January 15th, 2018

Primer Pocket and Flash Hole Uniforming Basics

Reloading Case Prep Flash Hole Primer Pocket

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has published a series of reloading “how-to” articles on its Facebook Page. This post explains how to uniform primer pockets and remove burrs in flash holes. These brass prep operations can help ensure greater consistency, shot after shot. Visit the USAMU Facebook Page each Wednesday for other, helpful “Handloading Hump-Day” tips.

Primer Pocket and Flash-Hole Conditioning

This week, we’ll address a question that frequently arises: “Do you uniform primer pockets and deburr flash-holes?”

As we tailor our handloading methods to the specific needs of each instance, the answer, not surprisingly, is “occasionally!” Generally, the USAMU Handloading Shop does not uniform primer pockets (PP) or deburr flash holes (FH) of our rifle brass. That’s not to say we’re against it — rather, it reflects the very high volume of ammunition loaded, the fact that very few cases are ever re-loaded for a second firing, and the types of brass we use. However, as a need is perceived, we DO deburr flash holes (of which, more later.)

As to the type cases we use, many thousands of our long-range 5.56x45mm cases come to us from the arsenal with the primer of our choice pre-installed and staked in per their usual practice. Obviously, we could not uniform either FHs or PPs on this live-primed brass. However, after careful sorting, inspection and preparation, we do obtain match-winning results with it. Regular readers have seen photos of some of the tiny 1000-yard test groups we’ve fired with weight-selected domestic brass which had neither Primer Pockets uniformed nor flash holes deburred.

Reloading Case Prep Flash Hole Primer Pocket
Figure 1 shows a fired, deprimed 7.62×51 case with primer residue intact. In Figure 2, the primer pocket has been uniformed to SAAMI specs. Note the shiny finish — evidence of the metal removed to uniform and square the primer pocket.

Shooters who reload their brass several times may decide to uniform PPs and deburr FHs, especially on their “300-yard and beyond” brass. Unlike us, they will be using their cases many times, while the operations are only needed once. Also, most handloaders only process a relatively moderate amount of brass compared to our 20-thousand round lots. Having high quality Long Range (LR) brass helps. Many of the better brass manufacturers form their flash holes so that no burrs are created.

Still, it does pay to inspect even THESE manufacturer’s products, as occasional slips are inevitable. Very rarely, some of these makers will have a significant burr in, say, 1 per 1000 or 2000 cases, and it’s worth catching those. Recently, we began processing a large lot of match brass from a premier manufacturer, and were startled to find that every case had a burr in the FH — something we’d never before seen from this maker. We then broke out the FH deburring tool and went to work.

Reloading Case Prep Flash Hole Primer Pocket

For those who do opt for these procedures, note that various tool models may have adjustable depth-stops. Pay attention to the instructions. Some flash hole deburring tools which enter the case mouth, not the primer pocket, depend on uniform case length for best results.

Does It Really Make a Difference?
It can be difficult to truly verify the contribution to accuracy of these procedures, particularly when firing from the shoulder, in conditions. Members of this staff, as individual rifle competitors, do often perform these operations on their privately-owned LR rifle brass.

One could ascribe this to the old High Power Rifle maxim that “if you think it helps, then it helps”. Another thought is to “leave no stone unturned” in the search for accuracy.

However, an extremely talented World Champion and Olympic Gold/Silver medalist commented on his own handloading (for International competition, which demands VERY fine accuracy). He noted that he did seem to see a decline in accuracy whenever he did not uniform FH’s, deburr FH’s and clean primer pockets before each reloading; however, with the wisdom of decades’ experience, he also remarked that “It could have been that I just wasn’t shooting as well that day.”

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January 13th, 2018

Bunny-Busting with Savage A17 in 17 HMR

Varmint hunting Savage hunter A17 17 HMR California Varminter

There’s a nice article in the Western Powders Blog that any varminter will enjoy. In this hare-raising tale, gunwriter Jim Waddell explains how he used a self-loading Savage A17 rifle to take care of a serious jack-rabbit problem on a rancho in California. “[My friends] purchased a huge amount of acreage that had some existing alfalfa fields and [surrounding sagebrush]. Sagebrush is home to jack rabbits. Lots of jack rabbits. The previous owner of this property didn’t do any varmint or predator control[.] The ink wasn’t dry on the escrow papers before [my friends] started asking for help shooting rabbits. A problem in taking these critters is it has to be done at night when they come out to feed as they lay low in the bush during the daylight hours.”

Varmint hunting Savage hunter A17 17 HMR California Varminter

Savage A17 Comes to the Rescue
Initially Waddell and some friends took on the jack-rabbit hordes using Ruger 10/22s and a .44 Magnum Marlin lever gun. Neither option was ideal. The .44 Magnum just couldn’t keep up the desired shooting pace (it took too long to reload) ant the .22 LRs were too anemic. So Waddell decided to give the more potent 17 HMR a try. He acquired a Savage A17 and went back for a second bunny-busting session. He came away convinced that the 17 HMR cartridge in the modern semi-auto Savage works great for small varmint control.

Varmint hunting Savage hunter A17 17 HMR California Varminter

Waddell writes: “I wanted more than a .22 after seeing the problems my pals had with their [10/22] bullets not anchoring the rabbits. Armed with my new Savage A17 it was time to head back to the alfalfa fields. This time my hunting partner was Dan, my son-in-law from Seattle. We hunted for four nights. Each night was either raining, windy or both. My question about whether or not rabbits would be out in the weather was answered immediately. They were everywhere. As miserable as the weather was, we got all the shooting we wanted and that Savage rifle was up to the task. We got so many rabbits it was impossible to count.” CLICK HERE for the full account of Waddell’s jack-rabbit adventures on the California rancho. It’s worth a read. Here is a sample:

Wabbits, Wabbits Everywhere — Even Running Right at You
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a sea of rabbits as far as the lights would shine and when the light beams hit the bunnies, they became confused and as often as not, would run right at the lights so a good percentage of our shots were literally in spitting distance. It was also a new experience shooting at targets that are running TOWARD you. Most of us who’ve done much hunting for game or varmints have experienced moving targets but how many of those targets are coming at you?

Read Full Story on Western Powders Blog »

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January 13th, 2018

FIX-IT: How to Remove a Cartridge Case Stuck in a Die


Western powders, ramshot, norma, accurate

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

decapstem72Sticking 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 12th, 2018

Father of all ARs — The Original Full-Auto AR-10

AR-10 Armalite Jerry Miculek

Today, AR-platform rifles are hugely popular. Dozens of manufacturers sell AR-type rifles, in a wide variety of configurations and calibers. But before there were M16s and AR-15s, ArmaLite produced a 7.62×51 caliber rifle, the AR-10. Yes before there were millions of 5.56 black rifles, there was a .30-caliber big brother with reddish-brown furniture. Invented by Eugene (‘Gene’) Stoner for the Armalite company in the late 1950s, this is the father of all of today’s AR-platform rifles. Way ahead of its time, this remarkable, select-fire battle rifle weighed just 7.25 pounds as first developed.

If you’re curious about the AR-10, in this video, Jerry Miculek puts an original 1957-vintage AR-10 through its paces on the range. This extremely rare, early-production rifle was provided by Mr. Reed Knight and the Institute of Military Technology. (The gun in the video was actually produced in the Netherlands under license, see video at 4:40.) This AR-10 is the direct ancestor of the AR-15, M16, and many of the modern sporting rifles that we use today.

The AR-10 was slim and light, weighing in at around 7 pounds. Some folks might argue that the original “old-school” AR10 is actually better that some of today’s heavy, gadget-laden ARs. The AR-10’s charging “lever” was under the carry handle — that made it easier to manipulate with the gun raised in a firing position.

AR-10 Armalite Jerry Miculek

You’ll notice there is no “forward assist”. Inventor Gene Stoner did not believe a separate “bolt-pusher” was necessary. The forward assist was added to solve problems encountered in Viet Nam. Some critics say the forward assist “only takes a small problem and makes it a big problem.” For today’s competition ARs (that are never dragged through the mud) the forward assist probably is superfluous. It is rarely if ever needed.

AR-10 Armalite Jerry Miculek

Note also that the handguards are fairly slim and tapered. Today, six decades after the first AR-10 prototypes, we are now seeing these kind of slim handguards (made from aluminum or lightweight composites) used on “full race” ARs campaigned in 3-gun competition.

History of the AR-10
The AR-10 is a 7.62 mm battle rifle developed by Eugene Stoner in the late 1950s at ArmaLite, then a division of the Fairchild Aircraft Corporation. When first introduced in 1956, the AR-10 used an innovative straight-line barrel/stock design with phenolic composite and forged alloy parts resulting in a small arm significantly easier to control in automatic fire and over one pound lighter than other infantry rifles of the day. Over its production life, the original AR-10 was built in relatively small numbers, with fewer than 9,900 rifles assembled.

In 1957, the basic AR-10 design was substantially modified by ArmaLite to accommodate the .223 Remington cartridge, and given the designation AR-15. ArmaLite licensed the AR-10 and AR-15 designs to Colt Firearms. The AR-15 eventually became the M16 rifle.

AR-10 photos from Arms Izarra, a Spanish company specializing in de-militarized, collectible firearms. Interestingly, this particular AR-10 was produced in the Netherlands under license.

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January 2nd, 2018

Good Reading — Shooting Sports USA January “Rifle Issue”

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

There are three notable articles in the latest January 2018 Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA Magazine. F-Class competitors will definitely want to read the report on the 2017 World Championships. And hand-loaders will appreciate the insightful article on the AMP induction annealing machine. The third recommended article provides tips and techniques for sighting in hunting, tactical, and benchrest rifles. Access the entire SSUSA 54-page January 2018 eZine by clicking THIS LINK.

F-Class 2017 World Championships in Canada
Story by Larry Bartholome

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

Fifteen years ago, the very first F-Class World Championships were held in Canada. In 2017, the Championships returned to Canada for the fifth edition of the match. This year there were triple the number of entries, representing the growing popularity of F-Class competition. Notably, this year’s event was preceded by the Canadian F-Class National Championships. This issue contains a full report on the event, written by Larry Bartolome, a past National F-Open Champion. Shown at right above is the new F-TR World Champion, our friend Derek Rodgers from New Mexico.

AMP Annealing Machine — Annealing .30-06 Brass for Vintage Military Rifles
Story by Art Merrill

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

Produced in New Zealand, the AMP (Annealing Made Perfect) unit is a sophisticated, microprocessor-controlled annealing machine that achieves ultra-consistent results using an electrical INDUCTION process. By contrast, with butane torch systems you may have to adjust the system when the ambient temperature changes, or even if your butane fuel is slightly different. In this month’s issue of Shooting Sports USA, Field Editor Art Merrill uses the AMP to anneal .30-06 brass for vintage military rifles. The review shows how to use the AMP and explains the advantages of the Induction Annealing vs. flame-based annealing.

Sighting In Your Rifle — Tips for All Shooters
Story by Jim Shults

Sighting in rifle technique zero zeroing

This month’s “Rifle Issue” of Shooting Sports USA focuses on rifle shooting in various forms. Author Jim Shults has written an lengthy article offering tips and techniques for sighting-in your rifle. Shults says “The trick in effective sighting-in (zeroing) is shot-to-shot consistency”. To achieve that consistency, you must first eliminate driver error. You need a stable set-up. Good ammo is also essential and Shults offers an important tip: “Keep your ammo cool and out of direct sun at the range”. Shults also explains there is a big difference between load testing and zeroing. You want to finalize your zero AFTER you have developed your match or hunting load.

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December 29th, 2017

BYOB — Build Your Own Barricade (for Tactical Training)

6.5 Guys Ed Mobley Steve Lawrence

Here’s a great Do-It-Yourself project for tactical shooters. Ed and Steve of the 65Guys.com have created a versatile wooden barricade designed for easy transport. The goal with this design was to create a stable barricade that offers a variety of shooting positions, but can also fit in the bed of a pick-up or the back of an SUV. The 69″ tall barricade is hinged in the middle, so it’s just 27″ wide. To deploy the Barricade you simply fold it open and then nest the lower wings in ground-level stands.

We call this the BYOB Project — Build Your Own Barricade. Anyone with basic wood-working skills should find the Barricade prettyeasy to make. The only tricky part is cutting the side Dado joints for the left and right lower wings. But when you’ve got it completed, you have a low-cost unit that is versatile and sturdy yet easy to pack in a truck and carry out on the range. In the video below the 6.5 Guys showcase their Gen 2 barricade and explain how to build one just like it.

Looking at the 6.5 Guys Modular Barricade
The Modular Barricade was drawn up by Steve in PowerPoint and then dimensions added. Once the entire plan was created, Steve cut components to size and then used ordinary wood screws and wood glue to assemble the barricade frame. This was done to ensure maximum rigidity due to the light weight construction using 2″ x 2″ frame members. A long piano hinge was used to allow the Barricade to fold in half, while still having high torsional rigidity. Each of the Barricade openings are 12″ x 12″ square. This consistent ‘window’ spacing allows interchangeable panels with different cut-out shapes to be placed at varies heights/locations in the Barricade.

Modular Barricade Key Features
— Lightweight construction using low-cost 2×2 wood beams.
— Collapsible frame with center hinges for easy transport and deployment.
— Multiple Support levels at 6″ vertical intervals (6″ variance R to L).
— Modular port design allows ports to be changed and moved as desired.

6.5 Guys Ed Mobley Steve Lawrence

CLICK HERE to Download 6.5 Guys Barricade Plans PDF »

6.5 Guys’ Modular Barricade — Construction Tips
The Modular Barricade can be constructed over a weekend with the proper materials and basic shop tools such as a power saw and electric screwdriver. Steve used a router for the side panel dado joints but a table saw could also be used for that task. Steve’s only real issue with the build involved the port panels — getting them to fit right. The 2″ x 2″ frame wood wasn’t always straight; even a small variation in the wood could cause a port panel to be too tight or too loose. Steve had to do a lot of extra sanding and planing to get the port panels to fit just right.

Where and How to Use the Barricade for Training
Because the 6.5 Guys’ Modular Barricade is so easy to move, you can simply pack it up and deploy it at your local range for practice. (Do ensure club/range rules allow shooting from barricades.) While the Barricade is designed to sit on the natural ground, the base stands can also be placed on concrete if your range does not allow deployment forward of the normal firing line. While you can use the Barricade for training on your own, Ed and Steve say novice shooters can benefit from a formal clinic.

In the video below, the 6.5 Guys discuss precision rifle training with Scott Satterlee, an instructor with Core Shooting Solutions. This video explains why new shooters should consider enrolling in a formal training clinic. Topics covered are: typical course format and “curriculum”, the gear needed to participate in a precision rifle clinic, and skills shooters should practice before attending the clinic.

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December 19th, 2017

The Five Worst States for Traveling with Firearms

Top Five 5 Worst states for Travel Guns Firearms

This article appears in the Cheaper Than Dirt Shooter’s Log.
The passage of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act through the U.S. House of Representatives is a step in the right direction, but not a law yet. The U.S. is a patchwork of confusing and cumbersome laws that change the rules of what you can carry, where you can carry, and whether you can possess the firearm, ammunition of magazine at without running afoul of the local laws. Now, if every state was like Vermont, law abiding gun owners could freely travel with their firearms with no worries. Unfortunately, many states have a history of being hostile to traveling gun owners.

The federal “Firearms Owner Protection Act” allows travel through any state as long as the firearm is unloaded, in a locked case, and not easily accessible to the passengers. However, that is not to say that certain states that are less friendly to firearms have not created their own laws that would snare unsuspecting otherwise law-abiding firearm owners. This led us to name the Top 5 States to Avoid while traveling with a firearm this holiday season.

Connecticut does not have any gun reciprocity agreements with other states. This means nonresidents are not allowed to carry handguns in Connecticut under a permit issued by another state.

Every person arriving into the state who brings a firearm of any description, usable or not, shall register the firearm within three days of the arrival of the person or the firearm, whichever arrives later, with the chief of police of the county where the person will reside, where their business is, or the person’s place of sojourn. GET Hawaii Firearms INFO HERE.

Massachusetts imposes harsh penalties on the mere possession and transport of firearms without a license to carry. Prospective travelers are urged to contact the Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau at (617) 660-4780 or contact the State Police. GET Massachusetts Firearms INFO HERE.

New Jersey has some of the most restrictive firearms laws in the country. Your firearm must be unloaded, in a locked container, and not accessible in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that anyone traveling within the state is deemed to be aware of these regulations and will be held strictly accountable for violations. If you’re traveling through New Jersey, the N.J. State Police website provides information regarding transporting firearms within state lines. GET New Jersey Firearms INFO HERE.

Use extreme caution when traveling through New York state with firearms. New York’s general approach is to make the possession of handguns and so-called “assault weapons” illegal. A number of localities, including Albany, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Suffolk County, and Yonkers, impose their own requirements on the possession, registration, and transport of firearms. Possession of a handgun within New York City requires a New York City handgun license or a special permit from the city Police Commissioner. This license validates a state license within the city. Even New York state licenses are generally not valid within New York City unless a specific exemption applies. Possession of a shotgun or rifle within New York City requires a permit, which is available to non-residents, and a certificate of registration.

More Scary States for Gun Owners
Here are six other jurisdictions (five states and DC) where you need to be wary when traveling. California, for example, treats all handguns in vehicles as “loaded” if there is ammunition loaded into an attached magazine. It’s wise, when in California, to have handguns unloaded in a LOCKED case, with all ammunition or magazines in a separate section of the vehicle. These states (and DC) all have laws that can trap unsuspecting gun-owners. Be wary.

Dist. of Columbia
Rhode Island

Top Five 5 Worst states for Travel Guns Firearms

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December 17th, 2017

Lones Wigger, Great USA Olympic Shooter, Passes at Age 80

Lt. Col. Lones Wigger Olympic Team USA shooter gold medalist passes away 1937 2017

Ret. Army Lt. Col. Lones W. Wigger, Olympic shooter and international champion, passed away on the evening of December 14, 2017 at his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old. By many measures, Wigger could be called the best iron sights, position shooter in history. During his shooting career, Wigger won 111 medals and set or tied 29 world records in international competition, more than any other shooter in the world. He was on the USA Olympic Shooting Team in 1964, 1968, 1972, and 1980.

Kelly McMillan mourns Wigger: “My heart is broken. Sometimes something happens that though you may have been expecting it, when it happens the effect that it has on you is a complete surprise. I feel honored to have attended his [80th] Birthday Celebration in August and was extremely fortunate to have him on my radio show a little over a month ago. I am honored to have known him and to call him my friend… I miss him already.”

A Lifetime of Shooting Excellence
Originally from Fort Benton, Montana, Wigger won three Olympic medals in his career including Golds in 1964 and 1972. His resume also includes 24 World Championship Gold Medals and 29 World Records. The retired Lt. Col. also served his country in the U.S. Army with tours of duty in Vietnam in 1967 and 1971. Wigger was primed for Olympic success in 1980 but never got the chance due to the U.S. boycott.

Wigger is often regarded as the greatest competitive rifle shooter ever to have taken aim for the United States. He won more medals in international shooting competition (111) than any other shooting athlete in the world and is the only athlete to win medals in all three Olympic rifle shooting disciplines. Wigger is the only USA Shooting Team member ever elected to the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Hall of Fame.

Lt. Col. Lones Wigger Olympic Team USA shooter gold medalist passes away 1937 2017

Wigger was a USA Olympic shooting team member in 1964, 1968, 1972, and 1980. The 1964 effort resulted in a Gold Medal. He won the gold for the 3-position small-bore rifle. In 1972, Wigger won the Gold Medal for 3-position Free Rifle. Wigger also competed on five Pan American Games teams, where he won five Silver and 13 Gold medals. A retired Army Lt. Colonel, Wigger was a Vietnam Veteran who spent 25 years on active duty, retiring with the rank of Lt. Colonel. While in the Army, Wiggers also competed with the USAMU.

Wisdom from Wigger — The Psychology of Winning

by Lones Wigger, Olympic Medalist

Lt. Col. Lones Wigger Olympic Team USA shooter gold medalist passes away 1937 2017It’s pretty complicated — this subject of dealing with pressure. I’m a precision shooter and have learned to excel in that discipline. You’ve got to learn to shoot the desired scores at home and in training. And once you’re capable of shooting the scores, you may not shoot the same way in the match because of the match pressure. As a result, it takes 3-4 years to learn how to shoot, and another 3-4 years to learn how to win — to deal with the match pressure. It takes several more years to learn how to do it when it counts.

To win, there are several things you have to learn how to do. You have to do it from within. You have to learn how to train just as if you were in a big competition. You work on every shot. You have got to learn to treat it just like a match — to get the maximum value out of every shot.

You have got to use the same technique in practice and in training. A lot of shooters have a problem because they change their technique from practice to the match. In competition, you work your ass off for every shot. You have to approach the training the same way.

A second way to combat pressure is to shoot in every competition you can get into so that you become accustomed to it.

Do Everything Possible to Prepare
The third technique is preparation. Before you are going to shoot in a big competition, train hard to do everything you can to raise your scores. So when you’re in the match, you know that you have done everything humanly possible to get ready for the competition. If you have self-doubt, you will not shoot well. You have to have the will to prepare to win.

When Gary Anderson was a kid, he couldn’t afford a gun or ammunition. He had read about the great Soviet shooters. With his single shot rifle, he would get into position, point that gun and dry fire for hours at a time in the three different positions. He had tremendous desire. He wanted to win and he did whatever he could to get there. When he finally got into competition, he shot fantastic scores from the beginning.

Visualize Winning to Train the Subconscious Mind
A little bit of psychology: You picture in your mind what you want to do. You have to say, OK, I’m going to the Olympics and perform well. Picture yourself shooting a great score and how good it feels. You are training your subconscious mind. Once you get it trained, it takes over. A coach taught me to visualize the outcome, and it worked. Eventually you train your subconscious and it believes you can win. At first I didn’t know about teaching the subconscious to take over, but now I do it all the time. And it certainly worked for me at the 1972 Olympics. What it really takes is training and doing the same thing in training as at a match. If you are “just shooting,” you are wasting your time.

This above text comes from an interview with Lones Wigger by Jock Elliot, part of a three-part series, The Fine Art of Not Cracking Under Pressure. CLICK HERE to READ FULL ARTICLE featuring other interviews with Brian Zins, Bruce Piatt, Carl Bernosky and Ernie Vande Zande.

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December 16th, 2017

Giving Firearms as Gifts — What You Need to Know

firearm gun gift law rules NSSF
Image Courtesy NSSF. This story is based on a recent NSSF Article.

‘Tis the season of gift-giving (and Christmas Day is nearly here). As hunters, shooters, collectors or just plain plinkers, it’s a natural instinct to want to share our enjoyment of firearms with others. What better way to do that than to make a gift of a firearm to a family member, close friend or relative?

The first thing to remember if you’re thinking about giving someone a gun is that … it’s a gun! You already know that ownership of a firearm brings with it some serious legal and ethical obligations that other consumer products don’t. So let’s look at some questions you may have about giving a firearm as a gift.

firearm gun gift law rules NSSF
Image Courtesy NSSF

ATF Firearms gun giftsThe first question you have to ask is whether the intended recipient can legally own the firearm where he or she lives. With more than 20,000 different gun laws on the books, even the kinds of firearms that law-abiding citizens can own vary from place to place. For example, juveniles (under age 18) generally speaking are precluded by law from possessing a handgun. Check out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for an overview of local laws and, whatever you do, don’t forget that you can never under any circumstances transfer a firearm to someone you know — or have reasonable cause to believe — legally can’t own one. That’s a federal felony, so be careful.

There’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend who lives in your home state. Abramski v. United States, a recent Supreme Court decision involving a “straw purchase” of a firearm did not change the law regarding firearms as gifts. The following states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington State) and the District of Columbia require you to transfer a firearm through a local firearms retailer so an instant background check will be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun. Maryland and Pennsylvania require a background check for private party transfer of a handgun. There are exceptions, so it’s important to check the law of your state or ask your local firearms retailer.

ATF Firearms gun giftsConsider a Gift Card Instead of Direct Gift
The ATF recommends that if you want to give someone a new firearm, rather than going to a gun store and buying the gun on your own, consider instead purchasing a gift certificate/card from your favorite gun retailer. Then give that gift card as the present. That way the recipient can choose the exact gun he or she wants, and there’s no question about who is “the actual buyer of the firearm,” which is a question any purchaser must certify on the Federal Form 4473 at the time of purchase. The Gift Card option avoids any “straw purchaser” issues.

Intra-Family Transfers and Antique Arms
What if you want to give “Old Betsy,” your favorite old deer rifle, to your son or daughter as a college graduation gift? Again, in most states, there’s no law that says you can’t, but some states require even intra-family transfers to go through a licensed dealer. Remember, you can never transfer a firearm directly to another person who is a resident of a different state. In that case, you must transfer the firearm through a licensed dealer in the state where the person receiving the gift resides. Using a gift certificate from a firearms retailer near where the recipient lives might be a good solution. Pre-1898 antique firearms are generally exempt from the dealer requirement. [But check with the laws in your jurisdiction]. Be safe and check with your dealer or local law enforcement before you hand over your prized possession.

Regulations on Firearms Shipping to Third Parties
When you intend to transfer a gun, there are important rules on interstate shipping*. Generally speaking, you can only ship a handgun by common carrier (but not U.S. Mail) and a long gun by U.S. Mail or common carrier to a federally licensed dealer, but not to a non-licensed individual. With all carriers, federal law requires you to declare that your package contains an unloaded firearm. To be safe, always consult your carrier in advance about its regulations for shipping firearms. Also check your state laws on transfers.

*Different rules may apply to shipping to parties IN-STATE or shipping firearms to yourself in temporary care of others. Always consult your own state laws, but here are some FAQs copied directly from the ATF.GOV website:


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December 13th, 2017

Get Entire December Guns & Ammo Issue for FREE

Guns Ammo December Free Issue

Merry Christmas from Guns & Ammo. This publication is making its entire 106-page December 2017 issue available for FREE online from December 12, 2017 through January 9, 2018. To read the entire issue for FREE, go to: GunsandAmmo.com/freepreview.

Guns Ammo December Free IssueThe free December issue will include the 2017 Guns & Ammo of the Year Awards (page 52) and a first-look at the new Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Compact, Shield and M360 lightweight revolver. You’ll want to check out the articles about: Winston Churchill’s Mauser C.96 Pistol (page 104), the Dixie Gunworx DOA Shooting Bench (p. 38), and Concealment Furniture (page 18) that hides your home defense guns. We also recommend the NovX ammo review (page 26). NovX is a new kind of ammunition with a hybrid stainless steel and aluminum case, and polymer-coated copper bullets.

If you haven’t seen a copy of Guns & Ammo recently, here’s a chance to sit down and enjoy a large issue at no cost. We found it interesting to see Guns & Ammo’s Annual Award selections (page 52): CZ P-10 C — Handgun of the Year; Barrett Fieldcraft — Rifle of the Year; Winchester SX4 — Shotgun of the Year. To be honest, we found all those choices puzzling…

Guns Ammo December Free Issue

Guns & Ammo magazine is one of 15 publications from Outdoor Sportsman Group. The publisher claims Guns & Ammo has more than 11 million readers (29.7 readers per copy) — more readers than any other firearms publication. If that’s really true, we wonder, frankly, why the magazine isn’t a whole lot better. With that circulation, and the high percentage of display ads (over 30% of the pages) Guns & Ammo should be minting money. That should allow the Editors to do some pretty exciting stuff. Unfortunately, many of the articles seem little more than sales brochures. And you won’t find much on precision reloading or competitive rifle shooting.

By all means, check out this FREE Issue of Guns & Ammo. After all the price is right. However, we believe you’ll find more reliable, useful information on websites such as ShootingSportsUSA.com, Rifleshooter.com, PrecisionRifleBlog.com, 65Guys.com, UlimateReloader.com, and, of course, our own site AccurateShooter.com. We provide 80-90 features per month on our Daily Bulletin which is always free. We also offer a very active Shooters’ Forum with over 37,500 members. Many top-flight competitive rifle shooters, barrel-makers, and gunsmiths are Forum members. You can learn from their expertise. If you haven’t joined our Forum yet, you should.

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December 10th, 2017

December Feature Articles in Shooting Sports USA

Shooting Sports USA Kestrel Windmeter
The latest issue of Shooting USA magazine has a detailed EIGHT-page feature on the Kestrel wind meter. This story covers the development of the Kestrel and explains the advanced technologies now offered with the hand-held Kestrel systems.

The eZine version of Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA) is available for free online. In the latest December 2017 issue you’ll find two excellent articles of interest to all serious rifle shooters. One covers the development of the Kestrel weather meter, which has evolved to serious levels of sophistication. Now premium Kestrels include built-in ballistic calculators and they can “talk” with mobile devices, sharing command functions and data. The second article covers shooting skills. In the first of a three-part series, Glen Zediker talks about NRA High Power rifle competition. Glen spotlights the skills you must master to move from the beginning level, Marksman, to higher levels.

Shooting Sports USA Kestrel WindmeterKestrel Technology Today
The December SSUSA issue features the origin of ballistics-enabled Kestrel weather meters. SSUSA’s Editor John Parker covers the history of the Kestrel, and explains how more and more features were packed into the handheld device as it evolved. Today’s Kestrel is so much more than an impeller with wind speed/direction read-outs.

The impressive Kestrel 5700 Elite with Applied Ballistics software is the latest model of a product that revolutionized long-range shooting by combining ballistic computer and weather meter in one portable device. Shooters can select either G1 or G7 ballistic coefficients, or to be even more specific they can select bullets from the Applied Ballistics custom curves library. With the Kestrel and its software, shooters can plot very precise trajectories, even to extreme long ranges.

READ Full Kestrel Technology Article in Shooting Sports USA »

Shooting Sports USA Kestrel Windmeter

Shooting Sports USA Glen Zediker High PowerMarksman to High Master
High Power Rifle competition originally evolved from the U.S. military course of fire. Climbing the classification ranks in NRA High Power Rifle can be daunting — it requires focus, practice and commitment to move up the ladder from Marksman all the way to High Master.

In Glen Zediker’s three-part series, “Climbing the High Power Ladder”, Glen shares his tips for competitors that are looking to improve their skills beyond the intermediate level. The first installment focuses on stepping past Marksman classification to Sharpshooter. Read PART ONE HERE. In the months ahead, look for parts Two and Three in future SSUSA issues. These will cover the next stages in the climb: Expert, Master, High Master.

READ Full High Power Ladder Article in Shooting Sports USA »

Shooting Sports USA Kestrel WindmeterDVD Resource for High Power Training
If you’re serious about improving your High Power skill set, we suggest you view a DVD by David Tubb, 11-time National High Power Champion. David’s instructional DVD, “The Art & Technique of the Modern Match Rifle”, is a great resource for any High Power or position shooter. This 2-disc DVD provides over 4.5 hours of instruction and shooting demonstrations. We can confirm that this video is packed with great information — novice High Power and prone shooters who apply David’s methods should definitely improve their scores.

David has included highlights from that DVD in a shorter promo video. While the shorter video is a sales tool, it’s very informative in its own right. Watch the video and you’ll learn a great deal just by watching how David shoulders his rifle, and how he adjusts and maintains his shooting position. David shows examples of prone, sitting, and standing positions. In the short “trailer”, David also provides helpful tips on adjusting sights, and placing the spotting scope.

If you shoot Service Rifle, High Power, or prone, you can benefit from watching this short sampler video. The full 2-disc DVD is available for $49.95 from Creedmoor Sports. With over 4.5 hours of content, the DVD covers all the across-the-course positions, the set-up and use of aperture sights and diopters, High Power and long range targets, the approach method in offhand, proper placement and use of spotting scopes. The DVD includes bonus footage of David shooting strings in all of the across-the-course positions.

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December 5th, 2017

Custom 6-6.5×47 Varmint rifle with BAT Action and Krieger Barrel

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel

With all the noise lately about the 6.5 Creedmoor, it’s easy to forget that before we had the Creedmoor, we had another accurate, efficient mid-sized cartridge, the 6.5×47 Lapua. Just as the 6.5 Creedmoor inspired the 6mm Creedmoor, the 6.5×47 Lapua has been successfully necked-down to 6mm (.243) for a 6-6.5×47 variant. This has worked great in a number of roles — benchrest, varminting, and tactical/PRS. This article, from a few seasons back, shows how the 6-6.5×47 Lapua can be successfully packaged as an accurate, potent 6mm varminter.

The 6-6.5×47 Lapua for Precision Long-Range Varminting

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel
Report by Stan Stewart

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel6mm AI ‘Sellers Remorse’ Spurs New 6mm Project
After selling my 6mm Remington Ackley Improved a couple of years ago and wishing I had not, I thought about a new customer rifle for work on Prairie Dog towns and New York wood chucks at 600+ yards. I have a .223 AR and 22-250 for medium ranges but I missed my 6mm AI for long-range work. The 22-250 is a fine chambering, but it is hard on barrels, and I think the 6mms may have an accuracy edge out past 400 yards. Also, shooters today enjoy a vast collection of really great 6mm bullets. Barrel life and bullet ooptions were two main reasons I decided to build a 6mm rather that another .224-caliber gun. But the question remained — what 6mm chambering to choose? Although I missed my 6mm AI, I did not miss fire-forming the brass, so when I learned about the 6-6.5×47 Lapua, a wildcat case easily formed by necking down the parent 6.5×47 case, I thought this might be the answer.

I started doing serious research on the 6-6.5×47 Lapua. I received a lot of good advice from AccurateShooter.com and other websites on the pros and cons of the new cartridge. Most reports were positive. I also talked to gunsmiths — quite a few recommended the new cartridge as well. Some of the cartridge attributes I liked were the small rifle primer, enough case capacity to efficiently reach 3700 fps with a 70gr bullet and 3400 fps with an 85-grain, without being terribly over-bore.

Most important was the 6-6.5×47’s reputation for inherent accuracy without being finicky like my 6mm AI (my experience). So, having chosen my cartridge, I started asking for gunsmith recommendations. Again the folks on the AccurateShooter Forum were very helpful. After many conversations I settled on Dave Bruno in Dayton, Pennsylvania. He was a good choice. After working with Dave on this project, I could not be happier. He was very helpful considering this was my first complete custom gun.

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel Dave Bruno

Putting Together the New Rig with Premium Components
From the get-go, I knew I wanted a BAT action and Krieger barrel. BAT Machine and Krieger Barrels enjoy a great reputation in the shooting industry. BATs are beautifully machined, smooth, and strong. Krieger cut-rifled barrels are known for dependable accuracy and long barrel life. While many 6-6.5×47 shooters choose a 8-twist barrel to shoot the 100-108gr bullets, I would be using smaller, varmint-weight bullets, so I selected a 1:10″-twist Krieger. This would allow me to shoot bullets from 60 grains up to 90 grains. Dave chambered the barrel with an 0.269″ neck and fluted the barrel to save weight. I also had Dave install a Vais muzzle brake. The Vais brake is more expensive than some others, but it is a proven product. Dave fitted the BAT with a 2 oz. Jewell trigger, mounted with a +20 MOA scope rail, then pillar-bedded the BAT into a McMillan Hunter-Class-style fiberglass stock. The scope is a 12-42x56mm Nightforce NSX, mounted in a set of Nightforce rings I hand-lapped for better contact.

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel

Berger Bullets 88gr varmint bullet 6-6.5x47 Lapua varmint rifleLoad Development for Varminting
I had selected a few powders and bullets recommended by other 6-6.5×47 shooters and started by seating all the bullets .005″ off the lands. The powders I selected were Varget, Vihtavuori N550, and Reloder 15.

I was very pleased with the 88gr Bergers. In initial testing, they grouped well and I was able to drive them to 3400 fps easily. As I wanted a gun for long-range varmint work, I was hoping the 10-twist barrel would provide enough stability for the heavier weight bullets. It did — the 10-twist worked great! I was able to shoot the lighter weight bullets very well and the 88s were superb. With a BC of 0.391, leaving the barrel at 3400 fps, these bullets were still traveling at 2600 fps at 600 yards!

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel

I did wonder how well the 88s would work on varmints given their small meplats (and limited expansion). A call to Berger reassured me the 88s should work fine on small varmints. The test came last summer when I made a trip to NY and got to visit my old Chuck hunting farms with my new rifle and old hunting buddy. The longest shot we had was only 300 yards, but the Berger 88s did great. None of the eight critters we nailed so much as wiggled after they were hit.

I did a lot of testing, recording group sizes for a variety of different bullets and powders. With all the data collected in a spreadsheet, I was able to “crunch the numbers”, and that helped me choose my preferred loads. By looking at the average group size for the individual bullets and powders, the data drew a clear picture of what the rifle shot best. Below is a chart showing comparative group sizes, arranged by both bullet type and powder brand.

6mm Creedmoor 6-6.5x47 Lapua Varmint Rifle BAT action Krieger Barrel

READ Full Article with Bullet Chron Data and Accuracy Chart »

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 6 Comments »
December 5th, 2017

Competition Hardware — The Modern F-Open Rifle

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Emil Kovan is one of the top F-Class shooters in the world. He won the 2014 United States F-Open Championship. Earlier this month Emil finished second in F-Open Division at the 2016 Canadian National F-Class Championship in Ontario. Emil actually tied Open-class winner Shiraz Balolia for overall score AND “V”-count, but Emil was awarded second on the tie-breaker.

The Anatomy of a Modern F-Class Open Rifle

Report by Emil Kovan
Kovan Match Rifles LLC, www.matchrifles.com

“What are the best components for an F-Open class rifle, and why?” That’s a question that I get asked all the time and will try to answer in this article. Two months ago, I was contacted by Duane, a gentleman I met at the 2015 F-Class Nationals. He was interested in building a rifle with the new Master Class Low Profile F-Open Stock, created by Carl Bernosky and Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks.

I have known Alex Sitman for many years, and use his stocks exclusively, but was not very familiar with his new Low Profile F-Open stock. After a brief conversation with Alex, I placed an order, and had the stock inletted and bedded at my shop in a month. My first impression was “Wow that’s a long stock” — the forearm is significantly longer than on the original Master Class F-Class prone stock. I bolted the barreled action in, and squeezed the end of the forearm and barrel together, the stock flexed a little bit, but not as much as other designs that I have tested. I think that’s due to having “more meat” in the receiver area. The full stock depth continues farther forward that on some other “low profile” designs. That makes the stock stiffer in the vertical plane, reducing the hinging effect forward of the action. The stock was finished in gloss black per the customer’s request. Interestingly, I found that the multiple layers of paint and clearcoat stiffened the stock up quite a bit.

CLICK IMAGE below for full-screen version
.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Low Center of Gravity Tames Torque
Compared to the original Master Class F-Open stock, the barrel sits about an inch lower. Lower center of gravity equals less torque, and that is very important when shooting heavy bullets in fast twist barrels. Another significant improvement is that the toe of the stock is flat and parallel to the forearm. I added a 3/4″ track rail in the rear, and milled the underside of the fore-end to create two parallel “rails” in the front to help the stock track better.

One of the biggest reasons why I like Master Class stocks, is the pistol grip. I don’t shoot “free recoil” and a comfortable pistol grip is super important to me when selecting a stock. The new Master Class Low Profile stock shares the same grip as the old model. This allows the stock to accommodate either a “hard hold” style or a more free-recoil style of shooting — whatever the rifle’s owner prefers. This design versatility is one reason I recommend Master Class stocks. Shooters may experiment with either shooting style to find what suits them best.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Cartridge Choice — A 40° .284 Win Improved
Duane decided to have the barrel chambered for my 284 KMR IMP (Improved) wildcat. What is .284 KMR IMP and why choose it over the straight .284 Winchester? Improved by definition means “made better”, I took a great cartridge, and modified it to increase capacity, reduce pressure, and increase brass life.

There are many “improved” variants of the original .284 Winchester: 7mm Walker, .284 Shehane, .284 Ackley and so on. My version, the 284 KMR IMP, shares the .010″ blown-out sidewalls of the .284 Shehane, but I have further increased the case capacity by changing the shoulder angle from 35 to 40 degrees. The 284 KMR IMP allows you to almost match magnum cartridge velocity in a standard-bolt-face action. If you want to run 180gr-class 7mm bullets over 2900 FPS, it is cheaper and more convenient to have a barrel chambered in 284 KMR IMP than to spend $650 for a magnum bolt.

Tuning Loads for the .284 Win Improved Cartridges
The 284 KMR IMP seems to have two nodes, one around 2820 fps and other at 2940 fps. My match load clocks at 2935 fps with single-digit ES. Note –I selected that load based on accuracy, NOT raw speed. A lot of novice (or hard-headed) shooters make the mistake to push their cartridges to the max, and disregard more accurate loads at lower velocity.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

The sport of F-Class is rapidly growing, and the equipment used is improving constantly. I remember that only few years ago, an F-Open rifle that could shoot sub-one-inch of vertical at 300 yards was considered competitive. Now, we are pursuing sub-one-inch vertical at 600 yards! It takes a great rifle to approach that goal, but it is also up to the shooter to learn and experiment as much as possible in order to achieve success.

Dies for an Improved .284 Win Cartridge
One of the biggest challenges in campaigning a wildcat cartridge has been obtaining great dies. When searching for custom dies, it almost seems like that the odds are stacked against us. The most common problem is wait-time — custom die orders can take months to be completed. Also, most custom die makers want you to send them two or three cases, each fire-formed three times. I find that funny because if could somehow properly size the cases for three fire-forming cycles, I would not need a sizing die.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Custom-made dies should size the case just right, but sometimes the die’s internal dimensions are slightly off, and this leads to problem number two: dies sizing too much (or even worse) too little. I had a one “custom” die that would not size the bottom of the case enough. This made the extraction of fired cases very difficult. I feel that the best option (if available) for shooters interested in wildcat chambers is to have their gunsmiths make the dies. I offer that die-making service in addition to barrel chambering.

BAT Machine “M” Action
Duane decided to use a BAT M action for this rifle, and I think that he could not have made a better choice. We are blessed with many good match-quality receivers: Barnard, BAT, Borden, Kelbly, Nesika, and Stiller just to mention a few. These are all very well-made and suitable for F-Class. Among BAT Machine Co.actions, I like BAT models M, MB, and 3LL best. I prefer these because because of their size (large bedding footprint) smoothness, timing, options available, and last but not least visual appearance.

Trigger: I recommend and use Jewell triggers. Other good options are: Kelbly, CG Jackson (good 2-Stage) Anschutz (best 2-Stage for Bat and Kelbly actions), Bix’N Andy, and David Tubb.

Barrel: Duane made another good choice here. He decided to go with a Brux 1:8.5″-twist, 4-groove cut-rifled barrel. If you look at the F-Class and Long Range benchrest equipment lists, you will see that cut-rifled barrels are currently dominating. Many records have been shot with both button-rifled, and cut-rifled barrels. I have shot both, and prefer cut-rifled barrels. I am not saying that button-rifled barrels are not capable of shooting as well as cut-rifled barrels, but on average, in my experience, four out of five cut-rifled barrels (from top makers) will shoot well, vs. three out of five buttoned barrels. YMMV, but this is what I’ve observed.

Brux Barrels is not the only company that produces very accurate cut-rifled barrels. We know that Krieger, Bartlein, Satern, and Hawk Hill Custom all make fine cut-rifled barrels as well.

Scope: Duane’s rifle was fitted with a Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition scope with DDR-2 reticle. This optic is ultra clear, reasonably lightweight (28 oz.), super reliable, and has 1/8 MOA clicks — what you want for long range F-Class competition. In this 15-55X NF model, I like the DDR-2 reticle best, because fine cross hairs (FCH) are hard to see in heavy mirage. The DDR-2 has a heavier horizontal line, with a center dot. March scopes are also very popular and very well-made.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Thanks for reading, and keep ‘em in the middle…

Emil Kovan F-Class competition bio photoEmil Kovan Competition History:

– 2014 F-Class Open National Champion

– 2016 F-Class Open Canadian Championship, Silver Medal (tied for first on score)

– 2015 F-Class Open National Championship, Silver Medal

– F-Class Open National Championship Teams, 2015, 2014, 2013, Shooting Team Member

– Over 15 wins in Regional and State Championships in Palma, F-TR, F-Open

– 2013 U.S. National Team Member

– 2017 U.S. National Development Team Member

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December 3rd, 2017

Howa How-To: Basics of Howa Rifles and Barrel-Swapping Tips

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

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

What You Need to Know About Howa 1500-series Rifles

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

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

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

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

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

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

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

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

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

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

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

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

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

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

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

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

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

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

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December 3rd, 2017

Watch Ammo Being Made in Revealing Video

Sellier Bellot Ammunition Videos

At SHOT Show last year we visited the Sellier & Bellot pavilion. You may not have heard of this company, but it is one of Europe’s older ammunition manufacturers. The video below shows ammunition being made from start to finish, starting with raw materials. This is a fascinating video that is well worth watching. It shows some amazing machines in operation:

Based in in Vlašim, Czech Republic, Sellier & Bellot was founded in August 5, 1825 by a German businessman of French origins called Louis Sellier. His family were royalists who fled France during the French Revolution. Louis Sellier began manufacturing percussion caps for infantry firearms in a factory in Prague, Bohemia on the request of Francis I, the Emperor of Austria. Sellier was joined by his countryman Jean Maria Nicolaus Bellot.

At the S&B booth, we also saw an interesting CGI video that shows what happens inside a rifle chamber and barrel when a cartridge fires can’t be seen by the naked eye (unless you are a Super-Hero with X-Ray vision). But now, with the help of 3D-style computer animation, you can see every stage in the process of a rifle round being fired.

3D animation bullet ammunition in rifle

In this X-Ray-style 3D animation illustrates the primer igniting, the propellant burning, and the bullet moving through the barrel. The video then shows how the bullet spins as it flies along its trajectory. Finally, this animation shows the bullet impacting ballistic gelatin. Watch the bullet mushroom and deform as it creates a “wound channel” in the gelatin.

Watch Video – Cartridge Ignition Sequence Starts at 1:45 Time-Mark

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December 2nd, 2017

Timney Triggers Donates $500,000 to Cody Firearms Museum

Cody Firearms Museum Timney Triggers

Timney Triggers has stepped up to help preserve the history of American firearms. Recently Timney pledged $500,000 to the Cody Firearms Museum renovation project. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West recently announced its plan to fully renovate the Cody Firearms Museum, opening Summer 2019. Total project cost is estimated at $12,000,000 to house the 7000+ firearms in the Museum’s collection. The National Endowment for the Humanities and Institute of Museum & Library Services have provided large grants. Notably, however, the Timney Triggers’ donation is the first substantial contribution from a major gun industry company.

Cody Firearms Museum Timney Triggers

The CFM is planning a two-floor renovation that will cater to both firearms enthusiasts and the general public. Currently, there are approximately 3,000 firearms on display. After renovation, the museum will boast over 4,500 firearms on display, multiple shooting simulators, and hands-on inter-active displays. According to CodyEnterprise.com: “The plan is to produce a special exhibit of the collection’s top 75 guns and sprinkle other firearms exhibits throughout the rest of the 325,000-square-foot museum. That includes placing guns in the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Draper Museum of Natural History, the Whitney Western Art Museum and the Plains Indian Museum.”

Cody Firearms Museum Timney Triggers

John Vehr, Owner of Timney Triggers, stated: “Our industry must support and appreciate the benefits derived from having the finest gun museum in the world educate hundreds of thousands of people who visit AND are new to guns, on the historical importance and the positive aspects of our industry.”

Cody Firearms Museum Timney Triggers
Public domain photo from WikiMedia Commons.

Curator of the Cody Firearms Museum Ashley Hlebinsky commended Timney Triggers: “When we set out to plan the new museum, we wanted to make sure that not only our historic roots were fostered in the new museum, but that we would acquire representation from newer companies or companies whose stories haven’t been told previously in museums, solidifying their place in history.”

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December 2nd, 2017

Gun Collecting 101: Five Factors That Determine Value

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

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

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

Read Full Gun Collecting Article on NRABlog.com »

1. Make and Model

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

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

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

2. Condition (and Originality)

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

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

3. Rarity

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

4. History

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

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

5. Art (Decorative Embellishment)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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November 30th, 2017

How to Get Started in the PRS Game

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

Many of our readers are thinking of trying out PRS-type competition. Tactical matches are becoming more popular every season. Along with F-Class, tactical/practical disciplines are the fastest-growing forms of competitive rifle shooting. Rich Emmons, one of the founders of the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), has written an insightful article about getting started in the tactical game. This will help PRS novices pick the right equipment and understand the game. Here are highlights from Emmon’s “PRS — Intro to Competition” article, originally published on the PRS website. You may also want to read the current PRS FAQ Page.

Precision Rifle Series — Intro to Competition

by Rich Emmons, PRS President
Tactical Shooting with a precision rifle is not like other disciplines, there is no set course of fire or format. That is what makes it so fun!

GAP Grind PRS series
Photo from Ramia Whitecotton’s GAP GRIND 2016 photo album.

First, you have to ask yourself what do you want to accomplish. When I was introduced to long range shooting, immediately a light turned on for me, once I saw how easy it was to hit 300–600 yard targets. What I quickly learned from my first competition and the many that followed was there is so much to learn and shooting in competition put everything you thought you knew to the test. So back to the question: “What do YOU want to accomplish?”. The reality is you may not know yet, you just think it is cool to have a bad ass rifle and scope that can make almost any shot. Now if you’ve got that rifle and scope, it’s time to take it to the next level.

Watch PRS 2016 Championship

Getting Started — What to Expect
If you’re reading this, you have probably already have been bitten by the long range shooting bug. It can seem quite intimidating to just jump in with a new bunch of shooters you don’t know and shooting lingo you don’t quite understand yet. But here is the key — show up and shoot! I guarantee you if you show up to a match as a new shooter, other experienced shooters will guide you along and give you help on anything you need.

AUDIO: Click Button to hear Rich Emmons Talk about the Precision Rifle Series.

Now, a couple things you should just expect. You’re not as good as you think you are. Don’t expect to come into your first match and beat all the veterans. That just doesn’t happen unless you have had some really good coaching or other shooting competition experience to get you ready for this type of competition. If possible, find a local rifle club that has monthly long range matches, or any type of match will help prepare you for a larger PRS event. Getting involved with a rifle club and starting out shooting monthly matches is definitely the way to jump into competition shooting.

Watch PRS 2012 Championship (Click arrows icon to view full-screen version.)

The Gear You Need
The first question that many ask is: “What kind of rifle/caliber/scope do I need?” The easiest answer to this is, the best you can afford. It’s no secret the gear is expensive. It took me several years of buying sub-par gear and eventually trading up to figure this out. Now, a guy can get a real sense of pride of doing it on the cheap, or with a factory rifle. I’ve seen many old Savage 10FPs take down custom rigs that cost 10 times as much. And if that’s all you can afford, then eventually you will learn the limitations of yourself or your gear. As for choice of cartridge/caliber, the respected Precision Rifle Blog has analyzed three years worth of match results (2014, 2015, 2016) from the best tactical shooters in the nation. CLICK HERE to read an article that reveals what the “top guns” use. (CLICK HERE for PRB cartridge survey covering 2012-2014.)

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

Making Good Ammo
Producing quality reloads is something you have to master. It’s not hard at all, you just have to pay attention to detail, and eventually you are going to do something stupid like mis-priming your brass, or skip a row of brass when dumping your powder. Everybody has their own horror story of some reloading failure that cost them a stage or even a match. So load to perfection, work with your rifle to find what load it likes the best, then start your practice.

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

Practice Makes Perfect
You want to become ONE with your rifle, learning everything you can about its functionality. Getting comfortable with the operation of your rifle is key. Learn the feel of your trigger, dry-firing until you wear the paint off your bolt handle. Learn how the rifle works best — pay attention to little things like the sound and feel of the bolt feeding a round from the mag (or when it doesn’t). Learn how to remove a jammed round quickly, learn how to reload a magazine quickly. Learn to scan across a field and find targets in a quick manner, seeing the targets with your eye and coming into the scope on target. These are some of the basic practices that separate the new shooters from the seasoned ones.

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

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November 26th, 2017

Half-MOA Handgun — 6mm BR Savage Striker Pistol

Savage Striker pistol 6mmBR 6BR

Here’s something you’ve probably never seen before — a single-shot, bolt-action pistol chambered for the 6mm BR Norma cartridge. Featured as one of our Guns of the Week a while back, this Green Machine is a Savage Striker upgraded by Chuck G. from Arizona, a self-described “Savage Maniac”.

Chuck transformed this Savage Striker single-shot from a ho-hum .308 into a reliable half-MOA precision 6BR that can run with accurized rifles all the way out to impressively long ranges. Here we provide highlights from our original article. Click the link below to read our full Savage Striker article, which is three times longer than this story, and has more photos, plus videos and a detailed load development section.

READ Full Savage Striker 6mm BR Gun of the Week Story »

The Striker Project — Pursuit of Precision, by Chuck G.
I didn’t even know Savage Strikers existed until I saw one for sale on Gunbroker.com. I snagged it with a $400 bid. My idea was to build an accurate, long-range pistol on a pauper’s budget. As purchased, the Striker had a .308 barrel with an unknown round count, the standard center-grip, black synthetic stock, an odd two-piece custom brake, and an old Burris 4X pistol scope in a Conetrol 2-piece ring set. The trigger was very heavy, 6-8 lbs I’d estimate, with a lot of take-up and over-travel.

Initial Disappointments — Too Much Recoil, Poor Accuracy
My initial attempts to get the Striker to shoot well at even 100 yards were disappointing. I was never able to get better than a 3″, 5-shot group at 100. Not what I was looking for. Being used to benchrest triggers, the pull on this one was hard for me to manage. The gun would roll around on any type of front rest I had, and from a cement bench on a bipod it would jump about 18 inches up and sideways with every round. Not being used to this type of gun, I found the recoil and muzzle blast to be unsettling. It was hard not to flinch. I started off using my 1K .308 rifle load, 175 SMKs over 44 grains of Varget. That probably would have knocked the hell out of a deer, but it wasn’t much fun to shoot from the bench.

Savage Striker Pistol 6mm BR 6BR

New Caliber, New Barrel — Way Better Accuracy!
I decided to rebuild the Striker in a caliber that would be more fun to shoot. 6mmBR was an obvious choice for all the usual reasons–good brass, wide choice of match bullets, easy to load, low recoil, very accurate, and relatively cheap to shoot. As part of a SavageShooters.com group buy, I ordered a 15″, SS match grade, 3-groove, heavy varmint contour, 10-twist barrel from Pac-Nor. To set the freebore, I provided Pac-Nor with a dummy case with an 88gr LD Berger bullet seated to use as a guide. Total delivered price was $340 chambered and threaded for a muzzle brake from JP Rifles.

Savage Striker 6mmBR 6BR PacNor

When I bought it, the Striker, with factory .308 barrel, shot 3″ groups at 100. Now, with a Pac-Nor 6BR Match barrel, 3″ fore-arm plate, upgraded trigger, 24X scope, and match bullets, the gun consistently groups 1/2″ or better at 100 yards. What a transformation!”

Striker Project — Mission Accomplished
With further load development and bench practice, the gun is showing even more accuracy potential. Using a 24X target scope, the Striker has delivered 5-shot groups in the 3s and 4s during recent range visits. All in all, I’m very satisfied with the project. I ended up with an accurate, fun-to-shoot gun for under $1,000 including scope, paint, and bedding materials.

Savage Striker 6BR 6mm BR Norma

Stock Modifications
While waiting for the barrel I started working on the stock. As virtually no aftermarket stocks were readily available for the center-grip Striker, I decided to rebuild the standard black synthetic stock. The grip fit my hand poorly so I worked it over with a Dremel tool and sandpaper, built up the grip with Bondo, filled in some holes and bedded the action using Devcon Plastic Steel. This was my very first attempt at these tasks so progress was slow. Once I had re-shaped the stock, I sprayed five coats of “John Deere” green topped by several coats of auto clear. It came out surprisingly well considering I had never painted a stock before. I had originally planned to build up the fore-end to 3″ wide using Bondo but later decided to just use a Sinclair Benchrest Adapter that I had on hand.

Savage Striker 6BR 6mmBR

Chuck notes: “I’m really pleased with the C & J one-piece Rest. It’s solid, heavy, and well-designed. There is no real need for a windage top; small adjustments are easily made by slightly shifting the pistol butt. Elevation adjustments are positive and once the pistol is set up on this rest NOTHING moves.”

READ Full Savage Striker Gun of the Week Story »

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November 18th, 2017

TSA Tips for Traveling Safe During the Holiday Season

Tom McHale flying with firearms guns TSA
Airport photo by Politikaner under Creative Commons License.

Thanksgiving is almost here. We know many readers will soon be traveling to spend the holiday with family members. If you will be flying with firearms this November, you should read this article. You need to familiarize yourself with current Federal Regulations on gun transport before you get anywhere near an airport. Thankfully, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a web page that states the important requirements for airline passengers traveling with firearms* and/or ammunition.

You’ll want to visit the TSA Firearms and Ammunition webpage, and read it carefully. In addition, before your trip, check the regulations of the airline(s) with which you will fly. Some airlines have special requirements, such as weight restrictions.

Here are the TSA’s key guidelines for travel with firearms:

Tom McHale flying with firearms guns TSA

More Airline Travel Tips from Tom McHale
Tom McHale has written an excellent article for the Beretta Blog, Ten Things You Need to Know about Flying with Guns. We suggest you visit the Beretta Blog to read this informative story. Here are two of Tom McHale’s Travel Tips:

Weigh your gun case and ammunition
Most airlines will allow up to 11 pounds of ammunition. And, like any luggage, you will be charged more for any baggage weighing more than 50 pounds. This sounds like a lot, but when traveling to the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun competition last year, my case with shotgun, rifle, pistol and ammunition tipped the scale past the 50 pound mark.

Pack ammo in the same locking case
This is another area that’s misunderstood and full of internet myth. Your ammo just needs to be stored in some type of safe container and not loose. Technically, you can keep ammunition in magazines, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It meets the letter of the law storage requirement, but too many airline and TSA agents will give you grief. Use a plastic ammo box or original cardboard packaging and you’ll be fine carrying that in the same lockable case as your gun.

Tom McHale flying with firearms guns TSA

*SEE United States Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44. A “firearm” is defined as: any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, or is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; and any destructive device. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm.

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