April 18th, 2017

Tough Brass — Peterson .308 Win Brass Strong After 32 Firings

Peterson Cartridge Brass .308 Winchester torture test range accuracy IMR 4064 Sierra 155 Palma bullet
Here are five Peterson .308 Win casings after 32 loading/firing cycles (31 at SAAMI max). The brass remained intact, with no cracks. The circles below the shoulders are markings from pressure testing.

This story comes from the Peterson Cartridge website.

Torture Testing Peterson .308 Win Brass — 32 Load Cycles

Recently Peterson’s ballistician had some extra time in his schedule, and asked what he should work on next. He was told, “Just for the heck of it, see how many times you can fire our .308s before you experience failure.” So that’s what he set out to do.

He took five casings out of inventory and loaded them at SAAMI max pressure, which is the pressure we use for all of our longevity testing. It is a hot load, and he did the firing out of Peterson’s Universal Receiver. This way he could measure pressures and velocities each shot. He shot all five, 20 times. (It takes a long time to do that. Load five casings. Shoot five times. Back into the lab to reload, back into the indoor range to shoot, back into the lab, and so forth.)

After 20 firings with no sign of case deterioration, Peterson’s tester asked if he should keep going. “Sure, let’s see how long these can go”, was the reply. So he shot them five more times. Same result. All casings still in good shape. We told him to keep going. He shot each of them six more times. At this point each of the five casings had been fired 31 times. After several days of this the casings were still in good shape but “ballistician fatigue” was setting in. Finally he said, “Let me take these cases to an outdoor range and see how they do for accuracy.” The Peterson team agreed.

Five Shots at 100 Yards after 32 Load Cycles:

Peterson Cartridge Brass .308 Winchester torture test range accuracy IMR 4064 Sierra 155 Palma bullet

For the 32nd firing, the cases were loaded with a somewhat lighter load, and then tested for accuracy. The test rifle was a Tikka T-3 bolt action, with a 20 inch, 1:11″-twist barrel. After 32 firings the primer pockets had opened about 0.002″ (two-thousandths) but were still tight enough for further use. There were no cracks or signs of head separation. The tester put five shots in three holes at 100 yards. The group was 1.5 inches for the five shots, on a somewhat windy day.

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 8 Comments »
April 17th, 2017

MEGA Gong — All-Steel 72″x72″ Triple-Element “Gongzilla”

1000 yard steel bullseye target

Rick Mulhern GongzillaForum member Rick from Louisiana (aka RMulhern) has rigged up a fantastic target for long-range shooting. Rick, a long-time competitive Palma shooter, had a large 72″x72″ steel target fabricated with two separate center rings that are equivalent to the official paper Palma/Creedmoor target. He says he’s “shot a lot of Palma on that target, as well as lots of Black Powder Cartridge (BPCR) rounds”. The big steel target works great when Rick shoots his Sharps 45/110 BPCR at 800 to 1000 yards. The large steel background (painted white) helps Rick see and hear his hits. If you understand the high-arching trajectory of 500+ grain projectiles shot from a 45/110, you know it can take a few rounds to get Point of Impact dialed in.

Rick reports: “These are two of my favorite rifles to shoot: a M1874 Shiloh Sharps in caliber 45/110 (2 7/8) made in Big Timber, Montana by Kirk Bryan and family. The other is a 6.5×47 Lapua on a blue-printed M700 action with 1:8.5″-twist Krieger barrel and F5 McMillan Tactical stock. Many of the shooters that take up BPCR have a tendency to get away from their smokeless powder rifles in favor of the blackpowder game. Frankly I have the best of both worlds as I enjoy shooting both (smokeless and BPCR), although I must admit that I probably spend the majority of my time on the range with the Sharps rifles these days.” (Rick’s pretty good with his Sharps by the way — he recently shot a 95, 96, and 100 (clean) for 3×10 shots at 800 yards.)

Gongzilla: $1000 Worth of Steel with Three Plate Layers
Rick tells us: “Here’s the deal — everything is steel! The large plate is 72″x72″ and the black bull is 44″ diameter. The 20″-diameter central white bull is made from 1/2″-thick AR400 bull-dozer plating. That’s the same size as the regulation Palma/Creedmoor paper target. The white square and black bull are 3/8″-thick mild steel. Plates are off-set 2″ from each other. I welded a 2″ length of square tubing to the back of both plates and the bolt slides through and is attached to the large plate. I used 2 3/8″ upset tubing (oil field pipe) for the holder framing.” Rick says he invested about $1000.00 in metal for the target, but that was 15 years ago. Today the steel would be much more expensive.

1000 yard steel bullseye target

Rick says the AR400 armor plate in the center bull is very strong: “You can shoot a .338 Lapua Magnum at 200 yards and it won’t damage the center bull”. The mild steel works well for the cast bullets Rick uses with his Sharps 45/110. Also, Rick says the mild steel is rugged enough for 6.5mm and .308 hollowpoint match bullets, if you’re at least 500 yards away. However, Rick told us, “If I would make [the target] again, I would make the black bull AR400 as well. [That way] you would never have to worry about big dents or beating the plate up at any distance. The AR400 is very tough steel. You can shoot a Sierra or Lapua HP bullet and they will just splatter.”

Rick told us: “I built this target with off-set clanger plates. The white clanger is AR400. Bullets just splatter!” Does he worry about hitting the bolt head? Not at all. Rick says: “When I hit the bolt head, I break my arm patting myself on the back!”.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 4 Comments »
April 14th, 2017

Gear Review: PMA Action Cleaning Tool

PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit

A few years back our friend Danny Reever acquired the PMA Action Cleaning tool. He’s now used it for many seasons and it’s still working great. If you shoot a precision rifle, it deserves to have a clean action and lug recess area. This handy tool speeds up the cleaning process, letting you do a more thorough job in less time.

PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit Review by Danny Reever
I’ve been using the PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit for quite some time. Previously, I used one of the old style (round knob) Sinclair action-cleaning tools with cylindrical cotton rolls. With the Sinclair tool, I was pretty satisfied that I was getting my actions reasonably clean. But, as I explain below, I think the newer PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit is easier to use, and possibly achieves better results.

PMA Tool Kit Extensively Tested with Many Action Types
PMA tried a variety of options before finalizing the PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit. PMA explains that several shooters did a lot of testing “with various sizes of die-cut foam, patches, felts and cotton rolls with various bolt action types (BAT two- and three-Lug, Kelblys, Halls, Remingtons, Winchesters and Savages). [Testers all agreed] that the foam disc is far superior to felts and cotton rolls [and] we decided to include two different sizes of foam discs.”

The PMA Action-Cleaning Tool uses round foam discs in two included sizes: 1″ diameter and 1.25″ diameter. Both size discs can be used alone, or with a 3″ patch wrapped around them. The handles of the tools are CNC-machined blue-anodized aluminum with a silicone sleeve for grip. The PMA tool handles are a bit longer than those of my old Sinclair action-cleaning tool. I like the added handle length, and I find the design of the handle easier to use compared to the old-style round knobs.

The PMA tools are quality items. They are an improvement over my older Sinclair action-cleaning set-up. But do the PMA tools they actually clean the action better or easier than the old style cotton rolls? Well, based on my experience, the answer is a definite “maybe”.

Comparison Testing — Cotton Rolls vs. PMA Foam Discs (with and without patches)
Starting with the old-style cotton roll system, I cleaned my actions to a level I considered “clean” in the past. I then tried the included PMA foam discs. I found that, for my Remington-style actions, the larger 1.25″-diameter disc seemed to work better than the smaller 1″-diameter disc. Wrapping the larger disc with a 3″ patch definitely brought out more crud from my previously cleaned actions than the old style cotton rolls. Well, you might ask, what if you wrap the old-style cotton roll with a patch? Yes that will remove more crud too, but perhaps not as much as the PMA system. Moreover you would have to buy both cotton rolls AND 3″ patches. Not many places sell the cotton rolls.

Is it worth plunking down the $49.95 for the complete PMA system? Well, if you want to upgrade to a quality-made tool with better handles the answer is yes. Is getting that last bit of crud out of your action every time you clean it that important to you? You have to decide that for yourself. From my own perspective, I was due for an upgrade so the answer was easy. I like the PMA system, especially the new improved handles. Also, with the PMA system I don’t have to fool around with a tiny Allen screw to secure the cotton rolls — that was annoying. So my final take on the PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit is that it is a good product with some real advantages over other action-cleaning systems.

PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit

PMA Tool charges $49.95 for the complete Action Cleaning Tool Kit that includes a chamber cleaning handle and cotton swab. PMA offers the lug recess action cleaning tool by itself with four foam cleaning discs and five 3″ patches. Cleaning discs are also available separately in your choice of 1″- and 1.25″-diameter in a five pack.

Action Cleaning Tool Kit (complete): $49.95
Lug Recess Tool Only (includes 4 Cleaning Discs): $38.95
Chamber Swab Tool (includes Cotton Chamber Swab): $14.95
Additional 1″ Cleaning Discs: $4.95
Additional 1.25″ Cleaning Discs: $4.95

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
April 13th, 2017

Digital Level Is Handy Tool for Your Range Kit

Here’s a cool product that can help you level your front rest and rear bag, level your scope, align your target frame, and perform a myriad of tasks around the house. The Digital AngleCube (aka Electronic Level and Protractor Gauge) is basically a high-tech level that gives you exact angular read-outs to within 0.2 degrees. That’s a lot more precise than any bubble level.

Numerous Shooting-Related Applications
For you position shooters who like to run angled sights, this tool will help you set the rear sight and front tower to exactly the same angle. For High Power guys with 3-way and 4-way adjustable buttstocks, this digital angle gauge can help you quickly and precisely set buttstock angle and cast-off. Even tactical shooters and long-range hunters can use this device to confirm exact shot angle, with greater precision than a plastic protractor or even an expensive Angle Degree Indicator (ADI). Heck you can even use the thing as an anti-cant device (if you don’t mind the extra weight). We’re sure that our clever readers can find even more uses for a digital angle read-out tool.

The AngleCube Digital Level sells on Amazon.com for $29.95. It comes with magnets on the sides so you can attach the tool to any ferrous metal surface for a “hands-free” reading. You can find similar devices in hardware and home improvement stores. One of these square, magnet-equipped electronic protractor/levels is made by INSIZE. The illustration below shows how the INSIZE gauge can be used in the field.

Story Sourced by Edlongrange.
Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
April 11th, 2017

Trigger Options for AR-Platform Rifles

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

AR-platform rifles are fun and versatile, but the standard, mil-spec triggers leave much to be desired. They tend to be gritty, with creep and heavy pull weight. One of the easiest, most effective AR upgrades is a trigger group swap. An improved fire control group makes a huge difference. There are many aftermarket trigger options for the AR platform rifles. Choose single-stage or two-stage, either standard trigger assembly or unitized “drop-in” trigger, such as those made by Timney or Triggertech.

Read Full AR Trigger Article in NRA Blog HERE »

AR15 Space Gun trigger
When upgraded with a precision trigger and match barrel, AR-platform rigs work great in NRA High Power competitions (Photo from NRA Blog, at Camp Perry).

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stageTwo-Stage vs. Single-Stage Triggers
Two-stage triggers have two separate movements. The first stage offers a light, spring-loaded pressure that works against the shooter’s pull until stopping at the second stage – this is called “take-up”. If there is no spring pressure, it is known as “slack”. Should the shooter continue to pull the trigger once he’s arrived at the second stage, the mechanism will operate like a single-stage trigger from there until engaging the sear and firing the gun. Good trigger reset requires the shooter to keep pressure on the trigger, even during reset, to minimize movement of the muzzle.

Single-stage triggers feature no take-up or slack, as they begin engaging the sear as soon as the shooter begins pulling the trigger. Some competitive shooters prefer the two-stage trigger because of the feedback it provides during its first stage, while other shooters, including those using their rifle in tactical scenarios, may want the surety of a single-stage trigger, ready to engage and fire once their finger is inside the trigger guard. Regardless of preference, a good trigger will feature minimal creep and should be free of grittiness, providing a smooth, even break.

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

Drop-In Trigger Assembly vs. Standard Trigger Group
Once you decide between a single-stage or two-stage trigger, you can choose between standard and drop-in trigger groups. Standard trigger groups feature all the fire control group parts separated, and need to be pieced together and installed much like a mil-spec trigger, while drop-in trigger are pre-assembled and contained within a casing that simply drops in to the receiver and accepts the pins, hence the name.

After-Market Trigger Comparison

Some shooters prefer drop-in triggers due to the ease of installation, while others opt for standard groups so they can access the components individually for cleaning adjustment or replacement. If one piece of a drop-in trigger fails, you’ll need to either replace the entire unit or send it to the manufacturer for repair, whereas you may be able to simply replace the broken component of a standard trigger without needing a whole new trigger set.

Trigger Terminology — “Creep”, “Stacking”, “Overtravel”
“Creep” or “travel” is the distance the trigger moves between the end of take-up and when the trigger breaks to fire the fun. Too much creep can affect accuracy, but no creep can be unsafe, as the shooter may not be prepared to fire. “Stacking” occurs when the trigger weight actually increases during travel — this shouldn’t happen. Lastly, “overtravel” is the distance the trigger continues moving back after the gun fires.

This article is based on a longer story in the NRA Blog.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
March 28th, 2017

Store More Guns in Your Safe with Rifle Rod Kits

Gun Storage Solutions Rifle Rod Kit

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).

Gun Storage Solutions Rifle 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.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
March 27th, 2017

NEW Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge Coming Soon

lyman digital electronic adjustable trigger pull weight gauge

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.

lyman digital electronic adjustable trigger pull weight gauge

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

lyman digital electronic adjustable trigger pull weight gauge

Permalink Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
March 23rd, 2017

PMA Micro-Die Adjuster — Try One And You’ll Be Spoiled

PMA Tool Micro Die Adjuster .001 Shoulder Bump full length sizing lift shim

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.

The affordable PMA Micro Die Adjuster is offered in two versions, an upgraded model with a handy thumb screw for $69.95 (photo above), as well as the original with set screw for $65.95 (photo below).

PMA Tool Micro Die Adjuster .001 Shoulder Bump full length sizing lift shim

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

PMA Micro die adjusterProduct 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.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »
March 18th, 2017

Tool Time: Sinclair Cartridge Case Neck Sorting Tool

Case Neck thickness sorting gauge Sinclair accurateshooter.com

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

Watch Case Neck Sorting Tool Operation in Video

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

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
March 16th, 2017

On the Level — Why You Need an Anti-Cant Device

anti-cant Device bubble level
This Holland Signature Series Level is reviewed in a SharpShootingUK Video.

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.

anti-cant Device bubble level
Jackson Hole Shooting Experience Instructional Video features scope-mounted Wheeler level.

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.

Optical Rifle Scope bubble level Discovery 30mm 1 inch 34mm Amazon

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.

anti-cant Device bubble level

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.

anti-cant Device Flatline Ops

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.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Optics 5 Comments »
March 16th, 2017

Invasion of the Minis — Compact Joystick Pedestal Rest from SEB

SEB Mini Bag carry pedestal front rest

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 Bag carry pedestal front rest

SEB Mini with large disc feet attached still fits in bag.
SEB Mini Bag carry pedestal front rest

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Gear Review 4 Comments »
March 15th, 2017

Harris Bipod Adapter for Flat-Bottomed Stocks

Harris #9 hb9 flat-bottom flat foreend stock adapter accurateshooter.com

Harris #9 hb9 flat-bottom flat foreend stock adapter accurateshooter.comFlat-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:

Midsouth Shooters Supply sells the Harris #9 (HB9) flat-bottom stock adapter for $21.26, part number 053-9. CLICK HERE to order.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
March 12th, 2017

Monitor Barrel Heat with Handy Temp Strips

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

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.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

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.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

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.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
March 11th, 2017

Extreme Long Range — .338 Lapua Magnum at 2160 Yards

2160 yards 1.3 miles long range ELR .338 Lapua Magnum Ed Connors Speeded Gonzales
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”.

Ed Connors 2160 yards steel shooting .338 Lapua Magnum

Rifle Specifications:
– .338 LM Rifle built by SG Rifles, LLC
– Surgeon Rifles Action (blueprinted by Speedy)
– Jewell Trigger (blueprinted by Speedy)
– McMillan Fiberglass Stock
– Nightforce 5-25x56mm ATACR Scope
– Bartlein 1:9″-twist 32″ Barrel, Speedy contour
– Amer. Prec. Arms “Fat Bastard” Muzzle Brake

Ammunition Specifications:
– Lapua .338 LM Brass turned with Nielsen “Pumpkin” turner.
– Hodgdon H1000 Powder, 90.8 Grains
– Remington 9 1/2 Magnum Primers
– Berger .338 Cal 300 grain Hybrid OTM Tactical Bullets seated .005″ off lands.
– Velocity: 2875 fps / SD 5.0

Ed Connors 2160 yards steel shooting .338 Lapua Magnum

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.

2160 yards 1.3 miles long range ELR .338 Lapua Magnum Ed Connors Speeded Gonzales

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, News 6 Comments »
March 8th, 2017

Rimfire Round-Up — Five Rimfire Guns Reviewed

.22 Plinkster .22LR pistol model 41 Smith wesson review Savage a22 WMR rimfire video

.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.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Handguns No Comments »
March 8th, 2017

Killer Deal on 1-4x24mm Bushnell Scope for ARs

Bushnell BDC scope .223 AR

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 …

Reticle
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.

Specifications
Turrets: Target, 0.1 mil click value
Tube Diameter: 30mm
Weight: 16.9 oz.
Length: 9.5″
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

Bushnell BDC scope .223 AR

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

Permalink Gear Review, Optics No Comments »
March 6th, 2017

CMP Ranges Get Gifts of Pardini Air Rifles and Pistols

Pardini air rifle pistol for CMP Marksmanship
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.

Pardini air rifle pistol for CMP Marksmanship
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.”

Pardini air rifle pistol for CMP Marksmanship

Permalink Competition, Gear Review No Comments »
March 5th, 2017

PMA Micro-Adjust Case Trimmer — Precise and Handy

PMA Micro Adjust Case Trimmer

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.

PMA Micro Adjust Case Trimmer

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).

PMA Micro Adjust Case Trimmer

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.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »
March 4th, 2017

6.5 Creedmoor Ammo from Norma Tested in Ruger Precision Rifle

Gavin Gear 6.5 Norma Ammunition Scirocco II

Quality Factory Ammo for 6.5 Creedmoor

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:

This article comes from the Midsouth Shooters Blog. You’ll find other helpful gear reviews, reloading tips, and technical articles at www.MSSBlog.com.

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:

Technical Information

  • 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

Ballistics Information:

  • Sectional Density: .266
  • Ballistic Coefficient:.571

Gavin Gear 6.5 Norma Ammunition Scirocco II

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.

Check out the Ultimate Reloader site HERE for more reviews, how-to’s, and much more!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 5 Comments »
March 2nd, 2017

NBRSA Rule Change Inspires Radical New Front Bag Design

NBRSA New Front bag wrap around sandbag benchrest

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.

NBRSA New Front bag wrap around sandbag benchrest

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.
Permalink Competition, Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »