If you’re thinking about acquiring a 17 HMR rifle, you should read the 17 HMR Two-Gun Comparison in our Gun of the Week Archives. This two-gun shoot-out compares the performance of a Volquartsen 17 HMR semi-auto and a Ruger 77/17 bolt-action. Glen Robinson, the owner of both rifles, has done some serious comparison testing with both guns, trying out a half-dozen varieties of 17 HMR ammo. The overall results may surprise you. The semi-auto out-shot the bolt gun by a significant margin, with all types of ammo tested.
Comparing the Qualities of the Two 17 HMR Rifles
By Glen Robinson
While the Volquartsen proved to be the more accurate of my pair of 17 HMRs, I still enjoy owning both rifles. Each gun has its strong points and weak points.
Ruger Strong Points: From any angle, the Ruger 77/17 is a nice-looking rifle with classic lines. I like the gray-finish stainless barrel — it goes well with the gray laminated stock. With the addition of the aftermarket sear, the trigger is crisp and the bolt function is smooth. The action is strong and dependable. The conventional “open rear” action allows you to clean “normally” with a bore guide, cleaning rod, and patches/brushes. I feel I can do a better job of cleaning with the Ruger than with the boresnake on the Volquartsen.
Ruger Weak Points: Accuracy is somewhat disappointing. The best 100-yard group the Ruger has shot was about 0.82″ and the gun averages well over 1.25″ for 5 shots. In fairness, I haven’t done anything exotic in terms of bedding the action/barrel, and I would expect that an aftermarket barrel, perhaps combined with a barrel pre-load (up-pressure) pad, could improve the accuracy.
Volquartsen Strong Points: The Volquartsen is a well-made, accurate, dependable rifle. The gun cycles very reliably and requires very little maintenance. To clean it, just pull a boresnake through the bore. The gun exhibits very nice machining, and the VX-5000 stock rides steady on a front sand-bag, even though it’s only about 1.75″ wide. Even without any tweaking the trigger is very good, and the pull weight is fine for varminting.
Volquartsen Weak Points: The VX-5000 stock is not ideal for bench work — the comb is a bit too high, though I like the feel of the vertical grip. This stock profile is really more suited for silhouette shooting, but this stock seemed to be the best option offered by Volquartsen that could be used for both paper-punching and varminting. The receiver design limits your options for barrel cleaning.
Conclusion — The Volquartsen Takes the Prize
Having shot both rifles extensively, if I had to pick one gun, it would be the Volquartsen. The Volquartsen is much more accurate and it offers much faster follow-up shots. For varminting the Volquartsen would be superior, no question about it. I’m happy I bought the Volquartsen and the VX-5000 stock. It is a fun, versatile gun that lives up to the accuracy claims.
Retired gunsmith Stan Ware is a talented shooter who’s not afraid to think “outside the box”. Stan competes in both Hunter Benchrest (HBR) and Varmint for Score (VFS) disciplines. In his quest to build the ultimate Hunter Benchrest cartridge, Stan created the radical “Wolfpup” wildcat, based on a 6mmBR parent case. Noting the dominance of 30 BRs in VFS matches, Stan wondered if a stretched 30 BR could work in HBR competition. The challenge was case capacity. Under HBR rules the cartridge must hold at least 45.0 grains of water, equal to the capacity of the classic 30/30 case.
To get the requisite HBR case capacity, Stan figured he needed to boost the volume of a 30 BR case significantly, so he would have to move the shoulder forward — a lot. He did this by running a 30 BR reamer deeper and deeper, test-firing brass along the way. After three reamer passes, he ended up with the capacity he needed (the Wolfpup holds 45.3 grains of water). But then he looked at the finished product — a case with almost no neck, and he wondered “how could this possibly work?”.
From Trashbin to Winner’s Circle
Ware’s prototype Wolfpup ended up so short-necked, so unlike any “normal” cartridge, that Stan figured it was “dead on arrival”. Stan told us: “I said ‘this ain’t going to work’ and I threw the brass in the trash can. Honest. But later I thought I better shoot it and see what it does.” There was one problem — Stan didn’t have a seating die. He noticed the short neck provided a bit of tension after fire-forming, so he literally seated some bullets, BIB 118s and 125s, with his fingers. For powder he used H4198 and started with 35 grains, one grain more than a 30 BR load. Stan then did a pressure work-up: “I actually went up to 41.0 grains and didn’t have a sticky bolt. I ended up at 37.9 grains of Hodgdon 4198 — that gave 3150 fps, where the sweet spot is.” (Later testing revealed a second accuracy node at about 3020 fps, using 36.4 grains of H4198).
Stan’s radical short-necked Wolfpup shot great from the get-go. Once he found the right velocity node, the gun shot in the ones and zeros with both 7-ogive and 10-ogive bullets, both 118s and 125s. The Wolfpup proved easy to tune — it’s not finicky at all. And it’s a winner. Stan began shooting the Wolfpup in 2006 in both VFS and HBR matches and the ‘Pup’ started winning matches right away. In 2007, Stan won the Wisconsin State VFS Championship shooting the Wolfpup. In June 2010 at a Webster City, Iowa VFS match, Stan won the Grand Agg and posted high X-Count for the match, while placing first at 100 yards and second at 200 yards. How’s that for a cartridge that almost ended up in the trash bin?
Does Stan deserve an award for “most innovative benchrest cartridge design”? Stan chuckles at that notion: “I’m not a hero, not a genius. I really didn’t do anything. The fun part is thinking outside the box — for me anyway. Shooting is an age-old process of experimentation. You never learn it all.”
Why Does It Work?
How can such a radical case design perform so well? “That’s a good question,” Stan admitted. He then explained: “The 30 BR is inherently accurate, so I figured something based on the 30 BR should be accurate too. My personal belief is that the short neck doesn’t hurt you. Plus if the throat in the barrel is straight, the bullet can self-align. If the chamber is good, the bullet will self-center in the throat. In a regular case there’s not much room to do that, so a bullet can start off-center, and you don’t get the same results every time. A bullet in a conventional case is stopped from self-centering by the stiffer neck, particularly in a tight-clearance BR gun.”
Reloading the .30 Wolfpup
Stan’s Wolfpup chamber has a neck dimension of 0.330″. He turns his necks for a 0.327″ loaded round. Bullets are jammed .020″ forward of first contact with the lands. When he closes the bolt it pushes the bullet back in the case — almost a soft seat. Stan notes: “To start with I normally bump the shoulder .0005-.001″ so they go in easy. Just by doing that I get a little neck tension. I also use a bushing. Right now I’m running a .322, but it’s not particularly sensitive. I’ve tried one-thousandths increments up to a .325 bushing and couldn’t tell a lot of difference.” For bullet seating, Stan uses a Wilson 30 BR seater die into which he ran the chamber reamer. This gives perfect case fit during seating operations.
About the Illustrated Gunstock
You’ll notice Stan’s stock contains scenes from Vietnam and a quotation. Here’s the story. A Vietnam combat veteran, Stan served “in-country” with the Army’s 509th Non-Divisional Combat Unit (out of Fort Riley) from 1965-1966. Shortly before he left Vietnam, Stan went to a shop to have a souvenir lighter engraved. He asked the vendor for an appropriate inscription. The shop’s metal-worker engraved: “War is a tragedy. It takes mans’ best to do mans’ worst.” That message, along with the combat scenes, were hand-painted on Stan’s rifle by his wife Susan, a talented artist. She spent more than 20 hours painting the rifle stock.
Photos courtesy Ryan Ware and Stan Ware.
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“The press is the heart of the handloading operation, also traditionally the most expensive single tool employed…” — Laurie Holland
British competitive shooter Laurie Holland has reviewed three popular, single-stage reloading presses for Target Shooter Magazine (targetshooter.co.uk). Laurie bolted up a Forster Co-Ax, RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme, and RCBS Summit to his reloading bench and put the three presses through their paces. These three machines are very different in design and operation. The venerable Rock Chucker is a classic heavy, cast-iron “O”- type press that offers lots of leverage for tough jobs. The smaller RCBS Summit press is an innovative “upside-down” design with a large center column and open front. It offers a small footprint and easy case access from the front. The Co-Ax is unique in many respects — dies slide in and out of the upper section which allows them to “float”. The cartridge case is held in the lower section by spring-loaded jaws rather than a conventional shell-holder.
If you are considering purchasing any one of these three presses, you should read Laurie’s article start to finish. He reviews the pros and cons of each press, after processing three different brands of brass on each machine. He discusses ergonomics, easy of use, press leverage, smoothness, priming function, and (most importantly), the ability to produce straight ammo with low run-out. The review includes interesting data on case-neck run-out (TIR) for RWS, Federal, and Norma 7x57mm brass.
Review Quick Highlights:
RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme
“My expectations of the antediluvian RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme’s performance weren’t over high to be honest as I mounted it in the place of the Summit. As soon as I sized the first of the stretched RWS cases though, I saw why this press has been such a long-running favorite. The workload was considerably reduced compared to the other two presses and doing 40-odd cases took no time at all with little sweat — it just eats hard-to-size brass.”
RCBS Summit Press
“Despite its massive build and long-stroke operating handle, [the Summit] took more sweat than I’d expected, even if it was somewhat less work than with the Co-Ax. Although the Summit is apparently massive, I noticed that the die platform would tilt fractionally under the heaviest strains[.] It is nevertheless a very pleasant press in use and bullet seating was a doddle — the few examples tried proving very concentric on checking them afterwards. The optional short handle would be valuable for this task.”
“[On the Co-Ax], the operating handle is above the machine, located centrally here [with] twin steel links at the top end of the press dropping down to the moving parts. The Co-Ax incorporates a number of novel features, principally its automatic and multi-case compatible shell-holder assembly with spring-loaded sliding jaws, very neat spent primer arrangements that allow hardly any gritty residues to escape and foul the moving parts and, the snap-in/out die fitment that allows rapid changes and also sees the die ‘float’ in relation to the case giving very concentric results. I own this press and it meets my handloading needs very well.”
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Benchrest Hall-of-Famer Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez has teamed up with the Shurley Brothers on a new ARK series of wood laminate competition stocks. Speedy has combined the best features of various popular F-Class and Long-range Benchrest stocks into new designs to be produced by Shurley Brothers Custom in Austin, Texas. These stocks should be very straight and geometrically correct as they will be crafted on the Shurley Brothers’ new CNC mills. These stocks will be made with new-generation precision technology, not old school duplicating machines.
Initially two models will be offered: the “Hand of God” (HOG) and the “Spear of Destiny” (SOD). Both are designed for multiple shooting disciplines, so they should work well both for benchrest and for prone F-Open shooting. (FWIW, John Myers used a Speedy-crafted stock to win the 2015 Mid-Range National Championship). The forearm is 76mm (2.99″) to comply with F-Open limits. A wide variety of options will be available including adjustable Cheek Piece, adjustable length of pull, carbon fiber inserts, and exotic woods.
We like many aspects of the new stocks. First, the front of the stock is low profile, placing the barrel close to the bags for better tracking (and less hop). However, a deeper (top to bottom) section extends forward of the action — this is important. We have seen some low-profile stocks that suffer from forearm flex/hinging because they don’t leave enough wood under the action area. Speedy’s design eliminates this problem. Another nice feature of this stock is the subtle curve from the back of the action to the buttpad mount. Speedy calls this the “scooped cheek”. This allows the “driver” to shoot without face contact if he prefers, but it also allows for a higher buttpad position — which is useful when shooting heavy recoiling chamberings such as the .300 WSM.
Note how the comb area has a curve to provide clearance. For those shooters who prefer to have face contact on the gun, an adjustable Cheek Piece is offered.
Shurley Brothers Custom says these new ARK stocks are fully customizable for competition shooters with optional carbon fiber, adjustable R.A.D. systems, and many other features. The stocks, uninletted, will run $750.00. CNC-inletting (for action of your choice) is an additional $100.00. Here are some of the many available options:
— Pillar Bed and Inlet: $425.00
— Custom Wood Upgrade (Price Dependent On Wood): $100.00 – $500.00
— Full-length Carbon Fiber Stringers: $200.00
— Cheek Piece Addition: $100.00
— Cooling Ports (Buick Vents): $60.00
— R.A.D. System #2A: $335.00 (plus $100.00 to install)
— 3-Way Butt Plate: Call for Price
— Adjustable Neodymium Magnetic Cheek Piece: Call for Price
— Install Neodymium Magnetic Cheek Piece: $150.00
— Stock Finish & Clear Coat: $350.00
— Carbon Fiber Forearm Tunnel: $300.00
The underside of the forearm is relieved in the center, leaving twin outboard rails. This helps stabilize the rifle and aids tracking. (A conventional, flat forearm without rails tends to rock if there is any hump in the middle of the sandbag). Between the rails is a carbon-fiber stiffening insert.
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Here’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.
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Close-up of the Tri Way cutter with clear plastic chip guard removed.
Tired of trimming and chamfering your cartridge brass by hand? Giraud Tool may have a solution. Giraud, makers of rugged bench-mounted case prep machines, now offers a new case trimmer/chamferer that works with a power drill (or other power source). Giraud’s patent-pending Tri Way Case Trimmer is a self-contained unit powered by your drill or motor. Using a sharp carbide blade it will trim your cases to length, deburr, and cut both inside and outside chamfers — all in one pass. That’s pretty impressive for a $98.00 tool that fits in the palm of your hand.
1. Fully adjustable for cartridge length (and depth of chamfer).
2. Tool includes carbide blade that cuts a 15° inside case mouth chamfer and 45° outside chamfer.
3. Case holder supported by sealed ball bearing raceway.
4. Tool includes removable, transparent plastic chip guard.
5. Tool can work in any orientation (vertical, horizontal, or any angle).
The Giraud Tri Way Trimmer is designed to be powered by a portable hand drill, drill press, or other dedicated rotating power source. The tool indexes off the shoulder of your cases, but the blade adjusts so that cartridge overall length (COAL) can be controlled with precision. Constructed out of 6061-T6 aluminum and 303 stainless steel, the Tri Way is rugged. Note: This tool is not universal. The Tri Way is dedicated to a single cartridge and “related” cartridges with similar body dimensions. Thus you need a specific tool for each cartridge family. For example, the .308 Win tool will also trim .243 Win, .260 Rem, and 7mm-08.
Cartridge Sizes Available for Giraud Tri Way Trimmer:
.223 Remington (Also trims .17 Rem, .204 Ruger, .222 Rem, .222 Rem Magnum)
7.62 x 39mm (Russian)
.300 Blackout (Also trims .17 Rem Fireball, .221 Fireball)
.308 Winchester (Also trims .243 Winchester, .260 Remington, 7mm-08)
.30-06 Springfield (Also trims .25-06, .270 Winchester, .280 Remington)
.300 Winchester Mag (Also trims .264 Winchester Magnum, 7mm Remington Magnum)
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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At the 2015 F-Class National Championships, nearly three-quarters of the F-Open shooters were using SEB coaxial front rests. And the man who makes them, Sebastian Lambang, was on the firing line too. Seb shot very well, finishing in second position in the F-TR division for the Saturday (Oct. 31) session. For those shooting F-Open or benchrest matches, Seb’s joystick rests really do represent the current state-of-the-art in front rest design. Courtesy of Seb, here are some photos that illustrate the “inner workings” of the SEB NEO Front Rest.
If you’ve ever wondered how a joystick front rest works, and how the parts go together, study the photos below. In addition, for those who use a NEO rest in competition, Benchrest Champion Mike Ratigan offers some PRO USER Tips that will help you get the best results from your NEO.
Unique Features of the SEB NEO Front Rest:
Lots of Travel — 43 MOA Vertical and 48 MOA Horizontal via joystick alone. The NEO offers more joystick travel than any other coaxial rest.
Variable Joystick Movement — The NEO is the only rest that can be configured for reverse action mode. That means you can optionally set it to lower the rifle with an up movement of the joystick if you prefer. (Standard setting raises rifle with up joystick movement.)
Rack & Pinion Risers — The NEO has dual support columns with Rack & Pinion system, offering a very broad vertical adjustment range.
Optional Counter-Weights — The NEO comes standard with a spring-loaded top mechanism to help hold up the rifle. Optional counter-weights allow you to reduce spring “pre-load”. Many people feel the counter-weights also allow a smoother, less jerky movement.
Reversible Base — The NEO’s base can be set-up with either the long leg in the rear or the long leg in the front. Putting the long leg in front gives more room under the rifle.
NEO Packs Flat — The SEB NEO is easily dismantled for transport, and can pack nearly flat. This is a big advantage when traveling.
Counter-weight Function and Calibration: “With the Seb NEO, equipped with the optional static counter-weight, the shooter can calibrate the counter weight to the rifle weight. The counter-weight is used to hold up the rifle. Clamping pressure of the sliding plates is NOT used to hold up the rifle like other coaxial rests on the market today. Other coaxial rests apply enough clamping force to the rest top mechanism sliding plates to resist the downward movement of the top when the rifle weight sets on the rest. This one feature of the Seb NEO almost completely eliminates bullets falling out of the bottom of your groups because the rest moved (or falls) down when you fired the rifle. This function is very important.”
On Hand Position: “I try to keep the palm of my hand grounded to the bench at all times. To do this at the closer distances, the handle will be laying flat (bend to the side) while shooting on the bottom of the target. To move to the top up (for right-handed shooters) I rotate the handle counter clockwise, which [raises the top] while maintaining my palm grounded to the bench.”
On Front Bag Fill: “Give some coarse sand blasting sand a try with the small stuff screened out. This will help reduce compaction from daily use.”
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21st Century Shooting produces a high quality powder funnel, that is very “user-friendly”. The top section is precision ground and polished for a smooth flow. The center has a see-through tube so you can watch the progress of your powder dropping into the case. At the bottom of each funnel is a black case adapter that seats securely yet won’t get stuck on the case. There are five different adapter sizes — the smallest fits .17 Rem to .223 Rem, while the largest fits big magnum calibers. We use the mid-sized, #3 adapter most often. This fits 6mmBR, 6.5×47 Lapua, and .308 Win family of cases (.243 Win, .260 Rem, 7mm-08, .308 Win). Additional adapters are $5.99 each. There are three tube lengths available: 3″, 6″, and 10″. So, if you need an extra-long drop tube (to help fill PPC and other small cases), 21st Century has you covered.
The 21st Century funnels are priced by size. The 3″-long model is $29.99, the 6″-long model is $31.99, and the big 10″-long model is $34.99. Prices include one (1) adapter. These high-grade funnels will help you load faster and easier, with fewer spilled kernels. We use these funnels and they do work well. The appropriate collars fit your .223 Rem, 6PPC, 6mmBR, Dasher, 6XC, .260 Rem, .284 Win, and .308 case necks just right — not too loose, not too tight. Kernels flow smoothly through the tube without sticking to the sides. The aluminum top section does not seem to attract a static charge so you don’t have to waste time brushing kernels off the funnel after use. We like this product. For high-volume precision reloaders, these funnels are worth the money.
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K&M Precision Shooting Products has a very handy tool few hand-loaders know about. This brilliantly simple device lets you actually SEE your case necks as you expand them. This tool can benefit anyone who necks-up brass or who uses an expander to smooth out necks (or reduce tension) before loading.
K&M Expand Mandrel Window Riser
This is a simple threaded extension placed between your expander die body (K&M Expand Iron) and the top of your press. It carries the expander mandrel higher, above the press, and has a cut-out view port so you can see the mandrel as it passes through the neck. Smart, eh? This provides visual feedback during the process of expanding your brass. The patent-pending view riser costs $20.00. Will it expand necks faster, or reduce run-out? We doubt it, but we still would like to have one, if only to eyeball the mandrel to control the neck-entry rate more consistently from case to case.
Installation: Thread the Expand Mandrel Window Riser into the top of your loading press, then thread the K&M Expand-Iron (Expander Die Body) fully into the top of the window riser and adjust each so you can stroke out the press completely without driving the case mouth into the press adapter. This allows you to view the expanding operation which is typically blind under the press. The riser also eliminates the need for the stop screw in the expander mandrel. LINK: Expand Window Riser Instructions (PDF).
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Here’s something that should interest tactical and PRS shooters. Nick Gebhardt has written a detailed review of the KRG Whiskey 3 Chassis for Snipers Hide. The Whiskey 3 Chassis (W3C) from KRG is a modular system for a Rem 700, Tikka T3, or Badger 2008 barreled actions. Borrowing heavily from the SAKO TRG design, this chassis offers good ergonomics, with adjustable cheekpiece and buttplate. The W3C is affordable, letting you transform your Rem 700 or Tikka into a “Poor Man’s TRG”. The Whiskey-3 is available in both fixed ($939.00) and folding ($1299.00) versions.
Reviewer Nick Gebhardt Praises the KRG Whiskey-3 Chassis:
Kinetic Research Group (KRG) has been producing the W3 Chassis for several years, and it is a superb choice for anybody looking for an extremely high quality stock. The W3 chassis is machined out of 6061-type aluminum, which is aircraft-grade and quite durable. KRG utilizes a combination of extrusions for rough shape and CNC machining to final dimensions for the fore-end and backbone of the chassis. The remainder of the pieces are CNC-machined from solid block.
I have been using this stock on my business rifle for a couple months and have nothing but high praise for it. The adjustability of the stock without tools is a major advantage while allowing customers to test my rifle, as we can fit the stock to each individual shooter easily and rapidly. One of the nicest features on this stock is the excellent Limb Saver recoil pad which is very soft and absorbs recoil nicely. The butt pad is also adjustable up and down as well as for tilt, up to about 15 degrees to either side.
If you are in the market for a chassis system and appreciate high quality machining, fit, and finish then you would be well-served with the W3C stock from Kinetic Research Group. They also make a less costly chassis, called the X-Ray, which is a polymer non-folding version very similar to the W3C. For More information, visit KineticResearchgroup.com.
Nobody likes to spend hours manually chamfering cases and cleaning primer pockets. There are simple hand tools that will perform these tasks, but the process is time-consuming and tedious after a couple dozen cases. To speed up case prep duties, you can get one of the large, powered case prep centers. These function well, but frankly we didn’t want to give up that much precious space on our reloading bench. One good solution is Hornady’s compact Case Prep Trio (item 050160).
This cleverly-designed powered tool has a small footprint, yet it can perform three tasks as well as much more expensive, tower-style case prep units. The Hornady Case Prep Trio is now $91.42 at Midsouth Shooters Supply. We’ve used this machine and it works well. The only negative is that you will get metal shavings on your bench (unlike some of the larger case prep centers). We’ve seen some guys put a small pan under the power head — then you can just dump the shavings out of the pan.
With three active stations, you can chamfer, deburr and clean primer pockets without having to change tools. The Case Prep Trio ships with inside chamfer, outside chamfer, and deburr tools. You can also use the machine with other optional 8/32 threaded accessories such as primer pocket reamers and case neck brushes. Conveniently, the Case Prep Trio has on-board storage for your tool-heads.
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Many shooters prefer to use padded soft cases for their guns. These weigh less, take up less room in vehicles, and store more easily. Unfortunately most soft rifle cases on the market are too short (or not tall enough) to handle scoped rifles with 29″ or longer barrels, particularly if a muzzle brake or extended front site hanger is attached. You can find long soft cases designed for shotguns or long-barreled black powder rifles, but these typically do not have enough clearance (top to bottom) to handle bulky target scopes. Where can you find a quality soft case for a scoped F-Class or Palma rifle with 30″ or longer barrel, making the rifle at least 50-51″ in overall length? Here are some suggestions.
55″ Bald Eagle Match Rifle Case
A good combination of features and value is the 55″-long Bald Eagle soft case from Bullets.com. This case was designed for match competitors with long-barreled rifles (with barrels from 29″ to 32″). This case fits both scoped and iron-sight rifles, and has quality zippers and heavy-duty padding. Large, zippered storage compartments hold log books, chamber flags, and other gear. Available in two popular colors, red and black, this case measures 55″ long, 13″ tall on back end and 6″ tall on front end. It is currently on sale for $57.95. Bullets.com also sells 60″ soft cases, and 50″ soft cases to fit rifles with both longer and shorter OALs.
52″ Creedmoor Sports Soft Case
At the request of many High Power shooters, Creedmoor Sports has created a high-grade 52″x10″ softcase. That’s tall and long enough to fit a Tubb 2000, or AR-based spacegun with long barrel. The Creedmoor case is one quality offering, with nice 1″ thick close-cell foam padding plus tough Cordura nylon on the outside and nylon pack cloth on the inside. Both materials are urethane-coated for water proofing. Another nice feature are the integral backpack straps (see photo left). These free your hands to carry rests, spotting scopes or other gear.
The Creedmoor 52″x10″ case comes in Forest Green ($66.95, N152A), and Royal Blue ($76.95, N152C). Creedmoor also offers a similar, slightly smaller 48″x12″ case for Service Rifles in Green or Blue.
52″ Midsouth Gun Case
For those on a tight budget, Midsouth Shooters Supply offers an Extreme 52″ padded gun case for just $23.00 (item #208-BD240-52). This thickly-padded case is high enough in the center to fit most scoped rifles — even with big Nightforce scopes. Made by Bulldog Cases, the all-black Extreme 52″ case features a soft faux-fur inner lining, an external accessory pocket, and a removable shoulder strap.
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If you’ve been following the tactical message boards, you’ll hear a lot of buzz about FrogLube CLP. Among the zillions of gun cleaner/lubes on the market, FrogLube stands out for its ability to work well even in challenging environments. Intended for U.S. Navy SEAL operators’ use in extreme environments, FrogLube was developed by Larry Lasky (Captain, USN retired), a former Navy SEAL officer. FrogLube’s blend of ingredients has been extensively field tested. The makers of FrogLube claim that fouling is dramatically reduced in FrogLube-treated firearms. FrogLube is a decent carbon-cutter and it also provides protection against rust and corrosion (though there are better rust preventers on the market, such as Eezox).
NOTE: Don’t expect FrogLube to remove copper fouling in the barrel — you’ll need a real copper solvent, such as Montana X-Treme. Overall, though, as a general purpose CLP, FrogLube performs well.
I was introduced to this product by a Sig armorer. I tried it. I loved it. It works. Period. Just like everyone else is saying here. Here is my break down of it as a CLP. The “C”: I have found that putting it on warm metal makes it work great…just like they say. I rub the paste on, let it sit and penetrate. A few minutes later….wipe it off. Clean enough to eat on. I even tried it on my mountain bike chain and components after running out of degreaser. Worked better than anything I have ever tried. The “L”: Once you use it on the parts you will notice it’s still there, having saturated the parts. Great for lube and goes a long way. The “P”: I hunt waterfowl in very rugged and sloppy conditions. The thing about this product is that when they say it saturates the metal, it truly does. Great protective features. It’s still on there and after all that moisture not speck of rust anywhere, unlike even the best of of other CLPs. — J. Zabick
Crazy Good — This stuff is amazing. I use it on my knives, razors and, of course, guns. It smells great, leaves no oily residue and cleans like nothing else I have used. Get the paste and the oil because sometimes the oil is called for and sometimes you need the paste. Can’t recommend it enough. I have already ordered more. — K. Chariton
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The Tipton Gun Vise is ON SALE for just $39.99 at Amazon.com. That’s a 22% savings over the normal $50.99 price at MidwayUSA. Plus, at the current time, Amazon.com is offering FREE Shipping (subject to change). That’s a very good deal for a tough, versatile product you’ll use for years. This Editor has used one of these for more than a decade (with all sorts of rifles) and it is still going strong.
This Editor owns one of these injection-molded gun cradles. It has handled everything from an 18″-barreled lever gun to a 32″-barreled F-Class rifle. The unit works well for many tasks: cleaning barrels, stock refinishing/bedding, scope mounting, trigger adjusting, bore-scoping barrels, and checking throat length with a Hornady OAL tool. To be honest, I can’t understand how any serious shooter can get along without a product such as this (MTM makes a similar plastic cleaning cradle). That said, the unit isn’t perfect. We did find a couple very nose-heavy 1000-yard benchrest rifles that were not stable on the Tipton. This gun vise will NOT fit rifles with forearms wider than 3 inches. And if your butt-stock is very shallow (vertically) from comb down to toe, it may not fit the clamping system very well.
There are a number of smart features on the Tipton Gun Vise. First it’s made of solvent-resistant plastic. I’ve spilled just about every “miracle bore cleaner” you can name and nothing has harmed the plastic so far. Second, the front support has a dual-profile rubber pad with a flat section for benchrest rifles plus a “V” in the middle for narrow-forearm rifles. Third, the base section has handy cut-outs that hold solvent bottles or patches. Some people complain that the 8-lb Tipton Gun Vise is too light. While I understand that concern, the Vise is stable in use and I like the fact that I can easily pick up the whole unit with one hand and move it around the loading room. You can always add weight.
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Tuners work. So do muzzle brakes. But until recently, you had the choice of one or the other. Now with combo tuner/brakes you can tune the harmonics of your rifle barrel while enjoying significantly reduced recoil (and torque). This is a “Win-Win” for shooters of heavy-recoiling rifles.
Rifle accuracy and precision have come a long way in the past 15 years, particularly for long-range applications. The most recent tool to significantly improve precision is the barrel tuning system. The Rifle Accuracy System (RAS) developed by Precision Rifle Systems, incorporates a precision muzzle brake with the tuner. CLICK HERE for Product INFO.
This system potentially offers meaningful group size reduction through control of barrel harmonics. The RAS tuner/brake system was the subject of a June 2012 Precision Shooting (PS) magazine article, titled “Improved Rifle Accuracy” and was also featured in an article in the November 2012 issue of PS titled “Tuning with Confidence”.
READ MORE about RAS Tuner Tests on .260 AI, .223 Rem, and 22LR rimfire rifles.
Copies of both articles and detailed instructions on RAS installation and tuning can be downloaded from www.bostromgunsmithing.com. Eric Bostrom is the distributor for the RAS.
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What anti-corrosion products really fight rust effectively? You’ll hear many opinions, but what do actual field tests reveal? One rifle shooter, who posts on YouTube as BlueonGoldZ, wanted to separate myth (and marketing claims) from reality, so he completed his own long-term rust test using metal samples. First he used ordinary tap water spray, and then he did a second, longer-duration test with a salt-spray solution. Nine different products were tested: Break Free CLP, Corrosion-X, Frog Lube, M-Pro 7, Outers, Pro-Shot Zero Friction, Rem Oil, Slip 2000, and Tetra Gun Triple Action CLP.
BlueonGoldZ initially examined each product for its “beading” properties with a normal tap water spray. But the main test involved many multiple weeks of exposure after a “dense” salt-water spray. (No rust formed after two weeks tap water exposure, so the test was accelerated with salt-water exposure).
At the request of our readers, we have launched a new “Deals of the Week” feature. If this proves popular, we’ll try to run this every Monday. Here are some of the best deals on 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. Bullets.com — Clearance on RCBS Presses and Reloading Kits
Bullets.com is clearing out all RCBS inventory. That means big savings on quality products. The Reloader Special is good choice for those who want a second press with a smaller footprint. This Editor owns an RCBS 2000 Progressive Press and can recommend it. I have used Dillon presses extensively. I prefer the RCBS rotary powder measure and I believe the RCBS strip priming system is safer than systems which stack primers vertically. The Partner Press Kit includes: compact reloading press, balance-beam scale, case lube pad + lube, loading tray, powder funnel, neck brushes, deburring tool, AND a Speer Reloading Manual. Hard to beat that for $155.00!
2. Sportsman’s Guide — Frankford Arsenal Case Tumbler Kit
For just $69.99, this Frankford Arsenal Kit provides everything you need to clean brass: Vibratory Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, Bucket, Corn Cob Media (3 lbs.), and Brass Polish. The Case Tumbler holds up to 600 9mm cases or 350 .223 Rem cases. The separator system is generous, with a 3.5-gallon bucket. NOTE: Sportsman’s Guide Buyers Club members can purchase for $62.99.
3. Harbor Freight – 8-Drawer Wood Tool Chest
This Wood Tool Chest makes a great addition to your reloading room. The eight (8) drawers can hold the many small tools and accessories used for hand-loading, such as bushings, shims, uniforming tools, mandrels, neck-turners and more. A deeper top compartment (under the lid) holds wrenches and other larger tools. The price is just $79.99. A lockable sliding wood panel fits in place to cover the drawers when not in use. This locking panel also secures the drawers during transport.
With Nikon’s “Instant Savings” Promotion in effect through November 11th, you can snag this compact Nikon 16-48X ProStaff Spotting Scope Kit (with tripod and case) for just $249.95 with free shipping. With a length of just 12.3″, and weighing a mere 21.9 ounces, this is a good spotting scope for hunters or pistol shooters who prefer a straight-through view. The $249.95 price is a steal.
5. Southern Shooters — 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire
With ballistics far superior to a .22 LR, the 17 HMR is ideal for Prairie Dogs and small varmints out to 180 yards or so. Now you can get a reliable, name brand 17 HMR rifle for under $250.00. That’s right, Southern Shooters is selling the 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire, with 22″ barrel, for just $244.21. FFL required. For other vendors with this rifle, CLICK HERE.
6. Amazon.com — $39.39 Double Rifle Case
This tactical-style Double Rifle Case carries two (2) scoped rifles securely. With a main compartment measuring 48″ x 3″ x 12.5″, this double case is big enough to handle full-sized rifle. There is a padded layer between the two compartments, and the case features a shoulder strap as well as carry handles. NOTE: There are THREE color options: Black, Green, and Tan. Be sure to select color when ordering.
7. Powder Valley Inc. — SK .22 LR Rimfire Ammo $5.90/box
Looking for good-quality, affordable rimfire ammo? Our friends at Powder Valley Inc. (PVI) have you covered. PVI recently obtained a large quantity of German-made SK Standard Plus .22 LR ammo. This is very good ammo for the price. To order, click on “Specials” from the PVI home page
8. Buck Knives — Model 110 Folding Hunter
Read the nearly 1000 customer reviews on Amazon.com, and you’ll understand why the Model 110 Folding Hunter is one of the most popular knives ever produced by Buck Knives. The USA-made, lifetime-warrantied Model 110 features a 3.75″ blade, Dymondwood handle, polished brass bolsters, and leather carrying sheath. It’s a bargain at $27.99.
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C’mon admit it — you’d love to have one of these on your work desk or loading bench. The aluminum cylinder holds six (6) pens in 0.75″-diameter holes. Dirty Harry would be proud.
We think this handsome wheelgun cylinder is a clever desktop organizer, and it’s certainly a “conversation starter”. The wheelgun pen-holder is hefty enough to function as a paperweight as well as a handy storage unit for pens and pencils. The price is $17.06 at Amazon.com. Click this link to order: Revolver Pen Holder.
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The new, 37th Edition of the Gun Trader’s Guide has just been released. This fully-illustrated resource features current market values for thousands of rifles, pistols, and shotguns. This 37th Edition, now with over 1000 photographs, includes dozens of new entries added since the previous edition. Along with the Blue Blue of Gun Values, the Gun Trader’s Guide is one of the two definitive resources on gun prices. If you buy or sell firearms, the Gun Traders’ Guide is a must-have item that will pay for itself. Over two million copies of the Gun Trader’s Guide have been sold to date. Order soon to be one of the first to own the new 37th Edition. Amazon’s price is $23.24.
If you don’t want to lug the big book around, a Kindle (electronic) Edition of the 2014 Gun Trader’s Guide to Rifles is available for just $16.17. This 608-page eBook edition of the 2014 Guide can be viewed on a Kindle, iPad, laptop, or your home computer. This is handy if you want to access gun values at a gunshop, estate sale, or auction.
Get Books Fast from Amazon.com
You can order the Gun Trader’s Guide, the Blue Book of Gun Values and other popular firearms and shooting books through the AccurateShooter.com Bookstore. To save you time, we’ve collected the best books on shooting, reloading, hunting, and gunsmithing all in one location. Ordering, secure billing, and shipping are all handled efficiently by Amazon.com.
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If you’ve been considering the new Nightforce SHV scope for a hunting application, head over to LongRangeHunting.com. There you’ll find an in-depth field test of the 4-14x56mm SHV by Nicholas Gebhart. This is a very thorough review — Gebhardt checks every feature of the scope and comparison tests the SHV against the more costly Nightforce NXS 3.5-15x50mm. Gebhardt even put the SHV scope in his freezer for a weekend to ensure there was no fogging.
Overall, Gebhardt was very pleased with the SHV: “Optical clarity, image brightness, contrast and resolution were all extremely good.” The tester also liked the MOAR reticle in his scope. He didn’t think it was too “busy” though he thought the hold-over lines would benefit from numbers: “Nightforce’s MOAR was easy to use and provided a clear sight picture for engaging small targets. The line thickness is perfect for both precise shot placement and visibility. My personal preference however would be for the even hash marks to be numbered for the entire lower portion of the reticle.” Gebhart noted that the SHV’s side parallax knob had yardage marking numbers that proved accurate (and handy to use) — most other scopes just have lines.
Nightforce SHV vs. Nighforce NXS
How did the new SHV stack up against the NXS in a side-by-side comparison? Gebhardt was impressed with the $995.00 SHV, saying it held its own with the pricier NXS model: “I took about 30 minutes to evaluate the optics of the SHV and see how it compared to an older Nightforce NXS 3.5-15X50. Both of these scopes are made in Japan but given the price differential, I expected to see some difference in the optical quality. To my surprise, I couldn’t find any optical difference between the two except for a very slight possibility of a brighter image with the SHV.”
Nicholas Gebhardt has been an active hunter primarily pursuing mule deer, antelope, coyotes and prairie dogs since he was old enough to legally hunt. Nicholas is also a precision rifle competitor and a Captain in the Montana National Guard.
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