While many folks enjoy the convenience of an electronic powder scale/dispenser such as the RCBS Chargemaster, some hand-loaders still prefer to use a traditional balance beam. Balance beam scales are simple, compact, and don’t suffer from electronic “glitches”. Morever, even if you use a digital dispenser at home, when you’re doing load development at the range, a balance-beam scale may be more convenient. A scale doesn’t require electrical power, so you don’t need to bring battery packs or string long power cables. Just bring some kind of box to shelter your beam scale from the wind.
While designs like the RCBS 10-10 are decent performers as built, they can be made much more precise (and repeatable), by “tuning” of key parts. Forum member Scott Parker optimizes a variety of popular beam scales, including the Ohaus 10-10 (USA-made model), RCBS 10-10 (USA-made model), RCBS 5-10, Lyman M5, Lyman D5, and others. You send Scott your scale, he tunes the key components, tests for precision and repeatability, and ships it back to you. The price is very affordable ($65.00 including shipping in USA).
Scott tells us: “I have tuned several 10-10s. They all have turned out very sensitive, consistent and hold linearity like a dream. If only they came that way from the factory. The sensitivity after tuning is such that one kernel of powder registers a poise beam deflection. For repeatability, I remove the pan and replace it for the zero 10 times. The zero line and the poise beam balance line must coincide for each of those 10 tries. I then set the poises to read 250.0 grains. I remove and replace the pan 10 times with the calibration weight. For linearity, the poise beam balance line and the zero line should coincide within the line width. This is roughly one half a kernel of powder. For repeatability, the poise beam balance line must return to that same balance point ten times. I then adjust the poises back to zero and recheck the zero. I have a master’s degree in chemistry, thus I am very familiar with laboratory balances. Email me at vld223 [at] yahoo.com or give me a call at (661) 364-1199.”
The video above, created by British shooter Mark (aka 1967spud), shows a 10-10 beam scale that has been “tuned” by Scott Parker. In the video, you can see that the 10-10 scale is now sensitive to one (1) kernel of powder. Mark also demonstrates the’s scale’s repeatability by lifting and replacing a pan multiple times. You can contact Mark via his website, www.1967spud.com. To enquire about balance-beam scale tuning, call Scott Parker at (661) 364-1199, or send email to: vld223 [at] Yahoo.com.
Video tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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The Hots Shots TV show was broadcast on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus). This show followed four competitors — three shooters and an archer — as they trained for, and competed in, matches around the country. One of the featured shooters was 3-gun and revolver ace Jerry Miculek. Here’s a sample from Episode 4 of Hot Shots. In the video below, Miculek explains how he prepares for a major match — in this case the Steel Challenge, held each year in Piru California. Jerry explains: “Put in some practice, but don’t get burned out. You don’t want to have your best runs on the practice range. I want to try to wait for the match… staying a little hungry for a good performance.”
NBC Sports Network assembled some of the best shooters on the planet for the Hot Shots series: Jerry Miculek, K.C. Eusebio, Patrick Flanigan, and Randy Oitker. Miculek, an expert with rifle, pistol, and shotgun, has won 14 International Revolver Championships and is a top 3-Gun competitor. Our Friend K.C., formerly with the USAMU, was the youngest USPSA Grandmaster at the age of 12. Patrick is a world-class shotgunner who has re-defined the world of exhibition shooting. Randy is a true phenom with bow and arrow, having won over 17 National Pro Archery titles.
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Can you hit an egg at 600+ yards? We mean hit it reliably — not just by luck. To do that you’ll need good shooting skills and a very accurate rifle. How accurate? Well, a chicken egg is, on average, 2 1/4 inches (57 mm) long and 1 3/4 inches (44.5 mm) in diameter. That means to hit an egg (on demand) at 600 yards, you’ll need a rifle capable of 1/3-MOA accuracy (or better). Forum member DukeDuke has such a gun, and he demonstrated its egg-busting prowess in this short video. DukeDuke’s rifle is chambered in 6BRX (a 30° 6BR Improved) and it’s loaded with DTAC 115gr bullets pushed by Alliant Reloder 17. In the video, the eggs are placed on top of poles set 616 yards from the firing line.
As you can see in the video, that’s a heck of a nice shooting range where DukeDuke scrambled those eggs at 616 yards. The range is situated just outside of Lake Jackson, Texas. As for the gun… the action is a Rem 700 SA BDL, blueprinted and bedded in a Rem/HS Precision PSS stock. The 31″ barrel is 1:8″-twist Broughton. The “P3″ on the barrel stands for Porter’s Precision Products, Lake Jackson, TX. The rifle was built by Kenneth Porter. The load was 33.5 grains of RL-17 at 2950 fps, with 115gr DTAC bullets touching the lands. Cartridge OAL is 2.400″.
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Do you own an RCBS electronic powder dispenser? If you do, take the time to watch this ChargeMaster Tuning video from 8541 Tactical. This nine-minute video demonstrates how to re-program your Chargemaster to “tune” the dispensing process. The video shows the exact programming procedures to follow, step-by-step. Some folks want a faster powder flow — others tune their machines for a more reliable drop (with fewer over-runs). One cheap and popular modification is to insert a 1″-long section of a McDonald’s straw in the ChargeMaster’s silver dispensing tube. This works surprisingly well to smooth kernel drop and prevent “clumping” that can cause an over-charge. The McDonald’s straw MOD is demonstrated in this video, starting at the 6:22 mark.
Large-Diameter Dispensing Tube Mod
Many folks have had success with the McDonald’s straw modification demonstrated in the above video. However, some folks would like to get even better flow performance (with virtually no clumping). Forum Member Frank B. has come up with a new option using a brass hose fitting with a large outside diameter. The hose fitting (with tape wrapped around the barbed nose section) is placed inside the RCBS dispensing tube (be sure to have some kind of wrap — you don’t want metal-on-metal). Here’s how the unit looks installed:
Frank tells us: “I have found a cure for the over-throw problem. It is a simple 1/4″ barbed hose nipple. I wrapped a couple layers of tape around the barbed end for a snug fit. With this in place, I have thrown 100+ charges of Varget without a single overthrow. The ID of the barbed end needs to be approximately 3/16″ to feed a steady flow. This works because of the larger ID at the drop.”
Frank adds: “You can see in the photo that the powder is not stacking up. You can watch it drop one grain at a time. Hope this will take the aggravation out of your case charging.” For best performance with this brass fitting MOD, we recommend de-burring and smoothing out the front edge of the brass fitting over which the kernels drop.
Brass fitting mod suggested by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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At the Canadian F-Class Championships last week Shiraz Balolia won the F-Open Individual Championship, and Shiraz was a member of the winning Team USA America Match Team, and the winning USA 4-man F-Open team. If you want to see how a world-class F-Open pilot works his magic, check out this video. After a discussion of scoring, the shooting starts at the five-minute mark in the video. Under the guidance of wind coach Gary Rasmussen, Grizzly Industrial President Shiraz Balolia shoots 100-7X for ten shots, following Gary’s wind calls.
NOTE: Shiraz shot with wind coaches in the team matches at the Connaught Range in Canada. However, during the individual championship matches he had to make his own wind calls, dialing windage corrections or holding off as he saw fit. It wasn’t easy. Shiraz told us: “It’s been a while since I had 5 1/2 minutes of left wind on my .300 WSM and was holding left 3+, then holding right 3 1/2 just two shots later!”
Pair Firing in Canada
According to Shiraz, “One thing that was different about the Canadian Nationals was that they were pair fired. One shoots, other scores, other shoots, and so on. With this slower, pair method of shooting, every shot can be in a different condition. Unlike the USA Nationals where a guy can rattle off the whole string in less than 4 to 5 minutes in one or two conditions, you would be hard pressed to get off two or three shots each in five minutes. This is the way the next World Championship is going to be shot — with pair firing.”
Watch Gary Call the Wind and Shiraz Shoot 100-7X for Ten Shots
For best viewing, click the YouTube settings button to watch in 720p or 1080p HD (high definition).
Team Shooting with a Coach
Shiraz tells us: “We come across a lot of shooters who have never shot under a coach. This video was produced to give shooters a basic understanding of shooting with a coach and the importance of releasing a good shot. In a team setting, you basically leave all the decision-making to the coach and aim where you’re told to aim. I’ve worked with Gary many times and it shows in the comfort level we have with each other. The coach plots the shots or a plotter advises the coach of any grouping that is not centered.”
At the Canadian Championships, Shiraz used a .300 WSM. In this demo video, Shiraz was shooting a 7mm F-Open rig: “My .284 Shehane rifle takes about 10 to 12 shots to settle down and that is probably why we made several scope adjustments while shooting. It is a great caliber and a step up from a straight .284 Winchester. The wind was relatively calm, but sometimes that slow wind with subtle angle changes can be very deceiving.”
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There’s a chap in Poland named Łukasz Pietruszka, who is a bonafied “Wizard of Wood”. Lukasz handcrafts unique custom stocks, selling them through his LP Gunstocks company. Many of his most eye-catching stocks are for airguns (particularly Field Target rifles), but he also produces fine stocks for rimfire and centerfire hunting rifles. Lukasz is a master carver who includes exquisite details on many of his stocks. Some of these designs, crafted from exotic hardwoods, raise stock-crafting to an art form.
Check out the figure on this Turkish Walnut stock by Łukasz Pietruszka.
You can see a variety of Lukasz’s stocks in a video sampler. If you’re a fan of fine wood, you’ll love this video. So pull up a chair, grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy this 16-minute video interlude.
Watch Video in High Definition
NOTE: We recommend you view this video in high definition, in wide screen format. To do this, start the video, then click on the gear-shaped icon at the lower right-hand corner of the video frame (it’s located just to the right of the clock icon). If you have a fast internet connection, select 720P or 1020P from the pop-up menu. (1020P is the highest resolution.) Now select theater mode or full-screen mode using the small icons on the lower right of the frame.
Radical ‘Shockwave’ from LP Gunstocks
Here is a truly amazing bit of craftmanship. The images below show a one-of-a-kind Shockwave stock created by Łukasz for a Steyr Field Target air rifle. Over the top? Perhaps… but you have to admire the imaginative design and exquisite worksmanship.
Video find by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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Watch this video guys. You’ve got to see this Automated Target Trailer to believe it. The clever folks at MGM Targets have created the world’s first transportable, programmable, compressor-powered Electro-Pneumatic Pop-Up Steel Target Trailer. And get this — it even reads credit cards and bills them wirelessly! We kid you not. Check it out:
Ten Automated Targets on Trailer
This is one impressive piece of target technology. MGM Target’s P2P Automated Range is the only trailerable, “Pay to Play” live-fire target system on the planet. It offers 10 separate plate targets each with its own electro-pneumatic lifter, so the plates can rise and lower in a infinite series of variations. MGM’s “Reaction Mode®” option runs as fast as the shooter can knock the targets down! The lifters are driven by an 45 PSI compressor (that’s also part of the trailerable package.)
Much like operation systems used at a DIY carwash, a stand-alone control pedestal houses the credit card reader, and the game selection keyboard. The shooter swipes his/her credit card, then chooses one of 10 pre-programmed game option / shooting scenarios. Shooters have several options including various timed games, Random Plates, and “Dueling Tree” for man-on-man competition.
Designed to be a cash generator for public and private commercial ranges, the system combines the proven technology and durability of MGM’s electronic ‘Pop Up’ trailer with a credit card reader/integrated cell phone system. This technology is presently in use at private ranges and military bases.
If you own your own range, this could be the ultimate toy… and you can get your shooting buddies to pay for it with their credit cards. (Default “pay to play” rate is $5 for 10 minutes.) Commercial inquiries are invited — contact MGM at 888-767-7371 for information.
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Production wood rifle stocks, both laminates and hardwoods, are commonly made with stock duplicating machines. Stock duplicators allow a stock-maker to copy a master design faithfully and efficiently. The video below, from Colorado rifle-maker Michael Cuypers, shows a stock duplicator (in automatic mode) cutting a piece of Turkish Walnut, for a mauser 98. This machine rotates the blank while a spinning vertical cutting head shapes and trims the blank. This duplicator manually tracks the shape/profile of the master blank. To make another stock, this process needs to be repeated, with the master in place. For more information about this duplicating machine, visit www.riflebuilders.com.
Watch Stock Duplicator in Progress
Future Technology: We are starting to see stocks made with CNC milling machines that cut stock profiles based on three-dimensional scans of master stock designs. However, the traditional mechanical duplicator process in the video is still most commonly used by most of today’s stock-makers.
Turkish Walnut — Where to Get a Beautiful Blank
The Bijou Creek video above shows a Turkish Walnut stock being roughed out. Turkish Walnut is some of the most beautifully figured wood available — but it can be pricy. If you are looking for this kind of ultra-high-grade wood, it makes sense to shop carefully. You’ll find a wide selection of Turkish Walnut blanks at the HunterBid.com website. Hundreds of selections are available at auction. Prices start as low as $150.00. The finest blanks sell for $1,000 or more. New blank selections are added to the website every other day. HunterBid.com is run by Chiron Inc., which is 100% owned by the Ergin family who are of Turkish origin. Chiron maintains warehouses in Dover, NH and Istanbul, Turkey.
Video find by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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Sturm, Ruger & Co. has created a series of 11 short videos that trace the history of firearms, from matchlocks to modern semi-autos. Ruger’s “History of the Gun” video series provides a fascinating look at firearms technology throughout the years. The host is Garry James, Senior Editor of Guns & Ammo magazine. Featured here is Segment 7 on Rifling. Other installments in the series are linked below.
Can you form a wildcat cartridge such as the 6 Dasher without expending primer, powders, and bullets? Absolutely. Using the hydro-forming method you can form improved cases in your workshop with no firing whatsoever, so there is no wear on your precious barrel. Watch this video to see how it’s done:
6 Dasher Case Hydro-Forming Demonstration:
Forum member Wes J. (aka P1ZombieKiller) has produced a helpful video showing how to form Dasher cases use the Hornady Hydraulic forming die kit. This includes a two-part die (body and piston), and a special shell holder. To form the case, you insert a primer in your virgin brass, top the case off with with a fluid (water or alcohol), then run the case up into the Hydro-forming die. A few stout whacks with a hammer and your case is 95% formed.
Hydro-Forming Procedure Step-by-Step:
1. Insert spent primer in new 6mmBR brass case.
2. Fill with water or alcohol (Wes prefers alcohol).
3. Wipe excess fluid off case.
4. Place case in special Hornady shell-holder (no primer hole).
5. Run case up into Hydraulic forming die.
6. Smack top piston of forming die 3-4 times with rubber mallet or dead-blow hammer.
7. Inspect case, re-fill and repeat if necessary.
8. Drain alcohol (or water) into container.
9. Remove primer (and save for re-use).
10. Blow-dry formed case. Inspect and measure formed case.
Wes achieves very uniform cartridge OALs with this method. He measured ten (10) hydro-formed 6 Dasher cases and got these results: two @ 1.536″; 2 @ 1.537″; and 6 @ 1.538″.
Three or Four Whacks Produces a 95%-Formed Case
With a Hornady hydro-forming die, hydraulic pressure does the job of blowing out the shoulders of your improved case. The process is relatively simple. Place a spent primer in the bottom of a new piece of brass. Fill the case with water, and then slip it into a special Hornady shell-holder with no hole in the middle. Then you run the case up into the forming die. Now comes the fun part. You gently insert a plunger (hydraulic ram) from the top, and give it three or four stiff whacks with a mallet (or better yet, a dead-blow hammer). Remove the plunger and you have a 95% formed case, ready to load.
Hornady supplies a shell holder made specifically for the hydro die; there’s no hole in the bottom of it. Just insert a spent primer into the primer pocket and you’re ready to go. The spent primer combined with the solid shell holder, keeps the water from seeping out of the primer pocket. The primer pushes out a little bit during this process, but it’s impossible for it to come out because of the way the shell holder is designed. The shell holder has a grove which allows the case to slide out of the shell holder even when the primer protrudes a bit.
Story tip from Body Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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Most of us can figure out how to zero our rifles at 100 yards. But do you know how to get a solid zero at long range — as far as 1000 yards? You need to know your ballistics, otherwise you may waste a lot of ammo “sprayin’ and prayin’”. You definitely need to know your exact muzzle velocity, within a few FPS. This is not as simple as it seems, because it is not uncommon for chronograph results to be off by 10 to 20 fps or more, just through calibration error. Accordingly, you may want to test with a pair of chronos and record the results from each (you may be surprised at the variances).
Video Illustrates Zeroing Process
The process of zeroing rifles for long range is covered in a new “Firearm Science” video from the NRA. This video features George Reinas, a popular competitor on the Top Shot TV Show. George demonstrates how to adjust his scope to compensate for bullet drop at long range. Our friend Dennis Santiago was involved in the making of this video, which was filmed at the Burbank Rifle & Revolver Club in Southern California. The video is narrated by the talented Jessie Duff, one of America’s best action shooters.
When zeroing at long range, you should first consult a good ballistics program. Select your baseline zero distance (such as 100 yards), then plug in the MV along with salient environmental factors: Altitude, Air Pressure, Temperature, Humidity. After you enter bullet BC, your ballistics program will calculate the drop to the target, expressed in MOA or Mils. Some programs will actually list the number of clicks up from your current zero.
You can print out the data from your ballistics solver as a “drop chart” that can be attached to your rifle stock. If you shoot at various altitudes you may need multiple drop charts.
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Todd Jarrett is one of the world’s best handgun shooters. A multi-time World Champion, Todd knows a thing or two about semi-auto pistols, particularly 1911s and 1911-based raceguns. Jarrett holds four World titles, nine National titles and has won more than 50 Area championships, as well as many other action shooting events. Jarrett is the only USPSA Triple Crown Winner and he holds four USPSA National titles: Open, Limited, Production, and Limited-10. Jarrett revealed in an interview that between 1988 and 2001 he shot about 1.7 million rounds during practice: “I had a gun in my hand for two hours every day for 10 years to develop my skill level”.
In the video below, Todd explains how to get the proper grip on your handgun, and how to employ a proper stance. We’ve watched many videos on pistol shooting. This is one of the best instructional videos we’ve seen. Todd explains, in easy-to-understand terms, the key elements of grip and stance. One very important point he demonstrates is how to align the grip in your hand so that the gun points naturally — something very important when rapid aiming is required. If you watch this video, you’ll learn valuable lessons — whether you shoot competitively or just want to have better control and accuracy when using your handgun defensively.
Related Article: Thumbs-Forward Shooting Grip for 1911s
“Shooting semiautomatic pistols using the thumbs-forward method really becomes useful … where speed and accuracy are both needed. By positioning the thumbs-forward along the slide (or slightly off of the slide) you are in essence creating a second sighting device: wherever your shooting thumb is pointing is where the pistol is pointing. This makes it incredibly fast to draw the pistol, get your proper grip, and press forward to the target without needing to hunt around for the front sight.” — Cheaper Than Dirt Blog, 9/13/2010.
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