January 19th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Merkel RX Helix Straight-Pull Hunting Rifle

Merkel RX Helix straight-pull rifle

This Sunday we feature the German-crafted Merkel RX Helix with straight-pull bolt. We shot the Helix a few years back during Media Day at the Range. One notable difference between the German Merkel and the Austrian Strasser, another straight-pull rifle, is the bolt travel. During cycling, the Merkel bolt stays completely inside the action (see video below at 00:30). By contrast the Strasser bolt moves pretty far back, outside the action. For some folks that makes the Helix better for fast follow-up shots. All we can say is that Merkles and Strassers BOTH cycle way faster than conventional bolt-action rifles.

Merkel RX Helix Range Report

One of the most innovative rifles we have ever shot was the Merkel RX Helix, a very impressive piece of rifle engineering. Merkel claims the RX Helix is the fastest-cycling centerfire bolt action in the world. We can’t confirm that claim, but the Helix certainly cycles faster than any other centerfire bolt-gun this Editor has ever tried. (Yes, a Fortner biathlon action can be worked more rapidly, but that’s a rimfire). Both Jason and I really liked Merkel’s RX Helix. It balances well, the action is smooth, the wood is gorgeous, and the overall design thinking that went into this German-engineered take-down rifle is very impressive. The Helix’s universal-sized action lets you shoot anything from a .222 Rem to a .300 Win Mag with the same gun. And — get this — you can really swap barrels (and change bolt heads) in a couple of minutes with no tools, employing a dead-simple bolt-release lever concealed under the push-button-released removable forearm. (Watch VIDEO BELOW to see Barrel Swap procedure).

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifleRotary 7-Lug Bolt
While the RX Helix is a straight-pull rifle, it retains the strength and safety of a rotary bolt head with seven locking lugs that seat in a barrel extension. Unlike a Blaser, the RX Helix has a fully-enclosed action housing. That’s an important safety feature. Moreover, since the RX Helix employs a closed action, the bolt body doesn’t travel outside that action. This means the shooter can maintain his cheekweld with an eye on the target as he cycles the bolt.

The RX Helix’s linear (back and forth) bolt-handle motion is transmitted to the bolt head through a 1:2 ratio “transmission” gearing system. This allows smooth and fast cycling without the rotational or tipping movement found on other straight-pull, bolt-action rifles, such as the Blaser.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The Merkel linear-movement action cycles exceptionally fast, which allows for faster follow-up shots — a good thing if you’re hunting dangerous game. The RX Helix features a manual cocking lever on the tang and a direct trigger system. And here’s good news for southpaws — though Merkel does not make a dedicated left-hand version, lefties can very easily use their right hand to work the bolt while maintaining cheekweld. That may sound awkward, but with practice, it’s actually pretty efficient.

Fast, Easy Disassembly and Barrel Exchanges
The video below shows how the Helix can be disassembled (for cleaning or transport) in a matter of seconds WITHOUT TOOLS. The forearm slips off with the push of a button. A short lever on the left side of the action holds the barrel. Simply rotate the lever and the barrel (with bolt head) slips off. That’s it — in 30 seconds the rifle is apart, and you don’t even need an allen wrench as with a Blaser.

The RX Helix has a universal action length that covers calibers from .222 Rem to .300 Win Mag. Changing calibers (or chamberings) takes less than a minute with the appropriate barrel, bolt-head and magazine. Weaver rails are integrated into the action, and iron sights with three-dot rear and one-dot front fiber-optic inserts are standard.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The RX Helix is available with a standard black finish as well as four levels of design — Arabesque, Wild Boar, Spirit, and Deluxe. An all-carbon-fiber version was also available either with or without a carbon-wrapped barrel. The RX Helix comes in a wide range of calibers including .222 Rem, .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5×55 SE, .270 Win, 7×64, .308 Win, .30-06 Sprg., 8×57 IS, 9.3×62, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag. Barrel lengths vary according to caliber, and barrels, bolt-heads and magazines are available for caliber changes. EuroOptic sells the Merkel RX Helix, but most models are back-ordered.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
January 15th, 2020

New Adjustable Bag Rider for Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR)

Ruger Precison Rifle RPR Adjustable Rear Bag Rider Bag-rider elevation stock

Ruger Precison Rifle RPR Adjustable Rear Bag Rider Bag-rider elevation stockLong Shot Precision offers a great new product for the popular Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) — a beautifully-crafted Adjustable Bag Rider (ABR). Made from CNC-machined aluminum, this fits an RPR perfectly, and weighs less than one pound. For more information, or to place an order, visit AdjustableBagRider.com.

The Patent-Pending Adjustable Bag Rider (ABR) is a direct replacement for the lower Picatinny rail of the RPR and RPR Magnum. Riding securely in your rear bag, the ABR provides horizontal stability and aids smooth, repeatable tracking. But in addition, now you have micro-adjustment built right into your RPR — the ABR adjusts up/down with a control wheel. This allows vertical adjustment without requiring positional body changes. This allows you to get on target faster, and reduces the vertical adjustment range needed from front rest or bipod. Because this unit is attached to the rifle, and does not move the bag up/down, it should be F-Class legal.

This video show how to adjust the ABR while in position:

Ruger Precison Rifle RPR Adjustable Rear Bag Rider Bag-rider elevation stock

ABR Installation is quick and easy with just two Allen wrenches. Once installed, you can leave the ABR on your Ruger Precision Rifle all the time. The bottom horizontal piece is available in two different styles: V-bottom or Square-bottom. Choose what works best for your bag. The maker suggests the V-Bottom for standard 2-stitch bags. The square-bottom ABR should fit bags with wider ear-spread and/or center flats.

Ruger Precison Rifle RPR Adjustable Rear Bag Rider Bag-rider elevation stock

The ABR is 100% made in the USA from high-grade 7075 aircraft aluminum. It is precision CNC-machined and then anodized for superior wear resistance. The length of pull adjustments are machined into the ABR. There are two custom hardened alloy steel dowels that ride in linear bearings for smooth operation. Though it weighs less than one pound, the ABR is made to last. This is an excellent new RPR accessory that works for competition, fun shooting, and varmint hunting.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Tactical No Comments »
January 13th, 2020

Bargain Finder 225: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Bruno Shooters Supply — Seb NEO Rests in Stock

Seb NEO Brunos

The Seb NEO Coaxial front rest is often considered the finest rest available for F-Class and benchrest shooting but there can be a long wait to get one. Head over to Bruno Shooters Supply which has the standard NEO and Ratigan NEO in stock and ready to ship. If you’re looking to upgrade your gear before the match season starts, this is one of the best ways to do it.

2. Stocky’s — Rem 700 Composite Stock with Accublock, $99.99

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

These stocks were the first run of Stocky’s Long Range Composite Sporters. There is nothing wrong with these “factory seconds” except the barrel channels are narrower than current versions, so you may have to open up the barrel channels a bit (simple task). On Sale for $99.99, these are an Amazing Bargain. Designed for Rem 700 and Rem clone actions, these LRC Sporter Stocks are constructed from a high-fiber composite with precision aluminum Accublock® chassis molded into the stock.

3. Grafs.com – Happy 2020 Sale — Save 20% or more

grafs 2020 sale

We saw plenty of large-scale sales before the holidays but here’s the first multi-category sale of 2020. Grafs is running a Happy 2020 Sale featuring products from Lapua, Lyman, Caldwell, Hornady and more. Some of the hot deals we found are: Lapua brass (6mm and 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, 7.62×39), a Lyman Micrometer for just $14.99, and a Caldwell wind meter for $39.99. In addition, Aguila .22 LR rimfire ammo is on sale for $2.99 per 50rd box. That works out to just 6 cents per round!

4. Amazon — Griffin Portable Range Stool, $34.95

portable range stool

Too many ranges seem to have hard, uncomfortable seating options that never seem to be the right height for the benches. One of the best solutions is to bring your own adjustable drummer stool. This Griffin “Drum Throne” features a comfortable padded seat. The Griffin seat adjusts easily for various heights and the tripod legs fold for transport. Next time you’re shooting from a bench, do it in style and comfort.

5. Cabela’s — Ruger 10/22 Carbine, $179.97

ruger 10/22 carbine sale

Shooting .22 LR is more popular than ever. With its low cost and wealth of aftermarket accessories, the Ruger 10/22 still dominates the .22 LR entry-level rifle market. Right now, Cabela’s offers the Ruger 10/22 Carbine (blued barrel, gray stock, no sights) for a super-low $179.97 price. A basic 10/22 rifle is $249.99 at MidwayUSA so you can see Cabela’s is offering a great deal.

6. EuroOptic — Nikon BLACK Riflescope Closeout Sale

Nikon black scope sale

Nikon’s decision to stop selling riflescopes shocked many in the industry. However, Nikon’s exit from the scope marketplace has created an amazing opportunity. If you’re in the market for a tactical scope, check out EuroOptic’s Nikon BLACK riflescope sale. EuroOptic has a big selection at prices up to 47% off. Choose MOA or MRAD versions with a variety of reticle options. NOTE: These BLACK Nikons are quality scopes that have performed well in the field. You’d have to pay hundreds more to do much better.

7. Natchez — Leupold BX-2 Binoculars, $174.49

leupold binocular sale

For hunting and general outdoor use, a good pair of binoculars is invaluable. While we appreciate binoculars that cost $1000 or more, for many purposes a basic, affordable set of binoculars will get the job done. Natchez now has the Leupold BX-2 8×42 Cascades binoculars for $174.49. That is a great deal — a savings of $80 or more over the original price.

NOTE: These 8×42 Leupold binoculars have been very highly rated for the price, when compared to other budget-priced binoculars. See Video Review above.

8. Midsouth — Lyman Hearing Pro Earmuffs, $34.99

lyman pro earmuffs sale

Quality hearing protection is vital for shooters. If you have old or worn-out muffs, upgrading your earmuffs can help protect your hearing for years to come. Right now you can purchase these Lyman Electronic Hearing Pro Earmuffs for only $34.99. That’s a great price for electronic muffs that let you hear range commands and talk to fellow shooters. At this price you can pick up an extra set as a spare. Choose either Flat Dark Earth or Matte Black colors for $34.99.

9. Amazon — Two Pairs Safety Eyewear, Cords, Covers, $13.50

safety shooting glasses

Eye protection is important! All you need is one case separation or blown primer to cause serious eye injury. Don’t take that risk. Plus the CMP has made Eye Protection mandatory for all CMP Pistol and Centerfire Rifle events. Here’s a great kit with TWO Sets of safety eyewear, each with a neck strap and carry bag. These feature ANSI Z87.1-rated lenses that are anti-fog and scratch-resistant. The lenses also block harmful UV rays. Get the full SuperLite and SuperClear Lens Technology Kit for just $13.50.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading 1 Comment »
January 12th, 2020

TECH Tip: Reduce Electronic Scale Drift with Static Guard Spray

Digital Scale Static Guard Static Electricity

Digital Scale Static Guard Static ElectricityApparently reducing static charges on and around electronic scales can reduce their propensity to drift, lessening the problem of “wandering zero”. Just how and why static charges interfere with scale performance is unclear, but many shooters have noticed that static electricity can cause electronic scales to behave strangely. So how do you reduce static charges around your digital balance? GS Arizona, creator of the Rifleman’s Journal Blog, has found a very simple solution — an anti-static aerosol spray — that, by all indications, actually works. When this “spray-can solution” was suggested to GS by a fellow shooter, GS was skeptical. However, he tried the stuff and he says that it really does help the scale maintain zero over time, with much less observed drift.

Static Guard Reduced Scale Drift
GS Arizona explains that the use of “Static Guard” spray helped mitigate the problem of a drifting zero on his Ohaus Navigator electronic scale. He writes: “My electronic scale… suffers from drifting zero (as they all seem to). I’ve read dozens of forum posts about drift and how to minimize its occurrence, so I know this problem isn’t limited to my scale or my workshop. Sometime last year, John Lowther mentioned the use of anti-static spray as a solution to the drift problem. John stated that the spray had virtually eliminated drift for him.”

GS Arizona found that the Static Guard actually worked: “The spray works great, just as John said it would. I spray all surfaces that I touch with my hands and arms as well as the pan (top and bottom), the metal tray on which the pan rests and the table under the scale. In six months or so of using the spray I’ve re-applied it about two or three times; it certainly isn’t something that you need to do each time you sit down to load. Before using the spray, it was not uncommon for me to re-zero the scale 10 times in the course of loading 72 rounds; now it might need it once during a session.”

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
January 11th, 2020

SHOT Shot 2020 Preview — Variety Pack

Shot show leggings products accessories 2020
Concealed Carry Yoga Pants? Yes these Alexo Athletica Leggings will securely hold a small carry pistol or taser. There are 4 holster pockets front/rear and 6 other pockets for phone, keys, or other items.

CLICK HERE for ALL 357 New-for-2020 SHOT Show Products »

2018 SHOT Show Planner new productsThousands of new products will be on display at SHOT Show 2020, the huge gun industry trade show held each January in Las Vegas. Some of the most highly-anticipated products have not yet been revealed, including new rifles, chassis systems, handguns, reloading tools, and state-of-the-art optics.

However, the official SHOT Show Product Planner offers a “sneak peak” at 357 new-for-2020 products. More will come in the weeks ahead. For the time being, however, here are six interesting accessory products and tools. There is a very interesting Universal Bullet Seating Die, plus new products from Lyman and Accu-Shot.

1. FAB Defense — RAPS Adjustable AR Stock

Shot show2020 RAPS adjustable ar ar15 buttstock stock

We like this Rapid Adjustable Precision Stock (RAPS) AR buttstock because the LOP and cheek height is very easy to adjust. In addition, the lower rear section (toe) of the buttstock is straight and smooth so it can function as a bag-rider. Too many “tactical style” buttstocks put a rail or notches on the bottom that grab in a bag. The RAPS from FAB Defense has a patent-pending 1Latch system with a memory feature that returns the adjustable LOP to its pre-set position. The integrated cheek rest has a height adjustment of up to 42mm and a non-slip rubber buttpad with 10mm of height adjustment.

2. Frankford Arsenal — Universal Bullet Seating Die

Shot show 2020 Frankford Arsenal Universal Bullet Seating Die

We like this concept. Now you can seat a variety of bullet calibers with a single die. Spend less money on your dies and save (storage) space on your reloading bench. Frankford Arsenal’s new Universal Bullet Seating Die holds .224 to .338 caliber bullets in place while seating, including a built-in micrometer allowing for precise micro-adjustments to the seating depth of the bullet. The die has a standard 7/8×14 thread for standard reloading presses. This Universal Seating die comes in a handy plastic case that holds all the caliber inserts plus die body.

3. Lakewood Products — Toaster-Style Rifle Carry Case

Shot show 2020 Lakewood Rifle Carry case B141L vertical

We like vertical drop-in, “toaster-style” rifle carry cases. These are easy to deploy and they don’t side-load your expensive optics when you clamp a hard case-lid shut. The new Lakewood B141L Scoped Rifle Case (Long) is a top-loading, soft-sided hard case that fits rifles up to 52″ overall length (OAL). That will fit most hunting and varmint rifles, and many competition rifles. Note — this is NOT just a foam and fabric case. Inside the ballistic nylon exterior is a case constructed of ABS plastic enveloped in foam padding. The case’s exterior dimensions are: 55″ L x 6″ D x 13″ W. Choose black (as shown) or True Timber Kanati camo.

4. Accu-Shot — Atlas CAL Cant and Loc Bipod without PAN

Shot show 2020 Atlas Bipod Cant Lock Super CAL

Since the Atlas Bipod was introduced in 2005, maker Accu-Shot has been asked for a no-pan model. The new Atlas CAL (Cant and Loc) model is a stable, adjustable bipod that dispenses with the PAN feature of older models. Many shooters thought the pan simply wasn’t necessary (or helpful) when shooting show-fire at bullseye-type targets. The new Atlas Super CAL (S-CAL) has the same features with 45° of Cant and larger leg spread.

5. Lyman Products — New Torque Wrench for Rifles and Pistols

Shot show 2020 Lyman Torque Wrench

The Lyman Torque Wrench allows the user to safely and correctly attach scope bases, scope rings, action screws and other fasteners to firearms. The Lyman kit comes with a variety of bits to fit various screw/bolt types. The orange ring allows the user to precisely set correct screw torque. This is very important for proper mounting of optics.

6. Hoppes — New Gun Vise

Shot show 2020 hoppes rifle cradle caddy vise tipton

You’ll probably seen the Tipton Gun Vises, both basic and deluxe. Here’s a new competitor offering good functionality for the price. Hoppe’s Gun Vise ($44.99 on Amazon) easily accommodates all styles of long guns, shotguns and other popular modern sporting rifles. We like the adjustable front cradle which will fit both narrow and wide fore-ends. There are multiple slots on the base for tools, solvents, and other gear. The Gun Vise also includes rubber over-molded feet for extra security.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, News, Tactical No Comments »
January 11th, 2020

Custom-Honed Full-Length Dies — Better than Bushings?

Honed FL Forster Whidden Full-length dies
For some applications, we prefer a non-bushing FL die over a bushing die. Shown here are three Forster full-length sizing dies, with necks honed to three different dimensions: 0.265″, 0.266″, and 0.267″.

The Honed Full-Length Sizing Die Option

There are many good options in full-length (FL) sizing dies. Most precision hand-loaders prefer FL dies with neck bushings. These let you adjust the “grip” on your bullet by using larger or smaller bushings. FL bushing dies are available from Whidden Gunworks, Forster, Redding and other makers.

Conventional, non-bushing full-length sizing dies can create ultra-accurate ammo with very low run-out. But many conventional non-bushing FL dies have an undersized neck diameter so you end up with excess neck tension, and you work the brass excessively.

There is another effective option, one that promises extremely low run-out. The honed FL die is a full-length sizing die that has the necked honed to provide a precise fit to the case-neck. When done right, honed FL dies produce extremely straight ammo — as there are no issues with bushing alignment (or bushings that are not perfectly concentric). This Editor owns honed dies from Forster, Redding, and Whidden. They all perform extremely well, delivering match ammunition with extremely low run-out measured with a 21st Century Concentricity Gauge.

In one of the most popular articles we’ve ever published, Bugholes from Bipod, California shooter “Froggy” explained why he prefers honed dies for his tactical ammo.

Q: Do you FL size every time? Do you use custom dies?

Absolutely, I full length resize all of my brass every time I reload. And guess what? I’ve never had a feeding problem.

I do use a modified sizing die, without bushings. My FL resizing die has been custom-honed in the neck area to give .0015″ press fit on the bullet. I also put a slightly larger radius at the neck shoulder junction. I feel that this helps to seal the chamber. With this die, I get consistent neck tension every time–without bushings. Bushings are useful when you’re fishing around for a good load. But once you find the right amount of sizing for ideal neck tension, you can do this better with a customized FL die.

6.5 Guys Review Forster Honed Full-length Dies
The 6.5 Guys have reviewed honed FL sizing dies from Forster, explaining the pros and cons of this type of reloading die. They explained that, if you load a wide variety of bullets from different manufacturers, you many want to stick with a Bushing FL die. However, if you have settled on a particular bullet and found the “ideal” neck tension, then a honed die may make sense.

In this Gear Update, the 6.5 Guys discuss a service offered by Forster Products to custom hone the neck diameter of its full-length sizing dies to the customer’s specifications (to the thousandth). Whidden Gunworks also offers custom-honed FL dies.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 10th, 2020

Getting the Most Out of Your Progressive Press — PowerUser Tips

Ultimate Reloader Progressive Press Hornady
Blue, Red, Green — There are many Progressive Press options on the market…

When you need ammo fast — lots of ammo, it’s hard to beat a progressive reloading press for output. We use progressive presses to load handgun ammo and .223 Rem cartridges for varmint safaris. With good dies, and proper press set-up, today’s progressive presses can produce surprisingly uniform and accurate ammo. No, you won’t see Benchrest Hall-of-Famers loading PPC cartridges on progressives. However, if you need 1000 rounds for your next prairie dog adventure, you should consider getting a progressive. Below you can see a Hornady Lock-N-Load AP configured to load .308 Winchester in bulk.

Hornady .308 winchester lock-n-load progressive press

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article

ultimate reloader progressive

UltimateReloader.com has published helpful Tips to Optimize Progressive Rifle Loading. No matter whether you have a Red (Hornady), Green (RCBS), or Blue (Dillon) progressive, this article can help you load more efficiently and produce better results. Here are some highlights:

Proper Brass Prep
Just like a good paint job requires good prep work, great rifle ammo requires good brass prep. In order to make sure your rifle loading goes smoothly, make sure to perform the following brass prep steps:

  • Clean the brass (tumble, ultrasonic, etc.)
  • Inspect brass for cracks, deep dents, etc.
  • For military brass: de-prime, ream/swage primer pockets, size with small-base sizer die (small base usually optional).
  • Measure brass length — if too long, size and then trim.
  • Final inspection before loading.
  • Cleaning primer pockets may be something you’ll consider (I don’t clean primer pockets except for rare cases or match ammo).

Smooth and Steady Pace
Since you’re loading rifle ammunition on a progressive, you’re already saving a load of time, so there’s no need to rush things! Attention to detail is super-important for safety and for good results. Always keep an eye on powder level (goes down FAST) and what’s happening at each station.

The Right Press and Press Setup
Look for a heavy-duty, well-built press that will stand up to rifle loading. You’ll also want to make sure your powder measure will have the proper capacity (~25 grains for .223, ~50 grains for 308). If you are bulk reloading, ensure you have enough stations for sizing, charging, powder check, bullet feed, bullet seating, and (optional) bullet crimp. Compare the powder measuring systems, and give careful consideration to the priming process. You want case priming to be 100% reliable. This video reviews the differences between the Dillon XL-650 and the new XL-750 Progressive presses.

More Ultimate Reloader Resources for Users of Progressive Presses:

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
January 9th, 2020

Comfortable, Low-Profile 27dB NRR Muffs for $6.99

ear muff earmuff 27 nrr db kryptek highlander passive deal $6.99
Note: You get one set of muffs (either gray or camo, NOT both) for $6.99 plus S/H.

Good muffs that offer 27 db Noise Reduction and won’t spoil your cheekweld — for under seven bucks? Can’t argue with that. Right now CDNN is offering a killer deal on Kryptek Sound Soldier 27 NRR muffs that sell elsewhere for around $21.00. Get these in Highlander Camo or Typhon Grey for just $6.99. That’s right, comfortable 27 NRR muffs for seven bucks a set.

These passive muffs have low profile shells engineered to stay out of the way when shouldering your weapon. The ergonomic headband keeps the muffs aligned, in their proper position. Purchasers report the soft leatherette ear seals are surprisingly comfortable. These muffs provide a pretty high NRR considering the low profile design. And the price, just $6.99 on sale, is hard to beat! NOTE: Other vendors have a more conservative 25 NRR for these type of muffs. That’s still quite good.

These affordable Kryptec Muffs are a good “back-up” item to keep in your vehicle or in your range kit. Though there are certainly higher-quality muffs, these Kryptecs function adequately for most shooting and hunting purposes. However, for maximum hearing protection, we do recommend running quality ear-plugs UNDER the muffs for double protection. Some government studies suggest that properly inserted ear plugs under muffs can improve the effective NRR by 3 dB. The top-rated plugs have a 32 dB NRR by themselves.


Why You Should Always Protect Your Hearing

“Science tells us that exposure to continuous noise of 85 dB for eight hours is enough to cause permanent hearing loss, and worse, spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly.”
Source: NRA Blog.

The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”

Nobody wants to go deaf. But we often see shooters without effective hearing protection when they are walking around a few yards behind the firing line. That’s bad — even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. You MUST use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs.

Sound Levels for Common Noises:

9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB

Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB

.22 LR pistol: 134 dB

Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB

Noisy Nightclub: 110 db

Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db

Power Lawnmower: 95 dB

Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)

Ringing Telephone: 80 dB

Normal conversation: 60 dB

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals No Comments »
January 8th, 2020

New-for-2020 Handguns — SHOT Show Pick Six Preview

new 2020 shot show pistol handgun revolver wheelgun colt python kimber korth Smith wesson

When covering SHOT Show 2020 our reporters will focus primarily on rifles, optics, and reloading equipment, because this website is dedicated to rifle accuracy. However we know many of our readers are interested in semi-auto pistols and revolvers, and we bet the majority of our Forum members own handguns. This Editor has competed in various pistol disciplines and I still love my semi-autos and wheelguns. So, for you fellow pistoleros out there, here’s our “Pick Six” — a half-dozen new handguns (both semi-auto pistols and revolvers) — all new for 2020.

1. Korth (Nighthawk Custom) — Korth Ranger

nighthawk custom Korth Ranger .357 Magnum Germany wheelgun pistol handgun

The new German-made Korth Ranger revolver is one of the most impressive wheelguns you can buy — at any price. Sold in the USA by Nighthawk Custom, Korth revolvers feature best-in-the-world workmanship, superb triggers, and outstanding accuracy. Designed for revolver match shooting, the Korth Ranger features a top Picatinny rail for Red Dot optics. The barrel shroud has lightening cuts which reveal a Lothar Walther match barrel with target crown.

2. Ruger 57 — New Competition Pistol for 5.7×28 Cartridge

new ruger high-velocity 5.7x28 mm FNH pistol handgun

The all-new Ruger 57 is an impressive full-size pistol with 4.94″ barrel. This looks like it will be a hoot to shoot. The 5.7×28 cartridge is a high-velocity, low recoil round — sort of a 22 WMR on steroids. Expect to get close to 1700 fps from a 40gr cartridge. We expect this long-slide pistol will be used mostly for gun games, but with a 20-round magazine, it certainly can handle self-defense duties too. According to a recent VIDEO REVIEW by 22Plinkster, the new Ruger 57 performs well. READ Ruger 57 Field Test.

3. Colt Python for 2020 — Stainless with 4.25″ or 6″ Barrels

New Colt Python stainless steel revolver wheelgun .357 Magnum dirty harry
The 4.25″ barrel Python is 9.75″ long and 42 ounces. The 6″ model is 11.5″ long and 46 ounces.

The Snake is back baby! For 2020, Colt’s Manufacturing Co. LLC will offer a refined and upgraded Colt Python with a hefty $1499.00 MSRP. The legendary double-action revolver, which originally debuted in 1955, returns in stainless steel in 4.25″ and 6″ barrel lengths. It is designed to be stronger than before. Numerous improvements were made to reinforce the revolver, including the use of stronger stainless steel alloys and a re-designed rear sight which allows for a 30% increase in the cross-sectional area of the top strap — meaning more steel for a stronger revolver.

4. Keltec P17 — New Compact, Budget-Priced .22 LR Pistol

Keltec p17 .22 LR 22LR rimfire pistol handgun

Keltec’s new P17 rimfire pistol is lightweight, easy to handle, and features a fiber optic front sight and an adjustable rear. Priced at just $199.95 MSRP, the .22 LR P17 has 16+1 round capacity and ships with three, 16-round magazines. This is a small pistol — it weight just 14 ounces and OAL is 6.65″. Keltec states: “The new, affordable P17 pistol makes range days a lot less expensive and far more fun.” With low cost .22 LR ammo and a 16+1 capacity, this should be fun to shoot.

5. Ruger Super GP100 Revolver in 9mm Luger (9x19mm)

Ruger 9mm 9x19mm luger Revolver GP100 Super GP 100 competition pistol

The 9×19mm Parabellum (aka 9mm Luger) cartridge was introduced in 1902 by German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) for the Luger semi-auto pistol. Now 118 years later, Ruger is bringing us a sturdy, 6″-barrel revolver for this popular cartridge. Ruger adapted its existing Super Redhawk frame for this Super GP100 9mm revolver, which features a rather short 8-round PVD-coated cylinder to better fit the 9x19mm round. According to Guns.com the 9mm GP100 “uses a cylinder and extractor cut for moon clips to speed up reloading [and] sports a 6-inch half-lug sleeved and shrouded barrel with an 11-degree target crown[.]”

6. Wilson Combat — Experior Series 1911 Pistols

Wilson Combat’s new Experior handguns feature match-grade components, sweet triggers, and accuracy guarantees. Wilson states that “The Experior lineup [is] the most fully-loaded package we offer, showcasing nearly every tactical, functional and cosmetic option as a standard feature. They are a unique blend of classic 1911 design, paired with modern-day reliability and ergonomic enhancements[.]” Experiors will be offered in both 9mm and .45 ACP in a variety of barrel lengths. There will be both single-stack and double-stack Experior models.

MORE HANDGUNS HERE: You’ll find 18 other new-for-2020 pistols featured on the Guns Holsters & Gear (GHG), Shot Show 2020 Preview Page

BONUS — Upgraded for 2020
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 C.O.R.E. Pro Series Pistols

Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 pistols were introduced back in 2017, so they aren’t new. But for 2020, S&W is offering Performance Center variants with cool new features. The New M&P M2.0 Performance Center pistols include porting and Competition Optics Ready (C.O.R.E.) slides. Chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W, the new Performance Center M&P M2.0 pistols are available with either a 4.25″ or 5″ barrel. Features may include ported barrels and slides and fiber optic sights. For those looking to mount an optic without custom work, the new C.O.R.E. pistols have slides cut for optics straight from the factory. These will support the majority of popular pistol reflex sights.

Smith Wesson Performance center M&P M2.0 competition

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January 6th, 2020

Giant BAT Sighted at Bruno Shooters Supply

BAT 50 BMG Action

BAT .50 BMG Model EX– Now That’s an Action!, by GS Arizona
A few seasons ago, I stopped into Bruno Shooters Supply for a jug of powder and looked into the display case where the new actions are kept. Amid the usual array of BAT Machine, Kelbly and other actions, there was something unlike any action I’d seen before — all I can call it is the BIG BAT (It’s officially the BAT Model EX 2.5). I wasn’t too surprised at the weight (a beefy 13.7 lbs.), but until you lift it it’s hard to appreciate how solid, chunky, hefty, massive (pick your favorite adjective) this thing really is.

The action is a 2.5″-diameter, 12″-long BAT for the .50 BMG cartridge. It is simply the biggest, slickest custom action on the planet. In order to give you some sense of scale, I photographed the action alongside a conventional BAT action for short-range Benchrest shooting and I put a .220 Russian case and a .30-06 case into the picture. I’ve handled and fired other .50 BMG actions/rifles before, but this BAT puts them all to shame, as far as fit and finish go.

BAT 50 BMG Action

The action is actually quite conventional in design and execution. The bolt is fluted and has two front lugs with a conventional, although super-sized, firing pin assembly. Any Remington-style trigger will mount by way of a normal trigger hanger, allowing for simplified maintenance or replacement in the field. The loading port is 5.5″ long and the barrel threads are 1.5″ x 16 tpi — nothing about this beast is small! There is a conventional rocker-type bolt release on the left side of the receiver body and a recoil lug is built into the bottom of the receiver. In reality, the action is very similar to any other BAT except for the size and it adheres to all of BAT’s high standards for quality of design, manufacture, fit, finish and just plain good looks. Slide that bolt back and it feels as tight as a small Benchrest action!

BAT 50 BMG Action

BAT Machine states: “Our model EX is our largest action we make. It was designed to work with the .50 BMG cartridges. This action is 12.00″ long and has two exterior shape options. Starting weight is 128 oz. and varies with options chosen. This action requires a 1.75 inch diameter barrel.”

Given the BIG BAT’s $3,200.00+ sticker price (before options), not many of us will ever have the opportunity to own or shoot one of these beauties (I certainly won’t). However, it is nice to know they exist and can be bought and enjoyed in many places. CLICK HERE for BAT EX configuration options and purchase details.

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January 5th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Water-Cooled Wondergun Set World Record

Joel Pendergraft water-cooled wondergun .300 Ackley Improved

We like “outside of the box” thinking. And in the world of competitive shooting, it can’t get more unconventional than this. But this radical liquid-cooled benchrest rig wasn’t just a crazy experiment — it actually delivered the goods. This IBS Heavy Gun, built by Joel Pendergraft, produced a superb 10-shot, 3.044″ group that stood as an International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) 1000-Yard Heavy Gun record for seven years, not being broken until 2016.*

Using this water-cooled wondergun, Joel shot the record-breaking group in April 2009 at Hawks Ridge, NC. This monster features a .30-Caliber 12-twist, 4-groove Krieger barrel inside a water-filled sleeve (like on a liquid-cooled machine gun). Joel shot BIB 187gr flat-based bullets in Norma brass, pushed by a “generous amount” of Alliant Reloder 25 and Federal 210M primers. The cartridge was a big custom wildcat Joel listed as “.300 Ackley Improved”. That traditionally has been based on the .300 H&H Magnum parent case**. READ Forum Thread on .300 Ackley.

Joel Pendergraft

This 3.044″ 10-shot group was a remarkable accomplishment, breaking one of the longest-standing, 1000-yard IBS World Records. And Joel’s 3.044″ record stood for 10 years.

Joel Pendergraft

water-cooled heavy gun IBSThis 3.048″ 10-shot group was a remarkable accomplishment, breaking one of the longest standing 1000-yard World Records. Bill Shehane commented: “This tops the NBRSA, IBS, and Original Williamsport Clubs’ all-time 10-shot Heavy Gun group records. Took a long time to do it and I for one know Joel did not back into it — he worked harder than most… to break this record. And just like John Voneida of the Original Williamsport Club who held this most prestigous record for so long, Joel is a super nice guy and a great competitor.”

Pendergraft was modest after his notable achievement: “What makes this so very special is to be able to celebrate the accomplishment with all of my shooting friends[.] A good friend once said that records are shot when preparation and opportunity meet. I feel blessed to have personally had the opportunity. The preparation we can individually work on and achieve but the opportunity only comes to a few. Those of you that compete in long range competition will know what I mean.”

Joel Pendergraft


*On July 24, 2016, Michael Gaizauskas shot a 2.871″ ten-shot group that bettered Pendergraft’s record by 0.171″ (less than a quarter inch). Michael’s group was also all in the 10 ring, for a perfect 100 score. CLICK HERE for IBS Long-Range Records.

** Back in 2008, the .300 Ackley was the #1 Cartridge in 1000-yard competition at Hawks Ridge. SEE Results Chart. Forum member Cheechako explains: “The .300 Ackley Magnum is actually the .300 H&H case improved. Many shooters will start with the Weatherby brass because it is higher quality. There are several versions of the Ackley but the differences are minor until you get into the few, like the 300 Hart, that actually do increase the capacity. There is also a .300 Weatherby Improved which is sort of a misnomer because it’s almost impossible to improve that case except to eliminate the rounded corners.”

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January 5th, 2020

Hi-Viz Atomic Green Target Circles with Box Centers

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 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.

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January 4th, 2020

Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm MOA Scope Review

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescope

In the world of F-Class, PRS and other precision rifle disciplines, scope manufactures such as Nightforce, Kahles, and Vortex currently dominate the firing lines. However, Oregon-based Leupold has set out to change all that. Long known for premier hunting and military scopes, Leupold has set its sights squarely on the long-range competition market with the Mark 5HD series scopes. With these scopes (available in both MIL and MOA versions), Leupold now has a clear, repeatable, versatile scope in a wide range of magnifications, all the way up to 7-35X. We tested the Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm MOA second focal plane (SFP) optic. Though it features a very large 35mm (yes thirty-FIVE mm) main tube, it is one of the lightest scopes in its class — a bonus for guys struggling to make weight with their comp rifles.

Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm Field Test
Report by F-Class John
The Mark 5HD is a beast of a scope packed into a great-looking and sturdy form factor. While mounting and bore-sighting the scope, I immediately like the size, shape and feel of the elevation and windage knobs. The knobs have a solid, positive feel with distinct, lovely clicks every time they were turned. I was happy to see that Leupold designed the elevation to actually go under zero which can be helpful in some situations.

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescope

Scope Box Test in Tunnel
I ran a box test while shooting in a 100-yard tunnel going clockwise then counterclockwise around the corners. I found that the repeatability to be “spot on” with each 5 MOA adjustment landing me basically back on top of the previous shots. After five passes back and forth I was left with four ragged holes in each corner. That’s impressive.

The power ring became one of my favorite features, with its incredibly functional throw lever. Actually more of a throw knob, this allows for quick and smooth change of power. Combine these features with 100 MOA of vertical adjustment and 50 MOA of windage and you have just about everything need to achieve your goals.

Reticle Options for Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm — TMOA Plus on Test Scope

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescope

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescopeLeupold currently offers two reticle options for its second focal plane (SFP) Mark 5HD 7-35X scope: the TMOA Plus (above) and the Impact-60 (right). The Impact-60 reticle features Xmas Tree-type vertical and horizontal hold-offs. My test scope had the TMOA Plus reticle, a much simpler design with an open aiming point in the center of the reticle for precise shot placement.

The TMOA Plus takes a little getting used to especially if you’re coming from a center dot or crosshair like I did. This is because there’s nothing dead center in your reticle, only four small hold squares at 3, 6, 9, 12 o’clock around center. You can use the aiming center to center up on a bullseye or any of the points around the center as hold off points. A side benefit is that the center set of squares are designed to perfectly fill the X ring at 1000 yards for easy aiming. I will say that once you get used to the reticle configuration it starts to become more intuitive and you can find different ways to use it when holding off for different conditions.

Leupold Mark 5HD Delivers Outstanding Brightness and Clarity
As I got behind the scope, I was surprised by the amount of light coming in through the large 35mm main tube. I tested the scope in the early morning just after dawn, during mid-day, and also at night. Where I shoot there is often a good amount of head-on light coming over the hills in the morning. With my current premium scope, I often see a faint glare (often seen as a haze or whiteness) that will ultimately resolve itself by mid-day but nonetheless bothers me in those early relays. The Mark 5 had NONE of this. The first time I thought it was a fluke but after countless mornings without the annoying haze I was convinced it was the glass. Leupold told me that the Mark 5HD’s superior haze- and glare-free morning performance was a function of how the lens coatings are applied.

While many top-end scopes have quality coatings, the method of applying coatings can produce micro flaws. Leupold explained that such flaws, under certain light conditions, can create a hazy view through the lens. Leupold has clearly mastered this process, achieving a visually clear scope no matter what direction the light comes from, even head-on.

HD Glass Eliminates Chromatic Aberration
Optical performance during mid-day was bright and clear. Importantly, I did notice the absence of chromatic aberration which I have experienced with some other popular-brand scopes. Chromatic aberration usually manifests as fringes of color around hard edges and can be seen even in some of the better scopes. This can affect your ability to see mirage, or to see details on a long-range target. With the Leupold Mark 5HD, chromatic aberration was noticeably absent.

The Leupold Mark 5HD also worked great during an evening shooting session. My club has night shooting for our 600-yard matches. We do it every Tuesday night, so I had lots of time to test the scope in the evening. Our club has lit targets, and even with the rest of the range dark, the targets were clear and bright, making it easy to aim precisely.

SUMMARY — Great Sharp, Clear Scope — More Magnification Would be Welcome
The majority of my testing was in F-Class and while I found nearly every aspect of the scope enjoyable, I did find myself wanting just a little more magnification. I have no doubt that in other disciplines such as PRS and ELR the 7-35X is more than enough and in fact perfectly suited. However, in the current F-Class world, 35X max magnification is on the low end, as other leading optics-makers offer scopes in the 50-60x range.

Overall, I really enjoyed this scope and think it’s going to become the favorite for a lot of shooters. It is easy to use and incredibly clear. Despite its beefy look it actually weighs less than many scopes in this category. Leupold says the Mark 5HD is “up to 20 ounces lighter than other scopes in its class”. That’s great for disciplines with tight weight limits. If you’re in the market for a new competition optic you should give one of the new Mark 5HD scopes a try.

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January 4th, 2020

Box to Bench Load Development and Scope Tracking Target

Box to Bench Precision Scope tracking load development target

Box to Bench Precision (B2B) has developed an oversize (23.5″ x 30″) precisely-scaled target designed for Load Development and Scope Testing. This waterproof target is very innovative. On the target you’ll find clusters of aim points for various tasks. Upper left are orange aiming spots for testing various powder charges. In the upper right quadrant are more red aim points to be used when testing bullet seating depth. Running down the center of the target is a vertical line with horizontal marks showing precise MOA and Mil heights at 100 yards — use this feature to verify your click values. ORDER HERE.

This waterproof 23.5″ x 30″ target costs $5.00 from BoxtoBenchPrecision.com:

Box to Bench Precision Scope tracking load development target

And there’s more. In the lower right quadrant (far right) are three black targets to be used for chrono work. With these you can record cold velocity, hot barrel velocity and a “Final Velocity”. Over in the lower left quadrant, in the left-most column, are three dot targets for zeroing and recording group size with load data. Finally, four more black/white targets can be used for a scope box test (aka “shooting the square”). With a box test, you move from target to target, clicking in sequence to each corner of the square in sequence, eventually returning to your original aim point. If your scope tracks correctly, the last box test shot should end up right on top of the first shot.

Record the Entire Load Development Process on One Target
For those used to shooting at conventional bulleyes or benchrest targets, this target may seem confusing, but it can really help organize and simplify the process of load development. We like the idea of having a single, durable target that performs double-duty — serving for load development as well as scope checking. And we like the fact that the target is pretty strong — the maker says: “The target is Tear-Resistant and Water-Proof”. We’d expect a maker based in the Pacific NW to design a target that can handle wet weather.

Box to Bench Precision Scope tracking load development target
Previous version of target shown in photo. Current version has a larger and centered box test, and Tracking lines that are labeled in IPHY/MOA/MIL.

How to Order

So how much does all this target technology cost? A single, 23.5″ x 30″ target costs $5.00. A pack of three targets costs $14.25, while a five-target pack runs $22.50 (which works out to $4.50 per target). There is also a 100 meter version of this target for $4.25 each or $20 for five. Targets ship in a durable cardboard tube. To order these targets, visit the Box To Box Precision Online Store.

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January 4th, 2020

Bargain $60 Welding Cart Works as High-Capacity Gear Hauler

Welding Cart Range Cart

Creedmoor Sports Range Cart CRC-1The Berger Southwest Nationals is coming up next month. That means you want to upgrade your hauling capabilities. SWN F-Class and High Power shooters have a ton of gear they need to carry out to the firing lines. To do the hauling, you can certainly purchase a factory-made, purpose-built cart that folds up and has all the bells and whistles. The Creedmoor Sports CRC-1 (photo right) is a proven, quality product that works great. You’ll find these used by top shooters at Camp Perry. But the Creedmoor CRC-1 cart costs $475.00, even on sale.

For a fraction of that price ($59.99), plus a few dollars more for do-it-yourself enhancements, you can have a heavy-duty cart that will haul all your gear just fine, though it doesn’t fold up. In the top photo is a Harbor Freight Welding Cart we saw at the Berger Southwest Nationals. This rig is carrying a rifle in hard gun case, bipod, folding chair, shooting mat, tripod, spotting scope, rear sand-bag, and ammo box — that’s a lot of gear!

Welding Cart Range CartWelding Cart Range Cart

Check out the Harbor Freight Welding Cart, item #65939. This cart is ON SALE right now for just $59.99. Overall size is 29-1/2″ L x 20″ W x 49″ H, and width between side rails is 18″. The wheels (with tires) are 20 3/4″ in diameter for smooth rolling. Consider that, if you made your own cart from scratch you could easily pay $30.00 or more just for the large-diameter wheels and axle. Do note — this cart has air-filled tires. Be sure to inflate before you go to the Range!

As sold, the Harbor Freight Welding Cart can benefit from upgrades for range use. But with a few bungee cords (and some creativity), the cart can be adapted pretty easily to hauling your gun gear. If you want to enhance the basic cart, it’s easy to add plastic side-panels on the bottom unit, and fit a barrel-holding system on the cross-tube. This ensures rifles and gear won’t flop forward. (A small piece of wood under the bottom panel provides a bit of extra lift that will keep the bottom plate out of the dirt and gravel.)

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January 3rd, 2020

Snake Reborn — Colt Offers New Python Revolvers for 2020

New Colt Python stainless steel revolver wheelgun .357 Magnum dirty harry

The Snake is back baby! For 2020, Colt’s Manufacturing Co. LLC will offer a refined and upgraded Colt Python with a hefty $1499.00 MSRP. The legendary double-action revolver, which originally debuted in 1955, returns in stainless steel in 4.25″ and 6″ barrel lengths. It is designed to be stronger than before. Numerous improvements were made to reinforce the revolver, including the use of stronger stainless steel alloys and a re-designed rear sight which allows for a 30% increase in the cross-sectional area of the top strap — meaning more steel for a stronger revolver.

Important Colt Python Enhancements:
— More Steel in Top-Strap for Enhanced Strength
— Recessed Muzzle Crown (protects rifling during cleaning)
— Reduced Number of Parts in Trigger Mechanism for Greater Durability

Colt doesn’t want these to be safe queens, they’re meant to be shot. Along with the stronger frame, these Colt Pythons have recessed target crowns for improved accuracy[.] Chambered for .357 Magnum they can withstand a lifetime of full-power loads[.] — Max Slowick, GunsAmerica.com.

GunsAmerica Review of New Colt Python

The new Colt Python is offered with a high-polish stainless steel finish and either a 4.25-inch or 6-inch barrel. Both come with walnut grips that bear the Colt medallion. These updated versions of the Colt Python have a few changes to differentiate them from the old snake guns but they maintain the classic looks and operation of the originals.

The classic grip pattern, boxy frame, generous trigger, ribbed topstrap, and full-length underlug are all just as they should be. Both models are double- and single-action with a spurred hammer.

Colt modified the sights. The rear sight is still a fully adjustable target sight, which is standard for full-size revolvers, and the front sight can be changed by the user like on the new Colt Cobras.

The classic grip pattern, boxy frame, generous trigger, ribbed topstrap, and full-length underlug are all just as they should be. Both models are double- and single-action with a spurred hammer.

CLICK HERE for FULL Colt Python REVIEW

New Colt Python stainless steel revolver wheelgun .357 Magnum dirty harry
The 4.25″ barrel Python is 9.75″ long and 42 ounces. The 6″ model is 11.5″ long and 46 ounces.

Factory Video Shows New Python’s Features
This Colt-produced video explains features of the new Colt Pythons (4″ and 6″) in detail. If you are interested in this wheelgun, definitely watch this video — it will answer most technical questions. Double action pull-weight is 7 to 9.5 pounds while the single action pull is 3 to 4 pounds out of the box. The new Colt Python .357 Magnum is available now through Colt stocking dealers for $1499.00 MSRP.


This is a tougher, stronger Python — durability tests included over 40,000 trigger pulls on a single Python. Trigger pull scans show lighter trigger pull weights, less friction, and increased consistency.

New Colt Python stainless steel revolver wheelgun .357 Magnum dirty harry

“We know the Colt Python is one of the most beloved and collected firearms in American history, and its re-release has long been demanded by enthusiasts,” said Justin Baldini, Product Director at Colt. “We took our time on R&D – we needed to be sure the look and performance of this redesign lived up to its legendary name and kept its impeccable reputation for quality and accuracy. This new Python lives up to the legend in every way.”

Permalink Gear Review, Handguns, News 3 Comments »
January 3rd, 2020

Co-Ax, Rock Chucker, Summit — Three Press Comparison Test

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Forster Co-Ax Coax Summit single-stage Press Hornady Laurie Holland Target Shooter

“The press is the heart of the handloading operation, also traditionally the most expensive single tool employed…” — Laurie Holland

British competitive shooter Laurie Holland has reviewed three popular, single-stage reloading presses for Target Shooter Magazine (targetshooter.co.uk). Laurie bolted up a Forster Co-Ax, RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme, and RCBS Summit to his reloading bench and put the three presses through their paces. These three machines are very different in design and operation. The venerable Rock Chucker is a classic heavy, cast-iron “O”- type press that offers lots of leverage for tough jobs. The smaller RCBS Summit press is an innovative “upside-down” design with a large center column and open front. It offers a small footprint and easy case access from the front. The Co-Ax is unique in many respects — dies slide in and out of the upper section which allows them to “float”. The cartridge case is held in the lower section by spring-loaded jaws rather than a conventional shell-holder.

READ Laurie Holland Reloading Press 3-Way Comparison Review

If you are considering purchasing any one of these three presses, you should read Laurie’s article start to finish. He reviews the pros and cons of each press, after processing three different brands of brass on each machine. He discusses ergonomics, easy of use, press leverage, smoothness, priming function, and (most importantly), the ability to produce straight ammo with low run-out. The review includes interesting data on case-neck run-out (TIR) for RWS, Federal, and Norma 7x57mm brass.

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Forster Co-Ax Coax Summit single-stage Press Hornady Laurie Holland Target ShooterReview Quick Highlights:

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme
“My expectations of the antediluvian RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme’s performance weren’t over high to be honest as I mounted it in the place of the Summit. As soon as I sized the first of the stretched RWS cases though, I saw why this press has been such a long-running favorite. The workload was considerably reduced compared to the other two presses and doing 40-odd cases took no time at all with little sweat — it just eats hard-to-size brass.”

RCBS Summit Press
“Despite its massive build and long-stroke operating handle, [the Summit] took more sweat than I’d expected, even if it was somewhat less work than with the Co-Ax. Although the Summit is apparently massive, I noticed that the die platform would tilt fractionally under the heaviest strains[.] It is nevertheless a very pleasant press in use and bullet seating was a doddle — the few examples tried proving very concentric on checking them afterwards. The optional short handle would be valuable for this task.”

Forster Co-Ax
“[On the Co-Ax], the operating handle is above the machine, located centrally here [with] twin steel links at the top end of the press dropping down to the moving parts. The Co-Ax incorporates a number of novel features, principally its automatic and multi-case compatible shell-holder assembly with spring-loaded sliding jaws, very neat spent primer arrangements that allow hardly any gritty residues to escape and foul the moving parts and, the snap-in/out die fitment that allows rapid changes and also sees the die ‘float’ in relation to the case giving very concentric results. I own this press and it meets my handloading needs very well.”

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 1st, 2020

2020 Gun Video Fest — Eight Great Videos for a New Decade

AccurateShooter video 2020 gun youtube Erik Cortina Borden PRS Mike Bryant
Image courtesy Nightforce Optics.

It’s 2020! Welcome the new year and a new decade. We know many of our readers will be spending the winter day indoors. If you need a break from the bowl games on TV, here are eight interesting and informative videos that are worth watching. The subject matter runs the gamut from benchrest gunsmithing to long-range varmint silhouette competition. There are also reviews of some of the best precision rifle options for PRS and NRL22 disciplines. Enjoy our New Year 2020 Video Fest.

1. UltimateReloader — 14 Reloading Presses Compared

Epic Reloading Hardware Test — 14 Single-Stage Presses. In this remarkable video, Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com reviews fourteen (14) single-stage reloading presses. This is the most comprehensive reloading press comparison test ever done by anyone, anywhere. The presses range from compact units to large-frame exotics from Europe. If you are in the market for a single-stage press in 2020 this is a MUST-watch video. Brands include Forster, Hornady, Lyman, MEC, RCBS, Redding, Turban (Prazipress).

2. Precision Riflesmith — Profile of Benchrest Smith Mike Bryant

Texas gunsmith Mike Bryant is a talented benchrest shooter and a highly respected builder of competition and hunting rifles. In this wide-ranging interview, Mike talks about benchrest competition, the key factors that contribute to rifle accuracy, and about his career as a gunsmith.

3. Erik Cortina — Mag-Feed Testing Borden Action with 6BR


Click the Speaker Icon (lower right) to HEAR AUDIO

Our friend Erik Cortina has built a new PRS/NRL rifle based on the new Borden Super Short 6 Action. This video show Erik’s first mag-feeding test with ten 6BR loaded rounds. You’ll see there is NO problem speed-feeding the short 6BR case. Erik tells us: “I removed the firing pin from bolt for safety. The magazine has not been modified in any way. I would say there is no need to do anything to it, she’s ready to run!” Impressive indeed.

4. Shooting USA — Texas Varmint Benchrest Match

Varmint Benchrest silhouette TexasThis episode of Shooting USA TV features long-range varmint silhouette competition in Texas. This discipline combine the pure accuracy of benchrest competition with the fun of knocking down critter targets. These are smaller than standard silhouettes, so it’s quite a challenge to hit them at 300 yards and beyond.

In this episode, host John Scoutten competes with his 6.5 Creedmoor PRS rifle. Most shooters use benchrest-grade rifles with premium front rests. NOTE: This video shows some top-flight benchrest rifles, and also covers the origins of benchrest varmint silhouette in Pennsylvania. There are even some AccurateShooter Forum members on screen.

5. Vickers Tactical — .308 Win Bolt Gun Vs. .308 Win Gas Gun

This interesting video from Vickers tactical compares and contrasts two tactical style rifles both chambered for the .308 Winchester. The test team compares functionality, accuracy, ergonomics, and versatility. Each platform has its advantages, as the video reveals.

6. Outdoor Life — The Best New Affordable Precision Rifles

This video showcases three modern tactical-style rifles suitable for the PRS Production (Factory) Class which is limited to $2000 for rifle alone, not counting optics (Rule 2.3.1). Outdoor Life Shooting Editor John Snow puts three capable rifles through their paces: Patriot Valley Arms John Hancock, BadRock Precision SouthFork, and Seekins Precision Havoc Bravo.

7. Aerial View of Deep Creek Shooting Range in Montana

The Deep Creek Range near Missoula, Montana, is one of the best 1000-yard ranges in the country. Many long-range benchrest records have been set in this scenic, tree-lined facility. Now, thanks to Forum member David Gosnell (aka “Zilla”), you can see Deep Creek from the air. David flew a camera drone over the Deep Creek Range, soaring from firing line to the target bay and back again. This video gives you a “birds-eye view” of one of America’s elite ranges.

8. Nat’l Rifle League — Intro to NRL22 Rimfire Tactical Matches

NRL22 is a great way to get into competition shooting with minimal expense. There are Five (5) classes: Open, Base, Ladies, Young Guns (8-16), and Air Rifle. Base Class is for the budget-minded shooter — the combined MSRP of Rifle and Optic may not exceed $1050.00 (so you could spend $550 on a rifle and $500 on a scope for example). That keeps the sport affordable. Open, Youth, and Ladies Classes have no price limits on Rifle and Optic. Visit NRL22.org to find an NRL22 match near you.

NRL22 rimfire tactical steel targets KYL JC Steel hangers

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product, Reloading, Tactical 1 Comment »
December 31st, 2019

Great Range Transport Case Made from Horse Grooming Box

Range carry loading reloader box case transport horse equine grooming case box

Folks who load at the range need to bring a lot of gear — reloading presses, powder dispensers, scales, funnels, sizing/seating dies, brass prep tools and more. And there may be other important items to transport — such as ammo caddies, LabRadar mounts, over-size rest feet, and even barrel fans.

A rifle case works fine for carrying your scoped rifle, but you still need to organize all your reloading tools and other gear, and transport them safely from home to range and back again. Some guys have built their own loading tool-boxes from wood. Other may stuff gear in a couple of plastic range boxes. But clever Chris Covell came up with an even better solution.

Chris sourced a handsome, sturdy metal Horse Grooming Box from eBay. Chris reports the multi-feature metal box “works perfectly for reloading. My ChargeMaster is now out of the wind.”

Range carry loading reloader box case transport horse equine grooming case boxBullets, Trickler, and Priming Tool on Top
On top, below the hinged metal lid, is a large compartment that holds Covell’s funnels, scales, priming tool, trickler and other vital gear (photo on right). This top compartment is deep enough to handle wide-mouth funnels with no problem.

Slide-Out Drawer with Dividers
Below the top level is a handy sliding drawer with multiple dividers. This is perfect for holding Covell’s inline seating dies, case-neck deburring and chamfering tools, among many other smaller bits and pieces.

Range carry loading reloader box case transport horse equine grooming case box

In the bottom of the Horse Grooming box is a large compartment that holds bigger gear. In the bottom section, Covell places his RCBS Chargemaster Lite, along with a case-trimming tool, an arbor press, and various other bulky tools. Check it out:

Range carry loading reloader box case transport horse equine grooming case box

Chris Covell’s Range Box was featured on the Benchrest Shooting and Gunsmithing Private Group Facebook Page. You may want to sign up for this Group — with membership you can access a wealth of information for accuracy-oriented shooters.

Range carry loading reloader box case transport horse equine grooming case box

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
December 31st, 2019

Revolver Showdown — Miculek Shoots S&W, Colt, & Ruger

Jerry Miculek smith wesson colt python wheelgun ruger revolver showdown
Hornady sponsored shooter Jerry Miculek — Yamil Sued Photo.

If you are considering acquiring a revolver for fun shooting, self-defense, or competition, you should definitely watch this YouTube video. In this 23-minute presentation, legendary shooter Jerry Miculek puts three .357/.38 SPL wheelguns through their paces. Jerry, one of the greatest revolver shooters in history, hosts a “Revolver Showdown” with three popular wheelguns: 1) S&W L frame (3″ bbl); 2) Colt Python (6″ bbl); and 3) Ruger Speed Six (2.75″ bbl).

Smith & Wesson Model 686 Plus, L-Frame, 7-rd .357 Magnum/38 SPL, 3″ Barrel.
Jerry Miculek Revolver showdown comparison S&W Colt Ruger

Colt Python (Nickel), 6-rd .357 Magnum/38 SPL, 6″ Barrel.
Jerry Miculek Revolver showdown comparison S&W Colt Ruger

Ruger Speed Six, 6-rd .357 Magnum/38 SPL, 3″ Barrel.
Jerry Miculek Revolver showdown comparison S&W Colt Ruger

Jerry Miculek Revolver showdown comparison S&W Colt RugerTesting at 10 Yards and 50 Yards
In the video, Jerry shoots all three revolvers rapid-fire, double-action at 10 yards. Then he shoots the three guns single-action, slow-fire at 50 yards (starting at time mark 7:19).

After his range session, Jerry examines nine medium frame revolvers, comparing and contrasting design features. Jerry considers these factors:

1. Accuracy
2. Balance and Handling
3. Speed and Sureness of Trigger Return (watch video at 3:45″ re Colt.)
4. Reliability
5. Barrel Twist Rate
6. Strength of Construction/Durability

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Handguns No Comments »