Willa-Hyde, producers of firearms concealment storage systems, has introduced a handsome 6-foot tall chest of draws that hides firearms on either side. The side storage compartments, which can each hold multiple long-guns and 3-4 handguns, slide out to reveal their hidden contents. These slide-outs are secured by a steel pin locking system, which can only be unlocked with the provided rare earth magnet key.
True Capacity — the manufacturer Willa-Hyde claims this chest will hold a dozen long guns (six per side). We think 7-8 total long guns is more realistic.
When fully closed, the chest of drawers, crafted from Adler wood, is indistinguishable from any other piece of fine furniture.
Dimensions are 72″ tall x 33″ wide x 19″ deep, and the chest of drawers weighs 240 pounds. Price is $1995.00 plus a $250.00 delivery charge.
Crafted in Texas, the Willa-Hide storage cabinets were inspired by the inventor’s wish to keep his firearms away from inquisitive children: “Concealed gun cabinets have quickly become a ‘must have’ for any gun owner. [This concept] began when our co-founder wanted an easy way to keep his granddaughter from finding his guns, but at the same time still be able to get to them fast and easily when needed.” For more information on the Gun Chest of Drawers and other Willa-Hyde products (such as the Hidden Storage Wall Mirror), visit www.Willa-Hide.com.
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We like the swivel (“S”) version of the Harris bipod. The swivel (actually tilting) capability of the bipod allows you to tilt (cant) your rifle around the bore axis to level the rifle on a side slope or uneven ground. Unfortunately, the swivel tensioner (friction knob) that comes standard with a Harris swivel bipod leaves much to be desired. The tensioning knob is hard to adjust with your fingers. The small knurled ring doesn’t offer enough leverage. When it’s tight enough to prevent movement it’s hard to release. For this reason, many folks replace the standard knurled ring with a rotating adjustment lever with push-button release. This works great and is easy to install.
While you can buy levers from various sources, Eabco.com has a tried-and-true system that works with both Harris and Caldwell XLA-S swivel bipods: “Our new S-Lever Tension Lever is an economical replacement for the friction tensioning knob to give you much better control and leverage.” For just $12.95, Eabco.com delivers all the parts you need for the upgrade. Shown below are instructions for installing the Eabco S-Lever.
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Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently reviewed Lee Precision’s new lever-operated, bench-mounted priming tool. The Lee Auto Bench Prime features a hopper-style primer feeder set at an angle. Gavin likes the tool, reporting that primers feed well and seat fully with very little effort. And switching from large to small primer size (or vice-versa) is quick and easy. Overall, Gavin says the Lee Auto Bench Prime has earned a place in his reloading room: “This is now my tool of choice for off-press priming. The Lee Auto Bench Prime is easier to use than a hand priming tool, and more efficient.”
Watch UltimateReloader.com’s Lee Auto Bench Prime Gear Review
Gavin tells us that the system worked well: “All in all, I’m really liking the LEE Auto Bench Prime. In the video, I prime both small primer .223 Rem brass and large primer .308 Win cases. I was impressed with how easy it was to seat the primers, and how quickly the process goes.”
How the Lee Auto Bench Prime Performs
Gavin had three important “take-aways” from his initial loading sessions with the Lee Auto Bench Prime:
1. I was surprised by the low effort needed to prime cases — it’s pretty amazing.
2. You can quickly and easily install shellholders and change primer sizes.
3. The folding primer tray works very well. It’s a great setup from my testing so far.
Are there any negatives with the tool? Gavin noted that, in the course of loading 100+ rounds, once or twice he had to tap the triangular tray to get the primer to feed: “That’s not a big deal, and may smooth out with time”.
Tool Costs Under $30.00
Available at Grafs.com for just $28.59, the Lee Auto Bench Prime tool is very affordable. It costs much less than competitive bench-mounted priming tools from Forster and RCBS.
NOTE: this tool requires dedicated Auto Prime shell holders (sold separately), but that’s a relatively small added expense. A set of Lee shell-holders (shown at right) costs less than $20.00 (street price).
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Muzzle brakes are controversial. Some people swear by them, while others swear at them. Still, there’s no question that a good brake can reduce felt recoil up to 45%. And likewise, the best brakes, when installed properly, seem to have no negative effect on accuracy.
Roy Bertalotto has done considerable experimentation with muzzle brakes, testing dozens of brake designs on his own rifles over the past few years. Roy’s article, Adventures with Muzzle Brakes, discusses various aspects of muzzle brake design and performance. Roy doesn’t claim that his testing is definitive, but his article is definitely worth a read. Here are some of Roy’s interesting findings:
Exit Hole Diameter
“Best accuracy and effectiveness of the brake was obtained with a hole .020″ over bullet diameter. If the exit hole is too small, such as +.005″ over bullet diameter, accuracy suffers. If the depth of the exit hole is too shallow, the metal around the hole will erode very quickly.”
“The most effective braking was with a brake 1″ in diameter with a 3/4″ exit hole on each side, just in front of the muzzle. The bullet passes through a cone of 35 degrees before it exits the brake. (Like the tank example), Incredible reduction of recoil. But loud and ugly. Very easy to make since you don’t need a spin fixture or a dividing head.”
Bottom Gas Venting Helps Accuracy
“In my tests, not having holes all around the brake effects accuracy a bit. I believe it does something to the bullet by the air pushed ahead of the bullet creating unequal turbulence in the bullet path. I’ve tried a few brakes where I drilled only holes on the top, test fired, and then completed holes on the bottom and in every case, accuracy improved.” Below are spiral-ported brakes crafted by Clay Spencer.
Brakes Work Best with High-Pressure Cartridges
“The higher the pressure of the particular round, the more effective the brake. I have over 20 rifles with brakes. The 220 Swift is the king of reduction. Followed very closely by the 25-06, 6mm Remington, any Weatherby small bore. With a proper brake and a hot handload under a 40 gr bullet, the Swift will move 1/2″ to the rear and 0 muzzle rise! Big boomers with low pressure like 45-70s and shot guns benefit the least.” [Editor’s Note: Roy is judging effectiveness by the percentage of recoil reduction rather than absolute levels of recoil. Obviously if you start with a heavier-recoiling round, the absolute amount of recoil energy reduction is greater. Roy is really talking about efficiency–brakes are most efficient when used with high-pressure cartridges.]
Installation is Key to Accuracy
Roy’s findings are fascinating and suggest that further study of muzzle brakes is warranted. But we can all agree that precision installation of the brake is essential for accuracy. A poorly-installed, mis-aligned brake will degrade accuracy, that is well-known.
Harrell’s Precision has made thousands of muzzle brakes, in many styles and port arrangements. The Harrell brothers offer some good advice for gunsmiths installing brakes: “Muzzle brakes aren’t magic, they reduce recoil by redirecting exiting gas. What’s important is that they are straight and the threads are perpendicular with the base. The only way to get the base and threads perpendicular is to thread, not tap, them on a lathe.”
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The Savage A17 17 HMR rifle was named American Hunter’s 2016 Rifle of the Year. And we understand why. This little rifle is a hoot to shoot. The model we tested proved reliable and quite accurate with the new 17 HMR ammo developed by CCI expressly for the A17. After the first production run Savage made a few tweaks to the A17’s magazine well; this has resulted in very good reliability with current models.
When the A17 was released, a rather whimpy, Tupperware stock was the only option. The Length of Pull (LOP) was a bit short for a full-sized adult and the short, narrow fore-arm was less than ideal when used with a front rest or sandbag. Savage now offers laminated wood stocks from the factory, but most of the A17s that have been sold to date have the black plastic stock. But don’t worry… you can re-stock your A17 for under $130.00.
Now, thanks to Boyds Gunstocks, there are some good, very affordable stock options for the A17. Boyds has introduced Savage A17 replacement gunstocks in multiple styles: Savage Classic, Featherweight Thumbhole, Heritage, Platinum, Prairie Hunter, Pro Varmint, and Varmint Thumbhole designs. Five of these styles are shown in the photos above. Nearly all of Boyd’s laminated wood Savage A17 stocks are just $129.00 with a few left-hand versions priced at $144.00 (still a bargain). For field use, we like the Varmint Thumbhole because it has a comfortable grip and a longer, straight fore-end that works well with either sandbags or bipod. For target work, we favor the Pro Varmint stock. This stock features a relatively straight toe on the buttstock that is very steady on a rear bag.
Boyds plans to offer a variety of options for their Savage A17 stocks. These will include new custom wood options, custom length of pull, and an adjustable comb. In addition, as with other Boyds stocks, a wide selection of laminated wood colors are available. Boyds recently released eight new laminate wood color options including Sage, Prairie Wind, Ripple Timber, Ripple Forest Camo, Ripple Blaze, Ripple Royal Jacaranda, Ripple Sky and Ripple Zombie.
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What is the most-used piece of equipment on this editor’s reloading bench? No it’s not my Rock-Chucker press, or even my calipers. The one item in near-constant use is a small, folding magnifying glass. Mine folds into a square case and offers 4X viewing with an 8X bifocal insert. With this handy tool I can inspect case mouths for burrs, check primer pockets, inspect meplats, and look for flaws on bullet jackets. I also use the magnifier to see rifling marks on bullets seated into the rifling, or check my bolt for galling. The number of uses is nearly endless. I keep one magnifier at my reloading bench and another in my range kit.
Folding magnifiers are so handy yet inexpensive that you should own a couple spares (including one in the range box). I bought my magnifier in a book-store, but you can also find them on the web at FoldingMagnifier.com and WidgetSupply.com starting at just $1.95. To see the finest details, Widget Supply offers a powerful 9X/18X slide-out magnifier with a built-in, battery-powered LED light. With that gadget, you can easily see any minute flaws in your barrel crowns. That’s important because crown damage can cause hard-to-diagnose accuracy issues. We’ve known guys who spend weeks tinkering with loads, when the real problem was a worn-out or damaged crown.
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Amazon — Caldwell Long Range Target Camera System, $367.70
Forum members have purchased this Caldwell Target Cam System and they’ve found that it works reliably, providing a clear signal to any WiFi-enabled mobile device (smartphone, iPad, Laptop). One member specifically tested the unit at 1000 yards and it functioned fine. NOTE: This system does NOT have a zoom camera lens, so you need to position the camera within 10 yards or so of the target. But if you place it to the side a bit, this shouldn’t be a problem. This system comes with a nice, fitted carrying case that holds camera, transceivers, antennas, and stands. You get a very capable system for under $370.00 (Amazon price includes free shipping for Prime members). You can also get this system from Midsouth for $357.02 (shipping extra).
This video shows system set-up and actual Target Cam output on a WiFi-enabled tablet:
This is a totally new kind of hearing protection. Walker’s Razor-X and Razor-XV operate like electronic muffs — allowing you to hear commands and conversations while still blocking gunshots and other loud noises. The Razor-X combines a collar unit (containing the electronics) with retractable, foam-tipped ear buds. Unlike conventional earmuffs, the Razor-X system doesn’t interfere with your cheek weld. The patent-pending earbuds allow the user to be in loud environments without damaging their hearing, providing an impressive 31dB of noise reduction.
The kit includes two different styles of noise-reducing foam tips (in various sizes) to ensure a good fit for maximum noise reduction. The Razor-X is equipped with an auto-shut off after 4 to 6 hours. An AC wall adapter with USB port and a one-meter micro USB cord is provided.
TECH NOTE: Grafs.com shows a 29dB NRR in the product title. However, the manufacturer (and all other retailers) list a 31dB Noise Reduction Rating for the Razor-X and Razor-XV.
Here’s a super deal on a premium Tactical spotter package. Right now you can get a Leupold MK4 TMR 12-40x60mm spotting scope, PLUS a Delta-Point Pro 2.5 MOA Red-dot (for quick aiming), PLUS a Badger SLICK mount for under $1500.00. The Leupold MK4 12-40 spotter sells for $1399.00 by itself elsewhere. So this is like getting the Delta-Point and SLICK mount for $100.00 (or free — read about $1400 special below). CLICK HERE for Package Deal.
The unique SLICK mount is definitely worth having. This lets you add a laser rangefinder or other accessory and have the LRF aligned (collimated) perfectly with your spotting scope.
Jason tells us: “This is the best value I have seen on gear in a long time. On top of that, we are offering AccurateShooter.com readers a FURTHER discount to $1400 shipped for pre-ordering (pre-payment required)”. NOTE: to get the Special $1400.00 Pre-Order price, call EuroOptic at (570) 368-3920 and ask for Jason Baney.
4. Sportsmans Outdoor — Ruger American Predator, $359.99
Here’s a nice little 6.5 Creedmoor rifle from Ruger with good features at a very attractive price, just $359.99. This Predator model features a heavier-contour 22″, 1:8″-twist barrel threaded 5/8″-24 at the muzzle for brake or suppressor. The action, which features a 70° three-lug bolt, and Picatinny-style scope rail, sits in an aluminum bedding block. The trigger is crisp and adjusts down to 3 pounds. The 6.5 Creedmoor chambering is well-suited for both hunting and tactical/practical games. The rifle weighs 6.5 pounds without optic. For real tactical work you’ll want to replace the stock — but with only $360 into the gun you can easily afford a better stock/chassis.
5. MidwayUSA — Magpul 700 Black Stock, $219.99 on Sale
The new Magpul Remington 700 Hunter Stock offers an aluminum bedding block, plus adjustable length of pull and comb height. Compatible with all Remington 700 Short Actions, this stock requires no bedding and is a true “drop-in” solution. Also available (separately) is Magpul’s Bolt Action Magazine Well, which allows the rifle to be used with detachable box magazines without the need for custom inletting. NOTE: to see the $219.99 Sale price, you must select the black version in your Midway USA Shopping Cart. This price includes stock only; magazine and and bottom metal are NOT included.
Free Floating: Free-floats Remington barrels including aftermarket profiles up to a Medium Palma
Bottom Metal: Compatible with all stock Remington bottom metal
Weight: 2.9 lbs without action and bottom metal
6. Natchez Shooters Supply — 325 Rounds .22 LR Ammo, $22.99
This Federal .22 LR ammo is just 7 cents per round — the kind of pricing on bulk rimfire ammo we used to see in the “good old days”. Act quickly, this Federal .22 LR Ammo deal won’t last long. Also, note that seller Natchez has a 2-piece maximum order per day.” So you may order two boxes per day, which will total 650 rounds. The bullets are 40 grains, solid lead.
If you have brass or small parts to clean an ultrasonic cleaning machine really comes in handy. This Lyman machine was a good deal at $69.99 before. Now it is an awesome deal at $49.99 from Cabela’s. Plus you may even be able to get it for less. One buyer said you can get this item for $44.99 including shipping if you use code “16CAVE” at check-out. Worth a try.
8. Natchez — Hornady 22-Cal Varmint Bullets, $9.99 Per 100
Headed out for a varmint safari soon? Need inexpensive bullets for your .223 Rem or 22-250? Then check out this deal on Hornady 55-grainers from Natchez. Get 100 Soft Point .224-Caliber FB bullets for just $9.99. At that price, it doesn’t hurt so much when you shoot 1000+ rounds over a weekend. With good expansion, these bullets work great on prairie dogs and other small critters. Note: These sale bullets ship in a bag, not the box as shown.
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PrecisionRifleBlog.com (PRB) recently published results from a field test PRB conducted to quantify the temperature stability of the popular Hodgdon H4350 and Varget powders and compare those to IMR’s new Enduron line of powders, specifically IMR 4166 and 4451.
Hodgdon Extreme Series powders have attracted quite a fan base, with over 90% of the top shooters in the Precision Rifle Series choosing to run one of those powders. IMR recently released a new line of powders “with Enduron Technology” — which is also marketed to have “extreme temperature stability”. Sounds familiar! These new powders should compete directly with the Hodgdon Extreme Series, which gives shooters more temp-stable powder options to consider.
The top shooters in the PRS and veteran long-range shooters in other disciplines have learned to value a temperature-stable powder. That’s because a change in temperature can affect the trajectory or “flight path” of the bullet in two well-known ways:
1. Assuming all other environmental conditions remain the same, an increase in air temperature will cause a flatter trajectory due to a lower air density (easier for the bullet to cut through the air).
2. The same increase in temperature also causes the nitrocellulose-based powder inside the cartridge to burn at a higher rate, producing approximately four times the Point of Impact (POI) shift than just air temperature alone. (SEE: Temperature Effects On Zero on KestrelMeters.com.)
“The initial heat condition of your powder will affect the burn rate,” Bryan Litz explained at a recent Applied Ballistics Seminar. That means swings in ambient outside temperature can affect your internal ballistics, which will directly affect your muzzle velocity, which will change your bullet’s trajectory. Some powders are more affected by changes in temperature than others. So if your goal is first-shot hits and you may shoot in a variety of conditions — you should care about temperature stable powders.
The folks at PrecisionRifleBlog.com meticulously loaded 6.5×47 Lapua ammo with each powder using some of the best equipment available. This included the top-of-the-line Prometheus Gen II Powder Scale, which is capable of loading to the nearest kernel of powder. This ensured the powder charges were identical for each round of ammo. PRB’s testers explain the full set of equipment and steps in their loading process in the Full Test Report.
Once they had a couple dozen rounds loaded with each powder, they went and shot them with each powder at 25° F, 65° F, and 140° F. The muzzle velocity of each shot was recorded using both a LabRadar Doppler Radar and a MagnetoSpeed Chronograph. The LabRadar is a new type of device that allows you to measure muzzle velocity within at least +/- 0.1% of the reading.
Here are the results from the PRB Powder Temp Stability Tests:
You can see Hodgdon H4350 had the least variance in muzzle velocity, with just 25 fps over the 115° swing in temperature! That is very, very low. Hodgdon Varget was the second least temperature sensitive powder in this test, with 46 fps of variance in muzzle velocity between temperatures of 25° F and 140° F. IMR 4166 performed very similar to Varget, and proved to be fairly insensitive to large swings in temperature. IMR 4451 had the largest swing in muzzle velocity of the powders tested, but keep in mind just 68 fps over 115° F swing is still a good performance.
Most powders aren’t specially formulated to be temperature stable. So they would likely show much larger swings than what these four top-performing powders showed.
PRB’s test team also noticed other interesting trends in the data. For example, variation in velocity does NOT appear to be linear across the full range of temperatures. By that, they mean the change per degree from 20° to 65° might be smaller or larger than the change per degree from 65° to 140°.
Here’s a cool product that can help you level your front rest and rear bag, level your scope, align your target frame, and perform a myriad of tasks around the house. The Digital AngleCube (aka Electronic Level and Protractor Gauge) is basically a high-tech level that gives you exact angular read-outs to within 0.2 degrees. That’s a lot more precise than any bubble level.
Numerous Shooting-Related Applications
For you position shooters who like to run angled sights, this tool will help you set the rear sight and front tower to exactly the same angle. For High Power guys with 3-way and 4-way adjustable buttstocks, this digital angle gauge can help you quickly and precisely set buttstock angle and cast-off. Even tactical shooters and long-range hunters can use this device to confirm exact shot angle, with greater precision than a plastic protractor or even an expensive Angle Degree Indicator (ADI). Heck you can even use the thing as an anti-cant device (if you don’t mind the extra weight). We’re sure that our clever readers can find even more uses for a digital angle read-out tool.
The AngleCube Digital Level sells on Amazon.com for $29.95. It comes with magnets on the sides so you can attach the tool to any ferrous metal surface for a “hands-free” reading. You can find similar devices in hardware and home improvement stores. One of these square, magnet-equipped electronic protractor/levels is made by INSIZE. The illustration below shows how the INSIZE gauge can be used in the field.
Story Sourced by Edlongrange.
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He who dies with the most toys wins — right? Well Sinclair has another interesting gadget you can add to your reloading bench. The Sinclair Case Neck Sorting Tool lets you quickly sort brass by neck-wall thickness. For those who shoot “no-turn” brass, sorting your cases helps achieve more uniform neck tension and, thereby, more consistent bullet seating. Large variances in neck-wall thickness can cause inconsistent neck “grip” on the bullet. Generally, we’ve found that more consistent neck tension will lower ES and (usually) improve accuracy.
Get Better Results with No-Turn Brass
We know some guys who shoot no-turn 6mmBR brass in competition with considerable success — but their secret is pre-sorting their brass by neck-wall thickness. Cases that are out-of-spec are set aside for sighters (or are later skim-turned).
Watch Case Neck Sorting Tool Operation in Video (May not load on mobile devices)
How the Case Neck Sorting Tool Works
Here’s how the Sinclair tool works. Cases are rotated under an indicator tip while they are supported on a case-neck pilot and a support pin through the flash hole. The unit has a nice, wide base and low profile so it is stable in use. The tool works for .22 through .45 caliber cases and can be used on .17- and .20-caliber cases with an optional carbide alignment rod. The MIC-4 pin fits both .060 (PPC size) and .080 (standard size) flash holes. Sinclair’s Case Neck Sorting Tool can be ordered with or without a dial indicator. The basic unit without indicator (item 749-006-612WS) costs $59.99. Complete with dial indicator (item 749-007-129WS), the tool costs $89.99. IMPORTANT: This tool requires caliber-specific Sinclair Case Neck Pilots (sold separately).
Editor’s Comment: The purpose of this Sinclair tool is rapid, high-quantity sorting of cartridge brass to ascertain significant case-neck-wall thickness variations. Consider this a rapid culling/sorting tool. If you are turning your necks, you will still need a quality ball micrometer tool to measure neck-wall thickness (to .0005) before and after neck-turning operations.
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Tactical ace Zak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms employs a simple, handy means to store his elevation and wind dift data — a laminated data card. To make one, first generate a come-up table, using one of the free online ballistics programs such as JBM Ballistics. You can also put the information in an Excel spreadsheet or MS Word table and print it out. You want to keep it pretty small.
Above is a sample of a data card. For each distance, the card includes drop in inches, drop in MOA, drop in mils. It also shows drift for a 10-mph cross wind, expressed three ways–inches, MOA, and mils. Zak explained that “to save space… I printed data every 50 yards. For an actual data-card, I recommend printing data every 20 or 25 yards.” But Zak also advised that you’ll want to customize the card format to keep things simple: “The sample card has multiple sets of data to be more universal. But if you make your own data card, you can reduce the chance of a mistake by keeping it simple. Because I use scopes with MILS, my own card (photo below left) just has three items: range, wind, drop in MILS only.”
Once you have the card you can fold it in half and then have it laminated at a local office store or Kinko’s. You can keep this in your pocket, tape it to your stock, or tie the laminated card to your rifle. If you regularly shoot at both low and high elevations, you may want to create multiple cards (since your ballistics change with altitude). To learn more about ballistic tables and data cards, check out the excellent Practical Long-Range Rifle Shooting–Part 1 article on Zak’s website. This article offers many other insights as well–including valuable tips on caliber and rifle selection.
Scope-Cover Mounted Ballistics Table
Another option is to place your ballistics card on the back of the front flip-up scope cover. This set-up is used by Forum member Greg C. (aka “Rem40X”). With your ‘come-up’ table on the flip-up cover you can check your windage and elevation drops easily without having to move out of shooting position.
Greg tells us: “Placing my trajectory table on the front scope cover has worked well for me for a couple of years and thought I’d share. It’s in plain view and not under my armpit. And the table is far enough away that my aging eyes can read it easily. To apply, just use clear tape on the front objective cover.”
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Can you hunt small varmints with an air rifle? Indeed you can. At reasonably close ranges, a .177 pellet has sufficient “knock-down” power, and the near-silent operation of the air rifle keeps your prey from being alerted. Our friends at Varminter.com recently tested the Anschütz 8002 S2 Black Air Hunter, which features an integral, custom-tuned moderator. Overall, this is a very accurate, very high-tech solution to pesky squirrels (and other small furry pests).
Here’s the report: “We spent a couple of hours out in the field with the Anschutz Black Air Hunter, and took seven ground squirrels that NEVER heard the shot. This rifle is unbelievably quiet, and VERY accurate. I simply put the crosshair on the back of the eyeball, touched the super light trigger, and dropped them in their tracks. Tomorrow, we hunt a small orchard near some farm animals, and I think this rifle will really shine. Tom got some decent video, but we need a bit more out in the field for the full hunt report, so there will be more to come!”
The Anschütz 8002 Black Air Hunter is a PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) air rifle in .177 caliber. This nice rig features a very comfortable, ergonomic stock with adjustable cheekpiece and buttplate. Best of all, the Black Hunter is wicked accurate. Varminter.com reports: “It took [just] three shots to sight-in, and proceeded to shoot bug holes at 25 yards the next 10 rounds.”
Anschutz Black Air Hunter Product Description
The new Anschütz 8002 S2 Black Air Hunter is designed for varmint hunters and target shooters who want an accurate, quiet, versatile, and urban-friendly air rifle. Based on the 8002 S2 match rifle, the Black Air Hunter boasts the excellent balance/ergonomics of a world-class 10 meter match rifle. But the Black Air Hunter has other key features you won’t find on typical competition airguns.
The match barrel is fitted with an advanced moderator made by Tactical Solutions. This non-removable unit is smaller, lighter, and considerably quieter than the counterparts from Europe. Tactical Solutions engineered this moderator to control the sharp crack associated with pre-charged pneumatics. And yes, it works — the Black Air Hunter is VERY QUIET.
As shown here with Leupold scope, the rifle weighs just under 10 pounds:
The fully-adjustable beech stock has a moisture-resistant rubberized coating that provides a secure grip in cold or damp conditions. An aluminum accessory rail under the fore-end allows sling or bi-pod mounting. The cheek piece and butt plate offer a wide range of position options, and can also be upgraded or changed to suit the shooter’s preferences.
The Black Air Hunter runs a .177” caliber pellet at 580 fps, which allows for quiet yet precise training and target shooting in an urban environment. There are more powerful air rifles, but they will be noisier and you may have concerns with down-range energy. With its ultra-low noise signature, the Black Air Hunter is well-suited for use in urban settings.
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Multi-time National High Power champion David Tubb has developed an impressive two-stage trigger for Remington 700 rifles, the Model T7T. Priced at $385.00, the T7T Trigger is a true two-stage design: first and second stages are independently adjustable for both weight and feel. Overall (combined stage) trigger pull weight can be adjusted from just under 1 pound to slightly over 3.5 pounds.
The new T7T is a quality product. We’ve used the T7T and it proved crisp, repeatable, and reliable. If you are looking for a two-stage trigger for a precision rifle, this is a good option. We like a two-stage trigger for PRS applications, and the T7T can be adjusted high enough for that role. Or, it can go all the way down to under a pound — low enough to suit most F-Class shooters.
If you are interested in the T7T, watch these two videos. The first shows how to adjust pull-weights for both stages. The second video shows how to modify your stock to provide clearance for the T7T.
This video shows how to adjust the new Tubb T7T two-stage trigger for Remington 700s:
T7T Trigger Installation Tips
While installation of the T7T may require minor modifications to your action, most gun owners with basic mechanical skills can install the T7T by themselves. Note: As installed, the T7T trigger (either Right-Hand or Left-Hand) also requires a companion T7T bolt release, which you can get from DavidTubb.com for $10.00.
This video shows how to modify your stock to fit the T7T trigger:
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Monitor Barrel Heat with Pocket Infrared Gauges
You never want to run the barrel of a precision rifle too hot. Excessive barrel heat kills accuracy, increases copper fouling, and can cause rapid barrel throat wear. Over the years people have devised various means to cool their barrels — from electric fans to dunking in tubs of ice water.
But how do you know if your barrel is too hot? Consider a “non-contact” thermometer that reads your barrel’s “infrared signature”. The RadioShack or Kintrex pocket-sized, non-contact IR thermometers are ideal for shooters at the range or in the prairie dog fields. Both are handy and inexpensive — costing about twenty bucks for the yellow RadioShack gauge, and $30 for the Kintrex.
Just 3.2″ long, and weighing a mere 1.3 ounces, the waterproof RadioShack and Kintrex thermometers are small enough to carry in your pocket, and will easily stow in any range bag/box. The Kintrex unit measures from -67 to 428 °F (-55 to 220 °C), while the cheaper RadioShack model measures from -27 to 230º F (-33º to 110º C). Kintrex is a respected manufacturer that also makes larger hand-held IR thermometers for industrial and shop applications. A little infrared thermometer like this is a gadget that every serious shooter should have. Given the cost of replacing barrels these days, can you afford NOT to have a temp gauge for your match or varmint barrel?
TECH TIP — How to Get More Consistent Readings
When using IR Themometers on shiny steel barrels, sometimes the polished surface throws off the beam, causing inconsistent readings. You can solve this problem by simply putting a piece of masking tape on the area where you take your reading. Some other folks use a grease pencil to create a non-reflective spot to read. Forum Member Jon B. says: “I used an Exergen infrared in the HVAC industry. Without the grease crayon they sold, you couldn’t get an accurate reading with shiny metals.”
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Old Gun… New Gadget. A while back, our friend Dennis Santiago has been practicing with his trusty old Springfield, in preparation for the CMP Western Games in Phoenix. To help improve his off-hand hold, Dennis utilized a laser training device that plots shot location on a laptop computer. Here’s a report from Dennis on his laser-enabled dry-fire practice:
Laser Dry-Fire Practice with Vintage Rifle
Something old, something new. Take a M1903A3 Springfield, put a laser in its nose, and practice your off-hand shooting until staying on focus with the front sight throughout the shot process becomes a reflex.
If the last thing you see is the front sight, the shot is in. If the last thing you see is the bull, it’s out. Simple as that. If you had told someone in the 1920s or 1930s that this much tech would one day be available to aid in training … come to think of it, it’d have made real riflemen smile.
Here is the receiving end of the laser beam:
About the Hardware and Software
Dennis was using the BeamHit 190 series Personal Marksmanship Training System. This interactive dry-fire training system uses a laser detecting device to transmit hits directly to a computer in real time. The BeamHit 190 software allows shooters to choose from multiple targets and even create timed scenarios. You can save strings of fire for later review directly on the connected computer. The included software is compatible with Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7. It seems like the system Dennis used is out of production, though EoTech still offers a 190-3 system through Amazon.com. The BeamHit 190 system has been replaced with the simpler Insight/Beamhit MDM1001 Portable Target System. This is less sophisticated and does not require a connected computer.
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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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