September 25th, 2016

Precision Targets By the Roll from Midsouth

benchrest target adhesive stick-on load development Midsouth 6x4

Here’s a smart new product from Midsouth Shooters Supply: 250 self-adhesive Benchrest Targets on a convenient roll. Not just for benchrest competitors, these stick-on targets work great for anyone doing load development. Each target offers a precision 1/4″ grid at the top with diamond aiming box below. This is similar to official targets used in Benechrest matches, with the addition of the upper grid lines which allow you to instantly estimate group size. These targets also include an area to list your load components. Midsouth sells the 250-target roll for $14.98.

This target was designed for benchrest shooting, developing new loads or cataloging existing ones. This easy-to-use target has a 1/4″ grid pattern at the top which helps measure groups. The vertical aiming square at the bottom helps align the cross hairs of your scope for consistent shot placement. At the very bottom of the target there is room to record your reloading information. Each Target sticker measures 6″ x 4″ with a 4.5″ x 2.5″ printed area.

benchrest target adhesive stick-on load development Midsouth 6x4

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September 19th, 2016

Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm Scope Review by James Mock

Sightron Scope 10-50x60mm SIII SS scope James Mock long range competition review MOA MOA-2 reticle

Sightron 10X-50x60mm Riflescope Field Test
Review by James Mock
Mr. Allen Orr of Sightron was kind enough to loan me one of their fine SIII riflescopes for testing. Since I shoot 600-yard score matches more than anything else, I requested the 10-50x60mm model with MOA-2 reticle. This is a premium scope in every way and it may be the very best buy for a long range scope today. Real world price for this scope is around $950-$1000 ($977.61 on Amazon.com). This represents a good value considering the scope’s build quality and features: 50X max magnification, 1/4-MOA adjustments with 10 MOA per revolution, ExactTrack windage and elevation system, Zack-7 lens coating, 60mm objective lens, target knobs with zero stop, and lifetime warranty. The MOA-2 reticle’s hash marks span 2 MOA at 24X and 1 MOA at 48X. Eye Relief is ample: 4.5″ at 10X and 3.8″ at 50X. Field of view at 100 yards is 9.6′ at 10X, 2.2′ at 50X.

Sightron MOA-2 Reticle Manual | Sightron Riflescope Manual

NOTE: Sightron also offers this scope with 1/8-MOA clicks with a Fine Cross-Hair Reticle, Target Dot Reticle, and Mil-Dot Reticle. There are also multiple Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm models with illuminated reticles.

Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm Shows Excellent Repeatability
After receiving the scope, I mounted it on my BAT 6mm Dasher and did my “standard tests”. I shot the “square” and the adjustments were spot on and the repeatability was faultless. I also shot a group at two powers (24X and 50X) and the point of impact was the same.

In our August 600-yard match, I used the scope and was favorably impressed. I did not have the opportunity to shoot 600 yards prior to the match but I do have a 100-meter range at my house. From past experience, after zeroing my Dasher at 100 I simply dial up 11 MOA to shoot at 600 yards. The weather in Louisiana has been something that I have never seen before and the August 20th match was moved to August 27th, but there was still standing water in front of the targets. Also, the fog was so heavy that the start of the match was delayed for 45 minutes.

Sightron Scope 10-50x60mm SIII SS scope James Mock long range competition review MOA MOA-2 reticle

Sightron Nails a 50 Score on First-ever Match Target
When the match started, the Sightron with 11 MOA dialed in was perfect for elevation and a little right. After a couple of clicks I was ready to shoot. My first target was a pleasant surprise — scoring a 50-1X. I was very impressed with this scope and I shot it at 48X all day in the heavy mirage. I ended up finishing third, two points behind the winner.

With its 60mm objective lens, this is a large scope. It is 16.9″ long and weighs 30.1 ounces. If you can tolerate that weight in the discipline you shoot this scope represents a great value for the long-range shooter. I am favorably impressed with it. For you varmint shooters, this scope with its wide range of power would make a superb addition to you favorite prairie dog rig. Do note, as we explained above, there are other versions of this scope with 1/8-MOA clicks if that is your preference.
Good shooting — James Mock

Sightron Scope 10-50x60mm SIII SS scope James Mock long range competition review MOA MOA-2 reticle

Permalink Gear Review, Optics 4 Comments »
September 19th, 2016

TECH TIP: Use a Block to Maintain Front Bag Shape

John Loh Front Rest JJ Industries

front rest bag blockHere’s a simple solution for lumpy front sandbags. Cut a small block the width of your fore-end and place that in the front bag between matches. You can tap it down firmly with a rubber mallet. This will keep the front bag nice and square, without bunching up in the center. That will help your rifle track straight and true. Rick Beginski uses wood (see photo), while our friend John Southwick uses a small block of metal. The metal block might work a little better, but the wood version is easier to make with simple tools. John Loh of JJ Industries offers a slick Delrin block with a built-in bubble level. Loh’s block helps ensure that the actual top surface of your front bag is level, as distinct from the front rest assembly.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
September 16th, 2016

Exhibition Grade F-Open Rifle from Master Class Stocks

Alex Sitman Master Class StocksAlex Sitman of Master Class Stocks in Pennsylvania is widely considered one of the finest rifle-stock craftsmen in the country, if not the world. Alex’s workmanship and dedication to excellence is top-of-the-line. Alex normally custom-fits each stock to his customer precisely. Many hours are dedicated to stock prep and inletting, and his bedding jobs are flawless. Each stock is exactingly hand-crafted with great attention to detail, and then the stock is “dressed” in the customer’s choice of finishes.

Doing all that takes time — a lot of time. That’s why Master Class Stocks has a long waiting list, and it can take months before a big job is completed. But when Alex is involved, you can count on the final product being a work of stock-making art. Here’s an example. Alex recently stocked an F-Class rifle using eye-popping, exhibition-grade Bastogne walnut. The wood was sourced from Cecil Fredi of GunstockBlanks.com. Alex says: “Cecil’s wood is some of the best I’ve ever used. This blank cost over $1000.00, but it was truly spectacular.” Since the blank was less than 3″ wide, Alex (with assistance from 8-time NRA High Power Champion Carl Bernosky) laminated on the 3″-wide forearm “wings” using spare wood left after the blank was cut. See how Alex and Carl carefully matched the grain of the wood on the forearm. And note how perfectly the adjustable cheek-piece is fitted. If you want a stock like this on your next rifle, contact Alex Sitman at Master Class Stocks, (814) 742-7868.

The Bastogne Beauty — More Construction Details
Eric Kennard tells us: “This rifle was built for Mike Dana in Florida. Kelbly’s did the metal work. [The action is a Stolle Panda F-Class.] Barrel by Brux. Chambering? 6mmBR of course! Mike added a March 10 x 60 scope. Let me tell you this is beyond a work of art! The fit is absolutely perfect! There is not one flaw in the wood-work. The pillar bedding is also perfect! Did you notice the ebony inserts? Or Alex’s custom trigger guard? Alex out did-himself this time. Most of us would not dare to shoot [this gun]!”

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
September 7th, 2016

Otis Introduces New Line of Cleaning and Lubricating Products

Otis line cleaners smart CLP Bore cleaning lubricant

Otis Technology, the makers of Ripcord pull-through bore cleaning ropes, has introduced a full line of new products to clean, lubricate, and protect firearms. There are dedicated bore cleaners, all-in-one CLP-type products, plus a variety of lubricants. Notably most of these new Otis products are bio-degradable. See the full line-up of new Otis “Smart Chemicals” at: OtisTec.com/cleansmart.

Otis Smart Chemicals are advanced, American-made chemicals designed to bring next-generation protection to any kind of firearm. Featuring a broad variety of cleaners, lubricants, protectants and CLPs, the Otis Smart Chemical line offers formulas for any kind of shooter from 3-Gun competitors to hunters and tactical professionals to gun collectors.

Otis line cleaners smart CLP Bore cleaning lubricantVersatile and Bio-Degradable
Formulated to the exact specification of Otis engineers and designed with intelligent application in mind, most Otis Smart Chemicals are biodegradable and available in liquid or aerosol form (as well as in grease and CLP wipes). A precision applicator pack is compatible with all liquid formulas to deliver a greater level of precision during the application process. Visit www.otistec.com/cleansmart to explore the full line or purchase Otis Smart Chemicals online.

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September 6th, 2016

AR-Style .22 LR Rimfire Rifles are Fun and Affordable

AR15 AR .22 LR rimfire conversion Smith Wesson M&P 15-22

For pure shooting fun it’s hard to beat a semi-auto .22 LR. While Ruger’s 10/22 is the most popular semi-auto .22 LR rifle, manufacturers are now offering AR-style self-loading rimfire rifles. These rimfire versions of the AR-15 are excellent training tools for 3-Gun and service rifle shooters. You can practice with less expensive rimfire ammo, and save wear and tear on your centerfire ARs. Rimfire AR clones also work great for Rimfire Tactical Matches.

AR-Style .22 LR Rimfire Rifles

Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22
Smith & Wesson’s 15-22 is a nice little rifle. The M&P 15-22 is designed and built as a true .22 LR semi-auto from the ground up, with ergonomics (and most controls) identical to a centerfire M&P 15 rifle. These rimfire AR clones are very affordable. For example, right now CDNN Sports is offering the M&P 15-22 (black/tan camo version) for just $299.99. (If that deal has expired by the time you read this, find other deals with the SlickGuns.com search engine.)

AR15 AR .22 LR rimfire conversion Brownells

NRA reviewer Colon Noir tested the M&P 15-22 and was impressed: “This gun is unbelievably fun to shoot. There is virtually no recoil. The non-existent recoil makes shooting fast a breeze. Yeah, the magazine is a little quirky… but in the grand scheme of things, this gun feels like a full-out AR-15. The M&P 15-22 makes for a great training companion. I would place this gun in the ‘Fun Box’ — it’s reliable enough that you can have a fun time shooting. I’m picking one up, because it’s guns like these that make you truly realize how fun shooting is.”

Here’s a Video Review of the M&P 15-22 by the NRA’s Colin Noir

Hechler & Koch (Walther) HK 416
H&K offers the HK 416 D145RS, a dedicated .22 LR rimfire rifle. Engineered and built in Germany by Carl Walther, the HK 416 D145RS features a match-grade precision barrel, metal upper and lower receivers, retractable stock, and machined rail interface system with on-rail iron sights.

AR15 AR .22 LR rimfire conversion Brownells

These Walther-made HK rimfire rifles (which employ a blow-back action) are accurate and reliable. They are also reasonably priced. Right now CDNN Sports is selling the HK 416 D145RS 22LR for just $379.99. Elsewhere it sells for $550.00 or more. One purchaser writes: “Great .22. I have had this gun a couple of months and have put about 500 rounds of 5 different brands of ammo through it. Not one FTE. I have shot other brands that can’t get through one 30-round mag without a failure. [The 416] is a little pricey compared to the competition but you get what you pay for.”

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August 30th, 2016

Handy Cleaning Cradle from PMA Tool

PMA Tool Cradle Benchrest

PMA Tool logoPMA Tool offers lightweight yet sturdy cleaning cradles that are quite affordable. PMA’s original cradle is ideal for benchrest rigs with a 3″-wide fore-end, and the price is just $69.95. There is also a version for 2.5-inch wide hunter-style fore-ends. PMA’s cleaning cradles measure 17″ in length, weighs about one pound, and secure your rifle in a muzzle-down position. This “nose-down” layout allows easy cleaning and prevents solvents from running back into the action. All contact surfaces are covered by thick silicone rubber which grips the rifle securely yet cushions the stock from scratches.

These cradles were originally crafted with a 3″-wide front saddle for Benchrest and F-Open style stocks, but the silicone rubber “padding” and the shape of the saddles themselves make this cradle usable for narrower, flat fore-ends such as those found on Hunter Class and modern varmint stocks. There is also a 2.5-inch version, but we think the original 3″-inch wide cradle is more versatile.

PMA Tool co-founder Pat Reagin tells us: “We’ve had a lot of interest in our cradle since it appeared in some ads and folks saw me using it at the Super Shoot. Over the past couple years we have improved the design and added the 2.5-inch wide model.”

Product Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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August 27th, 2016

Download FREE Remington Firearms Manuals

CLICK HERE to Download Remington 700 Owner’s Manual

The Remington 700 is the most popular bolt-action rifle in America, at least according to Gunbroker.com sales figures for new and “previously-owned” rifles. So, chances are that you (or a close family member) may have a Rem 700 of some vintage sitting in the gunsafe. But do you have a copy of the official Remington 700 product manual in digital PDF format? Probably not.

To get you squared away, CLICK HERE for a PDF version of the latest Remington 700 Owner’s Manual (also covers models Seven, and 673).

Here are links for other Remington Manuals (Right lick and “Save As” to Download):

Owner’s Manuals

 Rifles  Shotguns Pistols
 Model 700™ EtronX™   Model 870™ Model XP-100
 Model 700™   Model 1100™ 
 Model 710™  Model 11-87™
 Model Seven™   Model SP-10™ 
 Model 7400™/750™  Model SPR453™ Air Rifles
 Model 7600™  Model SPR310™/SPR310S™ Express
 Model 673™  Model SPR210™/SPR220™
 Model 597™   Model SPR220H™
 Model 700™ ML  Model SPR100™
 Genesis™ Muzzleloaders  Premier® Over & Under 
 Model 700&trtrade; Ultimate Muzzleloader  Model 300 & 332 Over & Under
 Model 798™/799™  Model 105CTi
 Model Five™   Versa Max™
 Model SPR22™   Model 10
 Model SPR94™  (.410)  Model 11-48
 Model SPR94™ Combo  Model 31
 Model R-15 VTR™   Model 878
 Model R-25™  Sportsman 58
 Model 552™/572™  Peerless™ Over & Under
 Model 770™  Sportsman 12 Pump
 Model 715™  Model 11
 Mohawk 10 C  Model 887
 Model 742  
 Model 4
 Model 8
 Model 12
 Model 14
 Model 24
 Model 25
 Model 41
 Model 81
 Model 341
 Model 512
 Model 550
 Model 591 and 592
 Model 600
 Model 740
 Model 760
 Model 1903-A3
 Model 1917
 Nylon 66
 Nylon 77
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August 18th, 2016

Chest of Drawers Conceals Sliding Gun Storage Compartments

Willa-Hyde Gun Storage furniture chest drawers Hide cabinet

Willa-Hyde Gun Storage furniture chest drawers Hide cabinetWilla-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.

Willa-Hyde Gun Storage furniture chest drawers Hide cabinet

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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August 16th, 2016

Handy Adjustment Lever Kits for Harris Swivel Bipods

Bipod Harris Swivel Handle Lock S Lever Kit Eabco.com

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.

Bipod Harris Swivel Handle Lock S Lever Kit Eabco.com

Permalink Gear Review 3 Comments »
August 13th, 2016

Ultimate Reloader Reviews the Lee Auto Bench Prime

Lee Auto Bench Prime Primer tool Ultimate Reloader

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


READ Full Review on Ultimate Reloader.com

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”.

Lee Auto Bench Prime Primer tool Ultimate Reloader

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).

Lee Shell-holders
Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »
August 13th, 2016

TECH TIP: Optimizing Muzzle Brake Accuracy and Effectiveness

muzzle brake test tuner Ray Bertalotto

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.”

Hole Placement
“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.

VAIS muzzle brake

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.”

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
July 29th, 2016

Quality, Affordable Laminated Wood Stocks for Savage A17

Boyds stocks laminate laminated wood varmint thumbhole hunter stock

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 stocks laminate laminated wood varmint thumbhole hunter stock

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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July 26th, 2016

Handy Magnifiers Help Old Eyes with Reloading Tasks

Magnifying lens LED light relaoding

pocket fold-out magnifierWhat 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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July 25th, 2016

Bargain Finder 45: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

Amazon Caldwell Precision Long Range Target System Cam Camera

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:

2. Grafs.com — $99.99 Electronic Earbud Headset 31dB NRR

Walker Razor-X Headset Earbuds Electronic

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.

Walker Razor-X Headset Earbuds Electronic

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.

3. EuroOptic — Leupold 12-40×60 Spotter + Red Dot + SLICK Rail

Leupold Spotting Scope MK4 Slick Rail Delta-Point

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

AccurateShooter Deal Week Sale Rugers American Predator 6.5 Creemoor Tactical

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

AccurateShooter Deal Week Sale Magpul Rem 700 Hunter Stock bedding block

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

AccurateShooter Deal Week Sale Bargain .22 LR Federal Bulk Ammo

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.

7. Cabela’s — Lyman TurboSonic Cleaning Machine, $49.99

Lyman Turbosonic Cleaning Machine Week Deal Bargain

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

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Hornady VArmint .223 .224 bullets 55 grain

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.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
July 19th, 2016

Powder Temp Stability: IMR Enduron vs. Hodgdon Extreme

powder gunpowder temperature sensivity temp stability Hodgdon Extreme Varget H4350 IMR Enduron 4451 4166

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.

CLICK HERE to Read Full Powder Temperature Stability Test on Precision RifleBlog.com.

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.

Magnetospeeed LabRadar chronograph chrono powder gunpowder temperature sensivity temp stability Hodgdon Extreme Varget H4350 IMR Enduron 4451 4166

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.

Magnetospeeed LabRadar chronograph chrono powder gunpowder temperature sensivity temp stability Hodgdon Extreme Varget H4350 IMR Enduron 4451 4166

Here are the results from the PRB Powder Temp Stability Tests:

Magnetospeeed LabRadar chronograph chrono powder gunpowder temperature sensivity temp stability Hodgdon Extreme Varget H4350 IMR Enduron 4451 4166

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°.

PRB’s testers talk about those things, provide a few other insightful views of the data, and discuss tools that can help you manage temp/muzzle velocity in the field in their full post. You can find that here: http://precisionrifleblog.com/2016/06/19/powder-temp-stability-hodgdon-extreme-vs-imr-enduron/

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Reloading 7 Comments »
July 17th, 2016

Digital Level Is Handy Tool for your Range Kit

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.
Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
July 16th, 2016

Advanced Reloading: Sorting Brass by Case-Wall Thickness

neck sorting tool case-neck Sinclair caliber neck tension

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)

Case Neck thickness sorting gauge Sinclair accurateshooter.comHow 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.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »
July 14th, 2016

Dope for Your Scope — Handy Laminated Ballistics Card

JBM laminated ballistics card zak smith

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.

ballistics data scope coverScope-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.”

Permalink Gear Review, Tactical No Comments »
July 12th, 2016

The Silent Varminter: Squirrel Hunting with Anschutz Air Rifle

Anschutz Anschütz 8002 S2 Black Air Hunter airgun air rifle moderator squirrel hunting

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 Anschütz 8002 S2 Black Air Hunter airgun air rifle moderator squirrel hunting

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:
Anschutz Anschütz 8002 S2 Black Air Hunter airgun air rifle moderator squirrel hunting

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.

Anschutz Anschütz 8002 S2 Black Air Hunter airgun air rifle moderator squirrel hunting

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »