July 13th, 2018

New Ritter & Stark SLX with Monolithic Barrel System

Ritter Stark SLX tactical modular rifle monolithic barrel review FirearmRack.com

The SLX is the latest tactical rifle from Austrian gunmaker Ritter & Stark. This new bolt action rig has many innovative features, such as a bolt that locks directly into the barrel assembly. This system, which allows rapid caliber/chambering changes, was pioneered with Ritter & Stark’s impressive SX-1 Rifle. In the USA, both SLX and SX-1 Ritter & Stark rifles are available from EuroOptic.com.

Ritter Stark SLX tactical modular rifle monolithic barrel review FirearmRack.com

Ritter & Stark SLX Rifle In .308 Winchester

By Patrick R. of FirearmRack.com
I had the chance while working for another publication to visit the Ritter & Stark factory in Austria and had the pleasure of being the first U.S. citizen to shoot the Ritter & Stark SLX. The SLX is the little brother to the SX-1 rifle that was reviewed on Ammoland a while back.

Ritter Stark SLX tactical modular rifle monolithic barrel review FirearmRack.com

My initial experience with SLX serial number 2 was overwhelmingly positive. The rifle was superbly accurate and produced a 10-round group under an inch. While that might not seem too impressive, keep in mind that the rear bag that I was using was less than optimal and I may not have been at the top of my game with the jet lag. I did see Max [the SLX’s designer] produce a 0.3 MOA group with the same rifle and ammunition I was shooting so I feel that I was the weak link in the equation.

Ritter Stark SLX tactical modular rifle monolithic barrel review FirearmRack.com

I was even presented with a very interesting polymer receiver version of the rifle. Since all the pressure is contained in the monolithic barrel it is possible to build the receiver out of a weaker material like polymer.

I took the rifle out to Triple C range in Cresson, TX where I could really stretch its legs. I outfitted the rifle with a Vortex Viper HS-T [and] Atlas bipod with Hawk Hill Custom replacement feet. I started shooting at 500 Yards after zeroing the rifle and landed two hits on a 2 MOA plate without much issue. The next target is the one that really showed the capabilities of the rifle. At 600 yards I dropped three consecutive shots on a 2 MOA plate, the group was less than 4″ wide!

The fact that Ritter & Stark was able to produce a factory half-MOA rifle is nothing short of impressive. Even more impressive is the caliber change system that they have developed. After personally seeing a rifle have its barrel removed and placed in another receiver then successfully hitting a target at 2,600 yards later that day is enough for me to take serious notice of the rifle’s ability to retain zero.

Ritter & Stark SLX — How Much Does It Cost?
MSRP on the rifle is a reasonable $3635.00. Now before you crucify me, keep in mind that the next rifle that comes close to the capabilities of the SLX is the Desert Tech SRS-A1 which carries an MSRP of $4,995. [Also the bigger Ritter & Stark SX-1 costs $5244.00 in the USA.] Learn more about the SX-1 on RitterStark.com or Ritter & Stark’s Facebook Page

Patric R’s Full Review appears on Ammoland.com. See other reviews on FirearmRack.com and the Firearm Rack YouTube channel.

Permalink Gear Review, Tactical 3 Comments »
July 12th, 2018

T-Riffic: Tikka T3 Modular Tubegun Chassis from Gary Eliseo

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3

At the SAKO/Tikka booth at SHOT Show, we saw some tactical shooters admiring the smooth Tikka T3 action and crisp trigger. They liked the action but they told us they wished they could get the T3 action in a configuration similar to the Ruger Precision Rifle. Well folks, there is a way to build a Tikka T3-based tactical/practical rig.

Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine offers a tubegun chassis for Tikka T3 actions in both Target and Tactical versions. The T3 kit is set up for AICS short action magazines. This is a “no gunsmithing” installation — no modifications to the action are required and the chassis kit works with the factory T3 trigger and safety. Along with the new Target and Tactical versions, a lower-cost Light-Weight Hunter T3 Chassis is also offered which accepts most AR-type buttstock assemblies.

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3Tikka’s T3 action is a very nice unit that works well as the centerpiece of a precision rifle. The T3 action is rigid and robust. It cycles smoothly and has a short 75° bolt lift. The T3 features a Sako-style extractor, with angled-leading-edge bolt lugs for smooth lock-up.

The T3 action can be installed in Gary’s Chassis Kit with either a recoil disc (and bolts) or glue-in action mounting. Price for the Tactical model is $1050.00, with a rugged Cerakote finish. Price for the Target version is $950.00 with a powdercoat finish or $1025.00 with a Cerakote finish. The Light-Weight Hunter chassis (that accepts owner-installed AR-type buttstocks) starts at $685.00. (Check for current pricing.) Tikka T3 action and AICS 5-round or 10-round magazines sold separately. For more info, visit GotXRing.com, call 928-649-0742, or send email to: spraynandprayn [at] gmail.com . CLICK HERE for order page.

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3

Permalink Gear Review, Tactical No Comments »
July 11th, 2018

Leupold Scope Detects Rifle Canting with Intelligent Reticle

Leupold VX-6HD hunting riflescope scope optics electronic reticle level motion sensor
New Technology — Electronic Reticle Level. Activate level by pushing illumination button for 15 seconds. The level warning deactivates automatically when you rotate the scope over 30 degrees.

The latest Leupold VX-6HD scopes have a feature we’d like to see incorporated in other optics: a tilt-correction warning system. When the rifle is canted more than 1 degree off level, the VX-6HD’s new electronic reticle level flashes, telling the shooter to square up his rifle. This kind of innovation helps both hunters and target shooters. Even a small bit of cant variance from shot to shot will change the point of impact at long range (Canting Demo HERE). Proprietary MST (Motion Sensor Technology) automatically deactivates illumination after 5 minutes of inactivity, yet reactivates instantly as soon as any movement is detected.

Leupold VX-6HD hunting riflescope scope optics electronic reticle level motion sensorThe electronic reticle level and other advanced VX-6HD features were praised by Petersen’s Hunting magazine, which awarded the VX-6HD an Editor’s Choice award. Leupold put a lot of advanced optics technology in this scope. Leupold says: “We gave it new high-definition lenses for sharpened clarity, Twilight Max Light Management System, an in-scope cant indicator, a throw lever for fast magnification changes, and a more robust erector system.”

Leupold offers six VX-6HD series riflescopes: 4-24x52mm, 3-18x50mm, 3-18x44mm, 2-12x42mm, 1-6x24mm, and 1-6x24mm multigun. All Leupold VX-6HD riflescopes are CDS-capable and include one free Custom Ballistic Dial with purchase.

Leupold VX-6HD hunting riflescope scope optics electronic reticle level motion sensor

The VX-6HD series of scopes also feature a very clever, button-controlled return-to-zero system for both windage and elevation. A visible button snaps out at the zero point, locking the turret. Press the ZeroLock button to release and dial your needed elevation or windage. Simply spin the turret back and the lock snaps into place automatically at the designated zero point. Simple, easy, effective.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics 4 Comments »
July 10th, 2018

The 20-Caliber Black Rifle — AR Chambered in 20 Practical

20 Practical AR uppers

The new .224 Valkyrie for AR15-platform rifles has garnered lots of attention lately. That new cartridge has gotten people thinking about the options for an AR shooter beyond the venerable .223 Remington (and 5.56x39mm NATO). While the .224 Valkyrie is good for shooting long heavy bullets (such as Sierra’s new 95gr SMK), there is a simpler, cheaper option for folks who favor “fast and light” — smaller, lower-mass bullets traveling at very high velocities. That option is the 20 Practical, which is simply a .223 Remington necked down to 20 caliber. This little cartridge can launch 40-grainers at over 3900 fps. That’s bookin’. This makes the 20 Practical a great choice for an AR-based varmint rifle.

20 Practical20 Practical Ultimate Varminter
A decade ago, as a “proof-of-concept”, AccurateShooter.com created a 20 Practical AR15 Ultimate Varminter with a custom 20-caliber upper from Robert Whitley of AR-X Enterprises, LLC. That project rifle was ultra-accurate — every 5-shot group out of the gun was less than the size of a dime. That gun was auctioned off, but Robert Whitley continues to produce custom 20 Practical AR15 uppers. (The 20 Practical cartridge is simply the .223 Rem necked down to 20 caliber — you can use standard .223 brass and load with standard.223 Rem dies. Just swap in a smaller expander and use smaller neck bushings.)

Robert reports that the accuracy of the first 20 Practical AR15 was no fluke. After building six (6) more 20 Practical uppers, he tested them for accuracy and they all shot great. These uppers feature DPMS low-pro receivers with side charging handles. They are fitted with PacNor 1:11″ twist, three-groove stainless barrels.

20 Practical AR uppers

Robert reports: “We have been making more 20 Practical AR15 uppers and I have to say I am astounded by the accuracy of these things. For shooting little tiny groups out of an AR15 with bullets going 3500+ fps, it’s hard to beat the 20 Practical. Today I test-fired six more uppers, all with 11-twist barrels. Three of the uppers had 24″ barrels, two had 20″ barrels, and one had an 18″ barrel (we call it ‘Stubby’).

20 Practical Reamer print

In four of these uppers I shot re-sized Winchester brass using 25.3 grains of WC844 powder with Berger 40gr BTHP bullets loaded at 2.225″ OAL (about .015″ off the lands). WC844 is inexpensive military surplus powder that is nearly identical to H335. I tried three different primers and the choice did not seem to matter (CCI BR4, Rem 7 1/2s and Win Small Rifle — the old silver ones). All these four uppers shot great. Here is an animated GIF with targets from uppers #6, 10, and 11. All groups are mag-fed, 5-shot groups shot at 100 yards using a front rest and rear bag.”

Targets Shot with Three Different 20 Practical AR Uppers

20 Practical AR uppers

For more information visit www.6mmAR.com, or contact Robert Whitley via email: rcw3 [at] erols.com.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
July 5th, 2018

Input Key Variables Correctly for Ballistics Apps

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPad

“Garbage In, Garbage Out.” You have to input key variables with precision if you want your Ballistics Apps to deliver reliable long-range trajectories. So says Tom Beckstrand, Field Editor for Guns & Ammo magazine. A former U.S. Army Special Forces Officer, and avid long-range competitor, Beckstrand knows the importance of using your ballistic calculator correctly. Here are his tips on how to achieve the best results using Ballistics Calculators.

Key Variables: Muzzle Velocity, Ballistic Coefficient, Sight Height

“The most important inputs to make any ballistic calculator work correctly are muzzle velocity, ballistic coefficient, and sight height,” says Beckstrand.

Ascertain Accurate Muzzle Velocity with a Good Chronograph
“Cheap chronographs will not give an accurate muzzle velocity, so the serious shooter needs to spend the money on a quality chrono.” When you chronograph, make sure to measure the distance from the muzzle to the chrono unit. That input is also important to your Ballistic calculations.

Use Reliable G1 and G7 Ballistic Coefficients
Beckstrand added, “Ballistic Coefficients are available from ammunition and bullet manufacturers, and most of these coefficients the manufacturers provide are really quite accurate.” Ballistic Coefficient or BC, is a number that reflects how well a bullet cuts through the air. The higher the BC, the less the bullet is affected by air drag.

Measure Sight Height Correctly Using Calipers
Beckstrand has found that many shooters aren’t inputting sight height or they are guessing at the correct height. As target distance increases, just a half-inch of sight height inaccuracy can mean several inches up or down.

“Sight height is the input most often overlooked and is usually the source of greatest error. I think a lot of shooters, especially those new to long-range shooting, simply don’t understand the importance of this input.”

Sight height is the distance from the centerline of the scope to the centerline of the bore. Some shooters, Beckstrand believes, just “eye it up” and estimate the distance. “Really, you should use a set of calipers to measure the sight height distance … within 0.1 inch”.

Get Leading Ballistics App for iOS Devices

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPad

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPadNeed a top-notch Ballistics App for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod? Start with Ballistic AE, the number 1 (i.e. most installed) App for iOS systems. Ballistics AE (Advanced Edition) is the most popular iOS ballistics program for many good reasons. Full-featured and easy to use, Ballistics AE has been refined over many years, and it supplies rock-solid solutions derived from JBM Ballistics solver (created by James B. Millard). Unlike some other Apps, Ballistics AE is STABLE on iPhones (with various OS levels). What’s cool is that Ballistics AE is now on sale for $12.99.

We’ve used the Ballistic AE program on an iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and iPad, and it performed well. Here are some of the features we liked:

  • 1. Mirrors output from online version of JBM Ballistics we often use for initial calculations.
  • 2. Controls are simple to use and (mostly) intuitive.
  • 3. Handy comparison feature lets you compare ballistics for different projectiles side by side.
  • 4. Advanced Wind Kit allows you to account for complex wind situations.
  • 5. Projectile and BC Databases are very comprehensive.
  • 6. Software is regularly updated to match Apple OS changes.

Ballistic-AE App for iPhone & iPod, $12.99 | Ballistic-AE App for iPad, $12.99

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPad

This Video Explains How to Set Up and Use Ballistic AE:

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
July 1st, 2018

Trigger Options for AR-Platform Rifles

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

AR-platform rifles are fun and versatile, but the standard, mil-spec triggers leave much to be desired. They tend to be gritty, with creep and heavy pull weight. One of the easiest, most effective AR upgrades is a trigger group swap. An improved fire control group makes a huge difference. There are many aftermarket trigger options for the AR platform rifles. Choose single-stage or two-stage, either standard trigger assembly or unitized “drop-in” trigger, such as those made by Timney or Triggertech.

Read Full AR Trigger Article in NRA Blog HERE »

AR15 Space Gun trigger
When upgraded with a precision trigger and match barrel, AR-platform rigs work great in NRA High Power competitions (Photo from NRA Blog, at Camp Perry).

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stageTwo-Stage vs. Single-Stage Triggers
Two-stage triggers have two separate movements. The first stage offers a light, spring-loaded pressure that works against the shooter’s pull until stopping at the second stage – this is called “take-up”. If there is no spring pressure, it is known as “slack”. Should the shooter continue to pull the trigger once he’s arrived at the second stage, the mechanism will operate like a single-stage trigger from there until engaging the sear and firing the gun. Good trigger reset requires the shooter to keep pressure on the trigger, even during reset, to minimize movement of the muzzle.

Single-stage triggers feature no take-up or slack, as they begin engaging the sear as soon as the shooter begins pulling the trigger. Some competitive shooters prefer the two-stage trigger because of the feedback it provides during its first stage, while other shooters, including those using their rifle in tactical scenarios, may want the surety of a single-stage trigger, ready to engage and fire once their finger is inside the trigger guard. Regardless of preference, a good trigger will feature minimal creep and should be free of grittiness, providing a smooth, even break.

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

Drop-In Trigger Assembly vs. Standard Trigger Group
Once you decide between a single-stage or two-stage trigger, you can choose between standard and drop-in trigger groups. Standard trigger groups feature all the fire control group parts separated, and need to be pieced together and installed much like a mil-spec trigger, while drop-in trigger are pre-assembled and contained within a casing that simply drops in to the receiver and accepts the pins, hence the name.

After-Market Trigger Comparison

Some shooters prefer drop-in triggers due to the ease of installation, while others opt for standard groups so they can access the components individually for cleaning adjustment or replacement. If one piece of a drop-in trigger fails, you’ll need to either replace the entire unit or send it to the manufacturer for repair, whereas you may be able to simply replace the broken component of a standard trigger without needing a whole new trigger set.

Trigger Terminology — “Creep”, “Stacking”, “Overtravel”
“Creep” or “travel” is the distance the trigger moves between the end of take-up and when the trigger breaks to fire the fun. Too much creep can affect accuracy, but no creep can be unsafe, as the shooter may not be prepared to fire. “Stacking” occurs when the trigger weight actually increases during travel — this shouldn’t happen. Lastly, “overtravel” is the distance the trigger continues moving back after the gun fires.

This article is based on a longer story in the NRA Blog.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
July 1st, 2018

Lightweight Cleaning Cradles from PMA Tool

PMA Tool Cradle Benchrest

PMA Tool offers lightweight yet sturdy cleaning cradles that are handy, affordable, and easy to transport. PMA’s single-gun cradle, priced at $75.95, is ideal for benchrest rigs. It measures about 17″ in length and weighs about one pound. PMA now also offers a two-gun cradle for $119.95. Both single and double cradles secure your rifle(s) in a muzzle-down position that allows easy cleaning and prevents solvents from running back into the action. The front “saddle” and all contact surfaces are covered by thick silicone rubber padding which grips the rifle securely yet protects the stock and components from scratches.

PMA Tool Cradle Benchrest

These cradles are currently available either with a 3″-wide front saddle for Benchrest and F-Open style stocks, or a 2.5″-wide front saddle for rifles with narrower narrower, flat fore-ends such as those found on Hunter Class and modern varmint stocks.

Double Rifle Cradle is a Smart, Versatile Design
PMA’s double rifle cleaning cradle was was designed from the ground up to work perfectly for two rifles side-by-side. Using the same tie bar and protective saddles found on the single cradel, PMA widened the base and created new uprights to support the saddles, making the cradle as narrow and light as possible, while retaining all the protective and non-slip features from our single unit. This unit is available in double 3″ front saddles, double 2.5″ front saddles or combination 3″ / 2.5″ front saddle configurations to accommodate multiple classes of rifles for centerfire and rimfire benchrest competition.

Product Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
June 25th, 2018

22 Nosler — High Performance .22 Caliber Cartridge

22 Nosler cartridge AR15 .223 Rem 224 Valkyrie

Nosler created the 22 Nosler cartridge to wring the highest possible ballistic performance from a .22-caliber, AR-compatible cartridge that also provides adequate barrel life and maximum ease of conversion. The 22 Nosler achieved these objectives and much more — it delivers far better performance than the .223 Remington and even out-runs the 224 Valkyrie.

In ballistics, there’s no free lunch. Larger powder capacity at similar operating pressures equates to higher velocity potential. In the case of the 22 Nosler, this is evidenced by a 4-5 grain capacity increase over the tried and true .223 Remington, and a 2-3 grain capacity advantage over the newly-introduced 224 Valkyrie. This larger “engine room” allows the 22 Nosler to deliver higher velocities. That translates to less drop (flatter trajectory) at long range.

22 Nosler cartridge AR15 .223 Rem 224 Valkyrie

Faster than .223 Rem and 224 Valkyrie
When loaded with 80 grain low-drag match bullets and fired from the same 24″ barrel (bolt actions, not gas guns) the 22 Nosler outruns the 224 Valkyrie by about 150 fps. Compared to the .223 Remington, the difference is even more remarkable — the 22 Nosler runs over 300 fps faster! These velocity improvements give the 22 Nosler a clear advantage in long-range trajectory and downrange energy retention.

22 Nosler cartridge AR15 .223 Rem 224 Valkyrie

How to Run the 22 Nosler in Your AR-Platform Rifle
Converting your AR to 22 Nosler is as simple as a barrel and magazine change, and there are countless AR-platform MSRs in circulation with the proper 0.378” (.223 Rem) sized bolt face. By comparison, to make the swap to 224 Valkyrie, you must purchase a dedicated .224-Valkyrie upper (not cheap!), or at the minimum add a new barrel, modified bolt with proper bolt face, and 6.8 SPC-compliant mags.

This video compares the specifications of the 22 Nosler and .223 Remington. Bolt face dimensions are identical for the 22 Nosler and the 223 Rem / 5.56 NATO at 0.378″, so no bolt swap is required.

Many Factory Ammo Options — from 55 to 85 grains
Nosler offers a variety of factory loads in 22 Nosler, suited to a wide range of applications. Will you be shooting long range targets? Try the 70 or 85 grain RDFs loaded in Nosler Match Grade Ammunition. Are hogs or deer on the menu? Choose Nosler Trophy Grade Ammunition, with either the 55 grain E-Tip (non-lead) bullet or the 70 grain AccuBond®. Taking out varmints or predators? Nosler’s Varmageddon with 62 grain Hollow Point or Trophy Grade Varmint ammo with 55 grain Ballistic Tip (the world’s first polymer tipped varmint bullet) — will stop any varmint in its tracks.

If you want to turn your AR-platform MSR into a completely different animal, the 22 Nosler can open up a whole new level of performance.

22 Nosler cartridge AR15 .223 Rem 224 Valkyrie

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 5 Comments »
June 24th, 2018

Cleaning Rod Bore Guide for 17 HMR Rifles

Roy Bertalatto RVB Precision 17 HMR Cleaning Rod Bore Guide
The Bertalotto 17 HMR Cleaning Rod Bore Guide is actually made from aluminum arrow shafts.

When Hornady (and CCI) developed the 17 HMR cartridge, they really hit a home-run. And the rifle manufacturers quickly marketed some nice rifles to chamber this 17-cal rimfire round. But unlike .22 LR rifles which, typically, require very little cleaning, 17 HMRs demand frequent bore cleaning to maintain good accuracy. That’s because 17 HMRs shoot copper-jacketed bullets at 2550 fps velocities.

17-Cal Bore Guides — The Challenge
The problem is, it’s hard to find a well-designed, quality bore guide for 17-caliber rimfire rifles. With many 17 HMR (and 17 Mach 2) rifles, you encounter mechanical interference when you try to use a standard bore guide to protect the delicate chamber edge and the bottle neck area of the chamber. A fixed ejector is in the way. On many 17 HMR rifles, this little “shark fin” ejector is right in line with the chamber and is fixed — it doesn’t retract. Therefore the kind of bore guide you might use for centerfire rifles won’t work in 17 HMRs — it will hang up on the ejector.

Polymer bore guides exist for this type of action, but they are typically open-bottom designs that do not enter and seal the chamber. These open-bottom designs don’t protect the delicate chamber edge or the bottleneck area of the chamber, and they also allow some seepage of solvents out of the chamber. That’s why Roy Bertalotto created his RVB Precision Bore Guide for 17 HMR rifles. The 7075 aluminum tube on his Bore Guide is thin enough to pass by the ejector, yet it is extremely rigid. (Photos below.)

Roy explains: “My bore guide is made of 7075 anodized aluminum tubing, which is totally unaffected by any type of cleaning solution. One end is swagged down to fit completely into the chamber of a 17 HMR rifle. This guides your cleaning rod perfectly to the bore without touching the chamber walls or front edge of the chamber. The tight fit of the bore guide in the chamber also stops cleaning solvents from getting into the action, magazine, and trigger housing.” (Editor: Solvent seepage can do damage. We had a 17 Mach 2 rifle that rusted internally because solvents leaked past an open-bottom bore guide.)

Roy Bertalatto RVB Precision 17 HMR Cleaning Rod Bore Guide

Using the RVB 17 HMR Guide – Once the bore guide is in place, slide the supplied aluminum bushing over the tube, and gently push the bushing into the rear of the action. This centers the guide rod in the action to keep the guide rod tube aligned. Once the guide rod and bushing are in place, you can use a 17-caliber cleaning rod* with patches and/or brushes to clean the barrel. Use the rod normally, but make sure your patches are quite small and don’t apply too much pressure as these small-diameter rods can kink if you try to force over-size patches down the bore.

The RVB Precision 17 HMR Bore Guide costs $19.95 plus $5.00 shipping. To order, email Roy Bertalotto via rvb100 [at] comcast.net. Roy will then send you shipping/payment details.

Roy tells us: “Yes, I make the bore guides out of 1616 aluminum arrow shafts. The only material on earth that fits EXACTLY what is needed. I buy the shaft material as simple tubing from Easton. It is hard anodized, the perfect wall thickness and doesn’t look too bad either.”

* NOTE: You really do need a dedicated .17-cal cleaning rod for this job. Most other rods are too fat to pass through the barrel. Dewey Mfg. makes a decent 17-caliber cleaning rod that is reasonably stiff and doesn’t kink too readily. It is available in 7″, 11″, 18″, 26″, and 36″ lengths, either bare stainless steel or with a nylon coating. For use with the Bertalotto Bore Guide, we prefer the nylon-coated version, in either 26″ or 36″ lengths, depending on barrel length.

Dewey 17 cal caliber bore guide

If you have a high comb on your rifle, you may need extra length to avoid interference with the rod handle. Use this formula to determine correct rod length: Length of barrel + action or breech rod guide length + 2-3″ clearance + high comb if applicable = total rod length needed.

There are other quality 17-cal cleaning rods, but we’ve used the Dewey and it functioned well. The nylon coating cleaned easily and was gentle on the throat and crown. You should clean the coating before and after each use to ensure it does not embed grit or other contaminants.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
June 20th, 2018

Chrono Comparison Test: LabRadar, Magnetospeed, & Oehler 35P

labradar chronograph test magnetospeed V3 oehler 35P 6mmBR Ackley BRA

We see comparison tests of cars, cameras, and other hardware. But how about chronographs? What could we learn by setting up three different chronographs, and running a 20-shot string over all three at the same time. One of our Forum members, Randy S. (aka AAA) did that very test with three of the best chronographs you can buy: LabRadar, MagnetoSpeed, and an Oehler model 35P. The MagnetoSpeed was attached to the barrel of an F-Class rig, with the LabRadar placed on the left side of the shooting bench. The Oehler 35P was positioned about 23 feet downrange. The photo above shows the set-up. A 20-shot string was recorded with the results in a spreadsheet.

AAA talks about this interesting experiment in a Shooters’ Forum Thread. Here is his report:

Comparison Testing Three Chronographs

We all have our favorite chronograph. Each gives a number, but how would that number compare to the same round fired with another chronograph? I wanted to know so a friend and I set up the following test with three chronographs: LabRadar, MagnetoSpeed V3, and Oehler Model 35P.

For the test we fired Berger 105gr VLDs over the three chronographs simultaneously. The test rifle was my 6mm BR Ackley (BRA) F-class rig with fire-formed brass and 200 rounds on the new barrel.

Chronogaphs Tested
LabRadar
MagnetoSpeed V3
Oehler Model 35P
Temperature: 86 deg. F
Elevation: 854 feet
Cartridge: 6mm BRA (105gr Berger VLD)
Time between shots: 45 seconds

To start off, five rounds were fired to make sure all systems were recording and to warm the barrel. Then the test was 20 shots fired across all three instruments with 45 seconds between shots. The Oehler was set 7.5 yards from the muzzle so 12 FPS was added to the recorded value.

We were using the internal trigger on the LabRadar. The manual says the Vo indicated is the actual muzzle velocity when using the internal trigger, but not if using the Doppler. The 12 FPS Oehler adjustment (back to MV) was based on the Berger Ballistics Calculator.

Results of the Triple Chronograph Shoot-Out:

labradar chronograph test magnetospeed V3 oehler 35P 6mmBR Ackley BRA

LR-M is FPS variance between LabRadar and MagnetoSpeed V3. LR-O is FPS variance between LabRadar and distance-adjusted Oehler 35P. You can see all three chronos were very consistent. SD was identical with the LabRadar and MagnetoSpeed. CLICK HERE for spreadsheet.

The tester, Randy S. (aka AAA) says: “Judge for yourself, but I was impressed by all.”

Comments by Forum Members
Our Forum members expressed interest in this Triple Chronograph test. Some confirmed that the LabRadar and Magnetospeed give very similar FPS numbers, based on their own tests:

“Great test and thanks for sharing. I’ve tested my MagnetoSpeed and LabRadar together and results are always within 2-4 FPS of one another.” — Big D

“Very happy to see your numbers support my decision to buy a MagnetoSpeed. Had read reports comparing it to the Oehler and the numbers I get seem to be supported by my long range shooting results. Many thanks for taking the time and effort [to perform] this comparative test. Always good to get actual test results.” — Texas10

“I did a 4-shot test with my MagnetoSpeed and another shooter’s LabRadar a couple of days ago. The results were within 4 fps with the LabRadar being optimistic.” — Pat Miles

Forum Member Powderbreak studied AAA’s original spreadsheet from the chronograph trio test, then figured out the shot-by-shot FPS variance between the machines. He concluded that all the machines performed very well. Powderbreak posted:

Analyzing the Triple Chronograph Test — What Can We Conclude?

AAA did a great job of comparing the 3 chronos. What conclusions can be drawn?

1) I have not checked the manufacturer’s claims of accuracy, but the three chronos are very close to one another. There is no way for us to determine the actual true velocities, but we do not need to do so. Any of the chronos would be more than adequate for an accurate shooter.

2) The resolution of the three chronographs is actually pretty astounding. One foot per second (FPS) is a resolution of 0.033%.

3) AAA did a great job of reloading a very consistent round. With an extreme spread of 33 fps out of 3014 for 20 rounds, that is only 1.09% total spread of velocities.

4) There is a closer velocity match between the MagnetoSpeed and the LabRadar, but that does not mean the Oehler is less accurate. There is simply an offset between the Oehler and the other two. This could be due to the greater distance, the location, or the internal working of the Oehler.

5) Believe your chronograph, it is probably the most accurate reloading tool that you own.

Brian Litz of Applied Ballistics carefully explained the operation, set-up, accuracy and comparison of AB’s chronographs in his books. [Those books] are well worth the money, and give great insight into the workings of chronographs.” — Powderbreak

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
June 15th, 2018

Great Gift for Father’s Day — Custom Headstamp Hitch Cover

John Niemi Trailer Hitch Custom Cover Mount headstamp brass

Here’s a great gift for Father’s Day that any dad with a truck should appreciate. Forum member John Niemi crafts custom hitch covers that look like the end of a cartridge case, complete with head-stamp. Costing $75.00 (delivered), they are made out of solid brass with a stainless steel “primer”. The diameter of the brass is 4 inches and the engraved letters are about half an inch tall. The section that slides over the trailer hitch is aluminum, so you don’t have to worry about rust.

Niemi custom hitch coverThe “headstamp” can include your favorite cartridge-maker and caliber (wildcats too!), or you can include the name of your business. John tells us: “I can engrave any text on one as long as there is enough room for it. Turn around time is usually less then a week after payment. I have sold many of these and everyone has been extremely happy with the quality and workmanship that I put into my product. These make great one-of-a-kind gifts.”

$75.00 Delivered in the USA

The current price for brass bullet hitch covers from John Niemi is $75.00 shipped anywhere in the USA. To order, send email to JohnNiemi [at] charter.net or call (503) 440-1954. John said he should be able to offer pretty quick turn-around, unless he just gets swamped this week.

Forum member Wayne (aka WAMBO) ordered a custom hitch cover from John, featuring the 30/338 Lapua Improved wildcat he calls the 300 WAMBOMAG. Wayne reports: “The hitch cover is very well made. I’m impressed with the quality. Buy with confidence.”

How will it look on your truck? Check out this Niemi hitch cover on a vehicle belonging to Forum member ELR Researcher. The brass cover is sturdy, distinctive, and handsome:

John Niemi custom brass hitch cover

We’ve seen John’s craftsmanship on many of these hitches, and we can confirm that the hitches are beautifully made, and make a handsome addition to any vehicle. If you order one (or more), be sure to mention you learned about the hitch covers on AccurateShooter.com.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 1 Comment »
June 15th, 2018

PRS on a Budget? Savage 110 Tactical is Under $630.00

Savage Tactical 110 AccuStock PRS Factory Class

Looking for an affordable PRS Factory Class rifle? Savage has released an updated version of its model 110 that may fit the bill. The new Savage 110 Tactical comes in Grey or Desert Tan in three popular chamberings: 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win. Street price is under $630.00. The 110 Tactical features a user-configurable stock with internal sub-chassis. It also features a suppressor-ready threaded barrel, a one-piece +20 MOA scope rail, and 10-round detachable box magazine. The Savage Accutrigger is adjustable.

Competitors will want to know about barrel configurations. All 110 Tacticals have medium-heavy contour barrels with threaded muzzles (and thread cap). 6.5mm Creedmoor versions sport a 24″ barrel. The 6mm Creedmoor version has a 26″ barrel, while the .308 Win is offered with either 20″ or 24″.

This video tests the 6.5 Creedmoor Model 110 Tactical with multiple ammo types:

Four types of factory ammo were tested in above video: Hornady American Whitetail 129gr, American Eagle 140gr, Hornady Match 140gr ELD, S&B Tactical 140gr FMJ. Three sets of handloads were also tested. These used 130gr Hornady ELD, 130gr Nosler RDF, and 122 Lehigh CC bullets in Hornady brass. All handloads used H4350 powder and Federal primers. Accuracy was not bad with handloads.

Savage Tactical 110 AccuStock PRS Factory Class

Savage AccuFit System for Comb and LOP Adjustments
The 110 Tactical’s AccuFit system lets you customize comb height and length-of-pull with different comb risers and stock spacers that install easily. The AccuStock sub-chassis secures the action three-dimensionally along its entire length. This aids accuracy and shot-to-shot consistency.

Key Features
• AccuFit system for comb height and length-of-pull
• Detachable 10-round Magpul AICS magazine
• Threaded heavy barrel with end cap
• 20 MOA EGW rail
• Gray or Desert Tan synthetic stock
• Tactical oversized bolt handle

Left-Hand Version in .308 Win Only
Savage will offer a left-hand .308 Win version of the 110 Tactical. Sorry southpaw 6mm and 6.5 Creedmoor shooters — for now, only right-hand options are offered for those chamberings.

(more…)

Permalink Gear Review, Tactical No Comments »
June 14th, 2018

Ten Great Father’s Day Gifts Under $100

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week
Photo courtesy Father’s Day Quotes

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17, 2018, three days away. If your father enjoys the shooting sports, here are some recommended items that our staff owns or uses. All selections cost less than $100.00. It’s not too late to order for many of these items. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can get two-day shipping in most areas of the country. That’s enough time to get the gift to “Pops” by Sunday. But we bet Dad would appreciate any of these gift items, even if they arrived a few days later.


TEN Great Father’s Day Gifts for Dad Under $100.00

RCBS Partner Reloading Press

This Columbia Bahama II guide shirt is durable and comfortable. More importantly it provides UPF 30 protection from the sun’s damaging rays. The added cape over the shoulder area provides extra protection for shooters in the prone position. This is offered in 17 colors in breathable nylon. This is popular for fishing, sailing, hiking and other outdoors sports.

Howard Leight Electronic Muffs

These Howard Leight Electronic Muffs are Amazon’s #1 Seller in the Safety Ear Muffs category. These offer 22 dB sound protection with the ability to still hear conversations and range commands. For regular use, we do recommend running plugs under these muffs for higher effective NRR.

US Peacekeeper Tactical Shooting Mat

This is an excellent shooting mat — it is very well made with good padding/insulation. On gravel, concrete, or hard-packed ground this is way more comfortable than typical mats. It is wide enough and easy to fold. Any Dad who shoots would love this.

Lyman Ideal Brass Smith C-frame Reloading Press

Lyman’s new Ideal compact press works great as a second, lighter-duty press. It also is a good choice for loading at the range. It can easily be mounted to a bench with C-Clamps. This cast-iron press is stronger than other presses in its price class. The Lyman Ideal costs just $77.51 at Midsouth Shooters Supply.

Lyman Ideal Brass Smith C-frame Reloading Press

Fospower USB waterproof charging battery Amazon

The Fospower Battery Pack can charge your smartphone, tablet, and other USB-compatible devices. This is a great as a backup power source for a LabRadar chrono, or if you are using a tablet to monitor a TargetCam. Waterproof and shockproof, the rugged Fospower unit is built for outdoor use. On sale at Amazon.com for $26.99, this 10200 mAh Power Bank has been popular with our Forum members.

Bog-Pod Shooting Sticks Bipod Hunting

We’ve used Bog-Pod shooting supports on varmint hunts. They’re great for down-angle shots from a ridge or kneeling shots to get above terrain obstacles. Bog-Pods adjust from 17″ to 39″.

Midland 2-way 50 Chanel Radios

Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. The 50-CH Midland GXT1000VP4 Two-Way Radio set is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios. Priced under $65.00, this kit includes earbuds plus both 12V and 120V chargers. Quick Weather Scan Feature.

Plano Airglide rifle transport case

Plano’s AirGlide case is a unique, top-loading rifle case. Ideal for benchrest guns with wide forearms, the AirGlide case puts no side-pressure on scopes. We like the ease of loading. This fits rifles up to about 27-28″ barrels.

MTM shooting range box gear hauler

The versatile MTM Range Box includes cradles so you can do gun maintenance while at the range. A lift-out tray holds small items such as patches and jags. This is a durable product that can hold ammo and other gear.

Stansport Shotshell Bottle Thermos Hunting

This cleverly-designed Shotshell thermos will make Dad smile. Styled just like a 12ga shotgun shell, the Stansport thermal bottle holds 25 oz. of hot or cold liquids.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals 1 Comment »
June 14th, 2018

The Firearms Guide Online — Mother Lode of Gun Data

firearms guide 2016 Database 7th Edition Gun Values

This is the MOTHER LODE of GUN INFO. If you’d like to have instant access to 6,800 gun schematics and descriptions of 67,000 types of guns and ammo from 1,000 manufacturers, then check this out. The Firearms Guide is a humongous online database that is regularly updated. You can access all this info for pennies a day. The annual subscription is on sale right now for just $29.95. If you only need the info for a month or two, get a monthly membership at $6.50 per month, and cancel any time.

firearms guide 2016 Database 7th Edition Gun ValuesYou can also get a DVD or Flash Drive add-on that lets you access the database even without a web connection. A 1-year Online Edition PLUS Firearms Guide 8th Ed. DVD for Mac & Windows is $34.95, including shipping. Alternatively, the 1-year Online Edition PLUS Firearms Guide 8th Ed. Flash Drive for Mac & Windows is $44.95. This lets you access the data from laptops and most tablets with a USB port.

You may be familiar with the Firearms Guide when it was distributed as a DVD. Now the 7th Edition is a fully interactive, subscription-based online database of firearms and ammo, which is also the most complete guide to global gun values on the web. The amount of imagery is amazing — there are tens of thousands of photos and over 6300 schematics, which help you work on a firearm or identify key components/parts. Published since 2009, the Firearms Guide permits detailed searches of antique and modern guns and side by side comparisons of search results. Guns are cross-referenced with the ammunition database.

firearms guide 2016 Database 7th Edition Gun Values

Guns and ammo are presented with prices, specifications, features, ballistics, and up to 12 high-rez zoom-able color pictures. GUN VALUES are provided for dealers and gun collectors. You can access thousands of printable and zoom-able GUN SCHEMATICS (diagrams or exploded views) with parts lists and blueprints for professional gunsmiths.

firearms guide 2016 Database 7th Edition Gun Values

If you are a gun collector, or just an information junkie, you’ll find the Firearms Guide to be an invaluable resource. The scope is truly worldwide, with coverage of gun makers in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, South America, South Africa, and Asia as well as North America. The online database’s search capability lets you search by gun caliber, manufacturer, and key features (e.g. “.223 Rem, Colt, folding stock”). There are 14 different search criteria — this allows you to “drill down” precisely to find the gun you want in seconds. Shown below are typical profiles of listed products:

Firearms GuideFirearms Guide

About the Firearms Guide Database
Firearms Guide has been published from 2009 to 2015 on DVDs and sold through Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, the NRA and other vendors. In 2016 Firearms Guide was transformed into a subscription-based, online searchable guns and ammo reference and gun value guide for industry professionals and enthusiasts. Along with the web subscription, you can purchase a supplemental DVD or Flash Drive which contains the same information for off-line access. Firearms Guide is a proud sponsor of the NRA.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, News No Comments »
June 11th, 2018

What You Need to Get Started in PRS Competition

PRS Precison Rifle Series getting started equipment list

Report by Craig Arnzen, Area419.com
It’s easy to think about shooting your first precision rifle match and worry about all of the gear and trinkets that you may need to make it through. In reality, the old rules apply — keep it simple.

We wanted to put together for you a no-nonsense list of the Top Five Gear Items you need for your first match. This list focuses on the “must-have” items you’ll need for PRS-Style competitions.

PRS Precison Rifle Series getting started equipment list support bag dope scope

1. A Rifle (That is Reliable and Sub-MOA Accurate)

Your rifle is the most obvious piece of kit, but we can give you a little more information. Most of the guys you’ll find out there are shooting 6.5 Creedmoor. Yeah, there are guys using .308 Wins and 6mm Dashers, but the 6.5 Creedmoor makes up more than half of the rounds shot in PRS competition, when looking at both national and club matches. Your comp rig needs to be mag-fed and shoot better than 1 MOA. It DOESN’T need to be better than 0.5 MOA (half-MOA). With most targets being 2-3 MOA in size, a half-MOA gun will do just fine. More accuracy is better of course, but you don’t need an exotic quarter-MOA rig to win.

[Editor’s NOTE: PRS does offer a Gas Gun division, but most guys start out with a bolt-action rifle, which will be less maintenance-intensive than an AR-platform rig.]

PRS Precison Rifle Series getting started equipment list support bag dope scope

Muzzle brakes, like our Area 419 Hellfire, are also very popular as much of the PRS game is recoil management. If you can’t see your misses, you’re sure to have more of them.

The rifle also needs an optic with repeatable clicks and a reticle with Mil- or MOA-based hashmarks. The clicks can be either Mil system or MOA system (Mil is more common), so long as the click values match the reticle (i.e. you don’t want 1/4-moa clicks with a Mil-marked reticle). How much power do you need? Anything that zooms in the mid-teens will suffice. I could shoot a match with a fixed 12X scope and not feel disadvantaged. We love the Kahles K624i, if you’re looking for a suggestion.

Oh, and you’ll want a bipod — but the choice in bipod deserves a whole separate article by itself. Nothing wrong with starting out with a Harris swivel. Then you might look at different bipods on other competitors’ rifles for comparison.

2. Ammunition — Factory Ammo and Hand-loads

Good ammo is important, but as we discuss above, 0.5 MOA is good enough. Also, speed is great but it matters FAR less than you’d think. Drop can be calculated with precision, and distances are normally known, so a slightly flatter trajectory doesn’t really matter. Wind matters, but the difference you’ll find when eeking out that last 50 fps is very, very small.

PRS Precison Rifle Series getting started equipment list support bag dope ammo ammunition
Federal, Hornady, and Prime all make quality ammo that is widely used by shooters from local to national matches. Facebook photo by CReece.

Precision Handloads
If you want to run down the rabbit hole of finding that perfect ammo that shoots in the “twos” (0.2 MOA), get yourself an AutoTrickler and some of our billet aluminum accessories — you’ll love the setup.

3. A Versatile Support Bag

There are countless bag options. But there is ONE bag you’ll see everywhere, and for good reason. The Game-Changer from Armageddon Gear is aptly named. Many shooters use it as a barricade bag as well as a rear bag, meaning a guy could get away with using only this bag for an entire match. If you need another bag when you get there, ask someone in your squad, they’ll share. I promise.

PRS Precison Rifle Series getting started equipment list support bag Gamechanger Game-changer Armageddon Gear dope scope

4. DOPE (Reliable Ballistics Info)

We’re not talking the kind of Dope you may find in a match outside Denver — we are talking about the kind that feeds you ballistic solutions. The software-enabled Kestrel is a very common item on the range, but you’ll also see lots of guys using mobile Apps such as Shooter or Applied Ballistics Mobile, and they have great results.

It’s also handy to have an armband or an item like the Hawk Hill data card holder for stages with various targets at differing ranges. Once the RO says “engage” and your mind stops working, you’ll appreciate having it written down.

5. Hearing Protection

PRS Competitors shoot with brakes and sometimes in enclosed spaces. That’s why you need serious hearing protection. We recommend NRR 33 earplugs, doubled up with Electronic Muffs to hear range commands. I have used the 33 dB NRR Mack’s foamies at matches for most of the last year, and the Howard Leight NRR 33 Max-1s are also very effective. The budget-priced (under $50) Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic muffs work well, but premium electronic muffs may be more comfortable.

PRS Precison Rifle Series getting started equipment list support bag Gamechanger Game-changer Armageddon Gear dope scope

Growing in popularity are high-tech, in-ear digital units like the ESP Stealth. I have a set of linked ESP Steaths on the way and hope to evaluate them soon. These are supposed to be very good, but the ESP Stealths cost $2100.00 per pair!

Think we missed something? Have more questions? Let us know.

Contact: Team@Area419.com

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Shooting Skills, Tactical 6 Comments »
June 8th, 2018

Range Kit Essentials — 12 Handy Items for Days at the Range

Range Kit Gear shellholder safety dozen essentials

The shooting season is now in full swing. When you head to the range you’ll want to be prepared. That means collecting all the gear you’ll need at the range. It’s easy to forget small, critical items, so we’ve provided a checklist of the small “extras” you should pack before you head out to the range. In addition to rifle, rests, ammo, targets, and cleaning gear, here are a dozen essentials you should include in your range bag.

Shell-Holder — If you don’t have calipers, you can use a shell-holder to check for excessive case expansion from hot loads. If a fired case doesn’t slip into the shell-holder easily, your load is definitely TOO HOT.

Extra Earplugs — Always use ear protection when shooting. We bring a 35mm film canister with extra sets of foam earplugs.

Hex Wrench or Screwdriver for action screws — Action screws can work loose with time. Always bring the appropriate hex wrench or screwdriver whenever you go to the range.

Small Wrench for Scope Rings — Check the tension of your scope base and ring fasteners before you go. Bring along a small Torx wrench for the ring screws (or other tool that fits your fasteners).

Normal and Under-sized Jags — It is often wise to use one-caliber undersize jags when applying solvent with cotton patches. You should have a couple sizes in your range kit.

Extra Batteries — Bring extra batteries for all your electronic gear — which can include chronograph, windmeter, digital camera, GPS etc.

Small Notebook and Pen or Pencil — Use the notebook to record chron data, log group sizes, and make notes about wind and weather conditions.

Adhesive dots — Bring a few sheets of adhesive dots (sold at office supply stores). Use small white or black dots as target pasters. Use larger red or orange dots as aiming points (target centers).

Folding Chair or Camp Stool — This comes in handy if you’re spotting for another shooter, or if you reload away from the firing line.

Water Bottle — You can’t shoot well if you’re dehydrated. Bring at least two quarts of water with you and keep a bottle at the bench.

Surveyors’ Tape and Wood Stakes — You can make inexpensive wind indicators using surveyors’ tape attached to the top of wood stakes.

Small Plastic Ruler — Use this to measure your group sizes. A transparent (see-through) ruler works best. Rulers are also useful for drawing lines on targets.

This list is not intended to be exclusive. There are many other items you may wish to include. Obviously bring safety glasses, and Sharpie-type pens are always handy to mark targets. We invite our readers to add other “essentials” to the list. The important thing is to plan ahead, packing your key items before you drive to the range.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
June 7th, 2018

Beefy New 8-Station Turret Press from Lyman

Lyman Brass Smith Turret Press All American 8 eight turrets reloading

For 2018, Lyman has introduced a new 8-station turret press, the All American 8. There are two other new Brass Smith presses from Lyman — a compact C-Frame Ideal Press and a sturdy O-Frame Victory single-stage press that competes with the RCBS Rock Chucker. With its eight-station capacity, strong cast iron construction, we think the All American 8 will become popular. With a $195 street price, the 8-station Lyman is $100 cheaper than the 7-station Redding T-7. No question, that’s a significant price advantage, and we believe Lyman will take sales from Redding.

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com got his hands on one of the new All American 8 presses, and he’s created an informative video showing press set-up and loading function. Gavin was excited to work with this beefy new turret press: “Why has this Lyman press been anticipated so highly since its announcement? A few reasons are: the 8-station capacity, cast iron construction, on-press priming system, ambidextrous design, and turret rear support for repeatable sizing and bullet seating. Plus, it’s made right here in the USA!” To learn more about the All American 8 turret press, watch Gavin’s video:

More Stations = More Reloading Options
Gavin said the press works well — he liked having 8 stations, because this offers more flexibility. With eight stations, you can have four two-die sets, or three two-die sets plus a dedicated decapping die and a powder measure. Gavin notes: “I’ve owned many reloading presses, including 3-station, 4-station, 5-station, and 7-station variants, but I’ve never owned an 8-station press until the Brass Smith All-American 8 came to the shop. I’ll have to say… you can’t get too many stations, especially on a manually-indexed turret. I love the idea that you can leave dies on the press, and load multiple calibers/chamberings using the same turret setup.”

Primer Function Works Well
Gaving also seated small and large primers using the on-press priming system. The Lyman All-American 8 turret press comes complete with all of the parts needed to seat both large primers and small primers. Gavin observed: “The All-American 8 loads quite well! Once I cleaned out the primer tube (always do that on a new press) the priming system worked perfectly, and I had no issues getting up to ‘full turret speed’ after getting into the groove.”

Why Use a Turret Press
This Editor has used a six-station RCBS Turret press for many years. I keep a dedicated decapping die on that press, as well as sizing and seating dies for pistol cartridges. My high-volume 9mm and .38 SPL reloading is done on a progressive press, but the RCBS turret allows me to have dies for two larger pistol chamberings — .44 Magnum and .45 ACP — at the ready. While we recommend single-stage presses for precision rifle reloading, the turret press offers great flexibility for handgun hand-loaders who shoot numerous cartridge types. And if having six die stations is good — having eight is even better. Advantage Lyman.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 2 Comments »
June 6th, 2018

Cool Suhl — Rimfire Benchrest Rig with Home-Built Stock

Suhl 150 IR 50/50 cedar stock

Forum member Evan K. (aka “Katokoch”) has crafted a nice rimfire benchrest rig using a Suhl action fitted into a handsome home-built cedar and carbon fiber stock. This shows what a skilled hobbyist wood-worker can create in his garage. Evan tells us: “Here is my Suhl 150-1 with a factory 1:19″ twist barrel, Leupold 36X scope, Harrell tuner, and my handmade cedar/carbon fiber stock. I started working on the laminate blank a couple years ago and finally finished it earlier this year. I’ve been using it in my IR 50/50 matches this summer. I haven’t shot a 250 with it yet but I know the rifle is very capable — as usual, I am the weak link!”

Suhl 150 IR 50/50 cedar stock

We think Evan did a great job on his stock, though he has limited stock-building experience. Evan explained: “The stock is my first attempt at making a very lightweight laminate and also gluing both vertical and horizontal seams in a blank. The wood is Spanish and Red Cedar and I made the trigger guard and buttplate with carbon fiber too (great use for small scrap pieces). The finish is hand-rubbed spar urethane and the action is semi-glued-in with Devcon 10110 and stainless pillars.”

Suhl 150 IR 50/50 cedar stock

USRA-IR50/50 is a popular .22 rimfire benchrest discipline with three (3) classes: 13.5 lb., 10.5 lb., and 7.5 lb. (Sporter). The matches are shot at 50 yards and 50 meters.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
June 6th, 2018

Turnkey Rimfire PRS Trainer from Masterpiece Arms

MPA BA rifle .22 LR rimfire
Don’t worry — you can get this gun in eight different Cerakote colors: black, bronze, flat dark earth, gunmetal, marine red, NRA blue, green, and tungsten.

To succeed at the PRS game you need position shooting practice — and lots of it. Thankfully you can train affordably using a .22 LR rimfire rig. Decent rimfire ammo can be purchased for 7 to 10 cents per round, an order of magnitude cheaper than centerfire ammo. For the best results, you’ll want your rimfire trainer to sport the same ergonomics and “feel” as your centerfire match rifle. You can get just that Masterpiece Arms 22BA, a “turn-key” PRS rimfire cross-training rig. The MPA 22BA Bolt Action Rifle combines the proven CZ 455 action with a custom Spencer barrel and modern MPA modular chassis. With this chassis you can easily adjust length of pull, butt-pad height/cant, and cheek riser position. Chambered in .22 LR, the MPA 22BA Bolt Action Rifle can change to .22 WMR and 17 HMR through a simple barrel change. So, this gun can do double duty as a .22 LR trainer and a 17 HMR varmint slayer. Basic MSRP is $1599.00.

The MPA 22BA Bolt Action Rifle is available with numerous rugged Cerakote finishes: black, burnt bronze, flat dark earth, gunmetal, marine red, NRA blue, sniper green, and tungsten. Custom Cerakote colors cost $135 extra for the chassis body and/or $65 for the barreled action.

MPA 22BA Bolt Action Rifle Specifications:
Caliber: .22 LR (.22 WMR and 17 HMR via barrel change)
Action: CZ 455
Chassis: MPA CZ455 BA Chassis, 13.50″ – 14.75″ LOP
Barrel: 416RQ Stainless Steel Spencer / MPA barrel, 1:16″ twist
Barrel Length/Countour: 16-24” (customer specified), 0.920″ straight
Barrel Muzzle Thread: ½-28 TPI (if requested)
Trigger: CZ 455 Trigger (yoDave Trigger Upgrade, 1-3 lbs.)
Magazine: CZ 455 10 round polymer magazine with DIP floorplate
MSRP: $1,599.00

The CNC-machined MPA chassis has some very cool features: enhanced vertical grip, thumb notch, built-in bubble level, MPA trigger shoe, and spigot mount with lower-mounted Picatinny rail. The rig comes with a D.I.P. +25 MOA Picatinny scope base and you can add side Picatinny rails, as well as increase the distance from the spigot-mounted bipod to the rear support. The chassis is also compatible with a barricade stop system, an extra-cost option.

MPA BA rifle .22 LR rimfire
Masterpiece Arms centerfire chassis systems have won 5 out of 12 recent PRS matches (story HERE).

Why rimfire cross-training? Because this stuff is ten cents per round. Premium handloads can run $1.00/round (counting brass depreciation), and the best factory ammo can cost over $2.00/round.
tactical .22 LR rimfire norma

A Rifle is Only As Good As Its Barrel
The key to accuracy for any rimfire rifle is a great barrel. The MPA 22BA Bolt Action Rifle includes a precision drilled, reamed, and honed Spencer / MPA rifle barrel made from 416RQ stainless steel. The hand-lapped barrel is inspected with a video borescope. The chamber is indicated within 0.0001” or less to the bore of the rifle.

MPA BA rifle .22 LR rimfire

Permalink Gear Review, Tactical 1 Comment »
June 5th, 2018

Kestrel 5700 Elite Offers Ballistic Solutions for Multiple Targets

Kestrel 5700 elite link mobile app applied ballistics

GunsAmerica just released a detailed review of the recently-upgraded Kestrel 5700 Elite with LiNK, a software-enabled weather meter. If you compete in practical/tactical events (with targets at multiple distances), or campaign a wide selection of rifles, or shoot at Extreme Long Range, you may want to get this device. It offers unrivaled capabilities in a small package. This impressive handheld device combines weather-monitoring capabilities with a full-featured, very sophisticated ballistics solver that now calculates out to 5,500 yards. Using Bluetooth and LiNK technology it communicates with your mobile device as well as LiNK-enabled laser rangefinders.

Why You May Want to Buy the Kestrel 5700 Elite with LiNK:

— The Device can hold up to 30 different rifle/cartridge profiles, each with its own BC and muzzle velocity for ballistic calculations.

— The Device registers current windspeed, wind direction, air temp and pressure, and other variables, and then sends that info via Bluetooth to your smart-phone, updating the ballistic solution. It essentially updates your drop chart in real time.

— The Device “talks” to your smart-phone, providing a large, convenient display that can show both elevation clicks and wind corrections. The display essentially replaces your data card. The Smartphone integration also makes it easy to modify your different rifle/ammo profiles.

— The Device gives you come-ups and wind corrections for multiple targets (at various ranges). These can be displayed in a list, ordered by distance. This is a great feature, check it out:

Kestrel 5700 elite link mobile app applied ballistics

Quick and Accurate Solutions for all Cartridge Types — Big and Small
The Kestrel 5700 Elite can work for everything from a .22 LR to a .50 BMG. In fact, GunsAmerica’s tester used the Kestrel 5700 for a 6.5 Creedmoor shooting out to 1070 yards, and then used the solver for a .22 LR match out to 300 yards. The data for the 6.5 CM was spot on, but even more remarkably, the holdover for the .22 LR was precise to 0.2 mils at 300 yards. The GunsAmerica Reviewer, Ian Kenney, was impressed:

“I think the best testament to the capabilities of the Kestrel 5700 Elite were on display at a recent range trip where I was getting my modified Ruger 10/22 ready for an upcoming precision rimfire match. I started out with a sort of hodgepodge of information, using an unconfirmed BC [for Eley Force ammo] that I’d heard from a friend along with a muzzle velocity that another friend had gotten with the same ammo. I created a new profile using this assortment of data and entered in target distances for 200 and 300 yards. Imagine the smile on my face then when I got hits at both distances with the elevation setting only being 0.2 mils off at the farthest target.

It’s impressive that the technology allowed me to only be 0.2 mils off with .22 LR ammunition at 300 yards, which is only about two inches, all the while starting out with imperfect data. If that’s not an exquisite demonstration of the versatility of this technology, to be able to toggle between such diverse calibers and get accurate data to long distances, I don’t know what is.”

Kestrel 5700 Elite Special Capabilities
The LiNK Ballistics App lets you set up multiple targets for single-screen viewing. The Kestrel 5700 Elite can also be wirelessly paired with LiNK-compatible laser rangefinders. Being able to instantly accees exact target range data allows a more rapid and and more precise ballistic solution.

In addition to the ballistics solver capabilities, the Kestrel 5700 Elite is a comprehensive weather meter that monitors all key variables including: wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, heat index, pressure, and altitude. Your data log can be transferred to a iOS/Android device wirelessly with the LiNK wireless communication option and Kestrel LiNK app. The 5700 Elite now uses a single AA Battery housed separately from the circuit board.

More Features of the Kestrel 5700 Elite
The Kestrel 5700 elite has almost too many features to list. One notable capability allows you to quickly “tune” a profile by entering field-confirmed data. Kenney explains: “You can go into the gun profile and calibrate the muzzle velocity by telling it how much elevation you used to get a hit, effectively truing your dope in short order. This is ten times faster than logging it in your data book, going back to an online solver, and making adjustments[.]”

Ian Kenney’s Kestrel 5700 Elite Review is very thorough, and contains many more details and insights than we can cover here. For anyone considering purchase of a high-end Kestrel, we strongly recommend you read Kenney’s review. Ian concludes: “I’m not going to lie… with an MSRP of $699, I recognize [the Kestrel 5700 Elite] may not be for everyone. Considering how often I shoot long range and the number of rifles that I have, it makes sense for me[.] The Applied Ballistics solver also gives me the confidence that my dope is going to be accurate no matter what conditions I might find myself in. So for me… this Kestrel delivers the goods.”

Kestrel 5700 Elite Advanced Features (Partial List)

Kestrel LiNK Apps for iOS and Android
Wireless Bluetooth for Mobile Devices
Connects with LiNK Compatible Range Finders
Temperature Sensor (Patented External Isolated)
Integrated Applied Ballistics Calculator
Applied Ballistics G1/G7 Drag Model Profiles
Applied Ballistics Custom Drag Models
Average and Peak Wind Correction
Muzzle Velocity Calibration
Supports Mil, MOA Click Values
Create and store up to 30 Gun/Bullet Profiles
Create and store up to 10 Targets
Moving Target Lead Correction
Aerodynamic Jump Correction
High Angle Shot Correction
Target Range Estimator
Spin Drift Correction
MV-Temp Table
Digital Compass
Range Card

Kestrel 5700 elite link mobile app applied ballistics

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