February 23rd, 2019

New Canadian Action with 3-Lug Floating Bolt Head

Ultimatum Precision Rifle action Deadline Canada Canadian Target Shooter UK Magazine
Image Courtesy TargetShooter.co.uk.

Our friends at Target Shooter UK Magazine recently reviewed an innovative new rifle action engineered and crafted in Canada. This features a Rem 700 footprint, with some clever features, including a 3-lug bolt with floating bolt head, dual ejection plungers, and integral recoil lug. The action is very smooth-running and seems well-suited to a variety of disciplines. It can take any Rem 700-compatible trigger. The reviewer tested this new action in a GS Precision rifle fitted with 26″ Benchmark barrel, KRG Whiskey 3 stock, and 10-oz. Trigger Tech Diamond trigger.

READ FULL ACTION REVIEW on TargetShooter.co.uk »

Ultimatum Precision Rifle action Deadline Canada Canadian Target Shooter UK Magazine

The Target Shooter Magazine reviewer was impressed by the Ultimatum Action and its features:

“I’m holding one of the first Ultimatum Precision actions to arrive in the UK and they are even more gorgeous than I remembered. The action is called the ‘DEADLINE’ – which is neatly incised into the multi-flat action body. The fluted bolt-body is a beefy 21mm diameter (most custom actions are 18mm) and the bolt-shroud and rear tang have been tastefully re-designed.”

“The Ultimatum Precision Deadline action is a joy to use with its slick, short-throw [60-degree] bolt-lift.”

Ultimatum Precision Rifle action Deadline Canada Canadian Target Shooter UK Magazine

“The action is machined from 4340 HTSR steel with a LHN (Liquid Hard Nitride) coating, which gives the action an attractive black sheen and is wear-resistant and corrosion resistant. The fluted bolt incorporates a floating bolt-head design – similar idea to the Savage – which means that caliber changes are a cinch, especially with the option of a Savage-type, barrel-nut fixing. The Ultimatum Precision bolt is however a three-lug bolt, which usefully keeps bolt-lift to 60 degrees. Other useful features are the integral recoil-lug, dual ejection plungers in the bolt-face, and a pinned +20 MOA Picatinny scope rail.”

For more information on the Ultimatum Precision Actions, KRG stocks, and Benchmark barrels, contact GS Precision via this email: info [at] gsprecision.org.uk.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 5 Comments »
February 23rd, 2019

PRS Gear Focus — Survey of Stocks and Chassis Systems

MPA Chassis PRS NRL modular BA aluminum

The MasterPiece Arms BA Chassis is a leading product choice according to a recent Precision Rifle Blog (PRB) survey of Precision Rifle Series (PRS) and National Rifle League (NRL) competitors. Second were Manners Stocks, and third were Foundation-brand systems. PRB Editor Cal Zant surveyed 150 PRS and NRL precision rifle shooters to determine what gear they run in long range rifle competitions. The MPA BA Competition Chassis ranked #1 with 27% of the PRS and NRL shooters surveyed running this particular modular chassis system. READ Full PRB Stocks and Chassis Survey.

MPA Chassis PRS NRL modular BA aluminum
Image courtesy of Precision Rifle Blog.

Here Are Links to Other PRB Equipment Surveys:

Barrels — What the Pros Use
Custom Actions — What The Pros Use
LR Scopes — What the Pros Use
Bipods & Tripods — What the Pros Use
Brakes & Suppressors — What the Pros Use
Custom Triggers — What the Pros Use

MPA BA Competition Chassis
MPA has several configurations of its highly successful BA Chassis System, with the MPA BA Competition Chassis named the Official Chassis of the 2019 PRS. This competition version includes all the standard features of the original, but includes special enhancements for long range tactical rifle competitions, such as the PRS and related events. There are additional hole locations on the fore-end for locating the rotating barricade stop, which locks the rifle in place when shooting on a variety of barricade designed stages. The spigot mount attaches to the front of the fore-end, giving the shooter additional space to mount their bipod. A bag rider attachment provides better rear bag recoil management (an Enhanced Bag Rider is available for an additional fee).

Masterpiece arms chassis systems PRS tactical

MPA president Phil Cashin is an active PRS shooter who finished in the top 100 in 2017 and qualified for the finale last year. Cashin, shown in the video below, regularly tests out new ideas and upgrades in actual competition and seeks out feedback from top tactical competitors. “It’s a great honor [for MPA] to be named the most popular brand of chassis/stock systems amongst the top PRS and NRL competitors[.] We look forward to developing even more products with the long-range precision shooter in mind,” said Cashin.

MPA masterpiece arms side folder

MPA Production Class Rifle
MPA also offers a PRS Production Class Rifle (PCR) using the MPA Chassis system mated to a Savage Model 12 action. Production Class rifles may cost no more than $2000.00 before optics. Designed specifically for the new PRS Production Class, MPA’s PCR Competition Rifle offers many premium features yet stays under the $2,000 Class limit. The Savage action is upgraded with a Rifle Basix 2-lb trigger, and the adjustable, modular chassis offers a bag rider, barricade stop, and built-in bubble level.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review No Comments »
February 19th, 2019

$40 Plug-In Impeller Lets SmartPhone Work as Wind Reader

weatherflow wind meter anemometer wind gauge turbine smart phone iphone app

Gear Report by Kip Staton
Shooters in the market for an accurate anemometer that doesn’t break the bank need to take a hard look at the WeatherFlow Wind Meter, which retails on Amazon.com for just $39.95. Even though it is inexpensive, owner reviews have been overwhelmingly postive (so long as the software is compatible with your device). One Amazon reviewer says the WeatherFlow measures wind velocity as accurately as his expensive Kestrel.

A big part of the reason the WeatherFlow Wind Meter is so inexpensive is that you’ve probably already got the brains of the system in your pocket. Yes, it connects to and communicates with any standard smartphone or tablet, in either iOS or Android flavors. Users simply download the free WeatherFlow Wind Meter app to their smart device, insert the anemometer into the headphone jack, and can immediately start measuring the wind.

weatherflow wind meter anemometer wind gauge turbine smart phone iphone app

weatherflow wind meter anemometer wind gauge turbine smart phone iphone appOf course, the first question any serious shooter will ask is “How accurate is this thing?” Pretty dang accurate, as it turns out. The device was calibrated by the University of Florida’s Aerospace Engineering Department, and the unique design allows it to consistently report to within a half a percentage point of the true wind value, even if the breeze is up to 15 degrees off-axis to the meter.

Wind speeds are measurable from as slow as two miles per hour to as high as 125 MPH. The Wind Meter outputs average, lull, and gusts windspeed data to your phone, with velocities indicated in 0.1 MPH increments. Furthermore, a hard-sided protective case is included for safe transportation.

Naturally, since the WeatherFlow Wind Meter is App-based, it’s connectable to a variety of social media websites and distribution sources. This makes saving and sharing information about climate conditions a breeze.

To read more gear reviews by Kip Staton, visit KipStaton.com.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
February 18th, 2019

SHOT Show — 6.5 Guys Reveal New Rifles and Chassis Systems

65guys.com Ed Mobley Steve Lawrence Scope Optics SHOT Show Videos modular driven accuracy international seekins precision Tactical Long Range 2019

Every year our friends Ed and Steve, aka the 6.5 Guys, produce informative SHOT Show videos. These two hard-working dudes visited dozens of product booths during SHOT Show 2019, producing over 40 video interviews for 65Guys.com. Ed and Steve roamed the Expo Center finding the latest and greatest rifles, stocks, optics, and accessories. Here are five 6.5 Guys Videos about new rifles and chassis systems. Next week we’ll feature more 6.5 Guys videos covering new optics. You can see all 42 SHOT Show 2019 videos from Ed and Steve on the 6.5 Guys YouTube Channel.

Modular Driven Technologies

modular driven ACC chassis

Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) produces impressive chassis systems with innovative features, including modular weights. MDT is now a top choice for the PRS/NRL tactical disciplines. Steve was quite impressed by the new MDT ACC. See more at MDTTac.com.

Accuracy International — Mile High Shooting Accessories

One of the most impressive rifles at SHOT Show 2019 was the massive Accuracy Int’l Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR) at the Mile High Shooting Accessories booth. The Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR) will be submitted for SOCOM’s multi-caliber rifle program. It is offered in a $19,544 deployment kit with three barrels: (.308 Win, .300 Norma Mag, and .338 Norma Mag).

Seekins Precision — Complete Rifles and Actions

2019 shot show 6.5 Guys chassis system rifles

Seekins Precision showcased some impressive custom actions plus complete rifles for both tactical competitors and long range hunters. We were impressed with the build quality of the Seekins precision rifles. We liked the new Seekins Havak Bravo, and the Seekins action has some interesting features, such as four locking lugs with 90° bolt throw. Full Seekins Havak Bravo Review.

Gunwerks — Long Range Precision Rifles

Gunwerks is more than a builder of expensive (some say over-priced) rifles. It also sells branded electro-optics, and suppressors. Gunwerks also runs shooting clinics, and has hundreds of training and hunting videos on the Gunwerks YouTube channel. We like what Gunwerks is doing in the media space. Here the 6.5 Guys showcase some of the latest rifle and stock options from Gunwerks. Steve said he liked the adjustability and ergonomics on the Gunwerks stocks.

Legacy Sports International (Howa)

Legacy Sports Int’l (LSI) offers a variety of hunting and tactical rifles featuring the smooth-running Howa actions from Japan. At SHOT Show 2019, Legacy previewed a new tactical rig featuring a modular MDT Oryx chassis and Howa 1500 barreled action. The 6.5 Guys got to shoot this rig during media day and were impressed. This will be offered for Howa Short, Long, and Mini Actions.

2019 shot show 6.5 Guys chassis system rifles

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product, News, Tactical No Comments »
February 16th, 2019

Rimfire 17s — Three Great Options: 17 HMR, 17 Mach 2, 17 WMS

17 mach 2 .17 hm2 volquartsen summit

There are three readily-available 17-caliber rimfire rounds now on the market: 17 HMR, 17 WSM, and 17 Mach 2(aka 17 HM2). Aguila also made a .17 rimfire, the .17 PMC/Aguila, but it never became popular. What should be your choice? The 17 HMR is a very popular round, available from multiple manufacturers — CCI, Hornady, and now Norma. The 17 Mach 2 (HM2) is making a resurgence, as it is less expensive than 17 HMR and it can be shot from rifles converted from .22 LR since it shares the .22 LR cartridge OAL. Finally the 17 WSM is, without question, the performance leader among .17-Cal rimfire rounds.

17 HMR — Still the Market Leader in 17-Cal Rimfires

The 17 HMR (Hornady Magnum Rimfire) is popular and well-established. Ammo with a variety of bullet weights and designs is available. Most 17 HMR ammo is priced from $10-$12 per box, and you can get some better deals during sales.

17 mach 2 .17 hm2 volquartsen summit

You can buy quality 17 HMR rifles from many makers at all price levels. The Savage A17 with laminated thumbhole stock is a good choice. There were some early issues with the A17, but Savage improved the magwell and now this rifle is very reliable and accurate, particularly with the CCI-brand A17 ammo.

The laminated thumbhole stock version of the Savage A17 is a great carry-around varminter.
Savage A17 laminated varmint rifle

Ruger now makes a .17 HMR version of the Ruger Precision Rifle. If you prefer a modular chassis type rig, this is a great option:

Here is a semi-auto 17 HMR fitted with a suppressor. Even with the cameraman just 20 feet away, you can barely hear the shot, and recoil is non-existent. (NOTE: be sure to turn on the sound icon). Varminter Magazine says: “No ground squirrels were spooked during these shots. Quiet is an understatement!”. This may be the ultimate stealth varminter set-up.

17 Mach 2 (17 HM2) — Best Bang for the Buck?

The 17 Mach 2 (17 HM2) is making a comeback. Now leading manufacturers are offering this efficient little rimfire cartridge in some nice rifles. Both Anschutz and Volquartsen will offer new 17 Mach 2 rifles in 2019. Check out this Volquartsen Summit from SHOT Show. It offers a slick, straight-pull toggle bolt, like you’d find on Olympic biathlon rifles.

17 mach 2 .17 hm2 volquartsen summit

Considering that 17 HMR ammo costs $10 to $15 a box, the 17 Mach 2 is an excellent value by comparison. You can now get 50 rounds of CCI 17 Mach 2 for just $6.55 at Midsouth. Grab it while you can.

17 mach 2 .17 hm2 volquartsen summit

The Mach 2 propels the same 17gr V-Max bullet as the 17 HMR, but the Mach 2 runs about 16% slower — 2100 fps vs. 2500 for the 17 HMR. For many shooters, it makes sense to use the 17 Mach 2 rather than a 17 HMR. You save money, barrel life is a little longer, and the 17 Mach 2 is still a much more potent cartridge than the .22 LR. Check out this comparison, and note how the 17 Mach 2 has a much flatter trajectory than the .22 LR:

17 Mach 2 hm2 .22 LR comparison

Hornady’s 17 Mach 2 has a 2100 FPS muzzle velocity vs. 1255 FPS for .22 LR.

17 WSM — More Speed, More Energy, and Flatter Trajectory

The 17 WSM (“Winchester Super Magnum”) is the fastest, flattest-shooting rimfire round you can buy. It totally stomps the .22 LR, and even offers significantly better ballistics than the popular 17 HMR. Check out this comparison of three rimfire magnmum cartridges (17 WMS, 17 HMR, and 22 WMR):

17 WSM Winchester Super Magnum

And now lead-free 17 WSM ammo is available. This “unleaded” version is impressively flat-shooting. With a 100-yard zero, it drops only 4.3 inches at 200 yards. Compare that with a .22 LR which can drop 18 inches or more from 100 to 200 yards (based on 1150 fps MV).

17 WSM Winchester Super Magnum lead-Free

CLICK HERE for 17 WSM lead-free ammo test article.
17 WSM rimfire ammo test

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 5 Comments »
February 15th, 2019

DIY Brilliance — Forum Member Builds His Own Front Rest

AKShooter front rest F-Class Dasher 6mm Alaska
AKShooter front rest F-Class Dasher 6mm Alaska

AKShooter front rest F-Class Dasher 6mm AlaskaYou have to admire someone with serious do-it-yourself skills. Not just hammer and nail skills, but formidable design and fabrication skills. Well Forum Member Dave D. (aka “AKShooter”) has a DIY skill set that might put some trained machinists to shame. You see, “DIY Dave” crafted his own pedestal front rest from scratch, using his own design and about $100.00 in materials (not counting the Edgewood front bag). Dave estimates he put 20 hours of labor into the project, but the end result was worth it: “This Do-It-Yourself rest drives like a dream. I’ve played with the Caldwell and a Sinclair, they have nothing on this one.”

Dave tells us: “Here is my Do-It-Yourself front rest. I wanted to show other folks who are handy that a solid front rest is doable with a bit of time — and you don’t need to spend $1000.00. (You could say this is a design for shooters with more time than money.) This is for F-Class. I was originally overwhelmed by the equipment needed, so I decided to make my own rest. I didn’t have the money for a SEB or Farley Coaxial. This is what I’ll run this season (my second as an F-Class competitor).”

(more…)

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
February 12th, 2019

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 Temp 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 3 Comments »
February 10th, 2019

The “Batman” Pistol — Wicked XP-100 in 6-6.5×47 Lapua

Ernie Bishop Specialty Pistol Batman Dasher
Click Photo to View Larger Image

Here is Ernie Bishop’s pride and joy, a specialty pistol nicknamed “Batman” because the black carbon-fiber stock looks like the Batmobile. This is one sophisticated handgun. Complete with scope, the Batman pistol weighs under 7.5 pounds, thanks to the ultra-light stock. The carbon stock is 6 inches wide at the fore-end, yet weighs just one pound. Ernie tells us: “This gun shoots amazing and is easy to shoot especially with my SEB MAX Rest.” Ernie adds, “The gun will soon also have a field-usable rear-grip stock so I can shoot it prone from a bipod as well.”

The Batman pistol is chambered for the 6mm “Long Dasher”, a 6mm 40°-shouldered variant of the 6.5×47 Lapua. Ernie loads Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets pushed by Hodgdon H-4350 powder.

Gun Specifications
6.5x47 Lapua Dasher 40 degree improvedThe gun, crafted by Eric Wallance of Nawaka Firearms, features an XP-100 action, Jewell trigger, and 15″-long, Brux 1:8″-twist barrel with aluminum muzzle brake. Interestingly, this gun does not have a traditional recoil lug. Instead, gunsmith Wallace milled out a lug from the bottom of the XP-100 action to save weight. On top of the action, the rig carries a Sightron Inc S-III 6-24X56mm scope in Kelbly rings on a custom +20 MOA rail.

Long Dasher Wildcat
Shown at right is a “Long Dasher” 40° wildcat created by Forum member Sunbuilder. This is very similar to Ernie Bishop’s chambering, though there may be small variations related to reamer design (such as freebore). Sunbuilder’s 6-6.5×47 Improved (aka “Long Dasher”) reamer was made by Dave Kiff of Pacific, Tool & Gauge. This wildcat cartridge adds about 2.0 grains capacity to the 6.5×47 necked down to 6mm. The case certainly is impressive with that 40° shoulder. We’re just waiting for the tactical guys to starting run this improved cartridge with its original 6.5mm bore.

Here are three FIVE-shot groups at 500 yards, shot by Ernie’s Batman pistol. The first is marked with pink dots, the second with green dots, and the third is being measured with calipers:

Ernie Bishop Specialty Pistol Batman Dasher

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Handguns 2 Comments »
February 8th, 2019

Motion-Sensor LED Light Bars — Great for Gun Safes

Nobody wants to fumble around in a dark gun safe. Here’s a very affordable product that will illuminate your safe automatically when you open the door. These magnetic motion-detecting light bars (with 10 LEDs) can be placed on the sidewalls and shelves of your gun safe. As soon as you open the door, the light bars illuminate brightly. When you close the safe door, the LED light bars shut off, saving battery power.

Let there be light. Here’s a great accessory for your gun safe. This “smart” LED lamp turns itself on when you open the door, and off when you close the door. There’s a built-in magnet so you can easily attach the light to the inner walls or “ceiling” of your gun safe. It works, it’’s handy, and it’s inexpensive — just $19.99 for THREE (3) light bars. You even get FREE shipping with orders over $25.00.

Each motion-sensing light bar has 10 LEDs and can provide 12+ hours of light with four AAA batteries (not included). Very versatile, these motion-sensor lamps can also be used in closets, car trunks, trailers, basements, storage sheds — anywhere you need light. This is an “Amazon’s Choice” for motion-sensor lighting.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals, New Product No Comments »
February 7th, 2019

Budget Hauler — Transport Your Gear with $56 Welding Cart

Welding Cart Range Cart

Creedmoor Sports Range Cart CRC-1The Berger SW Nationals is coming up in a couple weeks. At that match, the sling shooters and F-Class competitors need to haul lots of gear from parking lot to the firing line, and then move from yardage to yardage. Along with their rifles, shooters need to bring mats, front rests or bipods, spotting scopes (with stands), rear bags, ammo boxes, log sheets, tool kits, and heavy coats (for the sling shooters).

To do the hauling, you can certainly purchase a factory-made, purpose-built cart that folds up and has all the bells and whistles. The Creedmoor Sports CRC-1 (photo right) is a proven, quality product that works great. You’ll find these used by top shooters at Camp Perry. But the Creedmoor CRC-1 cart costs $499.95. For a fraction of that price ($55.99), plus a few dollars more for do-it-yourself enhancements, you can have a heavy-duty cart that will haul all your gear just fine, though it doesn’t fold up. In the top photo is a Harbor Freight Welding Cart we saw at the Berger Southwest Nationals. This rig is carrying a rifle in hard gun case, bipod, folding chair, shooting mat, tripod, spotting scope, rear sand-bag, and ammo box — that’s a lot of gear!

Welding Cart Range CartWelding Cart Range Cart

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

This Cart is now on sale for just $55.99 — GREAT DEAL!

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

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
February 6th, 2019

Midweek Movies — More SHOT Show 2019 Product Videos

shot show 2019 savage proof research ultimate reloader gavin gear thompson center accuracy international AI

SHOT Show is the largest gun/hunting trade show in the world, with tens of thousands of products and accessories on display. For a gun guy, going to SHOT Show is like being a kid in a candy store.

We’ve seen that the SHOT Show 2019 videos we’ve showcased thus far have been very popular with our readers. So today we are bringing you five more SHOT Show videos, featuring products from Accuracy International, Proof Research, Savage, Thompson Center (T/C), and five pistol-makers.

Proof Research — Hi-Tech Barrels and Rifles

Here our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com learns about the carbon-wrapped Proof Research barrels. Being lighter than conventional barrels, these Proof Research barrels definitely offer an advantage for hunters packing into the wild.

Proof Research Carbon Barrels ultralight

The Proof Research carbon barrels have also performed very well in PRS/NRL tactical competitions. There is a lot of technical information shared in this interview, so it is definitely worth watching.

Thompson Center Arms (T/C) — Value Leader

Thompson Center Arms (T/C), a Smith & Wesson Company, is known for value-priced rifles that offer great “bang for the buck”. We’ve regularly featured T/C rifles in our Deals of the Week. There are some impressive guns in the T/C line-up, including the T/C LRR (Long Range Rifle).

Thompson Center T/C LRR PRS long range rifle

With an $1100 street price, this rig is a great value choice for PRS factory class. The rig balances well and we like the thumbwheel adjustments for LOP and cheek height.

Accuracy International $19.5K ASR with 3-Barrel Deployment Kit

If T/C guns are bargains, then the Accuracy International (AI) line of rifles is at the other end of the spectrum. At SHOT Show this year AI displayed its Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR) which will be submitted for SOCOM’s multi-caliber rifle program. This rig costs a hefty $19,544.00 as a “deployment kit” including three barrels (.308 Win, .300 Norma Mag, and .338 Norma Mag), two bolt bodies, key spare parts, magazines and a MilSpec transport case.

accuracy international AI .308 .300 Norma Magnum mag socom rifle .338

The AI ASR employs a QuickLoc barrel change system for rapid caliber swaps. The rifle features a new two-position, AR-type safety and redesigned 2.5-lb trigger. The fore-end tube includes an RRS™-compatible rail, integrated top rail, and M-Lok™ mounting interface.

Savage Hunting Rifles — Model 110 High Country

For 2019 Savage unveiled some handsome, versatile rifles for backcountry hunters. These rigs feature nice camo finishes, adjustable AccuFit cheekpieces and buttpads, and barrels threaded at the muzzle for brakes or suppressors.

Savage High Country model 110

We liked these new rifles, particularly the Model 110 High Country featured above. It has a tough corrosion-resistant finish and spiral-fluted barrel for weight savings.

Handguns — Some of the Best New Pistols for 2019

In this video, The Firearm Blog (TFB) presents its five favorite new-for-2019 handguns. TFB praised the new KelTec CP33, a VERY impressive new .22 LR rimfire target pistol, boasting a 33-round clear magazine. On Media Day, we shot the CP33 with a suppressor and were extremely impressed. The gun balances well, and the trigger is EXCELLENT — really surprisingly good. Glock attracted attention with the new Glock 43X and 48 silver-slide models. The 43X does offer more capacity (10 rounds) with a longer grip vs. the Glock 43. Buyers may be attracted by the silver PVD-finished slide. Frankly, that’s nothing more than cosmetics and the Glock still retains not-so-great ergonomics and a mediocre trigger. There are better striker-fired, DAO polymer-framed pistols out there, for less money.

New KelTec CP33 is a high-capacity winner, with a great trigger.
Keltec CP33

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Handguns, New Product, News No Comments »
February 6th, 2019

Splatter-Mania — Not-Your-Average Splatter Halo Targets

splatterburst target neo halo yellow
Splatterburst 1″ circles, 62 per sheet, 10-pk $8.99. These can be pasted on other paper backers.

We’ve all seen conventional splatter targets with a single large black bullseye. When a shot hits the target, a halo (usually neon yellow) appears around the bullet hole. This makes it easier to see your shot placements indoors, or at long range outdoors. Today we feature a variety of other targets that also offer the cool halo/splatter effect. We’ve found grids, multiple bull targets, sheets with 62 one-inch circle pasters, handgun training targets, and even white background splatter targets (that produce black halos). Try out some of these targets for fun (kids love plinking with splatter targets).

Shoot-N-C 12″x12″ Sight-In Grid, 5-pk $10.56

Shoot-N-C Handgun Training Target, 5-pk $7.99

splatterburst target neo halo yellow

Splatterburst 12″x12″ sight-in target, 10-pk $11.01

splatterburst target neo halo yellow

Splatterburst 3″ circles, 9 per sheet, 10-pk $8.99

Shoot-n-c splatter burst grid target

Shoot-N-C 12″ Grid Sight-in, 10-pk, $6.75
(black shot halos)

Shoot-n-c splatter burst grid target

Shoot-N-C 8″ White bullseye, 10-pk, $6.75
(black shot halos)

This Video Shows Black Shot Halos on White Background Target:
Ever Seen BLUE Splatter Targets?
Check Out These Big Dawg Targets…

splatterburst target neo halo blue big dawg

Big Dawg 4″ circles, 5 per sheet, 50-pk $22.99

splatterburst target neo halo yellow

Big Dawg 18″x24″ Silhouette, 10-pk $19.99

shoot n c silhouette handgun splatter target

Shoot-N-C Combo Pack, Bad Guy and Pistol Trainer, 5-pk, $14.99

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Shooting Skills No Comments »
February 5th, 2019

Blast from the Past — 6mmBR Drop-Port Viper

This week we return to our 6mmBR.com roots with an article on David Bergen’s slick 24″ Drop-Port Viper. This was one of the first 6BR rifles we featured. David, who hails from Belgium, developed this project over many months, and the gun proved to be a true tack-driver, with the ability to group in the Ones, even with the heavy boat-tail bullets. David talks about the build and his reloading methods while action designer Jerry Stiller provides technical insights into the design features of his Viper action.

Report by David Bergen

It was a long journey looking for the perfect custom action to build my new rifle. I searched the internet and visited various forums. I even re-read all my old Precision Shooting magazines to find what I was looking for. One evening I conferred by telephone with Mr. Jerry Stiller of Stiller’s Actions in Texas. He patiently answered all my questions. That moment I decided that I wanted a Viper Drop-Port action. [Editor: Sadly, the Viper Drop-Port is no longer in production.]

Component Selection
At the heart of this gun is a Viper action. This medium-sized action can handle cartridges from a small BR up to a 6.5-284. (Stiller’s smaller Cobra action is for PPC and BRs only.) The Viper is milled from aluminum. This keeps weight down while still allowing Vipers to have a large bedding surface like a Stolle Panda.

Viper Drop port action

At first I was a bit sceptical about the aluminum’s toughness, but Mr. Stiller informed me that the action is the perfect marriage between steel and aluminum. The bolt is hard-chromed and the action body is hard-anodized. This gives it two surfaces that resist wear and make an already-slick action even slicker. Stainless steel is used for all the heavy-stress points including barrel threads, locking lugs, and the rear camming surface. The bolt is made of steel with a very light, small-diameter firing pin to prevent primer piercing with heavy loads. Everything is held very concentric to the bore axis. The Viper is a very smooth action mainly because the design and the precise machining of the camming surfaces. Combined with optimal bolt-lift timing, this gives a smooth action. Stiller also keeps the tolerances very tight on these actions, though they are as fast-handling as any you can buy. The trigger is of course a Jewell BR model.

The rifle is chambered in 6mmBR Norma, my favorite cartridge. I have two HV-contour Shilen match barrels, both with 1 in 8″ twists and finished lengths of 24 inches. The chamber has a .266″ neck so neck-turning is necessary. Freebore is .060″ but combined with a 1.5° throat angle this lets me seat a wide range of bullets from 58 grains up to 107 grains.

The stock is a McMillan Edge with moulded-in gray and black marble swirl. I specified 60% black and dark and light gray both at 20%. I went with the Edge stock because I was always pleased with McMillan products and because it had a very low center of gravity. I wanted the barrels very low in the stock because I think it makes the gun track better.

Details of the Drop-Port–with VIDEO!
The visible part of the Drop-Port is a cartridge-sized cut-out in the floor of the action. This tapers into a funnel shape that lets the spent case fall nose-first through a single hole in the underside of the stock. The Drop-Port is carefully sized so that empty brass will fall through from gravity but a loaded round won’t. I’ve found that getting a BR case to eject 100% reliably in a standard action is not easy. The round is short and fat so it clears the chamber too early and the ejector pushes the cases out the extractor too fast. This can result in an empty case sitting in your action, no longer held by the extractor. Needless to say, this can slow you down during a stressful competition. When you get a Drop-Port you can forget all those problems.

Failure to eject is NOT going to happen with a Drop-Port. The system just works every time, and it’s FAST. Right-Click on the Media Player image and “Save As” to download a video (6.9 megs) showing me cycling the action during live fire.

One smart feature of the Drop-Port is the extractor location. A Remington extractor is located at the bottom of the bolt. This way the case is supported by the extractor until the front of the case lines up with the cut-out in the action. At that moment the front of the case tilts down and the rim slips out of the extractor. In the stock there is a funnel which collects the case. The case drops out of the rifle through a single small hole in front of the trigger guard.

Building an Accurate Load
Tools and Recipes

I start with new Lapua cases and after full-length sizing I trim them with a Wilson trimmer. Then I turn the necks for a .264″ neck diameter with a Lapua 105 seated in the brass. After fire-forming I use a “semi-custom” Harrell’s full-length sizing die with bushing. I use a .262 bushing with the moly-coated bullets. This Harrell’s die is the best I ever used — it gives very low run out. [Editor’s Note: Harrell’s stocks a number of dies with various internal dimensions. You send them three fire-formed cases and they’ll pick out a die that fits your brass the best. The cost is very reasonable.] Overall the excellent concentricity I’m seeing with my rounds is a combination of a superb chambering job, a neck-turned Lapua case and the Harrell’s sizing die. The die is supplied with a brass bushing that allows you to measure the amount of sizing you are doing.

For seating I use both a Wilson inline seater (hand die) and a Forster seating die that threads into a press. The latter gets the most use because I find it easier to use. Run out with both is around 0.001″ or better measured on the bullet.

Load development was very easy. I started with Varget and all loads … shot well. Vihtavuori N150 also shot very well with… moly-coated Lapua 105s. To my delight, the light bullets are also shooting very well in the 1:8″ twist. Nosler Ballistic Tips are giving very good results with a case full of N140. I’ve also tried N150, N540 and AA 2520. For all loads I’ve been using CCI BR4. Bullets are seated well into the lands with square marks showing. This gives an overall length around 59 mm (2.32″), depending on the bullet used.

Shooting the Rifle–How It Performs
The rifle is very easy to shoot and it is very accurate, but it had some drawbacks in the beginning. First there is the stock. It is designed for bench shooting and on a table it does this very well. I use a Caldwell front rest and a Protektor rear bag. When shooting prone I’ll also use the rest but the cheek weld is not ideal (the Edge was optimized for free recoil shooting from the bench). The rings that are supplied with the action are rather high. I looked around and found some that were lower. This made shooting easier, but I still wasn’t satisfied. The gun was a bit nose-heavy. There is a weight system built into the stock, but it wasn’t enough to bring the gun in balance. I like the balance point to be just in front of the receiver ring. So I cut the rear off the stock and put in a larger tube and turned some weights to put in it. I also made up an aluminum butt plate. Then I installed a Harrell’s brake to cut recoil to a minimum. With these modifications, the rifle is now shooting the way I want. I think the Edge stock is a very good design for benchrest shooting but for prone shooting it has some shortcomings. I think the MBR is a better stock for shooting prone.

Muzzle Brake–Less Recoil, Same Excellent Accuracy
After testing the barrel with different loads, I decided to put a brake on one barrel. Most of my guns are muzzle-braked and since I had two virtually identical barrels, I put a Harrell’s brake on one. The barrel had to be threaded to mount the brake and here I was a little concerned–I remembered the advice to “never mess with a winner”. The un-braked barrel was ultra-accurate and I was curious whether the process of fitting the brake might affect the accuracy.

Thankfully, my worries were unfounded. My targets showed no loss of accuracy — there was no evidence that the brake had caused any changes (except as to recoil). I have wondered though, perhaps the brake makes the gun more shootable and in that way compensates for some small accuracy loss that may be there? Whatever the case, the gun shoots just as tight as before, except now it’s a lot more user-friendly with less muzzle hop and less “push” on recoil.

This Rifle Literally Shoots Bug-Holes
And now I come to the end of the story. One day when testing the rifle at 100 meters (with brake installed), I spied a fly on the target. Well now, I thought, here is an interesting “precision shooting” challenge. I put the crosshair on the fly, squeezed the trigger, and the fly was history.

One shot, one kill. Now THAT is impressive precision. If you look closely you’ll see what’s left of Mr. Fly around the bullet hole. Or “bug-hole” as you Americans would say. This kind of performance is a real confidence-booster for the trigger-puller, let me tell you.

The Drop-Port — Simple Yet Advanced
Jerry Stiller tells us: “The drop-port ejects the case out the bottom of the action using only gravity. No ejector plunger is required so the system is as foolproof as anything can be. (A normal spring-loaded ejector creates an uneven load on one side of the case head.) Unlike other ejection systems, micro-ports etc., a Drop-Port doesn’t require tuning or adjusting, and just works. Many top shooters tell us they can cycle rounds faster with a Drop-Port action than with any other design.”

“The engineering of the Viper reflects some key design objectives. I wanted it to be able to fit standard commercially available stocks and have a barrel fit-up that was well known in the industry. I liked the idea of the larger bedding area and higher stiffness of the aluminum actions, so I chose the Panda footprint and barrel tenon for the Viper. I also made some changes to what was available at the time to make the product better. I used a smaller diameter firing pin to eliminate primer piercing, hard anodized all the aluminum parts for corrosion resistance and to make the surface hard and slick. The bolts are also coated for the same reasons.

Drop-Port technical drawing, Copyright © 2005, Stiller’s Precision Firearms, All Rights Reserved.

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February 4th, 2019

Power to the People — Cortina Reviews Giraud Power Trimmer

Power Trimming Technology Saves Time
Trimming and chamfering brass are tasks hand-loaders grow to hate. Those chores are time-consuming and tiresome. Thankfully there are faster, better alternatives to manual trimming/chamfering. In this article, Forum member Erik Cortina shows how to use the Giraud tool which trims and chamfers in one operation. Erik has his own YouTube Channel dedicated to precision reloading and accurizing. Here we feature Erik’s video about the “mother of all brass trimmers”, the Giraud powered case trimmer. Erik says: “If you do volume reloading… this is the only trimmer to get. It not only trims to length but it also chamfers your case mouth inside and out.” In his video, Erik offers some very clever and useful tips that will help you get the most from your Giraud.

This is a manufacturer’s photo showing an older model.
Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

The Giraud trimmer is very precise. When set up correctly, it can trim brass with amazing consistency. In the video, Erik trims five pieces of brass in 15 seconds (6:32 mark). He then measures all five with precision calipers (7:00-8:08). All lengths are exact within .0005 (half a thousandth). Erik notes that the Giraud trimmer indexes off the case shoulder. As long as you have fire-formed brass with consistent base-to-shoulder dimensions, you should get very consistent trim lengths.

The secret to the system is a 3-way cutting head. This cutter can be swapped in and out in a couple minutes with wrenches provided with the kit. Erik has three different heads; one each for 6.5mm, 7mm, and .30 caliber. The video shows how to adjust the cutting heads to match caliber diameter (and to get the desired amount of inside/outside chamfer).

To trim and chamfer cases, you simply insert them nose-first into the cartridge-specific case-holder. Erik offers a smart tip — He uses a die locking ring to position the cartridge holder (3:15). This can be locked in place. Erik says die locking rings work much better than the hex-nuts provided by Giraud (with the hex-nut, one must re-set cut length each time you change case-holders.)

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

The Giraud can be used in either horizontal or vertical modes. Erik prefers to have the trimmer aligned vertically, allowing him to push cases down on the trimmer head. But the trimming unit has twin sets of rubber feet, allowing horizontal or vertical orientation.

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

Improved Case-Holder Made with Chamber Reamer:
For his .284 Shehane, Erik had to create his own case-holder (Giraud does not make one for that wildcat cartridge). Erik used his chamber reamer. To his surprise, Erik found that the brass was easier to trim in the custom case holder (compared to the Giraud-made spring-loaded holders). With a perfect fit, trimming and case extraction went more smoothly and the process was easier on his hands. (See 9:00-10:00). Based on Erik’s experience, you may want to create your own custom case-holder.

Trim Bullet Meplats Also
With a special bullet-holder fitting and meplat cutter head, the Giraud power trimmer can be used to trim bullet meplats. Trimming meplats can help make the Ballistic Coefficents of a batch of bullets more consistent. Uniforming meplats is also often done as a first step in the process of “tipping” bullets to improve BC.

Erik Cortina Meplat Giraud Case Trimmer YouTube Video Lapua

Giraud Power Trimmer

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »
January 31st, 2019

Haul Your Gear Safely and Securely — In-Vehicle Locked Storage

plastix vehicle storage system

Plastix Plus, a Texas-based business founded by a volunteer fireman, is a leading builder of custom storage systems for Fire Departments, Police Agencies, Emergency Response teams, and Federal Agencies such as the U.S. Marshals and the FBI. Using CNC design and thermal plastic welding technology, Plastix Plus can create an infinite variety of in-vehicle storage systems with trays, bins, boxes, shelves, and lockable secure storage. Below is a Plastix Plus storage system fitted in the back of an SUV. Note the AR-type rifles stored in a sliding compartment with fast-access locks.

plastix plus vehical car truck storage systems

Modern Plastics Are Superior to Wood or Metal for Vehicle Storage
While other companies offer storage systems for SUVs and trucks, these are usually fabricated from wood and metal. Plastix Plus President Mike Snow says that the Vycom Hitec HDPE ½ inch-thick plastic used by his company is a superior material. In an interview with Tactical-Life.com, Snow explained: “When you have a $7,000 item like a Jaws of Life tool, metal on metal is not a good combination when you are carrying it in the truck and deploying it. The tool gets destroyed by the metal bracket designed to hold it. Plus, you have high moisture situations with fire fighting, so you need to worry about rust. The Hitec material is moisture-resistant and very forgiving for emergency tool transport.”

Likewise the Hitec plastic is easier on fine gun finishes than metal boxes, and it won’t warp or absorb moisture like wood can. Snow says that his plastic storage systems will last for decades. By contrast, Snow says some fire departments that opted for wood storage systems have been forced to replace or rebuild their storage units after just a couple seasons.

plastix vehicle storage system

Plastix Plus hopes to expand to the general consumer market, providing custom in-vehicle storage solutions for trucks, RVs, and SUVs. Plastix Plus can match the exact dimensions of your vehicle, providing your choice of drawers, bins, and locking compartments, including gun storage lockers. A custom Plastix Plus storage system is not cheap. But it may be a smart purchase — when you consider the value of the guns and gear you haul around. Your investment in multiple match rifles (with $3K scopes), along with fancy rests, electronics, and accessories, could easily top $20,000.

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January 30th, 2019

More SHOT Show 2019 Coverage from GunsAmerica

Guns America Shot Show coverage stories

GunsAmerica.com has published very extensive coverage of SHOT Show 2019, releasing dozens of articles over the past two weeks. Lead by GunsAmerica Digest Editor True Pearce, a large team of writers/reporters has provided detailed reviews (most with videos) of many interesting new products.

Here are some of the most notable GunsAmerica.com product reports. You can find many more in the GunsAmerica Digest SHOT Show Archive. Click each title to read full stories.

Seekins Precision Havak Bravo PRS Tactical Rifle action

Comment: We like the Bravo stock, and the Seekins action used in this gun has some interesting features, such as four locking lugs with 90° bolt throw. Definitely read this report.

Sensight Israeli digital scope new optic

Comment: We used the new Sensight and think this represents a significant new technology. It is basically a camera with a digital screen that includes a reticle. With the Sensight you can actually record your shooting session or live-stream it to another device. That makes it great for training.

Accuracy International Deployment package rifle $20000

Comment: You can buy a darn nice used 4×4 truck for what this rifle (along with spare equipment and shipping case) costs. The “Deployment Kit” includes many spare parts, magazines, bipods, and much more. We doubt many private buyers will part with the $20K, but that’s small change for Uncle Sam.

Keltec CP33 pistol 33-round 22 LR shot show

Comment: This new Keltec CP33 is quite large for a .22 LR pistol, but balances well and is not too heavy. It has a very, very good trigger — crisp with a light pull weight. Honestly this trigger is way better than you’d expect. The Picatinny rail on top makes it easy to mount optics. The clear magazine holds 33 rounds.

gunskins vinyl wrap camo camouflage hunting rifle

colt king Cobra .357 Magnum revolver pistol test

Umarex hammer air rifle 50 caliber pneumatic shot show

Comment: Very interesting new .22 LR rimfire that has some significant advantages over the venerable Ruger 10/22, though it does take 10/22 magazines. The trigger is crisp at 4-5 pounds and the entire “action group” is easily removed from the bottom of the stock with the push of a button. This allows the barrel to be cleaned from the breech.

Umarex hammer air rifle 50 caliber pneumatic shot show

Comment: Umarex has really entered into new territory with the Hammer, a .50-caliber air rifle. This appropriately named Hammer, we are told, is the most powerful airgun ever produced.

Leupold 7-35x56mm scope long range SFP FFP

Comment: We were quite impressed with the new First Focal Plane 7-25x56mm Leupold. The glass is excellent, controls are precise, and it enjoys a weight and price advantage over some competitive scopes such as the Nightforce ATACR. GunsAmerica notes: “This front focal scope is available in MOA or MIL adjustments and reticles. The Mark 5HD 7-35×56 will retail for $2,299 – $2,799 depending on reticle choice and illumination.”

zero compromise scope long range SFP FFP

Permalink Gear Review, Handguns, New Product, News No Comments »
January 26th, 2019

SHOT Show 2019 — Video Showcase

Shot show 2019 video product show demo

There is so much to see at SHOT Show, with nearly 2000 exhibitors showcasing tens of thousands of products. SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world, attracting 60,000+ attendees from more than 100 countries.

Thankfully there are many teams of reporters who covered SHOT Show this year, and they’ve now posted a wide selection of video reports. In today’s SHOT Show video showcase, we post our “pick of the litter” — ten of our favorite video reports from SHOT Show 2019, plus one great video “blast from the past”.

High-Tech Hunter — Modular Strasser Rifle

The Strasser rifle from Austria has many interesting design features including an interchangeable bolt head and an easy, rapid barrel-swap system. MORE INFO HERE.

Media Day Mini-Gun Mania — 25 and 50 Rounds per Second!

This full-auto, multi-barrel Mini-Gun has two speeds — 25 and 50 Rounds per Second!

CLICK HERE to SEE NINE More Videos »

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Handguns, News, Optics, Tactical No Comments »
January 25th, 2019

SHOT Show 2019 — Scopes, Spotters, and Electro-Optics

SHOT Show Optics Scopes rangefinder spotting scope

At SHOT Show 2019, some of the most impressive new products were in the realm of scopes and electro-optics. We are seeing big companies like Leica, SIG Sauer, Swarovski, and Zeiss moving big-time into the technological marriage of microchips and lenses. With the release of the $4500 Swaro dS, a scope with no manual windage or elevation controls, we are really entering a new era in aiming systems for shooters.

Swarovski dS Rangefinder Scope with Ballistics “Brain”

SHOT Show Optics Swarovski dS rangefinder laserscope scope

Swarovski rolled out a new flagship scope this year at SHOT Show, the remarkable dS 5-25×52 P. This $4500+ wonder features a built-in laser rangefinder (like the Burris Eliminator). But there’s more — working with a smartphone App, the dS incorporates a sophisticated ballistics computer that calculates your trajectory at any distance and then displays an aim point on your reticle. It even adjusts the aim point for the wind (with data entered wirelessly via mobile device).

This really is a state-of-the-art electro-optical system. However, there are some negatives to consider. First there are no conventional elevation or windage knobs/turrets. So, if your battery dies in the field, you are SOL. (FYI that big “turret” in the middle is actually just a battery and tool holder). Secondly, all that smart calculation depends on extremely accurate BC and velocity data. If you switch ammo, and don’t have an accurate velocity or BC, you won’t get the right solution and there are no knobs to turn to fix that. The dS will give you an aim point, but it might not match your true ballistics. (NOTE: There are hidden mechanical controls for setting your zero, but these are not intended for conventional shot to shot adjustments).

High-Magnification Competition Scopes

SHOT Show Optics Scopes Kahles 10-50x60mm scope

Kahles K1050 — Central Parallax, Great Glass
Kahles scopes are now being used by many of the top shooters in PRS game. Kahles optics offer great European glass, precise controls, and some unique features. Our readers may not realize that Kahles makes an outstanding high-magnification zoom scope suitable for long-range benchrest and F-Class comptition, the Kahles K1050. This 10-50x56mm optic has a unique centrally mounted parallax control — great for lefties or guys who run a left port/right eject. The Kahles K1050 has a true 8 meters to infinity parallax adjustment range making it suitable for everything from Field Target air gun, 1000-yard competition, and long range tactical. The Kahles K1050 costs $2899.00 — that’s midway between a Vortex Golden Eagle and a 10-60x56mm March High Master (starting at $3425.00).

SHOT Show Optics Scopes Sightron 10-50x60mm spotting scope

Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm
Sightron offers a very affordable 10-50x60mm scope in its SIII optics line. There is a special version for Field Target competition that comes with a “Big Wheel” parallax control. Field Target competitors use the Parallax control to determine target range.

ELR Scope — For 2 Miles and Beyond

March 6-60X Genesis with 400 MOA elevation
A typical premium riflescope might have 50-60 MOA of elevation. That’s enough for shooting out to 1500 yards or so with a high-BC bullet launched at 2900 fps. But for Extreme Long Range (ELR) shooting you need more elevation adjustment, and that’s where the innovative March 6-60X Genesis optic stands out. This unique optic offers a whopping 400 MOA of elevation adjustment. That ample elevation doesn’t come cheap however — the 6-60x56mm Genesis sells for $6950.00. CLICK HERE for full specifications.

Lightweight Hunting Scopes

As scopes have grown increasingly sophisticated and complex, they have also become bulkier and HEAVIER. That’s a big deal for a hunter who may be carrying a rifle, plus another 20-30 pounds of gear and food/water. The average dear hunter will be taking a shot well inside 400 yards so he doesn’t need 25X power or fancy features. He does need clarity, good low-light performance, and reliability — and LOW WEIGHT. We think a good deer hunting scope should come in under 1.5 pounds (without rings). Here are two smart hunting optics, both under 20 ounces.

Leupold VX Freedom — 12.2 ounce Weight, Simple, Affordable
The Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm weighs just 12.2 ounces and street price is under $200. It has a 4.7mm exit pupil, 60 MOA of elevation, and a 33.7 ft Field of View at 100 yards.

Zeiss conquest V4 3-12x44mm

Zeiss 3-12x44mm Conquest — 18.2 ounce Weight, 90% Light transmission, 4X Zoom
These riflescopes were designed as a lightweight, high-performance product line for demanding hunting and shooting applications. The Zeiss 3-12x44mm Conquest delivers 90% to-the-eye light transmission, along with 70 MOA of both elevation and windage travel. This premium second focal plane scope weighs just 18.2 ounces, slightly over one pound.

Compact Spotting Scopes for Field Carry

Many shooters and hunters don’t want or need a heavy, bulky spotting scope. They need a spotter to see mirage, and to deliver more magnification than can be comfortably handheld with binoculars. For hunters, weight and overall size are key. The hunter wants a spotting scope that can be packed and carried easily. Here are two clear, sharp spotter options in a smaller format. The Leupold Gold Ring 15-30x50mm Compact Spotter is particularly well-suited to hunters and tactical shooters.

Nikon Monarch Fieldscope 60mm 18-48x spotting scope

Nikon Monarch Fieldscope 60ED-A
Small but powerful — that describes the Nikon 60ED-A Monarch Fieldscope with 16-48X eyepiece. This unit delivers big spotter performance in a much smaller package. It focuses fast and showed very good sharpness though we observed the image darkens at higher magnifications. This has ED glass and Nikon’s proprietary “field flattener” lens system that enhances sharpness throughout the entire field of view.

Leupold Golden Ring 15-30x50mm compact spotting scope

Leupold 15-30x50mm Gold Ring Compact Spotting Scope
The affordable Leupold Gold Ring Compact Spotter offers 15-30X magnification. That’s plenty for spotting game or viewing mirage. This unit is remarkably compact and we like the simple right-side focus knob. Half the size of typical spotting scopes, this Compact Leupold spotter weighs just 21.5 ounces (1.34 pounds).

Superb Binoculars — When Cost is No Object

Leica Noctivid 8x42 binoculars

Leica Noctivid 8x42mm Binoculars
Our Hunting Editor Colton Reid is a Ph.D. who works with specialized electro-optical devices costing over $30,000. So he knows a few things about light waves and glass quality. When he looked through the 8×42 Leica Noctivid his comment was simple but telling: “These are the best compact binoculars I’ve ever looked through. The clarity and brightness are truly exceptional”. At nearly $2700.00, Noctivids are crazy expensive, but the quality will be worth it to some buyers.

Parting Shot — Think about the Warranty BEFORE You Buy

Vortex Razor spotting scope warranty

This patched-up Razor spotting scope was on display at the Vortex booth. We actually know the history of this particular spotter — it belonged to one of our Forum members. He sent this busted unit back to Vortex, and Vortex sent him a brand new Razor spotter. That Forum member told us: “Vortex earned a customer for life when they replaced my spotter, no questions asked. When Vortex says its warranty is ‘Unlimited, Unconditional, Lifetime’, believe it.”

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January 25th, 2019

World’s Highest Magnification Rifle Scope: March 8-80x56mm

March optics scopes 8-80 8-80x56 tactical scope more power

When it comes to long-range optics, some folks can’t have too much magnification. At 500 yards and beyond, when the air’s misty or the mirage is thick, you can’t always use extreme magnification. But, when the conditions are excellent, it’s nice to have 50X magnification (or more) on tap. You can always “crank it back down”.

Higher magnification (when conditions are good), can help you see your bullet holes at long range, and that makes it easier to judge your hold-offs and keep your group centered.

In addition, there’s no doubt that high magnification lets you aim more precisely, no matter what the distance. Even at 100 and 200 yards, short-range benchresters are using 40X, 50X, and even 60X power scopes. This allows you to position your cross-hairs with extreme precision — something you need when you’re trying to put multiple shots through the same hole.

Raising the Optics Bar
How much power is usable? A few years back, folks said you can’t use more than 45X or so at long range. Well, as modern optics have evolved, now guys are buying scopes with even more magnification — way more. There are practical limits of course — with a 56 to 60mm front objective, the exit pupil of a 60X or higher-power scope will be very tiny, making head orientation ultra-critical. Any many scopes get darker as you bump up the magnification.

March optics scopes 8-80 8-80x56 tactical scope more power

Despite the exit pupil and brightness issues, shooters are demanding “more power” these days and the scope manufacturers are providing new products with ever-greater magnification levels. Right now, the most powerful conventional riflescope you can buy is the March X-Series 8-80x56mm scope. Featuring a 34mm main tube and 56mm objective lens, this offers a true 10-times zoom ratio and up to 80X magnification. This scope has minimal distortion thanks to high-quality ED lenses designed in-house by Deon Optical, which also machines the main tube from one solid piece of billet aluminum.

MORE INFO: Learn more about the March 8-80x56mm at MarchScopes.com

To demonstrate the capabilities of high-magnification March scopes, Aussie Stuart Elliot has created a cool through-the-lens video with the March 8-80x56mm scope set at 80-power (See 0:30 timeline). Along with being one of Australia’s top benchrest shooters, Stuart runs BRT Shooters Supply, dealer for March Scopes in Australia. In the video below you can see the March 8-80X focused on a target at 1000 yards (910m). For best resolution, watch this video in fullscreen, 720p mode.

Look through the Lens of 80-power March Scope at Target 1000 Yards Away

Through-the-Lens Views at 40X and 80X at 1100 Yards
To reveal the difference between 40X and 80X magnification, here are two through-the-lens still images taken with March scopes sighting to 1100 yards. The top photo is at 80X magnification, looking through the March 8-80x56mm. The lower photo is at 40X magnification viewed through a 5-50x56mm March X-Series scope. You can see there is a big difference in perceived target size! Click on the “Larger Image” button to see full-screen version at 80X.


larger photo

Video Find by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gear Review, Optics, Tech Tip 9 Comments »
January 24th, 2019

SHOT Show 2019 — Eye-Catching Products

Shot show 2019 eley

There are tens of thousands of products on display at SHOT Show, the world’s largest firearms industry trade show. We visited dozens of manufacturers to see their featured items on display. Here are our selections of interesting products as well as some eye-catching product displays. Check out the cutaway Redding dies, the Norma giant plexiglass bullet shell.

Volquartsen .22 LR Ultralite with ModShot Carbon Stock, 3.8 LBS

Volquartsen ultralite ModShot carbon .22 LR rimfire rifle

Volquartsen showcased a radical rimfire rifle with “carbon everything”. Designed for rapid-fire Steel Challenge games, this unique rig has a carbon-wrapped barrel, carbon buttstock shaft with an aluminum buttplate, and a carbon fiber handhold forward of the action. The ModShot stock secures the bottom of the action, provides attachment points for rear section and front handhold. Total weight (without optics) is just 3 pounds, 13 ounces! MSRP is $1733.00. Our hunting editor, Colton Reid, said this “bare bones” carbon-enhanced design could be adapted for an ultralight centerfire hunting rifle under 5 pounds.

Redding Cutaway FL and Neck Sizing Dies

Redding Cutaway Sizing and Seating FL bushing full lenght micrometer Dies

At the Redding booth, we saw interesting sets of “cutaway” sizing dies. It was cool to see the insides of various types of dies. In the photo above the top two dies are micrometer-top dies. Below are three sizing dies: neck-sizing bushing die at left, a “plain” full-length sizing die in the middle, and a bushing full-length sizing die on the right. The bushing FL die would be our first pick — it allows you to size the entire body of the case, while adjusting neck tension (and bullet “grip”) with the neck bushings.

F-Open Champion with Kestros ZR Stock

Kestros ZR McMillan

Today, January 24th, Norm Harrold, the current F-Open 2018 national champion and 1000 yard record holder, appears at the McMillan booth. In the video above he’s holding the advanced, long-wheelbase Kestros ZR stock he used to set the new National Record and capture his F-Open title. Norm will explain the features of this stock that make it shoot so well. The Kestros ZR’s low COG and long wheelbase help the stock track and resist torque.

Christensen Arms Modern Precision Rifle

SK Ammunition .22 LR rimfire sheet cartridge

Our buddy Jason Baney was mighty impressed with the Modern Precision Rifle from Christensen Arms. With a handsome desert bronze finish, this rifle features carbon-wrapped lightweight barrel, carbon handguard/forearm, and carbon cheek piece. The folding buttstock folds quickly and secures with a magnetic lock. The rifle comes with a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee, and is available in 8 chamberings: .223 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .308 Win, 300 PRC, .300 Win Mag, .300 Norma Mag, and .338 Lapua Mag. Jason was so impressed with this $2295 rifle he said: “this could be my next hunting field rifle”. He said the folding stock really is an advantage when trekking long distances.

Rimfire Cases — How They Are Formed

SK Ammunition .22 LR rimfire sheet cartridge

At the Capstone Precision Group booth, we saw a long sheet of shiny brass metal. We were fascinated. This sheet illustrated how SK .22 LR casings are created from brass, started with a dime-sized flat circle, then ending with an extend narrow cylinder. This then becomes the case which receives the priming material (in the rim), powder and bullet. This is not identical to the actual factory production process, but it does show the key stages of rimfire case “punching” and drawing.

Frankford Arsenal New Compact Rotary Tumbler

SK Ammunition .22 LR rimfire sheet cartridge

Rotary tumblers do a fine job cleaning brass with media in liquid solution. There are many large rotary tumblers on the market. But frankly most are bigger than needed by rifle shooters who might just clean 100-200 pieces of brass at a time. Frankford Arsenal developed a smaller tumbler that runs smaller batches efficiently. Good idea. Look for this product at MidwayUSA in a few months. It should be significantly cheaper than Frankford Arsenal’s large, 7-liter Platinum tumbler which sells for $165.00 on Amazon.

Norma’s Giant See-Through Cartridge Display

Norma bullets brass Ammunition giant cartridge model display

Norma, maker of excellent brass, bullets, and loaded ammunition, had a eye-catching prop for displaying Norma bullets and cartridge brass. Over four feet long, this one-of-a-king plexiglass cartridge half-model held hundreds of projectiles and casings. Eye-catching for sure.

AMP Mark II — Runs Longer, Cooler, And Does .50 BMG

SK Ammunition .22 LR rimfire sheet cartridge

The makers of the Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) electro-induction annealing machine showcased a new, upgraded Mark II model. The new Mark II machine looks similar on the outside, but has a number of enhancements. It has bigger strong fans so it ran process more cases before you need to take a break to let the machine cool down. In addition, the Mark II now has a “super-sized” case chamber that can hold virtually any size case — all the way up to the .50 BMG. We watched as the AMP 2 annealed a jumbo .50 BMG in just a few seconds. Very impressive. For more info and pricing, visit www.AMPannealing.com.

Parting Shot — Goblin Green Race Pistol

eley green pistol 1911 race gun

Eley, the UK-based rimfire ammo maker, had a couple wild-looking race guns on display. This Metallic green stunner features a massive compensator, relieved slide (for faster cycling), and a color-coordinated C-MORE Reflex sight on top. Inconspicuous, this pistol is not!

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