September 17th, 2021

Color Your Bullet Tips to Define Shot Groups at Long Range

sharpie felt marker bullet color tip painting group paper target

When shooting groups at long range on paper it can be difficult to distinguish which bullet holes belong to a particular sequence of shots. If, for example, you shot three 5-shot groups at 600+ yards on a paper target, you would have 15 bullet holes on the target (assuming no misses). But at that distance it would be difficult to see the holes on target (even with a spotting scope). Accordingly, when you inspected the target up close, it would be hard to tell which shots belonged to which group. You might have a vague idea, but couldn’t be sure, without a target camera recording the shot sequence.

Here is a method to separate multiple shots into specific groups so you can better evaluate your load and shooting skills. The trick is pretty simple — mark your bullets with a color from a Sharpie or other felt marking pen. If you are shooting three 5-shot groups, mark five with red, five with green, and five with blue (or purple). Then, when you inspect the target, you can identify the group placements by the colors that appear on the paper.

sharpie felt marker bullet color tip painting group paper target

Round Robin: Using colors you can shoot “Round-Robin” to evaluate seating depths, neck tension, or other variables without having the shot order (and barrel heating) affect group sizes unequally. For example you might have three different neck tensions, each marked with a different color on the bullets. Then shoot Red, Blue, Green in that sequence for five total shots per color.

Smart Tip to Show Colors More Vividly

If the bullet inks are not showing up on your target paper clearly, here is a simple trick that can make the colors “bleed” to be more visible. In your range kit, bring some alcohol solution along with some Q-tips. Then dab the shots on the paper target lightly with wet Q-Tips. Here is the front of a target before and after application of alcohol:

sharpie felt marker bullet color tip painting group paper target

Forum Member NewbieShooter explains: “Dabbing a bit of alcohol on the bullet holes with Q-Tips makes the color pop a bit… especially on the back side.” See below:

sharpie felt marker bullet color tip painting group paper target

In short order you will see the colors spread into the paper, clearly marking the shot holes by distinguishing colors. If you were shooting a dark bullseye, view the the BACK side of the target to see the colors on a light background.

Credits: Bullet Tips photo by Forum Member Dave Way; Target photos by Forum Member NewbieShooter; Story tip from Boyd Allen.

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September 16th, 2021

NRL22 & NRL22X — Fun and Challenging Rimfire Tactical Series

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

The National Rifle League (NRL) started off sponsoring major centerfire tactical matches, similar to PRS competitions. That proved successful so the NRL added a .22 LR Rimfire series, called NRL22. The NRL22 rimfire discipline has been a major success, as rimfire guns are fun to shoot and ammo is very affordable. The most popular NRL22 matches have drawn up to 200 rimfire competitors. And now there is a companion rimfire long-range series, NRL22X. Learn more about NRL22 and NRL22X at NRL22.org.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangersNRL22 is a great way to get into competition shooting with minimal expense. There are five (5) classes: Open, Base, Ladies, Young Guns (8-16) and Air Rifle. Base Class is for the budget-minded shooter — the combined MSRP of Rifle and Optic may not exceed $1200.00 (so you could spend $700 on a rifle and $500 on a scope for example). That keeps the sport affordable. Open, Youth, and Ladies Classes have no price limits on Rifle and Optic. Visit NRL22.org to find an NRL22 match near you.

The NRL also sponsors NRL22X matches. These involve significantly longer distances for greater challenge. The latest NRL22X match is the XLR Rimfire Rumble, to be held in Grand Junction, Colorado this Saturday, September 18, 2021.

The two videos above from Long Range Shooters of Utah feature footage from the January 2019 course of fire from the NRL22 Rimfire Competition Series. Note the snow-capped hills in the lower video. Useful commentary explains how competitors establish their shooting positions.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangersHow to Participate in NRL22 and/or NRL22X
If you want to get started in NRL22 or NRL22X competition, you’ll need an NRL22 annual membership. These run from $25-$85 depending on class and discipline. CLICK HERE for annual membership information.

NRL22 Membership Benefits Include:
– Eligibility to participate in all NRL22 matches
– Eligibility to participate in all NRL22X matches
– Welcome gift (not all welcome gifts are the same)
– Scoring and Ranking for all events
– Newsletters and updates
– Eligibility for special NRL22 raffles and giveaways
– Access to special NRL discounts from participating sponsors

NRL22 Publishes Monthly Courses of Fire
This video from a Utah NRL22 Match features shooters from each of the four rimfire classes. With the NRL22 program, scores from from local matches like this are ranked against scores from other matches nationwide. In advance of match dates, NRL22.org publishes 5 courses of fire to be used in that month. Each course of fire will always include 2 prone stages, 1 positional, 1 barricade, and a fifth that can be any of those. Details of the course of fire, including target distances, target sizes, time limits, and barricade profiles, are listed at NRL22.org.

Official NRL22 Rimfire Steel Target Package
To facilitate consistent NRL22 match scoring, there is an official NRL22 Rimfire Steel Target Kit. Crafted by JC Steel Targets from AR500 steel, this kit from JC Steel Targets includes 8 hanging targets, 4 KYL (Know Your Limits) targets, plus all needed hangers. That’s lot of steel and hardware for $394.99. There is also an official 2020/2021 Expansion Target Package with 5 more hanging targets for $79.95.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

About NRL22 Tactical/Practical Competition
NRL22 tactical precision Airgun Air rifle classThe goal of NRL 22 is to make Precision Rifle competitions more available to every community. However, nearly all localities have access to 100-yard ranges and most shooters own a .22 LR rifle. The NRL22 program is designed so any facility with a 100-yard range can host matches. Participants at local NRL22 events can then attend a National Championship. NRL22 started with four classifications: Open, Base, Ladies, and Young Guns (8-18 age). Air Rifle is the new fifth class. For the 2018/2019 Competition Season, over 700 shooters attended NRL22 matches. In the 2019/2020 Competition Season, the NRL22 expects significant growth and is excited to welcome new members and clubs.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

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September 16th, 2021

Pyramyd Air Resource for Hunting with Air Rifles

Pyramyd Air Hunting Map Game list permission

In recent years, airgun manufacturers have come out with increasingly potent air rifles capable of shooting hefty projectiles at serious velocities. Some of these new air rifles pack serious punch, making them viable for certain game hunting purposes. Did you know that hunting with an airgun is legal in most states?

Pyramyd Air Hunting Map Game list permission
Ataman M2R Tact Carbine Type 1 Air Rifle can launch a .357-caliber projectile at 900 fps MV with 144 ft-lbs of Muzzle Energy.

This Video Shows Squirrel Hunting with Air Rifles in the UK

Interactive Airgun Hunting Map from Pyramyd Air

In conjunction with the Airgun Sporting Association (ASA), Pyramyd Air has compiled state-specific rules and regulations for airgun hunting. These are displayed on an interactive map. The Airgun Hunting Map allows users to choose a type of game they want to hunt, or select a state and get complete and up-to-date information on the local airgun hunting laws. This map shows the states where it is legal to hunt with airguns, and also lists state restrictions on huntable species (each state is different). The resource lists 100+ species — everything from squirrels to elk and everything in between.

Pyramyd Air Hunting Map Game list permissionAirgun hunting by state: Simply click on the state, and it will list all the species that are allowed to be hunted in that state.
Airgun hunting by specific game: Choose any state, and click on the species name you want, and it will highlight all the states where that particular species can be legally hunted.

The interactive map has 8 categories: Big Game, Small Game, Furbearers, Nuisance Species, Exotic Species, Upland Bird, Predator Species, Waterfowl. To see the states which approve a particular category, click the applicable category on the Pyramyd Air Hunting Map.

Shown below are the results for Big Game and Small Game Species.

Pyramyd Air Hunting Map Game list permission

IMPORTANT: You MUST click on the state where you are planning to hunt, and see the specific species allowed for airgun hunting. Just because a state shows RED for “Big Game” does NOT necessarily mean you can hunt deer or elk or even groundhogs!

Read this again!! Each state has a specific list of game animals permitted to be hunted with an Air Rifle. You absolutely MUST look at the individual list for the particular State! For example, though California appears as a Big Game-approved red state, you may NOT hunt deer or feral hogs there with an air rifle. Only these species may be hunted with airguns in CA: Aoudad Sheep, Coyote, Jackrabbit, Opossum, Pigeons, Quail, Rabbit, Skunk, Squirrel, Sparrow, Starlings, Turkey, Weasel.

In other states, the list of allowed species is VERY different. So, you MUST check the list for the state where you will hunt!! To access the list, go to the Pyramyd Air Hunting Map Page and click on the particular STATE.

Pyramyd Air Hunting Map Game list permission

IMPORTANT: Because of the ever changing laws, use the Pyramyd Interactive Hunting Map as a guide, but always consult with your local state authorities to be sure there are no recent state changes impacting hunting laws and regulations in that particular state!

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September 14th, 2021

Yes You Need to Clean Muzzle Brakes — Here’s How to Do It

barrel cleaning muzzle brake break device port carbon removal

Many hunters and precision rifle competitors use muzzle brakes because these ported devices reduce felt recoil significantly. That make s real difference getting back on target for quick follow-up shots. While many rifle owners appreciate the benefits of muzzle brakes, they may also neglect their brakes, allowing hard carbon and powder residue to build up. Not good. You should regularly clean your muzzle brake to remove fouling and carbon build-up.

barrel cleaning muzzle brake break device port carbon removal

As Mark Edgreen posted: “Carbon build up on the crown and in the brake is a recipe for poor accuracy.” And another gunsmith reported that customers complained about guns that “shot out way too early” but they only needed to have the brakes cleaned.

Gunsmith and PRS/NRL competitor Jim See recently reminded his Facebook Fans about the importance of cleaning muzzle brakes: “How many times do I have to say it? You need to maintain your rifles. Clean your muzzle brakes people!”. Jim, who runs Elite Accuracy LLC, notes that hard carbon build-up in brakes can definitely harm accuracy. Look at this example:

barrel cleaning muzzle brake break device port carbon removal

Muzzle Brake Cleaning Methods
There are various methods for cleaning a brake, we list a variety of techniques, but we would start with NON-corrosive ultrasound. You’ll want to remove the muzzle device before doing these tasks.

1. Use Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine with cleaning solution. This may be the most efficient method: “I place my brake in the ultrasonic cleaner. Shiney as new.” (Jim Moseley).

2. Spray with commercial Carb Cleaner and brush. Then apply anti-corrosion coating.

3. Soak in half hydrogen peroxide and half vinegar. Suggestion: “Let sit over night and carbon melts off. Brush remaining carbon off, rinse and put the brake back on.” Apply anti-corrosive before mounting.

4. Soak in 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar and brush. (Be sure to apply anti-corrosion coating, such as Eezox, after soaking).

5. Tumble in liquid solution with stainless pins. Comment: “Comes out slightly faded, but perfectly clean on stainless, non-painted brakes though.” Warning — do NOT do this with threaded brakes — tumbling could affect threads of screw-on brakes. Also, tumbling can harm painted or Cerakote finishes.

Gunsmithing Tip: By fitting the muzzle brake so that the barrel crown is slightly forward, it is easier to wipe carbon fouling off the end of the barrel. See photo:

barrel cleaning muzzle brake break device port carbon removal

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September 14th, 2021

Mobile Power Sources for SmartPhones, Tablets, & LabRadars

LabRadar FosPower USB Battery pack charnging LED

Today’s precision shooter is connected. He or she is likely to bring a number of electronic items to the range, such as a smartphone, tablet computer, Kestrel, LabRadar chronograph, and more. These digital devices all require electricity to operate. Unfortunately, most ranges don’t include convenient charging stations for your gadgets. Therefore you need to bring battery back-up. Here are three good options, with storage capacities from 10200 mAh to 42000 mAh. The first unit is fully weather-proof, so it is good for hunters and tactical shooters exposed to the elements. The largest power pack, with AC outlet, is quite versatile and works well on car-camping trips.

1. FosPower 10200 mAh Waterproof Charger, $29.99

FosPower USB Battery pack waterproof shockproof LED

When you’re at the range or on a hunt, it’s smart to have a USB-output battery pack for smart phone, target-cam monitor, even a LabRadar. There are many battery packs available, but most are fairly fragile, with exposed ports. This “ruggedized” FosPower 10200 mAh charger is different. It is waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-proof. (IP67 certified: dust and water resistance for up to 3ft/1m for 30 minutes under water.) It can handle all that a PRS competitor or hunter can dish out. It even has a handy LED light. Right now it’s priced at $29.99 with FREE Shipping for Prime members.

2. EasyAcc 20000 mAh Battery Pack with Fast Charging, $42.99

USB

If you want to charge multiple devices, such as a tablet and a LabRadar, you need serious capacity. The EasyAcc 20000 mAh battery pack can charge up to four devices simultaneously. Notably, this $42.99 Battery Pack charges faster than most other 20K packs. It has two power input ports, allowing it to fully charge in 6-7 hours. (We have another 20000 mAh battery unit that takes over 16 hours to fully charge!). This unit will charge an iPhone 7 six times, a Samsung S8 four times or an iPad Mini two times. Note, 78% of Amazon purchasers rated this unit Five Stars (with 13% Four-Star reviews).

3. Jackery 240Wh USB, 110v AC, 12v DC Power Station, $199.99

USB

Many folks have asked us “How can I use a laptop, chronograph, or electronic powder dispenser that requires 110 volt AC power when I’m at the range?” Sure you can take power from your car’s 12 volt cigarette lighter jack, but you’ll still need a very long cable and a 12 volt to 110 volt step-up transformer. If you run a cable from the parking lot to the bench or shooting bay you’ll have to leave a window open in your vehicle and fellow shooters can trip over the long cord.

A better solution is to get a portable, combo USB + 110 volt + 12 volt power unit. This versatile 240Wh Jackery Power Station will drive a 110v device, 12v units, PLUS charge a USB tablet and cellphone, all at the same time. You can run a LabRadar for DAYS with this advanced Lithium Ion power-pack. It will also power CPAP machines and other 12v devices. One nice feature is rapid charging. Before your range session or camping trip, plug this into the wall. It will get fully charged in about 3.5 hours from a 110v outlet. Also this unit can recharge from a paired Jackery solar panel ($179.99 sold separately, see below). By itself (without solar panel) the Jackery portable power source is $199.99 on Amazon. See Jackery Product Store.

USB

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September 13th, 2021

Smith & Wesson Model 648 — Impressive .22 WMR Wheelgun

smith wesson S&W model 648 revolver wheelgun .22 WMR Winchester magnum rimfire 6

We love Smith & Wesson rimfire revolvers. We have put thousands of rounds through S&W Model 617 revolvers, with 4″ and 6″ barrels. These stainless .22 LR handguns are accurate, superbly reliable, and they hold their value. In general we’ve found that Smith & Wesson rimfire revolvers may be less fussy with ammo, and more trouble-free than typical semi-auto rimfires. Bottom line, we feel that everyone should have an S&W rimfire wheelgun in their collection.

Along with its .22 LR wheelguns, S&W now offers another very impressive Rimfire Revolver option — the “revived” Model 648 in .22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire). This stainless Model 648 brings a more powerful cartridge to S&W rimfire revolver fans.

smith wesson S&W model 648 revolver wheelgun .22 WMR Winchester magnum rimfire 6Built on S&W’s medium K-frame, the 8-round Model 648 is designed for small game hunting and target shooting. The .22 WMR is definitely a much more potent varmint cartridge than the .22 LR. You have more downrange energy plus a flatter trajectory. While the 648 does not come with an integral scope rail, it is not difficult to mount red dot or optical sights to this wheelgun.

The Model 648 revolver is built on a stainless steel medium K-frame and includes black synthetic finger groove grips, a black patridge front sight, and adjustable rear sight. This impressive revolver features a full underlug six-inch barrel, eight-round capacity, and is available with an MSRP of $749.

Model 648 History and Features

According to Guns.com: “The K-frame .22 WMR-caliber Model 648 first appeared in Big Blue’s lineup in 1989 sporting a full-lug barrel and stainless steel construction. Retired since 2005, the newest generation of the Model still brings a 6-inch barrel to the party, which translates to a very commanding 11.1-inch overall length. Weight is 46.2-ounces in the eight-shot .22 Mag, making the gun attractive for both those looking to fill pots and smoke targets.” Shown below is a vintage Model 648.

smith wesson S&W model 648 revolver wheelgun .22 WMR Winchester magnum rimfire 6

Jan Mladek, General Manager of Smith & Wesson General Manager Jan Mladek reports: “The Model 648 is back in production to satisfy the needs of handgun owners who are looking to achieve greater distance while hunting or target shooting. With a full underlug, six-inch barrel and a patridge front sight, the Model 648 has been designed … to boost accuracy at longer distances. While we currently offer .22 Magnum revolvers in both our J-frame and Classics line, we are excited to add this new .22 Magnum revolver to the modern K-frame lineup.”

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September 12th, 2021

Efficient 4-Shot Sight-in Procedure for Hunting Rifles

hunting zero zeroing sight-in easy NSSF boresighting
Photo courtesy Vortex Optics.

Hunting season is starting soon. We know many readers have acquired a new hunting rifles, or perhaps are using new ammo or a new optic. If you’ve got new gear, you’ll want to sight-in and zero your hunting rig properly. Here’s how…

Here’s a simple procedure that lets you get a solid zero in just four shots. Of course you probably want to fire a few more rounds to confirm your zero before you head off to your hunting grounds, but this will let you get on-target with a minimum amount of time and ammo expended. (This assumes your scope is securely mounted, and the bases are not drastically out of alignment.)

QUICK-TIP: The Key to this procedure is Dialing to Shot One Point of Impact (POI). Re-aim at center of target after SHOT ONE. Then with the rifle motionless, use the turrets to put the middle of the cross-hair (reticle) on the first shot location. Be sure NOT to move your rifle while clicking.

1. First, remove the bolt and boresight the rifle. Adjust the position of the rifle so that, looking through the bore, you can see the center of the target with your eyes. Secure the rifle in the rests to maintain its position as boresighted. Then, without moving the rifle, center the reticle. That should get you on paper. With the rifle solidly secured in front and rear rests or sandbags, aim at the center of a target placed at your zeroing distance (50 or 100 yards). Confirm there are no obstructions in the barrel! Then load and fire SHOT ONE. Then, return the gun to the exact position it was when you pulled the trigger, with the cross-hair centered on the target as before.

2. Locate, in the scope, where your first bullet landed on the target. Now, while you grip the rifle firmly so it doesn’t move, have a friend adjust the turrets on your scope. While you look through the scope, have your friend turn the windage and elevation turrets until the cross-hairs, as viewed through the scope, bisect the first bullet hole on the target. Use the turrets to move the center of the reticle to the actual position of shot number one. IMPORTANT: Dial the crosshairs to the hole — don’t move the rifle.

Watch NSSF Zeroing Video showing method of moving reticle to Shot 1 Point of Impact.

3. After you’ve adjusted the turrets, now re-aim the rifle so the cross-hairs are, once again, positioned on the target center. Keep the rifle firmly supported by your rest or sandbag. Take the SECOND SHOT. You should find that the bullet now strikes in the center of the target.

3-Shot Zero

4. Take a THIRD SHOT with the cross-hairs aligned in the center of the target to confirm your zero. Make minor modifications to the windage and elevation as necessary.

5. Finally, shoot the rifle from a field rest (shooting sticks, bipod, or rucksack) as you would use when actually hunting. Confirm, with SHOT FOUR, that your zero is unchanged. You may need to make slight adjustments. Some rifles, particularly those with flexy fore-arms, exhibit a different POI (point of impact) when fired from a bipod or ruck vs. a sandbag rest.

Don’t Rush the Process
One more important point comes from reader Bruce: “DO NOT rush the procedure. Hunting rifles need a cold zero. When you go for a walk in the weeds for that freezer-filler with a hat-rack your FIRST (and likely ONLY) shot will be from a COLD barrel. Bambi is not going to hang around while you fire warming shots”.

This Video Shows the Process Described Above:

Fouling Shots and Cold Bore Condition
If you recently cleaned your rifle, you may want to fire two or three fouling shots before you start this procedure. But keep in mind that you want to duplicate the typical cold bore conditions that you’ll experience during the hunt. If you set your zero after three fouling shots, then make sure the bore is in a similar condition when you actually go out hunting.

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September 12th, 2021

The Rifle Patriarch — 48 Years of Service to Youth Shooting

Norris Diefenderfer shooting coach maryland retires Chambersburg

CMP Report submitted by George Kuhne, Everett Junior Rifle Club
Norris Diefenderfer, a long-time coach with the Antietam Junior Rifle Club from Hagerstown, Maryland, is retiring after coaching junior athletes for nearly 50 years. Diefenderfer, now 85 years of age, started his coaching career in May of 1973 when the leader of the Washington County, Maryland, 4-H rifle club became ill and was unable to find a replacement. Norris stepped in to fill the role. Now, 48 years later, after coaching hundreds of talented young shooters, Norris is retiring.

Norris Diefenderfer shooting coach maryland retires Chambersburg
Norris delivering instruction to his shooters on the standing position. Norris was adamant about teaching a standing shooting position that does not put unnecessary stress on the spine.

Norris Diefenderfer shooting coach maryland retires Chambersburg
Norris (left, seated) with his team members at the 2021 National Matches at Camp Perry. Norris brought his first group of juniors to the National Matches at Camp Perry in 1982, starting a tradition that has continued since.

77 of Diefenderfer’s Shooters Have Received Division 1 College Scholarships
This summer, at the 2021 National Matches at Camp Perry, Norris decided to retire after 48 years of coaching. He leaves a legacy of dedication to hundreds of young athletes, including 77 who have gone on to receive Division 1 college shooting scholarships. These scholarships total in the millions of dollars and have made education possible for a number of individuals who may not have attended college without them. Several of his athletes have also gone on to All-American honors at the collegiate level.

Initially, the 4-H rifle club only met through the summer months, with their season culminating at the annual 4-H rifle match. As time passed, Norris became interested in getting his juniors involved in additional matches. He acquired the ability to use the nearby Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club range in Pennsylvania and held weekly practices, alternating between smallbore and air rifle. Once a month, the young athletes would shoot a college-format match consisting of a course of fire of 60-shot 3P (three position) smallbore along with 60-shot standing air rifle.

During the summer months Norris moved his practices to the North American Rod & Gun Club in Hagerstown, Maryland, for outdoor shooting at 50 yards — maintaining a personal philosophy that shooting outdoors helped make for better indoor results. Norris also directed week-long smallbore summer camps at the Hagerstown Club.

Norris Diefenderfer shooting coach maryland retires Chambersburg
This photo is from a report on 2013 Antietam summer smallbore camp lead by Norris Diefenderfer and rifle Coach Kelley of the U.S. Naval Academy. CLICK HERE for a full report with more photos.

Upon his retirement from employment in 1996, Norris renamed the club the Antietam Junior Rifle Club. His junior athletes began traveling to several matches outside of their club like the state Junior Olympic Rifle Competition (JORC), the National Rifle Association (NRA) sectionals, the Palmyra Invitational and some open collegiate matches.

Diefenderfer’s successful teaching methods have been shared with coaches for many other training programs. He stresses shooting positions that are fundamentally sound and safe for the juniors, avoiding the all-too-often occurring back and spine issues that can occur from poor training. His sense of humor and warm, encouraging demeanor with his athletes will be greatly missed.

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September 11th, 2021

Remembering the 9/11 Attack after Twenty Years

Remembrance 9/11 attack world trade center
Image from Creedmoor Sports

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” — Ronald Reagan

Today marks the 20th anniversary of a tragic day in American history. Much like December 7th, 9/11 remains a “date which will live in infamy”. On this 11th day of September 2021, we think it is good for Americans to honor the sacrifice of the first responders who went to the World Trade Center (WTC) and who lost their lives. And we must remember all those who died as the towers collapsed. It is also a good time to remember those key values for which this nation stands — freedom, liberty, and justice for all. In a modern world where media sources and politicians seek to divide Americans and create hostility, the shared memory of 9/11 can perhaps serve to unite us.

Forum member Charlie NC posted: “Everybody remembers where they were when the attacks happened, and the emotions they felt. God bless the victims who died that day, and those who followed in the pursuit of justice. But at a terrible time our country was more united than at any other point in my lifetime. Hopefully may we regain that harmony again under better circumstances.”

Remembrance from 20 Years Ago — Days Before the Attack
Forum member David Joe was in New York City in September 20 years ago. David had actually been in the World Trade Center with his family just a few days before the attack. Here is his perspective on how the tragedy of 9/11 has changed life in America…

Twenty Years Ago at the World Trade Center…
Twenty years and a week ago, my wife, son, and unborn daughter spent five hours at the World Trade Center. We ate, took pictures everywhere, watched the tilting platform movie, pressed souvenir pennies, went to the top, talked to the employees and watched birthday flowers being delivered up the escalator to one of them. And that’s what we first thought about on the morning of 9/11…

Remembrance 9/11 attack world trade center

By the evening of 9/11, I knew the world was different, and always would be. In all the years that have gone by, families like mine eventually travelled again, grew up and recognized at least once a year, the magnitude of the events of that day. Some think about it all the time and became more vigilant, and that is certainly, I hope, good.

Other families were directly involved daily in preventing terrorism from coming home again. Thousands of families lost relatives that day, and many more in the years after.

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September 11th, 2021

Do You REALLY Know MilliRadians? Intro to Mils and Mildots

mildot ranging milliradian Milrad

We first ran this article in 2012, and it was very well received. Since then, many Forum members have requested an explanation of MILS and mildots, so we decided to run this feature again…

1 Milliradian (Milrad or ‘Mil’) = 1/1000th of a radian | 1 Milliradian = 0.0573 degrees.

Mildot scope reticleIn this NSSF Video, Ryan Cleckner, a former Sniper Instructor for the 1st Ranger Battalion, defines the term “MilliRadian” (Milrad) and explains how you can use a mildot-type scope to range the distance to your target. It’s pretty simple, once you understand the angular subtension for the reticle stadia dots/lines. Cleckner also explains how you can use the milrad-based reticle markings in your scope for elevation hold-overs and windage hold-offs.

Even if you normally shoot at known distances, the hold-off capability of milrad-reticle scopes can help you shoot more accurately in rapidly-changing wind conditions. And, when you must engage multiple targets quickly, you can use the reticle’s mil markings to move quickly from one target distance to another without having to spin your elevation turrets up and down.

WEB RESOURCES: If you want to learn more about using Milliradians and Mildot scopes, we suggest the excellent Mil-dot.com User Guide. This covers the basics you need to know, with clear illustrations. Also informative is The Truth about Mil Dots by Michael Haugen. Mr. Haugen begins with basic definitions: 360 degrees = 2 x Pi (symbol π) Radians. That means 1 Radian is about 57.3 degrees. 1 Milliradian (Milrad or ‘Mil’) = 1/1000th of a radian. Thus 1 Milliradian = .0573 degrees.

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September 10th, 2021

David Chipman Withdrawn as Nominee for ATF Director

ATF David Chipman Nomination BATFE Second Amendment Foundation

Recognizing that a confirmation vote was likely to fail, the Biden White House has retracted the nomination of David Chipman to head the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). An aggressive anti-gunner, Chipman has advocated the banning of AR-15s and other popular semi-auto rifles. There were concerns about the handling of his own, issued firearms when he worked for the ATF, and his statements as a paid anti-gun activist were extreme and worrisome. Chipman is currently a paid gun control lobbyist who has worked for Bloomberg’s Everytown, as well as the gun control groups Brady United and Giffords Law Center.

Sen. Mitch McConnell was pleased that the Biden Administration retracted the “terrible nomination of David Chipman”. McConnell noted that it was “absurd that a vocal opponent of Americans’ Constitutional rights was ever picked to run ATF. This is a win for the Second Amendment and law-abiding American citizens.”

Sen. Steve Daines concurred: “I’ve been opposed to David Chipman leading the ATF from the start. He’s an anti-Second Amendment, gun-grabbing radical that should not lead the agency that regulates firearms.”

“The defeat of David Chipman is a victory for all Americans who value the right of self-defense,” said Young Americans for Liberty spokesman Eric Brakey, who added: “Chipman has called for a total ban on private ownership of commonly-owned firearms — like the AR-15[.] President Biden should have never nominated this rabid activist on the payroll of Bloomberg-funded anti-gun groups to lead the ATF in the first place.” And the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb stated: “This is a great grassroots victory for the Second Amendment.”

Immediately following Chipman’s nomination, Gottlieb said it had the smell of political patronage to the Giffords Law Center gun control lobbying group. He also accurately portrayed the nomination as a declaration of war on gun owners’ rights. “We predicted Joe Biden’s pick would ignite a political firestorm, and it did”, Gottlieb recalled. “The President has been so wrong on so many issues, and the Chipman nomination ranks right up there[.]”

Gottlieb continued: “We’re proud of the grassroots effort to defeat this foolish Biden scheme to put an acknowledged extremist gun ban advocate in charge of ATF[.] This is a major defeat for the billionaire elitists who bankroll the gun prohibition movement.”

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms declared that the withdrawal of anti-gun lobbyist David Chipman’s nomination to head the ATF is “a much-deserved defeat for the gun prohibition lobby and Joe Biden”.

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September 9th, 2021

Top Shooters Teach Marksmanship at Camp Perry Nat’l Matches

CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training

This article recognizes the efforts of military men and women who teach others shooting skills and preserve the proud traditions of American marksmanship.

The National Matches at Camp Perry, a staple in the marksmanship world for over 100 years, include many excellent training clinics taught by military teams as well as CMP instructors. The CMP offers an entire lineup of educational courses for those new to the sport and those eager to develop their skills. The types of rifle and pistol courses span from junior to adult, competitive to maintenance and everything in between. Along with classes taught by CMP staffers, other courses are taught by military personnel, including many past and current National Champions and record-holders.

Small Arms Firing School Led by 3-Time Nat’l HP Champion SSG Brandon Green
This year, the Small Arms Firing School was directed by many top-flight marksmen from a number of military teams. The rifle classroom portion was led by the USAMU’s SFC Brandon Green (shown below), a 3-Time National High Power Champion who holds multiple national records including a perfect score in the President’s Rifle event.

CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training

CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training
The 2021 Rifle Small Arms Firing School helped train over 250 individuals on the range.

Out on the line, world-class shooters such as SSG Amanda Elsenboss and MAJ Samuel Freeman, the 2021 winner of the President’s Rifle Match, brought their knowledge and experience into one-on-one training with participants. Elsenboss is one of America’s greatest shooters. She recently won the 2021 National High Power Championship at Camp Atterbury, after winning the National Long-Range Championship in 2019.

“Having those world-class shooters serve as instructors is an honor and one the students should remember always”, Cooper added.

U.S. Marine Corps Junior Clinic
The Marine Corps junior clinic, guided by MAJ Martinez (USMC Shooting Team Officer), is always a big hit with up-and-coming young rifle shooters. CMP Training Manager Steve Cooper noted: “It was great to see so many enthusiastic young people, who revere the Marine Corps Shooting Team, come out and take advantage of the instruction at this year’s clinic.”

The 3-day clinic includes more advanced training beyond fundamentals, including weather conditions, how to read wind, equipment use, shooting positions, and rulebook standards. Juniors in the clinic spend one day in the classroom, followed by two days of live-fire on the range at 200, 300, and 600 yards.

Marine corps junior clinic CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training

“We talk to them and try to understand them, what they struggle with as individuals and their process,” Cooper said of the USMC’s training technique. “We try to give them tiny, little fixes to what they already have going on.”

GySgt Daniel Rhodes, the staff non-commissioned officer in charge of the Marine Corps Rifle Team, helped lead instruction on the firing line in 2021. Rhodes was pleased with the turnout of around 80 juniors. Rhodes explained that around 25 percent of the juniors in the clinic were first-timers.

Team CMP Advanced High Power Clinic:
Led by members of Team CMP (the organization’s own competitive High Power squad) the Advanced High Power Clinic offers more complex instruction in service rifle competition techniques using classroom and range discussion. Though the class traditionally only utilizes dry-fire training on the range, in 2021, a 600-yard live-fire portion was added.

CMP National Matches Camp Perry Brandon Green USAMU marksmanship training
The Advanced High Power Clinic, led by Team CMP members including Bob Gil (above), provides advanced training on wind reading, mental management and more.

With 65 individuals signed up, the course was broken into groups headed by Sara Rozanski, James Fox, Nick Till, Danny Arnold, Robert Taylor and Bob Gil — all experienced and award-winning marksmen. Each focused on a specific area, such as wind reading, mental management and positioning.

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September 7th, 2021

INFO on PRIMERS — What You Need to Know

Primer Priming Tool Magnum primers foil anvil primer construction reloading powder CCI
Winchester Pistol Primers on bench. Photo courtesy UltimateReloader.com.

There is an excellent article about primers on the Shooting Times website. We strongly recommend you read Mysteries And Misconceptions Of The All-Important Primer, written by Allan Jones. Mr. Jones is a bona fide expert — he served as the manager of technical publications for CCI Ammunition and Speer Bullets and Jones authored three editions of the Speer Reloading Manual.

» READ Full Primer “Mysteries and Misconceptions” Article

This authoritative Shooting Times article explains the fine points of primer design and construction. Jones also reveals some little-known facts about primers and he corrects common misconceptions. Here are some highlights from the article:

Primer Priming Tool Magnum primers foil anvil primer construction reloading powder CCISize Matters
Useful Trivia — even though Small Rifle and Small Pistol primer pockets share the same depth specification, Large Rifle and Large Pistol primers do not. The standard pocket for a Large Pistol primer is somewhat shallower than its Large Rifle counterpart, specifically, 0.008 to 0.009 inch less.

Magnum Primers
There are two ways to make a Magnum primer — either use more of the standard chemical mix to provide a longer-burning flame or change the mix to one with more aggressive burn characteristics. Prior to 1989, CCI used the first option in Magnum Rifle primers. After that, we switched to a mix optimized for spherical propellants that produced a 24% increase in flame temperature and a 16% boost in gas volume.

Foiled Again
Most component primers have a little disk of paper between the anvil and the priming mix. It is called “foil paper” not because it’s made of foil but because it replaces the true metal foil used to seal early percussion caps. The reason this little disk exists is strictly a manufacturing convenience. Wet primer pellets are smaller than the inside diameter of the cup when inserted and must be compacted to achieve their proper diameter and height. Without the foil paper, the wet mix would stick to the compaction pins and jam up the assembly process.

Read Full Primer Story on ShootingTimes.com

VIDEOS about PRIMERS
Here are two videos that offer some good, basic information on primers:

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September 6th, 2021

TEN BEST Methods to Dry Cartridge Brass After Wet Cleaning

Wet Tumbling Brass Drier

Many shooters these days clean their cartridge brass ultrasonically, or wet-tumble their cases with stainless media (above). Both methods get brass clean and shiny, inside and out. However, when those wet-cleaning processes are completed, you’re left with a pile of soaking wet brass. How do you dry your brass quickly and efficiently, without unsightly water spots? Read on for some great answers…

In our Shooters’ Forum, Forum Gold Member Terry asked: “How do you dry your brass after Ultrasonic cleaning?” In an interesting Reloading Forum Thread, many smart suggestions were posted. A dozen fellow members outlined a variety of effective case-drying procedures, which work equally well for both wet-tumbled brass and ultrasonically-cleaned cases. Here are the Top 10 brass-drying suggestions from our Forum members.

TOP TEN Ways to Dry Cartridge Brass After Wet Cleaning

1. Food Dehydrator — Shake the brass in towel to get the bulk of water off. Next leave in the food dehydrator for 45 minutes or until there are no signs of moisture inside the cases. — Lawrence97

2. Lyman 5-Level Case Dryer — Rinse off cleaning solution(s), then load brass by type into racks in Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer. This is easier to load/unload than food dehydrators and holds more cases.

Lyman Cyclone Case Drier

3. Hot Water + Compressed Air — Rinse all your cases as a batch using scalding hot water from the kitchen sink. Hot water evaporates off of brass very very quickly. Then hit them with compressed air. Takes 10 minutes. Simple. — SG4247

4. Oven Dry in Pre-Heated Oven — After pre-heating to 200° or so, turn off oven and put brass inside on a tray. Most important! Tell your wife what you are doing so she doesn’t crank it up to 425 to heat pizza! — MClark

NOTE: Many other members suggested oven drying at 150-200°. We recommend turning OFF the oven so you don’t cook your brass if you forget to remove the cases.

Dry Cartridge Brass heat gun5. Towel Dry then Warm with Heat Gun — Roll brass in a towel until no more water shakes out. Lay out on cardboard box top and blow off with Harbor Freight heat gun. $9.99 on coupon. Two minutes of heated air and about half hour of wait and they are good to go. This is with primers removed. — Shaggy357

6. Compressed Air, then Sun Dry Outside – I rinse the brass, then blow them out with compressed air. Then, dependent on the time of year, lay them on a towel in the sun. — HogPatrol

7. Dishwasher on Dry Cycle – In the winter, I drop my wet brass cases neck-down on the rack pegs in the dishwasher, then turn on the dry cycle. In the summer…well, I’m in Texas. They go to the porch for a bit. — Toolbreaker

8. Alcohol Rinse then Air or Oven Dry — Rinse in 90% Isopropyl alcohol and either let air dry or stick in 175° oven for half an hour. Alternatively, use a dehydrator. — Zipollini

9. Slow Air-Dry in Loading Blocks — I have a reloading block with holes drilled in it. I simply load the block up and let it air-dry in the cupboard for a couple of days. — JCS

10. Wipe with Towel Then Anneal Normally — This thread is stirring my OCD side. Seems complicated for just drying — my brass dries just fine when I anneal it. This entire process can’t take an hour per batch. When finished, the brass is cleaned, annealed, and ready to size. — CHLuke

  • Deprime, then tumble brass with stainless media, water, Lemishine, and dish detergent.
  • Shake them easily in a strainer to knock out most media then grab 4-5 pieces, shake them over the bucket for the last of the media then inside a towel.
  • Finally blow out the primer pockets and wipe with a towel, load in the Annealeez.

Wet Tumbling Brass Drier

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September 6th, 2021

Suppressors for Hunting — What You Need to Know

There is an informative article on the NRA’s American Hunter website regarding suppressor use for hunting. The article, What Hunters Need to Know About Suppressors, answers common questions about licensing, tax stamps, and suppressor types. The article explains the history of the $200 tax stamp which must be paid when acquiring a suppressor:

“Why the Tax? In 1934 … the federal government, while battling gangsters such as Al Capone, heavily restricted silencers with passage of the first National Firearms Act. Hoping to gain an advantage on criminals that often had better weapons than cops, the Feds placed a mandatory ‘sin’ tax on silencers that was so high it would effectively ban their purchase by all but the wealthiest individuals. In 1934, $200 was the equivalent of $3,500 today. The $200 tax still stands despite no evidence that a simple metal tube is capable of causing crime.” — American Hunter

The American Hunter article also discusses how well suppressors actually reduce noise. User should be aware that the sound level of a large, centerfire hunting cartridge will still exceed 130 decibels (dB) on average, even with a typical suppressor (silencer) in place. For that reason, we recommend that hunters continue to wear ear protection even when they shoot suppressed.

For example, Thunder Beast Arms says its latest Ultra 9 Suppressor will reduce the report of a .308 Win to 132-134 dB: “The ULTRA 9 will suppress a typical .308 bolt-action rifle down to approx. 132-134 dB. It also has very little or no ‘first round pop’ (FRP) in most applications.” NOTE: These dB levels are measured in accordance with MIL-STD-1474D using BK 2209 SLM offset one meter from muzzle.

How Loud Are Unsuppressed Rifles?
Firearms Are Loud — 140 dB to 175 dB. Audiology group ASHA explains: “Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level. Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB. Firing guns in a place where sounds can reverberate, or bounce off walls and other structures, can make noises louder and increase the risk of hearing loss. Also, adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can make the firearm louder. People who do not wear hearing protection while shooting can suffer a severe hearing loss with as little as one shot[.] Audiologists see this often, especially during hunting season when hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big-bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols.” Source: ASHA, Recreational Firearm Noise Exposure.

suppressor fact and fiction moderator silencer

How Much Does a Good Suppressor Really Reduce Firearm Sound Levels?
That depends on the rifle, the cartridge, and the effectiveness of the suppressor. The American Hunter article explains: “Suppressors retard the speed of propellant gases from the cartridge that rapidly expand and rush out of the barrel. It’s these gases that produce the loud boom that’s heard for miles. A suppressor’s series of internal baffles slows these gases so they are not all released at once, thereby muffling the sound.” Many good commercial suppressors can achieve 30-35 dB sound suppression. However, Zak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms says: “There are a bunch of manufacturers who publish values that are not reproducible, or use an ad-hoc test instead of a mil-spec test. In many cases we’ve tested the exact same suppressors they’ve advertised with 30-40 dB reductions and found they are actually in the high 20s instead.”

Again, for this reason, we recommend that hunters use ear protection, such as electronic muffs, even when shooting suppressed.

Choosing a Suppressor for Hunting Use
The American Hunter article explains that there are many types of suppressors on the market. Bigger suppressors are heavier, but they normally are more effective. You also have a choice in muzzle attachments:

“For most hunting applications, direct thread is the best choice. If you intend to buy only one suppressor yet you have multiple guns, it’s advantageous to buy a model sized and rated for the largest caliber you intend to use. While a suppressor made specifically for a .223 Rem. will reduce the sound of that round slightly better than a model made for .30 caliber, for example, you can use a .30-caliber can for smaller calibers — but not vice-versa. In general, the bigger the can, the more it reduces sound. Smaller suppressors, however, are easier to carry in the woods.” — American Hunter


Chart from American Suppressor Association.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Allowed
Currently, the following 42 states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY. NOTE: Suppressors are legal in Connecticut and Vermont, but hunting with silencers is not allowed in those states.

How to Apply for a Suppressor
To acquire a quality suppressor, you’ll first need to shop around, comparing verified performance. Unfortunately some manufacturer’s dB claims are exaggerated. Give due consideration to size, weight, and durability. When you’ve selected a brand and model, find a Class 3 dealer authorized by the ATF to sell suppressors. You must fill out ATF Form 4, get fingerprinted, and pass a background check. Along with two completed copies of Form 4, submit your fingerprint card, passport photo and a check for $200 to the ATF. Then you wait for the ATF to process your application. American Hunter says the average ATF suppressor processing wait time is now nine months.

BENEFITS OF SILENCERS

NOISE REDUCTION
According to OSHA, the threshold for a hearing safe impulse noise is 140 dB. Without hearing protection, exposure to any impulse noise over 140 dB causes varying degrees of permanent noise-induced hearing loss, which can also lead to tinnitus. Most well-engineered silencers take the dB level of their host firearm well below 140 dB, making those silencers effective primary hearing safety devices. You should always still wear hearing protection (muffs or plugs) when using suppressors.

RECOIL REDUCTION
By containing the explosion at the muzzle, suppressors significantly reduce perceived recoil energy, reduce the rifle’s rearward movement on recoil, and reduce rifle torquing and muzzle flip. The reduction of recoil (and rifle torquing/hopping) lessens shooter fatigue and helps the shooter get his sight picture back on target rapidly after firing. With smaller calibers, a suppressor may enable the shooter to maintain a nearly-continuous sight picture, following the shot into the target. In addition, by reducing felt recoil (and muzzle blast), a suppressor can help inexperienced shooters avoid flinching.

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September 5th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Fall Multi-Discipline Rimfire Rifle Showcase

rimfire .22 LR showcase sunday gunday anschutz CA 457 benchrest prone
Top is a CZ 457 MTR; middle Anschutz with BR stock; bottom is Bergara B14R in DPT Chassis.

With the variety of rimfire disciplines, from cowboy action to Olympic three-position smallbore, there are countless different rimfire designs on the market — bolt guns, lever guns, single-shots, toggle-links and more. These may shoot the same ammo, but they certainly vary in looks and ergonomics. This is testimony to human creativity.

In our Shooters’ Forum, you’ll find a long-running thread showcasing rimfire rifles for plinking, hunting, 3P Target Shooting, Silhouette, Rimfire F-Class, NRL22 and more. Here are some of the notable recently-posted rifles in that Forum thread, with brief build/component details.

ARA Benchrest Rifle with Stiller Action, Shilen Ratchet Barrel

penrod precisions stiller 2500X shilen barrel snow Lapua testing center midas+

penrod precisions stiller 2500X shilen barrel snow Lapua testing center midas+Forum member Peebles24 showcased his cool flame-paint-job .22 LR benchrest rifle against a scenic, snowy background (never too cold to shoot right?). “I had a new rifle built this past fall by Mark Penrod at Penrod Precision. Stiller 2500X action, Shilen ratchet barrel, Jewell trigger, McMillan stock, Harrell’s tuner, Sightron SIII 10-50×60mm glass. I’m shooting it off my Arnold Machine one-piece rest made locally by Cliff Arnold. I visited the Lapua Testing Center East and got a case of Midas+.” For ammo testing results, click photo at right.

In late April the gun competed in its first ARA benchrest match in Wabash, Indiana.

Beautiful MasterClass-Stocked Rifle for Rimfire F-Class

Masterclass rimfire F-class stiller 2500X action wood stock
Masterclass rimfire F-class stiller 2500X action wood stock

Here is a handsome rifle belonging to Forum member Redd. Set up for prone Rimfire F-Class-style competition, this rig features a Shilen Ratchet barrel with Erik Cortina Tuner fitted to a Stiller 2500X action. It boasts a beautiful MasterClass figured Walnut stock and rides on a SEB Joy-Pod bipod up front. The optic is a Nightforce 40x45mm Competition.

CZ 457 .22 Magnum Transformed with KRG Bravo Stock

CZ 527 Rimfire .22 Magnum KRG Bravo stock

CZ 527 Rimfire .22 Magnum KRG Bravo stockForum member JAS-AS purchased a .22 Magnum CZ which he revived as a training rig with a new stock. He posted: “I use a CZ457 in .22 Magnum mainly as a trainer — bipod and rear bag kind of stuff. It has evolved over the last year or so. Next change will be a Lilja barrel. This because it can shoot brilliantly (at times) but not consistently. And accuracy degrades as it gets minimally dirty. Also, it doesn’t like 40gr rounds — the groups open up to 1.5 MOA. It’s at its best with 30 and 35 grain rounds running at up to 2250 fps. I believe that to be a twist-rate issue.”

The “Before” photo shows the rifle “as purchased” with a Nikon Monarch 4-16x42mm mildot scope. The “After” image shows the CZ 457 as modified. JAS-AS notes: “I added a bunch of stuff: KRG Bravo stock, Vortex Strike Eagle 5-25x56mm FFP scope, new bipod and Precision Underground bag, trigger spring. With this setup I shoot at 100 yards+ exclusively.” Show at right is a 9-shot group with the rifle at 100 yards. Three-shot groups at 100 have been below half-MOA.

Savage Mark II Squirrel/Field Rifle

Savage hunting squirrel rimfire

This Savage Mark II rifle isn’t fancy, but it has brought much satisfaction to its owner, Forum member “Ohio Varmint Shooter”. He posted: “Just a nice field gun. Less than $200 (without scope). Cheap wooden stock, thin pencil barrel. My squirrel/field gun. There is absolutely nothing special about this… except it’s lefthanded. It shoots fine, preferring CCI standard velocity rounds. I did splurge and put a more-than-needed scope on it. Most scopes with fixed parallax (in this category), have it fixed at 50 yards. I wanted variable parallax so I could set it at 35 yards. I don’t know if it really makes any difference, but I do try to go for accurate head shots. The scope is also a little overkill in magnification, but it does help with the head shots and my aging eyes.”

“As a youth in the 70s, I always dreamed of a left-handed bolt. So getting back into shooting/hunting about 8 years ago, I was delighted to discover this gun. Growing up I had a semi-auto 22, but being a lefty … it would spit powder on my face.” — Ohio Varmint Shooter

Tikka T1x Action in Eliseo Competition Machine Chassis

Gary Eliseo tikka T1x chassis competition machine .22 LR
Gary Eliseo tikka T1x chassis competition machine .22 LR

Here is Gary Eliseo’s personal Rimfire Match Target Rifle with Tikka T1x action. The T1x action is carried in Competition Machine Rimfire Chassis. Gary also posted some recent 100-yard groups, using SK rifle match ammo in this rifle. Gary runs Competition Machine LLC and produces the chassis system for this cool rig, along with outstanding Across-the-Course, High Power, and F-Class chassis systems for rimfire and centerfire rifles.

Vudoo Action Benchrest Rifle with Benchmark 3-Groove Barrel

vudoo benchmark doan trevor mcmillan stock benchrest .22 LR

Here is a classy benchrest rig belonging to Forum member FCJIM. It features a Vudoo LBRP action, Benchmark 3-groove barrel, Harrell’s Precision tuner, NightForce Benchrest scope, and McMillan Edge stock. The stock work was done by Doan Trevor, while FCJIM did the metal work himself, using a Nevius reamer. This rig likes to shoot ELEY Black and Lapua Midas+ ammo.

Classic CPA Rifles Lever-Action Single-Shot Rimfire Rifle

CPA Stevens rimfire lever action set trigger .22 LR
CPA Stevens rimfire lever action set trigger .22 LR
CPA Stevens rimfire lever action set trigger .22 LR

Last but not least, here is a “blast from the past”. This classic lever-action single shot is crafted by CPS Rifles (Paul Shuttleworth), a boutique gun-maker specializing in single-shot rifles, particularly reproductions of the Stevens 44 1/2. Note the richly-figured wood and the lovely color case-hardening on the receiver. There is a dual Set Trigger system. You pull one trigger through a relatively long stroke until it clicks. The the second trigger breaks the shot (and drops the hammer) with just a few ounces of pull weight. This rig, fitted with MPA Vernier-type tang sights, belongs to Forum member “Mills” from Texas.

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September 5th, 2021

Beat the Heat — Cool Your Barrels with BarrelCool Device

BarrelCool fan battery cooling safety chamber indicator flag heat pump

The popular BarrelCool is a compact barrel-cooling device that also serves as an empty-chamber safety flag. A small, battery-powered fan drives cooling air through the barrel’s bore. Yes it really works — manufacturer-provided data shows that BarrelCool significantly reduces the time it takes to cool down a hot barrel. Look at the chart above to see what to expect.

In the past, folks have tried various methods to cool barrels: water flushed through the bore, CO2 tanks, even battery-operated fish pumps. BarrelCool is a simpler, less costly, and much handier solution. Priced at $39.99, this small device can definitely save you time at the range. Potentially it can save you money by extending barrel life. To see how Barrelcool works, watch th videos below that show the BarrelCool units in both bolt-action and AR-type rifles.

BarrelCool fan battery cooling safety chamber indicator flag heat pump

BarrelCool Range Reports from Forum Members
Forum members have been impress with the BarrelCool device. Member Comrade Terry said: “At the range, I spend a good bit of time waiting for the barrel to cool between shot strings. I fired my usual 50 rounds today, and (though it was 85° today) I was able to leave the range 30-40 minutes earlier than usual thanks to the BarrelCool. I like it!” Another Forum member, J-Rod, reports “Did some load development on my new rifle. This used to take forever due to the barrel heating up outside in full sun (90° ambient). I’d say this little gem cut about two hours off my normal shooting time. I got home early and the wife was happy — what’s that worth?”

How and Why BarrelCool Was Invented
BarrelCool originated from the idea that cease-fire periods would be a great time to cool a barrel. During cease-fires, most ranges and matches require empty chamber flags in the gun so that the range officer and everyone on the firing line can see visually that the gun is in a safe condition. The BarrelCool does double duty — cooling the barrel while serving as an empty-chamber indicator.

BarrelCool inventor Bryan Sumoba explains: “Previous barrel-cooling methods required additional steps such as running patches down the bore, or a fan that gets in the way of a required empty-chamber flag. BarrelCool now allows the shooter to cool the barrel while having the empty-chamber flag in the firearm.”

BarrelCool fan battery cooling safety chamber indicator flag heat pump

Sumoba says BarrelCool significantly shortens the time needed to cool down a hot barrel: “In controlled testing, it took about half the time to cool the barrel from 140 degrees F to 100 degrees F. Our customers also report significant reductions in the time it takes to cool down a hot barrel. At an F-Class match in Sacramento, one shooter fired 25 shots out of his 7mm RSAUM and got the barrel to the point where it was too hot to touch. We placed BarrelCool in his firearm and within 30 minutes, the barrel was back to near-ambient temperature.”

Using three (3) CR123A batteries, a BarrelCool unit can operate for 7-10+ hours. BarrelCool fits both AR-style rifles as well as most bolt action rifles. The Hi-Viz yellow color stands out on the firing line and BarrelCool is small enough to fit in most range or gun bags. Manufactured in the USA, Barrelcool can benefit competition, precision, or recreational shooters who need to cool down their barrels more rapidly, while displaying “safe condition” on the firing line. For more information, or to order for $34.99, visit www.barrelcool.com.

BATTERY TIP: We recommend rechargeable CR123A batteries for use in the BarrelCool. These can last many seasaons and can be charged at home or in a vehicle. Keep a spare set in your range bag. A 4-pack of C123A Lithium Batteries with USB recharger unit is $29.99 on Amazon

DukeDuke says:

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September 5th, 2021

Handy 50-Yard Sight-In Target for .30-06 Vintage Military Rifles

Garand sighting 50 yard target

Take a look at that unusual target below. We bet you’ve never seen one of these before. It’s a 50-Yard Sighting Target for the M1 Garand (and other .30-06 Springfield vintage military rifles). It’s designed to allow a rifleman to confirm his zeros for multiple yardages all the way out to 1000 yards. But importantly, he can establish those zeros at a very “short” shooting facility, since the target is positioned at a mere 50 yards.

Garand sighting 50 yard target

Here’s how it works. The target is placed at fifty (50) yards. You start at the bottom, aiming at the black circle. Then check your come-up table and work your way up, clicking step-by-step to the various horizontal lines set for 200, 300, 500, 600 and 1000 yards. This is NOT “spray and pray” — you need to have a pretty good idea of the clicks you need, based on your ammo’s ballistics. This target is calibrated for the U.S. Military M72 Ball Ammo. The targets are available from Champion’s Choice ($0.75 each) or from Creedmoor Sports (12 for $5.95).

Kevin Thomas used this target to get zeroed for a D-Day Anniversary Match at the Talladega Marksmanship Park a few seasons back. Kevin used the target for both his M1 Garand as well as his M1903A1 Springfield, both chambered for the .30-06 Springfield cartridge.

Garand sighting 50 yard target

Zeroing at a Short Distance — How to Use the 50-Yard Sighting Target, by Kevin Thomas
As part of my preparation for the Garand Match at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park, I needed to zero my new M1 Garand, but I was crunched for time. I didn’t have time to get to my normal range and confirm zeros at actual yardages. But a 50-yard zero target came to the rescue. Made for M1s using the M72 National Match ammo, the target allows the shooter to establish fairly good zeros at 200, 300, 500, 600 and 1,000 yards if you’ve got access to a 50-yard range.

I have no idea when these 50-yard Sighting Targets were first developed, but they’ve been around for at least as long as I’ve been involved in this game (longer than I care to admit). It consists of a tall target, with a smallish black bullseye located at the bottom center. The bullseye is an aiming point only. Extending through the top of the target is a vertical line that runs directly up the center, to nearly the top of the paper. Across this, there are intersecting horizontal lines that are marked 200, 300, 500, 600 and 1,000.

The target was designed for the M1 Garand rifle using then-issued M72 National Match ammunition. This ammo launched a 173gr FMJBT bullet at approximately 2,640 FPS. It was a good load in its day, supersonic out to the 1,000-yard line. While that ammo is fairly scarce these days, this isn’t a problem for the handloader. My standard match load for the M1 Garand utilizes the 175gr Lapua Scenar HPBT, and delivers remarkably similar ballistic performance. Thus my normal Garand load translates nicely to this 50-yard target. Yes, this is by design. No point in reinventing the wheel when Lake City has already established what works!

Garand sighting 50 yard target

In use, the shooter sets the target up at a measured 50 yards, and (this is critical) checks the vertical line with a plumb bob or a carpenter’s level, to ensure that it is absolutely vertical. Once the target is set, the rifle is fired and the group noted. From there, it is a simple matter of zeroing it normally to bring the groups into alignment with the vertical line, at the elevation needed for a particular range. Once your group is hammering the intersection of the vertical line and the horizontal line marked “200”, you have established your 200-yard zero for that rifle. Record the number of clicks, and you’re good to go. Raise the impacts up to coincide with the line marked “300” and you now have a 300-yard zero as well. And so on, right up the target. Record those settings in your data book, and you’re ready to go to the range at the full distances. If done carefully, you may be in the X-Ring, but at the very least, you’ll be well-centered and ready to get some hard dope recorded for future shoots.

The same target can also be used with an M14/M1A, at least at the shorter distances. The ballistics of the M118 and the current M118LR are similar enough that this will get you on target at the full distances, probably requiring just a half MOA or so change from the 50 yard zero you recorded. Same bullets, moving at a slightly more sedate 2,550 fps, you’ll be in the ballpark at least.

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September 4th, 2021

Optics INFO: Mounting a Scope on Your Hunting Rifle

scope alignment tactical rifle scope level

Hunting season commences soon in many states. That means it’s time to inspect all your hunting gear, including your scope set-up. If you have a new optic, you’ll want to get it mounted correctly on your current rig. And if you have a new hunting rifle, you’ll need to mount the properly rings and install the riflescope so that you have the correct eye relief.

A proper scope installation involves more than just tensioning a set of rings — you need to consider the proper eye relief and head position, and it should be leveled correctly. This video shows a simple, quick method to mount a scope. The method assumes that the reticle (cross-hairs) are square without the turret. You’ll want to confirm that with a plumb line hanging straight down, a procedure you can do indoors.

scope alignment tactical rifle scope levelIn this NSSF video, Ryan Cleckner shows how to set up a scope on a hunting or tactical rifle. Ryan, a former U.S. Army Sniper Instructor, notes that many hunters spend a small fortune on equipment, but fail to set up their rifle to use the optics optimally. Cleckner likens this to someone who owns an expensive sports car, but never adjusts the seat or the mirrors.

Ryan notes that you want your head and neck to be able to rest naturally on the stock, without straining. You head should rest comfortably on the stock. If you have to consciously lift your head off the stock to see through the scope, then your set-up isn’t correct. Likewise, You shouldn’t have to push your head forward or pull it back to see a clear image through the scope. If you need to strain forward or pull back to get correct eye relief, then the scope’s fore/aft position in the rings needs to be altered. Watch the full video for more tips.

Tips on Mounting Your Scope and Adjusting Your Comb Height:
1. Normally, you want your scope mounted as low as possible, while allowing sufficient clearance for the front objective. (NOTE: Benchrest shooters may prefer a high mount for a variety of reasons.)

2. Once the scope height is set, you need to get your head to the correct level. This may require adding an accessory cheekpad, or raising the comb height if your rifle has an adjustable cheekpiece.

3. Start with the rifle in the position you use most often (standing, kneeling, or prone). If you shoot mostly prone, you need to get down on the ground. Close your eyes, and let you head rest naturally on the stock. Then open your eyes, and see if you are too low or too high. You may need to use a cheekpad to get your head higher on the stock.

4. If your scope has a flat on the bottom of the turret housing, this will help you level your scope. Just find a flat piece of metal that slides easily between the bottom of the scope and the rail. Slide that metal piece under the scope and then tilt it up so the flat on the bottom of the scope aligns parallel with the flats on the rail. Watch the video at 8:40 to see how this is done.

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September 3rd, 2021

Barrel Break-In Methods — What Do the Experts Recommend?

Barrel Breakin Break-in conditioning cleaning Wade Hull Shilen Walther Varminter.com Eric Mayer Video interview barrels
Photo courtesy Sierra Bullets.

The question of barrel break-in is controversial. Some folks advocate an elaborate, lengthy cycle of shooting and brushing, repeated many times — one shot and clean, two shots and clean and so on. This, it is argued, helps barrels foul less and shoot more accurately. Others say minimal break-in, with patching and brushing after 10-15 rounds, is all you need. Still others contend that break-in procedures are a total waste of time and ammo — you should just load and shoot, and clean as you would normally.

We doubt if there will ever be real agreement among shooters concerning barrel break-in procedures. And one must remember that the appropriate break-in procedure might be quite different for a factory barrel vs. a custom hand-lapped barrel. This Editor has found that his very best custom barrels shot great right from the start, with no special break-in, other than wet patches at 5, 10, and 15 rounds. That said, I’ve seen some factory barrels that seemed to benefit from more elaborate break-in rituals.

What’s the best barrel break-in procedure? Well our friend Eric Mayer of Varminter.com decided to ask the experts. A while back Eric interviewed representatives of three leading barrel manufacturers: Krieger, Lothar-Walther, and Shilen. He recorded their responses on video. In order of appearance in the video, the three experts are:

Wade Hull, Shilen Barrels | Mike Hinrichs, Krieger Barrels | Woody Woodall, Lothar Walther

Barrel Breakin Break-in conditioning cleaning Wade Hull Shilen Walther Varminter.com Eric Mayer Video interview barrelsDo I Need to Break-In a New Rifle Barrel?
Eric Mayer of Varminter.com says: “That is a simple question, [but it] does not necessarily have a simple answer. Instead of me repeating my own beliefs, and practices, on breaking-in a new rifle barrel, I decided to answer this one a bit differently. While we were at the 2016 SHOT Show, we tracked down three of the biggest, and most popular, custom barrel makers in the world, and asked them what they recommend to anyone buying their barrels, and why they recommend those procedures. We asked the question, and let the camera run!” Launch the video above to hear the answers — some of which may surprise you.

Long-Term Barrel Care — More Experts Offer Opinions
Apart from the debate about barrel break-in, there is the bigger question of how should you clean and maintain a barrel during its useful life. Some folks like aggressive brushing, other shooters have had success with less invasive methods, using bore foam and wet patches for the most part. Different strokes for different folks, as they say. In reality, there may not be one solution for every barrel. Different fouling problems demand different solutions. For example, solvents that work well for copper may not be the best for hard carbon (and vice-versa).

CLICK HERE for Long Term Barrel Care Article »

Shooting Sports Lohman Barrel

Chip Lohman, former Editor of Shooting Sports USA Magazine, has authored an excellent article on barrel maintenance and cleaning: Let the BARREL Tell You — Match Barrel Care. In this article, Chip shares the knowledge of a dozen experts including respected barrel-makers Frank Green (Bartlein Barrels), John Krieger (Krieger Barrels), Dan Lilja (Lilja Barrels), and Tim North (Broughton Barrels).

“Why worry about a little barrel fouling when the throat is subjected to a brutal 5,600° F volcano at 55,000 PSI? To investigate these and other questions about taking care of a match barrel, we spoke with a dozen experts and share their knowledge in this first of a series of articles.

After listening to folks who shoot, build barrels or manufacture cleaning solvents for a living, we concluded that even the experts each have their own unique recommendations on how to care for a match barrel. But they all agree on one thing — the gun will tell you what it likes best. Because the life expectancy of a match barrel is about 1,500 to 2,500 rounds, the objectives of cleaning one should include: preserve accuracy, slow the erosion, and remove fouling — all without damaging the gun. This article doesn’t claim that one cleaning method is better than the next. Rather, we set out to interject a little science into the discussion and to share some lessons learned from experts in the field.” — Chip Lohman

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