January 22nd, 2020

SHOT Show 2020 — Day One Opener

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

SHOT Show 2020 kicked off Tuesday, with tens of thousands of exhibitors, media members, and invitees streaming into the Sands EXPO Center in Las Vegas. This firearms industry trade show just gets bigger every year. We visited many of our favorite vendors including Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori), ATK Outdoors (Alliant, Federal, RCBS, Bushnell etc.), Hornady, Leica, SIG Sauer, and Smith & Wesson.

Here are some quick highlights from Day One of SHOT Show, a little bit of everything: Rifles, Pistols, Reloading Tools, and new optics.

Capstone Precision Group: Berger, Lapua, SK and Vihtavuori

Lapua brass ammo SK bullets scenar Capstone Precision shot show 2019

Capstone Precision Group showcased new products from its four companies: Berger Bullets, Lapua, SK, and Vihtavuori. The big news was the arrival of new Berger Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT) bullets and hunting bullets and a new Vihtavuori powder N533.

Berger now offers some seriously big LRHT Bullet. Before the show, Berger annouced the 7mm 190gr LRHT. At SHOT on Tuesday Berger showcased two new High-BC .30-Caliber LRHTs — the new 208gr and 220gr projectiles. All these LRHTs feature formed meplats for ultra-consistent BCs. In addition Berger unveiled two new heavy-for-caliber hunting bullets: The 6.5mm 156gr EOL Elite hunter and the .30 Cal 245gr EOL Elite hunter. In this video, Emil Praslick III explains the features of the new LRHT projectiles.

The other big news from Capstone was Vihtavuori’s new N555 powder, an advanced new propellent in the same relative burn range as H4350/RL16. Along with having a suitable burn rate for popular accuracy cartridges such as 6.5 Creedmoor and .284 Winchester, Vihtavuori’s new N555 is formulated for “clean burning characteristics and insensitivity in extreme weather conditions”. Complementing its temp stability, N555 includes an anti-fouling agent to keep barrels cleaner. Initial testing has been VERY promising. If you are shooting H4350 now, you should try N555.

Berger bullets ELR solid match projectiles Capstone Precision shot show 2020

From SIG Sauer — New Cross Rifle and New .277 Fury Cartridge

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

We visited the SIG Sauer booth and talked with top 3-gun ace Daniel Horner, formerly of the USAMU. Dan showed us the new SIG Sauer Cross bolt-action rifle. This is a chassis rifle that has many advanced features yet weighs under 7 lbs. before optics, making is suitable for hunting as well as tactical competitions. The Cross was very impressive, with nice balance and a very good adjustable trigger.

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

The .277 Fury, developed for the U.S. Military, used a hybrid case with a brass body and harder alloy metal case head. This design allows the cartridge to run very high pressures. Horner told us it would be SAAMI-rated to 80,000 PSI. Dan said “When the handloaders get hold of this brass, it will be a game-changer for sure.” We envision this cartridge could be necked down to 6.5 mm and it would dramatically out-perform the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Sig Sauer .277 Fury Hybrid cartridge hunting precision military

Sig Sauer .277 Fury Hybrid cartridge hunting precision military

Big Rifle for Little Lady

walther rifle .22 smallbore

At the Walther booth, Top Shot’s Gabby Franco showed the Walther KK500 3-position .22 LR smallbore rifle. With its long barrel, the KK500 dwarfed the petite Ms. Franco. Also at the Walther booth we noted the new Walther Monotec competition Air Rifle. This features a free-floating action — a block connects the chassis to the barrel forward of the action.

walther rifle .22 smallbore

New Savage 110 Ultralite Hunting Rifle

Savage 110

There were plenty of new hunting rifles on display at SHOT 2020. Savage showcased a new 5.8-lb Model 110 Ultralite rig. This features a Proof Research carbon-wrapped barrel. CLICK HERE for a full Guns.com review of the new Savage 110 Ultralite.

NEW Reloading Presses, Powder Dispensers, and Tools

RCBS had two notable new products on display. First, RCBS has a new single-stage press, called the Rebel. This looks similar to the venerable Rock Chucker, but it has a larger base and taller arch. The most important change is that this new Rebel Press ejects primers straight down the ram — just put a waste bin under the press to collect all your spend primers. However — take note — the Rebel has NO PRIMING function. You need to prime your cases separately.

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

RCBS also showcased its impressive new MatchMaster Power Scale/Dispenser. This features twin dispensing tubes, and can be set to deliver 1- or 2-kernel precision in the slower, more precise “Match Mode”. This is an impressive new machine, but it represents a significant investment. MSRP for the MatchMaster is $1123.95 with street price around $899.00 (MidwayUSA).

MatchMaster RCBS

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

Hornady unveiled a new Auto Charge Pro Powder Dispenser, along with a Precision Measurement Station. The new powder measure features a touch-screen ABOVE the powder tray. We’re not sure if that enhances usability, but it does allow for a smaller footprint on your reloading bench. This Auto Charge Pro offers customizable trickle speeds for different powders. Hornady claims the unit is “accurate to within 0.1 grain”.

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

Handguns from Walther, Smith & Wesson, and Ruger

Huge 25-foot high displays were promoting Walther’s steel-framed Q4 pistols. These handguns balanced well and the trigger was nicer than you’ll get on most semi-autos these days.

Walther Q4 Steel Frame Walther Q4 Pistol

Wheelguns and more from Smith & Wesson
Smith and Wesson hand a big display of revolvers and carry pistols. We liked a new .22 LR semi-auto on display with a suppressor.

smith wesson revolver shot show 2020

Ruger Super GP100 Revolver in 9mm Luger (9x19mm)

Ruger adapted its existing Super Redhawk frame for this Super GP100 9mm Luger (9x19mm) revolver, which features a stubby 8-round PVD-coated cylinder to better fit the 9x19mm round. According to Guns.com the 9mm GP100 “uses a cylinder and extractor cut for moon clips to speed up reloading [and] sports a 6-inch half-lug sleeved and shrouded barrel with an 11-degree target crown[.]”

Ruger 9mm 9x19mm luger Revolver GP100 Super GP 100 competition pistol

DAY ONE Parting Shot Photo

smith wesson revolver shot show 2020
This is a side view of an Action Target Vortex Bullet Trap.

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January 21st, 2020

“Mirage Is Your Friend” — How Mirage Can Reveal the Wind

South Texas Mirage Reading article
Diagram from SouthTexasShooting.org.

Mirage as a Wind Indicator

Read FULL ARTICLE in Midsouth Shooters Blog

by Glen Zediker
Most good shooters use mirage as their leading indicator to spot changes in the wind. With well-designed stand, the scope can be set it up where you can see the wind with the left eye and see the sight with the right without anything more than a visual focus shift. That gets the shooter back on the trigger with the least chance of missing another change. In the photo below e you can see 11-time National High Power Champion David Tubb using a spotting scope set up for his left eye.

wind mirage spotter spotting scope
David Tubb sets up his spotting scope so he can easily see through it with his LEFT eye, without shifting his head and body position.

There are resources that give clues or evidence of wind direction and strength: wind flags, observation of grass and trees, and mirage.

Almost always I use mirage as my leading indicator. Mirage (heat waves) is always present but you’ll need a scope to read it. For 600 yards I focus my scope about halfway to the target. Mirage flows just like water and the currents can be read with respect to wind speed as well, but it’s not clearly accurate beyond maybe a 15 mph speed. The thing is that mirage shows changes, increases or decreases, and also direction shifts, really well.

A couple more things about mirage flow: when mirage “boils,” that is appears to rise straight up, either there’s no wind or the scope is dead in-line with wind direction. And that’s a quick and accurate means to determine wind direction, by the way, move the scope until you see the boil and note the scope body angle. Here’s another tip — the boil can predict when a “fishtail” wind is about to change, a boil precedes a shift.

wind mirage spotter spotting scope

You don’t need to spend big bucks for an effective spotting scope to view mirage. You can get the Vortex 20-60x60mm Diamondback angled spotting scope for just $399.99 from Midsouth. That’s complete with 20-60X zoom eyepiece. Though inexpensive, the Vortex Diamondback is popular with many competitive shooters and hunters. No, it doesn’t offer the sharpness of an 80mm Kowa Prominar or Swarovski spotting scope, but you’ll pay $2400+ just for the body of those high-end optics.

Choice of EyePiece — Wide-Angle LERs Work Well
I use a long-eye-relief 20X to 25X wide-angle eyepiece. That setup shows the flow best. And pay attention to where the wind is coming from! See what’s headed your way, because what’s passed no longer matters. That’s true for any indicator. Right to left wind? Read off the right side of the range.

Once I get on target then all I am doing is watching for changes. It’s really uncommon to make a big adjustment between shots. The fewer condition changes you are enduring, the easier it is to keep everything on center. That’s why I shoot fast, and why I start at the low point in a wind cycle.

sighters spotting scope mirageMaking Corrections with Limited Sighters
Here’s a Tip for NRA High Power matches where only two sighters are allowed: “Make a full correction off the first sighting shot location! Even if there are minor changes afoot, that’s how to know how well you assessed condition influence pre-shot. Don’t second-guess. After the second sighter you should be on target and then simply watching for changes. Pay attention, correlate visible cues to the results of prior shots, and if in doubt, click into the wind.”

Information in this article was adapted from material in several books published by Glen Zediker and Zediker Publishing. Glen is an NRA High Master who earned that classification in NRA High Power Rifle using an AR15 Service Rifle. For more information and articles visit ZedikerPublishing.com.

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January 20th, 2020

Shooting Skills — Canting Left or Right Alters Point of Impact

rifle level canting shooting rifle Ryan Cleckner

In a helpful NSSF video, Ryan Cleckner explains why you normally should avoid canting your rifle — rotating it clockwise or counter-clockwise. Cleckner explains that canting the rifle in one direction or another will change the point of impact: “When you rotate the rifle, not only does the [POI move] in the direction that you’re rotated, [but] it also loses some of its elevation as it rolls down.” This, Cleckner explains, can make you miss on one side or the other:

Cant to the Left — You’re going to miss low and left.
Cant to the Right — You’re going to miss low and right.

rifle level canting shooting rifle Ryan Cleckner

In this video, starting at the one-minute mark, Cleckner shows the effect of rifle canting when engaging a 600-yard target. A few degrees of cant (either to the left or to the right), moves the shot POI completely off the steel silhouette target. The POI change occurs mainly because you are lowering (and laterally shifting) the scope sight-line relative to the bore axis, effectively changing your zero.

David Tubb has explained: “Every 1 degree you are off on a cant, is about six inches of difference laterally at 1000 yards”.

Position Shooting with Sling — Rifle Cant Considerations
Cleckner’s discussion assumes that the scope or sights are set to hit center with the rifle level and plumb. That works for most situations when shooting prone off bipod, front mechanical rest, or front sandbag. However, many sling shooters, including David Tubb and John Whidden, do tilt or cant their rifles slightly inward because this allows a more comfortable hold with sling, or allows better eye-to-sight alignment. Holding the rifle at an angle can work — but the angle of cant must be consistent for every shot. Canting the rifle is not a sin by itself. However, after you confirm your zero on your target, the degree of cant must be the same for EVERY shot. You must maintain that exact same degree of rotation on each shot or you will experience the shot POI movement Cleckner illustrates. Consistency is the key.

John Whidden
John Whidden, 5-time Nat’l Long Range Champion, holds a Palma rifle. John now shoots a match rifle with an Anschutz stock which he holds more upright, but still with some counter-clockwise cant. John also installed his iron sights at an angle so that the adjustments are correct (and plumb) even with his canted hold: “While it may not be obvious in the picture, the sights on my rifle are set up so that they’re straight vertical and horizontal while I hold the rifle canted. Making sure your adjustments (scope or sights) are vertical and horizontal is a critical piece of the pie.”

Inexpensive Dual-Diameter Scope-Mounted Bubble Level
The best way to avoid inconsistent rifle canting is to use a bubble level fitted to rail or scope. One very affordable and versatile product is the Jialitte Scope Bubble Level. This features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes. The Jiaalitte unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. This costs just $10.99.

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

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January 19th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Merkel RX Helix Straight-Pull Hunting Rifle

Merkel RX Helix straight-pull rifle

This Sunday we feature the German-crafted Merkel RX Helix with straight-pull bolt. We shot the Helix a few years back during Media Day at the Range. One notable difference between the German Merkel and the Austrian Strasser, another straight-pull rifle, is the bolt travel. During cycling, the Merkel bolt stays completely inside the action (see video below at 00:30). By contrast the Strasser bolt moves pretty far back, outside the action. For some folks that makes the Helix better for fast follow-up shots. All we can say is that Merkles and Strassers BOTH cycle way faster than conventional bolt-action rifles.

Merkel RX Helix Range Report

One of the most innovative rifles we have ever shot was the Merkel RX Helix, a very impressive piece of rifle engineering. Merkel claims the RX Helix is the fastest-cycling centerfire bolt action in the world. We can’t confirm that claim, but the Helix certainly cycles faster than any other centerfire bolt-gun this Editor has ever tried. (Yes, a Fortner biathlon action can be worked more rapidly, but that’s a rimfire). Both Jason and I really liked Merkel’s RX Helix. It balances well, the action is smooth, the wood is gorgeous, and the overall design thinking that went into this German-engineered take-down rifle is very impressive. The Helix’s universal-sized action lets you shoot anything from a .222 Rem to a .300 Win Mag with the same gun. And — get this — you can really swap barrels (and change bolt heads) in a couple of minutes with no tools, employing a dead-simple bolt-release lever concealed under the push-button-released removable forearm. (Watch VIDEO BELOW to see Barrel Swap procedure).

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifleRotary 7-Lug Bolt
While the RX Helix is a straight-pull rifle, it retains the strength and safety of a rotary bolt head with seven locking lugs that seat in a barrel extension. Unlike a Blaser, the RX Helix has a fully-enclosed action housing. That’s an important safety feature. Moreover, since the RX Helix employs a closed action, the bolt body doesn’t travel outside that action. This means the shooter can maintain his cheekweld with an eye on the target as he cycles the bolt.

The RX Helix’s linear (back and forth) bolt-handle motion is transmitted to the bolt head through a 1:2 ratio “transmission” gearing system. This allows smooth and fast cycling without the rotational or tipping movement found on other straight-pull, bolt-action rifles, such as the Blaser.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The Merkel linear-movement action cycles exceptionally fast, which allows for faster follow-up shots — a good thing if you’re hunting dangerous game. The RX Helix features a manual cocking lever on the tang and a direct trigger system. And here’s good news for southpaws — though Merkel does not make a dedicated left-hand version, lefties can very easily use their right hand to work the bolt while maintaining cheekweld. That may sound awkward, but with practice, it’s actually pretty efficient.

Fast, Easy Disassembly and Barrel Exchanges
The video below shows how the Helix can be disassembled (for cleaning or transport) in a matter of seconds WITHOUT TOOLS. The forearm slips off with the push of a button. A short lever on the left side of the action holds the barrel. Simply rotate the lever and the barrel (with bolt head) slips off. That’s it — in 30 seconds the rifle is apart, and you don’t even need an allen wrench as with a Blaser.

The RX Helix has a universal action length that covers calibers from .222 Rem to .300 Win Mag. Changing calibers (or chamberings) takes less than a minute with the appropriate barrel, bolt-head and magazine. Weaver rails are integrated into the action, and iron sights with three-dot rear and one-dot front fiber-optic inserts are standard.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The RX Helix is available with a standard black finish as well as four levels of design — Arabesque, Wild Boar, Spirit, and Deluxe. An all-carbon-fiber version was also available either with or without a carbon-wrapped barrel. The RX Helix comes in a wide range of calibers including .222 Rem, .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5×55 SE, .270 Win, 7×64, .308 Win, .30-06 Sprg., 8×57 IS, 9.3×62, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag. Barrel lengths vary according to caliber, and barrels, bolt-heads and magazines are available for caliber changes. EuroOptic sells the Merkel RX Helix, but most models are back-ordered.

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January 17th, 2020

Firearms Sales and Transfers — What You Need to Know

Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell

Are you planning to purchase or sell a gun? Or perhaps you want to give one to a family member. Maybe you want to transfer a gun to a friend out of state. These are all situations that demand you understand the law before you buy, sell, or transfer a gun. Thankfully the NRA Blog has a series of helpful articles that can guide you through firearms transfers and transactions. Do note that laws on private transfers vary from state to state.

Here are five articles providing key facts you need to know.
Click each title to read the specific article.

Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell
Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell gift giving
Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell gift family
Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell private gift
Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell private gift

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January 17th, 2020

Trouble-Shooting the Remington 700 and Rem Clones

Nathan Foster New Zealand Rem 700 rifle copper fouling accurizing barrel lapping

Turn a Rough Factory Rifle into an Accurate Hunting Rig
Kiwi Nathan Foster has produced a good video for hunters with “under-performing” Remington Model 700 rifles. In this video, Nathan helps a client turn a badly-behaving Rem 700 into a reliable tack-driver. A customer had sent Nathan this rifle to rectify stubborn copper fouling. After bedding the rifle, the customer discovered that the rifle produced terrible groups due to the stubborn bore.

Nathan told us: “This was a grand opportunity to study what can go wrong with the M700 rifle with regards to both do-it-yourself work and flaws within rifle production. To help structure the video, we used the chapters of our Accurizing Book as reference steps for the video. This footage also works in conjunction with our free Remington bedding tutorials on YouTube.

Those who have watched the full M700 Troubleshooting video say this is one of the most helpful videos yet released on problem-solving with a factory hunting rifle. This video is especially helpful for those just getting into the accuracy game, as it walks the viewer through the basics of rifle tuning, then proceeds to more advanced methods of improving a badly-behaving rifle.

This video focuses on the Remington M700 and Rem clones, such as the Bergara rifle. However the lessons and techniques in the video can apply to any type of bolt-action rifle suffering heavy copper fouling. The video features detailed footage of barrel break-in and barrel-lapping procedures. These procedures may be beneficial for rough factory barrels. IMPORTANT! AccurateShooter.com recommends different break-in and maintenance regimes for custom, hand-lapped premium barrels — be conservative with fine custom barrels. Our best custom barrels have all shot superbly with minimal break-in and zero use of abrasives during break-in.

Troubleshooting the Remington 700 Rifle with Nathan Foster

NOTE: This is a free 70-second trailer video. The FULL Remington Troubleshooting Video is 1 hour, 16 minutes long and can be streamed through Vimeo-on-Demand for $12.00. Access Full Video HERE.

Nathan Foster of Terminal Ballistics Research in New Zealand, is a expert hunter and highly-respected author of a series of hunting and long range shooting books. Nathan’s first book, The Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Rifles, is a classic — one of the best treatises ever written on choosing and using a hunting rifle.

Nathan Foster Long Range Rifles Hunting Hunter

CLICK HERE to Download Remington 700 Owner’s Manual

The Remington 700 is the most popular bolt-action rifle in America, according to Gunbroker.com sales figures for new and “previously-owned” rifles. So, chances are that you (or a family member) have a Rem 700 of some vintage sitting in the gunsafe. Click the link above for a PDF version of the Remington 700 Owner’s Manual (also covers models Seven, and 673).

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January 16th, 2020

Gorgeous F-Class Rifles from KW Precision

Delaware F-Open F-Class rifle Cerus Brux barrel Panda Action

Forum member Keith W. (aka “Cigarcop”) of KW Precision LLC is a talented riflesmith whose projects display outstanding finish work and attention to detail. Keith does some of the best bedding work we’ve ever seen. Back in 2018, Keith built a stunning F-Class rig for a shooter in Delaware. It’s a beauty, that’s for sure. Keith has posted more details about this rifle in a Shooters’ Forum Thread.

Delaware F-Open F-Class rifle Cerus Brux barrel Panda Action

This handsome rifle features a polished Stolle (Kelbly) Panda Action, and two (2) Brux barrels, both chambered for the .284 Winchester cartridge. The real eye-catching component of this rifle is the stunning Cerus F-Open stock. This features multiple laminations with highly-figured Walnut on the sides. This certainly ain’t your “off-the-shelf” laminated stock. This just shows the beauty that can be achieved with carefully-chosen lamination layers (plus 12 coats of clear).

Delaware F-Open F-Class rifle Cerus Brux barrel Panda Action
This beautiful F-Open rig features a laminated wood stock with stunning figured walnut on the outside.

Keith of KW Precision LLC is renowned for his bedding work, and this rifle shows why. Keith takes great pride in his work, and his attention to detail is second to none. This bedding job is as good as it gets.

Delaware F-Open F-Class rifle Cerus Brux barrel Panda Action

Bringing out the figure in the wood requires multiple finish coats (and careful sanding between coats). But the results are worth it. Shown below is the Cerus stock, BEFORE the finish coats were applied. It took time and effort to transform the “naked” Cerus stock into a true stunner. Keith applied twelve (12) coats of PPG Automotive Clear with wet sanding between each coat.

Delaware F-Open F-Class rifle Cerus Brux barrel Panda Action

And Another Beauty — This One Built for Capstone’s Boss

Delaware F-Open F-Class rifle Borden Action F-TR

CigarCop recently completed a handsome rifle for Bill Gravatt, President of the Capstone Precision Group, distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK products. This F-TR rig is another example of beautiful craftsmanship. Look at that bedding job in the lower photo! To learn more about this rifle, which features a black Borden Rimrock BRM action (with fluted bolt), read this Shooters’ Forum Thread.

Delaware F-Open F-Class rifle Borden Action F-TR

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January 16th, 2020

SIZING DIES: Full-Length Dies, Neck-Sizing Dies, Small Base Dies

Sizing dies brass sinclair redding full length neck neck-sizing small base

This article is part of Sinclair Int’l Step-By-Step Reloading Series. Most of the products mentioned in this article are sold through Brownells.com.

by Roy Hill, Brownells/Sinclair Copywriter
Making your own precision handloads is a meticulous journey with many steps, many important matters to consider, and many sets of measurements to calculate. For those who pursue the perfect group, the highest score, the really long accurate shot, the rewards more than outweigh the effort. Choosing the right cases, deburring the flash holes, making the primer pockets uniform, trimming the cases, and lubricating them are all familiar – and critical – steps along the journey. And now that your brass preparation is complete, you are at last ready to start running the cases through your press and fill them with primers, powder, and bullets. The very first die the brass encounters is the sizing die. You insert the case, work the press’s lever to return the case to its correct pre-fired dimensions – and the journey continues.

Sinclair International Int'l fL full-length sizing die bump die shoulder bump gauge

There are three types of sizing dies to think about: neck, full-length, and small base. All three have specific benefits and potential drawbacks, and you should choose the type of die you use by thinking very carefully about what kind of shooting you plan to do with your handloads. No matter which type you select, most sizing dies will also punch out the old spent primer with some sort of decapper assembly that uses a hardened steel rod. Many types of sizing dies use an expander ball inside the die to make sure the neck of the case will accommodate a bullet after being sized. With some size dies, the expanders are easily removable and interchangeable, letting you get exactly the neck tension you want. If you are reloading for pistol cartridges, carbide sizing dies allow you to quickly resize without applying any lube to the case. But rifle cases always need lube.

Neck-Sizing Dies
Sinclair International Int'l fL full-length neck size neck-sizing die bump die shoulder bump gaugeNeck-sizing dies resize only the neck of the case. The benefit of sizing only the neck is that the brass is “worked” very little, letting you reuse the same cases many times over. Also, cases that have already been fired in your rifle are perfectly fireformed to fit that rifle’s chamber, which can help accuracy. However, neck-sized cases will fit only the specific rifle they were originally fired in, and may still require a little extra force to chamber or extract.

Sinclair recommends that neck-sized-only cartridges should not be used any in other rifle besides the one they were originally fired from [unless they are also FL-sized], or in any action other than a bolt-action. Neck-sized-only rounds are great for the target range or the benchrest but should not be used in critical situations like military or police operations, or hunting. And if you fire them enough times, neck-sized cases will still need to be full-length sized periodically for you to keep using them.

Full-Length Sizing Dies
Full-length sizing dies do exactly what their name says: resize the full length of the case, not just the neck. Full-length sizing helps create handloads that will function in any rifle, not just the one from which the cases were originally fired. The potential downside of full-length sizing is that it may shorten case life because it works the brass more than neck sizing. But it’s possible to “tune” today’s full-length sizing dies so they barely work the brass at all, as this article by Sinclair Reloading Tech Ron Dague shows.

Illustration Shows How a Full-Length Sizing Die Works
Sinclair International Int'l fL full-length sizing die bump die shoulder bump gauge

Another way to reap the benefits of full-length sizing is to use Redding’s full-length bushing dies, which size the full length of the case but use a system of interchangeable bushings that enable you give the case neck the bare minimum of resizing needed. To see how finely adjustable bushing dies are, and how they resize the case while fully supported, CLICK HERE for Video. The neck bushing helps you precisely control the neck tension to help increase the consistency and accuracy of your handloads.

Redding Custom full length dies

Small Base Dies
A Small Base Die is just another type of full-length sizing die, but one that is typically used when reloading for semi-automatic rifles, like the AR-15, M14, or AR-style .308 rifles. (It may also work well for bolt guns that need extra sizing on the lower section of the case.) A small base die works exactly like a full-length sizing die, only it compresses the brass just a bit more, usually about .001″ more, and may even push the case shoulder back just a hair. Small base dies give that extra bit of compression to the brass to help make sure the case will properly extract from a semi-automatic firearm. The upside is that you get precision handloads that should work flawlessly in your semi-automatic. The downside is case life is really shortened, especially compared to brass used only in one bolt-action rifle, because the brass is worked more.

Shoulder Bump Gauges
A handy tool for setting up your full-length sizing dies as close as possible to your rifle’s chamber is the Sinclair bump gauge. The bump gauge lets you resize the case as little as possible, to extend case life and help your handloads fit your rifle almost like a neck-sized only die. You use deprimed cases fired in your rifle and bump gauge inserts to help you set up the die so it resizes the case only about .001″ to .004″, depending on what type of rifle you’re shooting.

Video shows how to use a shoulder bump gauge to set up your full-length dies

Sinclair International Int'l sizing die bump die shoulder bump gauge

Article Find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions
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January 15th, 2020

Chassis Rifle Genesis — Building a Precision Tactical Rifle 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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January 14th, 2020

Corrosive Ammunition — How To Protect Your Firearms

Corrosive Ammo ammunition
Scary stuff — AK-74 after firing corrosive ammo and not being cleaned for a week.
Image courtesy
ADCOFirearms.com.

corrosive ammunition ammo BrownellsNo doubt you’ve heard the term “corrosive” used with respect to ammunition. But what exactly is “corrosive ammunition” (and how does it different from non-corrosive ammo)? What is the chemistry that leads to corrosion, and what cleaning procedures should you follow if you shoot corrosive ammunition? Brownells has come up with answers to these and other questions in a helpful TECH TIP video about corrosive ammo.

In this informative video, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains the primer-related chemistry that makes some ammo corrosive. The video then reviews suggested cleaning procedures you should follow after you have fired corrosive ammo through any firearms.

What Is “Corrosive” Ammunition?
What makes ammo “corrosive”? Generally speaking, primers are the problem. When corrosive ammunition is fired, the ignited primers leave a residue of corrosive salts. Typically these primers contain potassium chlorate, or sodium petrochlorate which, when burned, change into potassium chloride or sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is also known as common table salt.

Potassium chloride and sodium chloride are both very hygroscopic (i.e. they attract water). Because of that, these alkalis are rust generators. When exposed to the hydrogen and oxygen in the air (and moisture) potassium chloride and sodium chloride can form an acid that quickly causes metal rifle parts to rust and pit.

Given a choice, you may wish to avoid corrosive ammo altogether. However, for some types of fire-arms, particularly older military-style rifles, the most affordable ammunition may be corrosive. If you choose to use corrosive ammo, it is important to clean the gun thoroughly after use. After firing, you want to use an element that will neutralize the primer salts. Brownells suggests a water soak (see video above). Alternatively, Windex with ammonia can help neutralize the salts, but that doesn’t finish the job. After the salts have been neutralized and flushed away, basic anti-corrosion protectant (such as Eezox or other gun oil) should be applied to all metal parts.

This video ahows the effects of Corrosive Ammo after one month without cleaning:

To learn more about the proper procedures for cleaning rifles exposed to corrosive ammo, we suggest an article by Paul Markel on Ammoland.com. Markel, host of the popular Student of the Gun TV series, states that: “Windex (with ammonia) is the Corrosive Ammo shooter’s best friend. After you are done shooting your corrosive ammunition for the day, squirt the window cleaner liberally from the chamber down the barrel. Pull the bolt / bolt carrier / op rod if there is one and douse them as well. A couple of old cotton t-shirts will come in handy. A cotton barrel swab is a nice accessory but you can make do with patches. Some folks will rinse all of the ammonia and loosened corrosive salts off with hot water. Others prefer to wipe it all down and let the ammonia evaporate. Either way, once the corrosive salts have been tackled with the window cleaner, it is time for an all-purpose brush (old toothbrush) and some gun oil.” READ Full Article by Paul Markel.

Video Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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January 12th, 2020

Sunday Gunday: Buell’s Beast — .375 CheyTac for ELR

Darrell Buell ELR Rifle .376 Cheytac BAT Action 35
Darrell Buell ELR Rifle .376 Cheytac BAT Action 35

Buell’s Beast with Massive 35 Inch Barrel
A few seasons back, Our friend Darrell Buell built a new Beast — a monster 64-inch-long .375 CheyTac that weighs more than 70 pounds! Designed for ultra-long-range shooting (two miles and beyond), this beast represents the state-of-the-art in extreme long-range rifles. NOTE: to see more details, click the two images above to open Full-Screen Photos.

Darrell Buell ELR Rifle .376 Cheytac BAT Action 35

Darrell reports: “This rifle is pretty much purpose-built to shoot 2+ miles extremely accurately. It is a .375 CheyTac (lengthened) built on a BAT 2.5″ action. The custom 35″, 1:10″-twist Brux barrel is a fat, 2″-diameter ‘straight taper’ with fluting. A custom 5″-long muzzle brake is fitted at the end. All barreled action work was done by R.W. Snyder Custom Rifles. The stock was created to fit the build by PDC Custom, and the massive muzzle brake as well.” The “bridge” at the end may look like a barrel block, but it’s not — the barrel completely free-floats. (The Picatinny rail on top of the bridge allows use of an overhanging bipod as an alternative to the JoyPod).

Darrell Buell ELR Rifle .376 Cheytac BAT Action 35
Darrell has lots of elevation on tap: “With 150 MOA in the Ivey rings, another 20 MOA in the scope rail, 55 MOA in the Nightforce Competition scope, and 10 MOA in the FCR-1 reticle, there’s an impressive +235 MOA available.”

Counter-Weighted SEB Joy-Pod Up Front
The bipod Darrell will be using for his ELR sessions and the ‘King of 2 Miles’ match is a custom counter-weighted JoyPod crafted by Seb Lambang. With the counter-weight, Darrell says his monster 70-lb gun “adjusts as smoothly as an F-T/R rig”. The glass is a Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition scope carried in Ivey +150 MOA rings, which in turn are mounted to a +20 MOA BAT scope rail. Darrell says: “It’s been a heck of a couple months, getting this monster built in time, thanks particularly to Southern Cerakote, which turned it around in less than 24 hours.”

Buell’s Beast runs 350gr solid bullets at approximately 3250 fps. Check out the massive .375 CheyTac cartridge compared to a .308 Winchester:

Darrell Buell ELR Rifle .376 Cheytac BAT Action 35

Darrell Buell ELR Rifle .376 Cheytac BAT Action 35

Darrell Buell ELR Rifle .376 Cheytac BAT Action 35

Bipod F-Class F-TR Sebastian Lambang PodPad Joystick Joypod

This one-of-a-kind “JoyPod” was produced by Seb Lambang specifically for Buell’s big .375 CheyTac rifle. Darrell needed a JoyPod that wouldn’t sink under a heavy load. Seb explains: “This is the world’s first JoyPod equipped with an adjustable counterweight, to balance his 75-lb gun. I did some experiments and put some weights ranging up to 60+ lbs on the top, and I found that the joystick action works like a regular one….it’s smooth, light, and precise. In addition, the counterweight can be bent down to not interfere with the bottom of the barrel. The counterweight is secured into the front center shaft by a thumb screw, and there is a tightly fitted pivotal joint on the counterweight to allow angle adjustment.”

Darrell is happy with his customized coaxial bipod: “In addition to the adjustable counterweight system on the front, this JoyPod comes with a longer, solid joystick. These additions will make for extremely smooth, precise adjustments, even if the rifle weighs in at 75 pounds or more. Not including the counterweight, the actual structure of this bipod weighs in at a mere 1.09 pounds — exactly what the standard JoyPod weighs. It is extremely strong, however. Seb has pictures of himself standing on the pod … and he weighs 150 pounds!”

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January 8th, 2020

New-for-2020 Handguns — SHOT Show Pick Six Preview

new 2020 shot show pistol handgun revolver wheelgun colt python kimber korth Smith wesson

When covering SHOT Show 2020 our reporters will focus primarily on rifles, optics, and reloading equipment, because this website is dedicated to rifle accuracy. However we know many of our readers are interested in semi-auto pistols and revolvers, and we bet the majority of our Forum members own handguns. This Editor has competed in various pistol disciplines and I still love my semi-autos and wheelguns. So, for you fellow pistoleros out there, here’s our “Pick Six” — a half-dozen new handguns (both semi-auto pistols and revolvers) — all new for 2020.

1. Korth (Nighthawk Custom) — Korth Ranger

nighthawk custom Korth Ranger .357 Magnum Germany wheelgun pistol handgun

The new German-made Korth Ranger revolver is one of the most impressive wheelguns you can buy — at any price. Sold in the USA by Nighthawk Custom, Korth revolvers feature best-in-the-world workmanship, superb triggers, and outstanding accuracy. Designed for revolver match shooting, the Korth Ranger features a top Picatinny rail for Red Dot optics. The barrel shroud has lightening cuts which reveal a Lothar Walther match barrel with target crown.

2. Ruger 57 — New Competition Pistol for 5.7×28 Cartridge

new ruger high-velocity 5.7x28 mm FNH pistol handgun

The all-new Ruger 57 is an impressive full-size pistol with 4.94″ barrel. This looks like it will be a hoot to shoot. The 5.7×28 cartridge is a high-velocity, low recoil round — sort of a 22 WMR on steroids. Expect to get close to 1700 fps from a 40gr cartridge. We expect this long-slide pistol will be used mostly for gun games, but with a 20-round magazine, it certainly can handle self-defense duties too. According to a recent VIDEO REVIEW by 22Plinkster, the new Ruger 57 performs well. READ Ruger 57 Field Test.

3. Colt Python for 2020 — Stainless with 4.25″ or 6″ Barrels

New Colt Python stainless steel revolver wheelgun .357 Magnum dirty harry
The 4.25″ barrel Python is 9.75″ long and 42 ounces. The 6″ model is 11.5″ long and 46 ounces.

The Snake is back baby! For 2020, Colt’s Manufacturing Co. LLC will offer a refined and upgraded Colt Python with a hefty $1499.00 MSRP. The legendary double-action revolver, which originally debuted in 1955, returns in stainless steel in 4.25″ and 6″ barrel lengths. It is designed to be stronger than before. Numerous improvements were made to reinforce the revolver, including the use of stronger stainless steel alloys and a re-designed rear sight which allows for a 30% increase in the cross-sectional area of the top strap — meaning more steel for a stronger revolver.

4. Keltec P17 — New Compact, Budget-Priced .22 LR Pistol

Keltec p17 .22 LR 22LR rimfire pistol handgun

Keltec’s new P17 rimfire pistol is lightweight, easy to handle, and features a fiber optic front sight and an adjustable rear. Priced at just $199.95 MSRP, the .22 LR P17 has 16+1 round capacity and ships with three, 16-round magazines. This is a small pistol — it weight just 14 ounces and OAL is 6.65″. Keltec states: “The new, affordable P17 pistol makes range days a lot less expensive and far more fun.” With low cost .22 LR ammo and a 16+1 capacity, this should be fun to shoot.

5. Ruger Super GP100 Revolver in 9mm Luger (9x19mm)

Ruger 9mm 9x19mm luger Revolver GP100 Super GP 100 competition pistol

The 9×19mm Parabellum (aka 9mm Luger) cartridge was introduced in 1902 by German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) for the Luger semi-auto pistol. Now 118 years later, Ruger is bringing us a sturdy, 6″-barrel revolver for this popular cartridge. Ruger adapted its existing Super Redhawk frame for this Super GP100 9mm revolver, which features a rather short 8-round PVD-coated cylinder to better fit the 9x19mm round. According to Guns.com the 9mm GP100 “uses a cylinder and extractor cut for moon clips to speed up reloading [and] sports a 6-inch half-lug sleeved and shrouded barrel with an 11-degree target crown[.]”

6. Wilson Combat — Experior Series 1911 Pistols

Wilson Combat’s new Experior handguns feature match-grade components, sweet triggers, and accuracy guarantees. Wilson states that “The Experior lineup [is] the most fully-loaded package we offer, showcasing nearly every tactical, functional and cosmetic option as a standard feature. They are a unique blend of classic 1911 design, paired with modern-day reliability and ergonomic enhancements[.]” Experiors will be offered in both 9mm and .45 ACP in a variety of barrel lengths. There will be both single-stack and double-stack Experior models.

MORE HANDGUNS HERE: You’ll find 18 other new-for-2020 pistols featured on the Guns Holsters & Gear (GHG), Shot Show 2020 Preview Page

BONUS — Upgraded for 2020
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 C.O.R.E. Pro Series Pistols

Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 pistols were introduced back in 2017, so they aren’t new. But for 2020, S&W is offering Performance Center variants with cool new features. The New M&P M2.0 Performance Center pistols include porting and Competition Optics Ready (C.O.R.E.) slides. Chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W, the new Performance Center M&P M2.0 pistols are available with either a 4.25″ or 5″ barrel. Features may include ported barrels and slides and fiber optic sights. For those looking to mount an optic without custom work, the new C.O.R.E. pistols have slides cut for optics straight from the factory. These will support the majority of popular pistol reflex sights.

Smith Wesson Performance center M&P M2.0 competition

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January 7th, 2020

Illustrated History of the Second Amendment — Worth a Read

History Second Amendment Arizona McWhiter Law

History Second Amendment Arizona McWhiter LawA well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a firearm owner (most of our Daily Bulletin readers are). But how much do you really know about the history of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? The Second Amendment itself contains only 27 words (printed above), but those words have a rich history behind them.

To illuminate the origins of the Second Amendment, and to explain how its interpretations have evolved over the years, Arizona Attorney, the journal for the State Bar of Arizona, has published a detailed two-part “Illustrated History” of the Second Amendment by attorney Robert J. McWhirter, an expert on the Bill of Rights. To read the two-part series, CLICK Here for PART ONE, and CLICK Here for PART TWO.

CLICK HERE to launch eZine with Second Amendment Story.

We think all gun owners should read McWhirter’s article, which is both entertaining and insightful. Don’t worry — this is not a dull “law school” treatise. McWhirter’s article features dozens of illustrated footnotes (some fascinating, some merely amusing). Here are some sample footnotes — you can see this is a treasure trove of Second Amendment trivia.

History Second Amendment Arizona McWhiter Law

History Second Amendment Arizona McWhiter Law

*The American Bar Association has published Mr. McWhirter’s book Bills, Quills, and Stills: An Annotated, Illustrated and Illuminated History of the Bill of Rights.

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January 6th, 2020

Loading with Arbor Press and Hand Dies — Here’s How to Do It

arbor press hand die

Creedmoor Sports has released a series of helpful “how-to” videos in its new InfoZone web page. In the latest InfoZone video Bill Gravatt shows how to seat bullets using L.E. Wilson Hand Dies and an Arbor Press. The basic process is simple, particularly with a micrometer-top seating die. That makes it easy to adjust and set seating depth. Before you start seating bullets, you want to adjust the height of the arbor so the stroke is appropriate to the height of your die.

Bill Gravatt Shows How to Use Hand Seating Dies — Creedmoor INFOZONE

ARBOR PRESS TECHNIQUE: When using an arbor press, smooth is good. You don’t want to slam the handle down quickly. Try to repeat the same motion each time. You can also experiment by seating the bullet part way, then rotate the cartridge (in the die) and do the final seating with a second stroke. If your arbor press has a force gauge, note both the max value of the gauge needle and how it moves as you seat the bullet. If the needle spikes too rapidly, or bounces back and forth irregularly, set that cartridge aside and/or mark it. You could have neck tension issue with that case or some other fault. You might even have a bad bullet. That’s rare, but can happen. The key to success is moving the press arm in a smooth motion every time, maintaining the same down-pressure with each cartridge.

Here Bill Gravatt Offers a Simple Tip for Adjusting Wilson Seating Dies

One of our Forum readers asked “How can I get a custom in-line seater for my new rifle?”. First, we would say that, if you are not shooting an unusual Wildcat, check first to see if L.E. Wilson makes a stainless Micrometer Seater Die for your rifle. These dies are a joy to use, and we’ve found the fit to be exceptionally good with many calibers. Typically priced from $90-$100, Wilson stainless micrometer-top seaters are available for dozens of cartridge types: .204 Ruger, 20 BR, .222 Rem, .223 Rem, 22 PPC, 22 BR, .22-250, .223 WSSM, 6 PPC, 6mmBR, 6XC, 243 Win, .243 WSSM, 25 WSSM, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5-284, 26 Nosler, .270 WSM, 7mm-08, .284 Win, 28 Nosler, 7mm RUM, 30 BR, 30 IHMSA, .308 Win, .300 WinMag, .338 Edge (and MORE).

If you do want a custom seater die, the process is relatively simple. Purchase a die blank from Wilson and have your gunsmith run the chambering reamer in. Forum member Gunamonth explains: “I start with a Wilson seating die blank. They’re available from Sinclair and other vendors. Just run the reamer in. For some of my rifles, where I wanted the stainless die with the micrometer adjustment, I bought a smaller die and had the smith ream it with the chamber reamer. That’s how I had my 6 Dasher and 6mm AI seaters made. With the Dasher I stared with a 6mmBR Micrometer die.”

Wilson inline seater die and blank

SEATER STEM TIP: If, on your seated bullets, you are seeing a sharp line around the jacket near the ogive, you may want to smooth out the leading edge of the Wilson seater stem (see above left). Do this by putting a little lapping compound on one bullet and manually spin this around in the stem. Without much effort you’ll have a smooth bullet/stem interface.

Micrometer Top Add-on
We really like micrometer tops on a seating die. But what if Wilson doesn’t make a micrometer top seater for your chambering? Don’t despair, Sinclair Int’l sells a $39.99 micrometer top that can be added to Wilson standard seaters or to a custom seater die made from a Wilson die blank.

Wilson inline seater die and blank

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January 5th, 2020

How Rimfire Ammo is Made — Videos Reveal Production Process

22 .22 Plinkster Youtube Video CCI Speer Rimfire Ammo Ammunition plant Lewiston Idaho

22Plinkster Tours CCI/Speer Idaho Factory
Trickshot artist and YouTube host 22Plinkster recently got a chance to tour the CCI/Speer production facility in Lewiston, Idaho. This large plant produces both rimfire and centerfire ammunition. While touring the plant, 22Plinkster was allowed to capture video showing the creation of .22 LR rounds from start to finish. This is a fascinating video, well worth watching.

This revealing video shows all phases of .22 LR ammo production including cupping, drawing, annealing, washing, drying, head-stamping, priming, powder charging, bullet seating, crimping, waxing, inspection, and final packaging. If you’ve got ten minutes to spare, we really recommend you watch the video from start to finish. You’ll definitely learn some new things about rimfire ammo.

Field & Stream Tours Federal Ammo Plant in Minnesota

Note to Viewers — After Starting Video, Click Speaker Icon to HEAR audio!

Last year a Field & Stream writer toured the Federal ammunition production facility in Anoka, Minnesota. This large plant produces both rimfire and centerfire ammunition. While touring the plant, the reporter was allowed to capture video showing the creation of .22 LR rounds from start to finish. This is a fascinating video, well worth watching. Click speaker icon for sound.

The Manufacturing Process for .22 LR Rimfire Ammunition
Shooting Sports USA explains: “Rimfire cartridge cases are the oldest self-contained cartridge in existence, having been in continuous production since the mid-1850s. Rimfire cases are drawn from a thin piece of brass and formed with a hollow rim. A priming compound is then forced into the case using centrifugal force, where it is charged with powder and a bullet is seated in the mouth of the case. The case is then crimped around the bullet to ensure sufficient push and pull when the round is fired. When the firing pin strikes the thin brass rim of the case, the hollow rim is crushed and the primer is ignited.” Source: SSUSA.org 9/2/2017.

.22 LR ammunition photo
Photo courtesy BulkAmmo.com.

Buried in CCI Rimfire Ammo
22Plinkster was literally up to his neck in ammo while touring the CCI/Speer Idaho ammo plant. He says: “This was truly a dream come true for me. I can’t thank the people at CCI and Speer enough for allowing me to do this. I couldn’t possibly show everything that went on at the factory. However, hopefully I showed you enough for you to grasp the concept of how rimfire [ammo] is made.”

22 .22 Plinkster Youtube Video CCI Speer Rimfire Ammo Ammunition plant Lewiston Idaho

History — Speer Brothers Brought Ammo Production to Lewiston
Here is an interesting historical footnote. Today’s large CCI/Speer operation in Idaho can be traced back to the companies founded by the Speer brothers. After settling in Lewiston in 1944, Vernon Speer started Speer Bullets. A few years later, in 1951, Vernon’s brother Dick (with partner Arvid Nelson) started Cascade Cartridges Inc., a producer of small-arms ammunition and primers. Yes, as you may suspect, Cascade Cartridges Inc. is now CCI, a Vista Outdoor company, and one of the largest manufacturers of primers and loaded ammunition. Today, the CCI/Speer Lewiston plant produces both Speer bullets and CCI-branded ammunition and primers. Vista Outdoor’s predecessor, ATK, acquired the plant in 2001. Vernon Speer died in 1979, and Dick Speer died in 1994.

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January 4th, 2020

Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm MOA Scope Review

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescope

In the world of F-Class, PRS and other precision rifle disciplines, scope manufactures such as Nightforce, Kahles, and Vortex currently dominate the firing lines. However, Oregon-based Leupold has set out to change all that. Long known for premier hunting and military scopes, Leupold has set its sights squarely on the long-range competition market with the Mark 5HD series scopes. With these scopes (available in both MIL and MOA versions), Leupold now has a clear, repeatable, versatile scope in a wide range of magnifications, all the way up to 7-35X. We tested the Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm MOA second focal plane (SFP) optic. Though it features a very large 35mm (yes thirty-FIVE mm) main tube, it is one of the lightest scopes in its class — a bonus for guys struggling to make weight with their comp rifles.

Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm Field Test
Report by F-Class John
The Mark 5HD is a beast of a scope packed into a great-looking and sturdy form factor. While mounting and bore-sighting the scope, I immediately like the size, shape and feel of the elevation and windage knobs. The knobs have a solid, positive feel with distinct, lovely clicks every time they were turned. I was happy to see that Leupold designed the elevation to actually go under zero which can be helpful in some situations.

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescope

Scope Box Test in Tunnel
I ran a box test while shooting in a 100-yard tunnel going clockwise then counterclockwise around the corners. I found that the repeatability to be “spot on” with each 5 MOA adjustment landing me basically back on top of the previous shots. After five passes back and forth I was left with four ragged holes in each corner. That’s impressive.

The power ring became one of my favorite features, with its incredibly functional throw lever. Actually more of a throw knob, this allows for quick and smooth change of power. Combine these features with 100 MOA of vertical adjustment and 50 MOA of windage and you have just about everything need to achieve your goals.

Reticle Options for Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm — TMOA Plus on Test Scope

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescope

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescopeLeupold currently offers two reticle options for its second focal plane (SFP) Mark 5HD 7-35X scope: the TMOA Plus (above) and the Impact-60 (right). The Impact-60 reticle features Xmas Tree-type vertical and horizontal hold-offs. My test scope had the TMOA Plus reticle, a much simpler design with an open aiming point in the center of the reticle for precise shot placement.

The TMOA Plus takes a little getting used to especially if you’re coming from a center dot or crosshair like I did. This is because there’s nothing dead center in your reticle, only four small hold squares at 3, 6, 9, 12 o’clock around center. You can use the aiming center to center up on a bullseye or any of the points around the center as hold off points. A side benefit is that the center set of squares are designed to perfectly fill the X ring at 1000 yards for easy aiming. I will say that once you get used to the reticle configuration it starts to become more intuitive and you can find different ways to use it when holding off for different conditions.

Leupold Mark 5HD Delivers Outstanding Brightness and Clarity
As I got behind the scope, I was surprised by the amount of light coming in through the large 35mm main tube. I tested the scope in the early morning just after dawn, during mid-day, and also at night. Where I shoot there is often a good amount of head-on light coming over the hills in the morning. With my current premium scope, I often see a faint glare (often seen as a haze or whiteness) that will ultimately resolve itself by mid-day but nonetheless bothers me in those early relays. The Mark 5 had NONE of this. The first time I thought it was a fluke but after countless mornings without the annoying haze I was convinced it was the glass. Leupold told me that the Mark 5HD’s superior haze- and glare-free morning performance was a function of how the lens coatings are applied.

While many top-end scopes have quality coatings, the method of applying coatings can produce micro flaws. Leupold explained that such flaws, under certain light conditions, can create a hazy view through the lens. Leupold has clearly mastered this process, achieving a visually clear scope no matter what direction the light comes from, even head-on.

HD Glass Eliminates Chromatic Aberration
Optical performance during mid-day was bright and clear. Importantly, I did notice the absence of chromatic aberration which I have experienced with some other popular-brand scopes. Chromatic aberration usually manifests as fringes of color around hard edges and can be seen even in some of the better scopes. This can affect your ability to see mirage, or to see details on a long-range target. With the Leupold Mark 5HD, chromatic aberration was noticeably absent.

The Leupold Mark 5HD also worked great during an evening shooting session. My club has night shooting for our 600-yard matches. We do it every Tuesday night, so I had lots of time to test the scope in the evening. Our club has lit targets, and even with the rest of the range dark, the targets were clear and bright, making it easy to aim precisely.

SUMMARY — Great Sharp, Clear Scope — More Magnification Would be Welcome
The majority of my testing was in F-Class and while I found nearly every aspect of the scope enjoyable, I did find myself wanting just a little more magnification. I have no doubt that in other disciplines such as PRS and ELR the 7-35X is more than enough and in fact perfectly suited. However, in the current F-Class world, 35X max magnification is on the low end, as other leading optics-makers offer scopes in the 50-60x range.

Overall, I really enjoyed this scope and think it’s going to become the favorite for a lot of shooters. It is easy to use and incredibly clear. Despite its beefy look it actually weighs less than many scopes in this category. Leupold says the Mark 5HD is “up to 20 ounces lighter than other scopes in its class”. That’s great for disciplines with tight weight limits. If you’re in the market for a new competition optic you should give one of the new Mark 5HD scopes a try.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Optics 5 Comments »
January 3rd, 2020

Improve Your Shooting Skills with USAMU Pro Tips

USAMU Shooting USA Pro tips

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), in cooperation with Shooting USA TV, has created a series of instructional Pro Tip pages covering a wide range of shooting disciplines. All totaled, there are more than 50 USAMU Pro Tips. Most relate to rifle marksmanship but there are also numerous tips for shotgunners and pistol shooters. Each Pro Tip entry includes multiple photos and 6-15 paragraphs, in an easy-to-follow format. Many Pro Tips also include an instructional video produced by Shooting USA. Here are three Pro Tip videos, and links to seven more Pro Tip web pages.

USAMU TOP TEN PRO TIPS

1. Reading the Wind with SGT Sherri Gallagher.
Apart from gravity, wind has the most pull on the bullet as it travels down range. Being able to accurately read the wind and mirage will greatly enhance your performance on the rifle range. National Champion, SGT Gallagher gives you some of her tips.

2. Angle Shooting with SFC (Ret.) Emil Praslick.
SFC Praslick shows you how to determine the angle to your target, and then how to include that to change your data necessary to hit your target on the first shot.

3. Rifle Grip, Stance and Body Position for 3-Gun with SFC Daniel Horner.
Professional 3-gun marksman SFC Daniel Horner, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), give tips on how to properly handle a semi-automatic rifle, including grip, stance and body position.

4. Service Rifle Positions (with SFC Brandon Green)

5. Rifling and Twist Rate (with SFC Ret. Emil Praslick)

6. Setting the Right Zero (with SPC Ty Cooper)

7. Practice Drills (with SFC Lance Dement)

8. Using the Sling

9. Getting Your AR Zeroed

10. 3-Gun Rifles By Division (with SFC Daniel Horner)

USAMU Pro Tips Sherri Gallagher Emil Praslick Daniel Horner

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January 1st, 2020

Happy New Year 2020 and Message to Our Readers Worldwide

AccurateShooter.com Forum New Year 2019 donation

Happy New Year to all our readers worldwide, and especially the 48,120+ members of our AccurateShooter Forum. We hope 2020 brings you happiness in your lives and success in your endeavors. And we wish for small groups, good scores, and successful hunts in the New Year.

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Looking Forward to 2020
AccurateShooter.com ForumEvery year we work to improve AccurateShooter.com. In 2016 we completely overhauled the Forum, making it faster and more mobile-friendly. In 2017 we upgraded our servers. In 2018 we started vetting every new sign-up to prevent scammers. In 2019 we added more security measures, expanded our popular Deals of the Week, and commenced our first-ever exclusive Promos for Gold and Silver members. We hope you’ll continue to enjoy our feature articles, our Daily Bulletin, our match reports, and our Forum Classifieds. The formula seems to be working — our audience is bigger than ever.

Forum Membership Increased 11.5% in 2019
Our Shooters’ Forum grew significantly in 2019. Our membership grew by 11.5% as Forum ranks swelled to 48,120+ members! More people are successfully buying and selling in our Forum Classifieds section than ever before. Silver and Gold members get unlimited Classifieds for 12 months. Gold members also get custom Avatars and other privileges.

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AccurateShooter.com Forum New Year 2019 donation
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December 30th, 2019

Great Rifle for Small Varmints — Savage A17 in 17 HMR

Varmint hunting Savage hunter A17 17 HMR California Varminter

There’s a nice article in the Western Powders Blog that any varminter will enjoy. In this hare-raising tale, gunwriter Jim Waddell explains how he used a self-loading Savage A17 rifle to take care of a serious jack-rabbit problem on a rancho in California. “[My friends] purchased a huge amount of acreage that had some existing alfalfa fields and [surrounding sagebrush]. Sagebrush is home to jack rabbits. Lots of jack rabbits. The previous owner of this property didn’t do any varmint or predator control[.] The ink wasn’t dry on the escrow papers before [my friends] started asking for help shooting rabbits. A problem in taking these critters is it has to be done at night when they come out to feed as they lay low in the bush during the daylight hours.”

Varmint hunting Savage hunter A17 17 HMR California Varminter

Savage A17 Comes to the Rescue
Initially Waddell and some friends took on the jack-rabbit hordes using Ruger 10/22s and a .44 Magnum Marlin lever gun. Neither option was ideal. The .44 Magnum just couldn’t keep up the desired shooting pace (it took too long to reload) ant the .22 LRs were too anemic. So Waddell decided to give the more potent 17 HMR a try. He acquired a Savage A17 and went back for a second bunny-busting session. He came away convinced that the 17 HMR cartridge in the modern semi-auto Savage works great for small varmint control.

Varmint hunting Savage hunter A17 17 HMR California Varminter

Waddell writes: “I wanted more than a .22 after seeing the problems my pals had with their [10/22] bullets not anchoring the rabbits. Armed with my new Savage A17 it was time to head back to the alfalfa fields. This time my hunting partner was Dan, my son-in-law from Seattle. We hunted for four nights. Each night was either raining, windy or both. My question about whether or not rabbits would be out in the weather was answered immediately. They were everywhere. As miserable as the weather was, we got all the shooting we wanted and that Savage rifle was up to the task. We got so many rabbits it was impossible to count.” CLICK HERE for the full account of Waddell’s jack-rabbit adventures on the California rancho. It’s worth a read. Here is a sample:

Wabbits, Wabbits Everywhere — Even Running Right at You
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a sea of rabbits as far as the lights would shine and when the light beams hit the bunnies, they became confused and as often as not, would run right at the lights so a good percentage of our shots were literally in spitting distance. It was also a new experience shooting at targets that are running TOWARD you. Most of us who’ve done much hunting for game or varmints have experienced moving targets but how many of those targets are coming at you?

Read Full Story on Western Powders Blog »

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December 29th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Jack O’Connor .270 Winchester Tribute Rifle

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win
“If the hunter does his part, the .270 will not let him down” — Jack O’Connor.

Classic hunting rifles never go out of style. We thought our readers would enjoy this very special high-grade Jack O’Connor Tribute rifle in .270 Winchester. This unique Model 70 was a SHOT Show featured rifle back in 2013. It was auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting hunting and shooting sports. Jack O’Connor, a legendary outdoorsman and hunting writer, would have been proud. In his 1964 classic work The Rifle Book, O’Connor wrote: “I like a handgun. I hold a shotgun in high regard; but rifles — well, I love the darn things…”

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win

Winchester Repeating Arms declared that this 2013 SHOT Show Winchester Model 70 would be the last-ever Jack O’Connor Tribute rifle. The stock for this rifle is AAA grade Claro Walnut with Ebony forearm tip and shadowline cheekpiece. The rifle’s metalwork has been hand-engraved by the artisans at Baron Engraving. The rifle features a featherweight contour, free-floating barrel with target crown. Interestingly, the Leupold 4X Mountaineer riflescope mounted on this rifle is an original 1950s-era Mountaineer from the vaults of Leupold & Stevens.

Click each image to see larger version with detail.

“A good sporting stock should enable the shooter to get a shot off quickly and accurately, and it should also be a thing of beauty. Many fine sporting stocks are handsome but of little aid in accurate shooting. Many others that hold and shoot well are homely and clumsy.

The very best sporter stock design results in a stock with handsome, graceful lines and one which also enables the man behind it to do his best work.” — Jack O’Connor, The Big Game Rifle (1952).

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win

About Jack 0’Connor “Dean of Outdoor Writers”
Jack O’Connor, sheep hunting, and the Model 70 Winchester in .270 are linked in our collective subconscious. In 1939, O’Connor was appointed new guns editor for Outdoor Life, and in 1941, he took over the Arms and Ammunition column. In those days, Coues deer and desert sheep were his passions, and a lot of rifles came and went through his hands. By the end of 1946, O’Connor had hunted enough North American sheep to complete three grand slams.

By 1954, he thought he had his ultimate rifle, a custom Model 70 in .270 Winchester that he had taken to Wyoming for elk, to India for blackbuck, and to Iran for red sheep and ibex. He liked the rifle so much, he called it his No. 1 and set out to build a second to give his favorite a break from testing new bullets and developing loads.

From Outdoor Life magazine Feature Story: Jack O’Connor’s Perfect Model 70.

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win

Jack O'Connor hunting classicsSporting Classics offers a collection of great Jack O’Connor stories from the pages of Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, Petersen’s Hunting and other popular magazines of his day. This 440-page book, entitled Classic O’Connor: 45 Worldwide Hunting Stories, is a sequel of sorts to Sporting Classics’ popular compendium, The Lost Classics of Jack O’Connor.

In this collection, Jack O’Connor recounts his worldwide hunting adventures, during which he pursued everything from ducks to grizzlies, pheasants to kudu. Classic O’Connor presents several of the author’s greatest gun stories and a large selection of never-before-published photographs of the celebrated sportsman and his family on hunting adventures around the world. The book is illustrated with 40+ drawings by acclaimed artist Ron Van Gilder. This excellent O’Connor collection is available on Amazon in hardcover or paperback, starting at $38.99 (used) or $59.98 (new).

The Hunting Rifle by Jack O’Connor
Another O’Connor title worth reading is The Hunting Rifle, still considered one of the definitive works on selecting a hunting rifle and cartridge. One owner of The Hunting Rifle explains:

“It would benefit every hunter to take the time and read this book. It offers a corrective to the spirit of things that have gripped the hunting scene lately. Today, if one reads a hunting magazine, [one is] offered the view that you need the fastest and loudest cartridges, rifles with special finishes and the most expensive of anything. Ole Jack reminds us that many have killed game with ‘lesser’ guns for a very long time, and that these new gimmicks will not make you a more lethal hunter.”

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