October 26th, 2017

After 37 Shots — Claimed ‘World Record’ 5000-Yard Hit

5000 yard ELR world record .408 Cheytac Charlie Melton

An American shooter has hit a 40″ square steel target at a distance of 5000 yards (2.84 miles). This has been hailed as a New Long Range World Record. That’s quite a feat… except that it took thirty-seven (37) shots to put one .408-caliber bullet on the steel target (by a whisker). Is that really good shooting — or just a lucky impact? (The 37th shot just barely hit the right side of the 40″ x 40″ steel plate). This purported “Long Range World Record” was shot on September 30, 2017.

Should we acknowledge this as a meaningful record? Is this a noteworthy achievement or just a stupid stunt? Watch this video and decide for yourself:

ELR at 5000 Yards — World Record or Just a Lucky Shot?

5000 yard ELR world record .408 Cheytac Charlie MeltonThe Firearm Blog explained: “After shooting through three [10-round] batches unsuccessfully, Charlie Melton connected on target with his 7th shot in the fourth batch; round number 37. According to some number crunching … the bullet that finally connected on target was likely in flight for 12.816 seconds!”

Can this lucky shot really be claimed as some kind of meaningful record? Our friend Dennis Santiago, a Service Rifle competitor, and very brainy guy, observed: “Ha! 37th shot works out to a 2.7% probability of hit single-shot. That figure … fails the test of operational viability. Any hits are incidental within the beaten zone. It’s a gimmick.”

And William W., a retired military ordnance specialist, stated: “Dispersion and random Circular Error Probable (CEP) says if you fire enough shots, you will eventually hit what you are aiming at. It could have taken one shot or one hundred or more. Do the math for a radial error of .05 MOA at 15,000 feet and see what comes up. This is what we call ‘hardstand dispersion’ which only accounts for the gun and ammunition bias. Add environmental factors and CEP gets much bigger. A true test is a series of shots that strike the target, not a holy poke.”

Shot Made with Armalite AR-30 Fitted with 31″ Barrel Chambered for .408 Tejas
The lucky shot (37th attempt) was made by former SEAL Charlie Melton of Charlie Mike Precision. He was shooting an Armalite AR30 rifle with 31″ Pac-Nor barrel chambered for the .408 Tejas, a 50° wildcat based on the .408 Cheytac cartridge. The bullets were 420 grain solids launched at 3065 FPS.

Rifle: Armalite AR-30, with 6 oz. Jewell trigger
Barrel: 31″ Pac-Nor chamber for .408 Tejas
Bullet: 420 Grain Monolithic (solid) Bullets – 3,065 FPS
Bi-Pod: Shots Gunsmithing Bipod for Armalite AR-X
Optic: Nightforce NXS 12-45x56mm fitted with Charlie TARAC Prism (see below)
Rings: Ivey Adjustable Scope Rings

5000 yard ELR world record .408 Cheytac Charlie Melton
Photo by Brad Stair of Performance Guns

Innovative Elevation Booster — Charlie TARAC Prism System

The Charlie TARAC Prism from TACOMHQ helps ELR Shooters hit very distant targets, by elevating the actual target image, effectively augmenting the scope’s internal elevation adjustment. The latest TARAC is an adjustable unit that adds up to 120 MIL of elevation to any scope. Current high-end scopes typically offer around 30 MIL of vertical. With the Charlie TARAC fitted to the scope’s front objective, you can add +120 MIL elevation.

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October 25th, 2017

Guns & Gear TV Features 6.5 Creedmoor Smith & Wesson Gas Gun

Ruger Redhawk Revolver

There are some interesting firearms featured this week on Guns & Gear, a syndicated TV show by the creators of Gun Talk Radio. This week, the Guns & Gear team tests a Smith and Wesson M&P 10 chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. This 6.5 CM version of S&W’s AR10-platform rifle is a leading choice for the PRS Gas Gun Division. The rifle shows good build quality and good accuracy with factory 6.5 Creedmoor ammo. If you’re a fan of the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge and want to see how it works in a gas gun, the M&P 10 is a smart option. S&W offers good customer service and a rock-solid warranty.

Ruger Redhawk RevolverAlong with Smith & Wesson’s 6.5 Creedmoor semi-auto rifle, Guns & Gear’s crew tests the new Ruger 8-Shot Redhawk revolver in .357 Magnum. That short-nosed wheelgun is one ugly beast, but greater ammo capacity is probably a good thing. Then the crew samples Springfield Armory’s XD handguns. There is also a fun feature on Crimson Trace Master Series Lasergrips. It’s cool to watch the laser beams track from gun to target (see below).

Here is a sneak preview of this week’s Guns & Gear Episode:

Why We Love Wheelguns
We were intrigued by the 8-shot Ruger Redhawk, being avid revolver fans. When we go out plinking with handguns, a classic revolver is often our first choice. This Editor’s S&W model 617 ten-shot .22 LR revolver probably has more rounds through it than all my other handguns. And I have a S&W Performance Center .44 Magnum that has shot 1″ groups at 50 yards (off a rest). I like full-sized revolvers for long sight radius and inherent accuracy of the fixed barrel, combined with the superb trigger break in single-action mode.

Guns & Gear Showtimes
Guns & Gear airs year-round on the Sportsman Channel on Wednesdays at 2:00 PM Eastern, Thursdays at 8:30 PM and 11:30 PM EST, Fridays at 2:30 PM EST, and Sundays at 4:00 AM EST. Find the Sportsman Channel at DirectTV Ch. 605, DISH Network Ch. 395, AT&T U-Verse Ch. 642, Spectrum Ch. 315, and your local cable provider. Watch past Guns & Gear episodes on Gun Talk Media’s YouTube Channel, or visit www.GunTalk.com.

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October 23rd, 2017

Howa HCR Rifle Named NRA Gun of the Week

Howa 1500 HCR Luth stock modular

We like Howa 1500-series rifles. The major attractions are the smooth-running action (feels almost like a custom), a very good two-stage trigger (way better than most domestic factory triggers), pretty decent barrels, and excellent fit and finish. Howa also offers a “mini” action that’s nearly an inch shorter than a conventional short action. The only negative is that the Howa actions have metric barrel threads. That complicates the re-barreling task for some gunsmiths who don’t have the right equipment. All-in-all the Howa 1500 series is still a fine value, offering excellent “bang for the buck”. If we were choosing a new varmint or hunting rifle, the Howa would be one of our first choices.

Given our positive outlook towards Howa rifles, we were pleased to see that American Rifleman just named the Howa 1500 HCR rifle (with scope package) as the NRA Gun of the Week. Check it out:

Designed for PRS “factory class” competition and tactical applications, the Howa HCR offers the smooth-running 1500 action with HACT 2-Stage trigger in a fully-adjustable aluminum chassis. The Howa’s MSRP is $1299.00, with “street price” around $990.00 in black or $1180 with Camo finish so the HCR is directly competitive with the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR). Available chamberings are: .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester.

Howa 1500 HCR Luth stock modular

Mounted on an AR-style buffer tube system, the Howa HCR utilizes the fully adjustable LUTH-AR MBA-3 stock. Length of Pull is adjustable from 12.5″ to 16.75″. Comb height is also adjustable to fine tune for scope height-over-bore. Weight with a 24″ barrel is 10.2 pounds (before optics), so this Howa HCR is lighter than many similar rifles on the market.

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October 22nd, 2017

Kirsten “Carves” Halloween Pumpkin with Volquartsen .22 LR

Halloween Pumpkin Kirsten Joy Weiss carving Volquartsen

Halloween is just nine days away… so we thought we’d share the seasonal spirit with our readers. In this video, our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss shows off her impressive trick-shot skills. To help celebrate the gouls/goblins holiday, Kirsten “carved” a pumpkin using her semi-auto Volquartsen .22 LR rifle. Kirsten had to send a lot of rimfire rounds into her orange friend. It turns out the little .22-caliber bullets worked better on exit than entry — Mr. Pumpkin’s posterior side was more impressive than his front. But overall, the effort turned out very well indeed, as you can see. Nice job, Kirsten.

On inspection, Kirsten found that the most impressive Jack ‘O Lantern face appeared on the reverse side of her pumpkin. The “exit wounds” were better than the entry holes.
Halloween Pumpkin Kirsten Joy Weiss carving Volquartsen

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October 16th, 2017

Pistol-Packing Pumpkin Carving with Taran Butler

Halloween pumpkinHalloween pumpkinIn just two weeks, October 31st, we celebrate Halloween (which was originally called All Hallows’ Evening). That means the neighborhood kids will be ringing doorbells as soon as it gets dark. No doubt some of you proscrastinators will wait ’til the last minute to set out your Halloween decorations and Jack-O-Lanterns. Don’t worry, in the video below, our friend, 3-Gun ace Taran Butler, shows how to carve a pumpkin in just about 5.5 seconds, give or take a tenth. Taran performed this feat of speed-carving with his trusty Infinity handgun, chambered in 9mm Major.

What Are the Origins of Halloween?
Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”), also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a yearly celebration observed on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints). According to many scholars, it was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain. Others maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has Christian roots.

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October 13th, 2017

Three Champs — Bernosky, Tubb, Whidden — Talk Wind Reading

wind reading John Whidden, David Tubb, Carl Bernosky

In this article, three great champions reveal their wind-calling secrets in video interviews. We first published this “Three Champions” story a few years ago. If you are a competitive shooter, and you want to learn more about reading the wind, you should watch all three of these interviews. These guys are among the best shooters to ever shoulder a rifle, and they have much wisdom to share.

At the 2010 SHOT Show, we had the unique opportunity to corner three “superstars” of High Power shooting, and solicit their wind-reading secrets. In the three videos below (in alphabetical order), Carl Bernosky (10-Time Nat’l High Power Champion), David Tubb (11-time Nat’l High Power Champion and 7-time Nat’l Long-Range Champion), and John Whidden (5-Time Nat’l High Power Long-Range Champion) shared some of the wind-doping strategies that have carried them to victory in the nation’s most competitive shooting matches. This is GOLD folks… no matter what your discipline — be it short-range Benchrest or Long-Range High Power — watch these videos for valuable insights that can help you shoot more accurately, and post higher scores, in all wind conditions.

We were very fortunate to have these three extraordinarily gifted champions reveal their “winning ways”. These guys REALLY know their stuff. I thought to myself: “Wow, this is how a baseball fan might feel if he could assemble Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams in the same room, and have them each reveal their hitting secrets.” Editor’s Note: These interviews were conducted before all three men won their most recent National Championships so the introductions may list a lower number of titles won. For example, John Whidden won back-to-back LR Championships in 2016 and 2017/

Top photo courtesy Rifleman’s Journal.

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October 12th, 2017

How to Avoid Misfires with .22 LR Rimfire Ammunition

rimfire Ammo 22 plinkster cheaper than dirt

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

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

rimfire Ammo 22 plinkster cheaper than dirt

Image courtesy Cheaper Than Dirt Shooters Log.
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October 9th, 2017

Mental Marksmanship — Visualize Success for Better Scores


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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October 7th, 2017

F-Open Nat’l Champ Talks Wind Reading and Cartridge Choice

Lodi Wisconsin F-Class National Championship Ian Klemm Robert Mead Jay Christopherson F-TR F-Open Borden Brux
“A big congratulations to Bob Mead (1582-68X), who utterly destroyed the competition in tricky wind conditions to take the Gold.” — Jay Christopherson, 2017 F-Open Nationals Second Place.

In this 15-minute video, Team Lapua’s Erik Cortina interviews Robert Mead, the 2017 LR F-Open Champion. Robert (Bob) discusses his wind reading techniques with Erik, and the newly-crowned F-Open Champ explains how to set up a reliable wind zero. Bob also discusses cartridge choices in F-Open. He admits the straight .284 may be the tightest grouping 7mm cartridge, but he has used the 7mm RSAUM for a decade now. He believes the RSAUM may the best cartridge for 1,000 yards in 7mm, all things considered (grouping ability, ballistics): “To me it’s a light magnum, it’s capable of high speed, yet burns less powder than your regular magnums. [But] it’s a finicky cartridge — you’ve got to do a fair amount of load development.”

Every serious F-Class competitor should watch this video start to finish:

Credit Erik Cortina for video and the photo of Robert Mead with trophy above.

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October 6th, 2017

The Firing Sequence — What Happens Inside Cartridge & Chamber

Sinclair International Reloading Videos

Sinclair International has produced an eight-part video series on metallic cartridge reloading, hosted by Sinclair’s former President Bill Gravatt. The entire series can be viewed (for free) via Sinclair’s YouTube Channel. While this set of videos starts with the basics, it covers many more advanced aspects of reloading as well. Accordingly, both novice and experienced reloaders can benefit from watching the eight videos. We think everyone should watch Video No. 2. Introduction to Reloading Safety, which provides guidelines for safe reloading practices.

Watch Firing Sequence Video

We also strongly recommend Video No. 4 to readers who are getting started in reloading. This “How Things Work” segment covers the sequence of events inside the chamber (and barrel) when the cartridge is fired. The video includes helpful graphics that show what happens to the primer, powder, cartridge, and bullet when the round is fired. The video also illustrates “headspace” and explains how this can change after firing. We think this video answers many common questions and will help reloaders understand the forces at work on their brass during the firing process.

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October 5th, 2017

Building a Precision Tactical Rifle — Step by Step on Video

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

How is a modern, metal-chassis rifle built? This very cool video from Masterpiece Arms answers that question. The nicely-edited video shows the creation of a Masterpiece Arms tactical rifle from start to finish. All aspects of the manufacturing process are illustrated: 3D CAD modeling, CNC milling of the chassis, barrel threading/contouring, chamber-reaming, barrel lapping, laser engraving, and stock coating. If you love to see machines at work, you will enjoy this video…

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

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October 5th, 2017

Protect Yourself — Know the Gun Laws in Your State

Gun Law Book states Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Colorado U.S. Law Shield

Do you really know (and understand) the gun laws in your home state? Do you know when the use of deadly force is allowed? Do you know if the “Castle Doctrine” applies in your state or whether your state has a “Stand Your Ground” law in effect? If you ever carry a firearm for self-protection, you should know the answer to these and other important questions. Thankfully there are some excellent, up-to-date resources that explain the gun laws in five key states: Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas. These gun law treatises, published by U.S. Law Shield, provide the text of important gun laws, along with expert commentary from experienced attorneys. The books provide clear explanations of gun laws in easy-to-understand language.

Gun Law Seminar Programs in Eleven States
In addition to its Gun Law books (offered for five states), U.S. Law Shield conducts legal seminars in 16 states across the country: AR, CO, FL, GA, KS, MD, MO, NC, NJ, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, and VA. At these Gun Law Seminars, you can ask questions and get state-specific answers from Law Shield Independent Program Attorneys in each jurisdiction. CLICK HERE to find a seminar in your state.

Law Shield Gun Law Texas book Amazon

Law Shield Gun Law Florida book Amazon

Colorado Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 394 pages
ISBN-10: 069264072X
ISBN-13: 978-0692640722
Colorado Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

Florida Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 329 pages
ISBN-10: 0692680217
ISBN-13: 978-0692680216
Florida Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

Oklahoma Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 415 pages
ISBN-10: 0692758046
ISBN-13: 978-0692758045
Oklahoma Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

Pennsylvania Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 378 pages
ISBN-10: 069268011X
ISBN-13: 978-0692680117
Pennsylvania Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download

Texas Gun Law: Armed and Educated
Paperback: 382 pages
ISBN-10: 0692506500
ISBN-13: 978-0692506509
Texas Gun Law: Armed and Educated Digital Download


Video Reviews Texas Gun Laws Book:

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October 4th, 2017

Amazing See-Through Suppressor Video from Smarter Every Day

Suppressor silencer acrylic see-through Soteria Thunder Beast Arms Zak Smith Smarter Every Day

Popular YouTube Channel Smarter Every Day recently released a fascinating video featuring rifle suppressors with see-through acrylic sleeves. The team filmed shots through the suppressors using ultra-high-speed (110,000 frame per second) cameras. When played back in super-slow-motion, you can see the flame propagate through the suppressor and the bullet move through each baffle before it exists the muzzle. Notably, you can see different internal flame effects depending on the baffle design. Watch the results in the video below — it’s mesmerizing:

See Through Suppressor in Super Slow Motion (110,000 fps) — Click Arrow to Watch:

Soteria Suppressors designed the unique see-through suppressors.
Suppressor silencer acrylic see-through Soteria Thunder Beast Arms Zak Smith Smarter Every Day

Suppressor silencer acrylic see-through Soteria Thunder Beast Arms Zak Smith Smarter Every Day

The Science of Suppressor Design

Commentary by Zak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms Corp.

Suppressor silencer acrylic see-through Soteria Thunder Beast Arms Zak Smith Smarter Every DayThe high speed transparent silencer video is pretty neat. It certainly demonstrates, to some extent, the violence that happens inside centerfire rifle suppressor when firing.

At Thunder Beast Arms Corp. we have carefully studied the forces/pressures operating inside suppressors. The “uncorking” pressure when the bullet exits the muzzle is typically in the 8,000 to 15,000 psi range, but some combinations of cartridge and barrel length can extend this up to the 25,000 psi range. Job #1 of a suppressor designer is to build a suppressor that won’t explode. Job #2 is to build one that quiets down the muzzle report significantly. Doing that well, with the minimum amount of material, is the tricky part.

Suppressor design is both art and science, and we approach our R&D from three sides: experience, experimental testing, and computation.

There are a lot of opinions about how to design a quiet suppressor. Many of these are based on preconceived notions of how suppression “should work”. These theories may or may not work when built and tested in the real world. Where the rubber hits the road is experimental testing. I would say that a majority of knowledge about “How to design a quiet suppressor” comes from building hundreds or thousands of prototypes and testing them with good equipment in a cogent experimental process. Some of those theories pan out, but many of them do not.

Thunder Beast Arms Tests its Suppressors in the Lab and in the Field.
Suppressor silencer acrylic see-through Soteria Thunder Beast Arms Zak Smith Smarter Every Day

Scientific Software Aids Design
We have also made a large investment in computation fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite-element analysis (FEA) software and use it in addition to other computer-model analysis to look at the physics that occurs inside the suppressor. This type of analysis gives information about material effects that is pretty much impossible to get any other way. Even so, the computer cannot tell you how to design a
suppressor, and the results must always be checked and compared to reality.

Suppressor silencer acrylic see-through Soteria Thunder Beast Arms Zak Smith Smarter Every Day

Thunder Beast Arms Corporation was started ten years ago with the goal of producing the best precision rifle suppressors. Our current ULTRA series in .223, 6.5 mm, .308, and .338 calibers provides industry-leading suppression performance with very light weight.

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October 3rd, 2017

Young Gun — Hunter the Talented 7-Year-Old Trigger Puller

Boy junior Pennsylvania rifle shooting father son Dasher
Hunter always wears proper ear protection. Here he got behind an empty rifle on closed range.

Here is a great “feel-good” family story from Forum Member Jonathan T. (aka “sniperjwt”). Father Jonathan explains how he introduced his son Hunter to precision shooting, at the ripe young age of six. Hunter took to shooting like a fish to water. Now seven years old, Hunter is shooting half-MOA (or better) and hitting steel at 800 yards with ease. What’s more he even finished second in a St. Thomas, Pennsylvania Ground-Hog match — beating nearly all the ground-ups (including his Dad) in the process.

You’ve got to watch this video — It’s priceless. This kid has talent.

Like Father, Like Son — Teaching My Boy How to Shoot

by Jonathan T.
“Focus on your trigger… squeeze it easy”. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it 1000 times. Not because he isn’t listening, but just so he knows how important it is.

Last year, at the age of six, Hunter started showing a lot of interest in going with me to the local shooting range. Of course I was happy to let him tag along and see what it was all about. Most fathers hope that their son will pick up the same interest so they can share something that they both enjoy. Teaching a kid to shoot can be very difficult, but also very rewarding.

The first couple of times I just let him watch and I would go over the safety aspects of shooting and things to watch out for. After several range sessions he was no longer content with just watching and wanted to get in on the action. My first concern was recoil. He was not a big 6-year-old and I did not want to get him flinching because we all know how hard that is to overcome. I started him with a .223 Rem with reduced loads. I haven’t been concerned with where he hits on the target. In fact I often wait until he is done shooting to even look at the target. My focus is on making sure his mechanics are right and his trigger control is what it should be. But as you can see, he learned fast…

Hunter’s first really good group, shot at age 6. This is six shots at 100 yards with a Savage .223 Rem.
Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

After a couple range sessions, he wanted to shoot in one of the local groundhog matches I attend. I told him we would practice some more and if I thought he was ready we would go to the last match of the year in 2016. I ended up letting him shoot in that match, but he struggled a bit as it is a timed event. Overall he was happy with how he did and I was happy he enjoyed himself. Over the winter we continued to practice and he continued to improve each time we went out. In March he turned seven years old, but he is still a little guy weighing only 42 pounds. When this year’s 2017 matches started, he was very excited that I had told him he could go to all of them when he didn’t have baseball games. The first several matches he still struggled a little but he was getting better each time.

Seeing how well Hunter shoots, one Forum member joked: “I’m gonna try Hunters under-the-armpit position. If it works for him….”
Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

Half way through the summer when we were at a match at Shippensburg Fish & Game, Hunter had an “AH-HA” moment. He was shooting at 320 yards and his first two sighters were good so I had him move over to the score side of the target. The first two shots were in the 9 Ring, but he jerked his third shot and it went over into the sighter side of the target. He did not know where it went and I just told him to get another one and shoot again. After he got his target back he looked at me and said “someone shot my target”. I asked him why he said that and he pointed to a bullet hole and said someone shot it right here. I explained to him that on his third shot where he jerked the trigger that is where it ended up. He looked at me and then the target and it was as if a light-bulb went off. Bingo — he finally understood why I kept telling him to focus on the trigger and squeeze it easy.

Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

After the match I let him shoot at 540 yards with the gun we mostly use in matches — a Savage Model 12 F-Class .223 Rem with a Sightron 10-50x60mm scope. Our “go to” load is Varget in Lapua brass with Berger 73gr bullet. He hit the plate just high of middle on the first shot and then commenced to put 12 shots within about a 4″ circle on the plate. After about shot 8 or 9 he asked if he could shoot at something else because he couldn’t even tell where he was hitting as the plate was splattered with hits.

Hunter Hammers Steel at 800 Yards
About a month later we were at the same range after a match and he wanted to shoot some more so I let him try his hand at 800 yards. At that distance there is a large 4’x4’ plate and he thought he was going to shoot at it but I told him I wanted him to shoot at a smaller 8″x11″ plate instead. I dialed in the elevation and told Hunter to get comfortable and “send it when he was ready”. He thought his first shot missed because he did not hear it immediately (as he would at shorter ranges). I told him that he did hit the target and to load another one. The next three were all hits.

Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

On his fifth shot I had him hold just off the left edge because a wind flag suggested it would be blown to the right. But that was not the case, so shot five was a miss. We corrected the hold and he put the last four rounds on the plate. Hunter made 8 hits out of 9 shots on a 8″x11″ target at 800 yards! Not bad for a 7-year-old with a .223 Rem. Oh, and yes, the one miss was my bad wind call.

Hunter Beats the Big Boys at St. Thomas Ground Hog Shoot
The Groundhog match at St. Thomas is one of our favorite matches. Well, at this September match, Hunter would turn some heads for sure. At 100 yards he shot a perfect 100 with three Xs. I told him after he shot the 100-yard relay that his trigger control was not real good and if he wanted to do good at 200 and 300 that he would have to do better. At 200 yards there was a night-and-day difference in his trigger control. It was as close to perfect as I have seen him do. He ended up with a 48-1X at 200. At this time we both had 98 scores but he had 4X and I had 5X. I was joking around with him before the 300-yard relay and he even had me text my wife and tell her we were tied.

Hunter son kid boy shooter 6-year-old

After I scored 44 in my 300-yard relay I told him, “Buddy, if you get a 45 or better you will beat me” his response was, “OK Dad, I’ll do that”. After some sighters, his first shot was a 10. I again told him that the trigger control was perfect and to do four more just like that. Hunter’s second shot was a 10. Now I got excited. His third shot was low and right in the 9 ring. Fourth shot was high and left in the 9 ring. Now I am shaking in excitement. Last shot was an 8 low and right cutting the hole of the third shot. I quickly did the math in my head and when he looked up at me I was grinning from ear to ear. I asked him if he knew what score he shot and he replied that he did not. I said a 46, and now he had a huge smile on his face. I let him come over to the spotting scope and look through it and when he got done I gave him a big hug and told him how proud of him I was.

Hunter’s final score was a 144-4X. Only one other competitor (of any age) had a higher class score — 146-3X. So, at seven years of age, Hunter earned a second place finish! But it turned out his superb shooting created a problem…

After the match was over I was called into the club office. Apparently a Junior Shooter had never finished this high and they were unsure how to handle awards since Juniors aren’t charged an entrance fee. I told them that I didn’t care how they handled it. I was just happy that he did as well as he did and he sure was happy that he beat Daddy. In fact Hunter’s score of 144-4X is the 4th highest score of the year in that class. To top things off this was the first time I had let him load his own cartridges from start to finish (under my supervision of course).

Father and Son Spending Quality Time Together
As much as I enjoy Hunter’s interest in shooting, I love the fact that we have something we can spend quality time doing together. At the table after the match, Hunter was sitting next to a well-respected shooter everyone calls “Cowboy”. This gentleman leans over and says “Son, you don’t know how lucky you are, the only thing I did with my dad was work in the garden”. My hope is that one day he will know how lucky he is… Right now I know how lucky I am to be able to spend time with my son doing something we both enjoy.

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October 3rd, 2017

How to Hold a 1911 Correctly — Tips from Todd Jarrett

Todd Jarrett

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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October 1st, 2017

2017 USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals on Shooting USA TV

USPSA Multi-Gun Championship Nevada boulder city SFC Daniel Horner
Here Todd Jarrett nails three steel targets and a pop-up orange clay bird. Watch full video below.

If you are a fan of 3-Gun competition, tune in to Shooting USA this week. The latest episode, which airs Tuesday October 3 and Wednesday October 4, features the 2017 USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals in Boulder City, Nevada. You can see many of the nation’s top 3-Gun shooters attacking some very challenging stages with pistols, rifles, and shotguns. CLICK HERE for TV Schedule.

USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals
Image from Sierry Whiskey Video from 2017 USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals.

Multi-gun competition has evolved considerably since it started 30 years ago. The firearms are more sophisticated, the optics are better, and the stage times are much faster. Still, the challenge remains the same: How fast can you shoot multiple targets, with the score determined by speed and accuracy? For the best in the sport, the answer is very fast indeed, but Match Director Pete Rinsing has a few tricks up his sleeve to challenge competitors on never-before-seen courses of fire at the USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals held in April 2017.

Todd Jarrett highlights from 2017 USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals. Check out 300-yard prone rifle at 00:30, and blazing rifle-pistol-shotgun transitions at 00:50:

Most people compete in the Tactical Division, including 8-time Champion, SFC Daniel Horner of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. Competitors in that division are not allowed a bipod, so many competitors utilize structures on the stage to stabilize their long gun. Regardless of division, the USPSA Multi-Gun Nationals is a true test of manipulating three different weapons, under pressure, on run-and-gun courses of fire. And the pressure is definitely on when a National Championship is on the line.

USPSA Multi-Gun Championship Nevada boulder city SFC Daniel Horner

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October 1st, 2017

Help for Hunters — Video Explains Terminal Ballistics

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

It’s hunting season, and we know many readers will be pursuing a prize buck this fall. But how will your hunting load perform? That depends on shot placement, energy, and terminal ballistics.

You’ve probably heard the term “Terminal Ballistics”. But do you really know what this refers to? Fundamentally, “Terminal Ballistics” describes the behavior of a projectile as it strikes, enters, and penetrates a target. Terminal Ballistics, then, can be said to describe projectile behavior in a target including the transfer of kinetic energy. Contrast this with “External Ballistics” which, generally speaking, describes and predicts how projectiles travel in flight. One way to look at this is that External Ballistics covers bullet behavior before impact, while terminal ballistics covers bullet behavior after impact.

The study of Terminal Ballistics is important for hunters, because it can predict how pellets, bullets, and slugs can perform on game. This NRA Firearm Science video illustrates Terminal Ballistics basics, defining key terms such as Impact Crater, Temporary Cavity, and Primary Cavity.

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

External Ballistics, also called “exterior ballistics”, is the part of ballistics that deals with the behavior of a non-powered projectile in flight.

Terminal Ballistics, a sub-field of ballistics, is the study of the behavior and effects of a projectile when it hits its target.

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September 29th, 2017

Hunting 101: How Hunters Can Stabilize Their Shooting Positions

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand
For hunters in a tree stand, SFC 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. This provides a rock-solid position when shooting from a stand.

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestandTeam USA Olympian and ISSF World Cup Winner SFC Michael McPhail is one of the world’s best smallbore rifle shooters. He is also an avid hunter, who enjoys harvesting game with centerfire rifles. In a USAMU video, 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):

USAMU Michael McPhail position hunting prone kneeling treestand

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.

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September 23rd, 2017

Laser Sights — Not Just for Night-Time

Training with laser sights crimson trace

Are laser sights really useful on a handgun? Yes, and not just in low-light situations. That said, most folks who own laser-equipped handguns do not train effectively with the laser. For many gun-owners, the laser is just a toy, a gimmick that is used a few times and then ignored. Those gun-owners miss out on some of the most important advantages of a laser sights. Go to Training with Laser Sights Page.

Crimson Trace has produced a series of training videos that may change your mind about lasers. If you shoot a handgun you should watch these videos. They show how laser sights can help diagnose and correct common handgun-shooting errors (such as flinching and anticipating the shot). The videos also show how to improve sight alignment and get your sights on target quickly. Watch the video and you’ll see how the laser can improve your aiming and your trigger control.

Training with Laser Sights, Full 12-minute Video
(Covers Muzzle Awareness, Aiming, Trigger Control)

This video show how training with laser sights can: 1) improve muzzle direction awareness; 2) aid with sight alignment; 3) speed up target acquisition; and 4) improve trigger control. The video also demonstrates the obvious advantage of acquiring and maintaining sight picture in low light conditions. Numerous firearms experts are featured in the video while they are shooting and training at Arizona’s Gunsight Academy.

Training With Lasers — Trigger Control
Training with laser sights helps diagnose and improve trigger control errors by showcasing the importance of “surprise break” and follow-through. Lasers quickly diagnose errors such as recoil anticipation, jerking the trigger, and breaking the wrist.

Muzzle Awareness — All-Important for Safe Shooting
Training with laser sights improves a shooter’s muzzle awareness. A daylight-visible laser shows the gun operator where his or her muzzle is pointing at all times. This helps teach proper safety practices.

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September 22nd, 2017

The Science of Annealing — Facts Uncovered, Myths Busted

Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

The science behind annealing during the manufacture of new cases is well-established. What happens after that, when we repeatedly reload and anneal those same cases, has always been somewhat of a “dark art”. To help separate scientific fact from fiction, the creators of the Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) Annealer machine have conducted detailed studies of cartridge brass. The AMP Team’s studies offer some remarkable insights, while disproving a number of myths about annealing. Will annealing tighten your groups? The evidence of these studies shows it could.

The test results are fascinating. The team compared brands of brass, sectioning brass to examine both alloy composition and thickness from case mouth to case-head (bottom). They also examined how carbon build-up affects next tension. And they determined how brass changes over multiple loading cycles. They even did a series of bullet-pull tests to analyze factors affecting neck tension. Here are some of the key subjects in the reports:

Brand by Brand Analysis — How the cartridge brass alloy varies among different manufacturers.
Bullet Release and Neck Tension — Tensile Bullet-Pull tests show factors affecting neck tension.
Neck Tension and Carbon — How carbon build-up inside the neck affects “neck tension”.
SS Tumbling and Hardness – How tumbling with stainless media affects brass hardness.
Case Cleaning (Ultrasound and Tumbling) — How case cleaning affects annealing.
Multiple Loadings — How brass performs when annealed every reload over 10+ cycles.

Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

You really should read the reports — there are some fascinating revelations. The AMP team made longitudinal sections of various cases to show different case wall thicknesses and head geometry. These examples also show how the hardness of the case varies from the case mouth to the case-head. Both virgin and used, annealed cases were examined.

Bullet-Pull Tests — Using advanced tensile test equipment, AMP experimented with different combinations of dies, reloading sequences, and neck hardness to ascertain the best practice.
Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

Carbon Inside Your Case-Necks May Be a GOOD Thing
AMP’s testers found carbon in necks can be beneficial: “Even with identical interference fit and neck hardness, as the carbon layer increased (microscopically), the force to draw the bullet decreased. It would appear the carbon acted as a lubricant. Interestingly, the [pull force] standard deviation also improved, i.e. the case to case variation in the force required to draw the bullets decreased.”*

Read the Full Test Reports

The AMP team’s objectives were to clarify some misconceptions on just what annealing does and does not do, and also to establish the best practices for consistent results. They have consulted with three independent certified metallurgy laboratories to produce some definitive information. So far, the Stage 1 and Stage 2 reports have been released. The studies include a report on the general physical properties of cartridge brass, including grain structures, hardness scales, time/temperature annealing information, and what can cause de-zincification.

The FULL REPORTS, including comprehensive appendices, are found here:

Stage One: https://www.ampannealing.com/articles/40/annealing-under-the-microscope/

Stage Two: https://www.ampannealing.com/articles/42/annealing-under-the-microscope/

Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

Examining Different Brands of Brass — What the Tests Revealed

Is Lapua brass harder than Norma? Is Lake City better than Remington? You’ll find answers to these and other questions in AMP’s annealing studies. One of the key findings in Stage 2 of Amp’s research is that brass from different manufacturers does vary in the distribution of material in the walls of the case.

Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

Stage Two Conclusions:

— Different brands of the same cartridge cases can require different annealing power settings due to differing case wall thickness in the neck and shoulder region. The greater the mass of brass to be annealed, the greater the power requirement. Lot to lot variation within the same brand can occur for the same reason.

— The bushing die used in this set of tensile bullet pull tests gave significantly more consistent results than the standard neck die with expander ball.

— Cases should be annealed every reload in order to get the best repeatability.

Case Variations: Brand to Brand, and Lot to Lot

Here is a sample from AMP’s test report:

Analyzing Different Brands of Brass
In our Stage One report, we demonstrated that there is insufficient variation in alloy composition between brands to account for the variations we experience when annealing different brands of the same cartridge case. We therefore sought to confirm that it is the mass of brass to be annealed which accounts for the difference. Below are sectioned samples of four different brands of .223 Remington cases.

Both the Lapua and Norma neck walls are 314* microns (0.01236”) at the mouth. The Lapua neck wall thickens to 348 microns at the junction of the neck and shoulder, and the Norma neck thickens to 325 microns. Through the shoulder, however, the walls of both cases thicken to 370 – 380 microns. Once past the shoulder, they both taper back to 314 microns, before starting to thicken again, moving towards the case head.

The Lapua case requires AMP Program 47 to anneal correctly. It is the heaviest of the four cases tested through the shoulder region. The Norma case, which is only slightly lighter through the same region, needs Program 43.

The Remington case is very similar to the Lapua and Norma cases in the neck region, but it actually thins fractionally through the shoulder and front section of the body. The AMP program setting for Remington 223R is P32.

The Lake City case is the thinnest throughout of all four samples. It only requires Program 28.

The above samples clearly demonstrate that the mass of brass to be annealed is critical to the power requirement for correct annealing.

To see how the AMP Induction Annealing Machine works, watch this video:

* However, in Stage Two of AMP testing, the testers experimented with clean, carbon-free necks with dry lube. There was some indication of greater tensile pull consistency with dry-lube, but AMP plans to do more testing.

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