March 10th, 2014
The NRA Gunsmithing Guide contains 336 pages of solid, comprehensive gunsmithing info drawn from articles originally published in the American Rifleman magazine.
The $24.95 book includes 116 articles by expert smiths who build, repair, accurize, and customize all types of firearms (with a strong emphasis on rifles). The three main subject areas are: improving rifle accuracy, customizing fine rifles, and restoring old rifles. Roughly one-third of the articles cover these three topics.
As you would expect from content that first ran in American Rifleman magazine, the articles in the NRA Gunsmithing Guide are richly illustrated with photographs, charts, drawings, diagrams, and data tables. Not Available in bookstores, the NRA Gunsmithing Guide is sold online through Palladium Press, the NRA’s Book Publishing Affiliate.
Click Here for NRA Gunsmithing Guide ORDER Page
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March 9th, 2014
If you shoot Service Rifle, or use a .223 Rem at medium to long range, you should read J. Guthrie’s ShootingTimes.com review of Black Hills MK 262 Mod 1 ammunition. Originally developed for military applications, this very accurate ammo is now available for civilians to purchase. It uses a special Sierra 77gr MatchKing bullet with cannelure. Black Hills did extensive testing to develop this ammunition, shooting over 250,000 test rounds with various propellants and projectiles. Eventually, the Sierra 77gr MK bullet was chosen, with a powder that delivers 2750 fps MV (from a 20″ barrel).
READ Full Review of Black Hills MK 262 Mod 1 Ammunition
Sierra’s 77-grain bullet delivered great accuracy at long range. Guthrie explains: “Several bullets were used during the development process, including the 73-grain Berger, 77-grain Sierra MatchKing, and 77-grain Nosler HPBT. Black Hills finally settled on the MatchKing when Sierra agreed to put a cannelure on the bullet. In test fixtures Sierra’s bullet proved slightly more accurate. Accuracy was exceptional, certainly an improvement over M855 [military 5.56x45mm ammunition].”
Guthrie’s article explains that this ammo design started off as target ammunition developed for the USAMU. That was followed by a 1999 request from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division for a round that would work with a suppressed, short-barrel M16 variant. Over the years, as Black Hills produced more ammo for the U.S. military, this ammunition continued to be improved. Guthrie notes: “The name changed with each modification. MK 262 Mod 0 was adopted in 2002, Mod 1 came along in 2003 with the cannelure, and an improvement to temperature sensitivity came along in 2005.”
According to Black Hills President James Hoffman, the MK 262 ammo “developed a cult following… so [in 2011] we started offering it to the public. The only difference is the packaging — it is the exact same ammunition as is delivered to the U.S. Military — loaded to the exact same specs”. The commercial version is sold in black/red 50-count boxes labeled “5.56mm 77 GR OTM”. The exact same ammo is issued to American war-fighters in 20-round, brown cardboard boxes labeled “5.56mm SPECIAL BALL, LR MK 262 MOD 1.”
Field Test of Black Hills MK 262 Mod 1 Ammunition
About J. Guthrie: Last April, at the much-too-young age of 37 years, outdoor writer J. Guthrie passed away in his sleep, leaving a wife and two young children. Field & Stream noted: “Guthrie was already a major player and a pro’s pro, but he wanted to be more. He wanted to be a Gun Writer in the old style. It’s a terrible loss for all of us that his run was cut so short.”
Story idea from Grant Guess. We welcome reader submissions.
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March 5th, 2014
Guest Article By Michelle Gallagher, Berger Bullets
Let’s face it. In the world of firearms, there is something for everyone. Do you like to compete? Are you a hunter? Are you more of a shotgun shooter or rifle shooter? Do you enjoy running around between stages of a timed course, or does the thought of shooting one-hole groups appeal to you more? Even though many of us shoot several different firearms and disciplines, chances are very good that we all have a favorite. Are we spreading ourselves too thin by shooting different disciplines, or is it actually beneficial? I have found that participating in multiple disciplines can actually improve your performance. Every style of shooting is different; therefore, they each develop different skills that benefit each other.
How can cross-training in other disciplines help you? For example, I am most familiar with long-range prone shooting, so let’s start there. To be a successful long-range shooter, you must have a stable position, accurate ammunition, and good wind-reading skills. You can improve all of these areas through time and effort, but there are other ways to improve more efficiently. Spend some time practicing smallbore. Smallbore rifles and targets are much less forgiving when it comes to position and shot execution. Long-range targets are very large, so you can get away with accepting less than perfect shots. Shooting smallbore will make you focus more on shooting perfectly center shots every time. Another way to do this with your High Power rifle is to shoot on reduced targets at long ranges. This will also force you to accept nothing less than perfect. Shoot at an F-Class target with your iron sights. At 1000 yards, the X-Ring on a long range target is 10 inches; it is 5 inches on an F-Class target. Because of this, you will have to focus harder on sight alignment to hit a center shot. When you go back to the conventional target, you will be amazed at how large the ten ring looks.
Also, most prone rifles can be fitted with a bipod. Put a bipod and scope on your rifle, and shoot F-TR. Shooting with a scope and bipod eliminates position and eyesight factors, and will allow you to concentrate on learning how to more accurately read the wind. The smaller target will force you to be more aggressive on your wind calls. It will also help encourage you to use better loading techniques. Nothing is more frustrating than making a correct wind call on that tiny target, only to lose the point out the top or bottom due to inferior ammunition. If you put in the effort to shoot good scores on the F-Class target, you will be amazed how much easier the long-range target looks when you return to your sling and iron sights. By the same token, F-Class shooters sometimes prefer to shoot fast and chase the spotter. Shooting prone can help teach patience in choosing a wind condition to shoot in, and waiting for that condition to return if it changes.
Benchrest shooters are arguably among the most knowledgeable about reloading. If you want to learn better techniques about loading ammunition, you might want to spend some time at benchrest matches. You might not be in contention to win, but you will certainly learn a lot about reloading and gun handling. Shooting F-Open can also teach you these skills, as it is closely related to benchrest. Benchrest shooters may learn new wind-reading techniques by shooting mid- or long-range F-Class matches.
Position shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position -- this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]
These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.
This article originally appeared in the Berger Bulletin. The Berger Bulletin blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.
Article Find by EdLongrange.
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February 22nd, 2014
Have some spare time on your hands? How would you like to read four YEARS of American Rifleman Magazine back-issues for FREE? That’s right, the past four years of the NRA’s popular magazine are available online in eZine format — and all the content is free. Just visit the American Rifleman Magazine Archive. You don’t need to be an NRA member, or pay for a subscription. The 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010 archives are FREE. (NOTE: the most recent issue in this format is May 2013).
The eZine version of American Rifleman navigates like a conventional print magazine — so you start with an index at the front and you can flip pages from front-to-back. You can also navigate with thumbnails (on the left) and zoom in and out if you find items of interest. Those who prefer reading articles in a magazine-style format should enjoy the American Rifleman digital eZine archives.
How to Find Back Issues
After loading the eReader, to access back issues, click on the “Archive” icon in the upper left corner of the page, then chose a year (2013, 2013, 2011, or 2010) and then click on a particular issue. Here are samples from the March, April, and May 2013 digital editions of American Rifleman. As you can see, you can view full two-page spreads, just as with a print magazine. You can navigate by flipping pages, or by clicking on the thumbnails in the left column:
From May 2013 Issue (This issue also has articles about WWII rifles.)
From April 2013 Issue (Includes New Products for 2013.)
From March 2013 Issue (This Optical Glossary is extensive and useful.)
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February 9th, 2014
Forum Member Roy B. has found a website with scores of well-researched articles about guns and shooting. The Firearms History Blog features a wide variety of posts on myriad subjects, from early black powder firearms to modern match rifles. You’ll find tons of information on gun design, barrel-making, action types, and firearms testing equipment. To access hundreds of articles, click on the Firearm History Blog Archive Menu on the left side. Click the navigation arrows to access monthly collections one by one. Some of the best articles are from 2010, so be sure to check those archives too! Here are some of our favorites:
Testing Firearms: Measuring Chamber Pressure
(Comment: Crusher Gauges were used through until the 1960s, when cheap Piezo-electric tranducers became available.)
Barrel Making: Making a Modern Steel Barrel (Two Parts)
(Comment: Barrel drilling process explained — interesting process.)
Metal Treatments: Ferritic Nitrocarburizing/Melonite/Tenifer
(Comment: Meloniting creates a super-hard surface layer; this has been used to extend barrel life.)
Barrel Making: Forming Rifling with Electric Discharge Machining (EDM)
(Comment: This advanced EDM method can also be used to cut chambers.)
History of Gun Cleaning Methods/Solvents
(Comment: Old-timers used some pretty weird concoctions such as “Rangoon Oil”.)
History and Engineering of Sound Suppressors (Two Parts)
(Comment: Interesting cut-away illustrations of suppressor baffles.)
Utility Firearms: Powder-Activated Tools
(Comment: There are construction tools that use gunpowder to drive fasteners into steel and concrete.)
Testing Firearms: History of Proof Testing (Two Parts)
(Comment: Fascinating article, worth a read.)
More Interesting Articles on RVB Precision Website
These and other articles on the Firearms History Blog will give you many interesting hours of reading — Enjoy! And while you’re cruising the web, definitely check out Roy’s own RVB Precision website. It features many interesting DIY gun and reloading projects, such as Fabricating a 17 HMR Bore Guide, Building a Swivel-Top Varminting Bench, and Fabricating a Unertl-type Scope Mount.
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February 8th, 2014
The winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia is not just about skiing, skating, sledding, and snowboarding. It’s also about shooting. The Biathlon competition, conducted over the course of 15 days, combines Nordic skiing with position rimfire shooting. It’s a challenging sport, requiring world-class fitness along with superior marksmanship skills.
“This year, the two favorites for gold are Martin Fourcade of France for the men and Tora Berger of Norway for the women. However, they still have stiff competition. Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway, nicknamed ‘The Cannibal,’ has already won 11 Olympic medals in the biathlon, 6 of which were gold. Russian competitors Anton Shipulin, Eygeny Ustyugoy, and Olga Zaitseva could enjoy a distinct home advantage. Overall, Norway is expected to take the medal lead in biathlon, with Russia and Germany as their toughest competitors.” — Chelsea Smith for WideOpenSpaces.com.
Biathlon is a hugely popular sport in Northern and Eastern Europe. Athletes from Norway, Germany, and Russia have dominated, winning over two-thirds of Olympic biathlon medals. WideOpenSpaces.com has an excellent overview of the Olympic biathlon events and the U.S. biathletes that will be competing. CLICK HERE to read more.
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February 3rd, 2014
When we recently ran a story about Dennis Santiago’s new snakeskin Eliseo Tubegun, folks asked us if this kind of rifle can be competitive in F-Class competition. Here’s a detailed answer to that question by German Salazar, who runs the Riflemans Journal Website.
A while back, German Salazar published a three-part article on Shooting The Tubegun in F-Class. Links for all three segments are found below. The article covers some of the hardware German engineered to adapt his tubegun for long-range F-Class shooting with scope. If you’re an F-Classer, or just a fan of tubeguns, you should read German’s article, in all its parts.
READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 1
READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 2
READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 3
In the intro to his multi-part F-Class Tubegun article, German explains:
Salazar: The tubegun has truly changed the face of High Power shooting over the past five years or so. Specifically, the CSS (Gary Eliseo) tubeguns, which are made for a broad variety of actions and configurable to single-shot or repeater, have truly helped the sport to grow. That’s not just idle talk, the two principal factors that made the tubegun so important to our growth are the ease of transition for AR15 shooters moving into a bolt-action rifle and the absolutely ridiculous length of time it currently takes to get a stock from the conventional stock makers. My last conventional stock took well over two years from order to delivery (plain fiberglass). One of my friends has now been waiting four years for a simple wood stock for a smallbore rifle. By contrast, tubeguns, which are largely CNC machined, are delivered in a reasonably short time — weeks or a couple of months at most.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the tubegun would never have attained its present success if it weren’t for one simple fact — they are brutally accurate. I have three CSS tubeguns, one chambered in .308 and two in .30-06 and they are my favorite prone rifles due to their accuracy and great ergonomics. Those factors are just as appealing to an F-Class competitor as to a prone shooter, and indeed, the tubegun is making solid inroads into F-Class. READ MORE…
READ MORE of Part 1, The Tubegun in F-Class
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January 27th, 2014
Bryce Towsley has authored an informative article on Reclaiming .223 Rem Brass. Writing for Shooting Illustrated Online, Towsley confesses: “I’m a brass horder…. I end every shooting match on my hands and knees. If the rest of the competitors want to litter the range with their discarded cases, I see it as my civic duty to clean up the mess.” If you burn through a lot of .223 Rem ammo on the varmint fields or in multi-gun matches, we suggest you read Towsley’s article.
Towsley advises that you need to be cautious with range pick-up brass: “Range brass is full of dirt, dust, sand and debris that can be damaging to loading dies, as well as causing other problems.” So, range pick-up brass must be cleaned and then sorted carefully. Towsley explains that you should toss brass that is badly dented, and you have to make sure to remove the primer pocket crimp in military brass. This can be done with a crimp reamer or a swaging tool such as the Dillon Super Swage 600. The latter works well, but Towsley cautions: “For the swager to work properly, you must sort the cases by brand and lot, and then readjust the swager for each new lot.”
Trimming Quantities of Brass
Before loading, “reclaimed” range brass should, of course, be full-length sized and you should trim all the brass to the same length. “Cases that are too long can cause all kinds of problems”, explains Towsley.
We envy the system Towsley uses to trim brass. He has a Dillon Rapid Trim 1200B set up on the top of a single-stage press: “You simply insert a case into the shell holder and raise the ram to trim it instantly. The process is so fast, it almost feels like cheating.” The Rapid Trim is a very neat gadget — it even has an attachment for a vacuum hose to remove the cuttings. The photo at right shows a 1200B installed on a Dillon progressive press.
We definitely recommend you read Bryce Towsley’s Reclaiming Range Brass Article from start to finish. The article offers useful advice that will help you reload any rifle cartridge — not just .223 Rem range brass. Towsley also showcases many good labor-saving devices that can speed up and simplify the process of bulk rifle cartridge reloading.
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January 10th, 2014
by Tony Chow
In recent years, the use of electronic trainer systems has revolutionized training in all disciplines of position shooting. By capturing (and illustrating) key performance variables like the steadiness of a shooter’s hold, accuracy of aiming, and the timeliness of trigger release, these devices can offer tremendous insights into the strengths and weakness of a shooter’s position and technique, making high-level marksmanship training less voodoo and more of a science.
Until now, electronic trainers all suffered from one critical limitation: the inability to be used outdoors in live fire training. Now, however, SCATT has introduced the next-generation MX-02 electronic trainer, a product that can finally support outdoor live firing in broad daylight, as well as dry firing indoors. In addition, the MX-02 is the first electronic trainer to support centerfire rifles. It goes without saying that, when we at AccurateShooter.com were offered an MX-02 test unit to review, we jumped at the opportunity.
READ FULL REVIEW of SCATT MX-02 Electronic Trainer
How the SCATT MX-02 Works
The SCATT sensor mounted on the end of the barrel has a digital camera that “sees” the black bullseye in the target, even in broad daylight outdoors. Using the bullseye as a reference, the SCATT software tracks the movement of the muzzle relative to the center of the target. The unit can plot these movements as a continuous trace, which appears on a monitor as a squiggly, colored line. Data points from the trace are also available in a tabular spreadsheet format. This allows the shooter to “crunch the numbers”, revealing strengths and weaknesses in his gun-handling and aiming technique.
In our testing, we confirmed that, like SCATT’s earlier indoor-only WS-01, the MX-02 offers excellent support for indoor dry-fire training, which will continue to be the primary means through which position shooters sharpen their fundamental skills. Since the new SCATT uses the same familiar Windows software for data capture and analysis as its predecessors, shooters and coaches upgrading to MX-02 will have no learning curve to overcome, and newcomers to the SCATT platform can tap into the wealth of institutional knowledge accumulated over the years by the shooting community on how to interpret shot data.
It’s in the support for outdoor live firing, however, that SCATT MX-02 distinguishes itself from its predecessors and the competition. Shot trace data captured by MX-02 during live firing turned out to be every bit as valuable (and revealing) as we had hoped. The ability to correlate SCATT tracing with real shots on target gave us a better understanding of the shooting process, and helped the reviewer, already a high-level smallbore prone shooter, uncover a significant problem in his shooting. SCATT MX-02’s outdoor capability is therefore an invaluable feature, particularly for experienced shooters aspiring to world-class performance.
In summary, SCATT MX-02 is an outstanding product that delivers on its promises. We heartily recommend it, both for first-time users of electronic training aids, and also for those shooters who may wish to upgrade their current electronic training system. The MSRP for SCATT MX-02 is $1,799, $500 more than its predecessor, the SCATT WS-01, which is still available. In my view, the $500 premium for the MX-02 is justified by the MX-02′s enhanced capabilities, making it a better long-term investment.
Our complete, 3600-word MX-02 review of the SCATT MX-02 can be accessed through the link below. This full review contains many more photos plus detailed field test results. For the time being, the review only covers our experience with the product in smallbore shooting. An upcoming addendum to the review will include test results from centerfire shooting. Those attending SHOT Show in Las Vegas next week can examine SCATT MX-02 in person. SCATT will have the MX-02 on display at Booth 111.
READ FULL REVIEW of SCATT MX-02 Electronic Trainer
For more information or to order SCATT products, including the new MX-02, visit ScattUSA.com or call toll-free: 1-855-57-SCATT (72288).
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December 29th, 2013
A while back we published an Introduction to .50-Caliber Shooting authored by James Patterson. James has written a companion piece for Sinclair’s Reloading Press that covers the “care and feeding” of the big .50 Cal match rifles.
Owning and Feeding ‘The Big Bore’
Is The Challenge Of Big Bore Extreme Range Shooting And Hunting Right For You?
By James Patterson
Handling a 50 BMG
Is a 50 BMG caliber rifle difficult to shoot? Not at all. The relatively heavy weight of a standard rifle at 30 pounds or more combined with a very efficient muzzle brake makes it a pleasure to shoot. The typical recoil can be compared to a .243 rifle or a 12 gauge trap load. On the other hand, the burning of a typical load of 230 grains of powder combined with that muzzle brake makes the muzzle blast experience exhilarating. A first time shooter will fire, pause for a moment in awe at the muzzle blast, and then break out into what has become known as “The 50 caliber Grin”, almost impossible to wipe from ones face. My daughter started competing with the 50 BMG at 18 (115 lbs of tall skinny girl) and happily shoots 100+ rounds in the course of a match, her grin on the last round is as wide as on the first! Many members and competitors in the FCSA are women and many have distinguished themselves as excellent marksman having set world records on numerous occasions.
Cost of Big-Bore Shooting
Is owning and shooting a 50 BMG caliber rifle expensive? Relatively speaking yes, but one must put it into perspective. Rifles may run from $2500 to $7000, maybe even more for a top of the line custom rifle. A good scope will set you back $500 to $1500. And while excellent commercial ammo is available it runs from $3 to $5 a round. Most serious shooters start reloading for the rifle as soon as practical, not only for the economics of reloading but also for the ability to fine tune custom ammo for their specific rifle. It’s a very rare match that is won shooting commercial ammo. I recently compared the cost of my hobby — owning, shooting, and competing with the 50 BMG — with a friend whose hobby is snowmobiling. Factoring in the cost of equipment, licensing, gasoline, clothing, etc. it was soon obvious that my hobby was significantly less expensive than his.
So how does one get started? You could do as I did, purchase a rifle not knowing what you were really getting into; or you could come out to a FCSA-sponsored event, shoot a number of different rifles, rub shoulders with those who have already taken the plunge, and see if this sport is right for you. While membership in the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FSCA) is required to compete at a FSCA event, membership is not required to come and experience first hand what is going on. If you have any inclination that you are interested in the extreme sport of long rang, big bore shooting then a year’s membership in the FCSA is only $60 ($20 for active duty military) a significant bargain if it helps you make just one well-informed equipment choice. In addition one of the primary functions of the FCSA is helping to identify active members near you who can help you understand just what is involved and help you ‘get your feet wet’ in this challenging sport.
Photos courtesy FCSA Photo Gallery.
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December 19th, 2013
On his Riflemans’ Journal blog, German Salazar wrote an excellent article about cartridge Case-Head Separation. We strongly recommend that you read this article. German examines the causes of this serious problem and he explains the ways you can inspect your brass to minimize the risk of a case-head separation. As cases get fired multiple times and then resized during reloading, the cases can stretch. Typically, there is a point in the lower section of the case where the case-walls thin out. This is your “danger zone” and you need to watch for tell-tale signs of weakening.
The photo below shows a case sectioned so that you can see where the case wall becomes thinner near the web. German scribed a little arrow into the soot inside the case pointing to the thinned area. This case hadn’t split yet, but it most likely would do so after one or two more firings.
One great tip offered by German Salazar involves using a bent paper clip to detect potential case wall problems. Slide the paper clip inside your case to check for thin spots. German explains: “This simple little tool (bent paper clip) will let you check the inside of cases before you reload them. The thin spot will be immediately apparent as you run the clip up the inside of the case. If you’re seeing a shiny line on the outside and the clip is really hitting a thin spot inside, it’s time to retire the case. If you do this every time you reload, on at least 15% of your cases, you’ll develop a good feel for what the thin spot feels like and how it gets worse as the case is reloaded more times. And if you’re loading the night before a match and feel pressured for time — don’t skip this step!”
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December 9th, 2013
If you want to know “Who’s Who” and “What’s What” in the gun industry, you should check out the big December 2013 edition of Shooting Industry Magazine, available FREE online (in eMagazine format). The free December issue contains a huge, 75-page directory of industry manufacturers and distributors. This directory provides address and contact information for hundreds of companies — it is truly the “Yellow Pages” of the shooting industry, with virtually ever firearm-maker and accesory-maker, large and small. Along with company listings, there is also an index of products and services. This is very handy, as you can simply choose a product type (such as “Holsters” or “Gun Scopes”) and instantly find dozens of product makers. An interactive version of this comprehensive resource (with company directory and product/service index) is also available online at SIBuyersGuide.com.
This issue of Shooting Industry also presents Part I of the 2014 New Product Showcase with dozens of new products. These include handguns, long guns, ammunition, optics, accessories and more.
Also in the December issue is an in-depth preview of the 2014 SHOT Show, detailing the week’s events at this mega trade show in Las Vegas.
Retailers Have Concerns About Legislation and Ammo Shortages
“The New Business Year presents a number of challenges for the industry, with firearms dealers expressing concern about the tentative economy, consumer retention, product saturation, ammunition shortages, legislative threats and technology pressure,” said Russ Thurman, Shooting Industry publisher and editor. “While there are plenty of challenges for 2014, there is also a measure of optimism. Dealers and range operators are expanding their operations, much of it fueled by the increase in profits during 2013.”
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