March 4th, 2015
By Bryan Litz, Applied Ballistics
Last month, in the Daily Bulletin, we talked about twist rate and muzzle velocity. That discussion was based on a detailed study published in Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting.
More Spin, Less Drag
In this article, we look at how twist rate and stability affect the Ballistic Coefficient (BC) of a bullet. Again, this topic is covered in detail in the Modern Advancements book. Through our testing, we’ve learned that adequate spin-stabilization is important to achieving the best BC (and lowest drag). In other words, if you don’t spin your bullets fast enough (with sufficient twist rate), the BC of your bullets may be less than optimal. That means, in practical terms, that your bullets drop more quickly and deflect more in the wind (other factors being equal). Spin your bullets faster, and you can optimize your BC for best performance.
Any test that’s designed to study BC effects has to be carefully controlled in the sense that the variables are isolated. To this end, barrels were ordered from a single barrel smith, chambered and headspaced to the same rifle, with the only difference being the twist rate of the barrels. In this test, 3 pairs of barrels were used. In .224 caliber, 1:9” and 1:7” twist. In .243 caliber it was 1:10” and 1:8”, and in .30 caliber it was 1:12” and 1:10”. Other than the twist rates, each pair of barrels was identical in length, contour, and had similar round counts. Here is a barrel rack at the Applied Ballistics Lab:
Applied Ballistics used multiple barrels to study how twist rate affects BC.
“The Modern Advancements series is basically a journal of the ongoing R&D efforts of the Applied Ballistics Laboratory. The goal of the series is to share what we’re learning about ballistics so others can benefit.” –Bryan Litz
Barrel twist rate along with velocity, atmospherics, and bullet design all combine to result in a Gyroscopic Stability Factor (SG). It’s the SG that actually correlates to BC. The testing revealed that if you get SG above 1.5, the BC may improve slightly with faster twist (higher SG), but it’s very difficult to see. However, BC drops off very quickly for SGs below 1.5. This can be seen in the figure below from Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting.
The chart shows that when the Gyroscopic Stability Factor (SG) is above 1.5, BC is mostly constant. But if SG falls below 1.5, BC drops off dramatically.
Note that the BC drops by about 3% for every 0.1 that SG falls below 1.5. The data supports a correlation coefficient of 0.87 for this relationship. That means the 3% per 0.1 unit of SG is an accurate trend, but isn’t necessarily exact for every scenario.
It’s a common assumption that if a shooter is seeing great groups and round holes, that he’s seeing the full potential BC of the bullets. These tests did not support that assumption. It’s quite common to shoot very tight groups and have round bullet holes while your BC is compromised by as much as 10% or more. This is probably the most practical and important take-away from this test.
To calculate the SG of your bullets in your rifle, visit the Berger Bullets online stability calculator. This FREE calculator will show you the SG of your bullets, as well as indicate if your BC will be compromised (and by how much) if the SG is below 1.5. With the stated twist rate of your barrel, if your selected bullet shows an SG of 1.5 (or less), the calculator will suggest alternate bullets that will fully stabilize in your rifle. This valuable online resource is based directly on live fire testing. You can use the SG Calculator for free on the web — you don’t need to download software.
Learn More About SG and BC
This article is just a brief overview of the interrelated subjects of twist rate, Gyroscopic Stability, and BC. The coverage of twist rates in Modern Advancements in Long-Range Shooting is more detailed, with multiple live fire tests.
Other chapters in the book’s twist rate section include:
· Stability and Drag – Supersonic
· Stability and Drag – Transonic
· Spin Rate Decay
· Effect of Twist rate on Precision
Other sections of the book include: Modern Rifles, Scopes, and Bullets as well as Advancements in Predictive Modeling. This book is sold through the Applied Ballistics online store. Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting is also available in eBook format in the Amazon Kindle store.
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February 3rd, 2015
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 2nd, 2015
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a firearm owner (most of our Daily Bulletin readers are). But how much do you really know about the history of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? The Second Amendment itself contains only 27 words (printed above), but those words have a rich history behind them.
To illuminate the origins of the Second Amendment, and to explain how its interpretations have evolved over the years, Arizona Attorney, the journal for the State Bar of Arizona, has published a detailed two-part “Illustrated History” of the Second Amendment by attorney Robert J. McWhirter, an expert on the Bill of Rights.* Part One was just released, and Part Two will be published next month.
CLICK HERE to launch eZine with Second Amendment Story.
We think all gun owners should read McWhirter’s article, which is both entertaining and insightful. Don’t worry — this is not a dull “law school” treatise. McWhirter’s article features dozens of illustrated footnotes (some fascinating, some merely amusing). Here are some sample footnotes — you can see this is a treasure trove of Second Amendment trivia.
*The American Bar Association has just published Mr. McWhirter’s book Bills, Quills, and Stills: An Annotated, Illustrated and Illuminated History of the Bill of Rights.
Story tip by German Salazar.
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January 27th, 2015
Many of us dream about taking (and making) a one-mile shot someday. To accomplish this feat, you need a very accurate rifle, ultra-consistent ammo, good logistics, and, of course, the proper location. In their quest to make the mile shot, Kerry Stottlemyer and his uncle Ron headed to the California desert. There they would attempt to “reach out and touch” a target 1760 yards distant. Here is their story….
Shooting at a Mile with a .300 Win Mag (from Sierra Bullets Blog)
My uncle, Ron Stottlemyer, was serious about this trip and this mile shot. He was sparing no expense and assured me that everything would be ready in December to make this shot, the only thing left to risk was the weather. The area we were planning on has some unpredictable winds, but in December it’s pretty calm so we hoped for the best.
After a year of planing, my uncle arrived at the airport with his Remington Sendero in tow, a .300 Win Mag with a Leupold Mk4 LR scope on it. We went to my place to tear down the rifle, thread the barrel and install the muzzle brake I made for him. We worked hard to bed the scope base and remount and bore sight the scope before the weekend.
The rifle: a Remington Sendero in .300 Win Mag with a Leupold Mk4 8.5-24X LR TRM scope, on Talley rings and a badger base. I threaded the barrel and installed the brake that we designed and I made, bedded the action, and bedded the scope base. Bore sighted it, reassembled it and tested everything for function and safety. The powder, primers, brass and bullets (220 gr HPBT Sierra MatchKings #2240) were all purchased online.
With everything packed, we headed out to the California desert to some Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land that would give us enough room to safely stretch the Sendero’s legs (see the photo below). Friday was spent reloading a few rounds at a time to get his scope zeroed, then on to working up loads for the next day’s attempt at 1760 yards (1 mile) (See Photo below).
Photo shows the camp from the target, GPS-located 1.00 miles away. That’s 1760 yards.
Saturday morning arrived and it was time to make breakfast and coffee. Mountain man breakfast in a dutch oven cooked over a camp fire. Bacon, sausage, potatoes, green peepers, onions, eggs, and cheese. Better then any breakfast made at home.
I set up my spotting scope get it dialed in and could immediately see that the wind was going to be an issue. My uncle got the rifle up on the bench, got the bags positioned, dialed the magnification all the way up to 25X on the scope and asked me for the come-ups. I told him to come up 150 clicks and give me two mils right windage.
Walking in the Shots at One Mile
He got set while I watched the wind see it settle into a rhythm and say “send it.” He let one fly and it landed about ten feet left and about 100 yards short. I scratched my head, the wind was doing something funny. I said, “Give me two more mil elevation and another mil right windage.” He let another one fly and this time the bullet struck within feet of the target. Ok, we were getting there – a little more windage and 1/4 mil more elevation. He let another one fly but said he pulled that one.
We battled the wind for the next seventeen shots, getting within a few feet of the target each time. Turned out where the bullet was at its highest point of its path is where the worst of the wind was. He let go of the 19th shot and put that one right at the base of the target! Then he said, “I got this one.” (Meaning he needed no more corrections from me.)
The 20th shot (at a range that the .300 Win Mag has one hell of a time hitting) nailed the target just low and left of center! He did it! He nailed it at one mile with loads I built that day!
To say he jumped for joy is an understatement. He pushed that round further then anyone would have any good excuse to do so. Most would not attempt a shot like that without stepping up to the .338 Lapua, but no, he had it in his head he was going to do it, and he did.
Kerry Stottlemyer loading up the 220 gr boat tail Sierra MatchKings.
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January 27th, 2015
Digital editions of all four issues of SHOT Daily, the magazine printed each day of the SHOT Show, are available free in both Web eZine and downloadable PDF formats. You’ll find many product features plus articles that can benefit shooting club directors and range managers. SHOT Daily is produced for NSSF by Bonnier Corp., publishers of Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, and many other magazines.
Highlights Day 1: New Handguns Lead Story, Footwear, Legal Defense of Traditional Ammo, Women of Outdoor Channel, Midnight 3-Gun.
Highlights Day 2: New Optics Lead Story, New Ammunition, Outerwear, Christensen Arms, Volquartsen Custom, CZ Factory, SilencerCo.
Highlights Day 3: New Knives Lead Story, Shooting Accessories, Hunting Rights, Women Shooters, Proof Research, Ultra Light Arms.
Highlights Day 4 eZine: Walt Berger Profile, Steyr Scout, Lena Miculek, Sara Palin Q&A, New Remingtons.
SHOT Daily Digital Editions
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January 23rd, 2015
Gear Report by Kip Staton
TrackingPoint’s innovative technology has been on the market for a number of years now, and has proven to be a valuable long-range shooting tool. TrackingPoint is a Texas-based, Austin-area applied technology company that developed a unique, precision-guided firearm (PGF) system in 2011. TrackingPoint’s ordinary rifles in common calibers, designated with the XS prefix, are equipped with high-tech “networked tracking” rifle scopes.
CLICK to view full-screen image:
These advanced optics are the heart of the company’s tag-and-shoot technology, and the entire setup is remarkably similar to the systems found in cutting-edge fighter jets. So, how does it work in the real world?
Pretty darn well, as it turns out. The shooter simply finds his or her target, centers his “X” reticle on it, and presses a “tag” button, which is usually integrated into the firearm’s trigger guard. This puts a digital “mark” on the target, and the optic remembers where that particular tag was placed for the duration of the shot. At this point, the system has already automatically performed all necessary distance and environmental calculations. The only other manual inputs needed on the shooter’s part are to enter the wind call, and press the trigger. And, the rifle even helps out with that part.
Because the tag was placed on a unique target, and is remembered by the system, the rifle won’t actually let the shot break until the shooter has lined up the crosshairs with the original tag. So the user may press the trigger, and nothing will happen… until the reticle is placed on the original tag. The rifle will then fire. For each Tracking Point shot, the elevation should be dead on. However the wind can still come into play — the TrackingPoint system does not sense the wind speed or direction. Wind values must be detected by the shooter and entered manually. Once wind speed/angle are entered, the TrackingPoint automatically calculates the needed windage correction (left or right).
The firing process (with the rifle’s brain doing the elevation calculation) can be somewhat disconcerting for shooters new to a PGF. But, this system holds promise, and can help shooters make difficult shots with greater confidence. In particular, the built-in ballistics solver means the trigger-puller no longer needs to worry about elevation clicks and/or hold-overs at any distance. The system calculates bullet drop at any rangeable distance and plots the correct point of aim. “X marks the spot”:
The TrackingPoint system does much more than make long range shots easier to accomplish. The networked tracking scope is also a WiFi server. This means that the image seen through the ocular lens (by the shooter) can be beamed to an Apple iPad, which is included with the rifle. Hunting guides can then see exactly what their clients are viewing through the optic, and make suggestions or provide pertinent advice to the shooter.
If that wasn’t enough, TrackingPoint recently integrated the high-tech Google Glass hardware into their shooting system. By using eyewear with built-in displays linked to the TrackingPoint optic, shooters can make successful shots without looking directly through a rifle-mounted scope. The eyewear has a small display that shows the target(s) “seen” by the rifle’s optic. The operator can then take the shot from any position. You can shoot around a corner, or keep your head and torso out of view. The possibilities for hunters, competitors and real-world tactical shooters are nearly endless.
TrackingPoint’s unique rifle systems are available in both semi-automatic and bolt-action formats, ranging in calibers from .223 (5.56 NATO) to a proprietary .338 of the company’s own design. What do these systems cost? Well high technology does not come cheap. Rifle systems range in price from $7,495 to a staggering $49,995. But, for the right client and the right mission, perhaps no price for this technology is too high. That’s what Tracking Point is counting on….
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January 22nd, 2015
We’ll give you a break from SHOT Show coverage by taking you across the Atlantic to Great Britain. There Chris Parkin has been putting a Savage F-TR Rifle through its paces. Chris has reviewed this popular rifle in a field test just published by Target Shooter Magazine. Chris wrote a very detailed and thorough review. If you are considering any factory-based rifle for F-TR competition you should read this article. It is lengthy, but the text and photos are good and it is worth the investment of time.
CLICK HERE to Read Savage F-TR Rifle Review
CLICK HERE to Download Savage F-TR Review as PDF File
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January 17th, 2015
Editor: This article appears on the Criterion Barrels website. It provides good, conservative advice about barrel cleaning. Understand that cleaning methods may need to be adapted to fit the amount and type of fouling (and the particular barrel). In general, we do try to minimize brushing, and we follow the procedures Criterion recommends respecting the crown/muzzle. We have also had very good success using wet patches followed by Wipe-Out bore foam. Along with the practices outlined by Criterion below, you may want to try Wipe-Out foam. Just be sure to use a fitted cleaning rod bore guide, to keep foam out of the action recesses and trigger assembly.
What is the Best Way to Clean a Rifle Barrel?
We are asked this question quite frequently alongside requests for recommended break-in procedures. Improper barrel cleaning methods can damage or destroy a barrel, leading to diminished accuracy or even cause a catastrophic failure. When it comes to barrel maintenance, there are a number of useful techniques that we have not listed. Some techniques may work better with different barrel types. This series of recommendations is designed to incorporate a number of methods that the Criterion Barrels staff has used successfully both in the shop and on their personal rifles. Please feel free to to list your own recommendations in the below comments section.
We recommend the use of the following components during rifle cleaning:
• Cloth patches (sized for the appropriate caliber)
• Brass jag sized properly for your bore
• One-piece coated cleaning rod
• General bore cleaner/solvent (Example: Hoppes #9)
• Copper solvent of your choosing (Example: Sweets/KG 12)
• Fitted cleaning rod bore guide
• Plastic AP brush or toothbrush
• Plastic dental picks
• CLP or rust preventative type cleaner
There are a number of schools of thought relating to the frequency in which a barrel should be cleaned. At minimum we recommend cleaning a barrel after each shooting session to remove condensation, copper, and carbon build-up. Condensation is the greatest immediate threat, as it can cause the barrel to rust while the rifle sits in storage. Copper and carbon build-up may negatively impact future barrel performance, increasing the possibility of a failure in feed or function. Fouling should be removed whenever possible.
The below tips will help limit the wear of different parts of your barrel during routine maintenance, helping extend the life of the barrel and improving its performance.
The crown is the portion of the barrel where the bullet loses contact with the lands and grooves and proceeds to exit the firearm. The area most critical to accuracy potential is the angle where the bullet last touches the bore of the barrel.
Avoid damage to this area by using a plastic toothbrush and CLP type cleaner to scrub the crown from the exterior of the barrel. Even the most minimal variation in wear to the crown will negatively impact barrel performance, so be careful to avoid nicking or wearing away this part of the barrel.
Reducing Cleaning Rod Wear to the Crown
When running a patch through the barrel, place the muzzle about a ¼” from a hard surface that runs flat at a perpendicular angle to the cleaning rod’s direction of travel, like a wall or the edge of a work bench (pictured). When the jag impacts the hard surface, retract the cleaning rod and remove the patch.
By withdrawing the jag prior to its exit from the barrel, you are limiting the possibility of the brass dragging upon the crown if the rod is at all bent or misaligned. The soft cloth patch will continue to serve as the point of contact between the jag and the barrel, minimizing potential wear.
If possible, insert the rod through the chamber, pushing it forward toward the muzzle. Some rifles, such as the M1 Garand or M14, will require you to insert the cleaning rod through the muzzle. In these situations the use of a cleaning rod guide is recommended to limit the friction placed upon the crown.
Avoid using cleaning rod segments for scraping carbon from the recessed muzzle of an AR-15 barrel. We used this trick in the Marine Corps to impress the armorers and NCO’s with the cleanliness of our muzzles, but it likely played a significant role in reducing the service life of the rifle barrel in question.
Use a Q-Tip soaked in solvent to remove any copper or carbon residue from the recessed muzzle of an AR-15 barrel. A little bit of remaining carbon on the face of the muzzle will not negatively affect bullet travel so long as the crown edge remains consistent around the circumference of the bore.
The Lands and Grooves
This portion of the barrel may experience reduced efficiency due to copper fouling and cleaning rod damage. If copper fouling takes place during the initial break-in of the rifle, make sure to check our barrel break-in article.
For regular maintenance we suggest using a single piece coated cleaning rod rather than the traditional segmented rod or bore snake. While segmented rods and bore snakes may be convenient for field use, the corners between the segments may bow out and catch on the lands, scraping along the length of the rifling. Residual grit and particles from expended cartridges may also get caught between segments, resulting in an abrasive surface working its way down the length of the barrel. Most bore snakes will remove significant amounts of carbon fouling, but may fall short in the removal residual carbon buildup and copper fouling during deep cleaning. Good rods can be sourced from multiple manufacturers, but we have found good results using both Pro-Shot and Dewey brand products.
General cleaning requires the use of patches rather than nylon or brass bore brushes. Brass brushes may be required when aggressive cleaning is required, but can lead to unnecessary wear on the barrel if used frequently. This is not due to the nature of the soft brushes themselves, but from the abrasive particles of grit that become embedded in the material that is being run repeatedly through the bore. We recommend the use of bore guides when cleaning from both the muzzle and breech. These bore guides will help serve to protect the crown and throat from cleaning rod damage.
If significant resistance develops while running the cleaning rod through the bore, no attempt should be made to force it in further. Back the rod out and inspect the barrel to determine the cause of the resistance. The jag may be pushing between a bore obstruction and the rifling, digging a divot into the barrel before pushing the obstruction back through the muzzle. One way to minimize the risk of a stuck rod is by utilizing a slightly smaller patch during the initial push.
The process of cleaning the length of the rifling is relatively straightforward:
1. Check to make sure the rifle is safely unloaded.
2. Carry out any necessary disassembly procedures prior to cleaning.
3. Remove bolt (if possible) and insert fitted cleaning rod bore guide in action.
4. Soak a patch in bore solvent (similar to Hoppes #9).
5. Center and affix the patch on the brass jag, inserting it into the chamber end of the barrel. A misaligned patch may cause the jag to damage the lands of the rifling, so make sure the patch is centered on the jag.
6. Run the patch the full length of the barrel, retracting it upon reaching the end of the muzzle.
7. Let the solvent sit for a minute.
8. Continue to run patches through the bore until carbon residue is minimized.
9. Run a dry patch through the bore to ensure carbon residue has been removed.
10. Soak a patch in copper solvent (Sweet’s or KG-12).
11. Run the patch through the bore, leaving it to sit for 3-5 minutes (do not let solvent sit for more than 15 minutes.*)
12. Repeat this process until no blue residue remains on the patches.
13. Run a patch of Hoppes #9 and a dry patch through the bore to neutralize the copper solvent.
14. Inspect the barrel prior to reassembling the rifle, verifying that no bore obstructions remain.
*Please note that some ammonia-based copper solvents may prove to be corrosive if left sitting in the barrel for an extended period of time. It is essential that these solvents be removed within 15 minutes to avoid ruining the bore.
Proper cleaning of the chamber is a critical component of a general cleaning procedure. Carbon rings can build up near the neck and throat of the chamber wall, leading to feeding malfunctions and pressure spikes inside the chamber.
The chamber can be the trickiest part of the barrel to effectively clean, due to its fluctuation in size and the awkward ergonomics often required to remove carbon residue. Numerous chamber specific devices have been created to address this problem, and while some should be avoided (steel chamber brushes), others can be used to great effect (cleaning stars and plastic dental picks). The simplest approach to cleaning a chamber is to apply solvent to a couple patches, and use the cleaning rod to spin the wadded up patches inside the confines of the chamber. This should aid in removing any excess carbon. A Q-Tip can be used to reach portions of the chamber unreached by patches.
The Barrel Exterior
While the condition of the crown, rifling, and chamber are essential to firearm performance, the finish of the exterior should also be cleaned after handling. Condensation, humidity, direct water contact, and salt residue from skin contact can cause rust or corrosion. An application of anti-corrosion products is recommended when placing a firearm into deep storage for an extended period of time. [Editor: AccurateShooter.com recommends Corrosion-X or Eezox, but other products work well too.]
Finding Cleaning Components
While most cleaning components can be found at your local gun shop, some specialty items may need to be sourced through online retailers such as Brownell’s. Criterion utilizes both Dewey and Pro-Shot brand cleaning components during our day-to-day operations.
Do you have any rifle cleaning tips or tricks not mentioned in the above article? We’d love to hear about them. You can post your comments below.
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January 14th, 2015
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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January 12th, 2015
Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf has written a nice essay about how reloading can become a life-time hobby, a rewarding pastime that can bring together a father and son…
by Gary Prisendorf
For as long as I can remember I have been around reloading. I have tons of childhood memories of my father reloading and shooting. I remember how he would let me help him load his ammunition, by letting me clean primer pockets or wipe the sizing lube off of his cases. I really thought I was doing something. Well, I guess I was, I was spending quality time with my father doing something that would become a great hobby and eventually land me a great job working for Sierra Bullets.
I remember watching my father sizing cases on his Herters press, dropping his powder charges with a Belding & Mull powder measure and weighing powder charges with his Texan scales. Heck, I can even remember when he would buy powder at a local pawn shop, and they would weigh it out and put it in a paper sack. He would save his empty powder cans, wrap them with masking tape and write what the powder was on them with a black magic marker.
When I was in Junior High, I got my first shotgun, a 20 gauge Mossberg 500 and within a couple of weeks my father came home with a 20 gauge Lee Load-All and a pound of Blue Dot. He gave me a crash course on how to use it, and got me up and running with a couple of safe loads. I put a lot of shells through that old 20 gauge.
From that day forward I was hooked. If I got a new gun, I was loading ammunition for it. I don’t buy factory ammunition unless I just want to shoot it up so I can get some once fired brass. I reload everything that I shoot, except for rimfire stuff, and if I could figure out how to do that safely, I would probably load that too.
Through the years I have learned to appreciate things — such as once-fired military .30-06 cases that can be converted to obscure cartridge types. And I know the value of a five-gallon bucket of lead wheel weights that will be melted down and cast into bullets.
I remember finding 19 once-fired Norma 7.7×58 Arisaka cases laying on the ground at a public shooting range, and it was like Christmas came early. I must have looked for that 20th case for about thirty minutes, but I never did find it.
I can’t thank my father enough for getting me started in reloading, he gave me a great hobby, many wonderful memories and taught me the skills that gave me a career doing something that I love.
If you are a reloader, teach someone. You may just give them a hobby for the rest of their life and who knows, you could help them find an enjoyable career, doing something that they love. — Gary Prisendorf
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January 3rd, 2015
To err is human… Sooner or later you’ll probably get a case stuck in a die. This “fix-it” article, which originally appeared in the Western Powders Blog, explains the procedure for removing a firmly stuck cartridge case using an RCBS kit. This isn’t rocket science, but you do want to follow the directions carefully, step-by-step. Visit the Western Powders Blog for other helpful Tech Tips.
Curing the Stuck Case Blues
Sticking a case in the sizer die is a rite of passage for the beginning handloader. If you haven’t done it yet, that’s great, but it probably will eventually happen. When it does, fixing the problem requires a bit of ingenuity or a nice little kit like the one we got from RCBS.
The first step is to clear the de-capping pin from the flash hole. Just unscrew the de-capping assembly to move it as far as possible from the primer pocket and flash hole (photo at right). Don’t try to pull it all the way out. It won’t come. Just unscrew it and open as much space as possible inside the case.
Place the die upside down in the padded jaws of a vise and clamp it firmly into place. Using the supplied #7 bit, drill through the primer pocket. Be careful not to go too deeply inside the cartridge once the hole has opened up. It is important to be aware that the de-capping pin and expander ball are still in there and can be damaged by the bit.
Drill and Tap the Stuck Case
Once the cartridge head has been drilled, a ¼ – 20 is tap is used to cut threads into the pocket. Brass is relatively soft compared to a hardened tap, so no lube is needed for the tapping process. RCBS says that a drill can be used for this step, but it seems like a bit of overkill in a project of this nature. A wrench (photo above right) makes short work of the project.
RCBS supplies a part they call the “Stuck Case Remover Body” for the next step. If you are a do-it-yourselfer and have the bit and tap, this piece is easily replicated by a length of electrical conduit of the proper diameter and some washers. In either case, this tool provides a standoff for the screw that will do the actual pulling.
With an Allen Wrench, Finish the Job
Run the screw through the standoff and into the tapped case head. With a wrench, tighten the screw which hopefully pulls the case free. Once the case is free, clamp the case in a vice and pull it free of the de-capping pin. There is tension here because the sizing ball is oversized to the neck dimension as part of the sizing process. It doesn’t take much force, but be aware there is still this last little hurdle to clear before you get back to loading. Don’t feel bad, everyone does this. Just use more lube next time!
Article find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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January 3rd, 2015
Many of us would like to outfit one (or more) of our rifles with a suppressor, but the cost and red tape involved can be daunting. Some states prohibit private individuals from owning suppressors. However, most U.S. states DO allow suppressor ownership. That’s the good news. On the other hand, suppressors are not inexpensive and the process of obtaining governmental approval is time-consuming. Then there is the cost of the tax stamp itself — $200.00 for each silencer you own.
Nonetheless, suppressors are fun, and they serve an important function. Along with protecting your hearing, suppressors can tame recoil and dramatically reduce muzzle flash. Noise reduction of up to 35 decibels is possible with a .223 Rem. When shooting any firearm, you should still wear hearing protection of course, but suppressors can help reduce the risk of permanent hearing damage.
Benefits of a Suppressor — Why Suppressors Make Sense:
Is It Legal For You To Own A Silencer?
The vast majority of the 50 states permit citizens to own silencers. Currently, the following states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AR, AK, AZ, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV, and WY. Even if you live in one of these states, you should verify that owning a suppressor is legal in your city/county.
If you live in a state where suppressor ownership is legal, and you can legally own a firearm, then you can buy a suppressor. However, you need to obtain ATF permission and pay a tax.
If you are interested in getting a suppressor, thankfully there is a source that can help you select the right product, and fill out all the paperwork required. The Silencer Shop specializes in sound moderators for pistols, rimfire rifles, centerfire rifles, and yes, even shotguns. The Silencer Shop maintains a large selection of suppressors for sale, and the shop can guide you through the NFA permitting process from start to finish.
How to Buy a Silencer, Part One:
Based on hundreds of successful applications for its customers, the Silencer Shop has streamlined the National Firearms Act (NFA) Registration process for suppressor ownership. Having submitted more silencer NFA Forms than any other dealer, these guys know the ropes: “We’re at the leading edge of making the NFA process as fast and easy as possible. From our famous ‘Black Packets’ to the latest electronic submissions and Silencer Shop Direct, we have a history of innovation in this area”. The Silencer Shop also works with knowledgeable attorneys who can help you set up an NFA trust to own suppressors and other NFA items. CLICK HERE to Learn How to Register a Suppressor to a Trust.
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