July 21st, 2019

ELR Reloading — .50 BMG Press for .416 Barrett ELR Cartridges

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

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

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

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

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

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

The KO2M competition is a two-day extreme long-range (ELR) match held at the NRA Whittington Center in New Mexico. Teams consist of one shooter and up to two wind coaches/spotters, who fire on steel targets ranging from about 1,500 to 3,500 yards. The photo below show 2019 Winner Phillips with the King’s crown at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM.

Paul Phillips Global Precision Group K02M RCBS Press

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

RCBS is a leading manufacturer of ammunition reloading equipment for rifles and pistols, offering reloading equipment throughout the world. For more information, visit www.RCBS.com

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »
July 21st, 2019

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite — Trio of Video Product Reviews

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite video reviews

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

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite Reviews

A couple years ago, RCBS introduced a new version of the ChargeMaster, the RCBS Chargemaster Lite. This newer unit has some features we really like. The new touch screen is easy to use and the powder tray cover slips off easily — no more hinges to fight. Most importantly the CM Lite has a redesigned, fluted dispensing tube which delivers powder kernels in a smooth flow with no clumps. The RCBS Rep told us “No more McDonald’s straw required”. We tested the unit and it does seem like the newly-designed dispensing tube is better. In fact, this new design will be adapted to the next generation of larger ChargeMasters. The ChargeMaster Lite ships complete with calibration check weights and cleaning brush. MSRP is $299.95 with “street price” around $238.00 at Amazon.

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

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

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

UltimateReloader ChargeMaster Lite Unboxing:

Original ChargeMaster 1500 vs. ChargeMaster Lite:

Worth Considering Also — the Frankford Arsenal Platinum Series Intellidropper
Frankford Arsenal has a new electronic powder scale/dispenser, the Intellidropper. This unit dispenses quickly, loads can be controlled with a Mobile App. We recently did an in-depth Intellidropper Review. If you are in the market for a powder scale/dispenser, you should definitely consider the Intellidropper as well as the RCBS Chargemaster Lite. Watch this video to see how it works:

The Intellidropper is the latest automated powder scale/dispenser to hit the market. This new-for-2019 machine offers a unique powder calibration mode and the first-ever, mobile APP-controlled powder dispensing system. With a retail price under $200, the new Intellidropper is $30-$40 less than the ChargeMaster Lite.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
July 20th, 2019

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 »
July 18th, 2019

SEB Mini Front Rests Are On Their Way to the USA…

SEB Mini Bag carry pedestal front rest
Army of Minis getting ready to conquer the world (well at least the world of shooting).

The Minis are Coming! The Minis are Coming!

Good new for fans of the SEB Mini coaxial tripod rest. This superb compact joystick rest has been in high demand, creating a long waiting period. Now scores of bright new Minis are being readied for shipment to the USA, Canada, and other nations. On Monday, July 13, Sebastian (“Seb”) Lambang posted a Facebook photo of Minis getting ready to ship. That inspired scores of “likes” from Seb’s Facebook fans including action-maker Jim Borden and past F-Class National Champ James Crofts. Larry Bartholome, another former F-Class Champion, wrote: “Hey SEB — people are looking forward to more Mini Mondays!”

seb lambang mini coax coaxial joystick rest

Sebastian (“Seb”) Lambang’s SEBRests.com team is shipping these out worldwide to meet demand. The great thing about the Mini is that it folds up into a small package, making it much easier to transport than a conventional coaxial front rest such as the Seb NEO or Farley.

Responding to Seb’s Facebook post, Todd Banks posted this photo with the comment “Love my Mini!”:

seb lambang mini coax coaxial joystick rest

SEB Mini in Action at Berger Southwest Nationals
Even though the Mini is compact and relatively light weight, it is very stable and gives up very little in performance to a full-sized joystick front rest such as the SEB NEO. Our Systems Admin Jay Christopherson uses a SEB Mini. In the 2017 Berger SWN, Jay finished Second in F-Open Class just one point behind winner David Gosnell, thereby proving the SEB Mini is “competition ready”. Jay reports: “I’m glad I had the SEB Mini — it worked great and was much easier to transport and carry from position to position.” Here’s Jay using the SEB Mini to drill a string of Xs with his .284 Winchester F-Open rifle.

Carry Bag for SEB Mini
With the success of the SEB Mini, Seb Lambang has designed some accessories. Here is a prototype carry package, the Mini Transporter. This compact bag will hold a Mini even with big F-Class feet attached.

SEB Mini Bag carry pedestal front rest

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, News No Comments »
July 15th, 2019

Design and Print Your Own Custom Color Targets

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

Are you a do-it-yourself kind of guy with a creative eye? Then you’ll love the Target Generator from the folks at ShooterShed.com. This free, interactive webpage allows you to design a variety of fun targets, including grids, benchrest-type Score Shooting targets, sight-in targets, and even playing card targets. Choose the paper size and orientation (vertical or horizontal), then select the number of target elements on the page. For example, you could have four (4) bulls or 52 playing cards. You can include a grid on the target, or tell the program to include load information blocks. For bullseye targets, you can control the number, color, and spacing (diameter) of the rings. LINK to TARGET GENERATOR.

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

The program provides a preview of each target you generate. If you like a particular design, save the file, and then print as many targets as you want. Check it out, this program is fun and handy to use. Here are four (4) targets your Editor created just for this article. With a bit of practice, you can be generating your own custom targets in minutes. Have fun.

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest
Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

About the Creator of the Target Generator
The Target Generator program was created by Rod Brown of Sheridan, Wyoming. Rod tells us: “I build custom rifles and coach shooters. I’ve got a 100-yard range out my back door. I shoot short- and long-range benchrest competitively around the country. I’m a full-time software development consultant and an FFL holder. When I’m not developing custom software for my clients, I’m usually fiddling in the shop, building a custom benchrest rifle, traveling to a match, chambering a barrel, or reloading some ammunition.

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
July 14th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: “We the People” .284 Shehane F-Open Rifle

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine
Jason Cohen’s “We the People” patriotic .284 Shehane F-Class rifle. It has already demonstrated great promise, scoring second place in its very first match, a 3×20 at 1000 yards in Wyoming.

Rifle Report by Jason Cohen
The rifle began its life as a Will McClosky Cerus stock. I approached Will at the Berger SW Nationals about a rifle I wanted to build. I wanted to do something different — PAINT it. He said he had just the stock that I could use, and sent that to Bryan Blake at Blake Machine. I chose Bryan for two reasons — first, I have shot with him a few times at National matches and he is approachable and very helpful. Second I visited his shop during the SWN in February and liked what I observed and how he approached things. Bryan never seems to be happy with the status quo. He is always trying new ideas.

I noticed that Bryan had been adding aluminum rails to the front of Cerus stocks to lower the center of gravity and improve tracking. I asked him to modify my stock and fit it with the new forearm rails, shown in the photo below. I sent him a Panda F-Class action with a +20 MOA Picatinny rail. Bryan did all the stock work and fitted the action, rails, and RAD recoil pad. Everything turned out flawless.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The barrel is a Blake Machine 1:8″-twist finished at 32 inches. It was fitted to my action by Dale Woolum of Woolum Accuracy. Dale chambers all my barrels on all my rifles. Dale also threaded the barrel for a Woolum Accuracy tuner. This has proven to be a valuable tool in my load development. On this build, I am trying a Bix’N Andy trigger for the first time.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The 284 Shehane has a proven record of accomplishments and that is why I have chosen it. I use Lapua brass (6.5-284 necked-up), CCI BR-2 primers, Hodgdon H4350 powder, and Berger 184gr bullets. All these components have been a successful combination that has worked flawlessly in my other rifle.

.284 Shehane Load Development
Load development for me starts with each new barrel. I screw on the new barrel, fire 25 rounds of whatever I have left over and then clean it. I push out to 600 yds and do a ladder test in round-robin format. I start 0.6 grains lower than my last charge that worked. I work up from that reduced charge weight in increments of 0.3 grains. The paper tells the rest of the story. Once I get something that works well at 600 yards I go back in work around that by 0.1 grains. After that I play a little with seating depth and look for a change. I will occasionally mess with the tuner and tighten things up if possible.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

About the Patriotic Paint Job
So I had the idea of painting the stock because there are so many wood stocks with clear coat these days. Unless you really get some exotic woods they all seem to blend together. I have nothing against clear-coated wood, but I wanted something different, as this was my first all-wood rifle. (For short-range benchrest, I was shooting a Bob Scoville carbon stock and Terry Leonard laminate).

We started with all white on the stock and came up with the idea of an American Flag on the buttstock. I was thinking of ribbons on the front in red and blue but we could not get the layout right. Then the idea of “We the People” popped into the head. My painter said “awesome!” and he was able to airbrush the stock with a little yellow and brown to give it that vintage paper look.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The front rest is a SEB Max (see above). I chose the Max because I was shooting Group Benchrest first then made the transition to F-Class. This rest proves to be versatile in all my shooting — Short- and Long-Range Benchrest AND F-Class. The rear bag is a Edgewood EDGEbag Gator. The gun gets transported in a Pelican Hard case when I travel. Locally, I use a Champions Choice soft bag.

Jason Jumped to Open Class after Starting with F-TR
This “We the People” rifle will be one of my primary rifles for F-Open competition. I will run it through its paces shortly and see how well it does. I have high hopes of it being an great gun. I shoot primarily local and regional matches — Colorado, Wyoming, and possibly Nebraska this summer. I will travel to the F-Class Nationals in Raton as well. I used to shoot F-TR before this and made the transition to Open last season. This is my second season shooting F-Open. 2018 was my first National event and was a learning experience for me. But I was hooked after that match.

Tips for F-Class Competitors
Get some good equipment and eliminate having issues that can be caused by budget builds. It’s OK to be frugal, but sometimes cutting corners will cause you more problems and have you chasing your tail. If you’re looking for the “recipe for success”, get a good action plus a top-tier barrel and great glass.

.284 Winchester Shehane F-Open F-Class 7mm Berger Panda F-Class Blake Machine

The .284 Shehane — Accurate and Forgiving Wildcat
The 284 Shehane is amazing, very forgiving and not temperamental. I choose this because I really did not know otherwise and was steered to the Shehane by a friend. Its proven track record helped as well. Straight .284 or Shehane — you cannot go wrong. I run a 184gr Berger at about 2850 FPS and get great brass life in my other rifles. I usually start to consider tossing the brass around 15 firings. Primer pockets start to get a little looser and the brass seems to need more sizing than the newer brass with less firings.

.284 Shehane Win Winchester F-class F-Open wildcat load development

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
July 13th, 2019

Kick-Ass Tactical Trainer — Mag-Fed Rem 40X in Manners Stock

Remington 40X rimfire .22LR rifle suppressor Manners stock Bartlein Bushnell EFR front rail Defiance Mack Brothers Suppressor
Brian, a gunsmith at GA Precision, built this rimfire rig with GAP colleague Anthony Soukup.

On his Facebook page, Tactical competitor Bryan Sikes posted a photo of a rimfire rig we really liked. Brian works at GA Precision. He and fellow GAP gunsmith Anthony Soukup built this rifle. With a modified Rem 40X action, Manners stock, Bartlein barrel, and Mack Brothers suppressor, this rig has top-quality components stem to stern. And Bryan tells us this rifle performs as good as it looks: “This is the baddest little .22 LR trainer ever. I’m stoked about it. With the barrel length and can, it’s the exact length of my regular comp rigs.” With length, balance, and ergonomics near identical to Bryan’s centerfire competition rifles, this 40X is a superb training tool.

• Modified Remington 40X Action
• Calvin Elite Trigger
• Bartlein #5 22″ Barrel
• Mack Brothers Vapor Suppressor

• Bedded Manners T4-A Stock
• Defiance Embedded Front Rail (EFR)
• Harris Swivel Bipod with Handle
• Bushnell DMR2 Scope w/ G3 Reticle

Many readers wanted to know about the bottom metal and the detachable box magazine. Bryan Sike reveals: “The magazine setup is designed specifically to replicate my actual competition rifles. The bottom metal is for use with AI magazines and uses a standard M5 type inlet just like any centerfire completion rifle. In this case with the .22LR, Mike Bush designed a high reliability rimfire magazine using the same outside dimensions as an AI magazine. This rifle was built no different from any other. The action was modified and trued, barreled, fully bedded, etc. using ALL components common to centerfire match rifles.” The Rem 40X action was modified by Modacam Custom Rifles to work as a repeater with box mags.

Remington 40X rimfire .22LR rifle suppressor Manners stock Bartlein Bushnell EFR front rail Defiance Mack Brothers Suppressor

Bryan adds that a new rimfire action is in the works: “My preference is modified Remington 40X actions and the soon-to-be available, V-22 action from Mike Bush. Both of which are TRUE repeaters and don’t feed from a Savage magazine. This rifle feels nothing like a .22 LR and that was the whole point.”

Remington 40X rimfire .22LR rifle suppressor Manners stock Bartlein Bushnell EFR front rail Defiance Mack Brothers Suppressor

Why You Need a .22 LR Tactical Cross-Trainer
Many guys who shoot long-range tactical matches practice with .22 LR rifles of similar configuration. Rimfire ammo is way more affordable than centerfire, you do not need a big range facility, and shooting rimfire saves wear and tear on your centerfire rifle. Further, for learning how to read the wind, there really is no better training tool than a .22 LR, even as close as 50 yards.

Our Friend “DesertFrog”, who shoots tactical matches in Southern California, explains: “I used to shoot an average of 200 rounds of .308 Match ammo a month for training (50 per weekend). These days I shoot maybe an average of 50 rounds of .308 Win per month and probably around 600 rounds of .22 LR. Using mainly the .22 LR for practice did NOT hurt my standings in actual competitions. I shot my .308 just as well in matches, but saved the cost of hundreds of rounds of .308. If I didn’t reload and was still buying boxes of Federal Gold Medal Match .308 Win [at $1.00/round], this would be a savings of [$150 per month on the centerfire ammo.]” Money saved is money earned.

Targets for Rimfire Cross-Training

SPECIAL BONUS–Rimfire Tactical Precision Targets

These FREE targets by DesertFrog are offered in Adobe Acrobat format for easy printing.
CLICK HERE to download all six targets as a .ZIP archive.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tactical 2 Comments »
July 9th, 2019

Affordable 10-50X — Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm REVIEW

Sightron Scope 10-50x60mm SIII SS scope James Mock long range competition review MOA MOA-2 reticle

Many of our Forum members who shoot F-Class and Long Range Benchrest have asked: “Is there a reliable high-magnification zoom scope under $1100?” The answer is yes — the Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm scope will do the job, and you can buy one now for under $1100.00. In fact, at the 2017 IBS 600-yard Nationals, four of the Top 10 shooters (including the 2nd-place finisher) used Sightron 10-50x60mm scopes. This quality 10-50x60mm optic is definitely good enough to win long-range benchrest and F-Class matches. Here is a review by James Mock. Note James tested a version with 1/4-MOA clicks. Sightron also offers versions of this scope with 1/8-MOA clicks.

Sightron 10-50x60mm Riflescope Field Test
Review by James Mock
Mr. Allen Orr of Sightron was kind enough to loan me one of their fine SIII riflescopes for testing. Since I shoot 600-yard score matches more than anything else, I requested the 10-50x60mm model with MOA-2 reticle. This is a premium scope in every way and it may be the very best buy for a long range scope today. Real world price for this scope is around $1100 ($1089.99 on Amazon.com). This represents a good value considering the scope’s build quality and features: 50X max magnification, 1/4-MOA adjustments with 10 MOA per revolution, ExactTrack windage and elevation system, Zack-7 lens coating, 60mm objective lens, target knobs with zero stop, and lifetime warranty. The MOA-2 reticle’s hash marks span 2 MOA at 24X and 1 MOA at 48X. Eye Relief is ample: 4.5″ at 10X and 3.8″ at 50X. Field of view at 100 yards is 9.6′ at 10X, 2.2′ at 50X.

Sightron MOA-2 Reticle Manual | Sightron Riflescope Manual

NOTE: Sightron also offers this scope with 1/8-MOA clicks with a Fine Cross-Hair Reticle, Target Dot Reticle, and Mil-Dot Reticle. There are also multiple Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm models with illuminated reticles.

Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm Shows Excellent Repeatability
After receiving the scope, I mounted it on my BAT 6mm Dasher and did my “standard tests”. I shot the “square” and the adjustments were spot on and the repeatability was faultless. I also shot a group at two powers (24X and 50X) and the point of impact was the same.

In our August 600-yard match, I used the scope and was favorably impressed. I did not have the opportunity to shoot 600 yards prior to the match but I do have a 100-meter range at my house. From past experience, after zeroing my Dasher at 100 I simply dial up 11 MOA to shoot at 600 yards. The weather in Louisiana has been something that I have never seen before and the August 20th match was moved to August 27th, but there was still standing water in front of the targets. Also, the fog was so heavy that the start of the match was delayed for 45 minutes.

Sightron Scope 10-50x60mm SIII SS scope James Mock long range competition review MOA MOA-2 reticle

Sightron Nails a 50 Score on First-ever Match Target
When the match started, the Sightron with 11 MOA dialed in was perfect for elevation and a little right. After a couple of clicks I was ready to shoot. My first target was a pleasant surprise — scoring a 50-1X. I was very impressed with this scope and I shot it at 48X all day in the heavy mirage. I ended up finishing third, two points behind the winner.

This video is from Europe, but it does a good job explaining the 10-50x60mm Sightron’s features:

With its 60mm objective lens, this is a large scope. It is 16.9″ long and weighs 30.1 ounces. If you can tolerate that weight in the discipline you shoot this scope represents a great value for the long-range shooter. I am favorably impressed with it. For you varmint shooters, this scope with its wide range of power would make a superb addition to you favorite prairie dog rig. Do note, as we explained above, there are other versions of this scope with 1/8-MOA clicks if that is your preference.
Good shooting — James Mock

Sightron Scope 10-50x60mm SIII SS scope James Mock long range competition review MOA MOA-2 reticle

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Optics No Comments »
July 9th, 2019

Tool Time: Case-Neck Sorting Tool Works Fast

Sinclair Case Neck Sorting tool reloading benchrest neck-turning

Case Neck thickness sorting gauge Sinclair accurateshooter.comHe 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

How 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 priced at $59.99. You can also buy the tool complete with dial indicator (item 749-007-129WB) for $89.99. IMPORTANT: This sorting tool requires caliber-specific 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 »
July 7th, 2019

Sunday GunDay — 7mm WSM Hunter with Match-Grade Accuracy

wyoming 7mm wsm winchester short magnum elk rifle hunter hunting Win mag

Ric Horst’s 7 WSM is a game-slayer with serious long-range accuracy. Here’s a hunting rifle (with tactical trappings) that performs as well as some purpose-built benchrest rifles, delivering half-MOA ten-shot groups at 1000 yards–from bipod no less! That was noteworthy in itself. But Ric’s rifle, built to take game in Wyoming’s backcountry, also proves the viability of the 7mm Win Short Mag as a true precision cartridge. With the capacity to drive hard-hitting, ultra-high-BC bullets, the 7 WSM is a bonafied rival to the big 30s. This rifle sets a very high bar for long-range hunting rigs.

The Challenge: Creating the Ultimate Long-Range Hunting Rifle

Q: Tell us how you got interested in the 7 WSM and how you got started on this project?

Ric Horst: Chris Matthews and I were invited to help out with a new hunting show on a cable network. We wanted to showcase a rifle that wasn’t typical for the TV program which was about Antelope and Mule Deer hunting in Wyoming. We considered a variety of calibers, but then Sierra announced their new 175gr (.284) MatchKing and that got our attention. In Wyoming, the key thing in choosing a caliber is the availability of good high-BC bullets–the wind will own you out here. After seeing Sierra’s projected BC for the 175s this seemed to be a no brainer. So I told Chris to make the rifle a 7mm WSM.

Q: What were your objectives with this project rifle? Sounds like you wanted to build a state of the art long-range hunting rig?

Our goals were simple–we wanted a tack-driver with long-range capabilities, from 400 to 1000 yards. Really, at the time, the choice of the 7 WSM was easy–no one else was really doing it, and if they were, they weren’t talking about it. So we wanted to be the first make it work, one way or another. There were actually no real surprises or problems along the way, other than it was the first time I was shooting a 7mm and the accuracy of the 175gr bullets was better than I expected. I have total faith in Chris’s gunsmithing abilities. This 7 WSM is the sixth rifle he’s built for me–and they’ve all been tack-drivers.

Q: Give us your perspectives on living and shooting in Wyoming. What makes it such a great hunting ground? How do the game mix and terrain dictate your selection of a rifle?

My requirements for my rifles are, I guess, unique. I like tactical-style rifles. This “style” seems to fit my type of hunting here in Wyoming–tough, rugged terrain where you need to be able to make the long shot should one present itself. Living in Wyoming? Well, if you choose to live in the “out of town” places you need to be well-prepared and tough. Going to town means a 50-mile trip. You don’t just run to the convenience store if you need something. Plus the weather is hard in the winter and always windy. We joke that we have just two seasons, three months of summer and nine months of winter. Our spring and fall are each about two weeks long.

Despite the weather, Wyoming is a great place for a hunter. Game here is second to none: deer (whitetail and mulies ), antelope, elk, sheep, moose, plus varmints galore. What is great about my location is that I can shoot just about anytime I want. I have the ability to shoot as far as 3500 yards out my back door if I choose. Here’s a shot of my playground.

Putting It Together: Exceptional Components and Accurate Ammo

Q: Your 7 WSM has logged 10-shot groups at 1000 yards that could win many 1K benchrest matches. What kind of components does it take to deliver this kind of accuracy?

There is nothing super-exotic in this rifle, but it IS fitted out with some of the best components on the market. We did start with a factory action, however, a Remington 700 short action. Chris trued the action, added an SSG over-sized bolt knob, and fitted the action with a Broughton 5C, 9-twist #7 contour barrel finished at 24″. To reduce recoil we added a Badger brake. The stock is a fiberglass McMillan HTG (General Purpose Hunting) stock in Desert Camo. (This McMillan stock design replicates the original M40A1 Marine Sniper Rifle stock.) Since this is a repeater we added a Wyatts Mag Box. The gun features Badger bottom metal, Badger scope rail and Badger Rings. The Scope is a 4-16 Nikon Tactical, which, so far, has proven to be excellent. All the metal is Teflon-coated in Mil-Spec OD Green. I have a bubble-level mounted on the scope rail.

Q: To achieve the results you’re getting you must have exceptional hand-loads. What is your reloading procedure and do you have any “secret tips” to share?

I use Winchester-brand brass and Winchester Large Rifle Magnum primers. My current load is 64.0 grains of H4831sc for the Hornady 162s (2950 fps) and 61.0 grains of H4831sc for the Sierra 175s (2830 fps).

The only sizing dies I have used are the Basic Redding FL dies–I have since started using the Forester Ultra-Seater and used it when I shot the outstanding groups. My reloading technique is pretty basic. I full-length size and trim all to length. I use the RCBS powered Trim Mate™ station to do most of the brass prep. I do use the VLD case mouth deburrer. I uniform the primer pocket and chamfer as well. I then fire-form those prepped cases. I’ve noted that the new brass usually shoots just as well as fire-formed cases. I then use the FL die to bump the shoulder back .002″. I haven’t really noticed and major difference between Forester and Redding dies except price. I don’t have any “special” secret loading techniques. If you use quality components, I’ve found that you don’t need to weigh this weigh that etc. I tried that for years and it never really showed results to justify the time and effort. I quit doing all the weighing ( except for bullets ) and I shoot just as well. The two things I am anal about are the powder charge and seating depth–these all have to be exactly the same for each round!

I do take time to uniform the brass. First, when I get a bag of brass, I’ll check to make sure all the flash holes are centered, and I’ll pitch the ones that aren’t. Then I’ll measure the shortest case and trim all to that length (after ensuring that fits my chamber). Next, I’ll uniform the primer pockets, and debur and bevel the flash hole on both sides. Beveling both sides is one trick I think helps keep ES down. By beveling the flash side it basically takes the flash and tapers/funnels it to the hole. I think you get more consitency with the primer flash this way. Finally I’ll debur/champfer the inside and outside of the neck using a VLD chamferer.

After firing the cases once, I clean them all up and make one pass on the neck turner just to “clean” the necks to a consistient diameter. Note, I am not necessarily turning for a specific diameter because I have enough clearance to start with. I do this light turn just for consistency. Sometimes the neck turner might only shave a bit off one side.

Q: What’s your load-testing procedure? Do you have any special methods to evaluate/tune your loads?

Again, my methods are pretty simple. I start with the Sierra Load Manual, select the bullet weight, then find the max load for a recommended accurate powder. I like Hodgdon powders, so I start with an “H” powder with an appropriate burn rate, drop the “max” load about 0.5 grains and start there. Typically there is a sweet spot within half a grain up or down from that starting point. I usually seat my bullets to touch the lands or seat just in a bit. I feel this makes up for any bullet-run out when seating them.

When load-testing, I try to get 100-yard groups to be half an inch or less (quarter-MOA is pretty good for me, but not something I can count on regularly.) I then go to the 300- and 500-yard steel plates to see if the load holds its accuracy. If it does, then the load is good to go. However, I will shoot a 5-shot group every now and again to see if I am still in tune. In fact I was re-testing the 162gr A-Max and 175 gr SMK loads the day I shot the screamers at 1013 yards. Two great groups back to back.

Q: How does your 7 WSM perform in terms of recoil and accuracy? Has it met your expectations?

This rifle is by far one of the most fun rifles I have ever had. The recoil is very minimal with either of the loads and the rifle just plain flat-out shoots. The break-in took all of 21 rounds I think. This rifle shoots sub-2″ groups at 500 yards all day every day (often closer to 1″). Note that I don’t do any shooting from a bench and rests except for the initial load work up. The rest of the time I shoot from a bipod. I would really like to stress that I shoot exclusively with bi-pod and “sand-sock”. So many guys out there think that you have to shoot from a bench to get outstanding results. This simply isn’t true. If you are a disciplined shooter and have correct shooting techniques you can do amazing things from any shooting position. Long Range doesn’t have to be from a rest or bench!

What makes this rifle special is that it has an identical twin, built by Chris for my hunting partner Steve. Both rifles shoot exactly the same–same accuracy, same velocity, same trajectories. I never shot a 1K group with Steve’s gun, but at other distances, including 500 yards, it has performed identically to mine. I shot a sub-moa group of 12 shots one day with the Twins. I shot six shots from each rifle, alternating rifles between shots. Remember this is from the prone position and off a bipod–same load, two different rifles–and it produced a single, sub-MOA group. Now that’s consistency. Both these rifles I call point and shoot rifles–point them on target and they’ll shoot it.

Q: What technique do you use when shooting from bipod?

I basically do Froggy’s technique when shooting from a bipod. I get my natural point of aim, then push forward a bit to pre-load the bipod legs. In gripping the stock, I use just my two middle fingers to apply firm pressure straight back into my shoulder. I’m careful not to torque with the thumb or pinky finger. With my focus on the intended point of aim, I’ll let the cross hairs blur a bit and gently press the trigger until it goes boom. Then follow through, watch for the impact, and chamber the next round.

Looking Out to 1000 Yards, and the Results from Ric’s 7 WSM

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
July 3rd, 2019

Reloder 23 and Reloder 26 — Good for Magnum Cartridges

Alliant Bofors Nitrochemie Reloader Reloading RL Reloder powder 22 23 25 26

Do you shoot a magnum cartridge? Here are two modern-formulation powders you may want to try: Reloder 23 and 26. We have been particularly impressed with Reloder 23. It has worked well in competition for target cartridges such as the 7mm RSAUM. Reloder 23 is like a slower version of Reloder 16 — a very temp-stable powder which has proven a worthy rival to H4350.

Ever heard of Alliant Reloder 23? Or Reloder 26? These two relatively new European-produced Reloder propellants were introduced in 2014. Most folks haven’t tried these Reloder powders because it took quite a while for the first shipments of RL 23 and RL 26 to arrive in the USA. But now these two new propellants are available in the USA, with substantial inventories in stock at some larger vendors. For example, Powder Valley has both RL 23 and RL 26 in stock now at $23.50 per pound. Many other vendors have ample RL 23, but RL 26 is a bit harder to find.

From our Forum members who shoot large magnum cartridge types with heavy bullets, we have heard good things about both RL 23 and RL 26. Reports from the field indicate that both these powders are delivering impressive velocities with low velocity ES/SD.

What are the characteristics of RL 23 and RL 26? That question was answered by Paul Furrier who works for ATK, the parent company of Alliant Powders. Posting in our Shooters’ Forum, Paul writes:

“Let me provide some factual info about these products. Some of the stuff that gets propagated is not correct. Reloder 23 is produced by our Swedish partner Bofors, and Reloder 26 is produced in Switzerland by our extremely capable partner Nitrochemie. I have seen it stated that they are both made by Bofors, so that is incorrect.

I have also noticed people are equating Reloder 23 to Reloder 22, and Reloder 26 to Reloder 25. Both of those statements are definitely incorrect. We do state that the performance of Reloder 23 is similar to Reloder 22, and it is, in general burn speed terms, but they are most certainly not the same. We have worked quite a lot of recipes for Reloder 23, and they are not the same as Reloder 22. Reloder 26 is definitely slower burning than Reloder 25, so there shouldn’t be any confusion there either.”

Alliant Bofors Nitrochemie Reloader Reloading RL Reloder powder 22 23 25 26

Furrier says that RL 23 is NOT sensitive to temperature shifts: “Reloder 23 was developed to bring a truly temp-stable powder to the Reloder 22 burn-speed range using Bofors new process technology. This is the second product developed for us with this TZ® process, the first being AR-Comp™. We see terrific efficiencies, SDs, accuracy and flat temp response from these powders. Please try them, I think you will be impressed.”

(more…)

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
July 2nd, 2019

Tuner TECH — POI Shift with Barrel Tuner Position Changes

Tuner Pascal Bukys Point of Impact shift test 6 PPC benchrest

6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine waveHave a good look at the photos below — this may be one of the most noteworthy target strings we’ve ever published. What you can see is the effect of barrel tuner position on point of impact (POI). You can clearly see that the tuner position alters the up/down POI location in a predictable fashion.

This remarkable 15-shot sequence was shot by French benchrester Pascal Fischbach using his 6 PPC fitted with a CG (Carlito Gonzales) action and a Bukys barrel tuner.

Pascal reports: “After [bullet] seating and load validation, I put the Bukys tuner on, screwing it out 10 turns. According to Carlito, the CG’s super stiff action-to-barrel fit gives a faster vibration modulus that is detrimental below 10 turns [position of the tuner].” Pascal’s procedure was to screw out the tuner 1/4 turn progressively from one shot to the next. He shot one bullet at each tuner position, with a total of 15 shots.

15-Shot Sequence with Tuner Changes
6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave
CLICK HERE to SEE Large Version of Complete Test Strip (All 15 shots in a row).

Left Half of Target Strip (shots with 1/4 rotation change of tuner in sequence)
6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave

Right Half of Target Strip (shots with 1/4 rotation change of tuner in sequence)
6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave

Pascal observed: “Note the point of impact displacement [from shot to shot] tracks clearly along a sinusoide (sine wave curve).” This is indeed notable and significant! This shows how the tuner’s ability to change barrel harmonics can alter the position of the muzzle as each bullet exits, resulting in a higher or lower POI. Pascal sent his results to Carlito Gonzales in Argentina for analysis.

Pascal poses this question to readers: “Guess which three positions Carlito recommends to try?”

Editor’s Note: While this target sequence clearly shows how tuner position can alter bullet point of impact, this, by itself, does not tell us which tuner position(s) are best for accuracy. That will require further multi-shot group testing, involving careful experimentation with tuner position (and powder charge weights). But for those folks who doubt that a tuner can make a difference on a short, fat barrel, just take another look at the photos. The up/down changes are undeniable, and noteworthy in the wave pattern they follow.

Shooting Set-up and Test Conditions:
Pascal did this test at an outdoor range under very good conditions: “This was shot at my home range, outdoors, with four Smiley flags. The range is a narrow cut in high woods. Wind was consistent with readable flags. I started testing the tuner from 10 turns out and on to 15. I recently… found a sweet spot very close to the rearmost position of the tuner, so the rigidity provided by this super long tenon (just short of 70mm) was not a reason to overlook the recommended Bukys tuning procedure.”

6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
July 1st, 2019

BargainFinder 197: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Bud’s Gun Shop — Howa American Flag Chassis Rifle, $1100.99

Howa HCR APX American Flag Cerakote 6.5 Creedmoor PRS .308 Win Tactical Rifle

What better way to celebrate the 4th of July this week than with a Stars and Stripes rifle? Legacy Sports offers a special American Flag Chassis Rifle with a USA flag-theme red, white, and blue Cerakote finish and 3-chamber muzzle brake. Components include APC modular chassis and Luth-AR adjustable butt-stock. This special edition is sold with a Nikko 4-16x50mm scope and shipped in a hard case. Choose either the 6.5 Creedmoor version ($1100.99 at GunPrime.com), or the .308 Win version ($1116.52 at Bud’s GunShop). Note: Act soon — these special editions with scope are almost sold out!

2. EuroOptic — Minox Scope Sale, Up to 56% off

minox scope sale

Minox may not be a household name for riflescopes but make no mistake, Minox makes great scopes for the money. While Minox scopes are always attractively priced, right now they are a GREAT value over at EuroOptic. You can grab a variety of Minox scopes in popular zoom ranges for up to 56% Off. Heck of a bargain. A new Minox may just what you need to finish off that recent build. These German optics offer a great balance between performance and p;rice.

3. Brownells — HOWA 6mm Creedmoor barreled action, $429.99

howa barreled action

Choosing the parts for a custom build can be a daunting process and it often requires having a gunsmith properly headspace and build a barreled action. Now you can skip that step by picking up one of these Howa barreled actions in 6mm Creedmoor for $429.99 (on Sale). Barreled actions in many other popular chamberings are also available including 6.5 Grendel for $349.99 (on Sale), 6.5 Creedmoor, .243 Win, .308 Win and more (SEE ALL). Howa barreled actions are sold in several barrel lengths/contours, and all come with an excellent HACT 2-stage trigger.

4. Midsouth — Nikon Special 4-12x40mm scope, $99.99

nikon scope sale

For you guys looking for a bargain scope for a hunting rifle (or maybe your son’s first rifle), here’s a great deal. Right now Midsouth is offering Nikon 4-12x40mm scopes with a BDC reticle for the crazy-low price of $99.99. This is a very good scope for the money. It comes with a solid guarantee and should offer years of reliable service on a hunting or varmint rifle. Put the money you save into brass and bullets.

5. Precision Reloading — Alliant Powder Sale, 15% Off

alliant powder sale

Dedicated hand-loaders should keep an ample supply of their favorite powders “for a rainy day” (or maybe new legislative regulations). If you’ve been waiting for a great sale, check this out. Precision Reloading is now offering 15% OFF all in-stock Alliant powders. This covers all Alliant powders on hand. But don’t wait long. This sale concludes July 2, 2019 at 11:59 pm.

6. Grizzly — Bald Eagle Priming Press, $80.97

grizzly priming press

Any serious competitor will tell you that consistent primer seating is one of the most critical steps in reloading. There are lots of choices out there for bench and hand-held primers but NONE of then match the Grizzly priming press which can be found for $80.97. It features a beautifully-made system that is click adjustable to .002″ and incredibly repeatable. If you’re in the market for something that’s easy on the hands and works like units that cost hundreds more give this one a look.

7. Midsouth — NEW Sierra 6th Edition Manual, $28.89

sierra loading manual

Yes you can get starting load data from friends (or websites) but official loading manuals help ensure you’re stay within safe margins. In addition, these printed manuals provide more data, more recipes, and more details than you can readily find online. We like Sierra Manuals because they cover a wide selection of powders (from all major propellant-makers) and Sierra’s max loads run on the conservative side. Midsouth now offers the new-for-2019 Sierra 6th Edition Loading Manual for just $28.89. This is the best price we’ve seen — save $8-$10 at Midsouth.

8. Amazon — MTM Stackable Ammo Crate/Utility Box, $13.59

mtm ammo box

Good storage, whether for ammo, survival supplies or any other items, is something shooters and outdoorsmen need in abundance. With that in mind, consider grabbing a few of these MTM Ammo Crate/Utility Boxes. These stackable polymer storage crates cost just $13.59. They are LOCKABLE and they have great carry handles. Grab a couple of them at this price. We best you’ll quickly find many good uses.

9. Cabela’s — Ruger EC9S Carry Pistol, $219.97

Ruger Carry Concealed handgun pistol sale bargain EC9S 9mm

Here’s a good little 9mm carry pistol for a crazy-low price. Right now, CDNN is selling the popular Ruger EC9S 9MM pistol for $219.97 — that’s $30 off the regular $249.99 price. This gun is light (17.2 ounces) and thin so it’s easy to carry discretely. The EC9S is 6″ overall with a 3.12″-long barrel. The EC9S features integral sights and ships with a single 7-round magazine.

10. Amazon — Two Rolls of 3″ Neon Target Stickers, $14.99

Red Orange Neon 3

We like these bright, Neon 3″ target stickers. They are big enough to see easily at 600 yards, giving you a 1/2 MOA target center at that distance. For $14.99 at Amazon.com, you get 250 3″-diameter self-adhesive centers (125 targets per roll) that stick to almost any surface The high-contrast fluorescent red/orange color provides an excellent HI-VIZ aiming point, along with good contrast for bullet holes that fall within the 3″ circle. To help line up your reticle cross-hairs, the target centers feature black markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12 0’Clock. NOTE: These stickers may qualify for FREE Shipping with combined orders over $25.00.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
July 1st, 2019

Firearms Industry Database and Free Digital Buyer’s Guide

Industry Buyer's Guide Shooting manufacturer index
This month’s issue of Shooting Industry magazine has a huge 46-Page directory of gun industry companies.

Free Digital Directory of Gun Industry Companies
How would you like INFO on hundreds of firearms industry companies all in one place, complete with phone numbers, websites, and street addresses? You get all that and more in Shooting Industry magazine’s latest Buyer’s Guide. This free resource is available via a searchable web database, as well as a digital eBook version that you can print out.

Industry Buyer's Guide Shooting manufacturer index

Howa 4th July American Flag 1500 rifle Industry Buyer's Guide Shooting manufacturer index

Looking for your favorite companies such as Berger Bullets, Forster, Hodgdon, Lapua, Lyman, McMillan, Nightforce, Nosler, and Redding? You’ll find all these companies plus hundreds more in the Buyer’s Guide. Just go to the Buyer’s Guide WebPage to search by company name. Alternatively, launch the Digital Buyer’s Guide, pages 44-89 of Shooting Industry’s July 2019 Edition. The Industry Directory is a one-stop 46-page resource with contact information for companies in every segment of the firearms industry — ammo, barrels, complete rifles, pistols, reloading gear, stocks, and more.

Industry Buyer's Guide Shooting manufacturer index

NOTE: If you can’t access either site with the Chrome Browser, try FireFox or Safari.

Story Tip courtesy EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, News No Comments »
June 29th, 2019

Trim, Chamfer, and Deburr Brass with Giraud Tri-Way Tool

Giraud Tri Way Trimmer Case Cutter tool
Close-up of the Tri-Way Trimmer with clear plastic chip guard removed.

Giraud Tool offers a case trimmer/chamferer device that works with a power drill (or other power source). Giraud’s patented Tri-Way Trimmer is a self-contained unit powered by your drill or motor. Using a sharp carbide blade it will trim your cases to length, deburr, and cut both inside and outside chamfers — all in one pass. That’s pretty impressive for a $105.00 tool that fits in the palm of your hand.

Giraud Tri Way Trimmer Case Cutter tool

Product Features
1. Fully adjustable for cartridge length (and depth of chamfer).
2. Carbide blade cuts a 15° inside case mouth chamfer and 45° outside chamfer.
3. Case holder supported by sealed ball bearing raceway.
4. Tool includes removable, transparent plastic chip guard.
5. Tool can work in any orientation (vertical, horizontal, or any angle).

The Giraud Tri-Way Trimmer is designed to be powered by a portable hand drill, drill press, or other dedicated rotating power source. The tool indexes off the shoulder of your cases, but the blade adjusts so that cartridge overall length (COAL) can be controlled with precision. Constructed out of 6061-T6 aluminum and 303 stainless steel, the Tri Way tool should last a lifetime. Note: This tool is not universal. The Tri Way is dedicated to a single cartridge and “related” cartridges with similar body dimensions. Thus you need a specific tool for each cartridge family. For example, the .308 Win tool will also trim .243 Win, .260 Rem, and 7mm-08.

Cartridge Sizes Available for Giraud Tri Way Trimmer:
.223 Remington (Also trims .17 Remington, .204 Ruger, .222 Remington, .222 Remington Magnum)
7.62 x 39mm (Russian)
.300 Blackout (Also trims .17 Rem Fireball, .20 Vartarg, .221 Fireball)
.308 Winchester (Also trims .243 Winchester, .260 Remington, 7mm-08)
.30-06 Springfield (Also trims .25-06, .270 Winchester, .280 Remington)
.300 Winchester Mag (Also trims .264 Winchester Magnum, 7mm Remington Magnum, .308 Norma Magnum)

Giraud Tri Way Trimmer Case Cutter tool

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 3 Comments »
June 28th, 2019

Save $20 on MagnetoSpeed Sporter Chronograph — $159.99

Magnetospeed sporter MidwayUSA chron chronograph

This post essentially puts twenty bucks in your pocket if you need a chronograph. You see the MagnetoSpeed Sporter Chrono typically costs around $179.00 from most vendors. But right now MidwayUSA is running a special — the true “shopping cart price” is $159.99. That’s $20.00 cheaper than Midway’s regular price, and $19.01 cheaper than the lowest price we found anywhere else. But this special “Shopping Cart Discount” may not last long, so you may want to act quickly. We confirmed Midway’s $159.99 price on the morning of June 28, 2019.

Strapped on your barrel, the MagnetoSpeed Sporter records velocities accurately without requiring any hardware to be placed downrange. Everything is self-contained at your shooting station, so you no longer have to waste time setting up tripods and aligning the bullet path through old-fashioned chrono skyscreens. For most shooters, the MagnetoSpeed Sporter is all they need — they don’t need to spend $380.00 for the Deluxe MagnetoSpeed V3 Model. Here’s a video review which compares the Sporter to the more expensive V3 chronograph.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals No Comments »
June 25th, 2019

Monitor Summer Barrel Heat with Handy Temp Strips

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

You never want your barrels to get too hot, which can happen more quickly in summertime. 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 4 Comments »
June 24th, 2019

Ballistic-X App Calculates Shot Group Size from Target Photos

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

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

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

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

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

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

How to Use Ballistic-X App

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

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

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

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

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

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

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

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

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

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

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Tech Tip No Comments »
June 23rd, 2019

Tough Burris Tactical Rings with Inserts — Best Option for PRS?

Burris Pos-Align XTR tactical Rings preload elevation

For years we have touted the advantages of Burris Signature rings, with polymer Pos-Align Inserts. PRS/NRL shooters take not — this technology is available in a beefier, heavy-duty ring system for tactical rifles. The impressive Burris XTR Signature Rings offer six (6) clamping bolts per ring plus strong, dual steel base-clamps that self-center on Weaver or Picatinny rails. These aluminum XTR Signature Rings provide strength and holding power, plus the key benefits of Pos-Align inserts. As impressive as XTR rings are — they aren’t that expensive, with 1″-diameter XTRs starting at about $90.00 per pair (30mm and 34mm XTRs cost a bit more).

The polymer inserts in Signature rings perform three key functions. First, the inserts provide full, uniform scope-to-ring contact, with no need for lapping. You get a very secure “grip” on your scope without ring marks. Second, the Pos-Align inserts can provide elevation “pre-load”. With eccentric (offset) inserts, you can raise the back of the scope relative to the front, gaining up to 54 MOA of built-in elevation, without the need for expensive tapered bases. Third, the offset inserts can be rotated clockwise or counter-clockwise to shift point of impact. This lets you zero your rifle easily while keeping the turrets in the center of their travel.

Burris XTR Signature Rings are offered in 1″, 30mm, and 34mm diameters, and three (3) different heights: 1″, 1.25″, and 1.5″. Each ring set includes two sets of concentric inserts and one set each of the following offset inserts: +/-5 MOA, +/-10 MOA, +/-20 MOA. These allow you to “pre-load” elevation and/or center up your cross-hairs.

– Pre-load Elevation. No need for expensive tapered bases for long-range shooting.
– Correct misalignment caused by off-center receiver holes.
– Correct for bases or rings being slightly off-center.

How to Pre-load Elevation
To add elevation, set the Pos-Align Offset Inserts to raise the rear of the scope and lower the front. As long as there remains sufficient clearance between the front objective bell and the barrel, Burris recommends lowering the front of the scope the most and raising the rear of the scope the least. The amount of actual elevation “pre-load” will depend on the ring spacing (see chart). In the illustration, with 4.75 inches between ring centers, a +/- 20 MOA pair in the front combined with a -/+ 5 MOA pair in the rear will yield +25 MOA of total elevation. (If the rings are positioned further apart, you’ll get less elevation pre-load.)

Burris Pos-Align XTR tactical Rings preload elevation

Using Inserts to Adjust Point of Impact in Any Direction
Although it is convenient and most understandable to refer to the ring inserts as a “bottom” or “top” insert, the inserts may be rotated to any angle within the scope rings. This allows the shooter to correct the point-of-impact in any direction. The drawings below show how the inserts can be rotated to induce both elevation and windage changes at the same time.

Burris Pos-Align XTR tactical Rings preload elevation

Product tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink Gear Review, Optics, Tactical 3 Comments »
June 20th, 2019

Lyman Case Trim Xpress Gear Review with Video

Lyman case trim xpress trimmer brass cartidge should indexing adjustable trimming

Great Case Trimmer for under $130.00
We think Lyman’s new Case Trim Xpress will be a “game changer” for hand-loaders. If you’re like most of us, trimming your brass to length has been a dull, laborious and time-consuming process unless you shell out $500 or more for a top-of-the-line unit. Lyman has broken that mold by releasing an accurate, easy-to-adjust, shoulder-indexing, carbide-bladed, and SPEEDY case trimmer for under $130.00! Given its outstanding performance for the price, the Lyman Case Trim Xpress is a definite winner.

Lyman case trim xpress trimmer brass cartidge should indexing adjustable trimming
CLICK photo for full-screen view of Case Trim Xpress unit.

Lyman Case Trim Xpress “Hands-On” Review

Review by F-Class John
Case trimming can be one of the most boring and tedious steps in the reloading processes. This is largely because of outdated tools that either require manual turning, clunky pilot systems, or difficult adjustments. In order to overcome these obstacles, you might have to spend $500 for some premium systems. But that has changed with Lyman’s introduction of the new Case Trim Xpress. This bright orange wonder delivers premium trimming performance at a budget price. Available for around under $130, this trimmer offers an easily-adjustable cutting head plus a smart, shoulder-indexing bushing system to improve consistency and speed up the trimming process.

Video Shows How Carbide Cutter Head Adjusts Easily with Index Wheel

The Lyman Case Trim Xpress comes with the main trimming unit, power cord, and 10 bushings in a storage case. These 10 orange bushings let you trim more than 50 popular cartridge types (yes including the 6mmBR, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win of course). Set-up was simple and straight-forward. Install the bushing you need, turn the unit on and slowly push a piece of brass towards the cutting head. Once the brass is fully depressed, you can start adjusting the dial one click at a time until the case makes contact. Then you start making progressive adjustments and trim until you reach your desired length. The process is so simple that it’ll leave you wondering how you ever used anything else.

Lyman case trim xpress trimmer brass cartidge should indexing adjustable trimming

Once the machine was adjusted for our brass, we were amazed at how easily and quickly cases could be trimmed. The unit is fairly hefty, so we found it pretty stable just sitting on the bench. If you wish, the unit can also be screwed down for added stability, using the holes in the lower “wings” of the orange housing. There’s a dial adjustment on the side that controls cutter rotation speed (RPM). In our testing, the trimmer worked well across its entire RPM range. These means you can do fast, quick cuts or make slow and precise cuts, as you prefer. And you can adjust the cutter speed to the type of brass you are trimming.

As for trim length control, the adjustment dial has good, positive clicks and the trim length holds very constant. Even after trimming 80+ pieces of brass, we observed trim consistency held within .001″.

Lyman case trim xpress trimmer brass cartidge should indexing adjustable trimming

One of the things that sets the Case Trim Xpress apart from most trimmers is how it indexes off the shoulder. This ensures that case lengths from mid-shoulder to end of neck are identical for every case (whether they have been sized or not). This is critical for consistent reloading results and will help ensure that every case is optimally positioned in your chamber. A cutting system that indexes off the shoulder is arguably better than a system than merely trims to a given case OAL for both fired and unfired cases.

Another great feature is that this trimmer can be mounted flat on a bench-top, on the underside of a shelf, or even on a vertical wall surface (if oriented horizontally). You can choose different mountings because the clear plastic shroud that catches brass shavings can rotate. This allows the shavings exit port to be orientated to any point on the circle. We liked being able to choose various mounting configurations. Employing little-used wall or shelf space opens up precious bench-top real estate.

Summary — Outstanding Performance for the Price
Overall the Case Trim Xpress is hard to beat for the price. It is one of the few power trimmers we can recommend without hesitation. The machine trims quickly and accurately, the cutter-depth control is precise and easy to use. And the variable speed control is great. Of course we do wish the machine could also de-burr and chamfer brass. But of course that would add quite a bit to the cost, and would probably require a completely different cutting system. For trimming-to-length only, Lyman’s Case Trim Xpress is probably the best trimmer currently available for under $200. This unit should definitely be on the short list of anyone shopping for a variable-speed motorized trimmer.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading 1 Comment »