7 within 10 milliseconds. The gun uses no gunpowder to generate propelling force. Compared to an item on a smaller scale, the railgun projectiles resemble crossbow darts, except they deliver such massive Kinetic Energy they don’t need to carry explosive ordnance. The railgun can strike targets 110 nautical miles away.

To prepare a charge, the ship stores electricity in the pulsed power system. Next, an electric pulse is sent to the railgun, creating an electromagnetic force accelerating the projectile. Because of its extreme speed, the projectile eliminates the hazards of storing high explosives in the ship. Each shot costs about $25,000 — but that’s cheap compared to the price of a missile.

“It’s like a flux capacitor,” chief of Naval research Rear Admiral Mathias Winter said in a video posted by Reuters Friday. “You’re sitting here thinking about these next generation and futuristic ideas, and we’ve got scientists who have designed these, and it’s coming to life.”

The Electromagnetic Railgun Innovative Naval Prototype (INP) was initiated in 2005. The goal during Phase I was to produce a proof-of-concept demonstration at 32 mega-joule muzzle energy, develop launcher technology with adequate service life, develop reliable pulsed power technology, and assess component risk reduction for the projectile.

Navy BAE Railgun

Phase II, which started in 2012, advanced the technology to demonstrate a repeatable-rate fire capability. Thermal-management techniques required for sustained firing rates will be developed for both the launcher system and the pulsed power system. The railgun will begin testing at sea in 2016.

Story concept from CTD Shooter’s Log.

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February 18th, 2015

Click No Bang — Dry-Fire Training with Kirsten

kirsten weiss dry fire anschutz smallbore

Kirsten Joy Weiss has just released a new video on Dry-Fire practice. Dry-Fire is a method of training without a live round in the chamber. Dry-Firing is effective, Kirsten explains, because “it eliminates all the extra noise and messages that you get when you fire a live round. Without recoil, without the sound of a shot going off etc., all you hear is the click of the trigger. This allows you to focus on your sight picture and your trigger press.” This the lastest installment in Kirsten’s ‘How to Shoot Awesomely’ series. Kisten says: “I hope it helps you, and keep on aiming true!”

kirsten weiss dry fire anschutz smallbore

Dennis DeMille High PowerThe Benefits of Dry-Fire Training
If you are not doing Dry-Fire practice yet, then it’s time to start. Dry-Fire training is essential to the sling disciplines, and very useful for F-Class. Dennis DeMille, a national Service Rifle Champion, told us that, for every minute he spent in actual competition, he would spend hours practicing without ammunition. While in the USMC, Dennis would practice in the barracks, working on his hold and dry-firing:

“The most important thing is to spend time off the range practicing. Most of what I learned as a High Power shooter I learned without ammunition — just spending time dry firing and doing holding exercises. Holding exercises will really identify the weak parts of your position. The primary purpose of dry firing is to get you used to shooting an empty rifle. If you can shoot a loaded rifle the same way you shoot an empty rifle then eventually you will become a High Master.”

Dry-Fire Training Can Benefit Benchrest Shooters
What about benchrest? Well, we’ve found that Dry-Fire sessions can even benefit benchresters — it can help reveal flaws in your trigger technique, or inconsistencies in the way you address the rifle from shot to shot. With the gun set up with your front rest and rear bag, if you see the scope’s cross-hairs wiggle a lot when you pull the trigger, you need to work on your technique. Also, dry-fire practice can help you learn to work the bolt more smoothly so you don’t disturb the gun on the bags.

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February 16th, 2015

Trudie Fay, Derek Rodgers, and Bob Sebold Win at Berger SWN

The 2015 Berger Southwest Nationals are now history. It was a remarkable event, one of the best-run matches in the country. Over 350 shooters enjoyed generally fine conditions, with sunny skies and warm temps. Records were set, and there were some remarkable performances. The talk of the tournament was Derek Rodgers’s stunning F-TR score. Derek served notice that F-TR rifles can run with the F-Open rigs (at least when piloted by a wizard). Rodgers shot superbly to finish at 1234-56X, just two points shy of F-Open winner Bob Sebold, who shot 1236-63X. In fact, Derek’s score would have placed him third overall in the F-Open division, one point behind Christine Harris (1235-45X). In sling division, shooting a Palma rifle, Trudie Fay won with 1242-64X. Two points back (at 1238-66X) was last year’s sling winner Bryan Litz.

Brilliant F-TR performance by Derek Rodgers shocked some F-Open shooters…
Sinclair Derek Rodgers SW Nationals

F-Open Winner Bob Sebold loved the bling, but for Sling winner Trudie Fay, “Cash was King”.
F-Class Lapua Bob Sebold Trudie Fay

The Harris Clan — Top Shots
Christine Harris was one of four talented Harris family members shooting at the event. Husband Scott Harris (1220-46X) took second in F-TR, and son Devon Harris (1203-29X) was F-TR High Junior. Twelve-year-old Adrian Harris also shot well, piloting a .223 Rem in F-TR. Adrian did great in the mid-range match, beating most of the adults. Dad Scott Harris says Adrian may have set an Age Group record during the SWN.

The Harris Clan: Scott Harris (2d Place F-TR), Christine (2d Place F-Open), and Adrian (600-yd High Junior)
berger sw Nationals

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
F-OPEN F-TR SLING
Bob Sebold – 1236-63X
Christine Harris – 1235-45X HW
Dan Bramley – 1230-54X
David Mann – 1229-57X HSR
William Wittman – 1227-48X
Derek Rodgers – 1234-56X
Scott Harris – 1220-46X
Matt Schwartzkopf – 1216-38X
Jade Delcambre – 1214-44X
Daniel Lentz – 1213-35X
Trudi Fay – 1242-64X P
Bryan Litz – 1238-66X
John Whidden – 1237-76X
Justin Skaret – 1235-63X P
Phil Hayes – 1234-56X

Berger SW Nationals f-open seb rest

FINAL TEAM RESULTS
F-OPEN F-TR SLING
Third Gen. Shooting – 2551-100X
Lapua/Brux – 2544-108X
Spindle Shooters -2544-90X
Team Berger – 2542-92X
U.S. F-TR Team Blue – 2513-67X
Mich. Rifle Team F-TR – 2498-60X
Team Savage – 2492-68X
U.S. F-TR Development -2487-67X
U.S. Nat’l Tompkins – 2563-127X
Team Phoenix -2562 -122X
Team Challenger – 2555-112X
Two Worlds – 2550- 113X

The Guns of the Southwest Nationals
We saw some serious hardware on display at Ben Avery. Here is a beautiful maple-stocked F-Open rig. We believe this belongs to David Mann of Texas. This gun shoots as good as it looks. David Mann scored 1229-57X to finish fourth overall (and High Senior) in F-Open Division.

Click Photo to View Full-screen Version
Berger SW Nationals f-open seb rest

Stunning Phoenix sunset after Sunday’s awards ceremony…
Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix

NOTE: Scores listed may be subject to final correction.

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February 15th, 2015

Ben Avery Range Dedicated to Mid Tompkins Plus New Building

Competitors at the 2015 Berger Southwest Nationals were treated to something special on Saturday morning. After a short address by Eric Stecker, fireworks boomed from downrange and a flight of three warbirds streamed overhead, trailing smoke. Watch these dramatic moments in the video below.

This ceremony marked the dedication of Ben Avery’s 1000-yard range as the Middleton Tompkins Range. With his family by his side, Mid was recognized for his achievements in the shooting sports and his decades of service. This was a heart-warming event honoring Mid, a six-time National High Power Rifle Champion, and the leading member of America’s first family of shooting. Wife Nancy Tompkins and step-daughters Sherri Jo Gallagher and Michelle Gallagher have all been National rifle champions (High Power and/or Long-Range). This was an emotional day for Mid — he revealed to us that this was certainly one of the greatest highlights of his life.

Berger President Eric Stecker speaks at range dedication ceremony. Mid Tompkins stands with his family members Sherri Jo Gallagher (to Mid’s left), wife Nancy Tompkins, and Michelle Gallagher.
Middleton Tompkins, Ben Avery Berger Nightforce range dedication

Along with the dedication of the 1000-yard range, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new multi-purpose facility at Ben Avery. Situated at the 1000-yard range, this facility was constructed with $420,000 in funding from Berger Bullets and Nightforce Optics. Mid Tompkins cut the red ribbon on the facility’s front doors, officially opening the multi-purpose center for public use.

ben avery range dedication middleton tompkins

Mid jokes with the crowd, showing his quick-witted sense of humor.
Middleton Mid Tompkins

Panorama of Middleton Tompkins 1000-Yard Range at Ben Avery (CLICK to ZOOM)
satmid06x1600


Interview with Past NRA President John Sigler at Ben Avery
In the video below, we interview past NRA President John Sigler. An avid long-range shooter himself, John is the current chairman of the NRA High Power Committee. John was at Ben Avery this week competing in the F-Open Division. John says that the emergence of the F-Class discipline has extended his competitive shooting career. He had high praise for the Ben Avery Range and the new multi-purpose building dedicated on February 14th.

satmid05

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February 14th, 2015

Friday the 13th at the Berger Southwest Nationals

Today marked the third day of competition at the Berger Southwest Nationals. The superstitious types among the competitors viewed the day with some trepidation. There was actual bad luck for some folks, including Mid Tompkins, who broke his leg in a parking lot accident in the morning. But most shooters didn’t worry too much about the date — they were more concerned about calling the wind correctly. As Bryan Litz said: “I don’t believe in superstition. We make our own luck”. In the video below, you’ll see highlights of Day 3 at the SW Nationals from the break of dawn to the final shots on the 1000-yard line.

accurateshooter.com Berger Southwest Nationals Palma sling Phoenix Ben Avery F-class

accurateshooter.com Berger Southwest Nationals Palma sling Phoenix Ben Avery F-class

accurateshooter.com Berger Southwest Nationals Palma sling Phoenix Ben Avery F-class

accurateshooter.com Berger Southwest Nationals Palma sling Phoenix Ben Avery F-class

accurateshooter.com Berger Southwest Nationals Palma sling Phoenix Ben Avery F-class

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February 13th, 2015

Team Match at Berger Southwest Nationals

Thursday at the Berger Southwest Nationals was Team Match day. Teams of sling shooters as well as F-TR and F-Open marksmen competed at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. Conditions on Thursday (Feb. 12) were much better than on Wednesday (Feb. 11) when strong, fish-tailing winds created big problems for the shooters. For the Thursday Team Match, the winds were variable, but generally the mirage was a good indicator of speed, and the flags were showing the angles. The wind coaches for the teams told us that the conditions “were quite readable”.

Here is AccurateShooter.com’s video wrap-up of the Team Match on Thursday. F-TR shooters should watch carefully — Ray Gross, captain of the F-TR USA Team. talks about the latest equipment used by the top shooters. In addition, Ray announced a Team Try-Out Session on Monday February 16, 2015.

In team competition, the shooter relies on his coach and spotter.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

This could be the most beautiful F-Open rifle we’ve ever seen. Look at the figure in that wood.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Nancy Tompkins dials wind for Anette Wachter (aka “30 Cal Gal”).
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Matt Schwartzkopf excels despite lacking two lower legs. He works as a range manager at Ben Avery.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Tube-gun chassis-maker Gary Eliseo shot in the Sling Division. His company, Competition Machine, is now based in Cottonwood, Arizona.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Dan Polabel’s F-TR Rifle with Flex Bipod.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

Walt Berger enjoyed the Team Match. “Seems like the wind’s a bit better today” he joked.
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

It was just a warm, beautiful day at Ben Avery….
Berger SW Nationals Ben Avery Walt Berger

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