November 21st, 2018

Handsome .284 Win F-Class Rig with Polished Borden Action

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle
Note the owner’s name, “S. Limbourne” was engraved on the bolt release (and trigger guard, see below).

Who doesn’t like a spectacular figured-wood stock, particularly when it is combined with a superb custom action and a tack-driving barrel. Here’s some eye candy for Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This is a custom .284 Winchester F-Class Open division rig created by gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez for competitive shooter Scott Limbourne. The handsome Bacote wood figured stock comes from Cerus Rifleworks, while the action is a polished Borden RBRP BRMXD. Two Brux 1:9″ twist barrels were chambered for the project, both finished at 32″. The stock is also fitted with a R.A.D. Recoil System. This rig has top-of-the-line hardware all around.

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Action: Borden BRMXD – Polished
Rail: 20 MOA Polished
Chambering: .284 Winchester
Trigger: Jewell BR – Blueprinted
Barrel: (2x) Brux 32″ 1:9″ Twist
Stock: Cerus F-Open in Exhibition Grade Bacote
Recoil System: R.A.D. System
Extras: Carbon Fiber Tunnel Plate, Custom Engraving Work on Action, Trigger Guard, and Bolt Release.

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

You’ll find more impressive rigs on Speedy’s Facebook Page. If you’d like a superb custom rifle like this, call Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez at 972-672-6630, or send email to: speedy.godzilla [at] msn.com.

SPEEDY GONZALEZ
9023 HUEBNER RD. STE 102
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
November 18th, 2018

Real-World Reviews of Caldwell Target Cam by Forum Members

caldwell long range target cam system forum accurateshooter.com review

We’ve used a variety of target cam systems — When you get a good one, they are a great tool for training and load development, and just fun shooting.

Over the past five years we’ve tested many target cam systems. To be frank, some have been disappointing, but we think the Caldwell Target Cam System works well. A number of our Forum members have purchased this system and the reviews have been generally quite positive — image quality is good, reception is good, software is good, and storage cases work well. The only complaint is that the flexible camera arm can droop with time. READ Target Cam Forum Reviews.

Caldwell Target Cam Review by Nando-AS
“I have been using the Caldwell camera for over a year and it works great for me in every respect. I use it mainly at 600 yards, but I have also used it at 1000 yards successfully. In my case, as opposed to the experience posted by Snakepit (see below), the flexible arm that supports the camera is as tight as when it was brand new. The only thing that has broken so far is the plastic top on one of the two stakes supplied to steady the tripods to the ground. Instead of the stakes, I now use a couple of heavy shooting bags. I just place one bag over one of the legs of the tripod, and that is good enough.”

Target Cam Output with camera placed 600 yards from shooter:
caldwell long range target cam system forum accurateshooter.com review

Target Cam view at 600 yards: Blue ring is three inches, outer circle is six inches. I use a Samsung Tablet to display the image. I zoom in when actually shooting — so each target fills the screen.

Caldwell Target Cam Review by Shoot4Fun
“Caldwell Target Camera owner here. It comes neatly packed in a soft case and even has two stands for the camera/transmitter and the receiver units. I have only used it to 500 yards though they do call it a one-mile system. The resolution is very good and it has some neat features for capturing and labeling your targets. I did buy two Tallantcell USB packs to power it but it has internal batteries as well. The App works with my iPad or my iPhone and I’m sure there is an Android version too. I see them on sale from time to time at under $375 complete.”

Caldwell Target Cam Review by SnakePit
“I have the Caldwell Target Camera system and it works great. I mainly use it at 600 yards and the transmitter has enough power that I do not have to use the receiver at the bench for my tablet or cell phone. But Caldwell needs to do something with the flexible arm that holds the camera to the tripod. It becomes loose after a while and the camera wants to droop down. Caldwell sent me a replacement flexible arm but it is starting to have the same problem. You can get it to work when this happens but it can be a hassle. Other than that it is a great system for the price and I would buy another one.”

Important Features of a Target Cam System
Key qualities you’ll want in a target cam system are: ease of set-up, good video resolution, effective range (good signal quality/strength), good battery run-time, and the ability to use WiFi-enabled devices for viewing. Caldwell’s new Long-Range Target Camera offers all these things, making it an impressive new product for the price — $359.95 at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Some other target cam systems on the market cost twice as much, yet lack key features of the Caldwell system.

Watch Video, Record Video, Capture Stills, Measure Group Size and more…
The Caldwell LR Target Camera is very versatile, allowing you to both watch and record video and/or stills on any WiFi-enabled device. A free iOS/Android Mobile App allows you to record video, save still pictures, add notes, calculate group size, and save session info. This video shows the complete set-up process and how to use the free App. It shows actual Target Cam output on a WiFi-enabled tablet:

Caldwell Ballistic Precision LR Target Camera

    Caldwell LR Target Camera Features:
    — High Definition (720p) camera delivers sharp image with good detail.
    — WiFi output is compatible with Android, iPhone and most tablets.
    — System can stream live HD video, record video, and save still images.
    — Camera, transmitter, and receiver are contained in sturdy, waterproof housings.
    — Breaks down into custom-fitted storage case for easy transport.
    — Rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries run system for up to 6 hours continuously.
    — External power jack for more permanent installation.
    — Target Camera Mobile App for iOS and Android devices.
    — Includes two collapsible, tripod-base Antenna/router stands.
    — Positionable, spring-loaded camera clamp.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
November 17th, 2018

Make Your Own Ammo Caddy with Wood Knife-Holder Block

Wood Knife Holder ammo caddy

Forum member Alex W. (aka “zfastmalibu”) came up with a clever adaptation of an item you may already have on your kitchen counter. By drilling a few strategically-placed holes in a wood knife-holding block, Alex created a handy, 20-round ammo holder for the bench. We’re not sure the wife will appreciate the new holes in her kitchen accessory, but we think this is a smart invention. Alex asked fellow Forum members: “What do you think, is there a market for it?” We think there is. Of course, with a ruler and an electric drill you could probably make your own version easily enough.

Get a Solid Wood Knife Block for under $25.00
Hardwood Knife blocks can be purchased for under $25.00 through Amazon.com. They are also available in bamboo ($18.14), beechwood ($39.95), acacia ($49.95), and solid walnut ($59.95).

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
November 15th, 2018

Tool Time: Sinclair Cartridge Case Neck Sorting Tool

Case Neck thickness sorting gauge Sinclair accurateshooter.com

He who dies with the most toys wins — right? Well Sinclair has another interesting gadget you can add to your reloading bench. The Sinclair Case Neck Sorting Tool lets you quickly sort brass by neck-wall thickness. For those who shoot “no-turn” brass, this can improve neck-tension consistency. Large variances in neck-wall thickness can cause inconsistent neck “grip” on the bullet. Generally, we’ve found that more consistent neck tension will lower ES and (usually) improve accuracy. We know some guys who shoot no-turn 6mmBR brass in competition with considerable success — but their secret is pre-sorting their brass by neck-wall thickness. Cases that are out-of-spec are set aside for sighters (or are later skim-turned).

Watch Case Neck Sorting Tool Operation in Video

Case Neck thickness sorting gauge Sinclair accurateshooterHow the Case Neck Sorting Tool Works
Here’s how the Sinclair tool works. Cases are rotated under an indicator tip while they are supported on a case-neck pilot and a support pin through the flash hole. The unit has a nice, wide base and low profile so it is stable in use. The tool works for .22 through .45 caliber cases and can be used on .17- and .20-caliber cases with the optional carbide alignment rod. The MIC-4 pin fits both .060 (PPC size) and .080 (standard size) flash holes. Sinclair’s Case Neck Sorting Tool can be ordered with or without a dial indicator. The basic unit without dial indicator (item 749-006-612WB) is $59.99. The tool complete with dial indicator (item 749-007-129WB) for $89.99. IMPORTANT: This tool requires caliber-specific Sinclair Case Neck Pilots which must be ordered separately.

Editor’s Comment: The purpose of this Sinclair tool is rapid, high-quantity sorting of cartridge brass to ascertain significant case-neck-wall thickness variations. Consider this a rapid culling/sorting tool. If you are turning your necks, you will still need a quality ball micrometer tool to measure neck-wall thickness (to .0005) before and after neck-turning operations.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
November 13th, 2018

CZ 455 .22 LR Varmint Precision Trainer in Manners Stock

CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stock

Rimfire cross-training allows PRS competitors to build their skill sets without breaking the bank (or burning out nice custom barrels). One great .22 LR option for cross-training is offered by CZ (Česká Zbrojovka), the Czech arms-maker. The TFBTV video below spotlights the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT), a smooth-running .22 LR bolt action. This factory rifle was designed specifically as a training tool for precision long-range competition. It boasts a Manners composite stock and 20.5 or 24-inch heavy barrel. The 0.866″-diameter tube is threaded and suppressor-ready. The model 455 VPT is mag-fed and comes with a crisp trigger that adjusts to two pounds. Street price is around $830. That’s pricey for a rimfire — but you’re getting a premium Manners stock that would cost $534 by itself.

Field Testing the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

.22 LR Rimfire from 50 to 300 Yards
CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stockThe CZ 455 VPT proved accurate, recording half-inch groups at 50 yards with SK ammo: “[we] shot CCI standard, Federal match, and SK match through the rifle. It liked the SK ammo the best.” One goal of this test was to see how a .22 LR could perform beyond typical rimfire ranges, so reviewer Joel Wise (Precision Rifle Network) tested this rifle all the way out to 300 yards. Groups were about 1″ at 100 yards, but opened up considerably at 200 and 300. Joel concluded 300 yards was a practical max. We know that some tactical rimfire matches set targets out that far, but we think 200 yards might be a better practical limit for matches run with smallbore rifles. It’s not just the problem of running out of elevation in your scope. At 300 yards the effect of the wind is huge.

CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stock

The CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT) features a mag-fed CZ 455 action, with .866″-diameter heavy barrel, in a rigid, high-tech Manners Composite stock. Feeding was very reliable.

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

The 455 VPT offers the same look and feel of a full-size tactical rifle. This 455 uses a Manners MCS-T4 stock assuring a rock solid platform for the 455 barreled action. The outer shell of the MCS-T4 is made with carbon fiber and fiber glass in multiple layers. The stocks can be custom-ordered with a heavy fill to match your current rifle weight to truly duplicate its feel.

Manners VPT Stock Available for Other Rimfire Platforms
Manners Composite Stocks offers versions of the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer stock design that can be used with other barreled actions: “The 455 VPT stock is based on our MCS-T4 design. We offer this, fully inletted with pillars, for a variety of rimfire actions: Sako Quad, Savage Mark II, CZ 452, CZ 453, along with the 455.”

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

Inletting is complete, so this will be a drop-in solution if you already own one of the listed rimfire rifles. Tom Manners notes: “With this stock, some guys will bed the rear area of their action, but that’s not necessary — you can pretty much bolt ‘em in and go”.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Tactical 1 Comment »
November 9th, 2018

Snakeskin Shooter for Santiago — Reptilian Eliseo R1 Rig

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dipA 7mm Snake for Santiago
Our friend Dennis Santiago has a reptilian rig in his arsenal. It’s actually an Eliseo R1 single-shot tubegun chambered in .284 Winchester. The eye-catching aspect of Santiago’s .284 bolt-gun is the snakeskin dip job on the exterior. This really creates a distinctive look. Dennis tells us: “It was Gary Eliseo’s idea to try a water-transfer printing finish for this rifle. There are many patterns to choose from — this is the WTP-260 Snakeskin Illusion-Fall Copper from WaterTransferPrinting.com. For a single shot LR gun, I figured something on the bright side would be interesting and pick up less heat from the sun in the summer.”

Dennis uses this eye-catching rifle in prone matches, where a single shot works fine. He says: “Underneath the hood, it’s a Rem 700 Long Action, chambered in .284 Win. Yes it’s a single shot! I don’t need anything else for a prone gun. Nothing to get in the way of building the perfect position.”

Dennis says: “Length of pull, offset and cast initially set the same as my similar RTS .308. My gun, my body dimensions.”
Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

R1 Testing with Advanced Electronic Shot-Plotting System
Now that winter is here, Dennis plans to do some serious load development with this rifle: “I acquired a new ShotMarker electronic target system. I’ll be using that to test a variety of powders and bullets.” Dennis has previously loaded his .284 Win R1 with Hodgdon H4831 powder, but he hopes to test alternatives from Alliant and IMR as well. There are many interesting 7mm bullet options, such as Sierra’s impressive, factory-pointed 183gr MatchKing with 0.707 G1 BC, and Berger’s new 184gr F-Open Target Hybrid with 0.695 G1 BC.

Shot-Marker shotmarker electronic target system acoustic target

The ShotMarker is a unique 8-sensor acoustic electronic target that instantly plots shot locations and transmits the data via WiFi to a mobile device. Dennis is eager to try his new Shot-Marker. The system can measure group size, velocity, and SD. The Shot-Marker App can then store your strings for later review, add notes to the target, and export data to spreadsheets.

Shot-Marker shotmarker electronic target system acoustic target

A FFP 6-24x50mm Sightron Rides on Top
The optic is a Sightron 6-24x50mm, FFP MOA-2. Dennis reports: “I looked at many scopes (within my determined price range), and this is the one that had the best combination of features for for this gun’s particular application. The sight line sits about 3 inches above bore line on these guns. It’s been leveled, bore-sighted and pre-dialed for a 200-yard estimated zero for the ammo I plan to use. Those are Gen II A.R.M.S. rings. Super easy to tailor to different rail widths. Same rock-steady steel performance.”

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Santiago Tubegun Eliseo R1 Snakeskin Hydro-dip

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review No Comments »
November 8th, 2018

Great Accuracy — Criterion Pre-Fit Barrel and Creedmoor Ammo

criterion barrel black creedmoor sports .308 Win Ammunition ammo

Check out that 0.188″ group. Can you believe that was shot with factory .308 Win ammo? A couple seasons ago our friends at Criterion Barrels tested some .308 ammo from Creedmoor Sports. This was loaded with Lapua’s 175gr Scenar HPBT bullet. The results speak for themselves. Any time factory ammo can shoot inside quarter-MOA, that’s impressive. This ammo was used in a “Rem/Age” project rifle. That term refers to a Remington action rifle that has been re-barreled with a pre-fit Criterion barrel. The new barrel is secured with a Savage-style barrel nut. Hence the term “Rem/Age” or “Rem-Age”.

shooting target accurateshooter load developmentCriterion posted: “I think we may have a new favorite factory match load for the nitrided Rem/Age build.” Another reader added: “[Creedmoor’s] 175 Scenar .308 ammunition is top notch.” FYI, this group was shot on our load development target, which you can download for free from our Targets Page.

Why do Criterion barrels shoot so well? One reason is that Criterion’s barrel steel is carefully stress-relieved. In the photo below, Criterion Rack 1A (aka the “Coffin”) has been loaded with barrel blanks — made ready for the stress-relieving process.

criterion barrel black creedmoor sports .308 Win Ammunition ammo

Working with Pre-Fit Barrels
While they may require the purchase of some additional tools and a bit of a learning curve to install, using Rem/Age pre-fit barrels offer advantages over gunsmith chambering and barrel-fitting. In this video, 8541 Tactical explains how to install a Criterion 6.5 Creedmoor “pre-fit” barrel. You save money and time — you don’t have to wait for a gunsmith to chamber the barrel. While Criterion recommends that a competent gunsmith oversee the pre-fit installation, if you understand the use of go/no-go gauges and you have a barrel vise and action wrench set up to remove the original barrel, putting on a pre-fit barrel CAN be a DIY project. You don’t have to pack up your rifle to ship it off to a smith.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
November 7th, 2018

Tubb T7T 2-Stage Trigger for Rem 700 and Rem-Clone Actions

David Tubb two-stage 2-stage T7T trigger Rem 700 Remington clone high power

If you’re planning a build with a Remington or Rem-clone action, take heed. Here’s a trigger upgrade worth considering for an F-Class or Long-Range rig. David Tubb offers an excellent two-stage trigger for Remington 700 rifles, the Model T7T. Priced at $349.00, the Tubb T7T Trigger is a true two-stage design: first and second stages are independently adjustable for both weight and feel. Overall (combined stage) trigger pull weight can be adjusted from just under 1 pound to slightly over 3.5 pounds.

If you are interested in the T7T, watch these two videos. The first shows how to adjust pull-weights for both stages. The second video shows how to modify your stock to provide clearance for the T7T.

This video shows how to adjust the new Tubb T7T two-stage trigger for Remington 700s:

The new T7T is a quality product. We’ve received good feedback from “early adopters” who tell us the two-stage function works well. While installation of the T7T may require minor modifications to your action, most gun owners with basic mechanical skills can install the T7T by themselves. The T7T is made using stainless steel and aluminum for maximum corrosion resistance. Note, a full installation of the T7T trigger (either Right-Hand or Left-Hand) also requires a companion T7T bolt release, offered by DavidTubb.com for $10.00.

David Tubb two-stage 2-stage T7T trigger Rem 700 Remington clone high power

This video shows how to modify your stock to fit the T7T trigger:

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
November 7th, 2018

Mirage Shields — Make Your Own or Buy Carbon Fiber

Mirage Shield Venetian Blind Criterion

Mirage shields are useful for all shooters, not just hard-core competitors. A mirage shield helps you see your target better, without distortion caused by heat waves coming off your barrel. This isn’t rocket science — it’s a simple, inexpensive way to see better and shoot more accurately. We’ve advocated that varmint shooters give mirage bands a try on those hot summer groundhog and prairie dog expeditions. And we observed that practically every F-Class shooter at the recent Berger SW Nationals was using a mirage shield of some kind.

Make Your Own Mirage Shiels from Venetian Blind

Criterion Barrels shows how you can make your own mirage shield from an ordinary Venetion blind.

A mirage shield is an extremely cost-effective way to eliminate a commonly-encountered problem. Making your own mirage shield is easy. Using old venetian blind strips and common household materials and tools, you can construct your own mirage shield for under one dollar.
READ FULL Article

Materials Required:
1. Vertical PVC Venetian blind panel
2. Three 1”x1” pieces adhesive-backed Velcro
3. Ruler or tape measure
4. Scissors or box cutter
5. Pencil or marker

make mirage shield

Make Your Own Mirage Shield from X-Ray Film

Forum member Fabian from Germany, whose Sako 6BR rifle was featured as a Gun of the Week, has devised a clever and inexpensive mirage band option. Fabian is a radiologist by trade. He notes that many X-ray machines require a daily test film for calibration. These are normally just discarded in the trash, so you can get them for free.

mirage shield

Fabian explains: “I’m a radiologist, so I handle medical x-ray films every day. Modern X-ray machines use laser-based printers and they need to print a test-film every day. One x-ray film is about 43×35 cm (16.9″ x 13.7″). Made from polyester, the films are very stable and only 0.007″ inches thick. They are light-weight, semi-transparent, and very stable. Using normal scissors, you can easily cut four mirage shields from a single sheet of film. Then glue on some velcro to attach to your barrel. Try it, you will not be disappointed.”

mirage shield

High-Tech Carbon Fiber Mirage Shield
If you’re not into making your own mirage shield, aka “mirage band” or “mirage shade”, you can also purchase a cool carbon fiber mirage shield from Accurateshooter Forum member Mark Nagel. These custom Carbon-Fiber Mirage Shields start at $20.00. GET More INFO HERE.

Carbon Fiber Mirage Shield
Mirage Shield Venetian Blind Criterion

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
November 3rd, 2018

Mossberg MVP LR — Interesting $700 Factory Rifle

Mossberg MVP rifle mag-fed varmint Long Range LR

Mossberg has a pretty nice rifle that would work well for varminting and tactical/practical games out to 1000 yards. You may not have seen this before, but we think it offers a decent turn-key solution for around $700. Mossberg’s MVP Long Range (LR) boasts a nice adjustable stock and some innovative features. The LR model comes with a 20″ or 22″ (6.5CM) barrel in three popular chamberings: .223 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester. All barrels are threaded for suppressors or muzzle-brakes and come with a protective thread cap. Street price, without optics, is about $695.00 for 6.5 CM version. The .223 Rem accepts AR15 magazines while the .308 Win accepts AR10 and/or M1A mags. The LBA trigger adjusts from 3-7 pounds — we’d like to see it go a little lower for varmint work.

Mossberg MVP rifle mag-fed varmint Long Range LR
Mossberg MVP rifle mag-fed varmint Long Range LR

The MVP Long Range feature an adjustable-comb stock that’s comfortable and strong. The bottom (“toe”) of the rear stock is flat and straight, so it works well in a bag — that’s notably different than most factory rifles in this price range. We like this stock for shooting prone or from a portable bench on a varmint hunt. Gun weight is pretty light, 8 pounds (without optics) for the 6.5 Creedmoor version with 22″ barrel.

The MVP LR model features a pillar-bedded OD green stock with push-button adjustable Mosscote™ cheekpiece, patented LBA Adjustable Trigger (3-7 lbs.), oversized bolt handle, and Picatinny rail. All barrels are threaded for suppressors or muzzle brakes and come with a protective thread cap.

Mossberg MVP rifle mag-fed varmint Long Range LR
Mossberg’s MVP also comes in a shorter-barreled version with a more conventional stock and back-up iron sights. See that version in Mossberg’s article about Long Range shooting.

Mossberg MVP rifle mag-fed varmint Long Range LR
READ Sniper Central Review

Function and Accuracy Field Testing
So how does it shoot? Sniper Central did a full review of the rifle, chambered in .308 Win. They praised the gun’s general build quality and liked the stock. Bench testing yielded 0.8 to 1.5 MOA groups with four kinds of factory ammo. In fairness, Sniper Central’s set-up looked very wobbly, with cheap sandbags front and rear. We bet the MVP LR would shoot better with a proper front rest, or even a quality bipod.

Sniper Central did complain about feeding from the magazine: “The most glaring [fault was] the stiffness with which the rifle feeds from the magazine when there is more than one round in it. The feeding process is rough and stiff, which we think can be attributed to those two protrusions on the bottom of the bolt that aide in feeding from the double stack AR-style magazines.” (See photo below.) Sniper Central also was not impressed with the trigger: “As we mentioned earlier, the trigger has some take up before let-off and that take up is notchy and not very smooth, so there is some improvement to be had there.” The trigger did come in about 2.5 lbs on the test rifle, “light for a factory installed trigger”.

Mossberg MVP rifle mag-fed varmint Long Range LR

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Tactical No Comments »
November 2nd, 2018

TECH TIP: Use a Block to Maintain Front Bag Shape

John Loh Front Rest JJ Industries

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

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
October 29th, 2018

Scottish Shooter Sets UK 1000-Yard Records with Factory Savage

David Sharp UK Scotland Ingleston 1000-Yard 1000 yards record group factory sporter class vince bottomley
“The blue plastic barrels that we have to shoot through are the idea of the local police — to ensure that we keep our rifles pointing at the targets!” — David Sharp

Here’s a great story from the other side of the pond — the United Kingdom. Shooting a .308 Win factory Savage rifle, a novice benchrest shooter set two new 1000-Yard UK Factory Sporter Class records with a group barely over three inches plus a 6.756″ four-group Aggregate. The Savage had been upgraded with an inexpensive aftermarket stock and Timney trigger, but was otherwise “as manufactured” — with factory barrel.

David Sharp UK Scotland Ingleston 1000-Yard 1000 yards record group factory sporter class vince bottomley
At Ingleston, competitors shoot for group size only — so there are no scoring-rings on the targets.

On October 14, 2018 David Sharp had a memorable performance at the Ingleston Range in Scotland. David Agg’d 6.756 inches for all four 5-shot groups, a new UK 1000-Yard record for the Factory Sporter Class. His smallest group measured 3.090 inches, which is also a new UK Factory Sporter record. Great Shooting David — congrats!

Sharp Sets Two New UK Factory Sporter Class 1000-Yard Records

Report by Vince Bottomley
In the UK, long-range benchrest is far more popular than short-range. The UKBRA (United Kingdom Benchrest Association) holds shoots at three venues: Diggle (100, 600 & 1000 yards), Bisley (100 yards only) and Ingleston in Dumfries, Scotland (1000 yards).

The Scottish venue is the UK’s latest 1000-yard facility. It was established just three years ago yet it is already holding well-attended monthly shoots. It is operated by the Galloway Small Arms Club and, as you may imagine, it is situated in the beautiful wild Scottish countryside.

The UKBRA operates under IBS/NBRSA rules for the Light and Heavy Gun Classes but, many of the Scottish members are also deer stalkers and came to the benches with their hunting rifles, so we also run a Factory Sporter Class. Factory Sporter rifles must be the original manufacturer’s barreled-action but a more benchrest-compatible stock may be used or ‘bag-rider’ attachments may be fitted to the butt and fore-end. The barreled-action must however be totally as it left the factory — no re-chambering or throating, though the crown may be re-cut. To discourage potentially dangerous trigger modifications, an after-market trigger may be fitted.

The Factory Sporter Class is very popular and Savage rifles, chambered for the 6mmBR, 6.5-284, and .308 Win are the favored factory-classers. These have produced some remarkable performances over the years, often out-performing custom rifles!

David Sharp is a True Sharp-Shooter
David Sharp is a relatively new benchrest shooter, though he has decades of firearms experience. David started his shooting days wild-fowling and rough shooting with a shotgun over 50 years ago. After retiring, he moved to Dumfriesshire and began shooting again — clay pigeon, wildfowling on the Solway, driven pheasant and deer stalking. As a stalker, David keeps his eye in by shooting targets on a local range using his .308 Mannlicher.

Eventually, the pains of old age began taking their toll and stomping up hills was becoming more difficult. Fortunately, David heard about the Ingleston 1000-yard range and joined the Galloway Small Arms Club in 2016. As a complete novice to benchrest shooting, David relied on the guidance and advice from his fellow Club members and eventually purchased a Savage Model 12 F-TR rifle in .308 Winchester to compete in the Factory Class.

Here’s the view looking downrange. What a beautiful place to shoot…
Castle Douglas Scotland UK UKBRA benchrest 1000 yard range AccurateShooter Vince Bottomley

.308 Win Factory Savage with Choate Stock and Vortex Scope
David’s rifle has some upgrades, as permitted for Factory Sporter Class. The Savage trigger was replaced with a Timney. The Savage F-TR stock was replaced with a Choate Varmint stock fitted with a Sinclair front bag-rider. The Choate’s butt was home-modified to better ride the Edgewood bag. The rifle is fitted with a Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60 scope mounted on a 20 MOA Ken Farrell rail via Vortex rings. Dave shoots off a SEB Mini front rest. As the Mini is lighter to lug around than the SEB NEO (and less expensive), the Mini is becoming popular with UK shooters.

David reports: “My rounds are nothing special — I’m using Sierra 2155 155 grain bullets over Vihtavuori N140 powder and CCI 200 primers. I use Lapua brass (large primer) full-length sized in a Redding S bushing die to give 0.002″ neck-tension.”

Although the Ingleston Range is a beautiful place to shoot, as you can imagine conditions can vary dramatically and it is not known for mild days! However, at 9:00 am on the day of David’s record shoot, it was clear and quite still with the flags barely lifting. The temperature was already 15 deg C (59 deg F). What more could any benchrest shooter ask for?

David Sharp UK Scotland Ingleston 1000-Yard 1000 yards record group factory sporter class vince bottomley

In the photo of David above, you can just see the four 1000-yard targets in the extreme top right of the picture — up near the tree-line. Note, at Ingleston, competitors shoot for group size only. Hence there are no scoring-rings on the target. However, Vince Bottomley says score shooting may begin at some UK ranges: “This year we have purchased a set of electronic targets. The IBS target face can be inputted so we will now start to shoot for score as scores are registered instantly. Previously, it just took too long to score the targets as well as measure the groups.”

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, News 5 Comments »
October 26th, 2018

Suppressor Myth Busting — Do Silencers Degrade Accuracy?

Shooting Sports Suppressor Sound

Shooting Sports Suppressor SoundAre sound suppressors useful in competition shooting? In some disciplines, and in venues where sound “moderators” are permitted, the answer is “yes”. Some years ago Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA), published an interesting article about the use of sound suppressors (aka “cans”). The article explores the use of suppressors in Europe and in tactical matches in North America. You’ll also find an explanation of the rules and regulations governing suppressor ownership and use in the United States.

Former SSUSA Editor Chip Lohman tested three rifles from the bench and found that suppressors did not harm accuracy (at least with these rigs). In fact, all three test rifles (.223 Rem, .308 Win, and .338 Lapua Magnum), shot slightly better 5-shot groups at 200 yards with a suppressor than without. However, the suppressors did alter point of impact. Interestingly, velocity standard deviation (SD) values were lower with suppressors in place for all three test rifles. This observation calls for further study.*

CLICK HERE to Read Suppressor Article in Shooting Sports USA.

Shooting Sports Suppressor Sound

So the use of suppressors in competition could be a good thing. However, in the United States, current NRA High Power rules prohibit the use of sound suppressors. NRA Rule 3.16.1 subsection (a) states: “Sound Suppressors are not authorized for use in High Power competition.” In addition, there are some practical problems with suppressors — the heat rising off of a naked suppressor can create mirage problems (that’s why some shooters wrap their cans with a cover).

Despite such issues, it is now common to see moderators on rifles used in non-NRA-sanctioned tactical matches such as the Precision Rifle Series. For example, many competitors in the popular Steel Safari field challenge match use suppressors. The photo below shows our friend Zak Smith competing in the Steel Safari with his suppressed Accuracy International rifle.

Zak Smith Thunder Beast Steel Safari Suppressor

Commentary — What Can We Conclude?
Obviously, this three-rifle SSUSA test was not definitive. One well might observe different results with different types of suppressors, fitted to different kinds of rifles. Mounting a suppressor to any barrel will certainly affect harmonics and “tune”. But this SSUSA study does suggest that tactical shooters, who are allowed to use suppressors in competition, may find that the benefits of suppressors (significantly reduced recoil and less noise) outweigh any meaningful accuracy loss, at least in PRS-type matches.

*The article cautions that one should not extrapolate too much from the SD numbers, given the low number of test shots. Chronograph-maker Ken Oehler, when asked to comment on the SD values stated: “[You should] report the observed SDs, but draw no conclusions until… you can do more testing with larger sample sizes.”
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October 26th, 2018

NEW High-Performance 27-55x80mm Leupold Spotting Scope

Leupold Stevens Santiam SX-5 Spotter spotting scope HD 26-55X 80mm

Leupold recently annouced a new, premium spotting scope with outstanding low-light performance. Leupold’s new Santium SX-5 Spotter features a jumbo 80mm objective with a 27-55X zoom eyepiece. The SX-5 is offered in both straight and angled versions. Suggested retail price (including eyepiece) is $2339.00. Best “street price” should be around $1800.00. That positions Leupold’s SX-5 above Vortex, Burris, and Pentax price-wise, but the SX-5 is over $1000 less than high-end, 80mm-class Swarovski and Leica spotters which approach $3000 with eyepiece.

We’re interested to see how this new Leupold stacks up against the Kowa TSN-880 Prominar spotter ($2450.00 on Amazon) which has been a benchmark in the 80mm class. Leupold worked hard to give the SX-5 “second to none” low-light performance. The goal was to create a truly superior optic for hunters who may spend long periods “glassing” for game at dawn and dusk.

Leupold Stevens Santiam SX-5 Spotter spotting scope HD 26-55X 80mm

The SX-5 features High Definition (HD) glass with proprietary lens coatings to maximize light transmission and color fidelity. Zac Bird, Product Manager for Leupold states: “The human eye is most sensitive to colors outside the middle of the spectrum during dawn and dusk, when game is moving — the Twilight Max HD Light Management System literally helps you see more in less light. The superior glare reduction it offers ensures the maximum amount of usable light gets to your eye. Our proprietary lens coatings and superior optical design help deliver the very best contrast and resolution”

Features of New SX-5 Santiam HD 27-55x80mm Spotting Scope:
– Full-Diameter Focus Ring for smooth and precise focusing
– Oversized Eyepiece for reduced fatigue
– Guard-Ion Rain-Shedding Lens Coating
– Built-in Retractable Lens Shade
– Tough Rubber Armor Coating
– Full Lifetime Warranty

Leupold Stevens Santiam SX-5 Spotter spotting scope HD 26-55X 80mm

Price vs. Performance in the Field
Should a hunter spend a couple grand ($2000) on a spotting scope? It depends on your priorities. Leupold says: “Don’t underestimate the importance of a quality spotting scope. Your spotter can mean difference between tagging out or going home empty-handed…. Ultimately, you can’t shoot what you can’t find.”

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics No Comments »
October 20th, 2018

Train Indoors with Portable Air Gun Range from Creedmoor Sports

Creedmoor sports air rifle airgun practice indoor range curtain targets

Air Rifle Range BackstopIn another month or two many Eastern and snow-belt shooting ranges halt operations for the winter. If you’re an avid rifleman who enjoys shooting regularly, the dark days of winter can bring withdrawal pains. The closure of outdoor ranges can mean months of forced inactivity… unless you have an all-weather indoor shooting solution.

Some clubs maintain their own indoor air rifle ranges where you can continue to shoot and train throughout the winter. If there are no such facilities nearby, Creedmoor Sports now offers a great solution for those who want to shoot indoors — even in your own basement or garage.

Creedmoor’s patented 10m Air Gun Range provides a target holder and a curtain-type backstop capable of stopping pellets with a muzzle velocity up to 600 fps. The target boxes can be positioned at various heights for prone, kneeling, and standing. Creedmoor says the hardened steel target boxes provide 100% containment for any pellet passing through the target.

The 10M Air Gun Range is sold as a 3-station configuration for $1514.00 (item 3AGR), or as a one-station (single-point) range for $325.00 (item AGR-SINGLE). Creedmoor’s Air Gun Range is a proven, heavy duty product — the only Air Rifle target system ever tested and approved by the U.S. Military. This system is now being used in more than 800 schools nationwide, as well as the CMP shooting facility in Alabama. The 3-station range easily dis-assembles for transport and storage, fitting inside a 34″ x 10″ x 8″ carry duffle. The one-station range measures 84″ high x 30″ wide when assembled.

The Portable Air Gun Range comes with a durable curtain/ backstop that sets up quickly and easily. Velcro edging allows multiple curtains to be joined together. The curtain provides ample stopping power for air pellets. However, this is NOT to be used with high-energy pneumatic hunting rifles (such as the .357 Benjamin Rogue) or rimfire or centerfire rounds. This is for standard airguns only. That could be a $100 Crosman, or a $3600.00 Model 9003 S2 Anschutz:

Air Rifle anschutz

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October 19th, 2018

TUBE TECH: How to Set-Up and Configure an Eliseo TubeGun

Salazar tubegun

This 2010 story is reprinted at readers’ request.
In the past few years, tubeguns have really taken over in high power circles. At most matches you’ll see more tubeguns than conventional prone rifles, and a high percentage of those tubeguns will have been built using an Eliseo (Competition Machine) CSS chassis kit.

Step-By-Step Guide to Stock Set-Up
If you are a new tubegun shooter, or if you are planning a tubegun build this winter, our friend “GS Arizona” has prepared a comprehensive set-up guide for Eliseo tubeguns. Eliseo’s CSS chassis system affords a myriad of adjustments. Initially, one can be overwhelmed by all the variables: Length of Pull, Length to Sights, Length to Handstop, Cheekpad Height, Buttstock Offset, Buttstock Cant Angle, Handstop Angle, and Forearm Rotation.

Salazar tubegunIn his Guide to Configuring the Eliseo Tubegun, GS Arizona shows how to adjust the Tubegun so that a shooter’s prone position is stable, repeatable, and comfortable. The article covers each adjustment, step by step. If you follow the instructions, starting with setting Length of Pull, you should find that your hold becomes more stable, the gun moves less from shot to shot, and your eye position relative to the sights is improved.

About the Set-Up: “Adjusting the stock is a process that you must work at and it builds on itself. As you get one adjustment right, the others begin to fall into place. Our hope is that you take from this article a system for adjusting the stock, not an exact set of dimensions; and that you understand that it will take continuous work over a period of time to really refine the adjustments. Your goal is not to obtain a ‘perfect set of dimensions’ but rather a perfect feel that accomplishes the three objectives of stability, durability and comfort and the knowledge of how to change the adjustments to achieve those objectives under varying conditions such as sloped firing lines or other terrain features.”

eliseo tubegun set-up chassis fit assembly handstop

eliseo tubegun set-up chassis fit assembly handstop

CLICK HERE to Read Full Eliseo Tubegun Article »

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October 18th, 2018

Hornady’s New-for-2019 Products — New Ammo, New Hardware

Hornady 300 PRC magnum 224 Valkyrie

Hornady was founded in 1949. That means the company will celebrate its 70th Anniversary next year in 2019. Befitting that milestone, Hornady will introduce a host of new (or enhanced) products. There are new ammo types, new bullets, new reloading products, and new security accessories. All of Hornady’s new-for-2019 products are showcased in this long (12-minute) video. Here are time markers:

300 PRC (1:05) | 6.5 Creedmoor Varmint (2:22) | Security Products (9:48) | Reloading Products (11:06)

Hornady Ammunition

As you’d expect, Hornady has many new loaded ammunition offerings for 2019. Most noteworthy is the new Outfitter line of hunting ammunition, designed for field use. Outfitter ammunition features corrosion-resistant, nickel-plated cases that are sealed watertight and topped with the GMX® bullet. Outfitter ammo will be offered in a wide range of calibers and bullet weights.

Hornady 300 PRC magnum 224 Valkyrie

Following its 6.5 PRC cartridge, next year Hornady will release its big brother — the 300 PRC. Watch the video above for a full description of this new magnum cartridge. Hornady touts this as “the Ultimate 30 Caliber Magnum”. However, one of our Forum members observed: “I found it strange that Hornady would come out with the 300 PRC, ‘the Ultimate 30 Caliber Magnum’, when Hornady already produces 300 Norma Magnum brass and ammo, ammo that has superior ballistics with the same bullet. I find exactly nothing ‘ultimate’ about this cartridge.”

Hornady 300 PRC magnum 224 Valkyrie

Hornady also will produce a variety of ammunition for the popular new .224 Valkyrie. This cartridge offers impressive performance in AR-platform rifles. And for you 6.5 Creedmoor fans, Hornady now offers a nice varmint ammo option loaded with 95gr V-Max bullet.

Hornady Reloading Products

Hornady reloading tumbler case dryer

Hornady reloading micrometer ball mic vernierFor 2019, Hornady will sell two new digitally-enabled gadgets for the reloading room. First is a new high-capacity case tumbler with a digital timer that cycles up to 8 hours. The large bowl handles up to 7.5 pounds of brass. In addition, Hornady will offer a new case and parts dryer with a digital controller.

Hornady also offers two new micrometers. Use the Standard Micrometer to measure external dimensions and lengths. Use the Vernier Ball Mic to measure case-neck and case-well thickness. Precision loaders should have both types.

Hornady Security Products — Gun Safe Accessories

Hornady will introduce more pistol safes and security boxes for 2019. But what really got our attention was a new line of accessories for gun safes. These include a Digital Hygrometer, a Golden-rod style Heating Rod, and both Canister-type and Electric Dehumidifiers.

Hornady safe accessories hygrometer

DIGITAL HYGROMETER — Hygrometer displays high/low for temperature and humidity on large touchscreen display. Install quick-connect bracket on safe wall or use fold-out stand. We like this product — it instantly shows the conditions in your gun safe.

Hornady safe accessories canister humidifier

CANISTER DEHUMIDIFIER — This can help prevent rusting. When the cap indicator changes color, re-activate unit by placing it in the oven. Unlimited recharges.

Hornady safe accessories canister humidifier

RECHARGEABLE DEHUMIDIFIER — Electrical unit helps controls humidity to help prevent rust and mildew. Moisture-control crystals change color when unit needs recharging via 110V electrical outlet.

Hornady safe accessories canister humidifier

12-INCH DEHUMIDIFIER ROD — Maintenance-free solution for humidity control in gun safes, cabinets and small enclosures. Mount vertically or horizontally with snap-on mounting brackets. Removable plug for easy installation.

Hornady New Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, News 2 Comments »
October 16th, 2018

PMA Micro-Die Adjuster and Whidden Click-Adjustable FL Dies

click-adjustable die micro-adjusting lock ring PMA Tool Whidden Gunworks

One of the most important aspects of precision reloading is setting the shoulder bump during the full-length (FL) sizing process. You want the amount of “bump” to be precise and identical for every loaded round. However, when you switch brands of brass you may need to change the die position to get the desired bump and case body sizing. And even with the same brand of brass, you may find that you need to adjust your FL die as the number of brass load cycles increases. Brass that has been fired many times will behave differently than new or near-new brass.

Also, even with the same cartridge type, brass loaded for a semi-auto rifle may need more bump than brass fired in a bolt gun. For example, with .223 Rem ammo, you’ll normally want to push the shoulder back farther if the ammo will be shot in a AR15 as opposed to a bolt-action rig.

So how do you make all these needed adjustments for your full-length dies? You can move a conventional locking ring up and down, but that can be a tedious, trial-and-error process. Some guys use shims in one-thousandth intervals, but that still requires taking your dies in and out of the press. Well there is a better way now…

PMA Tool Micro-Die Adjuster

Wouldn’t it be great if you could precisely adjust your FL die up and down in half-thousandth increments, with a simple indexed click. That is now possible with products offered by PMA Tool and Whidden Gunworks. PMA Tool offers a Micro-Die Adjuster that replaces your existing lock ring and can be used with nearly any 7/8-14 full length sizing die. The engraved marks correspond to approximately .001″ of shoulder bump adjustment. Splitting the engraved marks is therefore approximately equal to .0005″ (half a thousandth). Users love this product, saying it adds precision and saves time.

Whidden Click-Adjustable FL Sizing Die System

Whidden Gunworks offers a complete click-adjustable FL sizer die with a special, indexed ring. With Whidden’s patent-pending Click Adjustable Sizer Die system, the die and lock ring work together to allow rapid, precise bump adjustments. One click changes the bump .001″. It’s simple and fast. Included with the Click Adjustable Sizer Die is a shoulder bump gauge. John Whidden (in video below) explains:

“There has become a need for an easier way to adjust the sizer die properly. Until now there have been few options other than trial and error to get the shoulder setback correct. Anyone who has done this can attest that it’s a slow and imprecise job! Our die and lock ring work together to give the user a clicking feel to the adjustment. Each click moves the shoulder bump .001” so you can easily find the exact shoulder bump that you desire.” — John Whidden

General Tips on Setting Up and Using Sizing Dies

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
October 14th, 2018

Patented Triangular Cleaning Patch — Better Way to Clean Bores?

Rigel BoreSmith Brush Patch Jag Pyramid Triangle patches

Product innovation is all about “building a better mousetrap”, or in this case, building a better bore-cleaning patch. A real smart guy, Shane Smith, has invented a triangular patch that earned a patent. The U.S. Patent Office has awarded a utility patent for BoreSmith’s triangular Pyramid Patch™. This unique cleaning patch was designed by Shane Smith, a mathematician/physicist who employed his scientific and firearms knowledge to create innovative bore-cleaning products.

BoreSmith’s clever Triangle Patch™ (aka Pyramid Patch) presents more cleaning surface area to the bore wall than does a conventional square or round patch (of equivalent size). At the same time, the unique geometry makes Triangle Patches much less likely to jam in the barrel. This is because the notches in the sides of the triangle allow the patch to sit more uniformly on the jag (without bunching up). In addition, the Pyramid patch is must less likely to jam due to pleating. One reason conventional patches get stuck is unwanted 5-layer pleating. The special notches in the Pyramid patch remove all or most 5-layer pleating. As a result the patch does not bunch up and this also reduces rod bowing.

The Triangle patch can be used with a standard jag but works best when paired with BoreSmith’s patented dual-diameter JagBrush. Order Triangle Patches HERE.

Triangle Patch Function and Geometry Explained (See 1:18 time-mark):

NOTE: Despite what you may see in this video, you should ALWAYS insert brushes and patches from the chamber end first, using a fitted cleaning rod bore guide. With bolt-action rifles, NEVER insert a cleaning rod (with brush or jag) in through the muzzle. This may damage the delicate crown of your barrel.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
October 13th, 2018

SAKO Factory Tour — Visiting Production Facility in Finland

Beretta Factory SAKO Tour Finland

Beretta, makers of fine shotguns, rifles, and pistols, also owns Finnish rifle-maker SAKO. In this article, which first appeared in the Beretta Blog, hunting guide Mia Anstine writes about her visit to the Sako factory and her live-fire shooting test to secure her hunting permit. CLICK HERE for full story.

Visiting the SAKO Factory in Finland, by Mia Anstine
What a joy to wake up in Finland and prepare for a tour of Sako. I enjoyed a European breakfast with a view of downtown Helsinki. Shortly I joined the hosts and writer’s group, and we boarded the bus for a ride to Riihimaki, to the manufacturing facility.

Sako built its original manufacturing facility during World War I. To this day they still utilize the original buildings but have also grown over the years to include larger production areas and updated equipment.

Video shows Sako Rifle-Making and Hunting in Finland’s Backcountry (worth watching):

Beretta Holding’s acquisition of the Sako company brought additional opportunity for growth. The company added state-of-the-art machinery which has aided in increased production. However, they’ve still maintained their signature quality-built products by keeping the human element integrated throughout the production line.

After a quick tour of the Sako facility, we headed to the shooting range. We shot a number or Sako and Tikka rifles, but first, we sighted in our hunting rifles in preparation for a brown bear and moose hunt. I would be hunting with a Sako model 85 Hunter chambered in 9.3 mm. (Editor: For fans of this big 0.366 caliber, Sako offers both 9.3x62mm and 9.3x66mm Sako chamberings).

Beretta Factory SAKO Tour Finland

Hunters Must Pass Marksmanship Tests
To hunt bear in Finland, you must first pass a hunting test as well as shooting test. The timed, live-fire event [requires] five rounds in the kill zone of a brown bear at 100 meters. Of course, the ever-courteous Finns had ladies go first, so I felt more than a bit of pressure, and I know I shot a bit faster than necessary. Regardless, I cycled rounds and passed with ease.

Next, we headed to a different bay at the shooting range where we experienced the hunting test from days of old. In this test, we shot from standing position at a moose target. First, we shot three rounds in the kill zone, from 100 meters, and then three at the moose target as it raced by, from right-to-left and left-to-right, at 20 kilometers per hour. While this test is no longer required, it was a pleasure to try our hands at it.

CLICK HERE for full story on BERETTA BLOG

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