February 2nd, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Nat’l Champion F-Open Rifle and Cerus Twin

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

With the Berger Southwest Nationals commencing this week, we thought our readers would appreciate a showcase of two impressive, state-of-the-art F-Open match rifles. The first, show above, is the .284 RAHM (40° .284 Win Imp) with which Brian Bowling captured the 2019 F-Class Open Division Long Range National Championship. The second rifle belongs to barrel-maker Bryan Blake. Like Bowling’s rifle, Blake’s rig features a low-profile Cerus stock, but with purple highlights. Both rifles have 6-groove, cut-rifled barrels from Blake Barrel & Rifle and both sport Nightforce scopes.

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

Twin World-Class F-Open Rifles

Report from Bryan Blake of Blake Barrel & Rifle
We had been producing gun barrels for about 1.5 years prior to the 2019 NRA Long Range F-Class Nationals. Brian Bowling started shooting our 7mm barrels in May of 2019. Bowling and I are both on the Rutland team, Team Cerus, which has seven members. Bowling and I received the first Cerus XL stocks from Cerus Rifleworks in August of 2018. The stock was a very straight design.

With our barrels, these F-Open rigs can shoot! In 2018, Brian Bowling and I had the only two clean scores for the first match at the 1000-yard team NRA Nationals. In spring of 2019, I worked with Will of Cerus Rifleworks to see if we could come up with a lower center of gravity design to enhance what was already the straightest stock out there. We developed the Cerus XR stock which features stepped metal rails on the fore-end. I cut my XL Cerus stock and designed the rail system attached to the sides of the fore-end. Bowling’s stock (with black rails) was the second XR in the shooting world. On his very first weekend match at 600 yards he shot a 200-20X with the new XR stock and Blake 7mm 1:8.5″-twist barrel. He was using Berger 184gr 7mm bullets.

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

In 2019, at the NRA F-Class Long-Range Nationals, Brian Bowling won the F-Open National Championsship with a strong performance. He finished with a ton of Xs, three points ahead of the second place competitor. Before Brian’s impressive victory, we were told by many top shooters that a 6-groove barrel has never won any F-Class Mational event, and hypothetically never would. Well with Brian Bowling’s excellent shooting and reloading capabilities, we achieved a feat many said couldn’t be done.

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

Bowling’s Championship-winning rifle features a Bat Model B action in the Cerus XR stock. His Blake barrel is chambered for the .284 RAHM wildcat cartridge. This is a 40-degree (40°) version of the .284 Winchester. The .284 RAHM has a straighter case body compared to the original .284 Win.

We built Bowling’s rifle, doing everything except the final clear finish. We can do that work, but were short on time for the Nationals last year. We are proud of the chambering work we do and the quality of our bedding jobs.

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

Bryan Blake’s F-Open Rifle — the Purple XR

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

The Purple XR-stocked gun I shoot was built in August of 2019, right before the 2019 NRA F-Class Nationals. The natural wood is complimented by highlights finished with a bright purple metallic epoxy resin that Will from Cerus dreamed up. For this rifle we mated a BAT 3LL action with Blake barrels (switch-barrel configuration). Up front the fore-end rails are painted purple “plum crazy” to match the purple resin. The purple XR is finished with automotive “high solids” clear-coat, and block-sanded for a smooth, flawless look.

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

Blake’s Rifle is a Switch Barrel — 7mm and .30 Caliber
This Purple XR was set up to be a switch barrel rig, with both a 7mm BBM and a .30 BBM*. These BBM wildcats are based on shortened and straightened .300 WSM with a 40-degree shoulder. On my purple XR rifle as well as Bowling’s rifle, we employ Nightforce optics and load Berger bullets. These are the only glass and projectiles we use in our rifles.

The Purple XR is extremely accurate. Check out this 2.6″ group, shot at 1000 yards during a club match at the Ben Avery Range in Arizona. Yes, that is 1/4-MOA at 1K! Many folks would be very happy with that group at 600 yards. At 1000 yards it is remarkable. No, the rifle can’t do that every time. But this does demonstrate that the Purple XR is a tack-driver. CLICK HERE to see a 3.9 inch, 15-shot group at 1000 yards on the F-Class target (150-15X).

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

About Blake Barrel and Rifle — History and Barrel-Making Process
Blake Barrel and Rifle was re-launched in 2018. The business was actually started by my grandfather, Robert Blake, in 1966. In 1969 my grandfather stopped doing gunsmithing and making single-point cut-rifled barrels. He transitioned to doing industrial work, and less work for the public. After all those years he and my father, Dave Blake, kept the barrel-making equipment in storage. They kept the gun-drilling machines in the shop as they used them to drill long, deep holes in anything from aircraft parts to electric motor rotors.

In 2012 we got the diamond single-point, sine-bar rifling machine out of storage, along with the Pratt and Whitney double-spindle reaming machine. We then completely rebuilt and updated the equipment. We modified the gun-drill to be a counter-rotating drilling system. What that means is the drill spins at about 20% of the rotational speed, and the barrel at 80%. The counter-rotation keeps the drill on the center axis of the barrel more precisely than just rotating the barrel, or just rotating the drill. We are able to consistently drill holes in our barrel steel (primarily 416R) that at the end of a 33.25″ blank that is only .005″ off of center axis.

We then ream the barrels to be .0004″ below desired finish bore size. After the reaming process we mandrel-hone the bores to be .0001″ below finish bore size. This process eliminates reamer marks in the barrel bore. Therefore very minimal lapping is needed after rifling to remove any tooling marks. We then rifle the barrel to any twist rate we like. With a fine lap after rifling, the barrel has no tooling marks and all surface metal is flowing in the direction of the twist of the rifling.

* 7mm BBM stands for “Blake Bramley Magnum”. Dan Bramley and I developed that cartridge together in October of 2017. The .30 BBM is the “Blake Barrel Magnum”, which I developed in May of 2018.

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February 1st, 2020

Aussie Teen Wins Heavy Gun in Big Benchrest Match Down Under

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

It’s great to see young people involved in benchrest competition. Young competitors are truly the future of our sport. While in the USA the average age of 100/200-yard benchrest shooters seems to be getting older every season, down under in Australia, there is a youth movement. A very talented young man, 15-year-old Cameron Bailey, took top Heavy Gun honors in the prestigious 40th Australia Day match in Canberra, Australia. This big 100/200-yard competition is one of the most important matches on the Aussie Benchrest calendar.

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

40th Anniversary Australia Day Match
The Australia Day Benchrest Match is one of Australia’s largest and longest-running Benchrest shooting competitions. The 25th and 26th of January 2020 marked the 40th anniversary of the Australia Day Benchrest Match. This year conditions were extremely challenging. Leading up to the match, Canberra was hit by a number of bushfires, with some competitors struggling to get to the match when Canberra Airport was closed due to nearby fires just days before the 2020 match.

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

Challenging Conditions with Smoke from Bushfires and High Winds
Weather on both days saw temperatures in the low-mid 90s, with wind gusting up to 30 miles per hour. Mirage can often add to the challenge when shooting at the Majura Range in Canberra, but during the Light Gun class held on Saturday, a layer of smoke from the local fires reduced the sunshine enough that visibility at 200 yards was much better than normal. However by Sunday morning, most of the smoke had blown through, so mirage was much more of an issue for the Heavy class. Conditions on both days were extremely switchy and unsettled, with the wind continually changing direction. Many competitors shot small 4-shot groups, but lost one of their 5 shots to the continually shifting winds.

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

15-Year-Old Cameron Bailey Tops Field in Heavy Gun
Cameron had a great preformance in the Heavy Gun Glass, beating all Heavy Gun competitors (of any age) to win the Heavy Gun Grand Agg — the combined HG group size Aggregate for 100/200 yards. And Cameron also finished 7th overall in the Two-gun Championship. Very impressive performance for a teenager. This was not his first competition though — Cameron has been shooting benchrest in Australia since he was 12, the legal minimum age to use firearms in most Australian States. Cameron shoots off the left shoulder, so is able to use one of several left-hand rifles owned by his father, Fergus Bailey.

Here is Cameron shooting LV at 200 yards. Note the whirring windflags.

Cameron had a slow start on Saturday morning in the 100 Light, finishing 34th with a .4226″ Aggregate. But Cameron generally shoots better at 200 yards, so went into the Aggregate that afternoon confident that he could significantly improve his results. Cameron worked hard throughout the afternoon, and finished in 6th position with a .3833 aggregate at 200 yards. This left Cameron 14th in the Grand Aggregate. Cameron came into the Heavy Class on Sunday with confidence, and worked hard to avoid getting caught by the difficult conditions. While Cameron did not shoot many small groups, he was able to avoid the occasional lost shots that could kill an Aggregate. In the Heavy 100, Cameron finished 4th with a .2774 Aggregate, and in the 200 Cameron finished 2nd with a .3668 Aggregate. On the day, Cameron was the most consistent across the two yardages, giving Cameron the win in the Heavy Grand with a .3221 aggregate.

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

Young Cameron Even Loads His Own Ammo
Cameron employed some new gear at the match, including a new Lensi rear bag, a new 3M-covered bag on his NEO rest, and a new March High Master scope. The whole weekend, Cameron shot Barts Ultra flat-base bullets, loaded with Vihtavuori N133 powder. The cartridge was 6PPC with 0.269″ neck. And yes, Cameron loaded all his own ammunition during the match. Cameron’s hot-shooting rigs used the following components:

Krieger 1/14″-Twist Barrel – Heavy Gun Class
Krieger Gain Twist Barrel – Light Gun Class
BAT Model B Multi-flat Stainless Action
Scarborough Stock
Flavio Trigger
March 48X High Master Scope
Morr Accuracy High Scope Rings

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

Congratulations Cameron on Your Australia Day HG Win!

Canberra in State of Emergency
EDITOR’S Note: Canberra, Australia’s Capital city, has declared a state of Emergency, as bushfires threaten. The entire Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which includes the city of about 400,000, is under a state of emergency due to the Orroral Valley Fire burning in Namadgi National Park, about 30 miles south of the city. Authorities are concerned that predicted hot weather and high winds could drive the fire north. It is the worst threat the Canberra area has faced in 20 years. See Canberra News Report.

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January 31st, 2020

Six Strategies to Become a Better Pistol Shooter

Birchwood Casey Target Spots neon day-glow
OK this is no novice. But even champion pistol shooter Jessie Harrison, Captain of Team Taurus, had to start with the basics. Jessie says that safety should always be your number one priority.

At AccurateShooter.com, our primary focus is precision target shooting with rifles. But it’s definitely fun to shoot pistols too, and we bet most of our regular readers own handguns. Here are six tips for shooting safely and accurately with handguns. These pointers will help you advance your skills and have more fun with your pistols and revolvers.

1. Make Sure Safety Is Number One

Whether you own one gun or one hundred, gun safety must always be your main priority. In this video, Smith & Wesson Team Captain Julie Golob covers the basics of gun safety.

2. Start with a .22 LR Handgun

Pistol Shooting Tips Target Mentor safety training

We strongly recommend that new pistol shooters start off with a .22 LR rimfire handgun. The .22 LR cartridge is accurate but has very low recoil, less “bark” than a centerfire, and very little smoke and muzzle flash. New shooters won’t have to fight muzzle flip, and won’t develop a flinch from the sharp recoil and muzzle blast common to larger calibers. With the .22 LR, the trainee can focus on sight alignment, breathing, and trigger pull. When he or she has mastered those skills, move on to a .38 Special or 9mm Luger (9x19mm).

What gun to use? We recommend the 10-shot Smith & Wesson Model 617. Shooting single action, slow-fire, this is ideal for training. Shown above is the 4″-barrel Model 617version which balances well. There is also a 6″-barrel version. It has a longer sight radius, but is a little nose-heavy. Both are great choices. They are extremely accurate and they boast a very clean, precise trigger.

browning buck mark buckmark stainless udx rimfire .22 LR pistol

If you prefer a semi-auto .22 LR pistol, we recommend the Browning Buck Mark series. Buck Marks are very accurate and very reliable. This rimfire pistol is available in a variety of models starting at under $350.00. Like the S&W Model 617, a good Buck Mark will serve you for a lifetime.

5. Use Quality Targets with Multiple Aim Points

Birchwood Casey Target Spots neon day-glow

Birchwood Casey Target Spots neon day-glowIt’s common for new pistoleros to start shooting at cans or clay birds at a public range. That can be fun, but it’s better to start with proper targets, placed at eye level, at 7-10 yards. We like to use targets with large, brightly colored circles. Focus on putting 5 shots in a circle. We recommend targets that have multiple bullseyes or aiming points — that way you don’t have to constantly change your target. There are also special paper targets that can help you diagnose common shooting problems, such as anticipating recoil. EZ2C makes very good targets with bright, red-orange aim points. You can also use the bright orange Birchwood Casey stick-on Target Dots (right). These come in a variety of diameters. We like the 2″ dot at 10 yards.

3. Shoot Outdoors If You Can

Pistol Shooting Tips Target Mentor safety training

We recommend that new pistol shooters begin their training at an outdoor range. There are many reasons. First, the light is better outdoors. Indoor ranges can be dark with lots of shadows, making it harder to see your target. Second, sound dissipates better outdoors. The sound of gunfire echoes and bounces off walls indoors. Third, an outdoor range is a more comfortable environment, particularly if you can get out on a weekday morning. Indoor ranges, at least in urban areas, tend to be crowded. Many also have poor ventilation. If you can make it to an outdoor range, you’ll be happy. Many outdoor ranges also have some steel pistol targets, which offer a fun alternative to paper. When shooting steel however, we recommend polymer encased or lead bullets to avoid ricochets.

5. Find a Good Mentor and Watch Some Videos First

Pistol Shooting Tips Target Mentor safety training
Photo courtesy AV Firearms Training.

Too many new pistol shooters try to move right to rapid fire drills. It’s better to start slow, practicing the basics, under the guidance of a good mentor. If you belong to a club, ask if there are certified instructors who will help out. This Editor learn pistol shooting from a seasoned bullseye shooter, who got me started with a .22 LR revolver and very close targets. Over the course of a few range sessions we progressed to farther targets and faster pace. But the fundamentals were never forgotten. When starting your pistol training, it’s wise to view some instructional videos. Top Shot Champion Chris Cheng hosts an excellent Handgun 101 Series produced by the NSSF. We’ve linked one of these Handgun 101 videos for Tip #6.

6. SLOW DOWN — This Is Not a Race

When you learned to ride a bicycle, you started slow — maybe even with training wheels. The same principle applies to pistol shooting. When you get started with handguns, we recommend you shoot slowly and deliberately. Start with the handgun unloaded — just work on your sight alignment and breathing. With snap caps in place, try some dry-firing drills. Then progress to live fire. But be deliberate and slow. With the target at 20 feet, see if you can get three successive shot-holes to touch. Believe it or not, many common pistols are capable of this kind of accuracy (but you won’t see many shooters at indoor ranges who pursue that kind of precision). Once you master your form and accuracy, then you can work on your speed.

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January 30th, 2020

Good News for Gunsmiths — Changes to ITAR Regulations

Federal Trump ITAT EAR commerce Dept. State gun firearms export regulation change

On January 23, 2020, the Trump administration published new rules that will significantly help the U.S. firearms industry and American gunsmiths. The new regulations officially take effect on March 9, 2020.

The rule changes modify export control of American firearms, as well as related parts, components, and accessories. Under the new Federal rules, export of common firearms and parts will now be controlled by the Department of Commerce, NOT by the Department of State under its International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Those draconian ITAR provisions had adversely affected small parts manufacturers and gunsmiths through hefty fees and burdensome paperwork even if they did not actually ship guns overseas.

Gun author Ryan Cleckner explains: “Up until this change, the Department of State regulated exports of most firearms and their related parts, ammo, and information through [ITAR] which contain a list of covered firearm types called the United States Munitions List (USML). The USML includes all rifles, handguns, and short-barreled shotguns. The Department of Commerce, on the other hand, has the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) which regulates the export of all firearm types on a list, called the Commerce Control List (CCL), including regular shotguns (those with a barrel length of at least 18″) and their related parts, ammo, and information.”

Cleckner summarizes the key regulatory changes in a 1/20/2020 Gun University Article:

1. Manufacturers will no longer have to pay a $2,250 annual registration fee.
2. No long approval process [for exports].
3. No Congressional approval needed for deals over $1 million.
4. Easier sharing of technical information for designs/R&D.

Gun University Ryan Cleckner Federal Trump ITAT EAR commerce Dept. State gun firearms export regulation change

We caution our readers that these gun export regulatory changes do NOT alter domestic gun control laws in America. And gun exports are still subject to government oversight. However, Cleckner explains: “Instead of dealing with the ITAR rules and State Department licensing, the firearms industry will be able to use the more efficient export system through the Department of Commerce for most firearms. Certain firearms, like machine guns, will still stay under State Department control (under ITAR).”

According to the NRA-ILA: “No more will small, non-exporting businesses — including gunsmiths — be caught up in an expansive regulatory scheme for manufacturers of ‘munitions’ and their parts that requires a $2,250 annual registration fee with U.S. State Department. Americans will again be free to publish most technical information about firearms and ammunition — including on the publicly-accessible Internet — without fear of accidentally running afoul of State Department restrictions that could land them in federal prison.”

The new regulations will simplify overseas travel by hunters and competition shooters. Americans temporarily traveling overseas with their own guns and ammunition won’t have to register them in a government database or fill out commercial exporting forms.

Federal Trump ITAT EAR commerce Dept. State gun firearms export regulation change

Meanwhile, commercial exporters of non-military grade firearms and ammunition will have fewer fees to pay and will benefit from a more flexible, business-oriented regulatory environment. But note, actual exports of firearms and ammunition will still require authorization/licensing by the federal government. End-users of the guns in the countries of destination will also remain subject to U.S. monitoring.

The NRA-ILA observes: “This latest action is just one more example of how President Trump continues to move forward with his positive agenda to protect the right to keep and bear arms and the businesses that comprise America’s firearms industry. American manufacturing, as well as lawful firearm ownership at home and abroad, stand to make big gains under the president’s export reform initiative.”

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January 30th, 2020

Airline Travel With Rifles — Important Advice for Travelers

travel air berger SWN southwest nationals rifle transport
Berger SWN Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher

The Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), 2020’s biggest centerfire rifle match west of the Mississippi, is coming up next week. We know that many of our regular readers will be flying to Phoenix to attend the SWN. Here are some travel tips from experts in the industry.

If you’ll be traveling by air in the days ahead, be careful when transporting firearms through airports. It is important that you comply with all Homeland Security, TSA, and Airline policies when transporting guns and ammunition. Following the rules will help ensure you (and your gear) make it to your destination without hassles, delays or (God forbid), confiscations.

berger SWN Air Travel FAA TSA rules

Good Advice from an Airport Police Officer
To help our readers comply with rules and regulations for air travel, we offer these guidelines, courtesy “Ron D.”, a member of our Shooters’ Forum. Before he retired, Ron D. served as a Police Officer assigned to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Here Ron offers some very important advice for shooters traveling with firearms and expensive optics.

gun transport caseFirst, Ron explains that airport thieves can spot bags containing firearms no matter how they are packaged: “Don’t think you’re safe if your guns are placed in cases designed for golf clubs or trade show items. Baggage is X-Rayed now and cases are tagged with a special bar code if they contain firearms. It doesn’t take long for bad guys to figure out the bar coding for firearms.”

Carry-On Your Scopes and Expensive Items
Ron advises travelers to avoid placing very expensive items in checked baggage: “When traveling by air, carry on your rangefinder, spotting scope, rifle scope, medications, camera, etc. You would be surprised at the amount of people that carry-on jeans and shirts, but put expensive items in checked baggage. Better to loose three pairs of jeans than some expensive glass.”

Mark Bags to Avoid Confusion
Ron notes that carry-on bags are often lost because so many carry-on cases look the same. Ron reports: “People do accidentally remove the wrong bag repeatedly. I frequently heard the comment, ‘But it looks just like my bag’. When de-planing, keep an eye on what comes out of the overhead that your bag is in. It’s easy to get distracted by someone that has been sitting next to you the whole flight. I tie two streamers of red surveyors’ tape on my carry-on bag.” You can also use paint or decals to make your carry-on bag more distinctive.

General Advice for Air Travelers
Ron cautions: “Keep your hands on your items before boarding. One of the most often heard comments from theft victims was, ‘I just put my computer down for a minute while I was on the phone.’ Also, get to the baggage claim area quickly. If your family/friends can meet you there, so can the opportunists. Things do get lost in the claim area. Don’t be a Victim. Forewarned is forearmed.”

Choosing a Rifle Transport Case

Forum member David C., who will compete at the 2020 Berger SWN, offers this advice: “If you plan to fly with your rifle, a 55″-long case such as the Pelican 1770 may be too big and heavy. The 1770 is 36 pounds on its own and is quite unwieldly to move around. I would recommend going with a smaller case such as the Pelican 1720 with 42″-long interior. It weighs 19 pounds and if you separate your stock from the barreled action, everything fits just fine, as you can see below.” Editor: Note that you can also store a full-size spotting scope in the case along with your rifle:

travel air berger SWN southwest nationals rifle transport

Retired Airport Police Officer Ron D. advises: “Buy the best [rifle case] that you can afford. Don’t cry when your $3,000+ Benchrest rifle has a cracked stock or broken scope. Think about what it would be like to travel across the country and arrive with a damaged rifle. Baggage handling is NOT a fine art. There is no guarantee that your rifle case will be on top of all the other baggage. Then there is shifting of baggage in the belly of the plane. Ponder that for a while. Rifle and pistol cases must be locked. It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out that a simple pry tool will open most case locks. There is not much that you can do to disguise a rifle case. It is what it is, and opportunists know this. Among thieves, it doesn’t take long for the word to get around about a NEW type of case.”

Great Deals on Plano All-Weather Cases at Amazon

plano tactical rifle case

Match season has begun, and that means hauling gear either in cars or on planes. Either way you need good cases for your firearms. We found the Plano All Weather Gun Cases at bargain prices. These are well-built and designed to protect whatever you put in them for a third the cost of some other brands. No Plano cases are not as refined as Pelican or SKB cases, but if you’re on a tight budget, the Planos can do the job. Read this article for more information on Plano cases.

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January 30th, 2020

Can You Predict Useful Barrel Life? Insights from Dan Lilja

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Barrel-maker Dan Lilja’s website has an excellent FAQ page that contains a wealth of useful information. On the Lilja FAQ Page as you’ll find informed answers to many commonly-asked questions. For example, Dan’s FAQ addresses the question of barrel life. Dan looks at factors that affect barrel longevity, and provides some predictions for barrel life, based on caliber, chambering, and intended use.

NOTE: This article was very well-received when it was first published last year. We are reprising it for the benefit of readers who missed it the first time.

Dan cautions that “Predicting barrel life is a complicated, highly variable subject — there is not a simple answer. Signs of accurate barrel life on the wane are increased copper fouling, lengthened throat depth, and decreased accuracy.” Dan also notes that barrels can wear prematurely from heat: “Any fast varmint-type cartridge can burn out a barrel in just a few hundred rounds if those rounds are shot one after another without letting the barrel cool between groups.”

Q. What Barrel Life, in number of rounds fired, can I expect from my new barrel?

A: That is a good question, asked often by our customers. But again there is not a simple answer. In my opinion there are two distinct types of barrel life. Accurate barrel life is probably the type most of us are referencing when we ask the question. But there is also absolute barrel life too. That is the point where a barrel will no longer stabilize a bullet and accuracy is wild. The benchrest shooter and to a lesser extent other target shooters are looking at accurate barrel life only when asking this question. To a benchrest shooter firing in matches where group size is the only measure of precision, accuracy is everything. But to a score shooter firing at a target, or bull, that is larger than the potential group size of the rifle, it is less important. And to the varmint hunter shooting prairie dog-size animals, the difference between a .25 MOA rifle or one that has dropped in accuracy to .5 MOA may not be noticeable in the field.

The big enemy to barrel life is heat. A barrel looses most of its accuracy due to erosion of the throat area of the barrel. Although wear on the crown from cleaning can cause problems too. The throat erosion is accelerated by heat. Any fast varmint-type cartridge can burn out a barrel in just a few hundred rounds if those rounds are shot one after another without letting the barrel cool between groups. A cartridge burning less powder will last longer or increasing the bore size for a given powder volume helps too. For example a .243 Winchester and a .308 Winchester both are based on the same case but the .308 will last longer because it has a larger bore.

And stainless steel barrels will last longer than chrome-moly barrels. This is due to the ability of stainless steel to resist heat erosion better than the chrome-moly steel.

Barrel Life Guidelines by Caliber and Cartridge Type
As a very rough rule of thumb I would say that with cartridges of .222 Remington size you could expect an accurate barrel life of 3000-4000 rounds. And varmint-type accuracy should be quite a bit longer than this.

For medium-size cartridges, such as the .308 Winchester, 7×57 and even the 25-06, 2000-3000 rounds of accurate life is reasonable.

Hot .224 caliber-type cartridges will not do as well, and 1000-2500 rounds is to be expected.

Bigger magnum hunting-type rounds will shoot from 1500-3000 accurate rounds. But the bigger 30-378 Weatherby types won’t do as well, being closer to the 1500-round figure.

These numbers are based on the use of stainless steel barrels. For chrome-moly barrels I would reduce these by roughly 20%.

The .17 and .50 calibers are rules unto themselves and I’m pressed to predict a figure.

The best life can be expected from the 22 long rifle (.22 LR) barrels with 5000-10,000 accurate rounds to be expected. We have in our shop one our drop-in Anschutz barrels that has 200,000 rounds through it and the shooter, a competitive small-bore shooter reported that it had just quit shooting.

Remember that predicting barrel life is a complicated, highly variable subject. You are the best judge of this with your particular barrel. Signs of accurate barrel life on the wane are increased copper fouling, lengthened throat depth, and decreased accuracy.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Benchrest Barrel Life — You May Be Surprised
I thought it might be interesting to point out a few exceptional Aggregates that I’ve fired with 6PPC benchrest rifles with barrels that had thousands of rounds through them. I know benchrest shooters that would never fire barrels with over 1500 shots fired in them in registered benchrest matches.

I fired my smallest 100-yard 5-shot Aggregate ever in 1992 at a registered benchrest match in Lewiston, Idaho. It was a .1558″ aggregate fired in the Heavy Varmint class. And that barrel had about 2100 rounds through it at the time.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Another good aggregate was fired at the 1997 NBRSA Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona during the 200-yard Light Varmint event. I placed second at this yardage with a 6PPC barrel that had over 2700 rounds through it at the time. I retired this barrel after that match because it had started to copper-foul quite a bit. But accuracy was still good.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

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January 29th, 2020

New WiFi and Rigid Teslong Borescopes Reviewed

Teslong endoscope borescope WiFi Android Ios camera video

Teslong Borescopes Update — WiFi and Rigid Rod Versions
Product Report by F-Class John
Not more than a few months after the Teslong corded borescope hit the market to massive applause they’ve released a cordless WiFi-enabled corded version as well as a rigid rod model — two new models with important new features/functionality. When I originally reviewed the Teslong borescope I was blown away with the value, clarity, and ease of use. SEE Review HERE. That original Teslong really was a game changer in the borescope market. The large number of forum threads springing up since the Teslong release shows that that digital borescopes have finally found a large and enthusiastic customer base.

IMPORTANT: Guys — Watch the Videos!!! John does a great job showing the set-up and use of these Borescopes. You really need to WATCH THE VIDEOS! They show much more than we can illustrate with still images.

Teslong Rigid Borescope

Teslong WiFi Borescope

Teslong Basic Borescope

NOTE: The WiFi Teslong Borescope can also be ordered for $74.99 from the Teslong Webstore.

WiFi Teslong Works with SmartPhones and Tablets

Despite all the love people have shown for the original, plug-in Teslong borescope, one common complaint was that it could not be used with smartphones or small tablets. With that in mind, Teslong surprised the market with the release of a cordless WiFi version that works with just about any device that has a WiFi connection. The new WiFi unit, which is in very high demand, costs around $75, just $25 more than the original plug-in version. NOTE –YES this WiFi unit DOES work with both iOS (Apple) and Android smartphones and tablets. However, you may wish to try a couple different Apps.

Teslong endoscope borescope WiFi Android Ios camera video

To use the WiFi Teslong, simply download Teslong’s viewer App, turn the unit on and connect to the Teslong WiFi in your device settings. While it does take a couple steps to connect each time, you are rewarded with a cordless version that can be used at home or the range equally well. Watch the video and you can see how the Wifi unit is set up and how it is used to inspect both a barrel and a sizing die. Do watch the video — it explains all. Along with live video feed, the WiFi control handle has a button to record still images.

Teslong endoscope borescope WiFi Android Ios camera video

Important — some guys had initial problems getting the WiFi image to display on their smartphones but that was normally just a software configuration issue. If you are patient, and follow the instructions, you should be fine. Some older guys had to enlist the aid of a 10-year-old grandkid. Note, as of 1/29/2020, the WiFi Version is temporarily out of stock on Amazon, but it can be ordered for $74.99 from the Teslong Webstore.

Teslong endoscope borescope WiFi Android Ios camera video

New Teslong Rigid Rod Borescope

Along with the WiFi version, Teslong has also released a borescope with the lens mounted on the end of a rigid metal shaft — a configuration similar to classic optical borescopes such as the Hawkeye. This new “shafty” Teslong has the same electro-optical sensors, connectors, and adjustable light as the original Teslong. However, this new rigid rig now uses a solid rod instead of a flexible cable. Having a solid rod makes using the unit much easier since you’re not fighting the cable. The rod also makes rotating the unit inside the bore more intuitive as it lacks the cable spring back of the flexible version.

Teslong endoscope borescope WiFi Android Ios camera video

Located on the borescope is an inch scale allowing the user to easily to measure how far into the bore they’ve gone for easy identification of any issues later. The whole unit comes in a nice heavy-duty cardboard tube that makes it easy to store and I can see it lasting as long as the unit itself.

Why choose the rigid Teslong? Importantly, the lack of a tethered cord allows you to rotate the unit more easily inside the barrel. Compared to the original corded Teslong, I did find that running the rigid borescope down the barrel without the mirror provided a larger view. That may be beneficial to some users. Overall, the optical clarity and definition remain excellent — certainly on par with the original unit.

Teslong endoscope borescope WiFi Android Ios camera video

General Teslong Borescope User Tips
The new Wifi and Rigid Teslong borescope share some basic features with the original plug-in, corded Teslong. All three devices feature a mirror on the end that screws on and has a jam nut to keep it in place and can be adjusted for focal length based on the caliber and they’re now including several extras in case of damage or loss. While they’ve always been good about replacing them free of charge there is a wait time, so the inclusion of extras is a nice bonus.

SUMMARY — Both WiFi and Rigid Teslong Borescopes Perform Well, Are Great Values
Overall these two new units are great additions to Teslong’s lineup giving users two great units to choose from. While most folks may gravitate to the WiFi version, I think there’s room for all three models (WiFi, Corded Plug-in, Rigid Plug-in).

Many people may find the corded or rigid versions more practical for around the house where they don’t necessarily need the cordless version and don’t want to worry about keeping it charged all the time. For any range use or out of town matches the WiFi with its smaller footprint and ability to work with any electronic device will probably make more sense and will help justify the additional cost. In the end, the amazing thing is that no matter which version you choose you’ll have a great borescope that will help improve your shooting.

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January 28th, 2020

The M1 Garand — Legendary American .30-06 Springfield Rifle

John C. Garand Match CMP Camp Perry
M1 Garand Springfield Armory July 1941 production. Facebook photo by Shinnosuke Tanaka.

My father carried a Garand in WWII. That was reason enough for me to want one. But I also loved the look, feel, and heft of this classic American battle rifle. And the unique “Ping” of the ejected en-bloc clip is music to the ears of Garand fans. Some folks own a Garand for the history, while others enjoy competing with this old war-horse. Around the country there are regular competition series for Garand shooters, and the CMP’s John C. Garand Match is one of the most popular events at Camp Perry every year. This year’s Garand Match will be held Saturday, August 1, 2020. SEE CMP 2020 NM Calendar.

John C. Garand Match CMP Camp Perry

The CMP also has a John C. Garand Match each June as part of the D-Day Competition at the Talladega Marksmanship Park. Here’s a video from the inaugural Talladega D-Day Event in 2015. This year’s Talladega D-Day Matches run June 3-7, 2020.

Watch Prone Stage from the Inaugural Talladega D-Day Match in 2015

M1 Garand Manual

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, included with CMP rifles, is available 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. I highly recommend it.”

M1 Garand match instruction video War Department

M1 Garand Slow-Motion Shooting Video

What really happens when an M1 Garand fires the final round and the En-Bloc clip ejects with the distinctive “Ping”? Well thanks to ForgottenWeapons.com, you can see for yourself in super-slow-motion. The entire cycling process of a Garand has been captured using a high-speed camera running at 2000 frames per second (about sixty times normal rate). Watch the clip eject at the 00:27 time-mark. It makes an acrobatic exit, spinning 90° counter-clockwise and then tumbling end over end.

2000 frame per second video shows M1 Garand ejecting spent cartridges and En-bloc clip.

M1 Garand History

Jean Cantius Garand, also known as John C. Garand, was a Canadian designer of firearms who created the M1 Garand, a semi-automatic rifle that was widely used by the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and the Korean War. The U.S. government employed Garand as an engineer with the Springfield Armory from 1919 until he retired in 1953. At Springfield Armory Garand was tasked with designing a basic gas-actuated self-loading infantry rifle and carbine that would eject the spent cartridge and reload a new round. It took fifteen years to perfect the M1 prototype model to meet all the U.S. Army specifications. The resulting Semiautomatic, Caliber .30, M1 Rifle was patented by Garand in 1932, approved by the U.S. Army on January 9, 1936, and went into mass production in 1940. It replaced the bolt-action M1903 Springfield and became the standard infantry rifle known as the Garand Rifle. During the World War II, over four million M1 rifles were manufactured.

John Jean C. Garand M1

Credit: NPS Photo, public domain

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January 27th, 2020

Gun Range Etiquette — Key Advice for Safe Shooting Sessions

Gun Range Safety etiquette NRA Blog Eye Ear Protection Rules

There are important safety and behavior rules you need to follow at a gun range. Sometimes bad range etiquette is simply annoying. Other times poor gun-handling practices can be downright dangerous. The NRA Blog has published a useful article about range safety and “range etiquette”. While these tips were formulated with indoor ranges in mind, most of the points apply equally well to outdoor ranges. You may want to print out this article to provide to novice shooters at your local range or club.

8 Tips for Gun Range Etiquette

Story by Kyle Jillson for NRABlog
Here are eight tips on range etiquette to keep yourself and others safe while enjoying your day [at the range]. Special thanks to NRA Headquarters Range General Manager Michael Johns who assisted with this article.

1. Follow the Three Fundamental Rules for Safe Gun Handling
ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

This NSSF Video Covers Basic Gun Range Safety Rules:

2. Bring Safety Gear (Eye and Ear Protection)
Eye and Ear protection are MANDATORY for proper safety and health, no matter if “required” by range rules or not. It is the shooter’s responsibility to ensure proper protection is secured and used prior to entering/using any range. Hearing loss can be instantaneous and permanent in some cases. Eyesight can be ruined in an instant with a catastrophic firearm failure.

Gun Range Safety etiquette NRA Blog Eye Ear Protection Rules

3. Carry a Gun Bag or Case
Common courtesy and general good behavior dictates that you bring all firearms to a range unloaded and cased and/or covered. No range staff appreciates a stranger walking into a range with a “naked” firearm whose loaded/unloaded condition is not known. You can buy a long gun sock or pistol case for less than $10.

4. Know Your Range’s Rules
Review and understand any and all “range specific” rules/requirements/expectations set forth by your range. What’s the range’s maximum rate of fire? Are you allowed to collect your brass? Are you required to take a test before you can shoot? Don’t be afraid to ask the staff questions or tell them it’s your first time. They’re there to help.

5. Follow ALL Range Officer instructions
ROs are the first and final authority on any range and their decisions are generally final. Arguing/debating with a Range Officer is both in poor taste and may just get you thrown out depending on circumstances.

6. Don’t Bother Others or Touch Their Guns
Respect other shooters’ privacy unless a safety issue arises. Do NOT engage other shooters to correct a perceived safety violation unless absolutely necessary – inform the RO instead. Shooters have the right and responsibility to call for a cease fire should a SERIOUS safety event occur. Handling/touching another shooter’s firearm without their permission is a major breech of protocol. Offering unsolicited “training” or other instructional suggestions to other shooters is also impolite.

7. Know What To Do During a Cease Fire
IMMEDIATELY set down your firearm, pointed downrange, and STEP AWAY from the shooting booth (or bench). The Range Officer(s) on duty will give instructions from that point and/or secure all firearms prior to going downrange if needed. ROs do not want shooters trying to “secure/unload” their firearms in a cease fire situation, possibly in a stressful event; they want the shooters separated from their guns instantly so that they can then control the situation as they see fit.

8. Clean Up After Yourself
Remember to take down your old targets, police your shooting booth, throw away your trash, and return any equipment/chairs, etc. Other people use the range too; no one wants to walk up to a dirty lane.

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January 25th, 2020

SHOT Show 2020 — Focus on Optics

2020 Shot Show Optics Scopes reviewed

Optics companies from around the globe had scores of new scopes and optics products on display at SHOT Show 2020. We visited Athlon, Burris, Bushnell, Leica, Leupold, Kahles, IOR/Valdada, March, Nightforce, Sightron, Swarovski, Vortex, and Zeiss displays. Here are some of the notable scope and optics products we saw this year.

Vortex Optics — Viewing Vortex Scopes with Carl Bernosky

2020 Shot Show Optics Scopes reviewed

One of the highlights of our show was meeting our friend Carl Bernosky at the Vortex Booth. Carl, a 10-time National High Power Champion, showed us the Vortex Golden Eagle. This affordable 15-60x52mm Second Focal Plane (SFP) optic is very popular with F-Class competitors, as it offers a 4X magnification range all the way up to 60 power. The Golden Eagle’s $1499.99 price is 40% less than some other brands with similar specs.

March Optics — New PRS Scope, New Genesis

2020 Shot Show Optics Scopes reviewed

At the March Optics booth we met Gary Costello, a talented British F-Class competitor. Gary showed us a number of new offerings, including March’s new 4.5-28x52mm PRS Scope (above). Compact and light weight (29.8 oz), this features a 25° wide angle, fast-focus eyepiece and HM lens technology with two new reticle options. This new scope boasts a whopping 36 Mils elevation and 20 Mils windage travel.

Also new for 2020 is March’s 5-42x56mm FFP Long Range Tactical scope suitable for PRS, ELR, and long range hunting. This boasts 40 Mil elevation, 14 Mil windage, and two new reticles, one of which is a tree reticle optimized for ranging and rapid hold-offs/hold-overs. This features a 26&deg, fast-focus eyepiece. Weight is 33.5 ounces.

2020 Shot Show Optics Scopes reviewed

This is the new 4-40x52mm FFP “Mini Genesis” featuring High master lens technology. This boasts 86 MILS of elevation, 24° fast-focus eyepiece, and zero set elevation. The Genesis technology provides an optically-centered lens capable of engaging targets up to 3 miles.

Leica — New 5-30x56mm PRS FFP Scope

2020 Shot Show Optics Scopes reviewed

At the Leica pavilion at SHOT show, we checked out the Leica’s new PRS 5–30x56i riflescope (SRP: $2,895) This is an impressive First Focal Plane (FFP) scope with 6X zoom, and a full 32 MILS (100+ MOA) of elevation range. This scope comes with a zoom ring throw lever and zero-stop turrets. Leica will offer the PRS 5-30x56i scope (MSRP $2699.00) with three reticle options: iL-4A, iBallistic, and iPRB. The iPRB is a modern “tree” reticle designed with input from Precision Rifle Blog (PRB) editor Cal Zant. CLICK HERE for PRB full report.

Zeiss — Rings with Integrated Level, Ultra-Compact Binoculars

2020 Shot Show Optics Scopes reviewed Zeiss

At the Zeiss booth we checked out the beautifully-crafted Zeiss Precision Rings with level. Offered in both 30mm and 36mm, these rings feature an integral anti-cant bubble level in the top half, easily visible from any shooting position. Constructed of 7075-T6 aluminum, these rings are available in low, medium, and high heights, all with matte-black, hard-anodized finish. Also new this year are ZMOAi-T20 and ZMOA-T30 reticles for the Zeiss Conquest V4 riflescope line.

2020 Shot Show Optics Scopes reviewed Zeiss Rings

Hunters and sportsmen should check the ultra-compact Victory Pocket 8×25 binoculars. These feature a unique off-set hinge, allowing them to be VERY slim when folded. These binocs blow away anything we’ve ever seen that is so compact and easy to carry.

Nightforce — New SOCOM FFP Scope and new NX8 series

2020 Shot Show Optics Scopes reviewed Zeiss Rings

At the Barrett booth we viewed Nightforce’s new SOCOM 7-35x56mm F1 Scope developed for the U.S. Military. Called the P-VPS for “Precision Variable Power Scope”, this features a Termor 3 Reticle and integrated top rail for mounting a laser. Nightforce’s MIL-SPEC ATACR™ 5-25×56 F1 and the MIL-SPEC ATACR™ 7-35×56 F1 variants of the Nightforce Optics ATACR product line were selected by United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to fill the Precision-Variable Power Scope component of the Miniature Aiming Systems – Day Optic (MAS-D) Program.

For 2020, Nightforce will also be selling new NX8 riflescopes, with an 8X zoom, evolved from Nightforce’s NXS series. The NX8 2.5–20x50mm F1 is available in MOAR and Tremor3 reticles . Likewise the NX8 4–32x50mm F1 is offered with MOAR ($2,150 MSRP) and Tremor3 ($2,400 MSRP) reticles. Both NX8 scopes feature DigIllum reticle illumination, ZeroStop technology, and either MOA or mil-radian adjustments.

Swarovski — Z8i Series with 8X Zoom Ratio

2020 Shot Show Optics Scopes reviewed Swarovski Z8i
At the Swarovski Booth, a SHOT Show attendee checks out new reticle options.

At SHOT 2020, Swarovski showcased its impressive Z8i series riflescopes, which offer 8X zoom range. These, we think, are particularly good for long range hunters. You get a wide field of view for scanning, then plenty of magnification for a precise shot at very long range. There are five Z8i models: 1-8x24mm; 1.7-13.3x42mm; 2-16x50mm; 2.3-18x56mm; and 3.5-28x50mm.

Konus — Universal Cantilever Scope Mount

Konus Universal Adjustable Cantilever scope mount

If you need more forward placement of a long optic, Konus has an effective new accessory. Attached to a Picatinny rail base, the new Konus Universal Adjustable Cantilever scope mount ($89 MSRP) allows you to move your optic forward. It adjusts from 6.5 inches to 8.3 inches in length, with seven settings in between. The mount fits both 1-inch and 30mm riflescope tubes. We also like the fact that this simplifies movement of a scope from one rifle to another.

Noblex — Ultra-Compact High-Quality Spotting Scope

Noblex ED Spotting Scope compact

Could this be the world’s smallest spotting scope? Well the Noblex NS 8-24×50 ED is certainly the world’s smallest spotter with high-grade ED (extra-low dispersion) glass. Crafted in Germany by Noblex GmbH, this mini-spotter weighs just 1.17 lbs. (530 grams) with eyepiece. As you can see, the entire unit could easily fit in a glovebox, and yes, we were impressed with the quality of the glass despite the small size. Could this be the ideal competition spotter for watching mirage during a match? 24-power is plenty for that task.

100+ More Optics Products — Specifications and Photos

Want to see more Riflescopes, Spotting Scopes, and Rangefinders? CLICK HERE for the SHOTBusiness.com 2020 Optics Guide. This features specifications and prices for 100+ products.

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January 25th, 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.]

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January 24th, 2020

FREE SHOT Show Daily Editions — Packed with Products

FREE SHOT Daily Magazine issuee digital edition

GET ALL ISSUES HERE » SHOT Show Daily 2020

FREE Digital Editions of SHOT Show Daily
Below are links for FREE digital editions of the SHOT Show Daily, the print publication handed out at SHOT Show. Packed with stories and photos, each edition has a special new products theme. The daily news of the 2020 Las Vegas SHOT Show is produced by Bonnier Corporation and NSSF®. These SHOT Daily editions are definitely worth checking out — there are hundreds of photos of new products.

SHOT Daily DAY ONE

SHOT Show Daily Day One
Click Image to Read Day 1 Issue.

SHOT Daily DAY TWO

SHOT Show Daily Day Two
Click Image to Read Day 2 Issue.

SHOT Daily DAY THREE

SHOT Show Daily Day Two
Click Image to Read Day 3 Issue.

SHOT Daily DAY FOUR

SHOT Show Daily Day Two
Click Image to Read Day 4 Issue.

FREE SHOT Daily Magazine issuee digital edition

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January 24th, 2020

Precision Handloading — TEN Important Steps — Start to Finish

Sinclair Precison Reloading summery tech tips

Sinclair International has created a series of helpful articles on rifle cartridge reloading. Today’s feature lists ten basic steps for precision hand-loading, with links to longer, detailed Sinclair Int’l technical articles providing more complete information. There’s a lot of helpful info here guys, if you click all the links to access the ten “long form” articles.

Tying It All Together: 10 Steps To Precision Handloads

Feature based on article by Roy Hill, Brownells/Sinclair Copywriter

Sinclair International offers a series of detailed articles on hand-loading precision rifle ammunition. The articles are included in Sinclair’s GunTech Articles Archive, but sorting through the index to find each article takes time. To help you access all these articles quickly, here’s a handy summary of ten key topics, with links to longer articles covering each subject in detail.

Part 1: The first step in making high-quality handloads is to carefully choose the best brass for your application. You need to know how to identify the different types of brass and how to choose the best kind for the ammo you want to load. CLICK HERE for Part 1.
Part 2: Even high-quality brass can have burrs around the flash hole that can interfere with the primer flame and cause inconsistent ignition – which can lead to shot groups opening up. Flash hole deburring is a critical step in making sure primers ignite powder consistently. CLICK HERE for Part 2.
Part 3: The next step is to make sure the primer pockets are square and uniform. Like flash hole deburring, primer pocket uniforming may reduce variations in primer ignition by ensuring more consistent primer seating. CLICK HERE for Part 3.
Part 4: Making sure all your cases are precisely the same length is crucial, especially when you use cases that have been fired before. Case trimming is the way to get there. CLICK HERE for Part 4.
Part 5: After trimming, cases still have to be resized. In order for them to work through the resizing die, they have to be lubricated. The case lube method you choose is crucial to making precision handloads. CLICK HERE for Part 5.
Part 6: Now it’s time to choose the dies that will resize your cases. There are several important options to consider in selecting the right sizing dies. CLICK HERE for Part 6.
Part 7: Wait! You’re not quite ready to start sizing yet. There’s yet more to consider before you start cranking cases through the press. Learn more about setting up and adjusting your sizing dies. CLICK HERE for Part 7.
Part 8: Once the cases are completely prepped, it’s time to start putting fresh components back into them. We start off by seating primers. CLICK HERE for Part 8.
Part 9: After the primers are seated, it’s time to drop in the powder. There are several tools that will help you handle powder for precision handloads. CLICK HERE for Part 9.
Sinclair Precison Reloading summery tech tips Part 10: The final step in the process is carefully seating the bullet to just the right depth. And then… you’re ready to try your loads at the range. CLICK HERE for Part 10.
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 22nd, 2020

SHOT Show 2020 — Day One Opener

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

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

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

Capstone Precision Group: Berger, Lapua, SK and Vihtavuori

Lapua brass ammo SK bullets scenar Capstone Precision shot show 2019

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

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

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

Berger bullets ELR solid match projectiles Capstone Precision shot show 2020

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

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

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

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

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

Sig Sauer .277 Fury Hybrid cartridge hunting precision military

Sig Sauer .277 Fury Hybrid cartridge hunting precision military

Big Rifle for Little Lady

walther rifle .22 smallbore

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

walther rifle .22 smallbore

New Savage 110 Ultralite Hunting Rifle

Savage 110

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

NEW Reloading Presses, Powder Dispensers, and Tools

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

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

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

MatchMaster RCBS

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

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

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

Handguns from Walther, Smith & Wesson, and Ruger

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

Walther Q4 Steel Frame Walther Q4 Pistol

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

smith wesson revolver shot show 2020

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

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

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

DAY ONE Parting Shot Photo

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

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January 21st, 2020

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

South Texas Mirage Reading article
Diagram from SouthTexasShooting.org.

Mirage as a Wind Indicator

Read FULL ARTICLE in Midsouth Shooters Blog

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

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

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

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

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

wind mirage spotter spotting scope

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

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

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

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

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

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January 20th, 2020

Shooting Skills — Canting Left or Right Alters Point of Impact

rifle level canting shooting rifle Ryan Cleckner

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

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

rifle level canting shooting rifle Ryan Cleckner

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

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

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

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

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

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

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January 19th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Merkel RX Helix Straight-Pull Hunting Rifle

Merkel RX Helix straight-pull rifle

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

Merkel RX Helix Range Report

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

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifle

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

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

Merkel RX Helix rifle

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

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

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

Merkel RX Helix rifle

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

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January 17th, 2020

Firearms Sales and Transfers — What You Need to Know

Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell

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

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

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

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January 17th, 2020

Trouble-Shooting the Remington 700 and Rem Clones

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

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

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

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

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

Troubleshooting the Remington 700 Rifle with Nathan Foster

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

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

Nathan Foster Long Range Rifles Hunting Hunter

CLICK HERE to Download Remington 700 Owner’s Manual

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

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January 16th, 2020

Gorgeous F-Class Rifles from KW Precision

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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