August 25th, 2017

Creedmoor Sports Offers New “Scope Kennel” Scope Protector

Creedmoor sports scope kennel scope protector ar16 dennis demille

New Creedmoor “Scope Kennel” Padded Rifle Scope Protector
Creedmoor Sports has developed a deluxe scope protector that looks good. Made with thick padding and heavy webbing, this can definitely help shield expensive optics from impact damage or scrapes, protecting your investment.

The new Creedmoor Scope Kennel padded rifle scope protector fits any scope shorter than 13 inches, and protects your rifle scope while you’re on the range, stowing your rifle in a gun safe, or working on/cleaning your rifle. As you can see, the cover allows the use of an Empty Chamber Indicator.

The Scope Kennel is securely held in place by two heavy-duty adjustable straps, and is available with either Velcro closures or buckle closures. Made from tough 1000-dernier Cordura (with a soft, lined interior), this cover is offered in your choice of 24 different colors (e.g. tan, camo, red, blue, green) for $59.95. Made in the USA by Creedmoor’s own fabric wizards, the Scope Kennel can be customized with your name embroidered on the sides. The Scope Kennel was designed specifically for AR-platform rifles, but you can call 800-273-3366 to order for other types of rifles.

To demonstrate the strength of the Scope Kennel, Creedmoor GM Dennis DeMille did a pull-up with a red Scope Kennel hooked on a fork-lift blade.

Creedmoor sports scope kennel scope protector ar16 dennis demille

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 4 Comments »
August 16th, 2017

Nosler Delivers High-BC, Closed-Meplat RDF Match Bullets

Nosler RDF Bullets tipped bullets closed meplats hybrid ogive

Nosler RDF Bullets tipped bullets closed meplats hybrid ogiveLate last year, word broke of a new line of RDF™ (Reduced Drag Factor) bullets featuring very high Ballistic Coefficients, hybrid-type ogives, and tight, factory-closed meplats. Nosler’s new RDF bullets promised to be very competitive match projectiles for their respective bullet weights, based on initial specs and their billing as “the highest BCs and smallest, most consistent meplats on the market”. But would they perform as advertised?

Since their introduction, the Nosler RDF line have become very popular, offering excellent performance for the price. Shooters, particular PRS competitors, have found the RDFs deliver the flat trajectory and high BC necessary to reach the podium. There are now rumors that Nosler will expand the RDF line (which currently includes four calibers/bullet weights) to include new calibers/weights in 2018. However an official announcement is still forthcoming.

Current Nosler RDF Bullets:
• 22 Cal 70 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.416 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.211
• 6mm 105 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.571 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.280
• 6.5mm 140 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.658 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.330
• 30 Cal 175 grain — G1 Ballistic Coefficient 0.536 | G7 Ballistic Coefficient 0.270

Nosler RDF Bullets tipped bullets closed meplats hybrid ogive

Compound Ogive for High BC
Nosler designed the RDF bullets to have very high BCs for flatter trajectories and reduced wind drift. Nosler achieved high BCs by adopting a modern hybrid-type compound ogive, which bridges traditional tangent and secant bullet shapes. This hybrid shape is less sensitive to bullet seating depth than a pure VLD-style, secant ogive shape. That allows hand-loaders to seat away from the lands and still get excellent accuracy, which can be maintained even as the throat moves out over time. RDF bullets also feature a long boat-tail for aerodynamic efficiency.

Factory-Closed Meplats — No More Trimming
Compared to conventional match bullets, Nosler’s RDF bullets look quite different because the tips have been tightly closed up at the factory. Nosler promises a 40% average reduction in meplat size vs. conventional hollow-point bullets. Hand-loaders no longer need to point and trim tips, a laborious task to improve BC and make BCs more consistent for every bullet in the box. Consistent BC translates to reduced vertical spread at long range.

Less Wind Drift, Tighter Vertical
What can you expect on the firing line with Nosler RDF bullets? If you’re a skilled shooter who can capitalize on reduced drag and increased consistency from your ballistics, you should see less wind drift, and reduced vertical dispersion at long range. That translates to tighter groups and higher scores in competition. That’s all good. And when you compare the cost of Nosler’s RDF bullets with other match projectiles, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 1 Comment »
August 16th, 2017

PickleFork Rail Accessory for Eliseo Tubeguns

Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Pickle-Fork Picklefork foreend fore-end F-TR F-Class Bag Rider

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have one match rifle that could do double-duty — shoot position matches (with sling), and then function as an F-Open gun with front rest? Now that’s possible with Gary Eliseo’s clever “PickleFork” accessory for his line of tubeguns. This accessory also works great for load testing and varmint hunting.

Competition Machine’s Gary Eliseo is a very smart designer as well as a talented shooter. The inventor/builder of the popular Competition Machine Tubegun chassis systems, Gary has come up with something new, which he calls the PickleForks. These are rails that fit to the sides of the tubular fore-end/handguard on his chassis systems. This allows you to use a pedestal-style front rest for F-Class competition. It also provides a much more stable platform for load testing, varmint hunting, or any kind of rest-assisted precision shooting.

These PickleForks transform a Tubegun into an ultra-stable, straight-tracking rig when used with a competition-style front rest.

Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Pickle-Fork Picklefork forend fore-end F-TR F-Class Bag Rider

Gary explains: “Now you can have the same super low-boreline, long ‘wheelbase’ and vertical sides of our innovative F1 F-Class chassis system for your tube chassis. The new PickleForks attach directly to the sides of the F-Class/Tactical fore-ends, no modifications are required. They are very rigid with no flex or twist and make the rifle track like it’s on rails.” The new Eliseo Competition Machine PickleForks are offered for a very reasonable $70.00 per pair, with Cerakote finish. (You get two metal units, one for each side of the fore-arm). For more information, visit www.GotXRing.com or call (928) 649-0742.

Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Pickle-Fork Picklefork forend fore-end F-TR F-Class Bag Rider

New Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
August 15th, 2017

Newbold Reactive Polymer Targets

polymer self-sealing reactive steel plastic plates targets KD knockdown

We love shooting reactive targets — the instant gratification of hearing the “clang” and seeing the target fall or spin is addictive. However, there are some significant downsides of steel targets. They are heavy/cumbersome to move around. With steel targets you must be careful with ricochets and bullet splatter. Finally, to keep them looking good, you have to constantly re-apply surface paint.

polymer self-sealing reactive steel plastic plates targets KD knockdownNewbold now offers a series of reactive polymer targets that work like steel, but have none of the major disadvantages. Weighing over 80% less than steel, they are easy to transport and set-up. Though they can “react” like steel, bullets pass right the self-sealing polymer, so you don’t have to worry about ricochets or bullet “splashback”. Finally, you never have to paint them. They come in bright colors that last the life of the target. They are affordable — small polymer targets start at $3.99, while the larger Knock-Down “plates” (shown below) are $18.99 each.

polymer self-sealing reactive steel plastic plates targets KD knockdown
Newbold’s KD Competition Series targets can be reset with a simple string.

Newbold offers a variety of self-sealing reactive targets, such as the KD-Pivot plate rack targets above, 3-Gun targets, hanging targets, and the 42″ popper targets shown in the video below. Many of the Newbold targets have reset systems — simply pull a lanyard and the targets pop back up.

Gunwriter Tom McHale has tested some Newbold targets and likes them: “There’s one more significant advantage over steel. You can shoot them at any distance, including point-blank range. Since the bullets pass through just as they would with a cardboard target, there’s no fragmentation or splash as there is with steel targets.”

The video below shows how to install Newbold reactive targets:

Permalink Gear Review, Handguns, New Product No Comments »
August 8th, 2017

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite Video Review Marathon

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite video reviews

Many thousands of hand-loaders, including this Editor, acquired the original RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 powder scale/dispenser. Mine has worked well for many years. Yes I do have to watch for scale drift, and I use a high-end Force-Restoration scale when loading for major matches, but the original ChargeMaster has served me well, throwing thousands of charges over the years.

NEW RCBS ChargeMaster Lite

Now there is a newer version of the ChargeMaster, the RCBS Chargemaster Lite. This new-for-2017, one-piece unit has some features we really like. The new touch screen is easy to use and the powder tray cover slips off easily — no more hinges to fight. Most importantly the CM Lite has a redesigned, fluted dispensing tube which delivers powder kernels in a smooth flow with no clumps. The RCBS Rep told us “No more McDonald’s straw required”. We tested the unit and it does seem like the newly-designed dispensing tube is better. In fact, this new design will be adapted to the next generation of larger ChargeMasters. The ChargeMaster Lite ships complete with calibration check weights and cleaning brush. MSRP is $299.95 with “street price” around $250.00 at Amazon.

If you’re interested in the RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, here are three recent video product reviews. By watching these videos you can see all the features of the ChargeMaster Lite demonstrated. In the third video, the host also “compares and contrasts” the ChargeMaster Lite with the original ChargeMaster 1500, explaining the differences between the two units. Have at it:

Panhandle Precision ChargeMaster Lite Bench Test and Demo (Good Detailed Review):

Here is the RCBS Press Release: “The new RCBS ChargeMaster Lite packs unparalleled powder-measuring accuracy in a compact package. The one-piece unit features an LCD touchscreen display that ensures accurate data input. The hopper holds nearly a pound of smokeless powder, and can dispense anywhere between 2 to 300 grains with a +/-0.1-grain accuracy.”

UltimateReloader ChargeMaster Lite Unboxing:

Original ChargeMaster 1500 vs. ChargeMaster Lite:

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
August 5th, 2017

Haul Your Gun Gear with Rolling Range Bag

Gun Bag Pistol Case rolling wheeled range case

Here’s a cool (but expensive) new product that can benefit both recreational and competitive shooters who need to haul a lot of gear to the range. The NRA’s new Tactical Rolling Range Bag is an all-in-one transportation and storage solution. Fitted with a half-dozen pistol cradles, the range bag can also be adapted to hold rifle accessories such as spotting scopes, ear muffs, rear bag, MagnetoSpeed chronograph, ammo boxes, magazines, cleaning kit, and more. There are special sections for ammo and it even has a special velcro-attached target holder.

The NRA tells us: “This mobile armory travels effortlessly from your home, to your car and to the range, thanks to its 3.5″-diameter wheels and reinforced carry handle. The exterior boasts a dedicated compartment for eight pistol magazines, and there’s a pocket (with two cups) for collecting spent brass. The patented Visual ID Storage System features easily identifiable pockets for eye and ear protection, targets, stapler, tape and binoculars.” Color: Coyote. Dimensions: 23” W x 15” D x 17” H.

• Integrated, six handgun rigid foam rack
• Thick, padded top flap holds firearms securely
• Heavy-duty YKK zippers with cord pulls
• Rigid, internal frame
• Oversized, 3½” diameter ATV wheels
• Three position telescoping handle

Gun Bag Pistol Case rolling wheeled range case

Priced at $229.95, this fancy Rolling Range Bag ain’t cheap, but when you consider your investment in guns and accessories, this may be a smart solution for many shooters.

Permalink Gear Review, Handguns, New Product 3 Comments »
August 3rd, 2017

7mm MatchKings for the F-Class World Championships

Sierra MatchKing 183gr 183 Grain Bullet BC Long Range F-Class

The F-Class World Championships (FCWC) in Canada are just one week away. This August 11-17, the world’s top F-Class shooters will gather at the Connaught Ranges outside Ottawa, Ontario. The vast majority of F-Open shooters will be running some kind of 7mm (.284 Caliber) cartridge, with the .284 Winchester, .284 Win Improveds, and 7mm RSAUMs being popular.

7mm .284 Winchester F-Class Bullet

For those of you who plan to compete but who haven’t loaded your ammo yet, you may want to consider a very good 7mm match bullet from Sierra, 183 grain MatchKing (item #1983). We have found the 183gr MK, which comes “pointed” from the factory, to be very consistent in weight and base-to ogive measurement. Top F-Open shooters have told us that these bullets shoot exceptionally well, with minimal vertical dispersion at 1000. “Holding waterline” at long range is a reliable indicator that the BC is very uniform from bullet to bullet.

Sierra’s popular 7mm 183 grain MatchKing boasts an impressive 0.707 G1 Ballistic Coefficient (BC) at 2300+ fps. These bullets also have very consistent bullet-to-bullet BC, thanks to very uniform jackets and the tips being “pointed” at the factory. Sierra explains: “A final meplat-reducing operation (pointing) provides an increased ballistic coefficient for optimal wind resistance and velocity retention.”

Insight Into Sierra’s New 7mm MatchKing®
by Sierra Product Development Manager Mark Walker

In late 2015, Sierra introduced a new 7mm MatchKing® bullet with a different type of ogive. As part of the introduction, I had the opportunity to use them at the F-Class Nationals held in Phoenix with very good results. While at the match, several people had questions about what exactly was different about the ogive on this bullet as opposed to our tried and true blended tangent ogive. So with that in mind, hopefully this blog will answer those questions.

In the past, Sierra has typically used a tangent radius ogive design on our MatchKing® bullets. This is one of the most forgiving ogive designs due to its ability to shoot extremely accurately when jumped, as well as, jammed into the rifling. On rare occasions, some of our MatchKing® bullets have used a secant ogive due to design constraints. However, this ogive is much more sensitive to changes in seating depth than the tangent ogive so we tend to shy away from it. When we decided to work on this new bullet, we wanted to see if we could improve on the accuracy of even our best shooting tangent ogive bullets.

Sierra MatchKing 183gr 183 Grain Bullet BC Long Range F-Class

One of the main factors of what makes an accurate shooting bullet is how it aligns itself with the bore when fired. If a bullet is slightly crooked when entering the bore, it will cause inaccuracy on the target. We set out trying to think of ways to make sure that the bullet has no choice but to align itself with the bore perfectly.

The first part of the barrel to encounter the bullet is the leade in the chamber. The leade is an angle that is cut into the leading edge of the rifling which helps to guide the bullet into the bore. To illustrate how current bullets fit into the leade, picture a cone (leade) with a ball (bullet) sitting inside it. The ball can be rotated in all directions and the cone cannot force the ball to orientate itself in any particular direction. When a bullet with a radius encounters the leade, it behaves in a similar way. Now this of course is a very simple example and of course advanced shooters use tight necks and brass that is perfectly formed to the chamber to make sure the bullet is aligned as perfect as possible. However, there is always a small element of misalignment that is possible even with all this precise preparation.

This brings us to the ogive on the new 7mm MatchKing®. We thought instead of using the typical ogive radius that can allow slight misalignment, why not use the same straight angle that is used in the chamber leade on the bullet ogive to force itself to always align with the bore? Imagine the same cone as above (leade) with an identical cone (bullet) sitting inside of it. The cone inside has no choice but to align itself perfectly with the cone that it is sitting in every time. With that in mind, we designed the area of the bullet which contacts the leade in front of the bearing surface using a straight 1 1/2 degree angle instead of the typical radius. Once past that area, we use a traditional high caliber ogive radius to provide a very sleek, high BC bullet.

I hope that explains our thought process behind this new bullet. In our testing, it is one of the most forgiving high-BC bullets we have ever made.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 3 Comments »
August 2nd, 2017

Kahles 10-50x56mm Scope Review by James Mock

Kahles MOAK scope 10-50x56mm 10x-50x james mock field test review

The Kahles 10-50x56mm MOAK Long Range Riflescope
By James Mock
The Kahles company of Austria is very old — dating back to 1898. With its long history, Kahles (two syllables, pronounced “Kah – less”) claims to be the oldest rifle scope manufacturer in the world.

What are the features of this scope that endear it to the discriminating long range shooter? First, it offers serious magnification — a true 10X-50X. It has a rather unique, centrally-mounted parallax adjustment control integrated with the elevation turret (i.e. they share the same axis). Included with the scope is a large ring which can be attached to the parallax control to facilitate adjustments without removing one’s head from the stock. Another unique feature is a small red and white pin that indicates how many revolutions one has made. If one red band shows, the scope is in the first revolution; with a one red and one white band, it is in the second revolution, and so on.

Kahles MOAK scope 10-50x56mm 10x-50x james mock field test review

This scope has a 56mm lens, fast-focus eyepiece, and 1/8th MOA adjustments. This is an expensive scope ($2799.00 at Brownells), but there are no short cuts in its construction. The lenses have a proprietary “AMV” multi-layer coating that’s claimed to transmit almost 100% of the light. Also, there is an oil-phobic coating to resist scratches and contaminates such as oil or dirt from sticking to the lens. The scope is nitrogen-filled and features hardened steel mechanisms for adjustments.

Kahles 10-50x56mm Specifications:
Magnification: 10X to 50X
Objective lens: 56mm
Reticle: Second Focal Plane with MOA subtensions at 40X power
Tube diameter: 30mm, Nitrogen filled
Length: 16.9 inches
Weight: 31.4 ounces
Click Value: 1/8 MOA with 20 MOA per revolution
Range of adjustments: 5.3 ft. elevation/ 3.6 ft. windage @ 100 meters
Field of view at 100m: 8.7 feet @10X and 3.6 feet @ 50X
Parallax Control: Parallax ring is centrally mounted on same axis as elevation knob.
Parallax Range: 8m to infinity
Eye relief: 3.74 inches

I first got to test the Kahles in competition at a 300-yard match. The scope performed flawlessly with spot-on, positive adjustments. The central-mounted parallax ring worked perfectly, giving me parallax-free viewing with the ring set on 300. The quick focus ocular adjustment also brought the image into sharp focus. We had some mirage today, but I had no problem seeing bullet holes with the scope set at 40x. The MOA reticle served me well by allowing me to know how many 1/8 MOA clicks to adjust from the sighter target. I shot my Bartlein 1:13.5″-twist 6mm PPC barrel with N133 and Bart’s 65gr Super Man BT bullets. I shot 296-4X out of 300 possible. The 65gr BT seems to be at its maximum range and I was edged out by an excellent 297/?x by a 6mm Dasher. The scope certainly did its part, but I didn’t.

Shooting the Kahles 10-50X at 200 yards before 300-yard match. The quality of this scope makes zeroing it a pleasure. The clicks are positive and audible.
Kahles MOAK scope 10-50x56mm 10x-50x james mock field test review

Kahles Performs Superbly Shooting the Square
With every new scope that I test, I shoot the “square” (a box test). This target below above has ½ inch squares and my aim point was the small square in the lower right quadrant. I shot two shots at it then moved the windage knob 5 MOA left and fired one. I then moved 5 up and fired again; moved 5 right and fired; followed by my final shot after clicking 5 MOA down. This last shot went through the hole made by the original two shots! That’s amazing. These were shot at 100m without wind flags.

Kahles MOAK scope 10-50x56mm 10x-50x james mock field test review

Shooting with the Kahles in 600-Yard Competition
On the 3rd Saturday of the month, we shoot a 600-yard match consisting of four, 5-shot targets on the IBS target. The 600-yard match demands a scope that is very reliable and “spot on” in its adjustments. Since I don’t have a 600-yard range on which to zero, I simply zero at 100 yards and click up 11 MOA. At our matches we shoot steel gongs for sighting in. There is NO sight-in period before the match — all competitors are expected to be “on target” upon arrival. I had to put my faith in the Kahles click values.

Our 600-yard match was my first opportunity to use the Kahles at that distance. I shot the scope set at 40X all day. The crisp adjustments allowed me to get on target quickly and in the first match, I shot a respectable 48/50 with 1X. NOTE: for this 600-yard match I replaced my 6 PPC barrel with an 8-twist 6mm Dasher. I use 32.8 grains of Varget pushing a Bart Sauter 105gr rebated boat tail bullet.

Testing with Hood Scope Checker
Many shooters’ primary concern with scopes used for competitive shooting is their ability to hold point of aim (POA). To test the Kahles, I mounted it on the Hood Scope Checker alongside my 36X Valdada. By aiming both scopes at a given point on the paper and firing several shots, one can determine if either of the scopes’ POA is moving. I don’t have a “frozen” scope to use, but the Valdada has been rock solid for me during many competitions over the last eight years. Pictured below is the setup that I used to test the scopes.

Kahles MOAK scope 10-50x56mm 10x-50x james mock field test review

Kahles MOAK scope 10-50x56mm 10x-50x james mock field test review

It is a pleasure to test a scope of this quality. Everything works as advertised and there are no unpleasant surprises. Many premium scopes fail the POA test outlined above. If a scope holds point of aim, has repeatable crisp adjustments, and sharp clear images, what more could a person ask?

Summary: A Quality Optic with Great Performance
Although I am still evaluating this scope, there are some definite conclusions that I have reached. This scope is for the person who will not compromise his demands for quality, regardless of price. This is not the most expensive large scope on the market at $2799.00, but it represents an extremely high-quality product for those willing to pay a premium for a premium product.

Are there things that I do not like about this scope? Yes, the primary one is the weight (31.4 ounces). This is not a problem for those shooting long range with 17- or 22-pound limits, but the weight is a consideration for those shooting short range benchrest varmint classes (10.5 or 13.5 pounds). Also, I would appreciate screw-on lens caps rather that the large bulky cover. I know that both of these are minor things and do not reflect the quality of the instrument.

If I had to offer any type of critique, it would be for a lower price and lighter weight. I cannot fault the price or weight too much however because quality costs and the scope has large objective lens and a sturdy tube. All in all, I can recommend this scope without reservation to all who want the best and have the ability to pay for same. — James Mock

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics 6 Comments »
July 30th, 2017

Howa Mini Action Rifles Reviewed by 6.5 Guys

Howa Mini Action Rifle 6.5 Guys 65guys.com Legacy Sports 6.5 Grendel 7.62x39

We’ve been fans of the Howa Mini Action rifles since they were introduced a couple years ago. With actions that are nearly an inch shorter than typical “short actions”, these Mini Action rigs work great as a compact “truck gun” or carry-around varminter. Current chamberings are: .204 Ruger, .222 Rem, .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, and 7.62×39. There are 20″ lightweight, 20″ heavy contour, and 22″ standard contour barrel options.

6.5 Guy Ed Mobley Tests the 7.62×39 Howa Mini Action Rifle
Howa Mini Action Rifle 6.5 Guys 65guys.com Legacy Sports 6.5 Grendel 7.62x39

The Howa Mini Action rifles come with the excellent HACT 2-stage trigger and a 5-round or 10-round, synthetic detachable box mag (depending on caliber). The Mini Action’s bolt is 13% shorter than on regular short actions, providing a shorter, faster bolt throw. Weight is also reduced. This makes for a nice, compact (and very shootable) package.

6.5 Guys Test Howa Mini Actions in 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39

The 6.5 Guys recently secured a pair of Howa Mini Actions, one chambered in 6.5 Grendel and the other in 7.62×39 Russian: “After trying out the Howa Mini Action rifles at SHOT Show 2017, we got a couple of loaners in 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39 courtesy of Legacy Sports. These rifles are known for their smooth cycling and lightweight actions, as well as some unique chamberings for bolt rifles (6.5 Grendel, 7.62×39). Long story short, we really enjoyed them.” In fact Steve liked his 6.5 Grendel enough that he plans to purchase the gun. Get the full scoop in this VIDEO REVIEW:

The folks at Legacy Sports also conducted extensive accuracy tests of commercial ammunition in 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39. The most accurate 6.5 Grendel ammo, with a stunning 0.29″ group, was Alexander Arms with Lapua 123gr Scenar; second best (0.56″ group) was Hornady with 123gr A-Max bullet. The most accurate 7.62×39 ammo was Hornady 123gr SST with a 0.62″ group in the 20″ Heavy Barrel version. View Howa’s Test Reports with these links:

6.5 Grendel Factory Ammo Data | 7.62×39mm Factory Ammo Data

Howa Mini Action Rifle 6.5 Guys 65guys.com Legacy Sports 6.5 Grendel 7.62x39
Click HERE for full-screen image.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
July 25th, 2017

John Whidden Wins 2017 NRA Long Range Championship

Whidden Gunworks 2017 Long Range High Power National Champion Camp Atterbury Indiana

John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks has won his fifth Long Range National Championship, his second title in a row (he also won the LR Title in 2016). This year, competing at Camp Atterbury in Indiana, Whidden pulled together a gritty, come-from-behind victory. John won the title by shooting a perfect 450-28X (not dropping a point) in the final Palma match on the last day of the Long Range Championship. While Whidden, who finished at 1246-91X, edged runner-up Phillip Crowe (1245-68X) by just one point, John enjoyed a huge X-Count margin. Finishing third was past High Power and Long Range National Champion Nancy Tompkins (1244-65X). Here are the Top Ten finishers:

Whidden Gunworks 2017 Long Range High Power National Champion Camp Atterbury Indiana

Whidden’s Perfect Palma Match
Whidden secured the 2017 LR Title by shooting “clean” (not dropping a point) in the tough Palma competition. In the NRA Palma match, rifles must be .223 Rem or .308 Winchester, with metallic sights (no scopes). The match is conducted at three yardages, 15 shots at each distance of 800/900/1000 yards, with unlimited sighters at 800 and two sighters at 900 and 1000.

John liked the Camp Atterbury facility and he credited his equipment for his 2017 victory: “With the change to the new Camp Atterbury venue, many shooters were a little unsure how things were going to shake out. But it all turned out really well. All of my equipment shot fantastic all week long — that certainly made shooting a big score easier.”

Whidden’s Championship-Winning Rifle
Since John captured his fifth Long Range crown with a superb performance in the Palma match, we thought we’d give readers a look at John’s very special Palma rifle. This unique .308 Win prone rifle features a Barnard “P” action in a converted aluminum Anschutz “Precise” smallbore (rimfire) stock. The combo of Barnard action and Anschutz ergonomics is hard to beat, says John, who told us: “this is easily the best Palma rifle I’ve ever had.” John told us this gun handles like no other: “After recoil, with this Anschutz stock, the sights fall right back on target — better than any other prone rifle I’ve shot”.

As a bonus, the Barnard “drop-in” required no modification of the Anschutz Precise stock. This means John can actually swap in his rimfire barreled action and shoot smallbore with the same stock.

Sling Rifle Evolved: The Ultra-Accurate Hybrid Palma Rifle

by John Whidden
The mental component of Long Range competitive shooting is always challenging but having tremendous confidence in the accuracy of your equipment is a huge benefit. There’s nothing to start your Palma match off well like knowing that you are shooting the most accurate Palma rifle you’ve ever owned.

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

Whidden Palma Rifle
Action: Barnard “P” (three lugs, 60° bolt lift)
Barrel: Bartlein 32″, Light Palma contour, cryo-treated by 300 Below.
Stock: Anschutz Precise aluminum smallbore stock, set up for centerfire barreled action.
Trigger: Barnard Two-Stage adjustable

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

Whidden’s Wonder-Gun: German Stock, New Zealand Action, American Barrel
John built this Palma rifle in early 2016. With it, John won back-to-back long-range Championships in 2016 (Camp Perry) and 2017 (Camp Atterbury). The major components are: Barnard ‘P’ action, Anschutz Precise smallbore stock, and Bartlein barrel. The caliber is .308 Win, as dictated by the Palma rules. Palma matches are fired from 800, 900, and 1000 yards utilizing iron sights only. No optical sights are allowed.

The Anchutz Precise stock is so well-designed that once I finished adjusting the details, I realized that my hold was about 1/3 smaller than with the stocks I shot previously. While in recoil the gun will track vertically and fall back down right on my own target just as it should. In the past, with my other Palma rifles, it was frankly sometimes a struggle to get them to settle back on target after a shot.

Whidden Gunworks has installed a variety of different actions in the Anschutz Precise stocks. Though the stocks are designed for the .22 LR caliber 2013 action rifles, we’ve successfully installed Barnard, Kelbly, Bat, Nesika, and Remington clone actions into them. The Barnard Model P makes a particularly simple installation because there is no modification necessary to the stock at all. A competitor can then shoot both his centerfire rifle as well as his smallbore gun in the exact same stock. The location of the trigger and bolt handle on the Barnard are positioned just right to make this work. Other actions do require at least some amount of modification to the stock, and we have found the Barnard works the best.

Barnard manufactures several models of actions as part of their lineup. All of the actions in the lineup use three lug bolts which give a shorter 60-degree bolt lift when opening and closing. All of the critical surfaces are machined after heat treating. This means that they are exceptionally true and square, more so than other actions. The Model P action is most familiar to Palma and F-Class shooters and are commonly seen on the firing line. The fact that Model P actions include an excellent two-stage trigger makes also the pricing very attractive.

Based on my previous excellent experiences, I selected Bartlein barrels for this rifle. When shooting internationally in the Palma matches we are restricted to 155 grain .308 bullets, but I made the unusual choice of a 1-10″ twist for these bullets. I’ve shot this fast twist for some years with the 155s with good success and it’s pleasing to know that Bryan Litz is finding benefits in some cartridges to shooting faster twist rates than we previously thought we needed. The load is Vihtavuori N140 Powder with Berger 155gr Hybrid bullets. The chamber is the 2011 Palma and the barrel is a Light Palma contour finished at 32” length. The barrel was cryo-treated by 300 Below. The point of impact isn’t changed at all by barrel heating and the accuracy is incredible regardless of the temperature of the barrel. This can’t be said of all the barrels I’ve owned.

John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stock

Get Your Own Whidden Wonder-Gun for $4500.00
Like what you see — but wonder how much it will cost? Whidden Gunworks can build you a rig like this, fitting a centerfire barreled action in the Anschutz Precise stock. John tells us: “The price of a rifle like this one but without sights or mounts would be just under $4500.00. We attempt to keep all of the parts except the stock in inventory, so lead time should be under eight (8) weeks.”

Stock Offers Great Adjustability
John Whidden Palma Rifle .308 Win Barnard Anschutz P action smallbore stockOne thing that is quickly noticed about the Anschutz Precise stock is its adjustability. The engineers did a very good job of allowing many of these adjustments to be made while in the shooting position, most notably the cheekpiece adjustments. When a shooter picks up a Precise stock for the first time they also notice how narrow the fore-end is. This really contributes to reducing the pain in the forward hand in prone when shooting with a sling. This stock is, by far, the most comfortable sling stock I’ve ever handled.

This rifle was very accurate right away and very comfortable to shoot. I’ve built some really good shooting Palma rifles but this is easily the best Palma rifle I’ve ever had. The Barnard action with its superb quality and excellent two-stage trigger has been the best choice I could have made. When you can go to the firing line knowing that you have the very best, the foundation for success has been set.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 6 Comments »
July 24th, 2017

MasterPiece Arms Releases Rimfire Tactical Rifle

MPA BA rifle .22 LR rimfire
Don’t worry — you can get this gun in eight different Cerakote colors: black, bronze, flat dark earth, gunmetal, marine red, NRA blue, green, and tungsten.

PRS and tactical shooters take note — you can now buy what may be the perfect “turn-key” PRS rimfire cross-training rig. The new rimfire MPA 22BA Bolt Action Rifle combines the proven CZ 455 action with a custom Spencer barrel and modern MPA modular chassis. With this chassis you can easily adjust length of pull, butt-pad height/cant, and cheek riser position. Chambered in .22 LR, the MPA 22BA Bolt Action Rifle can change to .22 WMR and 17 HMR through a simple barrel change. So, this gun can do double duty as a .22 LR trainer and a 17 HMR varmint slayer. Basic MSRP is $1599.00.

The MPA 22BA Bolt Action Rifle is available with numerous rugged Cerakote finishes: black, burnt bronze, flat dark earth, gunmetal, marine red, NRA blue, sniper green, and tungsten. Custom Cerakote colors cost $135 extra for the chassis body and/or $65 for the barreled action.

MPA 22BA Bolt Action Rifle Specifications:
Caliber: .22 LR (.22 WMR and 17 HMR via barrel change)
Action: CZ 455
Chassis: MPA CZ455 BA Chassis, 13.50″ – 14.75″ LOP
Barrel: 416RQ Stainless Steel Spencer / MPA barrel, 1:16″ twist
Barrel Length/Countour: 16-24” (customer specified), 0.920″ straight
Barrel Muzzle Thread: ½-28 TPI (if requested)
Trigger: CZ 455 Trigger (yoDave Trigger Upgrade, 1-3 lbs.)
Magazine: CZ 455 10 round polymer magazine with DIP floorplate
MSRP: $1,599.00

The CNC-machined MPA chassis has some very cool features: enhanced vertical grip, thumb notch, built-in bubble level, MPA trigger shoe, and spigot mount with lower-mounted Picatinny rail. The rig comes with a D.I.P. +25 MOA Picatinny scope base and you can add side Picatinny rails, as well as increase the distance from the spigot-mounted bipod to the rear support. The chassis is also compatible with a barricade stop system, an extra-cost option.

Why rimfire cross-training? Because this stuff is ten cents per round. Premium handloads can run $1.00/round (counting brass depreciation), and the best factory ammo can cost over $2.00/round.
tactical .22 LR rimfire norma

A Rifle is Only As Good As Its Barrel
The key to accuracy for any rimfire rifle is a great barrel. The MPA 22BA Bolt Action Rifle includes a precision drilled, reamed, and honed Spencer / MPA rifle barrel made from 416RQ stainless steel. The hand-lapped barrel is inspected with a video borescope. The chamber is indicated within 0.0001” or less to the bore of the rifle.

MPA BA rifle .22 LR rimfire

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, News No Comments »
July 24th, 2017

TECH TIP: Use a Block to Maintain Front Bag Shape

John Loh Front Rest JJ Industries

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

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
July 20th, 2017

Getting the Most Out of Your Progressive Press — PowerUser Tips

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

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

Hornady .308 winchester lock-n-load progressive press

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article

ultimate reloader progressive

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

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

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

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

The Right Press and Press Setup
Look for a heavy-duty, well-built press that will stand up to rifle loading. You’ll also want to make sure your powder measure will have the proper capacity (~25 grains for .223, ~50 grains for 308). If you are bulk reloading, ensure you have enough stations for sizing, charging, powder check, bullet feed, bullet seating, and (optional) bullet crimp.

More Ultimate Reloader Resources for Users of Progressive Presses:

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
July 10th, 2017

Accuracy with Criterion Barrel and .308 Creedmoor Sports Ammo

criterion barrel black creedmoor sports .308 Win Ammunition ammo

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

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

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

criterion barrel black creedmoor sports .308 Win Ammunition ammo

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review No Comments »
July 9th, 2017

Triple Threat — Laurie Holland Reviews Three Reloading Presses

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

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

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

READ Laurie Holland Reloading Press 3-Way Comparison Review

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

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

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

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

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

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
July 5th, 2017

Rimfire Revolvers — Guide to Great .22 LR Wheelguns

Smith Wesson Model 617 wheelgun rimfire revolver

Don’t own a quality .22 LR wheelgun yet? Well start saving those pennies. Every serious gun aficionado should have a quality rimfire revolver. A rimfire wheelgun is also very good choice for a first handgun. Indeed, a strong argument could be made that a .22 LR revolver is THE best choice for a new shooter’s first handgun. A .22 LR revolver is easy to shoot, easy to maintain, and will last a lifetime.

TOP FIVE Reasons to Own a Rimfire Revolver:

  • 1. Rimfire .22 LR Ammunition is cheap, and now plentiful again.
  • 2. A good, full-size .22 LR revolver will be MORE ACCURATE than the vast majority of semi-auto rimfire handguns. With no magazines to jam, a good wheelgun will also be more reliable than most self-loading rimfires.
  • 3. A rimfire revolver can shoot tens of thousands of rounds, with just routine maintenance. This gun can last a lifetime and then you can pass it on to your kids.
  • 4. On a S&W revolver, it is very easy to tune the pull weight. You can have a safe double-action pull with a very light, crisp single-action release.
  • 5. It is easy to change grips and sights to suit your preference. You can also mount a scope on the top-strap.

TOP FIVE Rimfire Revolvers (Current Production)

1. Smith & Wesson Model 617, 6″ or 4″ BBL, $829.00 MSRP

Smith Wesson Model 617
10-Shot, Stainless Steel, 44.1 Oz. (6″ barrel), 39 Oz. (4″ barrel)

Smith Wesson model 617 4 inchSmith & Wesson’s Model 617, offered with either 6″ or 4″ barrels, is extremely accurate, with a very crisp trigger, and good sights. You can learn all the fundamentals with this ultra-reliable K-Frame handgun, shooting inexpensive .22 LR ammo. The model 617 is rugged, durable, and can give you a lifetime of shooting fun. Your Editor has owned a 4″ ten-shot Model 617 for over 20 years, and it’s still going strong.

Once you have mastered the basics of shooting with a .22 LR, you can move on to larger caliber handguns suitable for self-defense. Below is a slide-show illustrating a S&W model 617 ten-shot, with 6″ barrel. S&W also makes a 4″-barrel version of this revolver. (See: 4″ 617 Demo Video.)

2. Ruger GP100 .22 LR, 5.5″ or 4″ BBL, $829.00 MSRP

Ruger GP-100 5.5
10-Shot, Stainless Steel, 42 Oz., 5.5″ Barrel

Ruger introduced the .22 LR GP100 two years ago. Since then, it has become a good seller. This 10-shot revolver with 5.5″ barrel has a comfortable grip and triple-locking cylinder (locked into the frame at the front, rear and bottom). Many shooters like the fact that the 5.5″-barrel GP100 carries its heft more to the rear than S&W’s 6″ 617. However, we’d give the edge to the 617’s trigger. NOTE: Davidson’s also has a limited edition GP100 with shorter 4″ barrel. This Davidson’s exclusive edition 4″ GP100 is handier to carry and balances better.

3. Smith & Wesson Model 17 Masterpiece, 6″ BBL, $989.00 MSRP

Smith Wesson Model 617 wheelgun rimfire revolver
6-Shot, Carbon (Blued) Steel, 39.9 Oz., 6″ Barrel

Smith & Wesson recently re-introduced its Model 17 Masterpiece revolver. This Blued 6-shot classic has been “re-released” with a retro-style grip. It still offers outstanding accuracy and a sweet trigger pull. For those who like the look of the original K-22 revolvers this can fill the bill. With a non-underlug 6″ barrel, this is 4.2 ounces lighter than the 6″ Model 617. The price, $989.00 MSRP, is pretty steep. It you look around you may be able to find an original K-22 for a few hundred dollars less. We’ve seen some decent examples on Gunbroker in the $700 range, but pristine K-22s are selling for over $1000 now.

4. Smith & Wesson Model 63, 3″ BBL, $769.00 MSRP

Smith Wesson Model 63 wheelgun .22 LR rimfire revolver
8-Shot, Stainless Steel, 25.8 Oz., 3″ barrel

The 8-Shot Smith & Wesson Model 63 may be one of the most versatile revolvers on the market. With a 3″ barrel, it balances well and is easy to hold. This makes this a great training pistol for a new shooter, even a junior or a lady with small hands. The latest 8-shot version offers nice big sights with fiber-optic front insert. While we consider this a great training and plinking handgun, it can also do double-duty for concealed carry. No the .22 LR won’t match the stopping power of a .357 Magnum, but better armed than not.

5. Ruger LCRx, 3″ BBL, $579.00 MSRP

Ruger LCRX LCR-X revolver polymer composite handgun .22LR rimfire
8-Shot, Steel/Aluminum/Polymer, 17.3 Oz., 3″ barrel

The new Ruger LCRx Revolver combines traditional wheelgun features with modern composite construction. The 3″ barrel and cylinder are steel. The “frame” housing the barrel and cylinder are aerospace-grade aluminum. The rear/lower section of the pistol, what Ruger calls the “fire control housing”, is made of polymer. This cuts weight and tames felt reoil. That fire control housing holds the hammer/trigger assemblies and provides a mount for the interchangeable grips. This is really a very innovative pistol. Thanks to its weight-saving features, Ruger’s LCRx is 8.5 ounces lighter than S&W’s Model 63, though both have 3″-long barrels.

Permalink Gear Review, Handguns No Comments »
July 3rd, 2017

New Pierce 15.2 Ounce Featherweight Titanium Action

Pierce Engineering Titaniun action Ti Bolt featherweight action hunting rifle

When it comes to a “carry-around” hunting rifle, “light is right”. You don’t want to haul around unnecessary mass when you’re chasing game up and down mountains. When building an ultralight field rifle, it makes sense to prioritize the poundage — weight saved in the action, bottom metal, and stock can allow a heavier-contour barrel that may shoot better (and not heat up as quickly).

Now Pierce Engineering has developed a truly light-weight action, ideal for hunting rigs. The new Pierce Featherweight Titanium Action weighs just 15.2 ounces for the short action version. And the long action is barely more — just 16 ounces (one pound even). Pierce achieves this remarkable lightness with full Titanium construction — both action body AND bolt are super-high-grade Titanium.

Pierce Engineering Titaniun action Ti Bolt featherweight action hunting rifle

Pierce Engineering explains: “This fully Titanium action features a solid Titanium bolt. Utilizing a rare, high-grade Titanium ensures this action is built to last. This is not standard grade 5 Titanium; it is very strong and the hardness is 44-45 RC. Every Titanium bolt comes standard with a Black Nitride Finish that adds lubricity and prevents galling. We have tried many coatings and found this to be far superior than anything else that is out there. All the Titanium Bolts come with a threaded titanium handle and an aluminum teardrop knob.”

Featherweight Titanium Short Action: $1,785.00 | Featherweight Titanium Long Action: $1,835.00

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product 1 Comment »
July 2nd, 2017

Exhibition Grade F-Open Rifle from Master Class Stocks

Alex Sitman Master Class StocksAlex Sitman of Master Class Stocks in Pennsylvania is widely considered one of the finest rifle-stock craftsmen in the country, if not the world. Alex’s workmanship and dedication to excellence is top-of-the-line. Alex normally custom-fits each stock to his customer precisely. Many hours are dedicated to stock prep and inletting, and his bedding jobs are flawless. Each stock is exactingly hand-crafted with great attention to detail, and then the stock is “dressed” in the customer’s choice of finishes.

Doing all that takes time — a lot of time. That’s why Master Class Stocks has a long waiting list, and it can take months before a big job is completed. But when Alex is involved, you can count on the final product being a work of stock-making art. Here’s an example. Alex recently stocked an F-Class rifle using eye-popping, exhibition-grade Bastogne walnut. The wood was sourced from Cecil Fredi of GunstockBlanks.com. Alex says: “Cecil’s wood is some of the best I’ve ever used. This blank cost over $1000.00, but it was truly spectacular.” Since the blank was less than 3″ wide, Alex (with assistance from 8-time NRA High Power Champion Carl Bernosky) laminated on the 3″-wide forearm “wings” using spare wood left after the blank was cut. See how Alex and Carl carefully matched the grain of the wood on the forearm. And note how perfectly the adjustable cheek-piece is fitted. If you want a stock like this on your next rifle, contact Alex Sitman at Master Class Stocks, (814) 742-7868.

The Bastogne Beauty — More Construction Details
Eric Kennard tells us: “This rifle was built for Mike Dana in Florida. Kelbly’s did the metal work. [The action is a Stolle Panda F-Class.] Barrel by Brux. Chambering? 6mmBR of course! Mike added a March 10 x 60 scope. Let me tell you this is beyond a work of art! The fit is absolutely perfect! There is not one flaw in the wood-work. The pillar bedding is also perfect! Did you notice the ebony inserts? Or Alex’s custom trigger guard? Alex out did-himself this time. Most of us would not dare to shoot [this gun]!”

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
June 27th, 2017

.338 Lapua Magnum Improved Barrel Block Beast for K02M

.338 Lapua Magnum Improved KO2M David Tubb Corbin Shell Tall Target

Report by Corbin Shell
Not long ago, I learned of the King of 2 Miles (KO2M) shoot held in Raton, NM and was fortunate enough to get an entry slot. I will be shooting with David Tubb, multi-time High Power and Long Range National Champion, on a team we call the “Second Amendment Cowboys”. Given such short notice, I scrambled to find the necessary components to build a suitable rifle for the event. I turned to longtime friend and owner of X-Treme Shooting Products (XTSP), Tom Myers, to see if he might have a suitable action. XTSP is known for its premium titanium rifle receivers, however XTSP also manufactures stainless actions. As luck would have it, Tom was completing a small run of .338 Lapua Magnum-sized stainless steel single-shot actions. Other components were sourced as quickly as possible and the building began in earnest.

.338 Lapua Magnum Improved KO2M David Tubb Corbin Shell Tall Target

Before acquiring the first component for this build I already knew who was going to perform the work, Doyle Anglin at Dixie Guns, inc.. Doyle’s attention to detail and rifle building knowledge is second to none! I came to Doyle with the idea of building a rifle to shoot in the King of 2 Miles match and his ears perked up. Once all the components were in hand Doyle began construction. Doyle was given free liberty to build whatever he felt best for the job given the time constraints and components that were readily available on such short notice. I cannot thank Doyle Anglin enough for the stellar job he did!

Rifle Builder: Doyle Anglin, Dixie Guns, doylebbang@windstream.net
1010 Hancock Bridge Road | Winder, GA 30680 | 706-654-8400 phone

.338 Lapua Magnum Improved KO2M David Tubb Corbin Shell Tall Target

KO2M .338 Lapua Magnum Improved — Rifle Components

— Custom laminated stock Doyle Anglin designed and created from scratch
— 10″-long aluminum barrel block designed and made by Doyle Anglin
— XTSP (X-Treme Shooting Products) PH420 stainless single shot receiver 1.450” diameter. PVD-coated receiver body. FNC-coated one piece bolt.
— XTSP +35 MOA and +60 MOA tapered Picatinny rails, PH420 stainless, PVD-coated
— XTSP two-stage trigger with safety
— Krieger 1:9.3″-twist barrel. 1.450” for 6.5” tapering to 1.100” at the muzzle. 33.5″ finished length
— Piercision Rifles 3/4×24 slab-sided, 5-port muzzle brake
— BAT stainless trigger guard
— Masterclass cheek piece with extended rods
— Masterclass butt plate hardware
— Duplin Bipod
— Spuhr +20.6 MOA one piece scope mount
— Ivey +175 MOA adjustable scope mount
— Sightron SIII 6-24x50mm MOA-value scope (100 MOA of total travel)
— Geier & Bluhm 10 minute precision bubble level mounted to barrel block via extension rod
— Manson .338 Lapua Magnum Improved 30-degree reamer, .375” neck diameter

.338 Lapua Magnum Improved KO2M David Tubb Corbin Shell Tall Target

Load Information
— Sierra 300 grain MatchKing, meplats trimmed and pointed, seated .010″ into lands*
— Hodgdon Retumbo Powder, 101 grains
— Peterson .338 Lapua Magnum brass
— Federal 215 primers
— Jim Carstenson custom reloading dies: inline seater, full-length bushing, neck bushing and threaded micrometer seating die

This load has achieved 3050fps with low single-digit SDs

Given the 12-pound barrel weight, Doyle strongly suggested a barrel block to offer additional support and increase rigidity. Doyle created a split ten-inch aluminum barrel block and mating steel plate that is inletted into the forend of the custom laminated stock. The 1:9.3″-twist Krieger barrel is epoxied into the barrel block as well as being held in place by the ten socket head cap screws. Two hardened and ground pins locate and index the barrel block onto the steel mating plate. The steel mating plate acts as the recoil lug which mates up to the cut on the reward section of the barrel block. The Krieger barrel is chambered with a 30-degree Lapua Magnum Improved reamer and throated accordingly, yielding a loaded round of approximately 4.000 inches.

The barrel is capped with a very effective Piercision Rifles 3/4×24 slab-sided, five port muzzle brake. The size proportions of the muzzle brake work well with the 1.100” muzzle diameter, however it will work on barrels up to 1.450″ in diameter.

.338 Lapua Magnum Improved KO2M David Tubb Corbin Shell Tall Target

Doyle Anglin worked his creative magic and constructed the multi-color laminated stock from a blank. The five inch fore-end allows the rifle to be utilized in a dual role — either benchrest or prone with bipod. The cheek piece hardware is from Master Class Stocks and is adjustable for cast on/off with preset elevation settings via half-moon shaped clips. The two-way adjustable butt plate hardware also comes from Alex Sitman at Master Class Stocks. The multi-colored laminate stock is clear-coated with special marine UV inhibitor paint. The glass smooth finish makes the wood appear wet and is extremely smooth to the touch.

.338 Lapua Magnum Improved KO2M David Tubb Corbin Shell Tall Target

Lots of Elevation on Tap with Angled Rails, Spuhr and Ivey Mounts
Topping off the rifle is either a +35 or +60 MOA X-Treme Shooting Products Picatinny scope rail. The receiver and scope rails are pinned for accurate repeatability when interchanging. Five 8×40 socket head cap screws firmly hold the scope rail in place. A SPUHR +20.6 MOA tapered, one-piece scope mount securely grasps the Sightron SIII 6-24x50mm MOA scope. I cannot say enough good things about the quality of the SPUHR scope mount! This is the only fixed scope mount that I will use going forward and a special thanks goes out to Ulf at SPUHR! The 35 MOA rail and 20.6 MOA SPUHR mount setup allows full utilization of the Sightron’s 100 MOA of internal travel. The second scope setup is comprised of an Ivey +175 MOA adjustable scope base and Sightron SIII 6-24x50mm optic.

Scope in SPUHR mount shown below:
.338 Lapua Magnum Improved KO2M David Tubb Corbin Shell Tall Target

Scope in IVEY Mount with barrel block-mounted precision bubble level:
.338 Lapua Magnum Improved KO2M David Tubb Corbin Shell Tall Target

When shooting extended long range (ELR) it is important that the scope’s crosshairs remains level. Should the crosshairs be canted it will induce impact shift which increases with the angle of cant and distance. The decision was made not to use any of the lesser quality/precision bubble levels that currently flood the market. These levels have poor resolution usually between one and two and a half (1-2.5) degrees. It must be noted that not all levels are created equal. The fine folks at Geier & Bluhm offered up a solution with a precision glass vial horizontal level with an accuracy of ten minutes. As a refresher, one degree is comprised of 60 minutes of angle. The level setup we chose for this rifle is, at minimum, six times more accurate than the best scope or picatinny level on the market. The 10 MOA bubble level sensitivity is just about perfect and does not create a situation of having to “chase” the bubble left and right when in position.

.338 Lapua Magnum Improved KO2M David Tubb Corbin Shell Tall Target

A portable 150 MOA tall target was created to test both scope tracking and crosshair alignment. When testing at the local 100-yard range I got a lot of strange looks and a few inquiries as to why in the world was I shooting thirteen FEET above the aiming bullseye.

As the F-TR shooters have learned, it is very important that the rifle travel freely and repeatable under recoil. I turned to Ray Gross who custom made a rubber and Cordura shooting mat which the bipod rides on. This mat is of the same material and construction that most of the F-TR team is utilizing. The rubber durometer is correct so the rifle does not bounce or hop when fired. The bipod skis slide very easy on the Cordura-topped mat. A big thanks goes to Ray Gross for assisting with the mat setup. In addition, high molecular weight polyethylene (HMWPE) tape was applied to the butt stock of the rifle. The HMWPE tape allows for extremely low friction between the butt stock and rear sand bag. This configuration tracks very well and slides rearward like it is on rails.

.338 Lapua Magnum Improved KO2M David Tubb Corbin Shell Tall Target

As load development progressed I tested three different brands of projectiles. A ladder test was performed at 300 yards to determine where the node was with my barrel and powder combination. The rifle liked between 99-101 grains of Hodgdon Retumbo. I then proceeded to shooting ten shot groups at 1000 yards. In this rifle the Sierra 300gr Matchking was hands down the winner for smallest groups and the best elevation at 1000 yards. The load settled on is 101 grains of Retumbo and 300 grain Sierra Matchking. 500 Sierra bullets were measured base to ogive and the spread over the entire 500pc measured .003” with 490pc varying by .001”. Keep up the good work Sierra Bullets! A special thank you goes to John Whidden for generously allowing me to come to his shop and repoint the Sierra .338 projectiles and allowing me to test at his 1000 yard range.

Preparation for the King of 2 Miles match has been a great learning experience and a lot of fun! Next year’s rifle design is already in the works and should be an over the top build. Stay tuned to AccurateShooter.com for further details!


* The Sierra 300gr MatchKings were meplat-trimmed and pointed using the original pointing system made by Ferris Pendell for Jim Hardy. A big thank you goes out to John Whidden for allowing me to come to his shop and use the original bullet pointing system.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
June 27th, 2017

Smart Product: Custom-Fitted Cardboard Ammo Storage Boxes

Repackbox fitted cardboard ammo ammunition storage box printed labels

Here’s a smart product for folks who load and store large quantities of ammunition. With these white cardboard ammo boxes from Repackbox.com, you can store pistol, rifle, and shotshell ammo very inexpensively. A set of 30 boxes costs $13.95 ($0.47/box), while a 100-Box Bundle costs just $22.95. That works out to just $0.23 (twenty-three cents) per box — very cheap!

All boxes are Made in the USA of .024 thick, acid free, virgin card stock. The boxes are printed with Cartridge Type (Caliber), number of rounds enclosed, and an outlined box where a printed label can be placed. Included with each set are Blank Avery 5167 Labels which can be printed with load/bullet data or other info. The box kits even come with white gloves to keep your ammo grease-free. Order these ammo repack box kits from Repackbox.com.

There are many advantages to these cardboard boxes. They are inexpensive and they store ammo very efficiently, not using much space. You can arrange them in any orientation (unlike some plastic ammo carriers). We like these boxes for varmint safaris and other adventures when we’re transporting many hundreds of rounds of ammo. They are also a smart choice for bulk shotshell ammo, as they are much less expensive than plastic shotshell cases. For pistol shooting we still like see-through, plastic flip-top boxes at the range, but these white cardboard boxes are great for storing large quantities of pistol ammo produced on progressive presses. NOTE: These boxes do NOT have individual dividers between the cartridges. And no, the boxes are NOT waterproof — you’ll want to keep them in an ammo can on rainy days.

30-Box and 100-Box Kits are available for all these Pistol and Rifle Cartridge Types:

PISTOL Cartridges
.380 ACP
.38 SPL/.357 Magnum
9mm Luger
.40 S&W
10mm
.44 Magnum
.45 ACP
.45 Long Colt
RIFLE Cartridges
.223 Rem/5.56×45
.30 Carbine
30-30 Winchester
.303 Brit
7.62×39
.308 Win/7.62×51
7.62x54R
.30-06 Springfield

In addition, there are boxes for 12 gauge shotgun ammunition.
Repackbox fitted carboard ammo ammunition storage box printed labels

Repackbox fitted carboard ammo ammunition storage box printed labels

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