Most gun guys know that the NRA publishes a monthly magazine called American Rifleman. What you may not know is that NRA also offers an American Rifleman television series on the Outdoor Channel. On each episode the hosts of American Rifleman TV review popular firearms (pistols, rifles, and shotguns). Most episodes include an historical segment. For example, in the 2016 Season Premiere, American Rifleman TV looks back at WWII, spotlighting The Men & Guns of the Pacific.
Highlights from other American Rifleman TV Episodes:
Springfield Armory M1A Review:
The Springfield Armory M1A is a civilian, semi-auto rifle based on the U.S. Military’s M14. Your Editor owned an M1A, and it was a fun gun. In High Power and Service Rifle competition, low-recoil 5.56 (.223) AR-platform rifles have displaced the M1A, but there is a hugely popular Springfield M1A Match every year at Camp Perry. The M1A Match at Perry offers over $25,000 in cash and prize awards each year.
Leupold Factory Tour:
Founded in 1907, Leupold & Stevens produces high-quality optics (with a legendary warranty) in Beaverton, Oregon. Leupold scopes are favorites for hunters as well as competitive shooters. In this episode, American Rifleman TV takes a tour of the Leupold & Stevens factory in Oregon.
Ruger American Rimfire Review:
Ruger offers both Standard and Compact models of its American Rimfire in two chamberings: .22 LR and .22 WMR. This rifle features a detachable, rotary magazine, like Ruger’s popular 10/22. The American Rimfire is a very affordable, yet reliable and surprisingly accurate rifle.
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Wouldn’t it be cool if you could adjust the bolt cycling energy on your AR-platform rifle? Turn down the cycling rate for slow fire at the bench or varmint hunting. Crank up the energy for 3-Gun matches and rapid-fire disciplines. This IS possible with a handy accessory that fits on your barrel. Wilson Combat offers an Adjustable Lo-Profile AR Gas Block for direct gas impingement AR-type rifles. Wilson Combat’s adjustable gas block replaces a standard AR gas block and allows you to tune your AR’s gas system for smoother cycling and enhanced reliability. Wilson Combat explains: “Adjusting your rifle’s gas port will lower or increase your bolt’s cyclic rate. This tailors your rifle’s performance to your unique needs.”
A simple adjustment of the hex screw at the front of the block modulates the gas volume allowing you to tune your rifle’s function to your favorite loads. This is very handy when shooting non-standard AR calibers, unusual hand-loads, or suppressed rifles. Adjustable Gas Block systems are sold as complete kits starting at $74.95. Wilson Combat offers two diameters (.750″, .937″) and three lengths (Carbine Length, Mid-Length, & Rifle Length), so you can select the right dimensions for your rifle configuration and barrel diameter. The blocks are Chromoly steel with a Melonited finish.
Adjustable Gas Block (Melonite Finish)
Adjustment Set Screw (Installed)
Straight Gas Tube (Installed, Gas Tube Pin Installed)
12″-Long Allen Wrench to Adjust Inside Handguard
$74.95 – $79.95
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Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) Annealing Machine Review
Review by Bill Gravatt
I had been following the progress of Alex and Matt Findlay with Annealing Made Perfect for almost three years as they pursued making the best annealing product for the private reloading market. The short explanation of why we anneal brass is to return the brass to a softer and consistent hardness after the brass has work-hardened from repetitive firing and sizing. As the President/co-owner of Sinclair International for over 21 years I saw a lot of products come through our doors that annealed brass but these products always seemed like they had very little supportive data and research behind them. Most of them were based on some type of torch system. The New Zealand-based father/son team of Alex and Matt spent these past three years addressing the challenging questions about annealing:
- What is the correct temperature to reach when annealing?
– How long should you take to get to that temp and how long should you remain there?
– How frequently should you anneal?
– Can you ruin your expensive brass?
– How do we make the process repeatable for the handloader?
– How do you accurately measure the case hardness?
They worked closely with the Electrical Engineering Department at the local University of Technology and invested a lot of capital into detailed metallurgical research. Their decision to use induction heating was because of its repeatability and the ability to reach exacting and consistent temperatures. Induction annealing is achieved by placing the cartridge in a magnetic field thereby inducing eddy currents within the brass and heating the brass without contacting the brass physically. To learn more, I suggest you visit the AmpAnnealing.com website. It is very informative.
Why should you anneal? If you are just a casual reloader, than annealing isn’t necessary but if you a serious wildcatter or competitive shooter you may want to consider it. More and more competitive shooters anneal their cases (not necessarily for adding life to the cases) to achieve more consistent pressures and velocities.
My first favorable impression was received by just opening the extremely well-packed shipping box. You could tell these guys take a great deal of pride in their product. The unit comes with three cartridge-specific pilots (you decide on which pilots), a shellholder collet, a power cord, a thorough, well-written, easy to follow instruction manual, and a USB cord for future software updates.
This machine is so easy to use that I was up and running within a few minutes. All I had to supply was the shells, the correct shell-holder and an aluminum pan to drop the hot cases into. I started annealing some unturned .308 Winchester cases (Lapua headstamp) that had four firings. First I screwed the pilot for .308 cases (#11) into the machine, placed my .308 shellholder into the supplied shellholder/collet and turned the power on. The display fired up right away and soon registered the program level that the machine was set to.
Since the machine uses induction heating, you need to set the heating level for the correct setting for the brass you are using. The alloy being used isn’t as important as the thickness or amount of brass in the neck and shoulder region. For example, Lapua and Norma have more brass in that area so the setting would be higher for these brands than Winchester brass. Also, if you have neck-turned brass, the setting would be reduced from the standard setting because there would be less mass in the air gap.
This manufacturer-produced video shows how the AMP annealing machine operates:
The settings are obtained by referring to the “Settings” section on the AMP website and are broken out by cartridge, brand, standard unturned cases, and then neck-turned cases with various amounts of wall thickness removed. A great service that AMP provides to the handloader is that you can send sample cases of your brass to them (U.S. location in Wolcott, Indiana) and they will test the hardness for you and send you the exact setting for your specific lot of brass.
My setting for unturned Lapua .308 Winchester brass was “92”. The buttons on the front of the machine allow you to adjust the setting quickly. After you set the program number, the setting is locked in after the first use until you change it again. I placed the first case in the shellholder, lowered the assembly down through the pilot and into position. I then hit the start button which illuminated immediately and then about 6 to 7 seconds later, the light went off signaling that heating was completed.
Now, be aware, these cases are extremely hot. I lifted the case out using the shellholder/collet and then dropped it into my aluminum pan. I then placed another case into the holder, put it into the machine and then repeated the process. Once I got the coordination down, I did 100 .308 Win cases in about 24 minutes. I did some 6mmBR cases later (Lapua) and annealed 100 cases in about 15 minutes at the “75” setting. I found myself raising my shop stool a little higher than normal so I was at a comfortable height in relationship to the top of the machine. Very easy to do — I actually had a student do a few cases with me and she had no problem at all following the instructions.
There is a thermal cut-off that prevents the machine from overheating. Depending on the setting, this can occur after 20 to 35 minutes of continuous use. When this has occurred, simply leave the machine on and the fans will cool it down so you can resume annealing. This isn’t surprising considering the amount of heat being generated.
All in all, I found this machine extremely easy to setup and operate. Now, does it work? I have test batches of brass that I am going to run over the chronograph in 10-round strings. I plan on running at least 10 strings of annealed brass and 10 strings of unannealed brass out of the same lot, same number of reloadings/firings and out of the same gun. I plan on alternating annealed strings and unannealed strings with a cooling off period every 20 rounds. When I do testing, I have my wife pre-label my batches as Batch A and B so I won’t know what rounds I am shooting until I get back from the range. I’ll make the results available as soon as I can. My expectation is that velocities will be more consistent based on my understanding of the lab results that the Findlays have achieved with their Annealing Made Perfect machine. For more information, visit their website at AmpAnnealing.com.
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In our Shooters’ Forum, you’ll find a lengthy thread about accuracy problems with a Savage LRPV, chambered in 6mmBR. The gun would repeatedly split groups at 100 yards, and at 300 yards, the “flyers” would open up the groups to 1.5 MOA or larger. Interestingly, the factory test target (at right) showed a split group — not a good sign.
The gun’s owner, forum member LR_Shooter, tried a variety of tweaks: “I did this, done that… [changed] torque, tang floated, bedded action, recut chamber, and [adjusted firing pin]”. But nothing really helped. Frustrated, LR_Shooter asked his fellow Forum members for help. Much advice was proffered, including the novel idea of removing the middle action screw in the Savage 3-screw target action. Some of the advice proved helpful, but none of the suggested remedies produced a major improvement. This rifle, out of the box, tossed flyers and no amount of tweaking (or changes in shooting technique) really cured the basic problem. That is, until, the factory barrel got replaced…
New Criterion Pre-Fit Barrel Works Wonders
LR_Shooter acquired a Criterion pre-fit barrel from Jim Briggs at Northland Shooters Supply (NSS). These pre-fits are designed for easy installation with the standard Savage barrel nut. Wouldn’t you know it, with a new 30″ heavy-contour barrel on the LRPV, the gun started shooting way better. No more crazy fliers, no more split groups, no more excessive vertical. And the improvement came without any other major modifications. LR_Shooter reports: “I got a replacement barrel from Jim at NSS. It is a 30″ bull Criterion barrel. So far, without playing with torque screws and having my old setup… I’m very satisfied with the barrel I got. Now I have no problem getting [groups] under 0.25 MOA. Finally this thing can shoot!” The targets below, shot with the new Criterion barrel, speak for themselves. The left target was shot at 100 yards, while the target on the right was shot at 300 yards (very impressive).
Targets Shot with Savage LRPV Fitted with Criterion Barrel
Moral of the Story — Sometimes A New Barrel Really Is the Right Solution
All of us have struggled at times with a rifle that won’t live up to expectations. This Editor personally struggled for over a year with a .260 Rem Savage with a factory tube. The gun tended to split groups and the POI walked as the barrel heated. I tried one powder/primer combination after another, working through a variety of seating depths over many months. I was persistent. Out of stubbornness, I just believed that sooner or later I’d find the magic load.
Well folks, sometimes there’s really nothing you can do about a sub-par barrel. It is what it is. To really improve a gun’s accuracy (particularly a gun with a factory tube), you may need to open your wallet and get a quality aftermarket barrel. Spending months trying one recipe after another may simply be an overwhelming waste of powder, bullets, and your precious time.
Albert Einstein supposedly said: “Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” Well that sort of describes my efforts with my .260 Rem. Once I had enough evidence that my barrel split groups no matter what load combo (and seating depth) I tried, it was time to pony up for a new barrel. When I did finally screw on a nice PacNor 3-groove Supermatch, that Savage suddenly became a true tack-driver. As re-chambered in 6mmBR with the Pac-Nor, in calm conditions, my Savage will now consistently shoot in the twos with heavy bullets, and it can sometimes dip down into the ones with Berger 80gr flat-base bullets. The moral of the story here is simple — don’t waste weeks or months chasing your tail with a barrel that just won’t deliver (after a reasonable amount of testing). Save up for a custom barrel, get it chambered properly, and stop your cycle of frustration.
Contact Information for Northland Shooters Supply:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (that is Q.com not G.com)
Phone: (763) 682-4296
Fax: (763) 682-6098
P.O. Box 333
Buffalo, MN 55313
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Wouldn’t it be cool if you could shoot .22 LR rimfire ammo from your regular hunting/tactical rifle. That would be ideal for low-cost training right? Well, this IS possible, provided you have a rifle that was designed with a .22 LR conversion in mind. One such firearm is the Sauer 202 from Germany. This impressive centerfire rifle is available with a factory-engineered .22 LR rimfire conversion. Read on to learn how it works…
Sauer 202 Rifle: .308 Win/6.5×55 with .22 LR Conversion
Forum member “Tooms” sent us a report on his very special Sauer 202 with a .22 LR conversion kit. Sauer 202 rifles feature a “Quick-change barrel system”. The barrel is clamped into the receiver with crossbolts providing tension. This allows barrels to be swapped in a few minutes with simple tools. Tooms, from Denmark, explains: “The rifle began as a Sauer 202 Avantgarde Gold in .308 Win. I have added a 6.5×55 match barrel, plus a wide flat-bottom match fore-arm with rail for handstop and bipod. The .22 LR system [originally] cost $1000.00 [including] barrel, bolt, magazine well assembly, and magazine. The barrel is attached by three cross-bolts and the magazine well assembly is attached by one screw that fits into the barrel.”
Using this “Quick-change system”, Tooms can easily remove his centerfire barrel and swap in a .22 LR barrel. Then he places the factory conversion kit into the magazine well. This kit provides a rimfire bolt, a fitted sleeve for the rimfire bolt, and a magazine housing. This is a full Sauer factory-designed system so it works flawlessly. With the bolt closed, you can see the “new” .22 LR chamber in the front section of the loading port. On the silver section of the bolt you can see the rimfire extractor on the side.
The 22LR Conversion Really Works
The Sauer 202 Varmint rifle shoots very well with the 22LR conversion, as the 50m target at right shows. Though quite expensive, the conversion kit essentially transforms your centerfire rifle into fully functional, mag-fed precision rimfire. That makes the Sauer 202 much more versatile as a hunting platform. It also allows you to cross-train with inexpensive ammo. You don’t have to purchase another scope, trigger, or stock. And you enjoy the exact same stock fit and ergonomics whether you’re shooting centerfire or rimfire. In some countries where gun ownership is severely restricted, it may be easier, from a legal standpoint, to purchase a 22LR conversion kit than to obtain a permit for a second rifle.
To learn more about the complete line of Sauer 202 rifles visit the J.P. Sauer USA website. You’ll also find more information on the primary J.P. Sauer & Sohn German website, www.Sauer.de.
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High Power and F-Class shooters have a ton of gear they need to carry out to the firing lines. To do the hauling, you can certainly purchase a factory-made, purpose-built cart that folds up and has all the bells and whistles. The Creedmoor Sports CRC-1 (photo right) is a proven, quality product that works great. You’ll find these used by top shooters at Camp Perry. But the Creedmoor CRC-1 cart costs $499.95.
For a fraction of that price ($59.99), plus a few dollars more for do-it-yourself enhancements, you can have a heavy-duty cart that will haul all your gear just fine, though it doesn’t fold up. In the top photo is a Harbor Freight Welding Cart we saw at the Berger Southwest Nationals. This rig is carrying a rifle in hard gun case, bipod, folding chair, shooting mat, tripod, spotting scope, rear sand-bag, and ammo box — that’s a lot of gear!
Check out the Harbor Freight Welding Cart, item #65939. This cart is ON SALE right now for just $59.99. Overall size is 29-1/2″ L x 20″ W x 49″ H, and width between side rails is 18″. The wheels (with tires) are 20 3/4″ in diameter for smooth rolling. Consider that, if you made your own cart from scratch you could easily pay $30.00 or more just for the large-diameter wheels and axle. Do note — this cart has air-filled tires. Be sure to inflate before you go to the Range!
As sold, the Harbor Freight Welding Cart can benefit from upgrades for range use. But with a few bungee cords (and some creativity), the cart can be adapted pretty easily to hauling your gun gear. If you want to enhance the basic cart, it’s easy to add plastic side-panels on the bottom unit, and fit a barrel-holding system on the cross-tube. This ensures rifles and gear won’t flop forward. (A small piece of wood under the bottom panel provides a bit of extra lift that will keep the bottom plate out of the dirt and gravel.)
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Competition Machine’s Gary Eliseo is a very smart designer as well as a talented shooter. The inventor/builder of the popular Competition Machine Tubegun chassis systems, Gary has come up with something new, which he calls the PickleForks. These are rails that fit to the sides of the tubular fore-end/handguard on his chassis systems. This allows you to use a pedestal-style front rest for F-Class competition. It also provides a much more stable platform for load testing, varmint hunting, or any kind of rest-assisted precision shooting. These new PickleForks transform a Tubegun into an ultra-stable, straight-tracking rig when used with a competition-style front rest.
Gary explains: “Now you can have the same super low-boreline, long ‘wheelbase’ and vertical sides of our innovative F1 F-Class chassis system for your tube chassis. The new PickleForks attach directly to the sides of the F-Class/Tactical fore-ends, no modifications are required. They are very rigid with no flex or twist and make the rifle track like it’s on rails.” The new Eliseo Competition Machine PickleForks are offered for a very reasonable $70.00 per pair, with Cerakote finish. (You get two metal units, one for each side of the fore-arm). For more information, visit www.GotXRing.com or call (928) 649-0742.
New Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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If you’re the kind of guy who likes to get his brass shiny inside and out, then wet-tumbling with stainless media gets the job done. For heavy-duty wet-tumbling jobs, it used to be that you had to buy a Thumler’s Tumbler and then figure out your own solution for media separation. Now there are other options on the market which may be more convenient for many users.
Lyman has just introduced its Cyclone Rotary Tumbler. For under $190.00 on Amazon.com, this ships as a complete system with everything you need — even the stainless media and media separators. The Tumbler unit itself holds up to 1000 pieces of .223 Rem brass and features a rubber lining to protect your cases and reduce noise during operation.
Conveniently, a built-in timer can be set from 0 to 3 hours, shutting off automatically. The drum features a large, screw-on end-cap to allow easy loading and unloading. In addition, the tumbler comes with two special sifter pans that make it easy to separate pins from brass. Simply empty the tumbler into the stacked pans. The first pan catches the brass, while the second, finer screen pan catches the pins. Very clever. The Cyclone Tumbler system ships with five pounds of stainless media pins and a sample packet of Brass Cleaning Solution.
Video shows Lyman Cyclone wet tumbling system in action:
TECH TIP: Wet-tumbling brass with stainless media really works. With enough “run-time” the process will definitely remove stubborn carbon on the inside of cases. However, some folks observe that case-mouths can occasionally get peened during the process. This is not a big deal but it is worth noting. In addition, with large flash-hole cases, it is possible (though rare) for a pin to stick in a flash hole. Therefore you should inspect every case before loading in a progressive press or bulk-priming cases with a bench tool.
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Building your own portable shooting bench is a great do-it-yourself project. You can build a sturdy bench for well under $100 in materials. Compare that to some deluxe factory-built benches which may cost $600.00 or more.
FREE Bench Plans on the Web
You’ll find a wide assortment of home-built shooting bench designs (both portable and fixed) on the internet. Renovation Headquarters has links to FREE Plans and building instructions for fourteen (14) different shooting benches. There are all-wood shooting bench designs as well as benches that combine a wood top with a metal sub-frame or legs.
Heavy Wood Bench That Converts to Three Sections for Transport
In addition to the fourteen benches mentioned above, here is an interesting break-down bench design. Call it a “semi-portable” bench. The legs and frame are made from stout 4×4 post segments so the bench is fairly heavy. However, this bench can break down into three (3) sections for easier transport to and from the range. Dado-cut channels assure proper top alignment. This might be a good choice if you plan a multi-day excursion to a location without fixed benches. This three-leg bench design can be made from easy-to-locate materials. Note: The dimensions of this bench are are larger than typical fixed benches to accommodate 50 BMGs and other big rifles. CLICK HERE for more details.
Here’s a smart invention — a foldable cardboard cone. With this innovative Target Cone you can easily carry a target-holder wherever you go. The Target Cone from Re-Nine Safety transports flat so it can be easily stowed in the trunk of your car (or even under a seat). When you’re ready to use it, simply fold the flaps to create a self-supporting cone with pre-printed targets on one side. Place a rock on the base to hold it steady. The Target Cone can be used by itself or, as shown below, you can attach other targets, such as Re-Nine’s new Silhouette Target (below right).
We think this is a great innovation. Keep a couple Target Cone flats in the back of your car or truck and you’ll always have a target support. For spur-of-the-moment range sessions, this is much easier than toting around a big target frame. The Re-Nine Safety Target Cones retail for about $5.00.
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For a few years now, Lyman has offered the Case Prep Xpress, an all-in-one case prep center that chamfers necks (inside and out), cleans and uniforms primer pockets, brushes the inside of case-necks, and uniforms flash holes. The unit can also ream out the crimps on military brass. However, the Lyman Case Prep Xpress does NOT trim cases.
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress comes with all the necessary tools (listed above), so you don’t have to purchase extra accessories. The five (5) gear-driven heads on the unit are powered by a high torque, low-speed motor ideal for case prep operations. Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress features handy storage areas for accessories, a removable brass shavings dump pan, and a handy clean-up brush.
Sinclair Int’l video clearly illustrates all case prep functions. Worth watching.
In the 3.5 years that this product has been on the market it has been a strong seller. If you’re prepping hundreds of cases, this unit will save considerable time and reduce hand/finger fatigue. While the Case Prep Xpress is not as sturdy as the metal-bodied Hornady prep center, the Lyman unit offers a lot of functionality for the money ($115-$125 normal price, and sometimes around $100 on sale).
Lyman Case Prep Xpress Pros and Cons
Quite Affordable (under $120)
Compatible with RCBS and Redding Tool-heads
Removable Bin for Shavings
Four Brush Sizes: .25, .30, .38, .45
Tool-heads Not Particularly Sharp
No Case Trim Function
No Flash-hole Uniformer
No Top Dust-Cover
Only 1-Year Warranty
Reviews by Verified Purchasers
“Case prep is the most tedious and boring aspect for hand loading in my opinion. The process center makes all the steps in prepping the case very quick and with consistent results. It has reduced the time required to do these steps with separate tools by easily 50% if not more. Highly recommended.” — Brandon G.
“Quiet and capable. Worth every penny. I adapted a Lee Cutter and Lock Stud, to cut case lengths, and I can fly through my brass. I can do so much more brass without getting the sore, cramped-up hands.” — Dean Ellis
“This unit has plenty of torque, and my unit is very quiet. This unit will also work with tools made by RCBS and Hornady, or anything else with 8-32 threads. My Redding tools (specifically, my primer pocket uniformers) do in fact fit on this machine. This unit is certainly worth the money, and will revolutionize the way you reload by saving you massive amounts of time and wear on your hands/fingers.” — Mule
“A simple machine to perform complex solutions. I was up and running in about 10 minutes flat. This thing has made my life of reloading so much easier. I do wish there was a trimmer included, but I have a manual one from L.E. Wilson.” — Richard Niles
You can find Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress for under $120.00 at Brownells and Midsouth, making it much less expensive than the larger Hornady Case Prep Center, which runs about $365.00. The Hornady unit is beefier, and will trim cases. However, we think the compact Lyman unit makes sense for guys who already have a good case trimmer, such as a Forster or Wilson. The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is hundreds of dollars less than the Hornady prep center. The money you save will buy lots of bullets and brass.
Case Prep Xpress $115.45 at Midsouth
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is sold by most of the big vendors. The best current price we found was at Midsouth Shooters Supply, which sells the Lyman unit for $115.45.
Gear Review Tip from Edlongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Father’s Day is Sunday, June 19, 2016, less than a week away. If your father enjoys the shooting sports, here are some recommended items that our staff owns or uses. All selections cost less than $100.00. It’s not too late to order. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can get two-day shipping in most areas of the country. For non-Prime members, most items will ship in 3-4 days. That’s enough time to get the gift to “Pops” by next Sunday.
TEN Great Father’s Day Gifts for Dad Under $100.00
The light-weight, compact RCBS Partner Press is ideal for loading at the range. It can easily be mounted to a bench with C-Clamps.
This is an excellent shooting mat — it is very well made with good padding/insulation. On gravel, concrete, or hard-packed ground this is way more comfortable than typical mats. It is wide enough and easy to fold. Any Dad who shoots would love this.
We’ve used Bog-Pod shooting supports on varmint hunts. They’re great for down-angle shots from a ridge or kneeling shots to get above terrain obstacles. Bog-Pods adjust from 17″ to 39″.
This battery pack can charge your cellphone, tablet, or even a chronograph. Our IT manager uses this battery pack to run his LabRadar Chrono. He also uses it as an emergency charger when camping and traveling. It has three outputs, allowing multi-device recharging.
Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. The 22-CH Motorola MH230R Two-Way Radio is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios.
Plano’s AirGlide case is a unique, top-loading rifle case. Ideal for benchrest guns with wide forearms, the AirGlide case puts no side-pressure on scopes. We like the ease of loading. This fits rifles up to about 27-28″ barrels.
The versatile MTM Range Box includes cradles so you can do gun maintenance while at the range. A lift-out tray holds small items such as patches and jags. This is a durable product that can hold ammo and other gear.
Your Editor owns this watch and wears it for all special occasions. It is a very handsome quartz dress watch crafted by Orient, a division of Seiko. The hands and case are rose-gold color. At just under 8mm, the watch is very thin and comfortable to wear. The 40.5mm case features an elegant retro-styled domed crystal. This watch is also available with a silver-tone case and white face for around $130.00.
This cleverly-designed Shotshell thermos will make Dad smile. Styled just like a 12ga shotgun shell, the Stansport thermal bottle holds 25 oz. of hot or cold liquids.
This rugged 4-pistol case will hold your handguns and magazines securely. Airline-approved for checked luggage, this lockable case has a lifetime warranty. An 0-ring seal makes the case 100% waterproof and dustproof.
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Until now, if you wanted good hearing protection with the ability to hear conversations and range commands, you’d employ a pair of electronic muffs with sound-cut-out circuitry*. Those electronic muffs worked but they were bulky, hot, and could interfere with your cheek weld. Now there’s a new alternative — an “Earbud Headset” that offers NRR 31-rated hearing protection along with the ability to hear conversations.
The innovative, patent-pending Razor-X Earbud Headset from Walker’s® could be a “game changer” in the hearing protection field. The noise-activated, sound protection hardware is contained in a padded collar that fits comfortably around your neck. Small earbuds with foam tips fit in your ear providing 31 dB of noise protection. The microphones in the headset allow you to hear normal conversations and range commands. Two versions of the Razor headset will be offered: Basic Razor-X ($119.00 MSRP) and the deluxe Razor-XV ($159.99 MSRP) with Bluetooth capability.
• Retractable Digital Ear buds
• 31 dB NRR (Noise Reduction Rating)
• Sound-Activated Compression (SAC)
• Rechargeable 250mAH battery with 10 HR run-time.
• Hi Gain omnidirectional microphones.
• HD speakers in the ear buds for good audio quality.
• Includes 3 pairs of 12mm foam tips (S/M/L) and two pairs of 16mm coated foam tips (M/L)
• Auto-Shut Off (low power mode) after 4 to 6 hours.
• Integrated Micro USB port with charging cord.
• AC wall adapter with USB port for charging.
• Patent Pending Technology
• MSRP: $119.99
Walker’s product information states:
The Razor-X incorporates a neck-worn device featuring comfortable, retractable ear buds. The “behind the neck” design allows for ZERO interference with you or your weapon, allowing you to focus on your target. These … patent-pending buds allow the user to be in loud environments without damaging their hearing, providing an impressive 31 dB of noise reduction.
The Hi Gain omni-directional microphones provide clear sound enhancement for enjoyable conversations on the range or to hear firearm instructors’ directions while training. The Razor-X HD digital speakers provide a wide range audio quality that enhances the users experience. The kit includes two different styles of noise-reducing foam tips in a variety of sizes to ensure a proper fit for maximum noise reduction. The Razor-X is equipped with an auto-shut off (low power mode) after 4 to 6 hours. The timer will reset and the unit will wake up after any button is pressed. An AC wall adapter with USB port and a one-meter micro USB cord is provided for convenient charging.
*There are some high-tech “in-ear” electronic systems with noise-activated protection, but these are typically quite expensive and not commonly used by shooters.
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We know that many of our readers will be headed to Camp Perry soon to compete at the National Matches. Most Camp Perry rifle shooters will load their ammunition in advance and then pack the ammo in their car/truck for the drive to Perry. What’s the best way to hold that precious ammo? Well we like the big, lockable ammo crates from MTM. We think these are more way convenient than old mil-surplus metal cans, which are pretty narrow, limiting your options.
These stackable, lockable “Ammo Crates” hold up to 85 pounds of shooting supplies. Choose from two different versions. The Medium (4.5″-deep) Ammo Crate is good for smaller boxes of bullets, factory ammo, or shotshells, while the Large (7.25″-deep) Ammo Crate is ideal for packing the plastic 50-count and 100-count plastic ammo boxes. We like the Large-size, deeper crate for the added capacity since we typical carry our cartridges in the large 100-count MTM boxes with carry handles.
Purchasers like these big brown Ammo Crates. Read the user reviews on Amazon. One purchaser (B-Lo) states: “This thing is sweet and fully-loaded doesn’t flex and has good, tight locking lid/handles. A must have for anyone looking to store or transport larger quantities of ammo”. Another verified purchaser (Go-Navy) wrote: “5 Stars — I have purchased four of these over the last several months. Construction, dimensions, lock ability are all outstanding. When I saw them on sale today … I grabbed another four.”
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The BarrelCool is an innovative, compact barrel-cooling device that also serves as an empty-chamber safety flag. A small, battery-powered fan drives cooling air through the barrel’s bore. Yes it really works — manufacturer-provided data shows that BarrelCool significantly reduces the time it takes to cool down a hot barrel. Look at the chart above to see what to expect.
In the past, folks have tried various methods to cool barrels: water flushed through the bore, CO2 tanks, even battery-operated fish pumps. BarrelCool is a simpler, less costly, and much handier solution. Priced at $34.99, this small device can definitely save you time at the range. Potentially it can save you money by extending barrel life. To see how Barrelcool works, visit BarrelCool.com. There you’ll find video demos of BarrelCool units in both bolt-action and AR-type rifles.
BarrelCool Range Reports from Forum Members
“Early adopters” of BarrelCool have been impressed so far. Forum member Comrade Terry said: “At the range, I spend a good bit of time waiting for the barrel to cool between shot strings. I fired my usual 50 rounds today, and (though it was 85° today) I was able to leave the range 30-40 minutes earlier than usual thanks to the BarrelCool. I like it!” Another Forum member, J-Rod, reports “Did some load development on my new rifle Friday. This used to take forever due to the barrel heating up outside in full sun (90° ambient). I’d say this little gem cut about two hours off my normal shooting time. I got home early and the wife was happy — what’s that worth?”
How and Why BarrelCool Was Invented
BarrelCool originated from the idea that cease-fire periods would be a great time to cool a barrel. During cease-fires, most ranges and matches require empty chamber flags in the gun so that the range officer and everyone on the firing line can see visually that the gun is in a safe condition.
BarrelCool inventor Bryan Sumoba explains the advantage of Barrelcool: “The challenge with the previous barrel-cooling methods is one would have to be present to run the device, it required additional steps such as running patches down the bore, or it gets in the way of a required empty-chamber flag. BarrelCool now allows the shooter to cool the barrel down simply and easily while having the empty-chamber flag in the firearm.”
Sumoba says BarrelCool significantly shortens the time needed to cool down a hot barrel: “In controlled testing, it took about half the time to cool the barrel from 140 degrees F to 100 degrees F (more in some cases depending on the barrel contour/length and ambient temperatures). Our customers also report significant reductions in the time it takes to cool down a hot barrel. At a recent 3×1000 F-Class match in Sacramento, one shooter fired 25 shots out of his 7mm RSAUM and got the barrel to the point where it was too hot to touch. In most cases, the barrel would still be very warm/hot by the time the next relay started. We placed BarrelCool in his firearm and within 30 minutes, the barrel was back to near-ambient temperature. Other observers mentioned that the air coming out of the muzzle with BarrelCool in the firearm felt like a mini blow dryer.”
Using three (3) CR123A batteries, a BarrelCool unit can operate for 7-10+ hours. BarrelCool fits both AR-style rifles as well as most bolt action rifles. The Hi-Viz yellow color stands out on the firing line and BarrelCool is small enough to fit in most range or gun bags. Manufactured in the USA, Barrelcool can benefit competition, precision, or recreational shooters who need to cool down their barrels more rapidly, while displaying “safe condition” on the firing line. For more information, or to order for $34.99, visit www.barrelcool.com.
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Nightforce’s 42x44mm fixed-power Benchrest scope mounted on James Mock’s 6mm Dasher.
Nightforce 42x44mm Comp Scope for Benchrest Shooters, by James Mock
Among long range shooters the name Nightforce has long commanded respect because of NF’s great optics and durability. However, the Benchrest disciplines that require either a 10-lb or 10.5-lb rifle had to forego the use of the Nightforce scopes because of their two+ pounds of weight. Some used the Benchrest model in the Heavy Varmint category (13.5-lb max weight) but not many in the Light Varmint, Sporter, or Hunter categories. That may change thanks to a new scope from Nightforce.
The folks at Nightforce Optics listened to benchrest shooters in the lighter classes and developed a new, light weight 42x44mm Competition Scope that weighs just 20.7 ounces. This scope comes as a fixed-power 42X and is without some of the “bells and whistles” of its larger cousins.
Key features of this scope important to Benchrest shooters are: ED glass, 42X power, 44mm objective lens, 88mm eye relief (~3.5 inches), 45 MOA elevation adjustment, 35 MOA windage, 10 MOA per revolution, 2.87-foot field of view at 100 yards, quick focus, click value of .125 inch, parallax adjustment from 10 meters (~33 ft.) to infinity, and an overall length of 15.2 inches. Also, you can set a “zero” easily. After obtaining conventional zero simply loosen one set screw per turret and set the dial at zero.
I received this scope on Monday, February 15th and mounted it on my BAT-action 6mm Dasher and zeroed it for a 600-yard match on Saturday, February 20th. My first impression of this scope was the amazing image produced by the ED glass. Although it is made with a 44mm objective lens (to save weight), one cannot say that the image is not clear. The image is outstanding from edge to edge and the image color is true. Nightforce offers two reticle options: the CTR-2 and CTR-3. Both reticles feature .016″ MOA vertical and horizontal lines, but the CTR-2 includes a .095 MOA center dot.
It took a small amount of faith to shoot the scope in a 600-yard match a few days after receiving it. Although I had shot only a few rounds with the scope mounted on my BAT Dasher, I knew that the Nightforce reputation was solid and my results would depend on the “nut” at the end of the rifle.
At the match, I fired a few shots to confirm zero and really appreciated the scope’s crisp 1/8th-MOA clicks. The adjustments were spot on at the 600-yard range and there was no problem getting my zero at the 600-yard distance. Remember, I had not shot at 600 yards with this scope, but I dialed in 11.5 MOA from my 100 yard zero and the resulting impact was correct. Each eight clicks delivered a precise one-MOA movement (about 6 inches) on the 600-yard target. The picture below is at the range as I was preparing for the first relay.
Our 600-yard match (non-registered) features 20 record rounds fired on the IBS target with steel gongs for sighters. The winter mirage can be brutal in this part of the country, but the Nightforce handled it without problems. Before the match was over, the left to right wind caused me to dial in two minutes (~12 inches) of windage and the scope was precise and I posted my 3rd best score with 191/200. The very fine .095″ dot allows for great precision in aiming.
Actual target shot by James Mock at 300 yards using Nightforce 42x44mm scope. James won the match.
My next match to use the scope was a 300-yard score match on March 5th. I had one chance to zero my rifle for this match and again I had no trouble changing the zero with the crisp, repeatable adjustments of this fine scope. The day was cool with bright sunshine and switchy tail winds. The new Nightforce handled the conditions very well, even with the horrible mirage. We shot two, 10-shot targets on the IBS 300-yard target. I shot 99-3X on the first and 99-3X on the second to win the match by one point over Mitch Young. Above is my second target, and the new scope let me see every shot through the mirage. There were many others who said that they could not see their bullet holes.
Summary of Nightforce 42x44mm Review
This 42x44mm optic is everything that I want in a scope. The 1/8th-MOA adjustments are crisp and repeatable. The center dot is small (.095 MOA). The image is sharp and clear all the way to the edges, and the ED glass provides a sensational image. The turret markings are distinct and there are 10 MOA per revolution. And you get all this in a scope that weighs 20.7 ounces with a 44mm objective lens. The low weight makes this scope viable for all benchrest classes. I believe the short range Benchrest shooters will welcome this scope and pay the sales price of $1742.00 (MSRP is $1795.00). Good shooting — James Mock
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When Berry’s Bench Topper was first released a couple years ago, it proved very popular with hand-loaders looking for extra space on their bench. This unique all-metal riser lets you place a reloading press above your bench surface, clearing valuable space.
We’re pleased to report that the Bench Topper is back in production. The Bench Topper, from Berry’s Manufacturing, is a sturdy platform that holds a loading press and storage bins in a raised position above your bench — effectively creating additional room for scales, trimmers, and component storage below. The $111.30 Bench Topper (Midsouth item 037-00191) can bolted to your bench, or it can be secured with C-Clamps (for easy removal). Do you load at the range? The Bench Topper can be easily transported in your vehicle, providing a handy platform for your press and powder measure.
Bench Topper Specs:
6 x 20 x 1/4″
10 x 20 x 1/4″
Height: 11.5 Inches
Weight: 12.5 Pounds
Berry’s Bench Topper is crafted from CNC-machined aluminum and powder-coated black for durability. It comes with two aluminum hangers for storage bins for bullets or brass. All fasteners are recessed for a clean work surface. NOTE: The Bench Topper must be assembled by the purchaser, and YOU MUST DRILL YOUR OWN HOLES for installation of your press or other hardware. This requires a few minutes of initial set-up time, but this allows a secure, custom installation for any brand of reloading press.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome user submissions.
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The Savage Arms A17 rifle has been named the 2016 Rifle of the Year by American Hunter Magazine, which awarded Savage Arms a Golden Bullseye Award. “Savage Arms has created a modern rimfire rifle deserving of a 2016 Golden Bullseye Award” said Doug Hamlin of NRA Publications. Savage Arms President Al Kasper declared: “We’re incredibly proud to receive the American Hunter Golden Bullseye Award, and with this recognition, we’re confident we have produced a category-leading firearm.”
The A17 is a 17 HMR semi-automatic with delayed-blowback action. Previous semi-auto 17 HMR designs struggled to cope with the extra power of the 17 HMR cartridge compared with a .22 LR. Savage solved that problem using a delayed blowback mechanism with retracting locking lug. You can see how that works in the video below.
Watch this Video — You’ll Learn Something about Semi-Auto Rimfires
This Savage-produced video demonstrates how the 17 HMR Savage A17 rifle works. The video includes nicely-done 3D Graphics that illustrate the function of the A17’s delayed-blowback action with “interrupter lug”. Using “X-Ray View” animation, the video shows what happens INSIDE the chamber as rounds are fired. The video also explains how the 17 HMR presents a tougher engineering challenge than the lower-pressure .22 LR cartridge.
Varminter.com Savage A17 Field Test and Hunt Report
Ammo Accuracy Results from Varminter.com Field Test:
NOTE: This entire test was performed without cleaning the barrel. For each ammo type, ten (10) 5-shot groups were done. That’s seven times 50, for a total of 350 rounds. The gun used Savage’s original, first-generation polymer A17 stock. Some folks have reported better accuracy with the late-model A17s in the laminated wood thumbhole stock or the laminated wood Sporter Stock (shown below).
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When developing loads, it is important to know the true internal capacity of your cases, both fired and “as FL-sized”. In particular, when using the QuickLOAD program, it is vital to determine true case capacity. The default case capacity values listed by QuickLOAD may be off half a grain (or more) because brass from different manufacturers can vary considerably in capacity. Case capacity is a very important variable that will affect the pressure of a load and the velocity of your bullets.
To determine the true internal capacity of your cases, first weigh an empty cartridge case, then fill the case with water (all the way to the top of the neck) and weigh the case again. The difference in weight is your H20 capacity in grains. But how do you keep the H20 from flowing out the bottom? When measuring fired, unsized cases, you can simply leave the spent primer in the pocket. However, if you want to measure new brass or “as-FL sized” cases that have been deprimed, you’d have to insert a spent primer to “stem the tide”. Until now that is… 21st Century Shooting sells a great little $11.99 tool that plugs the bottom of the case so you can measure H20 capacity with ease.
When we saw 21st Century’s Primer Pocket Plug we thought “That’s smart — why didn’t someone think about that a long time ago?”. This handy “end-cap” lets you quickly measure multiple new brass cases or deprimed FL-sized cases so you can get an average H20 capacity. The primer pocket plugs are NOT case-specific (they feature an O-ring that fits the pocket). One version will work with all small-primer-pocket cases, while another works with all large-primer-pocket cartridge types. Price is $11.99 for either small-pocket or large-pocket version.
NOTE: If you want to measure H20 capacity on fired, sized brass, but don’t want to shell out the money for the tool (or re-insert a spent primer), here’s a simple suggestion. When you size your case, first remove the decapping rod from the die. Then you can FL-size the case without removing the primer. Of course, you will eventually have to knock the primer out, and that requires putting the decapping rod back in the die and running the case through a second time. To avoid that hassle, the Primer Pocket Plug may be worth the twelve bucks over the long haul.
Product Find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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What was old, is new again… RCBS has just introduced an all-new balance beam scale, the RCBS M1000 Scale. RCBS claims this magnetic-dampened scale will weigh up to 1,000 Grains with +/- 0.1-grain accuracy (one-tenth of a grain is about three kernels of Varget). The new M1000 mechanical scale features a magnetic damping system for fast readings, and maintenance-free movement. A newly-designed “tip-proof” pan should ease powder loading. Notably, the M1000 scale was designed to work in both right-handed and left-handed configurations. Curtis Smith, RCBS Product Director, explains: “For those who choose mechanical scales, accuracy and reliability are top priorities. The new M1000 scale provides exactly that for both left- and right-handed users.” The scale is quite affordable — it is available now at Amazon.com for $129.59. (MSRP is $159.45.) For more information, visit www.RCBS.com.
Triple Poise Operation with 1000-Grain Capacity
The scale has some interesting features, including three poises (weight index adjusters). The main poise goes to 1000 grains, while the medium poise runs up to 20 grains. The most precise small poise spans one grain in tenth of a grain increments. The rated capacity of the RCBS M1000 scale is 1000 grains.
Multiple Reference Pointers for Target Weights
The M1000 also features multiple pointers which can be used to set target weight ranges. This speeds up operations. According to the M1000 Users Manual: “[There are] three separate pointers for easy reading of over and under loads. The center Pointer is what is used when balancing the scale and establishes a ZERO Balance. The top and bottom Pointers represent approximately 1.5 grain above and below target load. The top and bottom pointers allow the user to quickly weigh loads knowing that if the beam pointer is oscillating between the top and bottom pointers the load is within +/- 1.5 grains. Having top and bottom pointers also eliminates the need to move the small poise to check powder charge variations.”
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