Running out of space in your gun safe? Here’s a clever product that will allow you to store more long guns in your current vault. The plastic Rifle Rods from Gun Storage Solutions slip in long-gun barrels and then grip the shelf above using Velcro pads. This allows you to nestle your rifles and shotguns much closer together than with the conventional racks provided with most gunsafes. The rods are offered in bright orange or basic black. We prefer the safety orange rods (shown above with the Velcro “receiver” shelf liner provided with the Rod Kit).
Rifles with narrow furniture (such as lever guns) can be placed very close together, saving lots of space. For benchrest or varmint rifles with wider fore-ends, you won’t benefit as much. Note that, in the photo above, all of the guns are fairly slim — none have wide fore-ends. Still we think these Rifle Rods could open up 12″ or more horizontal clearance in a medium-sized safe — that could easily allow you to store six (6) more guns in two rows, as shown.
Rifle Rod Kits Starting at $34.95
A kit with 10 Rifle Rods and loop fabric shelf liner costs $34.95 on Amazon.com, while the 20-Rod Kit with liner costs $69.95. That’s a lot cheaper than buying a new safe. A six-pack of additional black Rifle Rods costs $18.50 on Amazon. NOTE: To get the safety orange rods you may have to pay a few dollars more and order directly from Gun Storage Solutions.
WARNING: Always REMOVE Rod from barrel before taking gun to the range. Never place live ammunition in a gun with storage Rod in the barrel!
Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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We liked (and used) Lyman’s Digital Trigger Pull Gauge before, and now it’s even better. Lyman has updated its pull gauge to be faster and more precise. The new gauge measures trigger pull weights from 1 ounce to 12 pounds with resolution of 0.1 ounces (2.8 grams). We think that anyone running match triggers below 2.5 pounds pull weight should have a gauge like this. Among the pull gauges on the market, we think the new Lyman unit now offers the best performance for the price — this gauge has a $59.95 MSRP, and expect to see it for under $50.00 when it is available. We like the new adjustable, 4-position rod which retracts into the gauge body.
Upgrades: More Precise Strain Gauge | Improved Grip Shape | Adjustable Rod Lengths
Lyman’s new, improved Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge is designed to be the fastest and most accurate trigger pull gauge available. State-of-the-art strain gauge technology allows for repeatable accuracy of 1/10 ounce (2.8 grams). The gauge features a large, easy-to-read LCD display and you can switch from ounces to grams with the push of a button. The gauge can also deliver a pull weight average of the last 10 readings. That’s very helpful, particularly when working with factory triggers that may not be very consistent.
The new model Trigger Pull Gauge features a solid, collapsible rod with four locking positions. Being able to adjust length makes it easier to use the gauge with a wide variety of firearms. The locking feature prevents the rod from flexing when applying pressure to the trigger. When not in use, the rod conveniently collapses into the gauge body, making the whole unit more compact. The new Trigger Pull Gauge comes in an internally-padded plastic case that can be easily stored in a drawer or on your work bench. The old-style Lyman gauge (shown below) had a limited rod-length adjustment range, and the rod needed to be removed to store the gauge in its soft case.
Compare Old-Style Lyman TriggerPull Gauge
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Wouldn’t it be great if you could quickly and easily adjust shoulder bump during the full-length sizing process, without struggling to move die lock-rings by trial and error (or fiddle with shims). Well you can. The PMA Micro Die Adjuster is a brilliant little device that replaces the lock ring on your FL sizing die. It allows you to move the die up and down in precise, tiny increments. The tool has .001″ index marks, but you can easily set your die between the marks to achieve .0005″ (half-thousandth) adjustments.
To see how the PMA Micro-Die Adjuster works, watch this video by our friend Boyd Allen:
Many of our Forum members now use the PMA Micro Die Adjuster, and they give this specialty tool high praise. Here are actual reviews by Forum members and other verified tool buyers. Read more comments in this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.
PMA Micro Die Adjuster User Reviews
“No more ‘close enough’ for headspace[.] With this tool set-up it’s easy to put headspace exactly where you want it, then repeat it exactly for subsequent batches for the same cartridge.” — JohnF
“I have four of these Micro Adjuster rings and all I can say is that it works and it is repeatable. I bump my brass .0005″-.001″ and this die lock ring will do it without issue.” — TrapperT
“I size brass for four different 6.5×47 rifles (chambered with three different reamers) using a single die, set in the PMA Adjuster. I have to say… I should have bought one sooner. Adjusting it is very quick and repeatable to well under .001.” — /VH
“I’ve been using PMA’s lock ring for some time now and find it to be very easy to adjust to within .0005″ on a single piece of brass. Very quick to do as well. One thing I have found is that if you still need that half-thou adjustment I will run the brass once more at the same setting before I make that .0005″ adjustment and 50 percent of the time that does the trick. The marked increments are in .001″ scale so if you go half way in between there’s your half-thousandth.
PMA Micro-Adjuster vs. Shims
Many hand-loaders have abandoned shims after trying the PMA Micro Die Adjuster:
“Shims [require] you to completely remove the die. That gets old rather quickly after having used the PMA adjustable lock ring.” — Patch 700
“Great product. Shims used to drive me crazy, put a .002 in and get .0035 of change. With this if you want .0015 set it and that’s what you get.” — John B
“I like mine — adjustments are easy and it will adjust very fine. I used to use .001″ shims. Now can adjust my bump as fine as I want.” — Joe139
Product Description from PMA Tool
The PMA Tool Micro Die Adjuster (MDA) replaces your existing lock ring and can be used with nearly any 7/8-14 full length sizing die. We successfully used this tool with sizing dies from Redding, RCBS, Hornady, Lee, Harrells Precision and those made from Newlon Precision die blanks. It allows you to easily make adjustments to your “shoulder bump” as fine as .0005″. The engraved marks on the MDA are equal to approximately .001 inches (true adjustment .000992″) of adjustment to the shoulder bump. Splitting the engraved marks is therefore approximately equal to .0005″. The design of the MDA does not allow it to work with the Forster Co-Ax press. Some custom dies for very short cartridges may require the use of an extended shellholder. Micro Die Adjuster shown in use installed on Custom Newlon/Scott 6mm PPC Die and Harrells Precision Compact Press.
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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
How 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.
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Every serious shooter should have some kind of anti-cant device fitted to his or her rifle. When you tilt your rifle to one side or the other from shot to shot, even a little bit, this can alter your point of impact. Unless the direction and angle of tilt (or cant) is exactly the same for each shot, canting your rifle will open up your groups. And the effects of inconsistent cant* become more extreme the farther you shoot. READ MORE about rifle canting.
In this video, Bryce Bergen of Long Range Shooters of Utah explains the key reasons you should fit a bubble level (anti-cant device, ACI) to your rifle. Bergen explains why inconsistent canting alters impact at long range. Bergen also offers tips on mounting your anti-cant device and working with bipods.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on your bubble level. While there are fancy levels that cost more than $130.00, you can get a functional level for a tenth that cost. This Discovery scope level is CNC-machined to close tolerances for a good fit. It is available with three diameters to fit scopes with 1″, 30mm, or 34mm main tubes. The 1″ version is just $12.99 while the 30mm model is $13.95 and the large 34mm version is $15.95. This unit will do the job, and user reviews are very positive.
Scope-Mount Vs. Rail-Mounted Levels
Some “experts” recommend a scope-mounted bubble level rather than a rail-mounted level. The reason is that you can easily orient the position of a scope-mounted level. With the scope’s vertical cross-hair aligned with a plumb line, simply rotate the bubble level mount until the bubble is centered. It’s not so easy to adjust a rail-mounted level. If your rail is slightly off, or if the rail-mounted anti-cant device doesn’t sit perfectly horizontal when clamped on the rail, the bubble may not center in the view port.
Combo Anti-Cant + Angle Degree Indicator System Flatline Ops sells a smart, scope-mounted leveling device with an optional vertical Strong Arm™ accessory for mounting an Angle-Degree-Indicator (ADI), which allows the shooter to make quick “true range” corrections for up-angle and down-angle shots.
As a combined unit, the Accu/Level™ (fitted with Strong Arm and ADI) is a great set-up for the tactical shooter or long-range hunter. The bubble level rotates inward for protection, then kicks out to the left for easy visibility. The ADI is held in plain view on the left, under the bubble level. On LongRangeHunting.com, Jim See explains how the Accu/Level works in the field and how he employed the ACI during a hunt. CLICK HERE for Accu/Level™ Field Test.
We like the combined Level + ADI system that Flatline Ops has developed. But it is very expensive: The 30mm Accu/Level™ costs $139.99 and the Strong Arm (for ADI mounting) is $58.99. So you’ve got two hundred bucks invested before adding the $110.00 ADI. That’s a significant chunk of change that could be invested in your scope instead.
* By itself, canting the rifle does not hurt accuracy as long as the angle is exactly the same for every shot. Many sling/irons shooters, including David Tubb, cant their rifles. With scoped rifles, if you do prefer a cant, you should mount the scope so that the cross-hairs are plumb with your rifle at your preferred cant angle. You want that vertical cross-hair straight up and down always. The key is to never change the cant of your rifle from shot to shot.
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The new SEB Mini joystick (coaxial) pedestal rest has been a huge success. Sebastian (“Seb”) Lambang’s SEBRests.com team is shipping these out worldwide to meet demand. The great thing about the Mini is that it folds up into a small package, making it much easier to transport than a conventional coaxial front rest such as the Seb NEO or Farley. Shown above is an army of Minis getting ready to conquer the world (well at least the world of shooting).
Even though the Mini is compact and relatively light weight, it is very stable and gives up very little in performance to a full-sized joystick front rest such as the SEB NEO. At the Berger SW Nationals last month, our Systems Admin Jay Christopherson used a SEB Mini. Jay finished Second in F-Open Class just one point behind winner David Gosnell, thereby proving the SEB Mini is “competition ready”.
Jay reports: “I’m glad I had the SEB Mini — it worked great and was much easier to transport and carry from position to position.” Here’s a short video of Jay using the SEB Mini to drill a string of Xs with his .284 Winchester F-Open rifle.
New Carry Bag for SEB Mini
With the success of the SEB Mini, Seb Lambang has already started designing some new accessories. Here is a prototype carry package, the Mini Transporter. You can see this compact bag will hold a Mini even with big F-Class feet attached. Seb says: “I’m experimenting with soft case for Mini rest… Your thoughts?” We think Seb should certainly offer this case for sale. Post your thoughts in the comment section below.
SEB Mini with large disc feet attached still fits in bag.
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Flat-bottomed stocks are great for benchrest shooting, but their geometry is not ideal for mounting conventional Harris bipods, which were originally designed for stocks with a curved underbelly. Long-time Forum member Mark S. wanted to know if there is a way to make a stud-mounted bipod more secure on a flat-bottomed stock: “I have started shooting some steel matches that require shooting from bipods. My best gun for the job is a 6BRX in a MBR benchrest stock. I have installed a stud, but the bipod is still wanting to turn sometimes. What do you use?”
Here’s a solution for Mark and others using Harris bipods on flat-bottomed stocks with studs. Get the Harris-made #9 (HB9) adapter. Costing just $22.12 (at Midsouth), the HB9 adapter provides an extended contact surface with pads, so the bipod will fit securely on your flat fore-end.The HB9 adapter also has a center cut-out for the swivel stud so the bipod adapter aligns properly on the underside of your stock:
You never want your barrel to get too hot. Accuracy suffers when barrels over-heat, and excessive heat is not good for barrel life. So how do you monitor your barrel’s temperature? You can check if the barrel is “warm to the touch” — but that method is not particularly precise. There is a better way — using temperature-sensitive strips. McMaster.com (an industrial supply house) offers stick-on temp strips with values from 86° F to 140° F. A pack of ten (10) of these strips (item 59535K13) costs $12.16 — so figure it’ll cost you about $1.20 per barrel for strips. That’s cheap insurance for your precious barrels. For best barrel life, try to stay under 120 degrees F.
Forum member Nomad47 says: “I have temperature strips (bought at McMaster-Carr) on all my barrels. I try not to shoot when the barrel gets to 122 degrees or higher[.]” Here are photos of the McMaster-Carr temp strips on Nomad47’s customized Savage.
Bad things can happen if your barrel gets too hot. First, with some barrels, the point of impact (POI) will shift or “walk” as the barrel heats up excessively. Second, even if the POI doesn’t change, the groups can open up dramatically when the barrel gets too hot. Third, if the barrel is very hot, the chamber will transfer heat to your loaded cartridge, which can lead to pressure issues. Finally, there’s considerable evidence that hot barrels wear out faster. This is a very real concern, particularly for varmint shooters who may shoot hundreds of rounds in a day. For this reason, many varminters switch among various guns, never letting a particular barrel get too hot.
Neconos.com offers Bar-L Benchrest strips that visually display heat readings from 86 to 140 degrees. Think of these strips as compact, unbreakable thermometers. With adhesive backing, they can also be used to monitor barrel heating. Put a strip on the side of the barrel and the barrel’s temp will be indicated by a stripe that changes from black to green. There is also a “general purpose” strip that reads to 196 degrees (bottom row). The Benchrest strip (86F to 140F) is in the middle. Bar-L temp strips cost $9.00, or $25.00 for a 3-pack.
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Ed Connors placed three consecutive shots all on target at 2160 yards for a sub-3/8 MOA group. Wow.
Amazing shooting — that’s how we’d describe what Ed Connors accomplished recently with his Speedy-built .338 Lapua Magnum LR rifle. Ed nailed a 3-shot group at 2160 yards that would be great at 1000 yards. Check out the target above. Now consider that the shooter was a full mile PLUS 400 yards away. That is truly remarkable accuracy.
At this distance, 2160 yards, one MOA is 22.61″. This three-consecutive-shot group, measuring about 8 inches, works out to less than 3/8 MOA. Think about that — most guys would be elated to shoot 3/8 MOA at two hundred yards. Ed did that at over two thousand yards!
That takes a great rifle, as well as great ammo. Ed says: “I believe in loading like a benchrest shooter to achieve these ultra long-range shots”.
Gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez writes: “Anytime you build a customer a rifle to work out beyond the 1000-yard mark you must work hand-in-hand with your customer and explain everything you are doing to ensure performance at distances most shooters never even contemplate (except in their dreams).
Ed was involved in all aspects of the projects from the reamer print to what we needed for both single-shot work and mag-fed function in timed competition. This was Ed’s very first work-out with his reborn Surgeon-actioned .338 Lapua Magnum. He did great to say the least!”
Pretty Darn Good at One Mile as Well…
While “tuning up” for his 2160-yard session. Ed also produced some very impressive results at one mile (1760 yards). Once he got “dialed in” he delivered three shots you can cover with the palm of your hand. That’s spectacular consistency at one mile.
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.22 Plinkster runs of the most popular gun-centric YouTube channels. His videos have been watched by hundreds of thousands of firearms fans. Many of .22 Plinkster’s videos involve trick shots, such as shooting a .22LR through 100 balloons, but he also does serious reviews. He’s actually a very competent marksman who has shot a vast collection of .22 LR/22 WMR pistols and rifles, making him a qualified rimfire expert (as well as a trick-shot artist and showman).
Here are Four of our Favorite .22 Plinkster Firearms Reviews:
Savage A22, 22 Magnum (WMR) Rifle Field Test
The Savage A22 is the .22 WMR “big brother” to Savage’s popular A17 17 HMR rifle. In this video, .22 Plinkster demonstrates that the A22 is a very reliable semi-auto that can deliver near-1 MOA accuracy when the barrel is clean. This rifle retails for about $390.00.
Smith & Wesson Model 41 .22 LR Pistol Review
The S&W Model 41 is a classic American rimfire target pistol. Beautifully crafted, the Model 41 boasts a superb trigger, comfortable grip, and excellent accuracy. New or used, a Model 41 would be a fine addition to any firearms collection.
Volquartsen Scorpion .22 LR Pistol Review
The Scorpion demonstrated exceptional accuracy in the hands of .22 Plinkster. It comes with a large target-style grip. With a built-in compensator, the Scorpion stays on target with almost no muzzle rise. The comp can be easily switched out with a suppressor (See video at 3:00 time-mark).
S&W Victory Vs. Ruger Mark IV Pistol Shoot-Off
.22 Plinkster liked both pistols. He favored the grips on the Ruger while preferring the S&W’s trigger. He felt the Ruger’s iron sights were best for precision work, but he noted that the green dot fiber optic sights on the S&W Victory worked better for speed work.
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The CMP and NRA now allow magnified optics (up to 4.5X max power) in service rifle matches. You can spend thousands on a high-end scope for your AR, but you just might find that a much cheaper optic will do the job. Right now Amazon has a killer deal on Bushnell’s 1-4x24mm riflescope with 0.1 Mil clicks. The Drop-Zone BDC reticle features hold-over points calibrated for .223/5.56 55-62 grain ammo. That’s a bonus for 3-Gun and tactical matches. When shooting heavier, higher-BC bullets in service rifle matches, you’ll still want to click up and zero at your target yardages.
Amazing Deal Now at Amazon.com
Right now at Amazon.com, you can get this 1-4x24mm Bushnell for just $111.99 with free shipping. That’s a steal — this scope sells elsewhere for up to $155.00. And actual scope owners tell us that this very affordable 1-4x24mm Bushnell holds its own vs. competitive optics costing 3-4 times as much. Read the reviews for yourself below …
Second Focal Plane, Drop Zone-223 BDC Ballistic Reticle calibrated for 55-62 grain, 223 REM/5.556 loads with aiming points out to 500 yards.
Turrets: Target, 0.1 mil click value
Tube Diameter: 30mm
Weight: 16.9 oz.
Eye Relief: 3.5″
Exit Pupil (mm): 13.1 at 1x / 5.2 at 4x
Adj. Range: +50 inches at 100 yards
Finish: Anodized Aluminium Matte
Here are reviews from actual, verified scope purchasers:
“The scope is solid and the fit and finish is excellent. The BDC reticle is very clear and the scope stays focused when changing the magnification. The glass is very clear and the light transmission is better than my Vortex Viper. The windage and elevation turrets are precise and not mushy. At a local gun store I compared this scope to a much higher-priced M223 Nikon and a Leupold. The clarity was similar and the light transmission was actually better in this [Bushnell] scope. The only noticeable advantage the higher-priced scopes had was they weighed less. The best eye relief for my setup was four inches without any noticeable parallax.” — Dave K.
“Doesn’t have the fanfare of putting a Trijicon on your rail (doesn’t have the associated price tag either) but pound-for-pound I bet this bad boy would last in a head to head against the more expensive names. I’ve used it in snowy and rainy conditions, as well as more favorable and it has proven reliable. Great view, fast acquisition, and a fair price. Highly recommended for any AR build.” — WarriorSeries
“I gave this a 5-Star rating because for the same price you will NOT find a better scope! The build quality is solid, the lens are clear, and after 200 + rounds it stayed true. I mounted mine on a Ruger AR-556 with a Burris AR PEPR 30mm mount. Zeroed in a matter of minutes at 100 yards, then was shooting 200 yards, then 300 yards, and 500 yards with no issues. And props to Bushnell for the reticle in this scope! It worked … and made shooting 500 yards a breeze! If you want a good scope for an excellent price this is the one to buy.” N. Bates
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The CMP’s ranges in Ohio and Alabama each received two Pardini air pistols plus an Olympic-grade Pardini GPR1 air rifle. The GPR1 was designed in collaboration with Niccolo Campriani, a three-time air rifle Olympic gold medalist.
Pardini USA has generously donated new air rifles and air pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) air gun ranges. The Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center at Camp Perry, Ohio, and the South Competition Center in Anniston, Alabama, both received a precision Pardini GPR1 air rifle and two handsome Pardini K12 air pistols.
These fine Pardini air guns are available for demonstration and use by the public during the CMP’s Marksmanship Nights, held every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 5 pm to 8pm in Ohio, and from 4 pm to 7 pm in Alabama. Shooters of all skill levels are welcome to participate. To learn more about CMP Marksmanship Nights, visit the CMP’s Competition Center Webpage.
The air guns are specially engraved, “To the CMP from G.P. Pardini”.
These Pardini air guns found a home at the CMP’s ranges thanks to Vladimir Chichkov, a partner at Pardini USA LLC. “I would like to thank Vladimir Chichkov for taking the time to introduce me to Pardini USA rifles and pistols last year during the National Rifle and Pistol Matches,” said Lue Sherman, a CMP staff member at Camp Perry. “I think having these in our ranges, especially at Camp Perry where those who attend the National Matches will be able to witness the guns for themselves, will be great for both the CMP and Pardini USA.”
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Serious reloaders know that PMA Tool makes some of the best specialty reloading tools you can buy. To help folks get the most out of their PMA products, the company offers “how-to” videos. One such video features PMA’s great Micro-Adjust Case Trimmer. PMA owner Pat Reagin tells us: “We’ve had quite of bit of interest in the case trimmer, but a lot of guys want to see it in action. So we’ve created an intro video that shows how to adjust and use the trimmer in various modes.”
Watch Micro-Adjust Case Trimmer Video
The PMA Micro-Adjust Case trimmer indexes off the shoulder but it also provides precise control over neck length. You aren’t limited to a built-in, neck-length setting like some other shoulder-indexed trimmers. The PMA Micro-Adjust Trimming tool currently sells for $129.95 including one cartridge insert. The inserts, which can be purchased for $13.95 separately, can often work for a multiple cartridge types within the same family. For example, you can use the same insert for both .243 Win and .260 Rem. There is another insert that works with both 7mm-08 and .308 Win.
PMA Micro-Adjust Case Trimmer Features:
Indexes off shoulder for easy, consistent trim length.
Cases captured in no-scratch, Delrin™ inserts.
Fully rotating head with bearing for smooth operation and clean, square cuts.
Sharp carbide cutter for quick, smooth cuts with minimal burr.
Spring loaded head allows complete control of rate of feed.
How to use the PMA Micro-Adjust Case Trimmer
The trimmer indexes case off the case shoulder through the use of interchangeable Delrin™ inserts which capture the shoulder and neck of the case. This insert is contained in a spring-loaded tool head that rides on a linear bearing. The Micro-Adjust Trimmer can be used in three ways.
First, you can secure the case in a PMA caseholder chucked in a power drill, drill press, or lathe. You hold the trimming tool with your hand and feed in the spinning case. (This method is handy because if you leave the case in the holder, after you have trimmed to length, you can switch tools and chamfer the case-mouth using the same power source).
In the second method, the trimmer’s adjustment knob is removed (after locking the setting) and the cutting shaft is chucked in a drill, drill press. or lathe. Using this method, the case itself is held by hand and fed into the cutter. Lastly, the trimmer can be used manually, holding the case in one hand and the trimmer in the other. That’s the slowest method, but it works if you do not have power tools handy.
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by Gavin Gear, UltimateReloader.com
Norma is known for its high-quality brass and ammunition. I’ve used Norma brass for precision reloading in calibers like .30-06 with great results. Recently, I saw that Norma had announced a new addition to their Professional Hunter lineup of ammunition: in 6.5 Creedmoor! I thought I should try some out with the Ruger Precision Rifle, and that’s what I’ll cover in this post.
As you saw in the video, this ammunition behaves more like match ammunition than it does hunting ammunition — I really wish it was deer season! Here are the chronograph results:
With an SD of 13.7 FPS, this ammunition is very consistent in terms of velocity. It’s not surprising that the first four shots went into a .5″ group. This new ammunition is built around the Swift Scirocco II 6.5mm Bullet, and here’s more info about this precision-oriented hunting projectile:
Caliber: 264, 6.5mm
Bullet Diameter: 0.264
Bullet Weight: 130 Grains
Bullet Length: 1.350″
Bullet Style: Polymer Tip Spitzer Boat Tail
Bullet Coating: Non-Coated
Sectional Density: .266
This is certainly a great choice of ammunition if you are hunting medium game with a rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. Can’t wait to sit down again with this ammunition to see if I can get that 3/8″ 5-shot group I know this ammo is capable of! If you want to try this Norma 6.5 Creedmoor Professional Hunter ammo yourself, you can purchase this excellent ammunition at Midsouth Shooters Supply.
The NBRSA has liberalized its rules regarding front sandbags. Until this year, NBRSA rules required that benchrest competitors be able to lift their rifle fore-ends freely from the front bag. Accordingly, front bags could not “capture” the forearm or hold the gun down (i.e. keep it from rising). In order to meet this requirement, “legal” bags had straight sides that didn’t stand too far up.
Now the NBRSA rules have changed. You no longer have to be able to lift the gun up freely from the bag without interference. It’s now permissible to have a bag that offers some up/down retention. Check out this new bag from Edgewood Shooting Bags. Call “The EDGE”, it offers taller side sections that can hold the fore-arm in place and counter torque.
Edgewood’s designers state: “There are a couple of [NBRSA] rule changes for 2017. The change we found most intriguing was that the requirement of being able to lift your fore end freely from the front rest has been removed. So, we came up with a new design with super tall ears which will allow the innovators to push the envelope. Let’s see what you can do with these…”
We expect this new type of front bag will help stabilize short-range benchrest rifles, particularly in the 10.5-lb Sporter and Light Varmint classes. But we expect the biggest gains will be had with the big-caliber rifles used in Mid-Range and Long Range benchrest competition. In the 1000-yard game, heavy-recoiling 7mm and .30 caliber cartridges are popular with many shooters. These big guns generate considerable torque despite their ample weight. We predict these “super-sized” front bags will reduce both hop and rolling motion (torque) in the big guns.
We also expect that some varmint hunters will experiment with high-sided front bags that wrap around the fore-end. Such front bags may prove a real boon for guns with narrower, sporter-style fore-ends. And it would be interesting to see if this kind of tall-sided bag design will be incorporated into portable sandbags for the PRS game. We shall see…
Rule Change and Product Tip from EdLongrange. Product Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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If you don’t own a good gun vise yet, buy this now! Cabela’s current $24.99 price is a total steal! We paid about $45.00 12 years ago for the very similar Tipton gun vise which is still going strong. This Cabela’s unit has all the nice features of the Tipton at a fraction of the price. With tough, chemical-resistant polymer construction, this Lifetime Guaranteed Cabela’s gun vise will provide years of service — all for under $25.00. Can’t argue with that.
Every rifle owner should have a handy, portable workstation like this. It is great for barrel cleaning, bore-scoping, trigger-tuning, and general maintenance tasks. This affordable gun vise features rubberized jaws and cradles to protect your rifle’s finish. The large forward compartment holds bolts, large parts, brushes, and tools. Solvent bottles and patches fit in the flat-bottom holes, while two round-bottom “dished” compartments conveniently hold small parts. A quick-release cam in the rear allows fast mounting/unmounting of long guns.
Editor’s Comment: Our similar Tipton gun vise has proven invaluable for many tasks: cleaning barrels, stock refinishing/bedding, scope mounting, trigger adjusting, bore-scoping barrels, and checking throat length. To be honest, I can’t understand how any serious shooter can get along without a product such as this. That said, these types of gun vises are not perfect. The front cradle will NOT fit rifles with forearms wider than 3 inches. And if your butt-stock is very shallow (vertically) from comb down to toe, it may not fit the rear clamping system very well. But, for 95% of the rifles out there, this type of Gun Vise works great. Just don’t ever use it as a shooting rest — it is NOT designed for that!
FREE SHIPPING: If you order at least $99.00 worth of products from Cabelas.com you can get free shipping with Coupon Code 37SHIP.
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A full 54″ long inside, this Plano case will hold big rifles with 30-31″ barrels. This case is very sturdy, and will survive rough handling at airports. The case has tough latches, watertight seals, and wheels for easy transport. Right now this case is just $111.50 with Free Shipping for Amazon Prime members. This is the lowest price ever on Plano’s largest gun case.
One buyer confirms this Plano case will fit long match rifles: “It holds two 17-lb bench rifles with 30″ barrels. It is very heavily made — even more stout than a Pelican 1750. Only draw back is the weight with two guns, over 60 pounds. But for shipping guns to a match, even the airline baggage handlers couldn’t damage this case! Case is great for two long guns!” (Smitty)
Another certified buyer states: “I bought this case for a Savage 110BA .338 Lapua Magnum, and it’s so nice that I just bought a second one for a 50 BMG. There are very few rifle cases that will fit the larger rifles… and this is a great choice for the heavy caliber rifles with long barrels.” (Bruce L.)
Plano’s new Field Locker line of gun cases features reinforced construction, watertight seals, double-density foam, industrial draw-down latches and customizable inserts. These quality cases, engineered to military specifications, rival the protection offered by Pelican and SKB cases at less than half the price.
+ Cut to Fit Foam
+ Extra Wide Latches
+ Wheeled case for ease of transport
+ Cases designed to stack and interlock
+ Exterior 56.38″ x 18″ x 7.25″
+ Interior 54″ x 15″ x 6.38″
Model number#: 109540
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Looking to shoot an AR-platform rifle out past 500 yards? Then you should read two articles by AR guru Glen Zediker. Author of The New Competitive AR-15 and The Competitive AR15 Builders Guide, Zediker is an expert when it comes to AR-platform rifles. Glen believes ARs have excellent long-range capability, provided they are built to high standards, with good barrels. Glen says: “a properly configured AR-15 is easily capable of good performance at 500+ yards. Good performance means it can hit a 1-foot-square target all the time. Competitive shooters can cut that standard in nearly half (the X-Ring on an MR1 600-yard NRA High Power Rifle target is 6 inches, and high X-counts are commonplace among more skilled shooters).”
Published in the Cheaper than Dirt Shooter’s Log, Zediker’s pair of articles cover the history and upgrading of the AR-15. Part One reviews the AR’s development as an accurate firearm, tracing its evolution from a Vietnam-era combat weapon to what is now a favored target rifle of High Power competitors. READ PART ONE.
Part Two discusses the specifics that make an AR accurate at 500 yards and beyond. Zediker talks about barrel configuration (profile and twist rate), bullet selection, floating handguards, and proper mounting of optics or iron sights. READ PART TWO.
Barrel Twist Rate
To stabilize anything longer than a 68- or 69-grain bullet, the barrel twist rate must be — at minimum– 1-in-8. Twist rates reflect how far the bullet travels along the lands or rifling to make one complete revolution. So, 1-in-8 (or 1-8, 1:8) means “one turn in eight inches.” I think it’s better to go a little faster in twist. There is nothing wrong with a 1:7 twist. The 90-grain bullets require a 1:6.5, and that is getting on the quick side. If you want to shoot Sierra 77s or equivalent, and certainly anything longer, 1:8 is necessary. By the way, it is bullet length, not weight, which constitutes the necessary twist rate to launch a stable bullet.
Correct optical sight positioning can be a challenge. With a flattop upper, I need a good inch additional forward extension at the muzzle side of the upper for the sight mount bases to avoid holding my head “back” to get the optimal view through the scope. A longer rail piece is necessary for my builds as a result.
Buttstock Length and Adjustment
An adjustable buttstock is valuable, and even more valuable if it’s well-designed. Mostly, a standard stock is too short, and the cheek area sits too low. Adding length helps a lot by itself. There are assemblies that replace the standard buttplate to allow for length and, usually, height and rotation adjustments for the buttpad. An elevation-adjustable cheekpiece is a big help to attain a solid position.
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Here’s a triple-threat hardware package for long-range shooting. This cool set-up combines a folded-path spotting scope with a Laser Rangefinder (LRF) and a Kestrel Wind Meter. The LRF is mounted directly to the Hensoldt-Zeiss spotting scope ($4330.00 retail) so the two units stay aligned at all times. That makes it easy to spot and range your target quickly. LRF and weather data is piped into a PDA which automatically generates a firing solution (providing windage and elevation adjustments). That’s slick. Feeding the range and weather data directly into the Ballistics solver eliminates human input error and allows rapid updates to the ballistics solution.
Ashbury Precison Ordnance sent us these photos, noting: “The ingenuity of APO customers never ceases to impress us! This rig has a co-located LRF adjustable for azimuth and elevation, a Kestrel weather station (Bluetooth?) and Trimble NOMAD RPDA. Firing solutions are updated as data is transmitted to the PDA from the LRF and weather station. That Hensoldt Spotter 60 is a nice piece of glass for shooting at extremely long distances.” The spotting scope is mounted on a Manfrotto 410 3-axis geared head.
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6.5 Creedmoor vs. Other Mid-Sized 6.5mm Cartridges
The 6.5 Creedmoor is a very popular cartridge with the tactical and PRS crowd. This mid-size cartridge offers good ballistics, with less recoil than a .308 Winchester. There’s an excellent selection of 6.5mm bullets, and many good powder choices for this cartridge. When compared to the very accurate 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor offers similar performance with less expensive brass options. For a tactical shooter who must sometimes leave brass on the ground, brass cost is a factor to consider. Here’s a selection of various 6.5mm mid-sized cartridges. Left to right are: 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor with 120gr A-Max, 6.5 Creedmoor with 142gr Sierra MK, and .260 Remington.
When asked to compare the 6.5 Creedmoor to the 6.5×47 Lapua, Rifleshooter.com’s Editor stated: “If you don’t hand load, or are new to precision rifle shooting, get a 6.5 Creedmoor. If you shoot a lot, reload, have more disposable income, and like more esoteric cartridges, get a 6.5×47 Lapua. I am a big fan of the 6.5×47 Lapua. In my personal experience, the 6.5×47 Lapua seems to be slightly more accurate than the 6.5 Creedmoor. I attribute this to the quality of Lapua brass.” But now that Lapua is producing top-quality 6.5 Creedmoor brass with small primer pockets, we could have a “second generation” 6.5 Creedmoor that rivals ANY mid-sized cartridge for efficiency AND accuracy. We will soon know how well the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge performs with Lapua brass.
The first shipment of Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass has arrived in the USA. It features a small flash hole and small primer pocket. We have some for testing…
New Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor Brass Field Tests Soon
Our friends at 65Guys.com will be testing the new Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass next week. The goal will be to determine if Lapua’s new Small Primer Pocket/Small Flash Hole brass allows higher velocities than American-made brass (Hornady specifically). In addition the 6.5 Guys want to see how well the new Lapua brass holds up after dozen (or more) firing cycles. They’ll hammer the new brass pretty hard to see how it fares with repeated stout loads. Stay tuned…
Here are three tables from the Sierra Bullets Reloading Manual (5th Edition). IMPORTANT — This is just a sample!! Sierra has load data for many other 6.5mm bullet types, including FB, Spitzer, SBT, HPBT, and Tipped MK from 85 grains to 142 grains. To view ALL 6.5 Creedmoor DATA, CLICK HERE.
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.
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