September 24th, 2020

MagnetoSpeed V3 Chronograph Review and Test Video

Gavin Gear Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph ultimatereloader.com

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

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

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

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

READ Full MagnetoSpeed V3 Review on UltimateReloader.com

Gavin Gear Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph ultimatereloader.com

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September 23rd, 2020

Casting Better Bullets — Recommended DVD and Print Resources

bullet casting video Sinclair

We’ve done some bullet casting in the past, both for handgun bullets, and the large, heavy (400gr+) projectiles used with Black Powder Cartridge Rifles. We can say, unequivocally, that newbies should seek out the assistance of a skilled, experienced mentor, who is familiar with the important safety procedures that must be employed. Working with molten lead can be dangerous. And it also takes some skill to get good results (without visible casting flaws), particularly with very large bullets.

There are valuable resources that can help you get started with the casting process. Wolfe Publishing offers two DVDs that cover the bullet casting process from start to finish. Bullet Casting 101 takes you through the basics: showing you how to choose the correct alloy for your application, prep molds, maintain the optimal temperatures, and lube and size bullets. The important steps are laid out clearly. In addition, Bullet Casting 101 helps you select the right equipment and preferred molds for your particular application. (To create uniform rifle bullets that shoot accurately, you really do need high-quality molds.)

Casting Bullets Handgun

Casting Bullets HandgunWolfe Publishing offers a companion DVD, Casting Premium Bullets for Handguns, that covers more advanced techniques for high-volume pistol bullet production. This DVD covers both single-cavity molds and multiple-cavity “gang” molds. (Gang molds can be frustrating at first; it is harder to maintain perfect temp control and mold separation is more complex). The DVD also reveals the sources of most common casting flaws, and explains how to detect cracks, voids and other common problems.

You’ll save considerable time and effort if you really understand how to avoid common mistakes before you start pouring lead. And you’ll get the best results if you learn how to “blend” the optimal alloy for the job. Maintaining the right mold temperature is also critical for good results. These topics and more are covered in these two DVDs, priced at $20.00 each on Amazon.

Good Books about Bullet Casting

Along with these DVDs, there are some excellent print resources about bullet casting. Here are two good bullet casting books we recommend. Every serious bullet caster should own Lyman’s Cast Bullet Handbook, now in its 4th Edition. We also like Casting Premium Bullets for the Black Powder Cartridge Rifle by Paul Matthews (Wolfe Publishing).

We used the Matthews book to improve our cast bullets for a Pedersoli 45/70. Notably, with factory-made cast bullets, that rifle shot about 3″ groups at 100 yards. With custom cast bullets, accuracy was nearly twice as good. We were also able to choose a custom mold that produced bullets with a much higher BC, which helped with long-range matches.

bullet casting video Sinclair

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September 22nd, 2020

Eight Great Books for Handgun Owners

Pistol Marksmanship training book
Jessie Harrison — one of the greatest female pistol shooters on the planet. In the video below, Jessie offers good tips on safe handgun mag changes.

One of our Forum members asked: “Are there any good books on pistol marksmanship? I’m looking for a book that covers techniques and concepts….” Here are eight recommended titles that can make you a better pistol shooter. These books run the gamut from basic handgun training to CCW to Olympic-level bullseye shooting.

Pistol Marksmanship training book 1911 race gunGood Guidebooks for Pistol Shooters
There are actually many good books which can help both novice and experienced pistol shooters improve their skills and accuracy. For new pistol shooters, we recommend the NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting. This full-color publication is the designated student “textbook” for the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course.

If you’re interested in bullseye shooting, you should get the USAMU’s The Advanced Pistol Marksmanship Manual. This USAMU pistol marksmanship guide has been a trusted resource since the 1960s. Action Shooters should read Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos, and Practical Pistol by Ben Stoeger. Brian Enos is a well-known pistol competitor with many titles. Ben Stoeger is a two-time U.S. Practical Pistol shooting champion. Julie Golob’s popular SHOOT book covers pistol marksmanship, along with 3-Gun competition. Julie holds multiple national pistol shooting titles.

concealed carry ccw pistol book

For CCW holders carrying defensive pistols we recommend two good guidebooks. Concealed Carry Class: The ABCs of Self-Defense Tools and Tactics is like a complete CCW class, covering both gun handling and legal issues. To understand when, and how, you have a right to defensive firearms use, read Massad Ayoob’s Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense.

In this Pro Tip Video, Jessie Harrison talks about Dry-Fire Pistol Training:

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September 20th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Old “Number 2″ — Cherished M1A of Ray Gross

Ray Gross M1A M14 service rifle .308 .30-06 Distinguished rifleman badge
Old “Number 2″ belonging to Ray Gross. Click Photo for full-screen Image.

Ray Gross, one of America’s great rifle competitors, has served as captain of the United States F-TR Team. While Ray is best known for his F-Class shooting and leadership, Ray is also an experienced service rifle shooter, who secured his Distinguished Rifleman Badge 25 years ago. Ray has shot many rifles during his competitive shooting career, but the M1A rifle above held a special place in Ray’s heart. This old semi-auto earned Ray his Distinguished Badge, and he’ll never forget that, though he parted with the rifle in 2016.

Ray Gross M1A M14 service rifle .308 .30-06 Distinguished rifleman badge

Posting back in 2016, Ray told us:

“I said goodbye to an old friend… Affectionately known as ‘Number 2′, she is the rifle that I earned my Distinguished Rifleman Badge with in 1995 (#1159).

That rifle was also responsible for a fair amount of Venison in the ’90s, as well. But since then, she has spent a lot of time in the closet. Last time I got her out was to destroy a bunch of hard drives containing evidence collected during my Computer Forensics days. She deserved better than that.

I will miss the beautiful sound of all that American steel slamming into battery when I tripped her bolt.” – Ray Gross

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USARay Gross was profiled in Shooting Sports USA last year. He explained how he started his competitive shooting career with an M1A rifle:

How did you begin in competitive shooting?

I began competing in 1991, at age 27. I bought an M1A and joined the Midland County Sportsman’s Club. One day I was at the club shooting the M1A when a member, Rich Koskela, came over and invited me to join them shooting competitions. Up until that point, I had no idea there was such a thing as NRA Competitive Shooting and I had been a member since 1986. Anyway, Rich and some of his friends showed me the basics and at my first match, I finished in the top half and first MU.

What are your major accomplishments in the shooting sports?

In 1995, I earned the Distinguished Rifleman Badge and a few years later switched to Palma rifle. On the way to making my first Palma team in 2003, I won the Army Cup, the Andrus trophy twice and the Sierra Trophy once. As a coach, I won the Herrick match, and seven F-TR National Championship team matches. Internationally, I’ve coached three gold medal America Match teams (The USA has only won four in Palma Rifle), and earned a Silver and Bronze coaching on the Palma Team in 2015 and 2019. In 2017, I led the U.S. F-TR Team to a World Championship. This year (2019), I also won the NRA ELR National Championship (25-lb max Division).”

Ray Gross M1A M14 service rifle .308 .30-06 Distinguished rifleman badge

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USA

“Descended from the M1 Garand, the M14 utilized multiple improvements that made it a far superior firearm for combat and a much better rifle for competition.” — Dick Jones, Shooting Sports USA.

In the April 2018 issue of Shooting Sports USA, you’ll find a good article on the civilian version of the M14, now sold commercially as the Springfield M1A. An evolution of the battle-proven M1 Garand, the M14 was designed to shoot the 7.62×51 (.308 Win) round instead of the larger .30-06 Springfield cartridge used in WWI, WWII and Korea. While the vast majority of today’s M1As are chambered for .308 Win/7.62×51, Springfield Armory also produces a 6.5 Creedmoor version.

Ray Gross M1A service rifle

Dick Jones reports that accurized M14/M1As could post remarkable scores: “The accuracy potential of the M14/M1A is unquestionable. During their reign as service rifles, they produced multiple perfect 200 scores at 600 and 1000 yards in the hands of top shooters. This is a difficult feat with a modern, scoped, magnum-caliber rifle and remarkable with an iron-sighted battle rifle. Good competition rifles can group 10 shots under one MOA, and the meticulously-massaged rifles used by the top shooters during my career would consistently put up 10 shots under an inch at 200 yards off a test cradle.”

M14 rifle Springfield M1A camp perry Shooting Sports USA

For many years, the semi-auto version of the M14 was “top dog” in iron sights Service Rifle competition. Now that discipline is dominated by .223 Rem (5.56×45) AR-type rifles, but the bigger .308-caliber rifle, now sold as the M1A, remains popular. And in non-pandemic years, the CMP hosts a major M1A Match at Camp Perry, sponsored by Springfield Armory. This is a very popular event with 100+ competitors and significant cash prizes.

See how the modern M1A is built in this Springfield Armory Video:

As racing improves automobiles, competition improves firearms, and the current crop of Springfield M1As, from the Basic to the top-of-the-line Super Match and Loaded models, reflects the years of development. The M14 and its variants are … still considered by many to be the best battle rifle in the history of the U.S. Military. — Dick Jones, Shooting Sports USA

Military Version Operation Revealed — M14 Training Film

The original military version of the M1A was the select-fire M14. The 27-minute official U.S. Army video below demonstrates the operation of the M14. Field-stripping is shown from the 5:13 time-mark through 8:30. Cut-away drawings show the M14’s gas operation at 8:40.

Watch M14 Functioning Cycle Starting at 9:25 Mark:

The M14’s complete 8-step functioning cycle is demonstrated from the 9:25 time-mark through 22:41. These eight operations are: 1) Feeding; 2) Chambering; 3) Locking; 4) Firing; 5) Unlocking; 6) Extracting; 7) Ejecting; and 8) Cocking. This movie is fairly long, but fans of battle rifles will find it well worth their time. Every M1A owner should definitely watch this video start to finish.

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September 20th, 2020

Forster Co-Ax Press Features Showcased in Video

Forster Co-Ax Coax Reloading Press Grafs Grafs.com Sale Co-Axial rockchucker

In recent years, Forster Co-Ax® presses have been somewhat hard to find, as demand has out-stripped supply. However, right now Midsouth Shooters has Co-Ax presses in stock for $349.99. This price includes a set of jaws. The Co-Ax Single Stage Press accepts any standard 7/8″ X 14 reloading die, but Forster suggests using Forster Cross Bolt Lock Rings for best results. As the Co-Ax is back-ordered at most vendors, you may want to order soon.

If you are not yet familiar with the many unique features of the Forster Co-Ax, we recommend you watch the video embedded below. This shows how the press operates and highlights the design elements which set the Co-Ax apart from every other reloading press on the market.

Video Shows Special Features of Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press

Forster Co-Ax Press Video Review
This is a very thorough review of the Forster Co-Ax done by Rex Roach. This 14-minute video shows the key Co-Ax features, explaining how the floating case-holder jaws work (3:30 time-mark), how the dies are held in place (4:40 time-mark), how spent primers are captured (6:10 time-mark), and how to set the primer seating depth (10:00 time-mark). We’ve used a Co-Ax for years and we still learned a few new things by watching this detailed video. If you are considering purchasing a Co-Ax, definitely watch this video start to finish.

Forster Co-Ax Coax Reloading Press Grafs Grafs.com Sale Co-Axial rockchucker

The Co-Ax case-holder features spring-loaded, floating jaws. These jaws have two sets of openings, small and large. This allows the system to adapt to various rim diameters. The jaw plates can simply be reversed to switch from small jaw to large jaw. In the photo above, the Co-Ax is configured with the large jaw openings in the center.

Photos are screen shots from Forster Co-Ax Review by Rex Roach on YouTube.

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September 19th, 2020

Savage 110 Elite Precision — PRS/NRL Factory Class Rifle

Savage Arms model 110 Elite Precision rifle PRS NRL ELR tactical modular rifle

Looking for an match-worthy PRS/NRL rig for under $1700.00? Check out Savage’s new Elite Precision model 110. GunsAmerica Digest recently did a very thorough test of the 110 Elite Precision, declaring that this modern Savage is “Competition-Ready Out of the Box.”

The 110 Elite Precision has many notable features:

1. Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) Adjustable Core Competition (ACC) Chassis
2. Trigger adjusts from 1.5-4.0 pounds
3. Barrel comes with timed muzzle brake from factory
4. MDT Stocks easily accepts Weights and Accessories
5. Takes AICS-compatible Magazines
6. Titanium Nitride coated bolt body

This rifle boasts an excellent MDT ACC modular chassis. GunsAmerica stated: “Combined with the excellent trigger, an AR-compatible vertical grip, flared magazine well, and AICS mag system (along with a host of additional features), the 110 Elite Precision comes with everything you need [for PRS/NRL matches].” The stock has ARCA rails on the fore-end and M-LOK mounting points for accessories and/or weights. You can add an additional 9 pounds of steel to customize the balance/mass of the rifle to improvide stability and minimize recoil.

Savage Arms model 110 Elite Precision rifle PRS NRL ELR tactical modular rifle
The Cheekpiece and Buttpad are adjustable, along with Length of Pull (LOP).

Another reviewer noted that the 110 Elite Precision has important accurizing tweaks from the factory: “Key upgrades include a blueprinted action … Savage squared the receiver face and cleaned up the receiver threads to ensure they’re concentric with the barrel’s bore. This combination goes a long way in eliminating the occasional flyer that can ruin a good group or cause a miss in a match.” Source: GunsandAmmo.com.

Decent Accuracy with Factory Ammo
What kind of accuracy can you expect? Decent for a factory barrel and factory ammo. With Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, shooting off a sled, the test rifle delivered 1.1-MOA average groups. We would expect considerably better accuracy using a proper front rest with a bag-rider fitted to the fore-end. Likewise, the gun would almost certainly shoot better with handloads with Lapua brass and Berger bullets. Handling was good: “The Elite Precision is about as shootable as it gets. The 12.6-pound rifle produces very little recoil with the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge, and … the ACC chassis can be weighted to control recoil even further.”

Savage Arms model 110 Elite Precision rifle PRS NRL ELR tactical modular rifle

Actual owners have been impressed with the 110 Elite Precision. One buyer posted: “You couldn’t build a complete PRS rifle that is this good of a platform for even close to the price!” GunsAmerica tester Jordan Michaels concurred that this rig is a great choice for PRS/NRL factory-class: “If you’re in the market for a rifle to compete in a long-range competition, the Savage 110 Elite Precision is an excellent choice.”

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September 18th, 2020

Hearing Protection for Young Children and Toddlers

Walker's baby child kids earmuff ear muffs

Here’s a product we’re pleased to see on the market. Walker’s, a major supplier of hearing protection for shooters, offers smaller-sized NRR 23 ear muffs specifically designed for infants and small children from six months to eight years of age. Walker’s Baby & Kids Muffs provide protection for infants and children against dangerous loud noises. The muffs are designed to fit smaller heads properly, and protect the sensitive hearing of youngsters. Priced under $10.00 on Amazon, these are so affordable that there’s no excuse not to protect your childrens’ hearing.

The adjustable headband on these muffs is designed for the smaller heads of kids up to age 8. These Baby & Kids Muffs have a 23 NRR noise reduction rating. We wish that were at least 25 NRR, but this can be supplemented with foam plugs for extra protection (plugs under the muffs). The important thing is that these muffs are sized right for youngsters and fit properly (for a good sound-seal). Walker’s® Baby and Kids muffs start at $14.99 MSRP and come in four color choices: blue, pink, green and camo.

Baby BANZ for Children 0-2 Years
Walker's baby child kids earmuff ear muffsParents of very young infants should consider Baby BANZ Muffs, which are designed for infants 0-2 years. These small-sized muffs can protect toddlers’ hearing during rock concerts, when loud machinery is running, during fireworks displays, or other noisy activities. With an impressive NRR 31 dB rating, these really work for tiny tots and toddlers.

One mother reports: “I bought these for my two-month old and they work great! He’s never fought us putting them on. He’s now falling asleep with them. He’s slept through a demolition derby and a rowdy wedding reception. I’m ordering another pair for my nephew.” Another mom says: “We bought these when we took our four month-old to a loud event. They fit her head well and were well-padded. She looked very comfortable, so comfortable in fact that she slept for most of her first rock concert. I’d say they worked exceptionally well!”

Baby BanZ ear muffs kids
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September 15th, 2020

Getting Started in PRS/NRL Competition — Guns, Gear, & Ammo

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

Many of our readers are thinking of trying out PRS-type competition. Tactical matches are becoming more popular every season. Along with F-Class, tactical/practical disciplines are the fastest-growing forms of competitive rifle shooting. Rich Emmons, one of the founders of the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), has written an insightful article about getting started in the tactical game. This will help PRS novices pick the right equipment and understand the game. Here are highlights from Emmon’s “PRS — Intro to Competition” article, originally published on the PRS website. You may also want to read the current PRS FAQ Page.

Precision Rifle Series — Intro to Competition

by Rich Emmons, PRS President
Tactical Shooting with a precision rifle is not like other disciplines, there is no set course of fire or format. That is what makes it so fun!

GAP Grind PRS series
Photo from Ramia Whitecotton’s GAP GRIND 2016 photo album.

First, you have to ask yourself what do you want to accomplish. When I was introduced to long range shooting, immediately a light turned on for me, once I saw how easy it was to hit 300–600 yard targets. What I quickly learned from my first competition and the many that followed was there is so much to learn and shooting in competition put everything you thought you knew to the test. So back to the question: “What do YOU want to accomplish?”. The reality is you may not know yet, you just think it is cool to have a bad ass rifle and scope that can make almost any shot. Now if you’ve got that rifle and scope, it’s time to take it to the next level.

Watch PRS 2016 Championship

Getting Started — What to Expect
If you’re reading this, you have probably already have been bitten by the long range shooting bug. It can seem quite intimidating to just jump in with a new bunch of shooters you don’t know and shooting lingo you don’t quite understand yet. But here is the key — show up and shoot! I guarantee you if you show up to a match as a new shooter, other experienced shooters will guide you along and give you help on anything you need.

AUDIO: Click Button to hear Rich Emmons Talk about the Precision Rifle Series.

Now, a couple things you should just expect. You’re not as good as you think you are. Don’t expect to come into your first match and beat all the veterans. That just doesn’t happen unless you have had some really good coaching or other shooting competition experience to get you ready for this type of competition. If possible, find a local rifle club that has monthly long range matches, or any type of match will help prepare you for a larger PRS event. Getting involved with a rifle club and starting out shooting monthly matches is definitely the way to jump into competition shooting.

PRS equipment gear AREA 419 gear changer bag

The Gear You Need
The first question that many ask is: “What kind of rifle/caliber/scope do I need?” The easiest answer to this is, the best you can afford. It’s no secret the gear is expensive. It took me several years of buying sub-par gear and eventually trading up to figure this out. Now, a guy can get a real sense of pride of doing it on the cheap, or with a factory rifle. I’ve seen many old Savage 10FPs take down custom rigs that cost 10 times as much. And if that’s all you can afford, then eventually you will learn the limitations of yourself or your gear. As for choice of cartridge/caliber, the respected Precision Rifle Blog has analyzed five years worth of match results from the best tactical shooters in the nation. CLICK HERE to read a PRB article that reveals what cartridge types the “top guns” use.

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

Craig Arnzen of Area 419 has created a useful article reviewing the gear PRS shooters need, including support bags, hearing protection, and other key accessories such as muzzle brakes. This helpful article also covers factory ammunition options.

Area 419 Game Changer bag PRS tactical matches

Making Good Ammo
Producing quality reloads is something you have to master. It’s not hard at all, you just have to pay attention to detail, and eventually you are going to do something stupid like mis-priming your brass, or skip a row of brass when dumping your powder. Everybody has their own horror story of some reloading failure that cost them a stage or even a match. So load to perfection, work with your rifle to find what load it likes the best, then start your practice.

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

Practice Makes Perfect
You want to become ONE with your rifle, learning everything you can about its functionality. Getting comfortable with the operation of your rifle is key. Learn the feel of your trigger, dry-firing until you wear the paint off your bolt handle. Learn how the rifle works best — pay attention to little things like the sound and feel of the bolt feeding a round from the mag (or when it doesn’t). Learn how to remove a jammed round quickly, learn how to reload a magazine quickly. Learn to scan across a field and find targets in a quick manner, seeing the targets with your eye and coming into the scope on target. These are some of the basic practices that separate the new shooters from the seasoned ones.

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

Tactical Competition Precision Rifle Series

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September 11th, 2020

Lyman Bleacher Blocks — Tiered Design Has Many Advantages

Lyman Bleacher Block stepped cartridge holder

Here’s an inexpensive product that can make your case prep and loading tasks easier. We use and recommend the cleverly-designed Lyman Bleacher Blocks. These multi-level (stepped) cartridge holders save space on your bench AND make it easier to select a particular case/cartridge from a full block. Each row is a different height for convenience. With Bleacher Blocks it’s also easier to check for powder levels, or place bullets before the seating process.

Lyman’s Bleacher Block cartridge holders have many advantages over conventional, single-level blocks. Use the different levels for sorting brass. Or, migrate the brass from top to bottom as you proceed through case prep stages. If you are assembling loads with different bullets for load testing, you could arrange the loaded rounds on different levels for easy recognition. For example put V-Max loaded rounds on the top tier, and Berger Hybrid loaded rounds on the bottom tier. Or, if you are experimenting with neck tension, you can use different rows for cases processed with different bushings.

Made of durable orange polymer, Lyman Bleacher Blocks are molded in three sizes. The smallest size (with 0.388″-diam holes) fits .223 Rem-size case heads. The middle size (with 0.485″-diam holes) fits .308 Win-size case heads. That works for 6mmBR/Dasher sized cases perfectly. The biggest Bleacher Block has 0.565″-diameter recesses for magnum-size cases. All three cartridge block sizes hold fifty (50) rounds. Purchase any size for just $6.14 per Block at Midsouth.

Lyman Bleacher Block stepped cartridge holder

Here’s what Lyman says about its innovative cartridge block design: “Our [stepped] loading blocks allow for easier handling of cases in and out of the loading block. Our stepped design allows you to easily grip a single case without jamming your fingers down into a group of cases like in traditional loading blocks, and allows for a smaller ‘footprint’ on your bench.”

Lyman Bleacher Blocks are among the Reloading Tools reviewed in this helpful video:

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »
September 9th, 2020

Hearing Protection: Bands, Muffs, and Plugs

Hearing Protection DB sound level ear plug muff

“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.”Effective hearing protection is a must whenever you are shooting firearms or when you are in the vicinity of gun-shots. For ultimate protection, we recommend a good set of tapered foam earplugs, topped by ear-muffs. However, there are situations when you may prefer lighter-weight hearing protection that can be quickly removed. For example, if you are standing well behind the firing line as an observer, or if you are working as a rangemaster or waddie some distance away from the shooters.

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

1. Ear Bands — Quick On/Off, Lightweight, Inexpensive

Howard Light radians peltor ear bands NRR

Hearing bands are inexpensive, lightweight, and are handy for special situations, such using hedgetrimmers and noisy power tools, when you may need to frequently remove the protection. These banded products are a also a very good form of hearing protection for hunters. You can keep them handy around the neck while spotting game, and then insert the plugs before shooting. We have tried two types of banded hearing protection, the Howard Leight Quiet Band (shown above) (25 dB NRR), and the Radians Rad-Band (23 dB NRR). The Leight Quiet Band is quite durable and the plugs can be replaced.

Howard Light radians peltor ear bands NRR

Radians Rad-bad is very light-weight, with Jelli™ Plugs that are comfortable, washable, and reusable. Peltor also offers Sport Banded Earplugs but we think those are a bit flimsy and the NRR seems exaggerated.

2. Ear Muffs — Max Protection and Compact Options

AccurateShooter Deals of Week NRR 34 muffs ear protection 34dB

The highest current USA Noise Reduction Rating is 34 dB NRR. To get that kind of protection, you need pretty big muffs, but thankfully, you don’t have to spend big bucks. For under $15.00 you can buy quality ANSI-approved muffs with a 34dB Noise Reduction Rating. Chose the G&F Pro Muffs at $13.08 (Amazon’s Choice), or the dark green Walker EXT Range Muffs for $14.99. Both products have padded head-bands which retract.

Many hunters and competitive shooters prefer low-profile ear muffs. As these typically have a lower Noise Reduction Rating, perhaps NRR 22-24, we recommend running earplugs under muffs, particularly when you are at a busy range or shooting a match. If you use low-profile electronic muffs, such as Howard Leight Impact Sport Muffs, you should still be able to hear range commands even with plugs underneath.

3. Earplugs — Small, Inexpensive, but Essential

accurateshooter.com review Max-1 Howard Leight ear plugs

20 Pairs
50 Pairs

These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 3-4 days a week. These Leight Max plugs are very effective, easy to insert/remove (with the flared ends), and they seem to be less abrasive in the ear canal than some other brands. Right now you can get 50 pairs of these NRR33 Leight Max plugs for just $8.40 (with free shipping).

Note, if you prefer thin, light-weight earmuffs, we recommend running earplugs underneath for double protection while shooting firearms (or when you’re on the firing line). Sound experts tell us that running plugs and muffs together can effectively improve your effective noise reduction by 4-7 db NRR.

hearing protection db NRR deafness ear muffs plugs

Permalink Gear Review, Tactical, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 9th, 2020

When Size Matters — Russia’s Massive 14.5×114 Cartridge

14.5x114 mm cartridge Russia South Africa
Photo courtesy Elardus de Lang, Truvelo Manufacturers Armoury, South Africa.

Believe it or not, here is a cartridge that makes a .338 Lapua Magnum look like a toy. The 14.5x114mm cartridge was designed as a MG and rifle-fired anti-materiel round. To translate from the metric system to caliber and inches, the round is a mammoth .57 caliber which measures 4.49 inches to the case mouth, and 6.13 inches overall. That jumbo-sized case holds a whopping 655 grains of powder. Commonly-loaded projectiles weigh 920-1030 grains. The 993gr armor-piercing projectile has a muzzle velocity of approximately 1006 meters per second (3300 fps) and can penetrate 30-32 millimeters of RHA steel at a range of 500 meters.

The top photo comes from Elardus De Lang, a Forum member who works at the Truvelo Manufacturers Armoury in South Africa. Elardus also provided an impressive video showing the massive 14.5x114mm being shot from prone with a Truvelo-built bolt-action rifle. Elardus tells us: “Here is a video, with a slow-motion ending, of our 14.5x114mm anti-materiel rifle being fired in our indoor testing facility. This caliber is a true beast! It propels a 993gr Armor-Piercing Incendiary bullet to 3300 fps, burning 480 grains of powder in the process. [This shows] that rifles of that power level can actually be shootable. The concussion indoors is something to experience……every shot feels like you are being punched in the face, and the heat from the muzzle flash actually hits you like a wave!”

14.5x114mm Cartridge Design and Dimensions
The 14.5×114mm has 42.53 ml (655 grains H2O) cartridge case capacity. The exterior shape of the case was designed to promote reliable case feeding and extraction in bolt action rifles and machine guns alike, under extreme conditions. Cartridges typically use lacquered steel cases, but some countries also use brass cases for the 14.5x115mm.

14.5x114 mm cartridge Russia South Africa

All dimensions are in millimeters (mm). Americans would define the shoulder angle at alpha/2, or 22.5 degrees. The common rifling twist rate for this cartridge is 455 mm (1:17.91″) with eight lands/grooves. According to official guidelines, the 14.5×114mm can handle up to 360 MPa (52,213 psi) piezo pressure.

14.5x114 mm cartridge Russia truvelo manufacturers armoury South Africa

14.5x114mm Cartridge History
The 14.5×114mm (.57 Cal) is a heavy machine gun and anti-materiel rifle cartridge used by the Soviet Union, the former Warsaw Pact, modern Russia, and other countries. It was originally developed for the PTRS and PTRD anti-tank rifles, but was later used as the basis for the KPV heavy machine gun that formed the basis of the ZPU series anti-aircraft guns that is also the main armament of the BTR series of armoured personnel carriers from the BTR-60 to the BTR-80 and for heavy anti-material sniper rifles. The cartridge was designed in 1939 and first issued in 1941.

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September 7th, 2020

New Hybrid-X Front Rest from 21st Century Shooting

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial

Introducing the Hybrid-X Shooting Rest
The new, patent-pending Hybrid-X front rest from 21st Century Shooting is a true hybrid between a joystick and a traditional “wheel” rest. Windage (left/right point of aim) changes are made via a control stick that extends back to the shooter. This control stick travels on a horizontal plane. Elevation is controlled through a knob on the end of the control stick, OR a large, traditional wheel on the post. So you have TWO elevation control options — the Big Wheel or the smaller knob on the end of the control rod.

The entire central assembly of the rest is mounted on a circular plate that is mounted in the base plate. This central assembly and plate is called the Target Acquisition System or “T.A.S”. This allows the user to easily self-align the rifle and rear bag by simply loosening a few levers. Self-alignment will help minimize set-up time and improve repeatability by eliminating binding of the rifle in the shooting bags. In addition, this will allow for rapid windage adjustment if needed to acquire a target. This really is an important advancement — you can simply place the rest on bench or ground, and then use the T.A.S. function to get perfect target alignment. No more trial and error placing the rest multiple times to get the correct orientation to the target.

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial
 
The Hybrid-X design team tells us: “Smooth operation and ease of control are what this rest represents. The utilization of a ball screw plus bearing block provides glass-smooth elevation adjustment. And the elevation is stable.” Guys, this is important. Unlike some joystick rests which move when you release the joystick, on the Hybrid-X, the cradle holding your rifle does not “droop” when you release the Hybrid-X control stick. Repeatability from shot to shot is provided by the rock-solid platform and the fact that elevation does NOT change when you let go of the control stick.

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial
The entire center section of the rest rotates as one unit for fast, perfect alignment to target.
 
Key Features of New Hybrid-X Shooting Rest
 
1. Weight of rifle is not a factor in ease of controls due to the use of ball screws/bearing blocks in the post.
2. Windage range is more than you would ever need — more than other rests on the market.
3. Elevation is not lost from shot to shot even if you release control stick.
4. Total weight of Hybrid-X prototype is 28 pounds.
5. Designed, machined and built in the USA!

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial
 
How does it work? Very well indeed! The folks at 21st Century report: “Everyone that has shot off this rest so far is blown away with the repeatability, smoothness, and the ease of the controls.” The innovative Hybrid-X rest is Patent Pending, and is 100% made in the USA. Priced at $1950.00, the Hybrid-X is in production now. You won’t see it (yet) on the 21st Century website, but you can email or call (260) 273-9909 to order. Currently, expect a 60-day wait from time of order to delivery. The rest includes a front bag.

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial

Field Test of New 21st Century Rest in Competition

Report from F-Class Competitor Bret Solomon
I would like to first start out by saying “Thank You” to all the persons involved at 21st Century Shooting for getting me this new rest. I used the new rest for the first time on Friday, August 7, 2020 for a team match in The Michigan State Long Range Team Match Championship. My team took first in the F-Open Division and I had a very quick learning curve with the rest. Saturday, I again used the rest for the Michigan Long Range/F-Class Regional individual matches. We shot one match and called the rest of the day due to weather concerns. Sunday we came back for three matches.

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial

As the day progressed, the winds came up and starting switching considerably more and I put the new rest to work. I was able to concentrate on wind switches, feeling very confident that the gun was staying where I put it in the rest and on target. Adjustments were very smooth and I was able to shoot multiple shots with no elevation changes. The controls are in a position where you can get behind the gun and not have to reach out for changes. Yes the rest performed great — I was able to come from behind to take a one-point win in the F-Open Division. I believe the new rest from 21st Century Shooting made a significant difference for me. In the future, I hope the Hybrid-X rest will help advance my shooting game.

Once again, thank you to 21st Century Shooting for a great addition of technology, innovation, craftsmanship, and customer service to the shooting community. — Bret Solomon

21st Century Shooting Hybrid-X front rest f-class benchrest swingarm coaxial

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, New Product, News 2 Comments »
September 6th, 2020

Sunday Gunday: .375 CheyTac ELR Rig and Cartridge Info

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

This Extreme Long Range (“ELR”) rifle features a massive BAT “L” Round Action, McMillan Beast Stock, 38″ Bartlein 1:7″-twist Barrel, T5 Terminator Muzzle Brake, R.A.D. Recoil Reduction unit, and a customized Cheek Riser. The “Beast” stock name is appropriate — this rifle weighs a massive 38 pounds. Including the T5 brake, the finished barrel, chambered in .375 CheyTac, is 44″ long! All the work was done by Hall-of-Fame shooter and gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzales, of S.G. Precision LLC in San Antonio, Texas. If you want a rifle like this, Speedy says the lead time is 6-9 months. CONTACT SPEEDY, or call (210) 368-9010, or (972) 672-6630.

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision
Speedy milled vents in the fore-end. He told us “when you’re burning 150+ grains of powder you need all the ventilation you can get to help reduce the barrel heat.”

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision
There are many good brakes out there, then there’s the “TERMINATOR”! — Speedy

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision
The Phoenix Bipod employs a lowering modification.

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

.375 Cheytac Extreme long range rifle ELR BAT Action McMillan Stock Beast Terminator Muzzle Brake SG Precision

About the .375 CheyTac Cartridge

Peterson .375 Cartridge Brass Cheytac K02M

Some of the most successful ELR cartridges are based on the CheyTac family, including the .375 CheyTac (9.5×77) and .408 CheyTac (10.36 x 77). Brass for both these jumbo cartridges is offered by Peterson Cartridge Co.. This Peterson Cheytac brass has proven to be tough and long-lived. And it is capable of winning — our friend Derek Rodgers won the 2017 King of 2 Miles (K02M) event shooting a .375 Cheytac with Peterson brass.

.375 CheyTac — K02M-Winning, World-Beating Cartridge

Derek Rodgers is the 2017 King of 2 Miles. He is also the first-ever human to ever hit the maximum distance target target at 3368 yards (1.91 miles). His cartridge choice? The .375 CheyTac. Derek ran Cutting Edge Bullets in Peterson brass with Hodgdon H50BMG powder.

Q: Why did you choose the .375 CheyTac cartridge?

Derek: When I was asked to join the Applied Ballistics Team, I needed to get an ELR rifle built in a short period of time. I was under a very tight time schedule to get the project complete. In an effort to eliminate variables, I decided to keep things standard and as simple as possible. I chose the .375 CheyTac for the ease of getting components. The larger rifles are more difficult to get components quickly and I felt like the .375 CheyTac had enough attributes to be competitive at ELR distances.

.375 Cheytac Derek Rodgers KO2M King 2 miles

.375 Cheytac Derek Rodgers KO2M King 2 miles

Developing and Testing CheyTac Brass

Peterson Cartridge’s president, Derek Peterson, live-tested the company’s .375 CheyTac (aka 9.5 X 77) brass. He started with five casings, with a full-body resizing after each firing. He got 17 firings out of each before seeing early signs of case head separation. [Editor: These were with extremely high pressure loads.] He then took another set of casings and after each firing he just bumped the shoulder back, as a typical reloader would. He got 20 firings out of those casings.

Peterson .375 Cartridge Brass Cheytac K02M
Note: CheyTac® is a registered trademark of CheyTac USA, LLC. Peterson Cartridge has no affiliation.

No SAAMI Spec for CheyTac Cartridges
Peterson notes: “As many of you probably already know there is no SAAMI spec on these calibers. So, without a SAAMI spec there is no stated maximum pressure for a service load. However, there IS an international spec on the .408 [promulgated by the] CIP (Commission International Permanente). And the CIP max pressure for this round is extremely high. Our partner in Europe tells us it is probably unnecessarily high. Our partner loads these rounds and they have a standard load for the .375s which is also quite high. So that is the pressure we did our testing at. To even achieve that pressure, we had to use a compressed load.” In actual ELR competition any sane shooter will use a lowerp-pressure load that should provide even greater case life, and better barrel life.

Peterson .375 Cartridge Brass Cheytac K02M

Peterson Brass Goes Through 11 Dimensional Tests
With all the brass types Peterson produces, the company performs a battery of in-process, real-time dimensional checks. Peterson tests 11 different dimensions continuously throughout each shift. Some of these are tube cylindricity, mouth to body concentricity, primer pocket diameter, length to shoulder, overall length, and more. These measurements are automatically fed into Statistical Process Control software. If a dimension begins to drift from nominal Peterson can catch it immediately and correct it.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
September 5th, 2020

Tool Time: Sinclair Cartridge Case Neck Sorting Tool

Case Neck thickness sorting gauge Sinclair accurateshooter.com

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

Watch Case Neck Sorting Tool Operation in Video

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

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

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September 4th, 2020

Ten Best Bolt-Action Rifles of All Time — Do You Agree with List?

Ten 10 best bolt action rifles shooter

A while back, RifleShooter online magazine published a list of the purported Ten Best Bolt-Action Rifles of All Time. Ten classic rifle designs (including the Remington 700, Winchester Model 70, Weatherby V, and Mauser 98) were featured with a paragraph or two explaining their notable features.

“Best” Lists Stir Controversy…
These Top 10 lists are always controversial. While most readers might approve of half the entries, there are always some items on the Top 10 list that some readers would challenge. Here is RifleShooter’s Top 10 list. What do you think? Are there some other bolt-actions that are more deserving?

1. Springfield M1903
2. Mauser 98
3. Winchester Model 70
4. Remington Model 700
5. Weatherby V

6. Sako L61/AV
7. Savage Model 110
8. Ruger M77
9. Tikka T3
10. Mannlicher-Schonauer

10bolt1402.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 3 Comments »
September 3rd, 2020

ZEISS Victory SF Binoculars Win Editor’s Choice Award

zeiss victory SF 10x32 8x32 binoculars Editor's Choice outdoor life
Zeiss Victory SF 8×42 model shown. The 10×32 has 90% light transmission.

If you are looking for high-end binoculars, you should definitely consider the new ZEISS Victory SF series. These offer superb glass, rapid focus, and ultra-wide field of view (very important for hunters).

Recognizing the qualities of the ZEISS SF line, Outdoor Life Magazine recently named the ZEISS Victory SF 10×32 binoculars as the winner of its Editor’s Choice Award in the hunting binoculars category. This Award was announced in Outdoor Life’s September issue.

zeiss victory SF 10x32 8x32 binoculars Editor's Choice outdoor life

CLICK HERE to Learn More about Zeiss Binoculars »

Outdoor Life noted three key features of the new Victory SF: 1) Very Wide Field of View; 2) Rapid Focus; and 3) Balance. Outdoor Life also praised the exceptionally sharp and clear SCHOTT fluorite glass with proprietary high-contrast coatings. Outdoor Life’s editors wrote: “Optically, the Victory SF brings the same best-in-class attributes as earlier Victory models. The guts are SCHOTT fluoride glass protected by ZEISS’s proprietary high-contrast and weatherproof coatings. We also liked the very positive four-position eyecups and the locking diopter control, located conveniently on the center hinge.”

zeiss victory SF 10x32 8x32 binoculars Editor's Choice outdoor life
zeiss victory SF 10x32 8x32 binoculars Editor's Choice outdoor life

Why the ZEISS Victory SF Won the Award
Outdoor Life had high praise for the Zeiss Victory SF line, with its impressive features and performance:

“With its remarkable Victory SF, ZEISS has managed to upend the staid world of binoculars and offer a product with three noticeable advantages. The first is its absurdly wide field of view, achieved by increasing the sizes of lenses and redesigning the optical prescription, or how all lenses and prisms work together. Finally, SF in its name stands for ‘SmartFocus’ but it might stand for ‘SpeedFocus’ given the rapidity of zooming from close focus to infinity in just 1.6 turns of the wheel.”

zeiss victory SF 10x32 8x32 binoculars Editor's Choice outdoor life

Outdoor life also praised the Victory SF’s balance: “Another remarkable attribute of the new ZEISS, which will be available in 8×42, 10×42, and 8×32 configurations along with the 10×32, is its balance. The binocular weighs a trim 20.8 ounces, but it feels even lighter, largely because of its wonderful equilibrium.”

zeiss victory SF 10x32 8x32 binoculars Editor's Choice outdoor life

With the 10×32 model at $2299.00 and 10×42 model at $2699.00 MSRP, ZEISS Victory SFs represent a substantial investment. However, these are arguably the best hunting binoculars you can buy at any price.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics No Comments »
September 3rd, 2020

Go Big or Go Home — Big Presses Needed for Big ELR Cartridges

Ko2m king two miles ELR .416 Barrett cheytac .50 BMG Extreme long range press

In the ELR game, particularly the King of 2 Miles (KO2M), it’s “go big or go home”. The top shooters run large-capacity cartridges that push large-caliber, ultra-high BC bullets at very high velocities. Bullets launched by cartridges such as the .416 Barrett can sustain supersonic velocities at Extreme Long Ranges — and that’s what it takes to win. The .416 Barrett can launch a 550-grain solid bullet at 3000+ FPS.

.416 Barrett cartridge ELR .50 BMG RCBS press
Photo from ELR Competitor Corbin Shell.

2018 and 2019 Kings of 2 Miles Loaded on RCBS Presses
So how do you load jumbo cartridges such as the .416 Barrett? It takes a big, heavy, super-strong reloading press. We’ve learned that the last two Kings of 2 Miles, Paul Phillips (2019) and Robert Brantley (2019) both loaded their KO2M ammo on RCBS AmmoMaster .50 BMG presses. Phillips loaded .416 Barrett ammo, while Brantley loaded custom .416 MCS rounds.

In 2018, Robert Brantley topped the field using his custom .416 MCS loads perfected on the AmmoMaster .50 BMG Press. This year, Brantley took a close second to 2019 KO2M winner Paul Phillips. Both Phillips and Brantley use the AmmoMaster .50 BMG single stage press kit and RCBS .416 Barrett dies to hand-load for extreme long-range. “My ammo has been much more consistent after switching to the RCBS press and dies,” remarked Phillips, who runs the Global Precision Group. Brantley said he uses RCBS products for most of his reloading needs — from the dies and AmmoMaster, to the ChargeMaster and Brass Boss. His custom .416 MCS loads launch a 550-grain bullet more than 3,100 fps.

Ko2m king two miles ELR .416 Barrett cheytac .50 BMG Extreme long range press

Loading with RCBS AmmoMaster .50 BMG Press
This video shows reloading with the RCBS AmmoMaster .50 BMG press. While this video shows .50 BMG cases being loaded, the principles are the same for loading the .416 Barrett used by both Brantley and Phillips. Big cases need big presses!

Derek Rodgers Shooting the .375 CheyTac at K02M in 2017
Another ELR ace, 2017 King of 2 Miles champion Derek Rodgers, favored the .375 CheyTac cartridge. For his successful K02M quest, Derek ran Cutting Edge Bullets in Peterson brass with Hodgdon H50BMG powder. The video below shows Derek in action at the 2017 KO2M event.

The KO2M competition is a two-day extreme long-range (ELR) match held at the NRA Whittington Center outside Raton, New Mexico. Teams consist of one shooter and up to two wind coaches/spotters, who fire on steel targets ranging from about 1,500 to 3,500 yards.

KO2M .375 CheyTac AmmoMaster Derek Rodgers

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September 1st, 2020

Measure Group Sizes Quickly and Easily with Ballistics-X App

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

Here’s something all shooters need — a smartphone App that calculates bullet-hole group sizes from your own photos. The Ballistic-X App is simple to use. Take a photo of your target, set some values (such as bullet diameter and distance to target), then use the touchscreen to place circles around each hole. The App will calculate group size (in MOA or Mils), distance to point of aim, and provide all the info in an overlay. Then click “save” to record your group for posterity!

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS
Ballistic-X Apple (iOS) version shown. There is also a Ballistic-X Android App.

This App works well, is relatively easy to set-up, and costs just $7.99. It is available for both Android devices and iOS (Apple) devices. There are other ways to measure group sizes from target images, such as the excellent On-Target program, which we have used for years. However On-Target requires a software installation on a Windows platform desktop or laptop. Ballistic-X is a simple, easy-to-install App with versions for both Android and iOS (Apple) Mobile devices.

Google Play app store source
Download Android App
Apple store Ios app store source
Download Apple App

The Ballistic-X App has a relatively easy-to-use interface. Of course you can choose either MOA or Milrad group values, and Inch or Metric dimensions. There are various labeling options that provide useful info for Load Development. There is even an ATZ (Adjustment To Zero) feature for adjusting your turrets.

How to Use Ballistic-X App

1. Select Photo Source — Choose Camera to take new photo or get image from Photo Library.

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

2. Set Reference Values — Select Bullet Diameter and enter Distance to Target.

3. Establish Scale on Image — Mark two points on target photo to set scale.
For example, if the target has a 1″-square grid lines, mark two points on grid for 1″ distance.

4. Mark Point Of Aim — Put the central X on the aim point.

5. Designate Shot Locations — Place the green circles around each shot.

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

6. Finalize Data Display — Position Overlay, select size/color options, and export file.

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

Android Options — Range Buddy FREE App
Along with Ballistic-X, there is another Mobile App, Range Buddy, that also measures shot groups. Range Buddy is currently offered for Android devices only. It is FREE, but has adverts. Range Buddy isn’t bad, but users complained about the program crashing, and there are compatibility issues with newer phones. We recommend you pay $7.99 and stick with Ballistic-X.

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Optics, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 1st, 2020

Gear Focus: L.E. Wilson Stainless Case Trimmer

Wilson stainless case trimmer clamp micrometer video Bill Gravatt Creedmoor sports

How do you trim your cases? We use a variety of tools, including power case trimmers. But our go-to trimmer for Benchrest-type cartridges is the L.E. Wilson Trimmer unit, now available in a handsome and durable stainless assembly. This thing is slick. It trims very precisely with the use of Wilson case holders combined with a micrometer-type stop for length control. As sold complete with micrometer, quick clamp, and metal stand, this Wilson Stainless Trimmer is $154.95 at Creedmoor Sports. We think that’s a fair price for a unit that can last a lifetime, trimming many thousands of cases.

In this video, Bill Gravatt of Creedmoor Sports demonstrates the Stainless Wilson trimmer with micrometer length control. Gravatt offers helpful operational tips to improve trimming efficiency, so this video is worth watching even if you’ve used a Wilson trimmer before:

Tips for Trimming with Wilson SS Micrometer Trimmer:

1. After inserting brass in the case holder, tap the case lightly to ensure it seats fully.

2. When starting your case-trimming session, do one or two test cases to check cut length. Adjust length with micrometer, then test length again. If “good to go”, set length stop. NOTE: Release the Stop Screw to make major adjustments. Use the Micrometer to make fine adjustments, in .001″ increments.

3. After trimming operations, be sure to chamfer case mouth after cutting to remove burrs. NOTE: After you have made the chamfer, we recommend gently spinning the chamfer tool backwards a couple times in the case neck. This will burnish/smooth the newly-cut champing, which helps with bullet seating.

Features of Deluxe Wilson Stainless Case Trimmer with Micrometer

    — Long lasting Stainless finish with Micrometer adjustment.
    — New 304 Stainless Steel Handle included with Micrometer Trimmer.
    — Rotary-style clamp swings to secure case-holder — quick and easy.
    — Larger stop screw adjustment from 3/8″ (old) to 1/2″ (new) with increased width on stop nut. Coated with black oxide for a long lasting durable finish.
    — Made in the USA with American Steel.
    — Power Adaptor compatible.

Wilson stainless case trimmer clamp micrometer video Bill Gravatt Creedmoor sports

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August 31st, 2020

Shoulder Bump — Five Cool Tools to Measure Your Bump

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

The Tactical Rifle Shooters Facebook Group recently showcased tools used to measure case headspace before and after “bumping” the shoulder. After a case is fired, hand-loaders who full-length size their cases will typically bump the shoulders back anywhere from .001″ to .0035″, depending on the rifle and application. With our 6mmBR and Dasher cases we like about .0015″ bump.

You want the amount of case sizing and bump to be the same for all your brass. To ensure uniformity, it makes sense to measure your cases before and after the FL sizing process. When we have time, we check every case. Other folks will simply check the first 3-4 cases coming out of the FL sizing die to ensure the FL die setting is correct and delivering desired headspace/bump.

1. Whidden Gunworks Shoulder Bump Gauge

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

There are a variety of tools that can be used to measure shoulder bump. Our favorite is a special cartridge-specific bushing made by Whidden Gunworks. The Whidden Shoulder Bump Gauge enables you to adjust your sizing die to the desired measurement. The bump gauge is attached to your calipers with a set screw and determines the measurement from the base to the shoulder of the case. The photo below, from Tactical Rifle Shooters, shows the Whidden Bump Gauge for the .375 CheyTac cartridge.

2. Dave Manson Vertical Comparator with Dial Read-Out

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson
Background image courtesy Tactical Rifle Shooters; inset photo from Manson Precison Reamers.

Dave Manson states: “This tool was designed to make life easier for the advanced shooter and re-loader by allowing precise measurement of ammunition, case, and chamber headspace. With this information, the re-loader will be able to fine-tune clearances and fits between his ammunition and chamber, with resultant improvements in accuracy and case life.” The functions of the Manson Comparator are:

1. Measure headspace of factory or reloaded ammunition
2. Quantify chamber headspace by measuring headspace of a fired case
3. Ensure minimal shoulder set-back when setting up re-loading dies
4. Compare base-to-ogive length to ensure consistent bullet-to-rifling relationship.

In addition to the Dial Indicator and Stand, the $130.00 Vertical Comparator is supplied with multiple Datum Blocks of precise length and inside diameter (.3300″/.3750″/.4000″/.4375″). MORE INFO HERE — Catalog page 20.

3. Hornady L-N-L Headspace Comparator System

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

Hornady makes comparator gauges matched to the red comparator holder that mounts on your caliper. These Lock-N-Load Headspace Gauges are inexpensive. You can get a set of five gauges for $31.99. Hornady explains: “The Lock-N-Load® Headspace Comparator… gauge measures variations in brass before and after firing or re-sizing. It allows for headspace comparison between fire-formed brass and re-sized brass.” IMPORTANT: Hornady states: “To determine the proper bushing diameter for your cartridge, simply add the neck diameter and the shoulder diameter and divide that number by two. Use the bushing closest to that number.” Hornady offers five: .330″, .350″, .375″, .400″, and .420″.

One tip — We have found the Hornady gauges may vary a little from unit to unit even with the same nominal size. If you have more than one gauge for the same cartridge, test each on your brass — you may then note a slight difference in your bump measurements.

4. L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

If you are looking for precise “bump” measurements without having to mess with calipers and clamp-on gauge blocks, you may want to consider the L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer. This takes very precise, repeatable measurements, but you need to know your starting point. The manufacturer explains: “Every reloader should know exactly how much your Full Length Sizing Die is pushing back the shoulder. With the NEW Case Gage Depth Micrometer you can do just that! It has never been easier to measure you cases headspace before and after sizing. The Depth Mic allows you to slip the micrometer perfectly over the top of the Gage with your case inserted into the Gage and take a measurement. Micrometer has graduations of .001″. The Case Gage Depth Micrometer is set to a zero of .100″ on the scale at our factory. Because of differences in ‘feel’ and temperature, we include a the Gage Block for you to test Zero and to adjust if necessary.”

5. Pistol Brass Case DIY Bump Gauge

Last is a “field expedient” set-up if you do not have any of the comparator tools shown above. A sized .45 ACP case (or other suitable pistol case) can be used to measure shoulder bump. The mouth of the pistol case sits on the shoulder of your rifle cartridge brass.

Make sure the .45 ACP case is trimmed square and that it is round. We recommend you first run it through an expander, then size it, trim it and chamfer. Next, take the .45 ACP case and slip it over the neck of a fired, unsized rifle case with the primer removed. Align the two cases between the jaws of your calipers and note the length from rim to rim (See left photo below).

OK, now you have the length for a fired rifle case BEFORE sizing. Next, take a full-length sized rifle case (without primer) and do the same thing, placing the .45 ACP case over the neck of the FL-sized case (Right Photo). The difference between the two numbers is the amount of “bump” or set-back you are applying to the shoulder. Here the difference is .0015″. The amount of bump you need varies with your chamber and your load, but .0015-.002″ is a good initial setting.

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