November 23rd, 2020

Prone Shooting Technique — Mastering the Prone Position

prone shooting position smallbore highpower lones wigger nra sports usa

Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA) offers a wide selection of informative articles on marksmanship techniques. If you shoot prone, “hard-holding”, you know how important proper positioning and technique can be. There is a SSUSA article that every prone shooter should read — whether you shoot air rifle, smallbore, or High Power. Compiled wtih the help of some of the country’s best prone marksmen, this article, How to Master Prone Shooting, provides a step-by-step guide to perfecting your prone position technique.

READ Full Article on Shooting Sports USA »

How to Master Prone Shooting — SSUSA by NRA Staff
The prone position is the most precise of the rifle shooting positions. It is used in many different shooting events at distances as close as 5 meters and as far away as 1,000 yards, and beyond that in long-range disciplines such as PRS and NRL. Prone shooting is very popular among shooters whose training time is limited, because it does not require as much practice. Age has little effect on a shooter’s ability to do well in prone; many older shooters are able to continue competing successfully in prone matches.

Here is a sample, listing STEP ONE, the basics of the prone position:

Step One: Study the Position
The prone position is steady because it is low, which gives a wide base of support to help keep the rifle still. Below are the key features of the prone position.

1. Straight line form left hand through left arm, side and leg.
2. Head tipped down comfortably.
3. Right hand grips rifle lightly.
4. Body lies behind rifle. Angle to rifle is 10 to 20 degrees.
5. Right knee bent slightly, toe pointing out.
6. Rifle lies on heel of left hand, fingers relaxed.
7. Left elbow rests to left of rifle.
8. Sling (if present) supports weight of rifle. Left arm relaxed.
9. Body rests slightly more on left side.
10. Left leg straight, toe pointing inward or straight back.

There are FIVE MORE STEPS described in detail with specific actions to perform, in the FULL Article. For example, in STEP FOUR (Sling Adjustment), the article explains: “Put the sling high on the arm and tighten the sling keeper. Wrap the arm around the sling so that the sling comes across the left hand and forearm.”

prone shooting position smallbore highpower lones wigger nra sports usa

prone shooting position smallbore highpower lones wigger nra sports usa

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
November 22nd, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Jonathan Ocab’s Vudoo/MPA .22 LR for NRL22

jonathan Ocab v-22 vudoo action MPA BA Comp chassis rimfire tactical NRL22 sunday gunday Center-X 6mm creedmoor PRS

Today we feature a top-flight tactical .22 LR rig belonging to Jonathan Ocab. A talented Highpower marksman with the Distinguished Rifleman Badge, Jonathan also enjoys rimfire tactical disciplines which he features on his Youtube Channel. Jonathan now runs a monthly NRL22 match in California. His interest in the NRL22 game started with a CZ 455, but soon he stepped up to the impressive rig you see here. This boasts all top-tier components: Vudoo V-22 mag-fed action, Bartlein barrel, MPA Chassis, and Kahles K525i scope. Jonathan carefully selected all this hardware and assembled the rifle himself.

jonathan Ocab v-22 vudoo action MPA BA Comp chassis rimfire tactical NRL22 sunday gunday Center-X 6mm creedmoor PRS

My Vudoo/MPA Rifle for NRL22 and Long Range Rimfire
Report by Jonathan Ocab, Ocabj.net.
I became interested in rimfire shooting due to not having as much access to longer distance ranges, and the emergence of NRL22 matches. Back in 2017 I had acquired a CZ 455 and ran it in NRL22 club matches. It worked well, but as I started spending most of my time on my club’s rimfire range, I focused on getting a Vudoo Gun Works V-22. The Vudoo V-22 appeared to offer a true repeater that had the feel of a full-sized centerfire rifle along with high accuracy/precision potential.

After a lot of research, I decided to put in an order for a barreled action and acquired a Vudoo Gun Works V-22 action with a 20″ Bartlein barrel, 1-16″ twist, and MTU contour, all in Flat Dark Earth Cerakote (along with a +30 MOA base). I then acquired the TriggerTech Diamond Trigger Pro Curved, Masterpiece Arms BA Comp chassis (in Flat Dark Earth), American Rifle Company M10 34mm rings (28mm height), and Kahles K525i 5-25x56mm SKMR3 LSW scope.

CZ as a Starter NRL22 Option — The CZ 450-series is a solid family of .22 LR rifles, but I wanted to see what existed beyond the CZ level of rimfire rifles. One of my complaints with the CZ 455 is that the trigger leaves much to be desired even with the trigger kits available. Since the Vudoo V-22 action has a Remington 700 footprint and can accept most Rem 700-compatible triggers, I can actually run a top-tier trigger that would exceed anything available for the CZ.

Component Selection for the Ultimate NRL22 Competition Rifle
My choices in components were biased due to my prior experience — I went with quality hardware I knew and trusted…

jonathan Ocab v-22 vudoo action MPA BA Comp chassis rimfire tactical NRL22 sunday gunday Center-X 6mm creedmoor PRS

Barrel Choice — I chose the Bartlein barrel over Vudoo’s in-house Ace barrels because I run a Bartlein barrel on my 6mm Creedmoor rifle and I have become a big Bartlein fan. Secondly, I chose the Masterpiece Arms BA Competition chassis because I also run the MPA BA Comp on my 6mm Creedmoor rifle. You can see the two rifles side-by-side below:

jonathan Ocab v-22 vudoo action MPA BA Comp chassis rimfire tactical NRL22 sunday gunday Center-X 6mm creedmoor PRS
You are not seeing double. There are two rifles, both with an MPA Comp BA chassis, and both weighing about 15 pounds. In front is the featured Vudoo-action .22 LR rimfire rig with 20″ barrel, while behind is Ocab’s ARC Mausingfield 6mm Creedmoor PRS/NRL centerfire rig with 24″ barrel.

After running this rifle build for over a year now, I can say that I am more than happy with this platform as I have it configured. Having a .22 LR rifle in the same chassis as my 6mm Creedmoor rifle makes me feel right at home behind either rimfire or centerfire platform. My Vudoo V-22 weighs 15.2 lbs with Atlas CAL bipod while my 6mm Creedmoor rifle build weighs right at 15.0 lbs with the same Atlas CAL bipod. The “feel” and handling of my Vudoo V-22 MPA is as close to a centerfire gun as you can get.

Scope and Rings — I chose the 5-25x56mm Kahles K525i SKMR3 LSW because I was interested in running the Kahles after handling a few K624i and K525i scopes and hearing about how great they tracked. I run ARC M10 rings on several rifles because I think they are superbly designed.

jonathan Ocab v-22 vudoo action MPA BA Comp chassis rimfire tactical NRL22 sunday gunday Center-X 6mm creedmoor PRS

Trigger Choice — I chose the TriggerTech Diamond because I already have a TriggerTech on one of my centerfire platforms and I wanted to try their Diamond trigger on a gun.

Outstanding Accuracy with Multiple .22 LR Ammo Types — Lapua and SK
My .22 LR ammo of choice is Lapua Center-X. This is the most commonly-chosen ammunition among Vudoo V-22 shooters. I also had good results with SK Rifle Match and Lapua Midas+ in casual 50-yard and 100-yard testing but have stayed with Lapua Center-X because my rifle shot all the lots of Center-X I put into it equally well out to 200 yards.

jonathan Ocab v-22 vudoo action MPA BA Comp chassis rimfire tactical NRL22 sunday gunday Center-X 6mm creedmoor PRS

jonathan Ocab v-22 vudoo action MPA BA Comp chassis rimfire tactical NRL22 sunday gunday Center-X 6mm creedmoor PRS

SUMMARY — The Vudoo V-22 and MPA Package Is Outstanding
I can hands down recommend the Vudoo Gun Works V-22 for anyone who is interested in getting one. The “full-sized” rimfire rifle segment is not a one-horse race anymore and there are other options out there, but I feel very few will regret going with a Vudoo V-22 over another alternative. If you do not have a centerfire rifle designed for NRL/PRS style of shooting, you could probably just opt to go with a CZ 457 or Tikka T1x and have a lot of room to modify and tailor those rifles to your own tastes and still have an accurate rifle for NRL22. But if you also run a precision centerfire rifle, you should seriously consider a Vudoo V-22 or other 700-pattern rimfire action if purchasing a new .22 LR rimfire rig.

My Vudoo Gun Works V-22 build is an all-purpose gun for me. It is setup for NRL22-style matches but can be utilized for (extreme) long range .22 LR shooting (300 yards and beyond). For that rimfire ELR Game, I am seriously considering getting a Vudoo V-22S (single-shot) action to put in an F-Class stock to have a dedicated ELR .22 LR gun. While I built my Vudoo Gun Works V-22 with NRL22 in mind, I realized this gun could do more so I took it out to shoot 300 yards. After that, I stretched it out to 400 yards and then 500 yards in subsequent range visits. Now I am intrigued by extreme long range .22 LR shooting and often shoot 400 yards and beyond with the Vudoo V-22 when I can.

Long Range .22 LR Rimfire — Out to 500 Yards

Jonathan shoots his competition rifle in Long Range Rimfire matches with targets out to 500 yards. That’s definitely Extreme Long Range for the little .22 LR cartridge, requiring 27.8 MILs of up elevation! Jonathan notes: “I originally had a +30 MOA base on my rifle and it worked fine to 400 yards, but I ran out of adjustment on the K525i to get to 500 and had to hold over. I ended up getting a +40 MOA base.”

NRL22 Competition — Tactical Rimfire Matches
The NRL22 match format is a great shooting discipline. NRL22 offers a high fun factor at relatively low cost. You don’t have to reload match ammo. A couple of 50-round boxes of .22 LR ammo will get you through the match. While some people bring lots of gear to matches, that’s by choice and not by necessity. You can keep it simple and still be competitive (and win).

jonathan Ocab v-22 vudoo action MPA BA Comp chassis rimfire tactical NRL22 sunday gunday Center-X 6mm creedmoor PRS

Tips for NRL22 Competitors
I am a match director at my gun club and run our local NRL22 matches. People often ask me for tips for competing in NRL22. First, I recommend getting the course of fire for the month in advance and practicing those stages at the range. Here are other specific tips that should help NRL22 competitors improve their gun-handling and match results.

1. Dry Fire Practice — If you are not able to do live fire practice at the range, I encourage shooters to practice their shooting positions at home via dry fire. Setup props or barricades with pasters or other faux targets on a wall in the garage or inside the house and run through each stage.

2. Scope Magnification Level — The most common issue I see with newer shooters in NRL22 is the tendency to maximize their scope magnification. The timer will start, and the shooter gets into position on a target, but the scope is set to 15x or higher and the shooter can’t find the target. The shooter lowers the magnification, locates the target, and then increases the magnification again, takes the shot, transitions to another target, and repeats the process of decreasing magnification, locating target, etc. Novice NRL22 shooters should try using the mid-range magnification. Try shooting 7x-12x and learn to balance field of view and target image.

jonathan Ocab v-22 vudoo action MPA BA Comp chassis rimfire tactical NRL22 sunday gunday Center-X 6mm creedmoor PRS
The author at NRL22 Match at West End Gun Club in San Bernardino, CA.

3. Support Side Shooting — NRL22 matches often include support-side shooting stages. This requires you to shoot with your opposite (non-dominant) hand and eye. I often hear people complain about shooting support-side. My only real tip for this is to actually spend time at the range shooting this way. Practice makes perfect. It’s all a question of learning how to shoot again and using fundamentals. Learn to get a consistent cheek weld and consistent eye relief. If necessary, figure out if you need to set your scope’s diopter for your opposite eye and mark it on the scope.

4. Tripod Practice — Even though tripods are not used in the NRL22 courses of fire, I practice shooting off of a tripod often. I will often setup targets at various distances and spaced far apart to run drills firing shots on each target with the goal of speeding up transitions and target acquisitions. Target acquisition after transition from target to target is where time is lost, so it is good to become efficient in this area.

jonathan Ocab v-22 vudoo action MPA BA Comp chassis rimfire tactical NRL22 sunday gunday Center-X 6mm creedmoor PRS

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Shooting Skills, Tactical No Comments »
November 22nd, 2020

Click-Adjust FL Die Systems from PMA Tool & Whidden Gunworks

click-adjustable die micro-adjusting lock ring PMA Tool Whidden Gunworks

One of the most important aspects of precision reloading is setting the shoulder bump during the full-length (FL) sizing process. You want the amount of “bump” to be precise and identical for every loaded round. However, when you switch brands of brass you may need to change the die position to get the desired bump and case body sizing. And even with the same brand of brass, you may find that you need to adjust your FL die as the number of brass load cycles increases. Brass that has been fired many times will behave differently than new or near-new brass.

Also, even with the same cartridge type, brass loaded for a semi-auto rifle may need more bump than brass fired in a bolt gun. For example, with .223 Rem ammo, you’ll normally want to push the shoulder back farther if the ammo will be shot in a AR15 as opposed to a bolt-action rig.

So how do you make all these needed adjustments for your full-length dies? You can move a conventional locking ring up and down, but that can be a tedious, trial-and-error process. Some guys use shims in one-thousandth intervals, but that still requires taking your dies in and out of the press. Well there is a better way now…

PMA Tool Micro-Die Adjuster

Wouldn’t it be great if you could precisely adjust your FL die up and down in half-thousandth increments, with a simple indexed click. That is now possible with products offered by PMA Tool and Whidden Gunworks. PMA Tool offers a Micro-Die Adjuster that replaces your existing lock ring and can be used with nearly any 7/8-14 full length sizing die. The engraved marks correspond to approximately .001″ of shoulder bump adjustment. Splitting the engraved marks is therefore approximately equal to .0005″ (half a thousandth). Users love this product, saying it adds precision and saves time.

Whidden Click-Adjustable FL Sizing Die System

Whidden Gunworks offers a complete click-adjustable FL sizer die with a special, indexed ring. With Whidden’s patent-pending Click Adjustable Sizer Die system, the die and lock ring work together to allow rapid, precise bump adjustments. One click changes the bump .001″. It’s simple and fast. Included with the Click Adjustable Sizer Die is a shoulder bump gauge. John Whidden (in video below) explains:

“There has become a need for an easier way to adjust the sizer die properly. Until now there have been few options other than trial and error to get the shoulder setback correct. Anyone who has done this can attest that it’s a slow and imprecise job! Our die and lock ring work together to give the user a clicking feel to the adjustment. Each click moves the shoulder bump .001” so you can easily find the exact shoulder bump that you desire.” — John Whidden

General Tips on Setting Up and Using Sizing Dies

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 21st, 2020

Ruger Resources for New Firearm Owners

Ruger info new gun firearm owners safety videos range etiquette safe storage

Ruger has created a helpful set of online resources for new Firearm owners. The New Firearm Owner Resources site features a Fundamentals of Firearms Ownership Video Series, Industry Resources for local “hands-on” training, as well as information on safe storage. In addition, this online Resource Center offers a full library of product instruction manuals along with suggestions for recommended safety equipment.

There will be new video releases each week, hosted by Mark Gurney, Ruger Director of Product Management. These short (2 min. on average) videos provide key information for new gun owners. If you have friends or family members who are new gun owners, they should watch ALL these videos.

Introduction for New Firearms Owners

Safety Rules — The FOUR Fundamental Safety Rules

Range Safety Equipment — What You Need

This video reviews essential Eye and Ear Protection for shooters.

Safe Storage of Firearms

Range Etiquette — Proper Practices

Ruger info new gun firearm owners safety videos range etiquette safe storage

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Shooting Skills No Comments »
November 20th, 2020

Access 11 Years of Shooting Sports USA Stories — All FREE!

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSA

Enjoy the Shooting Sports USA Archives
With the COVID-19 restrictions we’re all spending more time indoors at home. For some folks that means long sessions in front of the boob tube. Here’s a better idea — there’s a vast resource of great gun-related content available online for FREE. Check out the Shooting Sports USA Articles Archive. SSUSA maintains a vast digital library with hundreds of articles going back to June 2009.

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSAIt’s easy to find back issues of Shooting Sports USA magazine. Here’s how: Using the gray toolbar at the top, click on the “ARCHIVES” icon in the upper right area (indicated with red arrow). When you click on “ARCHIVES”, a window will open with a selection of Shooting Sports USA magazine covers/dates in a vertical column.

Next use the vertical scroll bar to go from November 2020 (the latest issue) all the way back to June 2009. Click any issue cover to read.

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSA
The June 2020 issue features a Palma rifle built with Eliseo Tubegun Chassis System.

How to Find and Save Articles
To search through back issues, select “MORE OPTIONS” from the toolbar. Then click the “SEARCH” button. When that opens, select either “Search archives” for ALL back issues or “Search Only this Issue”. When you’ve made your choice, enter your search term(s). For example, you can search for “Camp Perry” or “Palma” or “F-Class Championship”. You can also save any archived issue as a PDF for viewing offline. Just click “SAVE” to download the article you’re currently viewing/reading.

Shooting Sports USA competitive shooting high power marksmanship archive SSUSA

Read Sample Articles
Here are a couple of our favorite SSUSA feature stories from recent years. There are hundreds of other informative articles worth reading.

Wind-Reading Tips from Champion Shooters »

Shooting Sports USA Wind Reading tips

How to Clean and Maintain Match Barrels »

Shooting Sports USA Barrel Maintenance Clean Bore Scope

Permalink - Articles, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
November 19th, 2020

Getting Vertical Fliers? Check Firing Pin and Ignition System

USAMU Handloading vertical dispersion ignition rimfire accuracy firing pin
Top to bottom – Remington firing pin assembly with ISS, Tubb SpeedLock alloy-composite system without ISS (current versions have dual, opposite-wound springs), and Remington short action firing pin assembly without ISS.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit regularly publishes technical articles on the USAMU Facebook page. One informative USAMU article covered mechanical issues and related ignition irregularities that can cause vertical fliers even with good ammunition in an otherwise excellent rifle. We highly recommend you read this article, which offers some important tech tips.

USAMU handloading hump day

Vertical Dispersion: Mechanical/Ignition Issues?

Poor or inconsistent ignition has long been known to be one of the “usual suspects” when one encounters vertical fliers that just shouldn’t be there. By having a sense of some of the basic principles involved, and a few basic areas to check, the shooter may avoid colsiderable frustration, not to mention time, expensive loading components and barrel wear.

USAMU Handloading vertical dispersion ignition rimfire accuracy firing pinIs your well-built rifle of high-quality components plagued with vertical fliers across more than 1-3 handload combinations? Consider the bedding, crown and scope/sight mounts. Are they correct? If so, then you might check for ignition issues before boldly undertaking an extensive, expensive, and quite possibly fruitless quest for the “magic handload”.

SEEING IS BELIEVING: While the author had been aware for many years that poor ignition should be considered and ruled out when dealing with vertical fliers in an otherwise-excellent rifle, actually seeing the problem and its almost instantaneous cure really drove the lesson home.

He was working with a “dot” rifle – a .22 LR match rifle that really stacked bullets into little piles at 50 yards and beyond. With one lot of ELEY Tenex, it produced consistent “bughole” groups at 50, but with another, selected lot of Tenex, similar groups were regularly ruined by single, vertical fliers that did not appear in other rifles. Rather than spending days burning up expensive, select ammunition looking for “magic lots”, he contacted a well-respected rimfire gunsmith and explained the situation.

Without so much as batting an eye, the highly-experienced ‘smith tore into the rifle’s action, and quickly found the cause(s) of the problem. He discovered a demonstrably weak firing pin spring, plus a chip out of the face of the firing pin where it contacted the cartridge rim.

After replacing and tuning the offending parts, the rifle immediately began shooting tiny, bughole groups with the previously “unacceptable” lot of Tenex. Centerfire rifles can also benefit from ensuring positive, consistent ignition. A wise riflesmith is literally worth his weight in gold!

So, what are some issues we as shooters can inspect in our rifles to help determine if ignition woes could be part of our problem? At the club level, ask yourself if that “experienced” Remington, Winchester 70, or even Springfield-based match bolt gun you’re using is still running its’ original 40-80 year-old factory striker spring? If so, a new replacement is cheap insurance against current or future problems. (And BTW, it might be best to stick to the normal, factory-spec spring weight. A super-powerful spring can cause vertical, just as a weak one one can.) Along with that, a routine check for proper firing-pin protrusion is a quick preventive measure that can rule out potential issues.

Other areas to consider are the centering and consistency of the firing pin’s operation in the bolt. Admittedly, with the increasing use of precision-machined custom actions, this is becoming less an issue every day. Below is the firing pin assembly from a custom BAT action:

USAMU Handloading vertical dispersion ignition rimfire accuracy firing pin

However, particularly with factory actions, a very quick and easy check is to remove the bolt, let the firing pin go forward, and look at the firing pin tip through the firing pin hole. Is the tip off-center in the hole, and possibly striking it as it moves forward? Is the hole out-of-round or burred from being struck repeatedly? If so, a trip to the riflesmith is likely in order.

Similarly, machining issues in the bolt/firing pin system can lead to rough and erratic firing pin movement, in which the firing pin drags against an internal surface of the bolt. In high-quality rifles these issues are relatively rare, but not unheard-of, and it takes mere minutes to rule them out. It may be worthwhile to remove the cocking piece/firing pin/spring assembly and look for any unusual gouges, dings, peening, burrs or signs of abnormal wear.

This task is especially easy with Winchester 70s, Springfields, and the similar Mauser 98s, involving little more than the push of a button and unscrewing the cocking piece assembly. This is just one of the many reasons these tried-and-true actions have earned such a loyal following in the field, among hunters who must maintain their rifles away from a shop.

USAMU Handloading vertical dispersion ignition rimfire accuracy firing pin

Particularly with older rifles, watch for and remove excess grease (or even Cosmoline!) from both the firing pin assembly and inside the bolt. This can help improve firing pin speed and consistency. Other bolt-action designs may need a take-down tool or other measures.

As part of this inspection, AFTER ENSURING THE RIFLE IS UNLOADED, slowly cock the rifle, dry-fire, and repeat several times. Listen carefully near the action for inconsistency in the sounds it generates. Does the striker falling make the same sound each time? Do you hear or feel grinding upon operation? If so, where?

Be sure to check the operation of the cocking piece (bolt shroud), firing pin within the bolt shroud, the cocking piece cam and the rear of the bolt body where the cocking piece cam operates. As with our examination for abnormal wear marks discussed above, look for marks indicating roughness or a possible need for light polishing. Then, clean and lightly grease the bearing surfaces while you’re at it.

Remington 700 bolt shroud and cocking cam
Rem 700 bolt cocking cam

These are relatively easy checks that shooters can undertake to perform a preliminary inspection on their own. Other mechanical issues can also cause ignition issues, chiefly centered around the action of the trigger, sear and sear spring. If these are suspected, a trip to an experienced, qualified riflesmith for diagnosis is recommended. We hope you find this information helpful! Join us again next week, and in the meantime, enjoy the shooting sports safely!

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
November 19th, 2020

Guide to Gun Metals — What You Need to Know

Sweeney Guide to Gun Metal

4140, 4150, 316, 17-4, 6061, 7075-T6 — What is the significance of these numbers? No, they’re not winning lottery numbers. These are all designations for metals commonly used in firearm and barrel construction. 4140 and 4150 are carbon steels, with 4150 often used in mil-spec AR15 barrels. 316 and 17-4 are grades of stainless steel. 316 is “marine grade” stainless, while 17-4 has 17% chromium and 4% nickel. 17-4 is a harder steel used in barrels and receivers. 6061 and 7075-T6 are aluminum alloys. 6061 is “aircraft grade” aluminum, often used for rings and trigger guards, while 7075-T6 is a much stronger, heat-treated aluminum commonly used in AR15 uppers.

Sweeney Guide to Gun MetalYou can learn about all these metals (and more) in the online archives of RifleShooter magazine.

Written by Patrick Sweeney, RifleShooter’s Guide to Gun Metal summarizes the primary types of steel and aluminum used in gun and barrel construction. Sweeney explains the nomenclature used to define metal types, and he outlines the salient properties of various steel and aluminum alloys. This is a useful resource for anyone selecting components or building rifles. We recommend you print out the page, or at least bookmark it.

Metals by the Number
The number system for steel classification came from the auto industry. Sweeney explains: “The Society of Automotive Engineers uses a simple designating system, the four numbers you see bandied about in gun articles. Numbers such as 1060, 4140 or 5150 all designate how much of what [elements are] in them. The first number is what class—carbon, nickel, chromium, and so forth. The next three numbers [list other elements in the alloy]. 4140, also known as ordnance steel, was one of the early high-alloy steels. It has about 1 percent chromium, 0.25 percent molybdenum, 0.4 percent carbon, 1 percent manganese, around 0.2 percent silicon and no more than 0.035 percent phosphorus and no more than 0.04 percent sulphur. That leaves most of it, 94.25 percent, iron.”

Aluminum Alloys
Numbers are also used to differentiate different types of aluminum alloys. Sweeny writes: “Aluminum is used in firearms in two alloys: 7075 and 6061. 6061 is commonly referred to as ‘aircraft aluminum’ and has trace amounts of silicon, copper, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. 7075 is a much stronger alloy and has markedly larger amounts of copper, manganese, chromium and zinc.” 7075 Aluminum has significantly better corrosion resistance, and that’s why it is used for AR receivers. The “T6″ you often see appended to 7075 refers to a heat-treating process.

Aluminum (or “Aluminium” in the UK) is a chemical element in the boron group with symbol Al and atomic number 13. It is a silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic, ductile metal. Aluminum is the third most abundant element, and the most abundant metal, in the Earth’s crust. (Wikipedia)

Aluminum alloy table chart Silicon Maganese Zinc Copper Magnesium

To learn more about the metals used in your firearms’ barrels, rings, receivers, and internal parts, read Sweeney’s article in RifleShooterMag.com. Taking the time to read the article from start to finish will expand your knowledge of metal properties and how metals are chosen by manufacturers and gunsmiths. CLICK to Read Guide to Gun Metal.

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions. Aluminum Alloy chart courtesy AluminiumDesign.net.
Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
November 18th, 2020

How to Sell Guns Online — Web Classifieds and Auction Sites

Gunbroker shooters forum gun classified ads

online sales auctionsThese days, online gun Auctions and Classifieds attract more attention than ever. With so many folks accessing the internet daily, many gun owners find it easier to sell their firearms online rather than in the local gun store. Online selling opens up a much larger audience. With over 53,000 members in the AccurateShooter Forum, we have a very active gun Classifieds area. And then of course, there are the big dogs — Gunbroker and GunsAmerica. You’ll find tens of thousands of guns for sale on those big sites.

Before selling your stuff online, you should survey the major online sales and auction sites, comparing their fees and features. The costs are NOT all the same. For example, though you can list an item on Gunbroker for free, if the gun sells you may end up paying a LOT of money. Confirm this with the Gunbroker FEE Calculator. Using Gunbroker’s Fee Calculator we determined that, for a $2500.00 gun, the seller will pay $93.75 in fees! Yes, that’s for a single sale.

That’s why many sellers prefer to list their rifles on Benchrest.com, or on the AccurateShooter.com FORUM Classifisds. Currently, basic Accurate Forum members get three (3) free adverts in a 12-month period, while Gold and Silver members get unlimited classifieds for 12 months. A $25 Silver membership is less than you’d pay to sell one single $550 item on Gunbroker ($25.50 fee).

SEVEN TIPS for Selling Your Gear Online

1. Include Good, Sharp Photos: A custom rifle or expensive optic will sell two to three times as quickly, at a higher price, if you include good sharp photos. We can’t over-emphasize the importance of good photos. For all products, show multiple angles, and include the original boxes if you still have them. For a rifle, include detail shots as well as a photo of the complete gun.

2. Resize Your Photos Before Posting: Half of users will probably be viewing your ads with a smartphone. So you don’t need huge photos. We recommend you size your photos down to 1000 pixels wide. This will make uploads more efficient and ensure the Forum server can handle the file sizes.

3. Be Fair and Complete in Your Description: Buyers appreciate honesty and thoroughness in product descriptions. Potential buyers want details. For a rifle, list the gunsmith, barrel-maker, round count, and provide the specifications. If the rifle has a winning competition history, say so. Always highlight the positives in your description, but you should disclose significant flaws. A buyer will be more willing to purchase if he thinks the seller is 100% honest.

4. Don’t Forget Contact Info: We’re amazed by how many adverts omit key contact info. In a forum classified ad, include a first name, e.g. “Ask for Dan.” We also suggest you list your residence city and state. Some buyers will prefer to buy from a seller in their home state. When communicating with a buyer, provide your phone number and email address. We recommend that all buyers and sellers actually talk live on the phone before concluding high-value deals.

5. Make the Price Attractive: Buyers, everywhere, are looking for good deals. If you want your item to move quickly, set the price accordingly and don’t expect top dollar. Check comparable listings and then discount by 10-15% if you want the item to move fast.

6. Include a Call to Action: Advertisements can be twice as effective if they include a “Call to Action”, i.e. a statement that directly inspires the potential buyer to respond. Sample calls to action are: “Free Shipping — today only.” Or, you can use a time limit: “Special Sale Price good ’til the end of the month”.

7. Always Follow ALL Applicable Laws: Even in states where private face-to-face gun sales are allowed, we recommend ALWAYS using an FFL for firearms transfers. This will protect YOU the seller. In addition, do your homework. Don’t sell to a buyer in a city or state (such as California) state or city where the particular firearm (such as an AR15) may be restricted

Classified Advert vs. Auctions
For benchrest, F-Class, Silhouette, Tactical or High Power rifles, you may get the best results posting a For Sale ad on a Forum that caters to the right discipline. You want your ad to reach the right audience. On the other hand, a GunBroker.com auction will have tens of thousands of potential buyers. Realistically, however, if you price your rig attractively, it should sell quickly in a Forum Classified Advert. Plus with conventional Classifieds, you can sell immediately — you don’t have to wait for the auction to end. For scopes and reloading equipment (but not firearms, actions, barrels etc.), also consider eBay, which still allows many gun-related items.

Permalink - Articles, Hot Deals No Comments »
November 17th, 2020

TECH TIP: Bullet Bearing Surface Length Can Affect Pressure

USAMU Bullet Ogive Comparision Safety Reloading
Photo 1: Three Near-Equal-Weight 7mm Bullets with Different Shapes

TECH TIP: Bullets of the same weight (and caliber) can generate very different pressure levels due to variances in Bearing Surface Length (BSL).

Bullet 1 (L-R), the RN/FB, has a very slight taper and only reaches its full diameter (0.284″) very near the cannelure. This taper is often seen on similar bullets — it helps reduce pressures with good accuracy. The calculated BSL of Bullet 1 was ~0.324″. The BSL of Bullet 2, in the center, was ~0.430”, and Bullet 3’s was ~ 0.463″. Obviously, bullets can be visually deceiving as to BSL!


This article from the USAMU covers an important safety issue — why you should never assume that a “book” load for a particular bullet will be safe with an equal-weight bullet of different shape/design. The shape and bearing surface of the bullet will affect the pressure generated inside the barrel. This is part of the USAMU’s Handloading Hump Day series, published on the USAMU Facebook page.

Beginning Handloading, Part 13:
Extrapolating Beyond Your Data, or … “I Don’t Know, What I Don’t Know!”

We continue our Handloading Safety theme, focusing on not inadvertently exceeding the boundaries of known, safe data. Bullet manufacturers’ loading manuals often display three, four, or more similar-weight bullets grouped together with one set of load recipes. The manufacturer has tested these bullets and developed safe data for that group. However, seeing data in this format can tempt loaders — especially new ones — to think that ALL bullets of a given weight and caliber can interchangeably use the same load data. Actually, not so much.

The researchers ensure their data is safe with the bullet yielding the highest pressure. Thus, all others in that group should produce equal or less pressure, and they are safe using this data.

However, bullet designs include many variables such as different bearing surface lengths, hardness, and even slight variations in diameter. These can occasionally range up to 0.001″ by design. Thus, choosing untested bullets of the same weight and caliber, and using them with data not developed for them can yield excess pressures.

This is only one of the countless reasons not to begin at or very near the highest pressure loads during load development. Always begin at the starting load and look for pressure signs as one increases powder charges.

Bullet bearing surface length (BSL) is often overlooked when considering maximum safe powder charges and pressures. In photo 1 (at top), note the differences in the bullets’ appearance. All three are 7mm, and their maximum weight difference is just five grains. Yet, the traditional round nose, flat base design on the left appears to have much more BSL than the sleeker match bullets. All things being equal, based on appearance, the RN/FB bullet seems likely to reach maximum pressure with significantly less powder than the other two designs.

Bearing Surface Measurement Considerations
Some might be tempted to use a bullet ogive comparator (or two) to measure bullets’ true BSL for comparison’s sake. Unfortunately, comparators don’t typically measure maximum bullet diameter and this approach can be deceiving.

Photo 2: The Perils of Measuring Bearing Surface Length with Comparators
USAMU Bullet Ogive Comparision Safety Reloading

In Photo 2, two 7mm comparators have been installed on a dial caliper in an attempt to measure BSL. Using this approach, the BSLs differed sharply from the original [measurements]. The comparator-measured Bullet 1 BSL was 0.694” vs. 0.324” (original), Bullet 2 was 0.601” (comparator) vs. 0.430” (original), and Bullet 3 (shown in Photo 2) was 0.602” (comparator) vs. 0.463” (original). [Editor’s comment — Note the very large difference for Bullet 1, masking the fact that the true full diameter on this bullet starts very far back.]

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
November 15th, 2020

CMP Issues Updated Competition Rules for 2020 – 2021

CMP civilian marksmanship rules 2020 2021 rulebook highpower rifle smallbore

CMP COMPETITION RULES FOR 2020-2021 Are Now Available

CMP Rule Changes are now available as Addenda to 2020 Rules or as complete 2020-21 PDFs (links below). There were not a lot of changes that were approved for 2021. However, most notably, eyewear rules will be more strictly enforced. NOTE: When you open the downloadable PDF files linked below, you will see the new-for-2021 changes displayed in red underlined text. The changes made in 2020 are shown in black underlined text.

2020 CMP Competition Rulebooks

Click Links to Download Full Rules or Change Sheets
2020-2021 Highpower Rifle Competition Rules | Highpower Errata (2021 Changes) Sheet
2020-2021 CMP Smallbore Rifle Competition Rules | Smallbore Errata (2021 Changes) Sheet
2020-2021 Pistol Competition Rules | Pistol Errata (2021 Changes) Sheet
2020-2021 CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules | CMP Games Errata (2021 Changes) Sheet

Story based on Report by Gary Anderson, DCM Emeritus
CMP Competition Rules for the 2021 competition season have now been approved by the CMP Rules Committee and are posted on the CPM Website. The 2020 competition season was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and many 2020 events were cancelled, so the CMP still has a substantial inventory of printed 2020 rulebooks. In addition [there were] only a small number of changes for 2021. As a result, the CMP decided not to publish new rulebooks for 2021. 2020 Rulebooks will continue to be used and Errata (Update) sheets are being provided for each rulebook. The rulebooks posted on the CMP website have been updated with 2021 changes are labeled as “2020-2021″ rulebooks. These Rulebooks posted on the CMP website include all 2021 changes. Use the links above to get the latest rules for each discipline.

How to UPDATE Your CMP Rules:
1. If you already have a 2020 rulebook, download the Changes/Updates for that rulebook and note in your 2020 rulebook where those changes apply. (Or use the links above).

2. If you keep your rulebooks on your computer, notebook or cell phone, or want to print your own rulebook, download the Updated 2020-2021 rulebooks from the CMP Website. (Or use the links above).

CMP civilian marksmanship rules 2020 2021 rulebook highpower rifle smallbore
2020-2021 rulebooks include a diagram showing proper use of eye protection.

CMP civilian marksmanship rules 2020 2021 rulebook highpower rifle smallboreWhen reading the 2020-2021 editions of the rulebooks, note that 2020 rule changes are displayed in black underlined text. 2021 changes are displayed in red underlined text. Those changes do, however, include the addition of a new CMP Service Revolver Match in the Pistol Rules and the addition of F-Class and AR-Tactical Mid- and Long-Range Matches in the Highpower Rifle Rules. The CMP plans to offer competitions in both of these new disciplines in the 2021 National Matches. Another significant change, which has already been announced because it applies this year, is the authorization that competitors may fire a sixth EIC match in years like 2020 when the National Trophy Individual Match is not held.

The 2020 rule requiring Highpower Rifle and Pistol competitors to wear eye and hearing protection while on the firing line has been clarified and strengthened in the 2020-2021 rules.

MANDATORY EYE PROTECTION RULE
One of the most important 2020 rule changes was a requirement that Highpower rifle and pistol competitors must wear eye and hearing protection when they are on firing lines. A big majority of experienced, knowledgeable competitors now agree that protective eyewear is a must for Highpower rifle and pistol shooting, but unfortunately this safety precaution has not been as universally accepted. Incidents involving Highpower rifle and pistol shooting where eye injuries occurred or could have occurred are more common than many realize.

CMP civilian marksmanship rules 2020 2021 rulebook highpower rifle smallbore

Non-Compliance Results in “No Exceptions” Eye Protection Standards
The CMP Board and staff have carefully evaluated the pros and cons of this safety requirement and have concluded that mandating the wearing of eye and hearing protection is a wise policy. After this rule was introduced, a vast majority of competitors complied with its letter and spirit. Unfortunately, there were a few competitors who did not comply. Some wore shooting glasses to the line and then lowered or removed them while firing. A really strange attempt to evade this rule involved cutting a hole in the part of the shooting glasses lens where the competitor looked while aiming. A few simply refused to comply.

After evaluating experiences with this new safety requirement in 2020, the CMP is taking these additional steps to facilitate compliance in 2021:

— Rule 3.6.2 (both Highpower Rifle and Pistol) has been clarified to clearly require that “two complete lenses” be worn in front of both eyes while firing. Obtaining shooting glasses or prescription eyewear that complies with the ANSI Z87.1 safety standard is “strongly recommended”.
— Pre-match safety briefings in 2021 will include specific instructions about the requirement to wear eye and hearing protection while on the firing line.
— Match officials will give warnings to any competitor who is not in compliance. Refusal to comply with a warning is grounds for disqualification.
— Match sponsors are advised that their match officials need to monitor and enforce this rule and that results from EIC or other matches where this rule was not enforced may not be accepted.

Highlights of 2021 CMP Rules Changes

(more…)

Permalink - Articles, Competition, News, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
November 14th, 2020

Building Rifles with Howa 1500 Barreled Actions — Expert Advice

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com
Rifleshooter.com built this tactical rifle (top image) with a Howa 1500 action, Shilen barrel, and MDT chassis. Below is a factory Howa 1500 Multi-Cam rifle.

Many of our readers are thinking of purchasing a Howa rifle or barreled action. These feature smooth-running actions with a good two-stage HACT trigger. But some folks have heard that it may be difficult to find stocks, or to fit an after-market barrel. That’s not true. There are many stock options available, and in this article, Bill of RifleShooter.com shows that it is easy to remove the factory-installed barrel with the right tools. We think a Howa makes a fine basis for a varmint rig or field rifle. Or you can build a tactical rifle as Bill did. You can start with the factory barrel and when you want/need more accuracy, then have a gunsmith install a custom barrel from Krieger, Shilen, or other quality brand.

What You Need to Know About Howa 1500-series Rifles

Tech Feature by RifleShooter.com
Consider this article the “Howa 1500 Overview”. AccurateShooter.com’s editor mentioned there’s been a lot of interest in Howa rifles and barreled actions imported by Legacy Sports International. In addition to being able to buy a complete rifle from a dealer, Brownells sells barreled actions in a wide variety of calibers and configurations. In this post we are going to take a look at the Howa 1500 series.

Howa Rifles — General Background
Howa is a Japanese heavy machinery company. One of its product lines are firearms, which, are imported into the United States of America by two different companies, Legacy Sports International and Weatherby. Legacy sells the 1500 under the manufacturers name while Weatherby re-brands the guns as the Weatherby Vanguard. In general, the finishes on the Weatherby rifles are more refined than the LSI-imported 1500s.

General Evaluation of Howa 1500 Rifles
I’ve found Howa 1500s to be solid, entry-level rifles that are capable of sub-MOA accuracy out of the box. I’ve actually purchased two Howa rifles I’ve tested because I like them so much. The gun below, a Howa Mini-Action in 7.62×39 Russian, is one of my favorite factory guns to shoot. I’m running a Tract Optics Toric on it, these are solid little rifle scopes that offer great performance for the money.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Check out this three-shot group I drilled at 100 yards with the rifle above and 125-grain Sierras. It took a lot of work and load development to get there, but when it did, it worked well.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1600 HACT Two-Stage TriggerHowa 1500 HACT 2-Stage Trigger
Howa 1500s feature the very nice Howa HACT trigger. This is an adjustable, two-stage trigger, set for about 3 pounds (combined stages). Crisp and repeatable, this is an excellent trigger for a factory gun. There is no annoying Glock-style safety lever in the middle of the trigger blade. The 2-stage design and pull weight range works well for a hunting rifle or a rig for PRS competition. Rifleshooter.com says the Howa trigger is “one of the best factory triggers, along with Tikka. I’ve found the Howa trigger superior to a Remington 700 — the Howas doesn’t need to be replaced.”

Writing for the Western Outdoor News, WONews.com, Steve Comus has field-tested the new HACT Trigger. Steve writes: “I always liked two-stage triggers, because of the way I could take-up the slack and then actually know when the rifle was going to go off. The take-up on the [HACT] trigger was fast and easy. The crisp, positive release when pressure was put on during the second stage [reminded me] of some of the target rifles I shot through the years.”

Howa Actions — Three Options
Howa offers three action lengths: Mini, Short, and Long. You can see the bolts for the three action lengths in the image below. The Mini-Action has similar external dimensions to the Remington Model Seven, however, the Mini-Action’s bolt does not travel as far to the rear. This is a mixed bag. The upside is you have a quicker action (shorter bolt throw). The downside is you are limited to shorter rounds such as the .223 Remington, 7.62×39mm Russian, and 6.5 Grendel. But if you need a bigger cartridge, just choose the standard or long action Howa variant.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1500 vs. Remington 700 — Important Differences
Is the Howa 1500 a Remington 700 clone, or some kind of improved Remington 700? No, not really. While the top radius of the Howa 1500 does match the Model 700, and they can both use the same two-piece scope bases, there are a number of differences.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

If you look at the Howa 1500 alongside the Remington 700 you’ll note the M700 is a round action, while the Howa is a flat-bottom action. In many ways the Howa’s bottom half reminds me of a push-feed Winchester. This means the chassis and stocks that support a Howa 1500 are not V-block based like you’ll find on a 700, instead they have a flat bottom. While the bolt of the Howa is similar in external appearance to the Model 700, it does offer some improvements, notably an M16-style extractor and a firing pin assembly that can be easily removed without tools.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1500 action screws are metric and are in a different location from the 700. The Howa 1500 has an integral recoil lug that accepts the front action screw, this means you have more of the front action screw engaging the action. WARNING: If you install it into a poorly-fitted stock or action you may bind it.

Can a Howa Action Be Used for a Custom Rifle Project?
Absolutely! You can either buy a barreled action from Brownells and throw it in a chassis system/stock of your choice or you can use a stripped action to build a custom rifle. If you are in the chassis market, MDT offers a wide variety of chassis in different price ranges. All have worked well for me.

How to Remove Howa Factory Barrel from Action
You may have heard internet grumblings about removing Howa barrels. Some keyboard commandos say they are extremely difficult to remove without a relief cut. Well Bill at Rifleshooter.com demonstrates that Howa barrels can be removed without trouble, provided you have the right tools. Watch this video:

Watch Howa Barrel Removal Video — Quick and Easy (Click Speaker Icon for Audio)

Q: Is it difficult to remove a barrel from a Howa 1500?
A: Not very. I’ve heard from some smiths that worked on Howas (years ago) that the factory barrels are difficult to remove. However of the half dozen or so Howa barrels that I’ve pulled, they’ve been very easy. I use a Brownells action wrench with the top piece for a Rem Model 700 and the flat bottom resting against the flat on the wrench.

Howa Actions Require Metric Barrel Threads
It’s easy to thread a barrel for a Howa Action. You just have to cut metric threads — most lathes out there can cut them. I cut the threads below on a manual lathe using change gears. [Editor: John Whidden cuts metric tenon threads with a CNC lathe. “It’s easy,” John tells us, “No issue whatsoever.”]

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Using Howa Actions for Custom Rifles
I have built a few customs with Howa actions. Below is one of my favorite, a .308 Winchester. It consists of a Howa 1500 action, Shilen Select Match Remington Varmint contour barrel, and Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) ESS chassis. Great rifle and it hammers!

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

To learn more about Howa rifles and actions, visit Legacy Sports International. To buy a Howa barreled action, visit Brownells.com.

To learn more about modular chassis systems for Howa rifles, visit MDTTAC.com

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
November 14th, 2020

“Bully!” — Theodore Roosevelt’s Guns In NRA Museum

Theodore Teddy TR Roosevelt NRA museum bully

Theodore Teddy TR Roosevelt NRA museum bullyStory by Lars Dalseide for NRAblog.
Back in 2012, the National Firearms Museum received a shipment from Sagamore Hill — the ancestral home of President Theodore Roosevelt. While Sagamore Hill undergoes renovation, the National Parks Service was kind enough to lend a portion of the estate’s collection to the NRA Museum. For quite some time, that collection was displayed at the NRA Museum as an exhibit named “Trappings of an Icon”.

“Basically it tells you about the life of Theodore Roosevelt,” explains Senior Curator Phil Schreier (in photo above in coat). “Hunter, Statesman, Soldier. In the first case we had two firearms from his hunting career. First an 1886 Winchester rifle known as the tennis match gun because he used winnings from a tennis match to purchase the gun.”

The second firearm on display was a suppressed Winchester model 1894 rifle. This was favorite of the President’s when clearing the grounds of the local, pesky critters. Schreier explains: “Archie Roosevelt wrote that his father liked to shoot varmints around Oyster Bay with this gun so he wouldn’t disturb the Tiffany and Du Pont families that lived near by.”

President Theodore Roosevelt was a strong supporter of marksmanship competitions. In fact President Theodore Roosevelt could be called a “founding father” of the NRA National Matches*. Teddy Roosevelt believed that, to assure peace, America needed to be prepared to fight. At the 2011 NRA National Championships, Dr. Joseph W. Westphal, Under Secretary of the U.S. Army, echoed the views of Roosevelt: “The first step in the direction of preparation to avert war, if possible, and to be fit for war, if it should come, is to teach men to shoot.”

Theodore Roosevelt also has a strong connection to the “President’s Match” fired every summer at Camp Perry. The President’s Match was patterned after an event for British Volunteers called the Queen’s Match started in 1860 by Queen Victoria and the NRA of Great Britain. The tradition of making a letter from the President of the United States the first prize began in 1904 when President Roosevelt personally wrote a letter of congratulations to the winner, Private Howard Gensch of the New Jersey National Guard.

*In February 1903, an amendment to the War Department Appropriations Bill established the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP). This government advisory board became the predecessor to today’s Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. that now governs the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The 1903 legislation also established the National Matches, commissioned the National Trophy and provided funding to support the Matches. This historic legislation grew out of a desire to improve military marksmanship and national defense preparedness. President Theodore Roosevelt, Secretary of War Elihu Root and NRA President General Bird Spencer were among the most important supporters of this act.

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, News No Comments »
November 12th, 2020

Variances in Load Data — Why Load Manuals Don’t Always Agree

load manual sierra reloading hornady data

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks
One of the first things new reloaders notice is that load data varies between reloading manuals. The Sierra Bullets Technicians frequently get inquiries asking us to explain why the load data appears to be inconsistent. This article explains five key factors that can influence published load data.

Example of load data variances for two 168 grain bullets:

Sierra Reloading Manual Hornady Load Reloading

Here are five reasons why the load data varies:

The Bullet
Basically, the similarities in the .30 caliber 168 grain Match bullets (for example) end with weight and diameter. The bullets likely have dimensional differences such as bearing surface length. Bearing surface has a large effect on pressure and velocity. There are also differences in boat tail, flat base, ogive and over-all lengths, which each help determine the cartridge over-all-length (COAL). With different COAL’s, we can expect changes in pressure and velocity also. In some calibers there are differences in bullet diameter with different bullet manufacturers.

It is also worth noting that bullet manufacturers do not all use the same copper alloy for their jackets. This produces more or less friction that results in load pressures and velocities. The solid copper bullets also vary quite a bit in comparison to a lead core and copper jacketed bullet.

The Gun
Each gun is unique, even if you are using the same make, model, and caliber. Special consideration should be used to consider that not all firearm chambers are the same either, creating more variables that need consideration. There can be drastic differences in the throat length. This controls the amount of “jump” that a bullet experiences when the cartridge is fired.

The Powder
Within normal manufacturing tolerances, you can see some variation in a given powders burn rate between different lots of the same powder. So naturally when two different Manuals are produced, it would be doubtful that the same lots would be tested.

The Cartridge Cases
New cases are almost always near minimum specs in dimension. A load fired in a new case would likely have slightly more pressure that when fired in a re-sized case. This would certainly be true if we were loading into fire-formed cases that have had minimal re-sizing done. Fired cases that are full length resized most of the time be slightly larger than the new unfired cases. This gives you differences in case capacity. The same powder charge placed within a new case and a full length resized case will produce different pressure levels and probably different velocities.

Conditions
Temperature can cause pressure increases or decreases. Hot temperatures tend to cause pressures to increase, while cold temperatures will usually do the opposite. Humidity and altitude can impact pressures and velocities likewise.

Conclusion
As you can see, an amazing number of variables effect any load combination. With the differences in the manuals, you’re just seeing firsthand examples of what took place when the data was collected with that particular set of components and firearm. Think of a reloading manual as a report. In essence, a reloading manual says, “We tried this particular component combination, and these are the results we obtained.”

Remember that you may or may not reach the same maximum load safely. There is no “one load fits all bullets.” The minimum load data offers a safe place to start. The maximum load data listed should always be regarded as a safety guideline and not necessarily a goal! Your gun should shoot accurately without breaching the maximum load data. The best advice is: always start low and work your load up!

If you have questions about variances in load data or other reloading questions, please call our ballistic technicians at 1-800-223-8799 or send us an email at sierra [at] sierrabullets.com.

Sierra Bullets Blog reloading information

Permalink - Articles, Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
November 11th, 2020

Tack Driver Showdown Multi-Discipline Match This Weekend

Tack Driver 300m match open class multi discipline

The Tack Driver Showdown is a one-of-a-kind “all comers” rifle match. This match is long overdue — we will finally get to see what rifle types are truly the MOST accurate, at least out to 300 meters. The Tack Driver Showdown match will be held November 14-15, 2020 at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Co-Sponsored by the IBS, the organizers have invited virtually any type of rifle (except railguns) to compete at 300 meters for group and score honors. There are 100+ competitors pre-registered for the event this weekend. No organization membership is required.

Unlike any other rifle match in the world, on the firing line you will see 6 PPC LV/HV rifles, 30 BR score rigs, 17-lb 600-yard and 1000-yard benchrest guns, F-TR rifles, F-Open rifles, Palma rifles, PRS rifles, and maybe even an AR15 or two.

Tack Driver 300m match open class multi discipline

The concept behind the event is to settle the unending arguments about which guns are TRULY the most accurate. The 6PPC is king in 100/200 group competition, the 30BR rules 100/200 score, 6mmBRs and 6BR Improveds dominate in 600-yard Benchrest, the .284 Win is the leading F-Open cartridge, and various 6mms and 6.5mms win PRS matches. It will be interesting to see which chamberings and bullet weights will “rule the roost” at 300 meters. Match Director Jim Cline will post match results throughout the weekend on the AccurateShooter.com Forum.

Tack Driver Showdown targets will be placed at 300 meters (328 yards). That’s not even “mid-range” by benchrest standards, but it should be far enough that the higher BCs of the bullets shot by F-Class and 600/1000-yard benchrest rigs could come into play.

Basic Information on the Tack Driver Shoot:
There are two divisions — bolt-action rifles and semi-auto gas guns. There are no specific design limits other than a 22-lb maximum weight, and a .338 maximum caliber. IBS President Jeff Stover tells us: “We envision the full array of the world’s most accurate rifles on the line: short and long range benchrest rifles, F-Class, AR, other tactical, egg-shoot rifles, whatever…[.]” Key rules are listed below. Semi-autos will need chamber flags, otherwise bolts must be out at all times. You do not have to be a member of the IBS to shoot. The range will be open Friday, November 13th starting at 12:00 noon for practice and flag setting.

Tack Driver 300m match open class multi discipline

Cash Payouts for the Winners in both Group and Score
Match Director Jim Cline tells us: “1st place through 3rd place will be paid in both score, group, and Grand Aggregate finishing positions. Team Cash option also available- 4 man teams $100. The Grand Aggregate team winner takes all.”

Tack Driver 300m match open class multi discipline

2020 Tack Driver Showdown Rules Overview
1. No membership in any organization is required.
2. Any gun .338 caliber and under is legal (other than rail guns), with a 22-pound weight maximum.
3. There are two divisions: 1) Bolt Guns; and 2) Gas Guns.
4. All shooting will be done off benches.
5. Shooters may use bipod, bags, or rest combination but no one-piece rests.
6. You have to shoot the same gun at all targets. If you have a catastrophic failure, you have to continue with a gun of the same caliber and cartridge.
7. No electronic equipment of any type will be allowed on the bench or downrange.
8. No spotting scopes are allowed on the bench.
9. No people may coach or spot for competitors.
10. Chamber flags and brass catchers are required for gas guns.

2020 Tack Driver Showdown Match Course of Fire
1. There will be 5 group targets and 5 IBS 200-yard score targets placed at 300 METERS.
2. Targets will alternate between Score and Group each day: Day 1 Score/Group/Score/Group/Score; Day 2 Group/Score/Group/Score/Group.
3. All relays will be 7-minute matches with one 3-minute sight-in period on Saturday first target only.
4. Benches will be rotated for the second day’s course of fire.
5. Winner will be determined by place of finish at each discipline.

tack driver showdown mid-carolina gun club south carolina
Covered Firing Line at Mid-Carolina Gun Club. Photo from 2019 100/200m Score Nationals.

For more information, including camping/RV details at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club venue, contact Jim Cline at 843-957-6546, or post questions on this Accurateshooter Forum Thread.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
November 11th, 2020

On this Veterans Day, November 11th, Honor All Who Served

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII Pearl harbor

On that day, let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting and enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.

– 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Veterans Day proclamation.

102 Years Later…
On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, bugle calls signaled the ‘cease fire’ ending the First World War. (The official Armistice was signed earlier that morning.) To those who endured it, WWI was the “Great War”, “the War to End All Wars.” Tragically, an even greater conflict consumed the world just two decades later.

Today, 102 years after the end of WWI, Americans mark the anniversary of the WWI Armistice as “Veterans Day”. In Canada it is known as Remembrance Day. On this solemn occasion we honor all those who have served in the military in times of war and peace.

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII

While more WWII veterans pass away each year, there are still over 20.4 million veterans in the United States. Take time today to honor those soldiers, sailors, and airmen who have served their nation with pride. Today we remember that… “All gave some, and some gave all.” History of Veterans Day.

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII Pearl harbor

Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James Peake asked Americans to recognize the nation’s 20.4 million living veterans and the generations before them who fought to protect freedom and democracy: “While our foremost thoughts are with those in distant war zones today, Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to pay their respects to all who answered the nation’s call to military service.”

On Veterans Day we especially need to remember the seriously wounded combat veterans. These men and women summon great courage every day to overcome the lasting injuries they suffered in battle. Some of these soldiers have lost limbs, yet volunteered to return to combat duty. That is dedication beyond measure — true patriotism.

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII

CLICK HERE for List of Regional Veterans Day Ceremonies.

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII Pearl harbor

Memorial Veterans Day Vet Army Navy Marines WWII Pearl harbor

See more Veterans Day images at Dept. of Defense — Honoring our Veterans.

National Veterans Day Ceremony
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Major regional ceremonies and events are also held throughout the country.

Permalink - Articles, News No Comments »
November 10th, 2020

Collectible Firearms — Five Factors That Determine Value

Lady Diana Prince Charles shotgun
This stunning Westley Richards & Co. shotgun was made for the 1981 nuptials of Lady Diana Spencer and HRH Prince Charles. It is rare, has a unique history of ownership, and is also elaborately decorated.

Jim Supica, Director of the NRA Firearms Museum, has written a trio of articles about gun collecting. If you are thinking of starting your own collection of firearms, you should read Supica’s informative articles. The first talks about the basics of gun collecting, the second explains the five key factors that govern gun values, and the third article explains where to find rare and valuable arms. Today we want to highlight the five factors that contribute most to a gun’s value, according to Supica:

Make and Model, Condition, Rarity, History, Art — These are the five factors that … appeal to collectors and help determine the value of collectible guns.

Read Full Gun Collecting Article on NRABlog.com »

1. Make and Model

Make and model tends to be the starting point for evaluating collectible guns for most collectors and will be a basic threshold requirement for those with specialized collections.

Factors here include the quality of a particular manufacturer’s products, the historical usage of the guns in question, and the brand’s aura of romance. As an example of that last (and most intangible) factor, consider that Colt Single Action Army revolvers were for several decades the most prevalent focus for collectors interested in full-size revolvers from the post-Civil War to turn of the 20th Century-era, and there is no question that Colts were widely used during that time. In recent years, there has been a refreshing trend in gun collecting to look at a broader range of guns than the traditional blue chip Colts, Winchesters, and Lugers.

Colt Single Action Army revolver engraved
Colt Single Action Army Revolvers remain among the most prized (and collectible) firearm.

2. Condition (and Originality)

Obviously, condition plays a major role in the value of a collectible firearm. The classic advice to new collectors in this regard has always been to hold out for guns in the best condition and pay the extra premium they demand. This condition-emphasis seems to have developed in the 1970s and 1980s. In the early post-WWII years of gun collecting there was more interest in rare variations and history, and fewer collectors to whom a few percentage point difference in remaining original finish was of much concern.

Although the highest-condition guns continue to bring record prices, it seems that the pendulum is beginning to swing back the other way, a trend met with my hearty approval. The appeal of “mint” guns has been largely lost on me, and seems to be more appropriate to coin or stamp collecting than a field in which the possible historic usage of the artifact holds so much interest and significance. There is a definite segment of the collector market that is not overly concerned with perfect condition, so long as the gun is original and has not been messed with in a more recent (and, in my opinion, usually misguided) attempt to enhance its desirability.

3. Rarity

In terms of rarity, the well-worn saying that “just because a gun is rare doesn’t mean it’s valuable” remains true to a certain extent. There may only be five known examples of a particular gun, but if only three people care about it, the market is saturated. However, there does seem to be more interest in cornering the rare variations within established collecting fields. There is a bit of a resurgence of the collecting philosophy of completing a punchlist of models and variations within a specialization, and this lead to vigorous competition for the rarest examples in these fields. In emerging collecting fields, when new research is published revealing the rarity of certain variations there can develop a brisk interest in those guns.

4. History

Individual guns with a known history of ownership by a specific individual or usage in a specific historical event have always captured the fascination of collectors, as well as historians and the general public. This seems to reflect a basic human interest and shows no sign of abatement. A positive trend here seems to be an increase in general understanding of the type of documentation which must accompany a historically attributed firearm to give it the credibility to justify a premium price, and the importance of creating and preserving such documentation.

Chuck Yeager Pistol
This Beretta has extra value because it was owned by pilot Chuck Yeager. Photo NRA Museum.

5. Art (Decorative Embellishment)

Fine engraved guns are collected more for their artistic value than for their worth as firearms. Here the market for classic works by the great engravers of the 19th and early 20th Centuries remains strong, as well as for factory-engraved pieces from more recent years. Interest in recent non-factory engraving seems to have diminished, as has… the trend of adding modern engraving to older firearms.

engraved pistols Ben Shostle Luger Mauser Colt
Here is a matching set of three three beautifully engraved pistols by the late Indiana engraving wizard Ben Shostle — a Luger, a Mauser, and a Colt. Photo courtesy Amoskeag Auction Company.

Factory-custom engraving should not be confused with mass-produced, factory-made commemorative firearms, which flooded the market in the 1960s and 1970s. A couple of major manufacturers worked this genre to death, and prices on commemoratives have been stagnant for many years now, although the market for these shows some signs of renewal.

CAUTIONARY WORDS about RESTORATION
With prices for high-condition original finish guns running away from the budgets of many collectors, period-of-use refinished guns and older factory-refinished guns are finding more enthusiastic buyers than they did a few years ago.

The availability of excellent-quality restoration services is another factor that I anticipate may impact collector preferences in the future. The top restoration artists are reworking guns to “as new” condition with such skill that it has become increasingly difficult for even knowledgeable collectors to distinguish mint original finish guns from the best restorations.

When such restoration is disclosed to a prospective buyer (as it ethically should be), the prices the gun will bring are significantly below a similar gun with original finish, and may be less than the original cost of the pre-restoration gun plus the cost of the rework. This creates a mighty incentive for deception by a motivated seller, either by active misrepresentation (a.k.a. “fraud”) or passively by simple failure to mention the modification.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Handguns No Comments »
November 9th, 2020

Handgun Safes — Video Reviews of 20 Small Security Safes

handgun pistol revolver gunsafe safe vault quick access gunsafe portable home security

A good, quick-access safe can keep your handgun secure, but also readily accessible. There many factors to consider when buying a small, rapid-access pistol safe: reliability, locking mechanism type, case metal strength/thickness, need for battery, ease of installation, internal capacity, built-in lighting, attack resistance, and overall quality. If you are considering getting a small safe for handguns, we recommend you watch all three videos below. Each shares some valuable observations, and it’s good to have three different reviewers covering wide selection of pistol safes with many different features.

Seven Quick-Access Handgun Safes Reviewed by Lucky Gunner

Not all small handgun safes are created equal. In this 11-minute video, Lucky Gunner reviewer Chris talks about what to look for in a small pistol safe, setting out the pros and cons of the seven safes with which he has done “hands on” testing.

Fort Knox Original Pistol Box
Fort Knox handgun safes feature 10-gauge Uni-body construction and reliable Simplex mechanical locking mechanism. Low-tech but reliable. The vertical lid FTK-PB Pistol Box is $257.00 at Amazon.

handgun pistol revolver gunsafe safe vault quick access gunsafe portable home security

V-Line Hide-Away Two-gun Pistol Safe
The V-Line safe with Simplex mechanical lock and slide-out drawer holds two handguns. Sold with mounting bracket, this is designed for under-tabletop or under-shelf installation. It is $272.76 on Amazon.

ShotLock Handgun 200M Solo-Vault
Shotlock’s 200M safe with slide-out drawer, reliable mechanical lock, and mounting plate costs $165.75 on Amazon. Also available is an electronic version for $134.99 on Amazon.

Vaultek VT20i Biometric Pistol Safe
This is a modern two-handgun safe with electronic lock and Biometric (fingerprint scan) instant-access system. Crafted of 16-gauge steel, the VT20i has a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery. $269.99 on Amazon.

Hornady RAPiD Safe 2600KP
The Hornady RAPiD 2600KP safe offers very fast RFID access for a modest $151.86 on Amazon. This small safe meets TSA requirements for handgun storage in checked luggage. Good choice for travel.

Stack-On PDS-1500 Drawer Safe
This is a basic safe with electronic locking mechanism. Just 4.5″ high, it can store in a drawer easily. Good value at $97.93 on Amazon.

GunVault MicroVault XL
A top-seller for many years, the Gunvault Microvault XL is offered in standard ($169.99) and Biometric MVB1000 versions. There have been some negative reviews of the $299.99 biometric version.

Smart Advice for Handgun Safes from AccurateShooter
With any small pistol safe, there are some important points to remember.

1. Keep the safe out of plain view — Don’t place it on top of a bedside table. Burglars often go straight to the bedroom looking for valuables. We recommend attaching your pistol safe to a secure surface using bolts. Or use a steel cable.
2. With electronic handgun safes, you should change/charge the batteries regularly. It is pointless to have a self-defense pistol in a safe you can’t open because the battery is dead. Electronic safes should always have back-up key-locks.
3. Don’t put important valuables such as car keys, credit cards, and jewelry in compact pistol safes. Even when screwed down, these small safes are known targets for thieves.
4. Remember the KISS principle. Some of the latest pistol safes are WiFi enabled so they can talk to a smart-phone APP. This may provide entertainment for tech types, but simpler may be better. You want a safe that will open/close without WiFi and without a battery.

handgun pistol revolver gunsafe safe vault quick access gunsafe portable home security

Ten Handgun Safes Reviewed by Survival Gear

This video is titled “TOP 10 Best Gun Safe”, but it should be more accurately titled “10 Pistol Safes”. None of these safes will hold a long-gun, and most will hold just two handguns. The largest safe reviewed, the Vaultek MX high-capacity, will hold six pistols on the lower level, and a couple more on the upper, internal shelf. This is a well-made, professionally-produced video that shows “hands-on” operation of 10 safes.

SentrySafe QAP1E Handgun Safe with digital keypad. Top-opening gas-strut supported lid. Circular key override. Single pistol safe $107.11 on Amazon. Larger model with 2-gun capacity and interior light $169.99 on Amazon.

GunBox 2.0 “Smart” Motion Sensor Gun Safe. Modern exterior design. Safe has audible motion alarm that sounds if moved. $299.99 from Gunbox.com.

Titan Pistol Vault Safe with mechanical, push-button lock, 14-gauge steel with mounting brackets for vehicle or home installation. $379.00 on Amazon.

handgun pistol revolver gunsafe safe vault quick access gunsafe portable home security

Vaultek VT10i Biometric Smart Pistol Safe with Auto-Open Lid and Rechargeable Battery and backlit keypad, $244.99 on Amazon.

Verifi Smart.Safe. Worth a look if you want a Biometric pistol safe. This has the largest and only FBI-certified fingerprint sensor. There is back-up key access, but no keypad. User reviews are good so far. $329.99 on Amazon.

BILLCONCH Biometric Gun Safe. This offers four access modes: keypad, biometric, phone App, and keyed entry. User reviews have been good. If you want a biometric safe on a budget, this is a logical choice for just $139.99 on Amazon.

handgun pistol revolver gunsafe safe vault quick access gunsafe portable home security

Vaultek MX WiFi High Capacity Smart Handgun Safe. Auto-open Door and rechargeable battery. This 15″x 11.5″x 11.6″ safe can hold up to 8 handguns on two levels. Available as Biometric ($559.99 on Amazon or non-Biometric $489.99 on Amazon.

Liberty HDX-250 Smart Vault Biometric handgun safe. We like the large Liberty gunsafes and this is a new Biometric safe that holds up to 15 fingerprint codes. $219.99 on Amazon.

Handgun Safes for Bedside at Home — Pew Pew Tactical Reviews

A rapid-access bedside safe is a great way to keep your pistol secure, but also readily available, close at hand. Not all rapid-access pistol safes are created equal, however. In this video, John of Pew Pew Tactical explains what to look for in a small pistol safe, and points out the pros and cons of the four safes tested:

Fort Knox FTK-PB Simplex Pistol Box
Strong case, reliable no-battery locking system. Very good safe, but expensive ($257.00 on Amazon).

Vaultek Electronic Pistol Safes
Multiple styles, thin profile, 5-button electronic ($139.99 on Amazon), or Biometric VT10i + 5-button ($244.99 on Amazon), both with rechargeable batteries.

GunVault SpeedVault Handgun Safe
Designed for vertical mount under desk on vehicle, One gun only, requires batteries, $121.00 on Amazon

GunVault NanoVault Handgun Safe
Small, thin, lightweight — designed for travel or vehicle use. Simple combination lock. Not recommended for home. $56.38 on Amazon.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gear Review No Comments »
November 8th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: 2020 F-TR Mid-Range Nat’l Champ .308 Win

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action

Story based on Report by Bryan Blake, Blake Machine Company
Here’s the gold medal-winning .308 Win rifle of the 2020 F-TR National Mid-Range Champion, Andy Cyr. Arizona native Cyr won the F-TR Mid-Range Championship with an impressive score of 1761-72X out of a possible 1800 points. At this three-day Mid-Range event at Ben Avery in Phoenix, all 180 rounds were shot at 600 yards. Andrew delivered a convincing victory, winning by NINE points over runner-up James Crofts, a past national champion himself. We congratulate Andrew on his impressive win. And today’s Sunday GunDay feature examines the details of Andrew’s impressive .308 Win F-TR rifle.

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action

Cyr Overcame Incredibly Tough Conditions at Ben Avery
After Day One of the Mid-Range Nationals, Andy was in 5th place. Andy made up some serious ground on the next two days despite winds that were well into the 20 MPH+ range. In fact, many experienced shooters took misses (not hitting the scoring ring) because the winds were so fierce. Interestingly, Andy’s 1761-72X score beat all but eight F-Open shooters.

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action
Andrew Cyr’s .308 Win F-TR rifle during load development and accuracy testing.

F-TR Mid-Range Championship-Winning .308 Win Rifle Specifications:
Blake Barrel and Rifle 32″ .30 Caliber, 1:11″-twist barrel with custom specs
McMillan XIT Stock (lightened with ports on butt area)
Borden BRM Action
Kahles K1050 10-50x56mm Scope
Phoenix Bipod with F-Class Products lowering kit and skeleton legs

Andrew Cyr’s Championship-winning F-TR rifle was built by Phoenix-based Blake Barrel and Rifle (BBR) in 2018. Interestingly, this rifle was originally built for Andy’s daughter Jessica. The rifle was used by Andy a few months later. The rifle features a severely-lightened XIT stock with the grip smoothed out. Andy was actually the first customer of Blake Barrel and Rifle back in 2018. He has always been willing to try out new rifling profiles, twist rates, and barrel configurations as recommended by BBR.

Bryan Blake tells us: “Many customers demand exact specs and there is no way of changing their mind, even if it is factual-based. With Andy he was always willing to try new things, some things didn’t work well, but some things worked very well, just like the barrel used to win the Nationals.” Andy preferred a heavier barrel in the chamber area than most TR shooters. The shank diameter is 1.350″ rather than 1.250″. What this does is keep as much material around the chamber, which is the hottest area of the barrel. That way the barrel is less affected by heat over a string of fire, since the heat can be dissipated into a larger area.

Andy used a 32″ barrel, a length not commonly used in F-TR anymore. Most are running 30″ or even 28″ now. Many folks think a shorter barrel is more accurate so these competitors do not use a 32″ barrel. Well as you can see by his results, Andrew’s 32″ tube shot great. The extra length was NOT a handicap. We should remember that longer barrels can normally produce higher velocities than shorter barrels or deliver equivalent speeds with less pressure.

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action

Many people also believe that a 1:9-10″ twist is needed to shoot 200-grain class bullets out of a .308 Win accurately. However, Andy took the advice of Blake Barrel and Rifle, and went with a 1:11″-twist Blake cut-rifled barrel. Many would say this twist is too slow, and some online calculators say a 1:11″-twist won’t fully stabilize 200-grain bullets. Obviously this is also not the case. Andy’s 11-twist and Berger 200-grain Hybrid bullets (NOT 200.20X bullets) work very well with this combination. NOTE: Andy uses an F-Class Products barrel tuner to tune his load. He will sometimes even alter tune between relays to compensate for changing barometric conditions.

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action
Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action
Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action

Winning .308 Win Load — Lapua Palma Brass, VV N550, CCI 450s, Berger 200gr Hybrids
Andy Cyr took the Mid-Range title loading Vihtavuori N150 powder, CCI 450 primers, Berger 200gr Hybrids, and Lapua .308 Win Palma brass. Andy does not push his bullets very fast and finds a big accuracy node at the mid-2600 FPS range. He jumps his bullets .015″ off the lands. One thing Andy consistently does is test, test, test. He will test different powders, charge weights, seating depths nearly every time he is at the range. He will shoot a different load for each string to see what works best.

Profile of 2020 F-TR Mid-Range National Champion — Andrew Cyr
Father and Daughter Compete Together

Andy started shooting F-Class in 2012 to help him shoot better in the PRS series. He hoped to learn to read the wind better and get more experience in long-range shooting in general. After shooting F-Class he was hooked and found he enjoyed it more than PRS. Andy and his daughter Jessica have shot many state matches together, with both of them shooting F-TR. Jessica owned the Mid-Range 20-shot woman’s Aggregate record for years with a score of 200-11X. Interestingly Andy shot his very first clean at 1000 yards at the Nationals in Raton, NM in 2018 with a score of 200-11X also. This year Andy started using a spotting scope to help read mirage and it has helped him tremendously he reports.

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action

The “Master” Beat the “High Masters”
Andy is currently classified in Mid-Range as a Master for F-Class, not yet High Master. Even after winning the F-Class Mid-Range Nationals, the most prestigious F-Class match of the year, he is still classified as a Master. Andy’s 1761-72X score works out to 97.8% of a perfect 1800. But the requirement for F-Class High Master is 98%. That just shows you how tough the conditions were at Ben Avery this year. But still the Master beat ALL the High Masters — if you look at the score sheet above, all the other Top 10 F-TR competitors were High Masters. Impressive. And we believe Andy is the first Arizona resident to ever win a national F-Class Championship in either F-Open or F-TR.

About Blake Barrel and Rifle
Blake Barrel and Rifle (BBR) has been in business since 2018. BBR built the rifle that Brian Bowling used to win the 2019 F-Open National Championship. And now another ultra-accurate BBR-built rifle has won the 2020 F-TR Mid-Range Championship. Bryan Blake tells us that Blake Barrel and Rifle has recently upgraded BBR’s rifle barrel building equipment. There are advanced CNC lapping machines, CNC bore-honing machines, and all-new, proprietary rifling cutter designs that no one else in the barrel business uses.

Blake Barrel and Rifle produces cut-rifled, 6-groove barrels with a unique rifling profile no other barrel manufacturer is using. Blake barrels have an impressive winning record in recent major competitions — earning National Championships, plus many match wins and podium performances. Bryan Blake tells us that “The time and quality control spend on Blake barrels is second to none and the proof in the results.” For more information, visit Blakebarrel.com.

Blake barrel Andrew Cyr F-TR Mid-range 2020 National Champion .308 Win Rifle gun of week McMillan Xit Border BRM action


Blake Barrel and Rifle | Blake Machine Company

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
November 8th, 2020

Inside Neck Chamfer Tools — A Bevy of Options and Angles

Neck case chamfer tools Redding Forster Rocket model 15-p
Shown is the Redding Model 15-P Competition Piloted Inside Chamfering Tool with pilot rod that centers in the case flash hole. Also shown is a Forster 45° Rocket Tool.

There are a wide variety of reloading tools designed to cut a slight chamfer in case necks and deburr the edge of the case mouth. You don’t need to spend a lot of money for an effective tool. A basic “rocket-style” 45° chamfering tool, such as the Forster, actually does a pretty good job taking the sharp edge off case mouths, particularly if you use a little scotch-pad (or steel wool) to smooth the edge of the cut. The Forster chamfer tool, shown below, is a nicely-made product, with sharper cutting blades than you’ll find on most other 45° chamferers. It costs $20.99 at Brownells.com.

forster rocket 45 degree neck chamferer chamfer tool

Redding sells a handy piloted chamfering tool with a 15° inside cutting angle and removable accessory handle. This Redding Model 15-P chamferer works really well, so long as you have consistent case OALs. The pilot rod (which indexes in the flash hole) is adjustable for different cartridge types (from very short to very long). This ensures the concentricity of the inside neck chamfer to the case mouth. This quality tool works with cases from .22 to .45 Caliber.

Neck case chamfer tools Redding Forster Rocket model 15-p

Sinclair International offers a 28° carbide chamferer with many handy features (and sharp blades). The $28.99 Sinclair Carbide VLD Case Mouth Chamfering Tool will chamfer cases from .14 through .45 caliber. This tool features a removable 28° carbide cutter mounted in the green plastic Sinclair handle. NOTE: A hex-shaft cutter head power adapter can be purchased separately for $14.99 (Sinclair item 749-002-488WS). This can be chucked in a power screwdriver or used with dedicated power drives when doing large volumes of cases.

Neck inside chamfer chamferer case neck tool

Many folks feel they can get smoother bullet seating by using a tool that cuts at a steeper angle. We like the 22° cutter sold by Lyman. It has a comfortable handle, and costs just $11.54 at MidsouthShooterssupply.com. The Lyman tool is an excellent value, though we’ve seen examples that needed sharpening even when new. Blade-sharpening is easily done, however.

K&M makes a depth-adjustable, inside-neck chamferer (“Controlled Depth Tapered Reaper”) with ultra-sharp cutting flutes. The latest version, which costs $53.25 at KMShooting.com, features a central pin that indexes via the flash hole to keep the cutter centered. In addition, the tool has a newly-designed handle, improved depth-stop fingers, plus a new set-screw adjustment for precise cutter depth control. We caution, even with all the depth-control features, if you are not careful, it is easy to over-cut, slicing away too much brass and basically ruining your neck. We think that most reloaders will get better results using a more conventional chamfer tool, such as the Forster or Redding 15-P.

K & M K&M neck chamferer reamer controlled depth

One last thing to note — tools like the K&M and the Sinclair chamferer are often described as VLD chamferers. That is really a misnomer, as bullets with long boat-tails actually seat easily with very minimal chamfering. In reality, these high-angle chamferers may be most valuable when preparing brass for flat-base bullets and bullets with pressure rings. Using a 22° or 28° chamferer can reduce the risk of cutting a jacket when using VLD bullets though — so long as you make a smooth cut.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review No Comments »
November 7th, 2020

Great M1 Garand Resources for Rifle Maintenance and Cleaning

M1 Garand match instruction video War Department

Do you own an M1 Garand? Or perhaps you’re thinking of ordering a Garand, now that the CMP has acquired 99,000 of these classic battle rifles from Turkey and the Philippines. An M1 Garand is a great addition to anyone’s firearms collection. It is a piece of living history — plus it can be used in Vintage Military rifle matches. Here are some great resources for M1 Garand owners. We list two useful articles on general maintenance. In addition, we’ve included three excellent videos covering M1 Garand Disassembly, Cleaning, and Lubrication. Finally there are links to recommended print manuals available from the CMP.

M1 Garand maintenance procedures

M1 Service and Maintenance
Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA) recently published an excellent article on Service and Maintenance of M1 Garand Rifles. This offers some smart tricks, such as using smoke from burning masking tape to darken the front sight post. There is also an older SSUSA article that covers basic cleaning and servicing and also explains how to upgrade the performance of your Garands. READ Article HERE.

M1 Garand Disassembly, Cleaning, and Lubrication

M1 Garand Tips and Tricks

This popular Tips and Tricks Video has been viewed over 1,100,000 times on YouTube.

Recommended M1 Garand Manual
Among the many M1 Garand manuals available, we recommend the CMP’s U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1: ‘Read This First’ Manual. This booklet covers take-down, reassembly, cleaning, lubrication, and operation. The manual comes with CMP rifles or can be purchased for $3.25 from the CMP eStore. The author of Garand Tips & Tricks says: “It’s one of the best firearms manuals I’ve seen and I highly recommend it.” The CMP also offers many other M1 Garand print resources including:

M1 Garand Owner’s Guide (125 pages, Scott Duff)
M1 Garand Complete Assembly Guide (155 pages, Walt Kuleck & Scott McKee)
Complete Guide to M1 Garand and M1 Carbine (296 pages, Bruce Canfield)

M1 Garand match instruction video War Department

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »