September 24th, 2017

Advanced RL 23 and RL 26 Powders for Magnum Cartridges

Alliant Bofors Nitrochemie Reloader Reloading RL Reloder powder 22 23 25 26

Ever heard of Alliant Reloder 23? Or Reloder 26? These two relatively new European-produced Reloder propellants were introduced in 2014. Most folks haven’t tried these Reloder powders because it took quite a while for the first shipments of RL 23 and RL 26 to arrive in the USA. But now these two new propellants are available in the USA, with substantial inventories in stock at some larger vendors. For example, Powder Valley has both RL 23 and RL 26 in stock now at $23.50 per pound. Many other vendors have ample RL 23, but RL 26 is a bit harder to find.

From our Forum members who shoot large magnum cartridge types with heavy bullets, we have heard good things about both RL 23 and RL 26. Reports from the field indicat that both these powders are delivering impressive velocities with low velocity ES/SD.

What are the characteristics of RL 23 and RL 26? That question was answered recently by Paul Furrier who works for ATK, the parent company of Alliant Powders. Posting in our Shooters’ Forum, Paul writes:

“Let me provide some factual info about these products. Some of the stuff that gets propagated is not correct. Reloder 23 is produced by our Swedish partner Bofors, and Reloder 26 is produced in Switzerland by our extremely capable partner Nitrochemie. I have seen it stated that they are both made by Bofors, so that is incorrect.

I have also noticed people are equating Reloder 23 to Reloder 22, and Reloder 26 to Reloder 25. Both of those statements are definitely incorrect. We do state that the performance of Reloder 23 is similar to Reloder 22, and it is, in general burn speed terms, but they are most certainly not the same. We have worked quite a lot of recipes for Reloder 23, and they are not the same as Reloder 22. Reloder 26 is definitely slower burning than Reloder 25, so there shouldn’t be any confusion there either.”

Alliant Bofors Nitrochemie Reloader Reloading RL Reloder powder 22 23 25 26

Furrier says that RL 23 is NOT sensitive to temperature shifts: “Reloder 23 was developed to bring a truly temp-stable powder to the Reloder 22 burn-speed range using Bofors new process technology. This is the second product developed for us with this TZ® process, the first being AR-Comp™. We see terrific efficiencies, SDs, accuracy and flat temp response from these powders. Please try them, I think you will be impressed.”

Speed and More Speed with RL 26
Think of Reloder 26 as a high-velocity powder for big cartridges. Furrier explains: “Reloder 26 is produced with Nitrochemie’s latest generation EI® process technology. This is the same impregnation coating process used to produce Reloder 17, Reloder 33, and Reloder 50 for us, and it is fantastic. The “so what” on Reloder 26 is great ballistic efficiency, high bulk density so you can get more of the slow powder into the case to harness the energy, and decent, predictable extreme temp response. Reloder 26 is not as flat at temps as the TZ or Australian materials, but it is very manageable, usually in the 0.5 fps/°F range (depending on the application). Just as important, the pressure increases at hot are very manageable. We are using quite a bit of this powder in our Federal factory ammo due to the fantastic ballistics and accuracy.

Both of these new Reloder powders contain decoppering agent to help reduce coppering up your barrels, but this is nothing new for us. Bofors began adding decoppering agent to our Reloder rifle powders in the 2002 timeframe, and all our Swiss Reloders except 17 contain their proprietary additive. (We may include it in 17 at some point also, but right now we like it just the way it is.) Sorry we didn’t have a snappy name figured for the decoppering agents, we just did it.

Both of these new Reloder powders are also produced to the current highest level of ‘green’ technology. Actually, all of our Alliant rifle, pistol and shotshell reloading powders meet the current (tough) European requirements for elimination of nasty ingredients. They do not contain any dinitrotoluene or dibutylphthalate, which are a couple of the nasties that are commonly used in smokeless powders.
Thank you for your interest in our new powders.” — Paul Furrier, ATK

Reloder 23

Like AR-Comp™, new Reloder 23 from Alliant Powder performs consistently across temperature extremes. Its sophisticated TZ® technology manipulates the response of the material and resists the natural tendency to generate more pressure at higher temperatures and less pressure at lower temperatures. Reloder 23 is perfect for long-range target shooters seeking performance similar to Reloder 22 with world-class temperature stability.

Features & Benefits:
 TZ technology provides exceptionally consistent velocities across temp extremes
 Contains proprietary de-coppering additive
 Ideal for long-range target shooting
 Excellent lot-to-lot consistency
 Formulation contains no DNT or DPB
Made in Sweden for Alliant Powder

Reloder 26

Reloder 26 offer high velocities in large magnum cases. Achieve awesome ballistics with new Reloder 26 from Alliant Powder. The propellant’s burn speed falls between that of Reloder 22 and Reloder 33, and it incorporates EI® technology to produce extremely high velocities in magnum cartridges. Reloder 26 has a high bulk density that allows larger powder charges, and it provides a consistent, controlled response to temperature changes.

Features & Benefits:
 EI technology produces extremely high velocities in magnum cartridges
 Contains proprietary de-coppering additive
 Controlled temperature stability
 Excellent lot-to-lot consistency
 Formulation contains no DNT or DBP
Made in Switzerland for Alliant Powder

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September 21st, 2017

Where to Buy Official Competition Targets

Official Target Printer Vendor Source

Need targets — not just any old targets, but the correctly-sized targets for specific shooting disciplines (such as NRA Smallbore, F-Class, and 1K Benchrest)? Well you won’t find them at your neighborhood Wally World store. Precise, dimensionally-correct competition targets are producted by a half-dozen specialty printers. In this article we provide links to the leading target sellers, with a chart showing “who’s got what”. Look for your particular discipline and the vendors will be specified.

Sources for Official Shooting Competition Targets:

ALCO Target Company

American Target Company

Kruger Premium Targets

National Target Company

Pistoleer.com

U.S. Target Company

AccurateShooter.com offers dozens of FREE, printable targets for target practice, load development, and fun shooting. We also offer a few of the most popular NRA Bullseye targets. One or more of these printable targets should work for most training purposes. However, some readers have asked: “Where can we get the real targets… exactly like the ones used in NRA, IBS, and NBRSA shooting matches?”

Official targets NRA IBS NBRSA

All these vendors carry nearly all the NRA High Power and Smallbore targets, including the new, smaller F-Class targets. National Target has the F-Class and High Power targets, including 100-yard reductions of the 200, 300, and 600-yard military targets. Germany’s Kruger Targets sells all the important NRA targets, and international (ISSF) air rifle and smallbore targets too.

NRA Target IBS Hunter Rifle Target

Orrville Printing currently sells IBS targets for rimfire (50 yard) benchrest, short-range centerfire Benchrest (100, 200, 300 yards), Hunter BR Rifle (100, 200, 300 yards), plus the official 600-yard and 1000-yard IBS targets. National Target Company also has most of the IBS targets. NBRSA short-range, 600-yard, and 1000-yard benchrest targets are available directly from the NBRSA Business Office. Call (307) 655-7415 to order for the season.

Available Official Competition Targets
Vendor NRA High Power F-Class NRA Smallbore Air Rifle/Pistol IBS NBRSA Other
ALCO Target
Company
Yes, All No Yes Yes No No Archery, IDPA, IPSC, Police, Realistic, Shoot-N-C, Silhouette, Fun Targets, Pasters.
American Target
Company
Yes, All Yes Yes, All Yes No No USBR, Sight-in, Muzzle-Loading, Police Silhouette
Kruger Premium
Targets
Yes, All Yes Yes, All Yes No No IDPA, IPSC, Animal Shapes, ISSF, Sight-in, Fun Targets
National Target
Company
Yes, Nearly All Yes Yes, All Yes Yes* No IDPA, IPSC, FBI, Police Silhouette, Sight-in, Target Backers, Pasters
Pistoleer.com Yes Yes Yes, most and color training Yes Yes No Bianchi, FBI, IBS, IDPA, IPSC, Silhouette, Archery, Pasters
U.S. Target, Inc. Yes Yes Yes, All Yes No No Bianchi, FBI, Police Silhouette, IPSC, Realistic Silhouette, Varmint

Kruger Targets

Permalink Competition, Gear Review No Comments »
September 17th, 2017

MagnetoSpeed V3 Chrono Review by UltimateReloader.com

Gavin Gear Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph ultimatereloader.com

MagnetoSpeed’s technology has completely changed the market for firearms chronographs. With a MagnetoSpeed barrel-mounted chrono you can quickly and easily record muzzle velocity (MV) without having to set up tripods or walk down-range. The compact MagnetoSpeed chronos are easy to set up and transport. With the full-featured V3 model, everything you need comes in a small fitted case. In the top photo are the components used with the MagnetoSpeed V3 Kit:

1. V3 Bayonet sensor
2. Display and control unit
3. Bayonet spacers (plastic and rubber)
4. Cords and mounting hardware (left), suppressor heat shield (right)
5. Alignment rod (square cross-section)
6. Rail adapter (sold separately)

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently reviewed the MagnetoSpeed V3 and came away impressed. Gavin explains the a good chrono is essential: “If you want to load and shoot precision ammunition, you need the tools that will produce and validate the precision of your loads. A good chronograph is one of those tools! In this post I’m going to introduce you to the MagnetoSpeed V3 chonograph, the high-end electromagnetic chronograph which fills out the top slot in MagnetoSpeed’s equipment portfolio.”

In this 11-minute video Gavin reviews MagnetoSpeed’s top-of-the-line V3 Chronograph. He shows what ships with the unit, how to set it up for both rifles and pistols, and then he puts it through its paces showing how it captures velocity data. Gavin says he will follow-up with future videos showing how to link the MagnetoSpeed V3 to your mobile phone and how to log velocity data for future reference. To learn more about this high-tech chrono, visit UltimateReloader.com.

READ Full MagnetoSpeed V3 Review on UltimateReloader.com

Gavin Gear Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph ultimatereloader.com

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review 10 Comments »
September 15th, 2017

How to Choose Protective Eyewear — Factors to Consider

Safety Eyewear 6.5 Guys 65guys.com

Proper eye protection is ‘must-have’ gear for shooting sports. In addition to providing reliable impact protection, good shooting glasses should be comfortable, fog-free, and not interfere with your preferred hearing protection. Those who require corrective lenses also need to consider the various options available. In a past episode of their Weekly Gear Review, the 6.5 Guys discuss a variety of shooting glasses they have tried, including examples from DeCot, Oakley, and Wiley-X. Ed and Steve outline the key considerations when choosing eye protection, and then review practical aspects of eyewear design and construction that enhance comfort and functionality in the field.

READ FULL ARTICLE ON 65Guys.com

The 6.5 Guys (Ed and Steve) offer a number of smart tips consider safety eyewear, helping you select the most effective safety glasses at an affordable price. Here are the 6.5 Guys’ KEY Take-aways when choosing shooting glasses, including prescription eyewear:

Key Things To Consider When Choosing Eye Protection

1. Avoid polarized lenses or lenses that reduce light transmission significantly (except for action shooting in very bright conditions with large, close targets).

2. Avoid frame designs that interfere with prone shooting.

3. Avoid designs that easily fog.

4. Avoid frame designs with thicker temples that are uncomfortable to wear underneath hearing protection.

5. Select lenses with an appropriate degree of ballistic protection. CLICK HERE to learn more about eyewear safety standards.

6. When you get your prescription, be sure your ophthalmologist includes the interpupillary distance. This is a critical measurement particularly for heavier prescriptions.

7. If you have a complicated prescription select a vendor who will actually spend time with you to address any concerns.

Safety First — Your Eyes Are Irreplaceable
Safety Eyewear 6.5 Guys 65guys.comAccurate shooting begins and ends with the human eye. Your career as a marksman could be cut short if you don’t use good eye protection every time you go to the range and/or handle a firearm.

Every year, 1,000,000 people suffer serious eye injuries. Shooting is hazardous; it is estimated that there are 30,000 firearms-related eye injuries each year (if you include paintball sports.) After paintball, general hunting accidents comprise most firearms-related eye injuries.

Quality eye protection need not be expensive. You can find comfortable, ANSI Z87.1-certified shooting glasses for under $10.00.

If you select shooting glasses carefully, and ensure that your eyewear is safety-certified, inexpensive shooting glasses can perform very well. But you need to avoid cheap, soft-plastic lenses that claim “impact resistance” without satisfying a testing standard.

For more comprehensive information on safety eyewear, read the AccurateShooter’s Guide to Eye Protection for Shooters.

Permalink Gear Review, Tactical No Comments »
September 14th, 2017

Versatile, Affordable, Compact Case Prep Trio Saves Time

Hornady Case Prep Assistant Trio

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 triple-threat tool packs a lot of functionality in a small package.

Hornady Case Prep Assistant Trio

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 $85.99 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. User reviews have been very positive.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 6 Comments »
September 11th, 2017

Modernizing a Veteran Benchrest Rig — “Old 87″ Gets Updates

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

Updating a 20+ Year-Old Benchrest Rifle

by James Mock
After owning three different rifles with BAT actions, I have become a loyal fan of BAT Machine quality and customer service. Back in 2009, I traded my BAT/Scoville for the BAT/Leonard that I currently shoot. This rifle has a long history and Terry Leonard told me that “Old 87″ (as I have named it) was one of the earlier BATs that he stocked. He wrapped the stock in fiberglass and used 2-part epoxy back then. I must say that this rifle has held up remarkably well since it dates back to the 1990s. The action is a RB/LP/RE octagon Model B with .308 bolt-face.

With this gun, I have shot several barrels of different calibers (.22 PPC, .22 PPC-short .095, 6mm PPC, 6XC, 6mm Dasher, .30BR, and will soon have a 6 BR-AI). It has been an exceptionally accurate rifle in several disciplines. In the hands of previous owners, it earned several Hall-of-Fame (HOF) points, and a “middle-of-the-pack” shooter (me) even received a HOF point with this rifle.

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

For most of its life, Old 87 served as a short range benchrest rifle, but I have used it for the last few years as a 600-yard rifle with the 6mm Dasher barrel. I was lucky enough to earn the Shooter of the Year award at the Prince Memorial Range in Louisiana for 2016.

After shooting my two Dasher barrels for last eight years, I have noticed a drop-off in accuracy at 600 yards. A decision had to be made — get a new barrel or sell the rifle and retire from competition. I will be 74 years old in six months and my competition days are limited due mainly to a chronic neck problem. After mulling over the decision to retire or not, I decided to give Old 87 one more year. Here is the story of how we upgraded the old war-horse.

Old 87 REBORN — Upgrading with New Components

I prefer cut-rifled barrels with four lands and grooves and have had success with .236 bore diameters and 1:8″ twist in long range rifles. I searched for barrels meeting those parameters and found a suitable BRUX at Bugholes.com (Southern Precision Rifles).

The 6BR-AI Option — Easy Fire Forming
I thought about having Billy Stevens chamber it for the Dasher, but decided to try something new. There seems to be a lot of interest in the 6BR-AI and I said, “Why not?” Well, I bought a shortened Dasher die from Harrell’s and will use my Wilson Dasher seating die. Bart Sauter was kind enough to let me use his reamer for chambering.

Fitting a New Roller-Type Cocking Piece on Older BAT Action
Since I was into the project this deep, I called Mike Ezell and ordered one of his Tungsten powder-dampened tuners. Since Old 87 had thousands of rounds since the firing pin spring has been replaced, I decided that it was probably needed. Well, I got to thinking (very dangerous) and asked Daryle Thom if it would be feasible to put a roller-type cocking piece and a new firing pin spring on such an old action.

The folks at BAT are very accommodating and they said that it would be no problem with such a conversion. While my bolt was in Idaho, the barrel with Ezell tuner arrived and I could not shoot it. However, my friend Jeff Turner loaned me his BAT bolt to see if it would work. Although the rifles differ in age by 15 or more years, the borrowed bolt worked perfectly in my rifle. This is a testimony to the great machine work performed at BAT Machine.

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

New Bolt Roller Tail-Piece Makes a Big Difference in Cocking Effort
With the borrowed bolt I managed to fire-form 50 rounds and get them ready for our 600-yard match on September 16. The folks at BAT quickly fixed my bolt by replacing the mainspring and ejector spring, polishing the ejector, and replacing the tail-piece with their roller type. Pictured below is this tail piece that makes a remarkable difference in the force needed to cock the action. It is amazing what this little wheel can do… even when placed in a 20+ year old action.

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

Working with the Ezell Barrel Tuner — Small Increments Work Best
Also, I would like to congratulate Mike Ezell on his new tuner which contains powdered Tungsten. It is easy to set up and Mike will help a buyer get maximum effectiveness from the unit. Just give him a call. Below is a picture of the tuner. I was lucky enough to have some time to “play” with it before the match.

Talking about the tuner, Mike writes: “Our new barrel tuners…
PDT stands for particle dampening technology. The science is there, we just applied it to a barrel tuner. The advantages are a wider tune window and more efficient control of barrel harmonics…in a tuner design that actually looks good.”

Mike advised me to set the tuner by turning it all the way into the shoulder and then come out to zero or the second time zero comes up if there is not at least half of a turn between the shoulder and the first zero. It is best to start with a proven load and adjust the tuner from that load. As unlikely as it seems, a rifle can go from a good tune to a very poor tune with only 5 marks (.005”) and vice versa.

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

Mike cautions those who use his tuner to NOT make adjustments which are too large. As a matter of fact, he recommends adjustments of .001 inch at a time. Ezell’s tuners are screwed onto the barrel with .900” by 32 threads per inch and has 32 marks on the circumference of the tuner. Therefore, each mark moves the tuner in or out by .001 inch. There are three set screws with Teflon tips which provide friction for the tuner on the threads. Do not tighten the screws so tight as they damage the fine threads.

If you want the smoothest bolt possible for your BAT, call or e-mail Daryle or Bruce Thom at BAT Machine and discuss your needs with them. I am sure glad that I did. If you want a state-of-the-Art tuner for your barrel, give Mike Ezell a call or visit his Ezell Custom Rifles Facebook Page.
— Good shooting, James Mock

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
September 9th, 2017

Reloading Gear Review: Lee Classic Cast Breech-Lock Press

Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Press

The Lee Classic Cast “O”-style press has always been an excellent value — it works as well as some other presses costing twice as much. And now Lee has improved on its Classic Cast Press design by adding a breech-lock fitting in the top. This allows you to swap dies in and out in seconds, once your dies are equipped with breech-lock quick-change bushings. The Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock press is available for under $120.00. That makes it a bargain compared to other heavy-duty single-stage presses. MidwayUSA offers this press (item #824144) for $105.29, while Natchez Shooters Supplies sells the press (item #LEE90999) for $110.49.

Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock PressBreech-Lock System Allows Fast Die Exchanges
With the Lee Breech-Lock Press system, the die drops straight in from the top. Then, with a quick 1/6th (60°) turn, the die locks firmly in place (like the breech on an artillery canon). The interrupted three-start thread assures dies return and lock into the exact same position each time. Bushings cost $7.43 each at Midsouth. If you prefer, you can leave a bushing in the press, and screw your dies in normally. But consider that it normally takes a dozen or more turns to screw in a normally threaded die. The Breech-lock system is way faster.

The Lee Classic Cast press features a strong, cast-iron frame and all-steel linkage. The large 1 1/8″-diameter ram is guided by over twelve square inches of ram bearing surface. We like the fact that you can mount the handle on either side, and adjust handle angle and length. As Lee explains: “The start and stop position is adjustable with a 48-tooth, ratchet-type handle clamp. In addition, the handle length is completely adjustable. Shorten [it] when you’re loading handgun and short rifle cases.”

Lock-Ring Eliminator Quick-Change Bushings
With Lee’s basic quick-lock bushings, you control vertical die position with the normal locking ring that seats against the top of the bushing. That works fine, but Lee also offers a handy Lock-Ring Eliminator Bushing (Lee SKU 90063). This clever design combines bushing and lock-ring into a single part. The Eliminator is turned from a solid piece of steel and the lock ring is integrated into the design of the part. With the Eliminator you’ll get the most repeatable and precise die positioning because lock ring and bushing are all one piece. Moreover, some guys say the Eliminator Bushings are easier to grab and remove than the standard Lee Breech-Lock Bushings.

Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Press

Press owners have praised their Lee Classic Cast Breech-Lock units. Here are reports from two MidwayUSA customers:

Five Stars: Perfect single stage press. Loads accurately 6mm BR and 308 Win for competition. Large clearance is also great for my 460 Wby and 30-378 Wby. Pistol rounds in 44 mag and 45 ACP also load easy. The press has a lot of leverage for full-length rifle case sizing. Nice primer disposal system. Lowest price for its class. This unit beats my Lyman press by several miles…. ” — J. Davidson, California

Five Stars: This thing is outstanding and better than my old RCBS partner press. Once you get the sweet setting of the die, lock it in place and next time you load, you need not fumble to find the best setting. Breech lock is the key. I load a lot of .308 Win and .223 Rem for my ARs and this requires full-length sizing. Lee meets the challenge with no flex and excellent ram/die fit and alignment. Another nice feature is that the breech-lock inserts have a lock preventing [them] from unlocking. [T]he spent primer disposal is perfect vs. RCBS where primers can miss the primer catcher. The handle can also be placed left or right as needed and shortened for small cases or pistol to reduce the handle travel.” — E. Stanley, Rockford, IL

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »
September 4th, 2017

Atomic Green Target Spots — Super-Bright Color Aids Aiming

Birchwood Casey Atomic Green Target Spots Circles day-glo

Birchwood Casey Atomic Green orange Target Spots Circles day-gloWe like to use the Birchwood Casey 2″ and 3″ orange “Target Spots” stick-on circles (with diamond centers) for shooting at 300 yards and beyond (photo right). These give you a very precise aiming point if you align your cross-hairs with the corners of the diamond. However, we know that some guys, particularly those whose scopes have “target-dot” reticles, prefer to have a small box for an aim point. In addition, the orange Target Spots are not a true “Day-Glo” color, so they may seem a little dull (low-contrast) when the target is in shadow.

For guys who want an ultra-high contrast target with a square box in the center, Birchwood Casey offers a series of neon green targets with box centers and spike-style extended vertical and horizontal lines (like on a compass). The manufacturer explains: “These newly-designed adhesive Target Spots come in highly-visible Atomic Green. The crosshair design fulfills the needs of open-sight shooters along with scope users. Easily line up your open sights on the center square or lay the crosshairs along the vertical and horizontal diminishing lines.” You can also rotate the Atomic Green Target Spots 45° to create a diamond center with the crosshairs in an “X” pattern.

We’ve sampled these targets. The Atomic Green background is a true “Day-Glo” color (like safety signs) so these circles appear very bright on a target backer. These work well in low light. We won’t throw away our orange Target Spots, but these Atomic Green circles are a nice option. NOTE: Atomic Green spots are NOT “splatter” targets — a contrasting bright color does NOT appear around your bullet holes.

Multiple Sizes Offered
Birchwood Casey sells the new Atomic green circles in various sizes. You can order a Combo Pack with sixty 1″-diameter spots, thirty 2″-diameter spots, and twenty 3″-diameter circles.

Or purchase the 3″-diameter green spots in a separate pack of forty (40) circles. Birchwood Casey also sells 6″-diameter Atomic Green Target Spots, 10 per pack.

Permalink Gear Review, Shooting Skills No Comments »
August 31st, 2017

Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle Scope Review by James Mock

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TR

Review by James Mock
If you were charged with building a scope for F-Class or long range Benchrest, what features would you want? Vortex asked that question, received feedback from many competitors, and then set out to build a new high-magnification, zoom comp scope that would set a new “performance for price” standard.

The new Vortex Golden Eagle has features that this shooter really appreciates. It has a power range of 15x to 60x with a 52mm objective lens. Vortex has attempted to keep the weight as low as possible and the cost reasonable. My initial impression is that Vortex spared no expense in developing this scope. The “street price” for this premium scope is a reasonable $1499.00. Plus it has Unconditional Lifetime Warranty. Given its features, performance, and price, I believe that this scope will sell very well.

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TR

Here are the important features of the new 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle:

Quality Construction

Premium HD, extra-low dispersion glass
APO (apochromatic) objective lens system with index-matched lenses
XRP multi-coated lenses for max light transmission
ArmorTek extra-hard lens coating to protect lens from dust, dirt, and smudges
Fogproof and Waterproof (Argon gas purged)

Specifications

Field of View at 100 yards: 6.3 feet at 15X; 1.7 feet at 60X
Main Tube: One-piece 30mm
Length: 16.1 inches; Weight is 29.7 ounces
Objective Lens: 52mm
Eye Relief: 3.9 inches
Reticles: SCR-1 FCH; ECR-1 MOA

Testing the Golden Eagle

I recently tested a Golden Eagle with the ECR-1 reticle. On this model the Hash Marks subtend 1 MOA at 40X. There is also a fine crosshair reticle (SCR-1) available. Initial tests with the scope were done on June 28th and I was very impressed with what I saw. With a new scope I always shoot the square (box test) to test tracking and amount of movement. I shot the square today after shooting a 5-shot group at 250 yards (my longest available distance). Below is a picture of the box test target that I shot. Yes, shot #5 went through the exact same hole as shot #1.

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TR

Below is the 250-yard target I shot before doing the box test. To get to the 100-yard target, I clicked down 14 clicks (1/8th MOA) and the scope was spot on. It is really a pleasure to use instruments that do exactly what they are supposed to do. With the Louisiana mirage, I shot this orange/white target at 40X instead of the maximum 60X. I did not have any problem seeing the 6mm bullet holes at 40X. The optics in this scope are to my old eyes are as good as any that I have used (regardless of price).

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TR

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TRCompetition Test Success — Golden Eagle Delivers a Win
My next use of this scope was at our monthly 600-yard match on July 15th. It was a typical mid-July day in north Louisiana — very hot and humid with light switching winds. The mirage was terrible, but I managed to squeak out a victory with a 188/5X score out of 200/20X possible. I shot the Golden Eagle at 40X all day and it performed perfectly. No one could see bullet holes today, even with the high powered premium spotting scopes. This is a quality scope and it may be a “lucky” scope in that I did not expect a win with a 6mm Dasher barrel with 2500 or more rounds through it.

Point of Aim Test with Hood Scope Checker
I also tested the Golden Eagle for holding Point of Aim (POA). For this procedure, I used the Hood scope checker (loaned to me by Bart Sauter). To use this, one mounts two scopes side by side. Ideally one scope has proven its ability to hold POA. Here I used a Valdada 36X BR model as my control scope. It has proven over an 8-year period of time to hold its point of aim. I mounted these scopes on my BAT/Leonard 6mm PPC and adjusted each to the same point on the target.

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TR

As one can see in the above picture, these are big scopes. After the first shot, I noticed that the reticle dot on the Vortex seemed to be about 1/8th MOA to the right of its original position. I stopped to check for ring slippage (which I had experienced in prior tests). There was no apparent slippage, so I checked the parallax and found that there was some parallax correction needed. This was probably the source of the apparent shift in point of aim, but I cannot be sure of that. I fired three more shots (checking after each) and found no shift.

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TR

After testing for POA shift, I fired the remaining rounds using different aiming points. I fired 5 rounds (upper left) using the Vortex and 3 rounds to the right of those using the Valdada scope.

CONCLUSION — A Very Fine Optic at a Reasonable Price
While testing this Vortex Golden Eagle scope, I developed a real fondness for it. I appreciate its great optics, eye relief and crispness of adjustments. If I thought that this scope did not hold POA, I would use my old Valdada in the 600-yard matches in which I participate. Further testing has shown no tendency to shift point of aim.

If I am allowed to keep this scope until the fall, I am sure that I will be able to see 6mm bullet holes in the white at 600 yards. Seeing those 6mm holes is very difficult, but that is my dream for a premium high-powered scope. During the summer months in north Louisiana, the air is much too “dirty” to spot small holes at 600 yards. By October, there should be some conditions in which one can use the premium optics to see bullet holes in the white at 600.

In summary, let me say that this scope has become one of my all-time favorites because of its bright, clear images and its great reliability. If you are looking for a great long-range scope that is reasonable in cost, try the Golden Eagle from Vortex.– James Mock

Permalink Gear Review, Optics 5 Comments »
August 30th, 2017

Great Rangefinder for Hunters — Sig Kilo 2000 under $400

Sig Kilo 2000 LRF laser rangefinder one mile

UPDATE: The Amazon price is Back up to $439.99. We told you $376.69 was a good deal!! This just proves you need to strike while the iron’s hot.

Hunting season is coming soon. That means going through your gear check-list before you head to deer country. If you don’t have a quality, compact Laser Rangefinder, here’s a great deal. The 7x25mm SIG Kilo 2000 Rangefinder is now on sale for under $380.00. This is a very accurate LRF, that ranges deer-sized targets at long distances quickly. The scan mode is fast and very effective. The unit is compact and light — a bonus for hunters.

This Sig LRF sold for $500.00 just a year ago. Now you can save 25%, with the Kilo 2000 selling for just $376.69 at Amazon, with Free Shipping. Given its performance, that’s a steal. We have tested a variety of LRFs from Bushnell, Leica, Leupold, Sig, Swarovski, and Zeiss. This Sig Kilo 2000 will run with anything in the sub-$600 price range. If you are looking for a small LRF than can fit in a shirt pocket, this Sig 2000 is a good choice. Glass is good, controls are good, ranging capability is excellent. Light-Wave DSP Technology enables the Kilo 2000 to range faster with increased accuracy. Scan mode refresh rate is an ultra-fast 4 times per second.

Read the reviews on Amazon. Virtually every purchaser gave this thing Five Stars. Here are three typical buyer reports.

SIG Kilo 2000 Verified Buyer Reviews

Five Stars: “AWESOME! Best rangefinder for the money. Easily ranges out to 1100 yards. That is the furthest I have tested it to.” (Review by Kochman, July 2017)

Five Stars: “I will review by comparing it with another 2000-yard rangefinder… a Newcon 2000 which finally broke after about 6 years. This Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 has better optics, faster readings, ranges reflective and non reflective targets farther… it’s much smaller and it’s about $150 cheaper. It has better warranty.” (Review by Hillbilly, April 2017)

Five Stars: “Challenges $3000+ Rangefinders for performance. Let me say right up front that I received zero perks, products, or considerations for the review that follows. It’s strictly the opinion of an old shooter still trying to hit groundhogs in adjacent area codes, nothing more. I’ve used laser rangefinders since they first hit the market in the early 90s and ranged all of 200 yards. I have used and owned $2K rangefinders with built-in ballistic computers.

It’s small — palm-sized. If you’re a backcountry shooter and every ounce counts, you can wear this unit around your neck all day long. In my experience and opinion, the Sig Kilo 2000 is an amazing laser rangefinder at a very reasonable price. When it comes to the raw function of a laser rangefinder, to give accurate, repeatable distance measurements within your target range, the Sig Kilo 2000 blows away anything even remotely close to it in its price range.” (Review by Verified Customer, July 2016)

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Optics No Comments »
August 28th, 2017

Build Your Own Portable Reloading Bench with B&D WorkMate

portable reloading benchA while back, we featured a portable reloading bench built on a Black & Decker Workmate. That proved a VERY popular do-it-yourself project so we’re showing it again, in case you missed it the first time.

Texan Robert Lewis made himself a great portable reloading bench from plywood mounted to a Black & Decker Workmate. The bench, roughly 22″ x 19″ on top, folds up to fit easily in your car’s trunk or behind the seats in a pick-up truck cab. Four recessed bolts hold the wood top section to the collapsible B&D Workmate.The sides and back of the unit are attached to the base with small nails. There is a small shelf (also nailed in place) which can be used to clamp a powder measure or hold a scale. Shown in the photo is a Harrell’s Benchrest measure and Harrell’s single-stage “C” press.

Click for Detail of Top.
portable shooting bench

The whole unit can be built for about $65.00 with pine, or $80.00 with oak (as shown). Robert explained: “The Workmate was $40. If someone bought a 2’x4′ sheet of 3/4″ oak plywood, I think it is around $30. Using pine plywood would be about half that. Fasteners were $3. Spar Urethane would be $5.”

Robert told us: “I used a couple ideas I found on the web. The Larry Willis website gave me the idea to use the Black and Decker Workmate as a base. I found the Workmate on sale for $40 and the top is made from oak plywood I had in my shop. I sealed the wood with three coats of Spar Urethane. The whole thing folds into a nice package for transportation to and from the range.”

Editor’s NOTE: In the time that’s transpired since we first ran this story, the price of a Black & Decker workmate has gone up. However you can still pick a WM225 Workmate for under $65.00. Target is currently selling WM225 Workmates for $64.99.

Click HERE for FREE WORKBENCH PLANS.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
August 26th, 2017

17 HMR Spotlight — Affordable Ammo and Accurate Varmint Rifles

Savage A17 varmint rifle 17 hmr rimfire

Everyone should own a rifle chambered for the 17 HMR. This is an inherently accurate cartridge, with minimal recoil. The 17 HMR, loaded with 17- or 20-grain bullets, is effective on small varmints well past 150 yards. The ballistics are way better than the .22 LR and .22 WMR. There are also a variety of good factory rifles available, including Savage’s innovative A17, now available in a nice, thumbhole laminated stock. And most importantly, the ammo is becoming more affordable. You can now get good 17 HMR ammo for under twenty cents per round.

The laminated thumbhole stock version of the Savage A17 is a great carry-around varminter.
Savage A17 varmint rifle 17 hmr rimfire

Savage A17 varmint rifle 17 hmr rimfireThere are great deals to be had right now on 17 HMR — you can pick up a 50-round box for under $9.00. A couple seasons back you might have to pay $12-$15 for the same stuff. The best deal we’ve found is at Midsouth Shooters Supply, which has Hornady 17 HMR ammo loaded with 17-grain V-Max bullets, for just $8.69 (17.4 cents/round).

Here are other current good deals, as found with the WikiArms.com ammo search engine:

Federal 17 HMR, 17gr TNT (50 rd), $8.99 at Outdoor Limited
CCI 17 HMR, 17gr V-Max (50 rd), $9.49 at Outdoor Limited
Hornady 17 HMR, 20gr XTP (50 rd), $9.99 at Outdoor Limited.
CCI 17 HMR, 20gr Game Point (50 rd), $10.24 at Bud’s Gun Shop

Volquartsen 17 HMR dustin ellermann

A while back we tested a variety of 17 HMR ammo types in a pair of 17 HMR rifles, a Ruger 77/17 and a Volquartsen (above), chronographing the ammo samples in both guns. Here are our chrono test results.

17 HMR data chrono chronograph

Dustin Ellermann (past Top Shot Champion) has tested both normal and subsonic 17 HMR ammo in another Volquartsen rifle. He got the best accuracy with the CCI-brand A17 ammo, which is optimized for the Savage A17 rifle. This impressive 100-yard group was shot with A17 ammo:

Dustin 17 HMR CCI suppressed ammo ammunition

Dustin 17 HMR CCI suppressed ammo ammunition

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
August 26th, 2017

Great Resource for Airgunners — Air Rifle Buyer’s Guide

Air Rifle book olympic

We like air rifles both for fun shooting and for competition. However, so many options are now available that is easy to get over-whelmed with the choices. Thankfully, there is a good book that helps air rifle shooters make informed decisions about air guns and gear. Steve Markwith’s new title, Air Rifles: A Buyer’s and Shooter’s Guide offers a wealth of useful information. This 154-page paperback book is now available for $12.95. The book is also offered as a FREE Kindle download for Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited members. Check it out — you may be able to get the book for free.

Steve Markwith Air Rifle Pneumatic airgun book Amazon.com Free downloand

This is a very informative book explaining the ins and outs of air rifles, their capabilities and limitations. I highly recommend this book to anyone considering purchasing an air rifle for marksmanship practice or small game hunting.” – L. Stanek, Verified Amazon Reviewer

Read Free Sample Chapters Online
If you go to Amazon.com and click on the cover of this book, you can view a FREE preview with extensive samples from many chapters. The book covers all the most important types of air rifle systems, both pre-charged pneumatics and other self-charging guns. Markwith reviews the wide variety of pellets available, offering suggestions for particular applications. You’ll also find a useful discussion of Airgun Power, Range, and Accuracy. This will help you pick the right air rifle for your application.

Markwith explains the many attractions of airguns. They are not considered firearms (in most jurisdictions) so they can be purchased at local shops or mail-order outlets without FFL fees or background checks. You’ll find a huge online selection of airguns at PyramydAir.com that can ship direct to you — no FFL required. Air rifles are also quiet and very inexpensive to shoot. While .177 and .22 caliber air rifles are most common, there are also larger-caliber airguns offered for hunting or special applications.

Steve Markwith Air Rifle Pneumatic airgun book Amazon.com Free downloand

Permalink Gear Review, News 1 Comment »
August 25th, 2017

Creedmoor Sports Offers New “Scope Kennel” Scope Protector

Creedmoor sports scope kennel scope protector ar16 dennis demille

New Creedmoor “Scope Kennel” Padded Rifle Scope Protector
Creedmoor Sports has developed a deluxe scope protector that looks good. Made with thick padding and heavy webbing, this can definitely help shield expensive optics from impact damage or scrapes, protecting your investment.

The new Creedmoor Scope Kennel padded rifle scope protector fits any scope shorter than 13 inches, and protects your rifle scope while you’re on the range, stowing your rifle in a gun safe, or working on/cleaning your rifle. As you can see, the cover allows the use of an Empty Chamber Indicator.

The Scope Kennel is securely held in place by two heavy-duty adjustable straps, and is available with either Velcro closures or buckle closures. Made from tough 1000-dernier Cordura (with a soft, lined interior), this cover is offered in your choice of 24 different colors (e.g. tan, camo, red, blue, green) for $59.95. Made in the USA by Creedmoor’s own fabric wizards, the Scope Kennel can be customized with your name embroidered on the sides. The Scope Kennel was designed specifically for AR-platform rifles, but you can call 800-273-3366 to order for other types of rifles.

To demonstrate the strength of the Scope Kennel, Creedmoor GM Dennis DeMille did a pull-up with a red Scope Kennel hooked on a fork-lift blade.

Creedmoor sports scope kennel scope protector ar16 dennis demille

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 4 Comments »
August 16th, 2017

Nosler Delivers High-BC, Closed-Meplat RDF Match Bullets

Nosler RDF Bullets tipped bullets closed meplats hybrid ogive

Nosler RDF Bullets tipped bullets closed meplats hybrid ogiveLate last year, word broke of a new line of RDF™ (Reduced Drag Factor) bullets featuring very high Ballistic Coefficients, hybrid-type ogives, and tight, factory-closed meplats. Nosler’s new RDF bullets promised to be very competitive match projectiles for their respective bullet weights, based on initial specs and their billing as “the highest BCs and smallest, most consistent meplats on the market”. But would they perform as advertised?

Since their introduction, the Nosler RDF line have become very popular, offering excellent performance for the price. Shooters, particular PRS competitors, have found the RDFs deliver the flat trajectory and high BC necessary to reach the podium. There are now rumors that Nosler will expand the RDF line (which currently includes four calibers/bullet weights) to include new calibers/weights in 2018. However an official announcement is still forthcoming.

Current Nosler RDF Bullets:
• 22 Cal 70 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.416 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.211
• 6mm 105 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.571 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.280
• 6.5mm 140 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.658 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.330
• 30 Cal 175 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.536 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.270

Nosler RDF Bullets tipped bullets closed meplats hybrid ogive

Compound Ogive for High BC
Nosler designed the RDF bullets to have very high BCs for flatter trajectories and reduced wind drift. Nosler achieved high BCs by adopting a modern hybrid-type compound ogive, which bridges traditional tangent and secant bullet shapes. This hybrid shape is less sensitive to bullet seating depth than a pure VLD-style, secant ogive shape. That allows hand-loaders to seat away from the lands and still get excellent accuracy, which can be maintained even as the throat moves out over time. RDF bullets also feature a long boat-tail for aerodynamic efficiency.

Factory-Closed Meplats — No More Trimming
Compared to conventional match bullets, Nosler’s RDF bullets look quite different because the tips have been tightly closed up at the factory. Nosler promises a 40% average reduction in meplat size vs. conventional hollow-point bullets. Hand-loaders no longer need to point and trim tips, a laborious task to improve BC and make BCs more consistent for every bullet in the box. Consistent BC translates to reduced vertical spread at long range.

Less Wind Drift, Tighter Vertical
What can you expect on the firing line with Nosler RDF bullets? If you’re a skilled shooter who can capitalize on reduced drag and increased consistency from your ballistics, you should see less wind drift, and reduced vertical dispersion at long range. That translates to tighter groups and higher scores in competition. That’s all good. And when you compare the cost of Nosler’s RDF bullets with other match projectiles, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 1 Comment »
August 16th, 2017

PickleFork Rail Accessory for Eliseo Tubeguns

Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Pickle-Fork Picklefork foreend fore-end F-TR F-Class Bag Rider

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have one match rifle that could do double-duty — shoot position matches (with sling), and then function as an F-Open gun with front rest? Now that’s possible with Gary Eliseo’s clever “PickleFork” accessory for his line of tubeguns. This accessory also works great for load testing and varmint hunting.

Competition Machine’s Gary Eliseo is a very smart designer as well as a talented shooter. The inventor/builder of the popular Competition Machine Tubegun chassis systems, Gary has come up with something new, which he calls the PickleForks. These are rails that fit to the sides of the tubular fore-end/handguard on his chassis systems. This allows you to use a pedestal-style front rest for F-Class competition. It also provides a much more stable platform for load testing, varmint hunting, or any kind of rest-assisted precision shooting.

These PickleForks transform a Tubegun into an ultra-stable, straight-tracking rig when used with a competition-style front rest.

Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Pickle-Fork Picklefork forend fore-end F-TR F-Class Bag Rider

Gary explains: “Now you can have the same super low-boreline, long ‘wheelbase’ and vertical sides of our innovative F1 F-Class chassis system for your tube chassis. The new PickleForks attach directly to the sides of the F-Class/Tactical fore-ends, no modifications are required. They are very rigid with no flex or twist and make the rifle track like it’s on rails.” The new Eliseo Competition Machine PickleForks are offered for a very reasonable $70.00 per pair, with Cerakote finish. (You get two metal units, one for each side of the fore-arm). For more information, visit www.GotXRing.com or call (928) 649-0742.

Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Pickle-Fork Picklefork forend fore-end F-TR F-Class Bag Rider

New Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
August 15th, 2017

Newbold Reactive Polymer Targets

polymer self-sealing reactive steel plastic plates targets KD knockdown

We love shooting reactive targets — the instant gratification of hearing the “clang” and seeing the target fall or spin is addictive. However, there are some significant downsides of steel targets. They are heavy/cumbersome to move around. With steel targets you must be careful with ricochets and bullet splatter. Finally, to keep them looking good, you have to constantly re-apply surface paint.

polymer self-sealing reactive steel plastic plates targets KD knockdownNewbold now offers a series of reactive polymer targets that work like steel, but have none of the major disadvantages. Weighing over 80% less than steel, they are easy to transport and set-up. Though they can “react” like steel, bullets pass right the self-sealing polymer, so you don’t have to worry about ricochets or bullet “splashback”. Finally, you never have to paint them. They come in bright colors that last the life of the target. They are affordable — small polymer targets start at $3.99, while the larger Knock-Down “plates” (shown below) are $18.99 each.

polymer self-sealing reactive steel plastic plates targets KD knockdown
Newbold’s KD Competition Series targets can be reset with a simple string.

Newbold offers a variety of self-sealing reactive targets, such as the KD-Pivot plate rack targets above, 3-Gun targets, hanging targets, and the 42″ popper targets shown in the video below. Many of the Newbold targets have reset systems — simply pull a lanyard and the targets pop back up.

Gunwriter Tom McHale has tested some Newbold targets and likes them: “There’s one more significant advantage over steel. You can shoot them at any distance, including point-blank range. Since the bullets pass through just as they would with a cardboard target, there’s no fragmentation or splash as there is with steel targets.”

The video below shows how to install Newbold reactive targets:

Permalink Gear Review, Handguns, New Product No Comments »
August 8th, 2017

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite Video Review Marathon

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite video reviews

Many thousands of hand-loaders, including this Editor, acquired the original RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 powder scale/dispenser. Mine has worked well for many years. Yes I do have to watch for scale drift, and I use a high-end Force-Restoration scale when loading for major matches, but the original ChargeMaster has served me well, throwing thousands of charges over the years.

NEW RCBS ChargeMaster Lite

Now there is a newer version of the ChargeMaster, the RCBS Chargemaster Lite. This new-for-2017, one-piece unit has some features we really like. The new touch screen is easy to use and the powder tray cover slips off easily — no more hinges to fight. Most importantly the CM Lite has a redesigned, fluted dispensing tube which delivers powder kernels in a smooth flow with no clumps. The RCBS Rep told us “No more McDonald’s straw required”. We tested the unit and it does seem like the newly-designed dispensing tube is better. In fact, this new design will be adapted to the next generation of larger ChargeMasters. The ChargeMaster Lite ships complete with calibration check weights and cleaning brush. MSRP is $299.95 with “street price” around $250.00 at Amazon.

If you’re interested in the RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, here are three recent video product reviews. By watching these videos you can see all the features of the ChargeMaster Lite demonstrated. In the third video, the host also “compares and contrasts” the ChargeMaster Lite with the original ChargeMaster 1500, explaining the differences between the two units. Have at it:

Panhandle Precision ChargeMaster Lite Bench Test and Demo (Good Detailed Review):

Here is the RCBS Press Release: “The new RCBS ChargeMaster Lite packs unparalleled powder-measuring accuracy in a compact package. The one-piece unit features an LCD touchscreen display that ensures accurate data input. The hopper holds nearly a pound of smokeless powder, and can dispense anywhere between 2 to 300 grains with a +/-0.1-grain accuracy.”

UltimateReloader ChargeMaster Lite Unboxing:

Original ChargeMaster 1500 vs. ChargeMaster Lite:

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
August 5th, 2017

Haul Your Gun Gear with Rolling Range Bag

Gun Bag Pistol Case rolling wheeled range case

Here’s a cool (but expensive) new product that can benefit both recreational and competitive shooters who need to haul a lot of gear to the range. The NRA’s new Tactical Rolling Range Bag is an all-in-one transportation and storage solution. Fitted with a half-dozen pistol cradles, the range bag can also be adapted to hold rifle accessories such as spotting scopes, ear muffs, rear bag, MagnetoSpeed chronograph, ammo boxes, magazines, cleaning kit, and more. There are special sections for ammo and it even has a special velcro-attached target holder.

The NRA tells us: “This mobile armory travels effortlessly from your home, to your car and to the range, thanks to its 3.5″-diameter wheels and reinforced carry handle. The exterior boasts a dedicated compartment for eight pistol magazines, and there’s a pocket (with two cups) for collecting spent brass. The patented Visual ID Storage System features easily identifiable pockets for eye and ear protection, targets, stapler, tape and binoculars.” Color: Coyote. Dimensions: 23” W x 15” D x 17” H.

• Integrated, six handgun rigid foam rack
• Thick, padded top flap holds firearms securely
• Heavy-duty YKK zippers with cord pulls
• Rigid, internal frame
• Oversized, 3½” diameter ATV wheels
• Three position telescoping handle

Gun Bag Pistol Case rolling wheeled range case

Priced at $229.95, this fancy Rolling Range Bag ain’t cheap, but when you consider your investment in guns and accessories, this may be a smart solution for many shooters.

Permalink Gear Review, Handguns, New Product 3 Comments »
August 3rd, 2017

7mm MatchKings for the F-Class World Championships

Sierra MatchKing 183gr 183 Grain Bullet BC Long Range F-Class

The F-Class World Championships (FCWC) in Canada are just one week away. This August 11-17, the world’s top F-Class shooters will gather at the Connaught Ranges outside Ottawa, Ontario. The vast majority of F-Open shooters will be running some kind of 7mm (.284 Caliber) cartridge, with the .284 Winchester, .284 Win Improveds, and 7mm RSAUMs being popular.

7mm .284 Winchester F-Class Bullet

For those of you who plan to compete but who haven’t loaded your ammo yet, you may want to consider a very good 7mm match bullet from Sierra, 183 grain MatchKing (item #1983). We have found the 183gr MK, which comes “pointed” from the factory, to be very consistent in weight and base-to ogive measurement. Top F-Open shooters have told us that these bullets shoot exceptionally well, with minimal vertical dispersion at 1000. “Holding waterline” at long range is a reliable indicator that the BC is very uniform from bullet to bullet.

Sierra’s popular 7mm 183 grain MatchKing boasts an impressive 0.707 G1 Ballistic Coefficient (BC) at 2300+ fps. These bullets also have very consistent bullet-to-bullet BC, thanks to very uniform jackets and the tips being “pointed” at the factory. Sierra explains: “A final meplat-reducing operation (pointing) provides an increased ballistic coefficient for optimal wind resistance and velocity retention.”

Insight Into Sierra’s New 7mm MatchKing®
by Sierra Product Development Manager Mark Walker

In late 2015, Sierra introduced a new 7mm MatchKing® bullet with a different type of ogive. As part of the introduction, I had the opportunity to use them at the F-Class Nationals held in Phoenix with very good results. While at the match, several people had questions about what exactly was different about the ogive on this bullet as opposed to our tried and true blended tangent ogive. So with that in mind, hopefully this blog will answer those questions.

In the past, Sierra has typically used a tangent radius ogive design on our MatchKing® bullets. This is one of the most forgiving ogive designs due to its ability to shoot extremely accurately when jumped, as well as, jammed into the rifling. On rare occasions, some of our MatchKing® bullets have used a secant ogive due to design constraints. However, this ogive is much more sensitive to changes in seating depth than the tangent ogive so we tend to shy away from it. When we decided to work on this new bullet, we wanted to see if we could improve on the accuracy of even our best shooting tangent ogive bullets.

Sierra MatchKing 183gr 183 Grain Bullet BC Long Range F-Class

One of the main factors of what makes an accurate shooting bullet is how it aligns itself with the bore when fired. If a bullet is slightly crooked when entering the bore, it will cause inaccuracy on the target. We set out trying to think of ways to make sure that the bullet has no choice but to align itself with the bore perfectly.

The first part of the barrel to encounter the bullet is the leade in the chamber. The leade is an angle that is cut into the leading edge of the rifling which helps to guide the bullet into the bore. To illustrate how current bullets fit into the leade, picture a cone (leade) with a ball (bullet) sitting inside it. The ball can be rotated in all directions and the cone cannot force the ball to orientate itself in any particular direction. When a bullet with a radius encounters the leade, it behaves in a similar way. Now this of course is a very simple example and of course advanced shooters use tight necks and brass that is perfectly formed to the chamber to make sure the bullet is aligned as perfect as possible. However, there is always a small element of misalignment that is possible even with all this precise preparation.

This brings us to the ogive on the new 7mm MatchKing®. We thought instead of using the typical ogive radius that can allow slight misalignment, why not use the same straight angle that is used in the chamber leade on the bullet ogive to force itself to always align with the bore? Imagine the same cone as above (leade) with an identical cone (bullet) sitting inside of it. The cone inside has no choice but to align itself perfectly with the cone that it is sitting in every time. With that in mind, we designed the area of the bullet which contacts the leade in front of the bearing surface using a straight 1 1/2 degree angle instead of the typical radius. Once past that area, we use a traditional high caliber ogive radius to provide a very sleek, high BC bullet.

I hope that explains our thought process behind this new bullet. In our testing, it is one of the most forgiving high-BC bullets we have ever made.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 3 Comments »