December 17th, 2018

Measure Shoulder Bump Precisely with Harrell’s Bump Collar

Harrell’s Precision sells “semi-custom” full-length bushing dies for the PPC and 6BR chamberings. While the Harrell brothers do not cut the die to spec, they carry a large selection of dies made with slightly different internal dimensions. When you send in your fired brass, the Harrells choose a die from inventory with just the right amount of sizing (diameter reduction) at the top and bottom of the case. Given the quality, and precise fit, Harrell’s full-length dies are a good value at $75.00 plus shipping.

Bump Measuring Collar
The Harrell brothers provide a nice bonus item with each full-length die — a neat, little shoulder bump measuring device as shown in the photo at right. Hornady/Stoney Point sells a stand-alone tool that does the same job, but the Harrell’s bump collar is simpler and faster. To measure your shoulder bump, simply place the Harrell’s bump collar over the front of your deprimed case (before sizing) and measure the OAL with your calipers. Then size the case in your full-length die, replace the collar and repeat the measurement. You want to set your die so the shoulder moves back about .001″ to .0015″ for most applications. (With semi-auto guns you may want more bump.)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 3 Comments »
December 16th, 2018

The 6.5 Guys Review Howa Mini-Action Rifles

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

Are you looking for a new varmint rifle for next season, or perhaps you’re shopping for a “first rifle” for your son/daughter, or young relative, as a Christmas gift. Then consider the Howa Mini Action. This unique product, with a very compact action, offers excellent value for the money. The actions are smooth, the triggers are good, and the accuracy is typically better than you’ll get from most domestic rifle makers.

We’ve been fans of the Howa Mini Action rifles since they were first introduced. 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 tested 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 - Articles, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
December 14th, 2018

Top Barrel-Makers Explain the Best Way to Clean Your Barrels

Shooting Sports Lohman Barrel

Ask 10 shooters about barrel cleaning and you’ll get 10 different opinions. This reflects that fact that different fouling problems demand different solutions. For example, solvents that work well for copper may not be the best for hard carbon (and vice-versa). To come up with the right solution, first you must understand the nature of the fouling in your barrel.

CLICK HERE to read Full Match Barrel Care Article »

Chip Lohman, former Editor of Shooting Sports USA Magazine, has authored an excellent article on barrel maintenance and cleaning. Chip’s article, Let the BARREL Tell You — Match Barrel Care, is in the Shooting Sports USA digital archives. In this article, Chip shares the knowledge of a dozen experts including respected barrel-makers Frank Green (Bartlein Barrels), John Krieger (Krieger Barrels), Dan Lilja (Lilja Barrels), and Tim North (Broughton Barrels).

John Krieger Interview with AccurateShooter at SHOT Show:

The debate about the proper care of a match barrel is a hot one, spiked with folklore and old wives’ tales, Lohman said. He and his staff set out to set the record straight: “We tried to interject some science into the discussion of cleaning a match barrel,” he explained. In his article, Lohman writes:

Why worry about a little barrel fouling when the throat is subjected to a brutal 5,600° F volcano at 55,000 PSI? To investigate these and other questions about taking care of a match barrel, we spoke with a dozen experts and share their knowledge in this first of a series of articles.

After listening to folks who shoot, build barrels or manufacture cleaning solvents for a living, we concluded that even the experts each have their own unique recommendations on how to care for a match barrel. But they all agree on one thing — the gun will tell you what it likes best. Because the life expectancy of a match barrel is about 1,500 to 2,500 rounds, the objectives of cleaning one should include: preserve accuracy, slow the erosion, and remove fouling — all without damaging the gun. This article doesn’t claim that one cleaning method is better than the next. Rather, we set out to interject a little science into the discussion and to share some lessons learned from experts in the field.

For more Shooting Sports USA articles, visit www.ssusa.org.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review No Comments »
December 13th, 2018

Smart Tip for Winter Storage in Gun Safes — Bag Your Guns

gun storage bag silicone fleece anti-corrosion safe protection

Wintertime is here, the season of cold and damp… and RUST. There’s snow on the ground in many parts of the country. If you want your fine firearms to remain pristine and rust-free through the winter months, it’s wise to protect then while they are stored in a safe. You should protect blued surfaces with a rust-blocker. In addition, we recommend storing guns in protective sleeves. Our take on Bore-Store Gun sleeves is simple: They work great, so buy them and use them — for ALL your valuable firearms.

These thick, synthetic-fleece sacks cushion your guns, preventing nicks and scratches. The breathable fabric wicks away moisture, and the fibers are coating with corrosion inhibitors. I personally use Bore-Stores for in-safe storage with all my guns, and I have never had one of my guns rust inside a Bore-Store, even when I lived a stone’s throw from the ocean.

Bore-Store Gun Sacks
Photo from Pistoleer.com, a Bore-Store vendor.

Bore-Stores are offered in a wide range of sizes, so you can find something to fit everything from a Snub-nosed revolver to a 32″-barrelled 50 BMG. Rifle-size Bore Stores can be purchased for $13.00 – $21.00 from Brownells. For long F-Class or tactical rifles, we recommend the 10″x52″ Scoped Shotgun Bag, Brownells item 132-000-003WB. You can also order direct from the Bore-Store manufacturer, Big Spring Enterprises, www.BoreStores.com. Big Spring will also craft custom sizes on request.

Consider Military-Style, Triple-Layer Bags for Long-Term Storage
While we prefer Bore-Stores for regularly-used guns, if you have heirloom firearms that will be kept in storage for very long periods without seeing any use, you may want to grease them up and place them in the thin, but rugged three-layer storage bags sold by Brownells. The bags are made from a three-layer laminate of polyester, aluminum, and polyethylene film, with a shiny silver exterior. Though the laminate is thin, the Brownells storage bags are puncture-resistant, and have a 0% moisture transmission rating so moisture can’t get inside. These bags are also resistant to petroleum-based chemicals and they won’t break down even in contact with soil or moisture.

3-layer Brownells storage bagHere’s one VITAL bit of advice for using these bags. Be absolutely sure, before you seal up the bags, that your guns are DRY and that all metal surfaces have been coated with an effective anti-corrosive, such as BoeShield T9 or Eezox. Brownells’ storage bags are inexpensive. A three-pak of 12″x 60″ rifle sacks (item 083-055-003WB) costs just $22.99 — under eight bucks a gun. That’s cheap insurance for rifles and shotguns that may cost thousands of dollars.

Get Your Guns Out of Foam-lined Cases — They Are Rust Magnets
Just about the worst thing you can do in the winter (short of leaving your rifle outside in the rain) is to store firearms in tight, foam-padded cases. The foam in these cases actually collects and retains moisture from the air, acting as the perfect breeding ground for rust.

Foam-lined hard caseRemember, those plastic-shelled cases with foam interiors are for transport, not for long-term storage. Don’t repeat the mistake of a wealthy gun collector I know. He stored four valuable Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolvers in individual foam-padded cases, and locked these away in his gun safe. A year later, every one of his precious SAAs had rusted, some badly.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
December 9th, 2018

Video Showcase — Field Tests of the Ruger Precision Rimfire

Ruger Rimfire Precision .22 LR smallbore chassis rifle adjustable bolt tactical PRS

The relatively new Ruger Precision Rimfire has generated considerable interest because it is an affordable, chassis-style platform well-suited for tactical/practical cross training. It also offers some cool features including a +30 MOA scope rail and adjustable bolt throw length (from 1.5″ to ~3.0″). The adjustable bolt lets you switch to a longer, centerfire-style bolt “run” for consistent cross-training. That’s clever.

Introduced at the beginning of 2018, the Ruger Precision Rimfire has now been in the hands of multiple reviewers who have tested the little rifle for accuracy, reliability, and functionality. This smallbore chassis rifle has been tested with a variety of ammo and in both bench and “tactical” style sessions. Here are three videos that put the Ruger Precision Rifle though its paces.

VIDEO ONE — Impressive Accuracy Suppressed from Bipod at 130m

In this video, a UK-based shooter tests the Ruger Precision Rimfire with a suppressor. He came away mighty impressed with the rig’s accuracy, stating: “It is a flippin’ laser. Oh my god I’m impressed with that — five minutes in and it’s grouping literally like that [makes small “OK” sign with thumb and index] on the steel at 130m”. (Time-mark 2:40+)

VIDEO TWO — 22 Plinkster Explains Gun Features

In this video, popular YouTube gun tester 22 Plinkster explains the Ruger Precision Rimfire’s features in detail. Then he puts an early production example through its paces. He gets good accuracy from a bench, but also tries some off-hand shooting, demonstrating the rifle’s suitability for tactical cross-training.

Ruger Rimfire Precision .22 LR smallbore chassis rifle adjustable bolt tactical PRS

With Federal Gold Medal Ultra-Match, 22 Plinkster produced a 5-shot group well under half-inch (with first three overlapped and the last two in same hole) at 50 yards. Note 22 Plinkster’s bench set-up. He uses a second rabbit-eared sandbag in the FRONT. This “field expedient” solution is clever. The front bag’s ears mate well with the rifle’s tubular fore-arm, adding considerable stability. And the front sand-bag helpd absorb vibration, always a good thing. For a varminter who doesn’t want to carry a bulky front rest, this is worth trying. The bag in front functions like a compact version of the large, heavy Bulls Bag.

VIDEO Three — Five Ammo Types and Front Rest

Here is detailed review from Down-Under that was positive. From bench, with Caldwell front rest, five different ammo types were tested: SK Rifle Match, SK Standard Plus, Eley Match, Eley Edge, and CCI High Velocity. The tester reports: “I was able to get 0.9″ 10-shot groups at 50 yards and 1.5″ 10-shot groups at 100 yards using Eley Edge. Overall the rifle is good but I don’t honestly think I achieved any greater accuracy over my standard Ruger American Rimfire Rifle.” We think that’s a fair assessment. This is an accurate rifle, but other affordable bolt actions can probably rival the accuracy, so the buying decision should be based on the rifle’s other features — such as the chassis.

Ruger Precision Rimfire .22 LR

For Ruger Precision Rifle owners, this .22 LR offers ergonomics just like their centerfire rig. This PRS-style .22 LR rig has some very interesting features, including adjustable bolt throw that lets shooters change from a rimfire 1.5″ bolt throw to a short-action centerfire 3″ bolt throw, reducing the chance of short-stroking your bolt in competition. The Ruger Marksman trigger adjusts from 2.25 to 5.0 pounds.

Ruger Precision Rimfire .22 LR

RUGER PRECISION RIMFIRE Important Features:
Quick-Fit Stock with adjustable cheekpiece and adjustable LOP
18″ barrel, pre-threaded for brakes and Silent-SR® suppressor
Barrel can be removed and replaced easily with AR-style tools
Picatinny scope rail with +30 MOA built-in elevation
Front 15″ free-float M-Lok handguard
Adjustable Trigger 2.25 to 5 pounds
Accepts all Ruger 10/22 magazines

Ruger Precision Rimfire .22 LR

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Tactical 2 Comments »
December 9th, 2018

For Gun Guys: Big Wall Posters with True-to-Scale Ammo

ammo poster ammunition cartridge comparison guide

Need something for the walls of your “man cave” or reloading room? Looking for a great Xmas gift for one of your shooting buddies? The creators of the Cartridge Comparison Guide offer a collection of wall posters showing ammunition types from 17 caliber rimfire cartridges all the way up to giant 35mm military rounds. ChamberIt.com offers 15 different large wall posters that display a huge variety of cartridge types.

For example, the Rifleman’s Classic Poster (below), a full 38 inches wide and 27 inches tall, is the most comprehensive. This $17.99 poster displays over 300 rifle cartridge types at true size (within 4/1000 of an inch). Cartridges shown range from .17 caliber all the way up to the big boomers (including some cannon shells). The Rifleman’s Classic Poster includes nearly all American Standardized Rifle Cartridges and many European rifle cartridges.

Rifleman’s Classic Poster
Big Bore Cartridge Comparison Guide Poster
Click to view large size poster.

Ammunition Performance Specifications Poster
There is also an interesting Ammo Performance Specs poster. This shows dozens of popular hunting cartridges with the velocity, energy, momentum and recoil for each cartridge displayed in a bar graph.

Ammo Ammunition Comparison Guide Poster

This shows the actual size of the Ammo Performance Poster as displayed on a wall.
Ammo Ammunition Comparison Guide Poster

(more…)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review No Comments »
December 5th, 2018

New Products for 2019 in Shooting Industry Magazine

shooting industry magazine preview edition

Shooting Industry Magazine just released its December 2018 issue, which you can read for free online. This December issue includes a SHOT Show Preview, but more importantly, there is also a 24-page New Product Showcase. Here you can see a variety of new products, including those from some of our favorite manufacturers: McMillan (MC3), Leupold, Warne, Vault Pro, Champion and more…

McMillan fiberglass stocks Mc3 McCubed tactical legend
McMillan fiberglass stocks Mc3 McCubed tactical legend

warne rings sight mounts bipod

Vault Pro locable Handgun pistol transport safe

Champion digital electronic hearing ear muffs protection

MDT PRS tactical chassis rifle 6.5 Creedmoor

Leupold Stevens spotting scope

There are dozens of other NEW PRODUCTS HERE »

Permalink Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
December 4th, 2018

Ruger Precision Rifle in .338 Lapua Magnum Field Tested

Ruger Precision Rifle .338 Lapua .300 Winchester Magnum

The Ruger Precision Rifle goes big — major Magnum-size big. Back in October we revealed that Ruger was releasing new .338 Lapua Magnum and .300 WinMag versions of the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR). These Magnum RPRs feature longer, stronger actions, and some key upgrades, such as a +30 MOA rail and beefy muzzle brakes on the end of the 26″ 5R Barrels. These are pretty impressive rigs for the money — $2099 MSRP, with the “street price” well under $1700.00.

READ .338 Lapua Magnum RPR GunsAmerica Test »

So how do these Big Rigs shoot? GunsAmerica.com recently answered that question, testing a .338 Lapua Magnum RPR with a variety of factory ammo types. GunsAmerica’s tester Clay Martin, a skilled former military sniper (retired from 3rd Special Forces group), shot the rifle from prone off bipod. With Hornady 285gr Match Ammo, Martin drilled two 3-round groups that both measured right around a half-inch. With some other ammo, results were ugly, but the 285-grainers showed that the gun could shoot. (Five-shot 100-yard groups with Federal 300gr ammo were around 1.3 MOA — see photo below).

Ruger Precision Rifle .338 Lapua .300 Winchester Magnum

Overall Martin came away impressed: “My respect for the RPR in .338 Lapua Magnum is high. If it will shoot ½ MOA at 100, there is no reason to think it won’t at any range a match bullet will fly [provided you call the wind right]. Despite the uber-manly caliber, the gun was fun to shoot. The muzzle brake and weight do a great job of taming recoil[.] For a .338 Lapua-caliber rifle, I can’t think of a single better option below $5,000. If you have been waiting to step into the big boy rounds, this is a golden opportunity.”

Watch Field Test of .338 Lapua Magnum Ruger Precision Rifle:

RPR Magnums Boast 5R Barrels with Big Brakes
The new RPR magnums feature hammer-forged, chrome-moly heavy-contour 5R barrels fitted with tunable muzzle brakes. Those fat, large-port brakes will certainly reduce recoil and muzzle jump but we wouldn’t like to be shooting beside the .338 LM RPR — expect lots of side-blast. The new RPR magnums feature 18″ free-float anodized handguards with M-LOK accessory attachment slots on all four sides. Integral QD sling attachment points eliminate the need for additional adaptors and a flat-bottom 1.50″ dovetail is compatible with RRS S.O.A.R. and similar QD systems.

ruger precision rifle rpr .300 Winchester magnum lapua mag .338 rifle long range

The .338 Lapua Magnum RPR features a 1:9.375″ twist rate while the .300 Winchester Magnum model features a 1:9″ twist rate, both of which stabilize long-for-caliber projectiles. These rifles ship with two, 5-round AI-style magazines. As with all RPRs, the bolt is a 3-lug design with 70-degree bolt lift.

Angled +30 MOA Rail and Adjustable Stock Standard
ELR shooters will be pleased that the new, magnum-caliber RPRs ship with a +30 MOA Picatinny rail. That will help give shooters enough elevation to shoot out to 1500 yards and beyond. As with other Ruger Precision Rifle models, the magnums feature a folding stock with adjustable comb height and length of pull. The Ruger Marksman trigger is user-adjustable between 2.25 and 5 pounds.

ruger precision rifle rpr .300 Winchester magnum lapua mag .338 rifle long range

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Tactical 11 Comments »
December 2nd, 2018

Pynch Podcast — Jon Pynch, NRL National Champ and PRS Ace

Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

What does it take to win in the tactical game? Ask Oregon’s Jon Pynch. He won the 2018 National Rifle League (NRL) 2018 Championship event along with three out of six of the bolt-action PRS matches in which he competed this year. And with 300 points overall this season, Jon has been a #1-rated shooter within the Precision Rifle Series (PRS). In most sports you’d call that an MVP performance.

Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

PRS Competitor Jon Pynch had a superlative run in 2018, scoring victories in many big matches, capped off by winning top honors at the 2018 NRL Championship. And as you read this, this very day (December 2nd) Jon is shooting at the PRS Season Finale at the Triple C Range in Cresson, Texas. Here is Jon Pynch’s 2018 competition record:

2018 National Rifle League Champion
2018 National Rifle League Finale Winner
2018 Rock Lake NRL Match – Jon Pynch – 1st Place
2018 JC Steel High Mountain PRS Match – Jon Pynch – 1st Place
2018 Meaford PRS Match – Jon Pynch – 1st Place
2018 NCPPRC NRL Match – Jon Pynch – 1st Place
2018 Gunwerks PRS Match – Jon Pynch — 1st Place

NRL Champ Jon Pynch was interviewed for the NRL’s Precision Rifle Channel. Click the Red Arrow above to hear a wide-ranging 45-minute audio interview with Jon, with highlights listed below, so you can skip to key sections.

JON PYNCH PODCAST HIGHLIGHTS:

0:00 to 8:45 — 2018 NRL Championship
9:00 – The mental aspect of shooting
16:30 – Jon’s mindset going into a match
20:30 – What gear Jon ran this season
28:20 – Jon’s hunting background
30:55 – The next up-and-comers in the sport
41:20 – Plans and goals for 2019
43:55 – Three (3) under-rated items Jon can’t shoot without

Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

Pynch won 3 out of 6 PRS bolt-action matches he shot in 2018. Pynch runs a landscaping business in Oregon. When time permits, he travels around the country to tactical matches. He grew up around guns, starting with his trusty BB gun, and the passion grew. About 14 years ago, Pynch started to dabble in long-range shooting from the hunting side. In the past few years, he has focused more on competition, observing how the sport has changed: “Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed it feels like the level of competition and the level of quality products are growing at an incredible rate.”

CLICK HERE for full size image showing gun details.
Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

The MPA BA Competition Chassis has many notable features: RAT System and multi-function Arca Swiss Rail provide a variety of bipod locations. There is a special rotating barricade stop, plus a spigot mount on the front of the fore-end which can extend the “wheelbase” between front and rear support. A clever Weight Tuning System allows competitors to adjust gun balance and reduce felt recoil.

State of the Art PRS/NRL Tactical Rifle:
Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

Above is Jon’s Match Rifle shown from summer 2018 with older barrel chambered for 6mm Dasher. These shots were taken during a fire-forming session. John says: “On right (below) is unfired Lapua 6mmBR round. Shoot it and it turns in the case on the left. 6mm Dasher. 25 formed… 975 to go! Alamo Precision Rifles did a great job on this chamber/barrel. It’s won a few matches and placed well in a few others, but after 1800 rounds I think I’ll use the rest of its life as a practice/fireforming barrel.”

Making Brass — 6mmBR loaded round is fire-formed into 6mm Dasher 40° improved case:
Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

Jon Pynch’s Favored Hardware — Curtis Vector Action, Kahles Scope, MPA Comp Chassis
Like many PRS/NRL competitors, Jon uses the MPA Competition Chassis, the most-utilized chassis in the 2016 and 2017 PRS series. The match rifle above sports a Curtis Custom Vector Action with Proof Research barrel. For optics Jon has recently used a Kahles scope in the rock-solid, MPA BA Mount, the #1 Mount used in the PRS in 2017.

Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

Jon Pynch Tactical PRS NRL National Rifle League

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Gear Review, Tactical No Comments »
December 1st, 2018

Save Those Lapua Plastic Boxes — They Work as Ammo Carriers!

Lapua brass Ammo box

Since 2010, Lapua has shipped its quality cartridge brass in sturdy blue plastic boxes. Here’s a handy tip for you — don’t toss the plastic boxes when you load up your brass! These are double-duty containers. If you’re not familiar with “Blue Box” Lapua brass, you may not realize that the boxes are designed to serve as 50-round carriers for your loaded ammo and fired cases. (Yes we know some folks who’ve been tossing out their blue boxes without knowing how the boxes work as caddies.)

Snapped in place under the box lid is a rectangular plastic grid that fits in the bottom of the box. Pop the grid loose and slide it into the box with the smooth side facing up. Side supports molded into the lower section hold the grid in place.

Lapua brass Ammo box

Voilà, instant Ammo Box! Each grid contains holes for fifty (50) loaded rounds or empty cases. The convertible plastic container/ammo box is a great idea that Lapua executed very nicely. Now you have even more motivation to purchase your cartridge brass from Lapua.

USER TIPS: When transporting ammo you may want to put some foam over the loaded rounds. That will protect the bullet tips. Also, with shorter cartridges, this will help keep your loaded ammo and fired cases from moving around. You can also tape the FREE Redding Ammo Box Labels on the underside of the lids to list your load information.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
November 29th, 2018

RCBS Case Prep Station with Six Powered Tool Drives

New RCBS cartridge brass chamfering deburring power tool head station Brass Boss six

RCBS has announced the successor to the venerable RCBS Trim Mate. The New-for-2018 RCBS Brass Boss features six rotating stations that handle all your brass neck-brushing, chamfering, deburring, and pocket uniforming chores. The new Brass Boss includes tools for all six stations: inside VLD chamfering tool, outside deburring tool, primer pocket cleaners (small/large), military crimp removers (small/large), primer pocket uniformers (small/large), case neck brushes (four diameters), and a tub of dry case neck lubricant. MSRP for the Brass Boss, RCBS SKU 90390, is $189.95. Current “street price” is around $157.00.

New RCBS cartridge brass chamfering deburring power tool head station Brass Boss sixThis machine has two different rotation speeds for the toolheads. Four stations run at 350 rpm, while the two other stations run 57% faster, at 550 rpm. That give you a choice of spin speeds. You can work fast for tougher chores like military crimp removal, and slow down for inside-neck chamfering, which should be done carefully.

Larger and taller than the older RCBS Trim Mate, the new Brass Boss has one more station (six vs. five), plus a more powerful motor. This should make the Brass Boxx more competitive with the popular Lyman Case Prep Express.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
November 27th, 2018

Range Day Checklist — What To Bring, and How to Organize Gear

Springfield Armory Range Day 1911 pistol

Before your head to the range for some late-season practice, run through a checklist so you won’t forget essential items. Springfield Armory, maker of the M1A series of rifles and many popular handguns, has published a thorough Range Day Checklist. While this is oriented more for pistol shooters, many suggestions will help rifle shooters as well.

Packing the essentials, a few extras and having a plan will help you make the most of your day at the range. Here are highlights from Springfield Armory’s Range Day Checklist. Read the full article for more details including a flow-chart showing target options.

READ FULL Article on Springfield Armory BLOG HERE »

Springfield Armory Range Day 1911 pistol

RANGE BAG — What to Pack

You need a range bag that works for you and all of your equipment. We suggest getting one with several compartments to keep your range items organized. Some shooters prefer one large bag, many like the new backpack style, still others want multiple smaller bags – either way, you will need plenty of room.

Before you head to the range, pack your Range Bag(s) with these basic requirements:

Hearing Protection
Make sure you have ear protection. You may want to also throw in a spare set in case you misplace one, or a friend needs to borrow a pair. Basic ear plugs or earmuffs do the job, but high-quality electronic headsets are a worthwhile investment for both safety and convenience. They amplify voices (safe noise levels), compress harmful noise levels – and you don’t have to remove your earmuffs to hear someone speak. Backup batteries are a must with electronic headsets.

Eye Protection (Ballistic Glasses)
Quality eye protection is another must-have, but it doesn’t have to be fancy (or expensive). Your eyewear should however be performance rated by ANSI Z87.1. This standard protects your eyes from high velocity and high mass impact. Grab a pair of safety glasses you’d wear in the shop, or you can opt for something more stylish from Oakley or ESS.

Magazines & Mag Loader
You can’t shoot if you forget your magazines. Many shooting bags have specific compartments that hold mags individually. Also… always number your magazines. This helps to identify and separate any magazines that are not properly functioning or need to be cleaned. It’s also nice to have a magazine loader. They’re inexpensive and easy on the thumbs. Our SME’s favorite manufacturer is MagLULA.

Cleaning & Tool Kit
Toss in a portable cleaning kit designed for your firearm, along with any other maintenance tools you might find handy. You don’t need anything elaborate — just enough to make sure your gun and magazines stays in good working condition.

Cleaning Cloth(s)
Cleaning solution
Screw driver
Bore snake or barrel brush
Gun-specific take down tool
Gun oil

Allen wrenches
Flashlight
Pocket knife
Squib rod
Hand sanitizer or better yet D-Lead wipes
Miscellaneous Items

Springfield Armory Range Day 1911 pistol

AMMO & AMMO CAN
An ammo can is good to have — either the new, polymer-style varieties or military surplus steel cans. You will also need a container for your spent brass. Any sort of receptacle with a lid works, from an empty cardboard box or military steel can, to a 5-gallon bucket. One of my favorites is old freezer storage bags.

BE PREPARED — First Aid Kit
Plan for the best, prepare for the worst. A small first aid and trauma kit should be a part of everyone’s range bag. Hopefully you will never need the plastic gloves and quick clotting agent, but sterile wipes and bandaids are more likely to occasionally come in handy. Also, don’t forget the sun protection: Sunscreen, Hat, lip blam, and of course plenty of water for Hydration.

PRACTICE LOG
Practice makes perfect … so keep a practice log. Keeping a log is beneficial, as you can revisit old drills to continually re-test your skill level and compare results. If you’re old school, a physical paper training book / log works fine. Put it in your range bag. More of a smart phone junkie? Try the RangeLog app.

MAKE YOUR MARK — Put Your Name on Your Gear
It’s also not a bad idea to put your name on your gear. It greatly increases your chance of getting misplaced items back. A lot of equipment looks alike; shooting bags, earmuffs, magazines, etc. I’m betting I’m not the only one who has come home from the range without my earmuffs [more than once].

Springfield Armory Range Day 1911 pistol

» READ Rob Leatham 1911 Pistol Tips (Great Article!)

Here are some tips on shooting a 1911 pistol from handgun ace Rob Leatham: Not sure how best to zero your new 1911? Who better to learn from than Team Springfield’s championship shooter Rob Leatham.

Springfield Armory shooting tips

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gear Review, Handguns 2 Comments »
November 25th, 2018

FREE Shooting Bench Plans — 14 Build Your Own Bench Designs

Free shooting bench plansFREE shooting Bench Plans
Do you like the Chris Byrne bench at left? For more details, CLICK HERE.

FREE Bench Plans on the Web

Building your own portable shooting bench is a great do-it-yourself project. You can build a sturdy bench for well under $100 in materials. Compare that to some deluxe factory-built benches which may cost $600.00 or more. You’ll find a wide assortment of home-built shooting bench designs (both portable and fixed) on the internet. Renovation Headquarters has links to FREE Plans and building instructions for fourteen (14) different shooting benches. There are all-wood shooting bench designs as well as benches that combine a wood top with a metal sub-frame or legs.

CLICK HERE for Shooting Bench FREE Plans Webpage »

Among Renovation HQ’s fourteen featured shooting benches, here are five designs we liked:

Larry Willis Shooting Bench

Sandwiched Plywood top, 1.5″ Galvanized Pipe Legs

Manuel Ferran’s
Steel Shooting Bench

Steel (welded) legs and frame, painted plywood top. Folds flat.

eHow Permanent All-Wood
Shooting Bench

Heavy-duty, very solid and sturdy, but easy to build. Good for right- or left-handed shooters.

Bill Clarke’s
Basic Shooting Bench

Restaurant table Cast Metal Pedestal Base, plywood top.

Missouri Hillbilly’s
All-Wood Bench

3/4″ ACX Plywood with 4×6 Beams and Legs

Heavy Wood Bench That Converts to Three Sections for Transport
In addition to the fourteen benches mentioned above, here is an interesting break-down bench design. Call it a “semi-portable” bench. The legs and frame are made from stout 4×4 post segments so the bench is fairly heavy. However, this bench can break down into three (3) sections for easier transport to and from the range. Dado-cut channels assure proper top alignment. This might be a good choice if you plan a multi-day excursion to a location without fixed benches. This three-leg bench design can be made from easy-to-locate materials. Note: The dimensions of this bench are are larger than typical fixed benches to accommodate 50 BMGs and other big rifles. CLICK HERE for more details.

FREE shooting Bench Plans

(more…)

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
November 23rd, 2018

Great Black Friday Deals on Big Name Optics (and Rifles Too)

EuroOptic eurooptic.com leica vortex minox nightforce sako tikka sale black friday discount code coupon

This may be the mother of all Black Friday sales — at least for optics and some premium rifle brands. EuroOptic.com is running a MASSIVE discount/blow-out/liquidation sale all weekend. Save on premium optics makers: Nightforce, Zeiss, Vortex, Leica, Elcan, EoTech, Minox, Minolta and more. For example, save 16% on Vortex Optics. Save 10% or more on Leica products (including LRFs and binoculars). And there are also great deals on rifles from Sako, Tikka, Barrett, FN, Christensen Arms, Ritter & Stark, and more.

CLICK HERE for EuroOptic Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals »

Here’s a screenshot of just half of EuroOptic’s Black Friday Sale Page. You get the idea — there’s a TON of great stuff on sale at really attractive prices. It’s time to get the credit cards out boys and girls!

EuroOptic eurooptic.com leica vortex minox nightforce sako tikka sale black friday discount code coupon


Leupold VX-6 Super Close-Out Sale.
Grab these Leupolds before they’re gone!

EuroOptic eurooptic.com leica vortex minox nightforce sako tikka sale black friday discount code coupon

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
November 22nd, 2018

For Thanksgiving Day — Visions of the Wild by Jim Borden

Jim Borden Photography Rimrock Rifles

Readers know Jim Borden as a Hall of Fame shooter and the owner of Borden Accuracy/Borden Rifles. Jim won 10 IBS National Championships, set 10 IBS world records, and was inducted into the Benchrest Hall of Fame in 1996. But Jim is not just a great shooter. This highly-trained engineer is very much a Renaissance man. He is as skilled with cameras as he is with benchrest rifles.

Jim Borden Photography Rimrock RiflesJim is a talented outdoor photographer who has compiled an impressive portfolio of wildlife and landscape photographs. For our Thanksgiving-day edition of the Daily Bulletin we are featuring some of Jim’s favorite nature images. We hope readers enjoy them as much as shooters prize Borden’s Rimrock benchrest and Rimrock hunting actions.

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, in a hunting household and hunting community, Jim learned about shooting at a very early age. He started hunting at the age of nine with his father and grandfather. His grandfather had an avid interest in photography while they were on hunts and Jim became interested as well. Jim began using SLR cameras in the 1970s, often carrying cameras on his hunts. As the years passed, Jim became more interested in “shooting” the animals with a camera versus a gun. Jim converted from film to digital in 2006 and in 2007 Jim’s wife Joan started accompanying Jim on the photo safaris. Jim has a particular passion for elk, moose, and eagles and Jim also enjoys scenic photography. Jim and Joan both shoot Nikon professional equipment. Their photographs can be viewed at www.BordenPhotography.com. You’ll also find Jim’s images (along with photography tips) on his JandJB Wildlife Photography Blog.

Jim Borden Photography Rimrock Rifles

Jim Borden Photography Rimrock Rifles

Jim Borden Photography Rimrock Rifles

Jim Borden Photography Rimrock Rifles

All in the Family
Jim’s grandfather was a gunsmith who taught Jim the trade when Jim was very young. Jim’s father and grandfather ran a country business that included an auto repair shop, welding, a small lathe, and a forge. Jim earned a degree in Mechanical engineering at Penn State University. For 23 years he worked for Procter and Gamble (P&G) as an engineer and as an engineering manager/project manager.

Jim Borden Photography Rimrock Rifles

Jim Borden Photography Rimrock RiflesBorden Rifles — A Success Story
Borden Accuracy/Borden Rifles has been a source for precision benchrest and hunting rifles for many years. Jim started doing his own gunsmithing while competing in benchrest and high power silhouette matches. Jim launched his business in 1987, working nights and weekends while still employed at P&G. The business became full-time in 1995 with Jim and his wife Joan doing the work. The business was expanded in 1999 with the construction of the new Springville, PA facility and the addition of sons Jim Jr. and John to the staff. Son-in-law John Mecca came onboard in January 2000. Now the Borden shop continues to make some of the finest rifles and actions in the world. Joan tells us that the company has seen a significant growth in ultra-high-quality precision hunting rifles in recent years.

Jim and company began making Rimrock benchrest and Rimrock hunting actions in 2001. They added Borden Alpine and Timberline actions in 2006. These actions are made in an advanced manufacturing facility which has three CNC vertical Machining centers, three CNC lathes, three manual lathes, a manual knee mill, a surface grinder, a cylindrical grinder and wire EDM machine. To learn more, visit BordenRifles.com, call 570-965-2505, or send email to info [at] bordenrifles.com.

Jim Borden Photography Rimrock Rifles

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
November 21st, 2018

Handsome .284 Win F-Class Rig with Polished Borden Action

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle
Note the owner’s name, “S. Limbourne” was engraved on the bolt release (and trigger guard, see below).

Who doesn’t like a spectacular figured-wood stock, particularly when it is combined with a superb custom action and a tack-driving barrel. Here’s some eye candy for Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This is a custom .284 Winchester F-Class Open division rig created by gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez for competitive shooter Scott Limbourne. The handsome Bacote wood figured stock comes from Cerus Rifleworks, while the action is a polished Borden RBRP BRMXD. Two Brux 1:9″ twist barrels were chambered for the project, both finished at 32″. The stock is also fitted with a R.A.D. Recoil System. This rig has top-of-the-line hardware all around.

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Action: Borden BRMXD – Polished
Rail: 20 MOA Polished
Chambering: .284 Winchester
Trigger: Jewell BR – Blueprinted
Barrel: (2x) Brux 32″ 1:9″ Twist
Stock: Cerus F-Open in Exhibition Grade Bacote
Recoil System: R.A.D. System
Extras: Carbon Fiber Tunnel Plate, Custom Engraving Work on Action, Trigger Guard, and Bolt Release.

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

Speedy Thomas Gonzalez F-Open F-Class .284 Winchester 284 win custom rifle

You’ll find more impressive rigs on Speedy’s Facebook Page. If you’d like a superb custom rifle like this, call Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez at 972-672-6630, or send email to: speedy.godzilla [at] msn.com.

SPEEDY GONZALEZ
9023 HUEBNER RD. STE 102
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 3 Comments »
November 18th, 2018

Real-World Reviews of Caldwell Target Cam by Forum Members

caldwell long range target cam system forum accurateshooter.com review

We’ve used a variety of target cam systems — When you get a good one, they are a great tool for training and load development, and just fun shooting.

Over the past five years we’ve tested many target cam systems. To be frank, some have been disappointing, but we think the Caldwell Target Cam System works well. A number of our Forum members have purchased this system and the reviews have been generally quite positive — image quality is good, reception is good, software is good, and storage cases work well. The only complaint is that the flexible camera arm can droop with time. READ Target Cam Forum Reviews.

Caldwell Target Cam Review by Nando-AS
“I have been using the Caldwell camera for over a year and it works great for me in every respect. I use it mainly at 600 yards, but I have also used it at 1000 yards successfully. In my case, as opposed to the experience posted by Snakepit (see below), the flexible arm that supports the camera is as tight as when it was brand new. The only thing that has broken so far is the plastic top on one of the two stakes supplied to steady the tripods to the ground. Instead of the stakes, I now use a couple of heavy shooting bags. I just place one bag over one of the legs of the tripod, and that is good enough.”

Target Cam Output with camera placed 600 yards from shooter:
caldwell long range target cam system forum accurateshooter.com review

Target Cam view at 600 yards: Blue ring is three inches, outer circle is six inches. I use a Samsung Tablet to display the image. I zoom in when actually shooting — so each target fills the screen.

Caldwell Target Cam Review by Shoot4Fun
“Caldwell Target Camera owner here. It comes neatly packed in a soft case and even has two stands for the camera/transmitter and the receiver units. I have only used it to 500 yards though they do call it a one-mile system. The resolution is very good and it has some neat features for capturing and labeling your targets. I did buy two Tallantcell USB packs to power it but it has internal batteries as well. The App works with my iPad or my iPhone and I’m sure there is an Android version too. I see them on sale from time to time at under $375 complete.”

Caldwell Target Cam Review by SnakePit
“I have the Caldwell Target Camera system and it works great. I mainly use it at 600 yards and the transmitter has enough power that I do not have to use the receiver at the bench for my tablet or cell phone. But Caldwell needs to do something with the flexible arm that holds the camera to the tripod. It becomes loose after a while and the camera wants to droop down. Caldwell sent me a replacement flexible arm but it is starting to have the same problem. You can get it to work when this happens but it can be a hassle. Other than that it is a great system for the price and I would buy another one.”

Important Features of a Target Cam System
Key qualities you’ll want in a target cam system are: ease of set-up, good video resolution, effective range (good signal quality/strength), good battery run-time, and the ability to use WiFi-enabled devices for viewing. Caldwell’s new Long-Range Target Camera offers all these things, making it an impressive new product for the price — $359.95 at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Some other target cam systems on the market cost twice as much, yet lack key features of the Caldwell system.

Watch Video, Record Video, Capture Stills, Measure Group Size and more…
The Caldwell LR Target Camera is very versatile, allowing you to both watch and record video and/or stills on any WiFi-enabled device. A free iOS/Android Mobile App allows you to record video, save still pictures, add notes, calculate group size, and save session info. This video shows the complete set-up process and how to use the free App. It shows actual Target Cam output on a WiFi-enabled tablet:

Caldwell Ballistic Precision LR Target Camera

    Caldwell LR Target Camera Features:
    — High Definition (720p) camera delivers sharp image with good detail.
    — WiFi output is compatible with Android, iPhone and most tablets.
    — System can stream live HD video, record video, and save still images.
    — Camera, transmitter, and receiver are contained in sturdy, waterproof housings.
    — Breaks down into custom-fitted storage case for easy transport.
    — Rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries run system for up to 6 hours continuously.
    — External power jack for more permanent installation.
    — Target Camera Mobile App for iOS and Android devices.
    — Includes two collapsible, tripod-base Antenna/router stands.
    — Positionable, spring-loaded camera clamp.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
November 17th, 2018

Make Your Own Ammo Caddy with Wood Knife-Holder Block

Wood Knife Holder ammo caddy

Forum member Alex W. (aka “zfastmalibu”) came up with a clever adaptation of an item you may already have on your kitchen counter. By drilling a few strategically-placed holes in a wood knife-holding block, Alex created a handy, 20-round ammo holder for the bench. We’re not sure the wife will appreciate the new holes in her kitchen accessory, but we think this is a smart invention. Alex asked fellow Forum members: “What do you think, is there a market for it?” We think there is. Of course, with a ruler and an electric drill you could probably make your own version easily enough.

Get a Solid Wood Knife Block for under $25.00
Hardwood Knife blocks can be purchased for under $25.00 through Amazon.com. They are also available in bamboo ($18.14), beechwood ($39.95), acacia ($49.95), and solid walnut ($59.95).

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
November 15th, 2018

Tool Time: Sinclair Cartridge Case Neck Sorting Tool

Case Neck thickness sorting gauge Sinclair accurateshooter.com

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

Watch Case Neck Sorting Tool Operation in Video

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

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
November 13th, 2018

CZ 455 .22 LR Varmint Precision Trainer in Manners Stock

CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stock

Rimfire cross-training allows PRS competitors to build their skill sets without breaking the bank (or burning out nice custom barrels). One great .22 LR option for cross-training is offered by CZ (Česká Zbrojovka), the Czech arms-maker. The TFBTV video below spotlights the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT), a smooth-running .22 LR bolt action. This factory rifle was designed specifically as a training tool for precision long-range competition. It boasts a Manners composite stock and 20.5 or 24-inch heavy barrel. The 0.866″-diameter tube is threaded and suppressor-ready. The model 455 VPT is mag-fed and comes with a crisp trigger that adjusts to two pounds. Street price is around $830. That’s pricey for a rimfire — but you’re getting a premium Manners stock that would cost $534 by itself.

Field Testing the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

.22 LR Rimfire from 50 to 300 Yards
CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stockThe CZ 455 VPT proved accurate, recording half-inch groups at 50 yards with SK ammo: “[we] shot CCI standard, Federal match, and SK match through the rifle. It liked the SK ammo the best.” One goal of this test was to see how a .22 LR could perform beyond typical rimfire ranges, so reviewer Joel Wise (Precision Rifle Network) tested this rifle all the way out to 300 yards. Groups were about 1″ at 100 yards, but opened up considerably at 200 and 300. Joel concluded 300 yards was a practical max. We know that some tactical rimfire matches set targets out that far, but we think 200 yards might be a better practical limit for matches run with smallbore rifles. It’s not just the problem of running out of elevation in your scope. At 300 yards the effect of the wind is huge.

CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stock

The CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT) features a mag-fed CZ 455 action, with .866″-diameter heavy barrel, in a rigid, high-tech Manners Composite stock. Feeding was very reliable.

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

The 455 VPT offers the same look and feel of a full-size tactical rifle. This 455 uses a Manners MCS-T4 stock assuring a rock solid platform for the 455 barreled action. The outer shell of the MCS-T4 is made with carbon fiber and fiber glass in multiple layers. The stocks can be custom-ordered with a heavy fill to match your current rifle weight to truly duplicate its feel.

Manners VPT Stock Available for Other Rimfire Platforms
Manners Composite Stocks offers versions of the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer stock design that can be used with other barreled actions: “The 455 VPT stock is based on our MCS-T4 design. We offer this, fully inletted with pillars, for a variety of rimfire actions: Sako Quad, Savage Mark II, CZ 452, CZ 453, along with the 455.”

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

Inletting is complete, so this will be a drop-in solution if you already own one of the listed rimfire rifles. Tom Manners notes: “With this stock, some guys will bed the rear area of their action, but that’s not necessary — you can pretty much bolt ‘em in and go”.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Tactical 1 Comment »