June 30th, 2019

Video Shows How to Replace Remington 700 Trigger

Remington 700 trigger replacement Timney installation

Many Remington 700 rifle owners swap out the factory trigger. This is not a difficult task, but you need to follow the proper procedure so you don’t damage any important parts during installation, and so that you don’t interfere with the operation of the bolt and safety. This Do-It-Yourself video from Brownells leads you through step by step how to safely and correctly replace your Remington 700 trigger. This installation video covers the common methods used to install most of the popular after-market Rem 700 triggers. Importantly, the video also shows how to function test after installation, and how to make sure your safety is working properly.

Many Rem 700 owners fit Timney triggers to their rifles.
Remington 700 trigger replacement Timney installation

Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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June 26th, 2019

GUN INFO 101 — Headspace Defined and Illustrated

Ultimate Reloader Brownells headspacing go gage gauge barrel gunsmithing
This illustration shows headspace measurement for the popular .308 Winchester cartridge, which headspaces on the shoulder. Image copyright 2015 Ultimate Reloader.

In this Brownells Tech Tip, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains what headspace is and why it’s one of the most critical measurements for nearly all firearms. Even if you’re an experienced rifle shooter, it’s worth watching this video to refresh your understanding of headspace measurements, and the correct use of “GO” and “NO-GO” gauges.

Headspace Definition
In firearms, headspace is the distance measured from the part of the chamber that stops forward motion of the cartridge (the datum reference) to the face of the bolt. Used as a verb, headspace refers to the interference created between this part of the chamber and the feature of the cartridge that achieves the correct positioning. Different cartridges have their datum lines in different positions in relation to the cartridge. For example, 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition headspaces off the shoulder of the cartridge, whereas .303 British headspaces off the forward rim of the cartridge.

If the headspace is too short, ammunition that is in specification may not chamber correctly. If headspace is too large, the ammunition may not fit as intended or designed and the cartridge case may rupture, possibly damaging the firearm and injuring the shooter. (Source: Wikipedia)

Forster Headspace diagram belted magnum rimfire

Go gauge gage NOGO no-go field gaugesHeadspace Gauges
Headspace is measured with a set of two headspace gauges: a “Go” gauge, and a “No-Go” gauge. Headspace gauges resemble the cartridges for the chambers they are designed to headspace, and are typically made of heat-treated tool steel. Both a “Go” and a “No-Go” gauge are required for a gunsmith to headspace a firearm properly. A third gauge, the “Field” gauge, is used (as the name implies) in the field to indicate the absolute maximum safe headspace. This gauge is used because, over time, the bolt and receiver will wear, the bolt and lugs compress, and the receiver may stretch, all causing the headspace to gradually increase from the “factory specs” measured by the “Go” and “No-Go” gauges. A bolt that closes on “No-Go” but not on “Field” is close to being unsafe to fire, and may malfunction on cartridges that are slightly out of spec. (Source: Wikipedia)

To learn more, read Brownell’s longer article Headspace Gauges and How to Use Them. Among other things, this explains the relative lengths of “Go”, “No-Go”, and “Field” gauges. The “Field” is actually the longest: “The GO gauge corresponds to the SAAMI (Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute) minimum chamber length, while the FIELD gauge usually matches the maximum chamber depth, or slightly less. NO-GO gauges are an intermediate length between minimum and maximum, that, technically, is a voluntary dimension. A firearm that closes on a NO-GO gauge and does not close on a FIELD gauge may not give good accuracy and may have very short cartridge case life from the ammunition re-loader’s standpoint.”

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June 20th, 2019

Lyman Case Trim Xpress Gear Review with Video

Lyman case trim xpress trimmer brass cartidge should indexing adjustable trimming

Great Case Trimmer for under $130.00
We think Lyman’s new Case Trim Xpress will be a “game changer” for hand-loaders. If you’re like most of us, trimming your brass to length has been a dull, laborious and time-consuming process unless you shell out $500 or more for a top-of-the-line unit. Lyman has broken that mold by releasing an accurate, easy-to-adjust, shoulder-indexing, carbide-bladed, and SPEEDY case trimmer for under $130.00! Given its outstanding performance for the price, the Lyman Case Trim Xpress is a definite winner.

Lyman case trim xpress trimmer brass cartidge should indexing adjustable trimming
CLICK photo for full-screen view of Case Trim Xpress unit.

Lyman Case Trim Xpress “Hands-On” Review

Review by F-Class John
Case trimming can be one of the most boring and tedious steps in the reloading processes. This is largely because of outdated tools that either require manual turning, clunky pilot systems, or difficult adjustments. In order to overcome these obstacles, you might have to spend $500 for some premium systems. But that has changed with Lyman’s introduction of the new Case Trim Xpress. This bright orange wonder delivers premium trimming performance at a budget price. Available for around under $130, this trimmer offers an easily-adjustable cutting head plus a smart, shoulder-indexing bushing system to improve consistency and speed up the trimming process.

Video Shows How Carbide Cutter Head Adjusts Easily with Index Wheel

The Lyman Case Trim Xpress comes with the main trimming unit, power cord, and 10 bushings in a storage case. These 10 orange bushings let you trim more than 50 popular cartridge types (yes including the 6mmBR, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win of course). Set-up was simple and straight-forward. Install the bushing you need, turn the unit on and slowly push a piece of brass towards the cutting head. Once the brass is fully depressed, you can start adjusting the dial one click at a time until the case makes contact. Then you start making progressive adjustments and trim until you reach your desired length. The process is so simple that it’ll leave you wondering how you ever used anything else.

Lyman case trim xpress trimmer brass cartidge should indexing adjustable trimming

Once the machine was adjusted for our brass, we were amazed at how easily and quickly cases could be trimmed. The unit is fairly hefty, so we found it pretty stable just sitting on the bench. If you wish, the unit can also be screwed down for added stability, using the holes in the lower “wings” of the orange housing. There’s a dial adjustment on the side that controls cutter rotation speed (RPM). In our testing, the trimmer worked well across its entire RPM range. These means you can do fast, quick cuts or make slow and precise cuts, as you prefer. And you can adjust the cutter speed to the type of brass you are trimming.

As for trim length control, the adjustment dial has good, positive clicks and the trim length holds very constant. Even after trimming 80+ pieces of brass, we observed trim consistency held within .001″.

Lyman case trim xpress trimmer brass cartidge should indexing adjustable trimming

One of the things that sets the Case Trim Xpress apart from most trimmers is how it indexes off the shoulder. This ensures that case lengths from mid-shoulder to end of neck are identical for every case (whether they have been sized or not). This is critical for consistent reloading results and will help ensure that every case is optimally positioned in your chamber. A cutting system that indexes off the shoulder is arguably better than a system than merely trims to a given case OAL for both fired and unfired cases.

Another great feature is that this trimmer can be mounted flat on a bench-top, on the underside of a shelf, or even on a vertical wall surface (if oriented horizontally). You can choose different mountings because the clear plastic shroud that catches brass shavings can rotate. This allows the shavings exit port to be orientated to any point on the circle. We liked being able to choose various mounting configurations. Employing little-used wall or shelf space opens up precious bench-top real estate.

Summary — Outstanding Performance for the Price
Overall the Case Trim Xpress is hard to beat for the price. It is one of the few power trimmers we can recommend without hesitation. The machine trims quickly and accurately, the cutter-depth control is precise and easy to use. And the variable speed control is great. Of course we do wish the machine could also de-burr and chamfer brass. But of course that would add quite a bit to the cost, and would probably require a completely different cutting system. For trimming-to-length only, Lyman’s Case Trim Xpress is probably the best trimmer currently available for under $200. This unit should definitely be on the short list of anyone shopping for a variable-speed motorized trimmer.

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June 19th, 2019

How to Watch Mirage and Trace with a Spotting Scope

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

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

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

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June 15th, 2019

Go Big This Summer — As in Fifty Caliber Big

50 BMG cartridge FCSA

34th Annual Fifty Caliber Championship Coming Soon
The 34th Annual Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA) 1000/600 Yard World Championship will be held July 4, 5 and 6, 2019 at the Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico, a beautiful facility. The FCSA Championship takes place right after the 2019 King of 2 Miles event, running June 29 – July 1, 2019.


Match Information | Match Registration | Photo Gallery

Fifty Caliber shooter association fcsa national championship raton whittington NM new mexico
Looking downrange at the 1000-yard line. Note the fan and air hose for cooling the barrel.


Competitor’s POV perspective from a FCSA Match. Note the mirage.

By James Patterson
This article first appeared in Sinclair International’s Reloading Press Blog

For a number of years I drooled over every .50 BMG caliber rifle that I came across, I read every article I could find and determined that ‘Someday’ I was going to have one. Well I finally took the plunge and in 2002 I purchased my first ‘Big 50’. Almost immediately I joined the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA) and I have since come to immensely enjoy shooting this challenging cartridge and associating with some of the best people on earth.

Dierks 50 BMG Light Class

FCSA Founded in 1985
FCSA Fifty Caliber ShootersThe FCSA, started in 1985, is an international organization with members in 22 countries. Headquartered in Monroe, Utah, the FCSA has a membership of approximately 4000. While the FCSA provides a service to military and law enforcement with research and instruction as well as an active liaison in both communities, the primary charter of the FCSA is the promotion of the sporting use of the 50 BMG cartridge and its wildcat derivatives. It has been the FCSA and its members who have lead the way in refining .50-caliber cartridges, rifles, and 1000-yard plus shooting know-how. Members enjoy a quarterly magazine, a suppliers directory, an active website with great photo galleries, and access to literally the best repository of 50 BMG information on the planet. If you are interested in Mr. John Browning’s big 50, you should seriously consider joining the FCSA.

Fifty Caliber shooter association fcsa national championship raton whittington NM new mexico
This interesting .50 Cal rig features a liquid-cooled barrel and unusual scope mounting arrangement.

While all aspects of the 50 BMG are promoted by the FCSA, the primary sport is 1000-yard competition. In 2010, there were 16 separate official matches scheduled across the USA, and many more ‘fun-shoots’. This sport is an incredible mix of the science, skill, and art of extreme long range accuracy. I had been actively shooting rifles and hunting for well over 40 years and had always considered myself a “rifle man”. But I had no idea of the learning curve that [faced me] when I first joined the FCSA.

FCSA 50-caliber shooting association

Historically, 1000-yard shooting has been primarily a benchrest activity but in the past several years we have seen a tremendous interest in ‘Hunter Class’ competition; this is shot prone using a bipod. This form of long range match shooting is excellent preparation for long range hunting. The required skill set [for ultra-long-range hunting] is guaranteed to humble even the most experienced rifleman.

FCSA 50 caliber Fifty Cal world championships

Cost of Big-Bore Shooting
Is owning and shooting a 50 BMG caliber rifle expensive? Relatively speaking yes, but one must put it into perspective. Rifles may run from $2500 to $8000, maybe even more for a top of the line custom rifle. A premium long-range scope will set you back $1800 to $3500. And while excellent .50 BMG commercial ammo is available, it runs $5 to $6 per round! Most serious shooters start reloading for the rifle as soon as practical, not only for the economics of reloading but also for the ability to fine tune custom ammo for their specific rifle. It’s a very rare match that is won shooting commercial ammo.

BAT 50 BMG Action

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June 12th, 2019

Scope Smarts — Five Videos That Explain Optics Topics

Optics rifle scope sight-in video parallax scope mounting

Rifle accuracy is pointless unless you can see your target and aim precisely. That’s why good optics are so important for precision shooting — from 50 yards out to a mile and beyond. Today’s premium scopes can be very expensive — you’ll see optics costing $3000 or more on many competition F-Class and PRS rifles. This article covers important “Riflescope Knowledge”, including how to adjust for parallax, and how to properly sight-in your scoped rifle. In addition there’s a helpful video defining Minute of Angle (MOA) plus two videos showing how to mount scopes.

Rifle Sight-In Process — Start to Finish

Here Ryan Cleckner shares his process for sighting in a scoped rifle. This helpful video covers the full process: bore-sighting, 25-yard shot confirmation, shooting groups, making adjustments at 100 yards, and finding mechanical zero. Looking for more valuable rifle instruction? Then check out Ryan Cleckner’s book, Long Range Shooting Handbook.

How to Adjust for Parallax

Most precision rifle scopes have parallax adjustment, but what is it and why do you need to adjust it? In this Shooting USA video, John Paul of JP Rifles defines parallax and explains why you need to set parallax correctly for the distance to your target. The video then show how to adjust parallax correctly. a process which should start with the scope’s ocular focus.

Understanding Minute of Angle (MOA)


MOA scope milradian minutes angle ryan cleckner

In this video, Ryan Cleckner explains the measurement term “minute of angle” (MOA) and how to use MOA adjustments on your scope to compensate for bullet drop at varying distances. MOA is an angular measurement, used often in long range shooting, that is 1/60th of one degree of a circle. One MOA represents 1.047″ at 100 yards and 10.47″ at 1000 yards. Want to learn more? Read Ryan Cleckner’s article Understand and Using Minute of Angle.

How to Mount a Riflescope

When mounting a scope you want to use quality rings, and ensure that the scope is leveled properly. In addition, you need to adjust the fore/aft position of the scope so that eye relief is correct. Ideal scope position may be different when shooting from the bench vs. shooting prone. In this Shooting USA video John Paul of JP Rifles reviews scope mounting basics.

Scope Mounting on a PRS Precision Rifle

Optics rifle scope sight-in video parallax scope mounting

Here the MasterPiece Arms (MPA) Academy experts show how to mount a scope on a PRS-type tactical rifle. Special considerations for tactical shooters are discussed. The video also shows recommended tools for scope mounting operations.

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June 6th, 2019

Neck-Turning Brass on Milling Machine with Erik Cortina

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Here’s the super-speedy way to turn case-necks. Our friend Erik Cortina figured out how to turn his match cartridge case-necks using his milling machine. Erik told us: “While in Raton, Mid Tompkins told me that he turns his brass on milling machine. He said he could do about 500 in two hours, so I decided to try it.”

Erik fitted a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turner to the mill, and he used a modified 21st Century case holder to secure the brass. As you can see from this video, Erik was very successful with the process. The tool spins at 1500 rpm, turning Lapua 6.5-284 cases that have been necked up to 7mm.

Video Shows Eric Cortina Neck-Turning Cases with Milling Machine:

Cartridge Brass: Lapua 6.5-284 necked up to 7mm
Lubricant: Lithium grease inside and outside of neck
Neck-Turner: Nielson Pumpkin running at 1500 RPM

It’s hard to argue with Erik’s results. Here are his turned Lapua cases, which have neck-wall thickness consistent to two ten-thousandths of an inch. Think you could do better turning manually?

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Some of Erik’s Facebook friends had questions about this process:

Q: Who makes the shell-holder?

Erik Cortina: I did! The shell-holder you can get from 21st Century. I Tig-welded a punch as a handle.

Q: I love the idea of working smarter not harder! Any galling issues? What are your mitigation techniques?

Erik Cortina: No issues. I use lithium grease in spray can. Makes a foam that I dip necks into.

Q: Shouldn’t either the case or the cutter be floating to allow most precise neck turning?

Erik Cortina: Up until [I tried this] I believed the same thing. I was going to build a floating case holder but decided to try rigid setup on a few cases before I built it. Results were great. Neck thickness doesn’t vary more than .0002″, which is same as when I was doing it with floating case holder on the lathe.

Q: Any problems with the Pumpkin changing the cut as it heats up?

Erik Cortina: No — there were no issues with that.

NOTE: Erik Cortina is a very skilled machinist who custom-crafted fittings used for this process. This kind of neck-turning with a milling machine may not be for the everyday hand-loader!

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina

Nielson “Pumpkin” Neck-Turner

Don Nielson Pumpkin neck turning toolThe circular orange cutting fixture on Erik’s Milling Machine is a Don Nielson “Pumpkin” neck-turning tool. Don designed this tool to be used by hand or with power. The Pumpkin boasts an eccentric mandrel that allows the cut to be adjusted easily in precise .0001″ increments. Benchresters like this as it allows for very precise control of cut depth and neck-wall thickness.

Jason C., commenting on Erik’s YouTube video stated: “I have a couple of those too. Nothing cuts like a Pumpkin. [Don Nielson] made the best cutter tool ever.” These are still available if you ask around. The photo shows Don with a case-holder mounted to a power assembly. A talented machinist and tool-maker, Don has also been a successful short- and long-range benchrest shooter, who has won NBRSA 600-Yard Championships. CLICK HERE to read about Don’s success with the 6.5×47 Lapua.

cartridge brass neck turn neck-turning milling machine Erik Cortina
Nielson Neck Turner with carbide mandrel. Photo Courtesy Butch’s Reloading.

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June 3rd, 2019

Powder Dispensing Perfected — The Amazing AutoTrickler V3

powder dispenser scale automatic autotrickler V3 version 3 ultimate reloader Adam McDonald
The NEW AutoTrickler V3 features an all-new motorized powder dispenser, an updated AutoTrickler base, and mobile APP control via Bluetooth.

If you want to throw powder with single-kernel precision, the AutoTrickler is perhaps the most advanced and efficient system you can buy. And now Adam MacDonald’s AutoTrickler is better than ever, with the release of the third generation AutoTrickler V3. This new AutoTrickler V3 has many major hardware enhancements, plus integrated software that lets you control all operations with your mobile device.

How fast does it work? CLICK HERE to visit the AutoTrickler website and watch the embedded video. You can see a 47.50 grain charge thrown and weighed in under 16 seconds.

powder dispenser scale automatic autotrickler V3 version 3 ultimate reloader Adam McDonald

Once you place the empty cup on the scale, the AutoThrow will automatically cycle to drop the bulk charge, and then the AutoTrickler ramps down to finish precisely within +/- 0.02 grains (about one kernel) of your target weight. The device’s inventor says: “With a little practice and fine tuning, you can expect to charge 50 cases to the kernel in less than 15 minutes.”

New Powder Thrower Increases Speed and Uniformity
The big hardware upgrade with the AutoTrickler V3 is the motorized powder dispenser. The V3 AutoThrow has been completely re-engineered with motorized operation in mind. Instead of modifying an off-the-shelf powder measure, the AutoTrickler V3 employs an original CNC-machined motorized thrower that cycles smoothly with a wider variety of powders.

powder dispenser scale automatic autotrickler V3 version 3 ultimate reloader Adam McDonald

Ball bearings hold the rotating aluminum drum against a nylon and rubber seal which ensures that fine powders like CFE223 will not leak internally and no manual adjustments are needed. The V3 AutoThrow will reliably providing a bulk starting charge within 0.1 grains for the AutoTrickler to finish to the kernel.

Software Functionality — APP Control via BlueTooth
With any smartphone or tablet supporting Bluetooth 4.0, you can set your target charge weight, increment the target on the fly, or manually operate the motors for easier setup and cleaning. The FREE AutoTrickler V3 APPS for iOS and Android will soon be available on the Apple App store and Google Play store.

powder dispenser scale automatic autotrickler V3 version 3 ultimate reloader Adam McDonald
Photo courtesy UltimateReloader.com.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, New Product 2 Comments »
June 1st, 2019

Not Just a Guy Thing — 23% of U.S. Gun Owners Are Female

Women & Guns magazineHere’s an interesting statistic — according to an NSSF survey, the percentage of gun owners who are female has increased dramatically since 2005. Seven years ago (in 2005), just 13% of U.S. gun owners were women. By 2012 that number had risen to 23% — a huge increase in less than a decade.

The vast majority of first-time female gun buyers acquire a handgun for defensive purposes. However, the statistics also show that many new female gun owners are also getting involved in sport shooting and/or competitive shooting. That’s a good thing.

In the video below, NRA News host Cam Edwards interviews Celia Bigelow, who has written about the rise of gun ownership among ladies on the Townhall.com website. Celia explains why American women are arming themselves, and why the Second Amendment safeguards a key fundamental right.

Celia Bigelow Fox News gun controlCelia writes: “As the number of proposed gun-control measures increase rapidly across the country, the amount of women purchasing guns is increasing even faster. While folks in the media are blaming the spike on the guns-and-glam advertising, women — including myself — have a different reason. It’s self-defense, stupid. [T]he logic is simple: Women want to protect themselves and their family, and guns are the great equalizer between sexes[.]”

Celia notes that liberals propose that women defend themselves using “call boxes, ball-point pens, whistles, buddy systems … as long as it isn’t very sharp and doesn’t have a trigger.” Celia is not convinced: “As a young, 22-year-old, 140-lb woman, I know that call boxes, pens, and whistles won’t do much good if [I am] ever faced with a crazed man twice my size. What frustrates these male elitists the most is that women are arming themselves, and it’s working.”

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May 31st, 2019

Lyman Case Prep XPress Review with Video

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

Product Review by F-Class John
Case preparation is critical for precision reloading. One must trim cases, debur/chamfer case mouths, clean necks, spruce up primer pockets and do other important tasks. Complete case prep can involve many separate processes, each requiring its own tools. With each of those tools comes additional cost as well as the need for more storage and bench space. To make case prep easier, faster, and more convenient Lyman created the Case Prep Xpress. The Case Prep Xpress, introduced a few years back, combines up to five prep stages into one well-built, stable, versatile unit. Watch this video to see the machine in action:

The Case Prep Xpress features five (5) independently-turning spindles all with the common 8/32 thread. This allows you to attach multiple tools supplied with the unit PLUS many other screw-on prep tools. For our testing we started out using a variety of the 12 included tools and found they cover the majority of case prep tasks. Lyman supplies deburr and chamfer tools, pocket uniformers, reamers and cleaners, as well as an assortment of neck brushes.

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

The deburr and chamfer tools worked really well, creating beautiful bevels all while leaving a nice flat edge across the top of the neck which is critical for accuracy and brass life. We found the primer pocket cleaning tool did a good job, but for truly clean pockets we recommend using the primer pocket uniforming tool, which very efficiently removes even hard residues.

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test videoLyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

The benefit of having interchangeable heads is that you can add your own accessories. We like to use a bore brush with bronze wool wrapped around it for use inside our necks. This worked perfectly once we screwed it in. In fact, we couldn’t think of any 8/32-threaded accessory that wouldn’t work well on this machine. Another great design feature is how all the accessories are oriented straight up. This allows for perfect visual alignment of your cases onto the tools which is critical — especially when performing cutting operations such as primer pocket uniforming.

Along with the five power stations there are six female-threaded storage spots on the sides where tools can be placed to ensure they don’t get lost. We like this feature since there will be more than five accessories you want to use and having them easily available is a great feature. You can keep 11 tools right on the machine (5 on top, 6 on the sides). That way you don’t have to dig through storage bins.

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

The Case Prep Xpress has a removable front bin to hold brass shavings, and there are two circular trays on either side of the bin. In front is a long tray that holds the provided brush. This makes it relatively easy to clean off brass shavings and other debris from case prep processes.

SUMMARY — Versatile Case Prep Xpress Is A Great Value
For the money, Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress is tough to beat. It performs multiple tasks well while being stable and easy-to-use. Yes there are some multi-spindle prep centers that offer variable or fast/slow RPM spindles while the Lyman’s spindles are all fixed RPM. (See, e.g. the RCBS Brass Boss). However those other systems don’t include all the convenient on-board storage of the Case Prep Xpress, and are more expensive. The Lyman Case Prep Xpress sells for $130-$150 “street price” ($129.59 at Amazon). This makes the Lyman Case Prep Xpress a great value — it offers great versatility while saving space and saving money compared to buying five or more separate, powered tools.

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May 29th, 2019

Super Shoot Top 20 GEAR — BATs, Kriegers, and Lots of Tuners

Kelbly Kelbly's super shoot benchrest 100 yard 6mm 6PPC
Firing line at 2019 Super Shoot. Photo courtesy Armeria Regina.

What components do world-class, short-range group benchrest shooters use? BAT actions, Krieger barrels, and Bix’n Andy triggers (and Jewells) are the components of choice. And barrel tuners are now widely used by the top shooters. As for powder, Vitavuori N133 is still the choice of virtually all top competitors. And yes the 6PPC definitely rules the roost. Every Top 20 shooter at the 2019 Super Shoot shot a 6PPC. Every one. Read on to learn more about the Top 20 Equipment used at this year’s Super Shoot.

Kelbly Kelbly's super shoot benchrest 100 yard 6mm 6PPC
Click Image to view FULL-SIZE Equipment List.

We recently reviewed the Top 20 Equipment List for the 2019 Super Shoot at the Kelbly’s Range in Ohio. This Top 20 List reveals the gear choices for the 13.5-lb Heavy Varmint Class and the 10.5-lb Light Varmint/Sporter Class (20 entries for each division). Here are notable gear choices for Top 20 Competitors (both divisions) at the 2019 Super Shoot:

Actions: 14 of 20 HV and 16 of 20 LV/SP shooters used BAT actions. So there were 75% BATs for both classes combined.
Barrels: 10 of 13 listed HV barrels and 9 of 12 listed LV/SP barrels were Kriegers. Overall, of the barrels identified in the Top 20 Equipment lists, 76% were Krieger. That’s dominance! [Note: We have been informed that entries with no barrel-maker listed may have been Bartlein barrels.]
Triggers: Notably 10 of 20 HV triggers were Bix’n Andy — 50%. For the other class, 7 of 19 listed triggers were Bix ‘N Andy. All others were Jewells.
Tuners: In HV Class, 12 of 20 shooters used tuners, mostly Bukys. 11 of 20 LV/SP shooters had tuners. Overall that is 57.5% tuner usage for both classes combined.

Barrel Tuner Gene Bukys Shadetree Engineering

Cartridge: For both classes, every single Top 20 competitor shot the 6PPC. ‘Nuf said.
Powders: 19 of 20 HV Shooters used Vihtavuori N133. Likewise 19 of 20 LV/SP shooters used VV N133, with one not reporting. That is total dominance for N133.

Kelbly Kelbly's super shoot benchrest 100 yard 6mm 6PPC

Bullets: There was a wide selection of bullets used in both classes. Custom bullets by “boutique” bullet makers were certainly favored by Top 20 shooters. Sta Moy 65s were popular, as were Hottenstein 68s and Bart’s bullets among others.

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May 29th, 2019

Borescopes & Borecams — What They Reveal Inside Your Barrel

Hawkeye borescope POV lens
Lyman BoreCam borescope digital endoscope

Hawkeye borescope POV lensEvery serious shooter shoot have a borescope — whether an classic optical unit, or the newer type with digital camera and viewing screen, such as the Lyman Borecam.

A quality borescope or Borecam lets you look inside your barrel to check the effectiveness of your cleaning and determine how the barrel is wearing. To learn how a borescope can help you diagnose barrel issues, you should read a Rifle Shooter magazine feature story, What the Eye Can See.

In this article, writer Terry Wieland explains how to inspect for defects in new barrels, how to recognize different kinds of fouling (in both barrels and brass), and how to spot throat erosion in its early stages. Terry uses a Gradient Lens HawkEye BoreScope. The current generation of HawkEyes can be attached to a still or video camera to record digital images of your bore. The most interesting part of the article is on the second page. There, author Wieland provides photos of various types of internal flaws that can appear in barrels. This will help you spot pitting, excessive land wear, rust damage, and damage from corrosive primers.

Wieland notes that BoreScopes aren’t just for barrels: “The borescope has other uses as well. It can be used to examine the interior of a cartridge case to look for the beginnings of a case separation or to examine the interior of a loading die that is giving you trouble. When you consider the number of tubular objects that play such an important role in rifle shooting, it is a wonder we were ever able to function without such a method of studying bores.”

This Gradient Lens video shows how to correctly borescope your barrel:

Lyman BoreCam
CLICK HERE for REVIEW of Lyman Borecam.

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May 23rd, 2019

Super Shoot Underway in Ohio at Kelbly’s Range

Kelbly Kelbly's Super shoot supershoot Ohio benchrest PPC group light heavy varmint

The 47th Annual Firearms Industry Super Shoot is underway right now at the Kelbly’s Range in North Lawrence, Ohio. This major annual event, held May 21-24 this year, attracts hundreds of the world’s top short-range benchrest-for-group shooters. At the Super Shoot, you’ll find the world’s best on the long firing line, including legends like Tony Boyer and Lester Bruno, and many other Hall of Fame PPC pilots.

Kelbly Kelbly's Super shoot supershoot Ohio benchrest PPC group light heavy varmint

The weather has been cold and blustery this year. But the group sizes have still been impressively small. Photo from Kelbly’s Range in Ohio courtesy Berger Bullets.

Past Super Shoot Highlights Video (Watch This — It’s Very Well Done!)

If you’ve never attended the Super Shoot before, and don’t know what to expect, Capstone Precision Group President Bill Gravatt offers some insights into this great event:

Super Shoot — What It’s All About

The excitement and anticipation leading up to a Super Shoot can be hard to explain to those who haven’t been to one. Every year, some shooters arrive at the Super Shoot a week early to dial in their rifles, learn wind conditions for the range, and enjoy the camaraderie of their fellow shooters. As the match draws closer, campers and RVs fill the area behind the range, and shooters stake out turf all over the property with their reloading and cleaning equipment setups.

Many shooters choose to load cartridges in the main barn directly behind the 60-bench firing line, while others decide to work in pop-ups, campers and other outbuildings around the facility. Benchrest shooters tend to load in small batches, and some most load cartridges between each match. Many shooters clean their rifles after each match, while others sometimes go two or three matches between cleanings, depending on the number of rounds they fire.

Another part of high-level benchrest competition that will amaze first-time attendees is the quality and amount of equipment benchrest shooters use. Just in front of the shooting benches and the targets, range flags of all kinds sprout up, from the typical “daisy wheel” flags to very sophisticated velocity indicators that show varying wind intensity. Shooters adjust their flags to align with the particular target in front of a specific bench, just slightly below the path of the bullet but still partially visible in the high-powered scopes.

Kelbly Kelbly's Super Shoot Benchrest IBS Tony Boyer Light Varmint Heavy

The rifles represent a variety of actions, usually custom, with heavy benchrest barrels by various barrel makers. The most popular cartridge used is the 6mm PPC, but occasionally you will run into someone using a Grendel necked to 6mm or 6mmBR-based case. Rifle rests used are typically heavy tripods or plate rests. You see a lot of Sinclair rests, Farley rests, SEB Rests, and a variety of others, including a few homemade rests. Bags are typically Edgewood, Protektor, and now some Lenzis.

Super Shoot — Runners, Pickers and the Pursuit of Perfection
The techniques vary between shooters, and they are interesting to observe. Some shooters “run” their targets and will shoot a quick sighter and then run all 5 shots as fast as they can before conditions change. Others are “pickers” and shoot each shot carefully, going back and forth between the record target and the sighter target to verify wind conditions and bullet drift. These guys will sometimes shoot up to 10 sighters and use the full seven minutes. Both styles of shooting work and many shooters use both techniques depending on the match conditions[.]

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May 23rd, 2019

Savage Offers Expert Advice on Updated Website

Savage Arms Expert Advice website tech tips

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

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

1. Advanced Optics — Stan Pate

Savage Arms Expert Advice website tech tips

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

2. Gun Motion Management — Patrick Kelley

Savage Arms Expert Advice website tech tips

3. How to Mount a Scope

Savage Arms Expert Advice website tech tips

4. How to Sight In a Rifle

Savage Arms Expert Advice website tech tips

5. How to Adjust the Savage Accutrigger

Savage Arms Expert Advice website tech tips

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May 23rd, 2019

AR-Platform Rifle Cleaning Advice

AR15 cleaning procedure

AR-platform rifles run dirty — very dirty. The gas system blows carbon and powder residues back into the action and into the bolt carrier group. That’s why you need to clean your ARs regularly, and you have to pay special attention to the nooks and crannies in the bolt and bolt carrer. The majority of AR failures we’ve witnessed have been from a combination of lube, carbon, and tiny brass shavings that collected in the ejector recess and the extractor spring recess. After that, plain carbon build-up on the bolt can be a gun-stopper too. And you need to keep the barrel extension clean too.

If you’re new to the (dirty) world of ARs, here are two helpful videos from the folks who make Froglube. That line of cleaners/lubes is pretty good stuff, though not our first choice for all AR lubrication and cleaning chores. But these videos do provide many helpful tips. They show the disassembly process and highlight the “problem areas” to which you must pay special attention.

How to Clean Your AR-15 Bolt Carrier Assembly

How to Clean Your AR-15 Lower Receiver Assembly

NOTE: Froglube also makes a video showing AR upper, chamber, and barrel cleaning. There are practices shown there that we do NOT recommend. Nor do we recommend Froglube products for bore cleaning. We think there are more effective cleaning products.

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May 22nd, 2019

Fort Benning Multi-Gun Challenge on Shooting USA TV

Fort Benning Multi-gun 3-gun challenge

Action shooting fans should check out this week’s Shooting USA episode featuring the Fort Benning Multi-Gun Challenge. This is the only 3-gun match where civilians can run-and-gun on an active U.S. Army installation. The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Georgia hosts a very tough and challenging multi-gun matches, one of the best 3-Gun events of the year.

Fort Benning Multi-gun 3-gun challenge

On this episode you can watch top competitors move through difficult stages that test strength and agility as well as marksmanship. Today’s Episode runs at 9:00 pm Eastern and Pacific, 8:00 pm Central.

Multi-gun competition tests shooters’ skills with rifle, pistol, and shotgun, running stages “on the clock”. You must be fast AND accurate to successfully complete a course of fire. Check it out:

Getting Started in 3-Gun Competition

Thinking of getting started in 3-Gun competition? In this NSSF video, Top Shot Finalist Chris Cerino reviews the hardware you’ll need for multi-gun matches. Chris talks about carbine configurations — including barrel, handguard, and optics options. In reviewing shotguns, Chris discusses shotshell caddies and the high-capacity extended tubular magazines now available. Cerino also demonstrates pistol techniques and explains the key features of a belt/holster rig for 3-Gun competition.

3-Gun Champ Offers Advice on 3-Gun Gear and Safety

SFC Dan Horner, a past winner of the 3-Gun Nation Championship, is one of the country’s best multi-gun competitors. A USAMU stand-out for many years, Horner now shoots (as a civilian) for Team SIG Sauer. Here Horner offers some tips on 3-Gun hardware and safety procedures:

Adapting to New Equipment
There’s a lot of hardware in 3-Gun Competition. To succeed you need mastery of ALL the tools: “New competitors should know how to operate all their equipment. They should spend time getting familiar with their equipment. I spend exponentially more time ensuring the gear is right than I do shooting.”

Dan Horner 3-Gun USAMU
Dan Horner USAMU 3-gun ssg

Safety in 3-Gun Competition
Everyone practicing with shotguns, rifles and pistols must keep safety as top priority. “Obviously, safety is the No. 1 priority, but after that, the focus should be on developing specific skills,” noted Horner. A good three-gunner must not only be fast, but he or she must also be accurate and be able to adapt to a wide variety of shooting positions. And strategy is involved too. Successful 3-gunners develop a ‘plan of attack’ for each stage.

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May 19th, 2019

Flying with Firearms — What You Need to Know

Massad Ayoob, Flying, FAA, TSA, airport security

Shooting Industry Magazine has released a helpful blog article concerning airline travel and firearms. Written by well-known shooting instructor, gun writer (and part-time police officer) Massad Ayoob, the article covers key points travelers must understand before carrying firearms into an airport zone. In his article Flying with Firearms, Ayoob warns travelers that “State gun laws change frequently” and that “our country is a 50-piece patchwork quilt of gun laws”.

Here are some of the recommended resources gun-toting travelers should consult before they head to any airport in the United States:

Flying with Firearms — Familiarize Yourself With The Laws
by Massad Ayoob
State gun laws change frequently, including reciprocity on concealed-carry permits even in the gun-friendly “red states.” Here are a few sources I recommend for you and your customers.

Online, the best and most up-to-date source of gun laws I’ve found is www.Handgunlaws.us. For smart phones, the best app I can recommend is Legal Heat (www.mylegalheat.com).

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are the authoritative sources on flying with firearms.

The controlling TSA regulation can be found at www.tsa.gov, search “Firearms.” The FAA’s controlling regulation is 108.11. To view the FAA’s controlling regulation, visit www.govinfo.gov, click “Advanced Search” and enter “14 CFR 108.11” — the first result contains the report.

TSA Tips on Traveling with Firearms:

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May 16th, 2019

American Rifleman TV — Watch Featured Episodes

American Rifleman television 2019 2020 premiere shows

If you’re like most of us NRA members, you get a copy of American Rifleman magazine in the mail every month. It’s an excellent publication. You may not know that there is a TV version of the magazine — American Rifleman on the Outdoor Channel. This quality television series is broadcast via cable television, and many episodes can be streamed live through the internet, so you can watch on your mobile devices.

The 2019/2020 American Rifleman new season kicks off in a few weeks. In the meantime, you can watch some interesting past episodes. There are a dozen American Rifleman videos on the Outdoor Channel Preview Page. In addition, numerous ad-free episodes are available on YouTube.

Leupold Factory Tour:

Founded in 1907, Leupold & Stevens produces high-quality optics (with a legendary warranty) in Beaverton, Oregon. Leupold scopes are favorites for hunters as well as competitive shooters. In this episode, American Rifleman TV takes a tour of the Leupold & Stevens factory in Oregon.

Nosler Hunting Rifle Showcase:

Nosler doesn’t just sell bullets and loaded ammunition. Nosler also crafts high-quality Nosler-branded hunting rifles. This video covers the creation of a Nosler rifle start to finish in Nosler’s production facility in Central Oregon. Nosler has offered rifles since 2005. Nosler’s goal was to offer quality hunting rifles that “must be simple, rugged, fully weather-resistant, and provide minute-of-angle accuracy with readily available factory ammunition.”

Springfield Armory M1A Review:

The Springfield Armory M1A is a civilian, semi-auto rifle based on the U.S. Military’s M14. Your Editor owned an M1A, and it was a fun gun. In High Power and Service Rifle competition, low-recoil 5.56 (.223) AR-platform rifles have displaced the M1A, but there is a hugely popular Springfield M1A Match every year at Camp Perry. The M1A Match at Perry offers over $25,000 in cash and prize awards each year.

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May 13th, 2019

Tikka T1x in 17 HMR Shows Excellent Accuracy

tikka t1x 17hmr varmint rifle .22 LR 22 LR hornady tnt
This 17 HMR Tikka T1x test gun features a prototype Picatinny rail from 782 Gun Works.

One of our favorite new rimfire rifles is the Tikka T1x, available in 17 HMR, and .22 LR. Priced at $468.00 at EuroOptic.com, the T1x cycles smoothly and shows excellent accuracy out of the box. The T1x has an action footprint like Tikka’s T3 Centerfire action so it can use many stocks made for the T3. KRG will soon offer a $369.00 Bravo Chassis stock for the T1x. With the KRG Bravo T1x Stock you can have a rimfire that feels like a full-size PRS rifle.

Read GunsAmerica Digest 17 HMR Tikka T1x Review »

How does it shoot? That’s the key question. Clay Martin of GunsAmerica Digest recently tested a Tikka T1x in 17 HMR. He liked the gun and said it delivered impressive accuracy:

“Using 20 grain Hornady XTP ammunition and a Bushnell Forge scope, my T1x turned in [100-yard] groups just over ½ MOA. For a rimfire, that is pretty remarkable. For a rimfire with a relatively lightweight barrel, it is shocking. The barrel is also threaded from the factory, ready to go for suppressors.”

tikka t1x 17hmr varmint rifle .22 LR 22 LR hornady tnt

Tester Clay Martin really liked the T1x, noting the comfortable stock and nice bolt function. On the test rifle the trigger was set at 3.5 pounds, not bad for a varmint rifle, but Clay wanted it lighter. Tikka says the T1x trigger will adjust down to 2 pounds*. Martin also wished the T1x came with a Picatinny rail standard. For his tests he added a +20 MOA rail from 782 Gun Works.

GunsAmerica’s test rifle showed outstanding accuracy for a factory rifle that costs $468.00. (Add $369 for the KRG Bravo Stock and you’ll have a GREAT PRS rimfire trainer for under $840.00.) With Hornady 20gr ammo, shooting from prone with bipod, the tester got just over one-half MOA for multiple groups at 100 yards. We expect that, with a better rest set-up, shooting from a bench, that could be even better. In his T1x Review Video Clay declares: “This is absolutely nuts… for a rimfire at 100 yards. The Tikka will consistently do just a little over a half-inch. So, we can say that the Tikka absolutely likes the 20gr Hornady and that the accuracy level is… what we expect from the Tikka brand name.”

Another Option: Tikka T1x in .22 LR

At the 2018 SHOT Show Media day at the range, we shot a Tikka T1x in .22 LR and liked it. We thought the trigger was fine. We liked the feel of the bolt, and the action seems very well made — on a par with the centerfire Tikkas. The magazines are also very well-made and feed superbly. We have no problem with the Optilock rings mounted to the top of the action. These rings (with inserts) are excellent.

T1X Tikka rimfire .22 LR 22LR

* Clay Martin complained that that trigger was not adjustable. Perhaps he was given misinformation from the distributor. Tikka says the trigger adjusts from 2 to 4 pounds. See T1x Instruction Manual, page 15.

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May 11th, 2019

Be a Better Pistolero — Handgun Shooting Fundamentals

pistol fundamentals NRA marksmanship sight alignment
Photo courtesy St. Bernard Indoor Shooting Center.

Do you enjoy shooting pistols for sport, or perhaps you carry a handgun for self-defense? If you’re like most of us, you might benefit from a “refresher course” on the fundamentals of handgun shooting. The NRA has created a useful Infographic that covers important basics of handgun marksmanship — key things such as Sight Alignment and Trigger Control.

Here are the first two (2) lessons. Click the link below to see all SIX (6) training topics: Sight Alignment, Sight Focus, Trigger Control, Breath Control, Hold Control, and Follow-Through.

CLICK HERE for ALL SIX PISTOL LESSONS

pistol fundamentals NRA marksmanship sight alignment

VIEW ALL Six Handgun Fundamentals

Video Shows Sight Alignment, Grip, Stance, Trigger Control and More
In this USAMU video, SGT Shane Coley talks about the basics of sight alignment and trigger control. But then SGT Coley talks about other important control factors such as grip, arm position, and body stance. For rapid-fire shooting, you need to have a good arm and body positioning to control recoil and get back on target quickly. This video is a valuable complement to the NRA Infographic because it demonstrates all the important pistol fundamentals during live fire, at the range.

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