April 5th, 2018

Put 1″-Diameter Optics in 30mm Rings with Brownells Adapters

Brownells Ring ReducersForum member Jacob spotted this simple, but effective set of scope ring inserts on the Brownells Website. With these inserts, you can use a scope with 1″-diameter main tube in 30mm rings. Non-marring, matte black Delrin sleeves surround the scope tube so it can fit larger-diameter rings. Each sleeve comes in two parts for easy installation around your scope tube. This way you can use the same 30mm rings for all your scopes.

Ring Reducers are sold as front/rear kits. Cost is just $14.99 for the 1″ to 30mm converters, item 084-000-091WB. There are also sets that reduce 30mm rings to 26mm, and 1″ rings to 3/4″ or 7/8″.

Note: These Brownells units simply function as plastic bushings. Unlike Burris Signature Ring inserts, they do not allow you to “pre-load” windage or elevation. If your rings are misaligned, the Brownells Ring Reducers won’t correct that problem.

Permalink Gear Review, Optics No Comments »
April 4th, 2018

New Blue Book of Gun Values Released (39th Edition)

Blue Book of gun values

Blue Book of gun valuesThe new 39th Edition of the Blue Book of Gun Values is releasing this month. You can purchase this popular price guide through Blue Book Publications for $49.95. Or save ten bucks by ordering from MidwayUSA for $39.99. The Blue Book of Gun Values by S.P. Fjestad is the leading gun valuation resource. There are now 1.8 million copies in circulation worldwide. This book continues to be the “Bible” for buyers, sellers, collectors, and connoisseurs in the firearms industry.

Blue Book of Gun Values, 39th Edition, April 2018
2512 Pages with 1700 gun makers and nearly 23,000 gun descriptions

This new 39th Edition contains new-for-2018 firearms makes and models, with important pricing updates on many current and discontinued models.

Online Subscription Options
You can also access all the latest Blue Book gun pricing info via an Online Subscription. Purchase a One-year subscription for $34.95, or you can get a monthly subscription, billed $3.95 per month recurring. For general subscription information, visit the Blue Blue Online Subscription Page.

Features of the new Blue Book of Gun Values:
· 2018 makes and models have been included, with many new handguns and rifles.
· 2,512 Pages covering nearly 1,700 manufacturers and trademarks, with almost 23,000 gun model descriptions.
· 500,000+ up-to-date values are provided. No other book has more.
· Important pricing updates on major trademark current, antique, and discontinued models, including Colt, Winchester, Smith & Wesson, and Ruger.
· The 80-page color Photo Percentage Grading System (PPGS) has been revised, making firearms grading even easier and more accurate.
· More information, more values, and more history than any other guide on the market.

Sample Page from Blue Book of Gun Values:

Blue Book of gun values

Review by Tom Gresham, Gun Talk Radio Host
“At some point, every gun owner asks the question, ‘What’s it worth?’ The leading reference for decades has been the Blue Book of Gun Values. Whether you are a seller, a buyer, a shopper, or just curious, this constantly-updated gold mine of research is your friend.”

Permalink Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
April 1st, 2018

SafeQueen — Fill Your Safe, Enjoy the Pride of Ownership

Safequeen faux firearms gun collector

There’s a new service for firearms aficionados who want to fill their gun safes with an impressive collection of pistols, rifle, and shotguns, for a few dollars a day. The new SafeQueen service offers gun guys a wide selection of replica arms at a fraction of the cost of the real thing. These can be exchanged for new “toys” every year, and you can quickly build your collection through a low-cost monthly subscription. “It’s like a Book-of-the-Month Club, but for guns” said one SafeQueen subscriber.

While SafeQueen “faux firearms” are non-functional, it turns out that doesn’t matter to the vast majority of gun collectors, who rarely (if ever) shoot their firearms. “It’s all about pride of ownership” said a satisfied SafeQueen customer. “I wanted to fill up my safe quickly with a lot of bling. SafeQueen lets me do that. To be honest, I like looking at my collection more than shooting real guns. This way I never have to drive to the range, and better yet, never have to buy or load ammo. It’s the best of both worlds — I get to enjoy the look and feel of guns, with none of the responsibilities. Thank you SafeQueen!”

SafeQueen Founded to Enhance Gun Ownership Experience
Josh Ryder, founder of SafeQueen Inc., started his company after determining that the vast majority of gun guys are much more into the ownership experience than into actual shooting. “We found that 98% of firearms are total ‘Safe Queens’ that never get used, and never leave the house. When we realized this, a light bulb when off — why not provide ‘faux firearms’ that look and feel like the real thing, but can be acquired, at low cost, without FFLs, waiting periods, or background checks. That’s how SafeQueen Inc. got started. And it has been hugely popular.”

Safe Queen
Can’t afford a beautiful match rifle like this right now? Safequeen has you covered. With an affordable SafeQueen membership, you can fill your gun vault with an impressive collection of beautiful (faux) firearms for a fraction of the cost of the real thing. Order a new gun every month, or swap out items for just the cost of return shipping. SafeQueen offers all kinds of rifles (tactical, hunting, F-Class) plus shotguns, and pistols.

How about a Barrett Model 82A1 .50 BMG — that will earn you some serious respect. But the real thing would cost nearly nine thousand dollars. Sign up for the SafeQueen service you can lease a look-a-like Barrett for a few dollars a week.

Safequeen faux firearms gun collector

We talked with Josh Ryder, SafeQueen’s President (and founder). He explained that most firearms are rarely if ever shot, but gun-owners enjoy acquiring new products and building their collections: “Our research revealed that over 98% of firearms are never shot. Yet their owners continue to purchase more guns, at considerable expense. Those owners enjoy the process of collecting, and they feel genuine pride filling up their gun safes. It’s a bit like a woman who has 100+ pairs of shoes — of course she doesn’t need them all, but she enjoys buying shoes and admiring her collection. We wanted to make it easier to build a large collection of gun-type toys, AND allow the collector to trade in items without the hassle and expense typically associated with transferring real guns.”

SafeQueen subscription service
SafeQueen offers impressive faux handguns as well as replica rifles. This faux Colt Python can be leased for a small fraction of the cost of the real thing.

Safequeen faux firearms gun collector
Wish you had a super-deluxe shotgun in your safe, but don’t want to fork over $10,000 or more? With SafeQueen you can add a stunning scattergun to your collection for a few dollars a week.

SafeQueen Gun Lease Services Start at $99/month
SafeQueen offers various subscription plans starting at just $99.00 per month (for four faux rifles and four faux pistols — 8 total). And you can lease other faux firearms for just $99 each per year. These SafeQueen guns look every bit like the real thing. However, because they are not capable of firing live rounds they are not actually considered firearms by the ATF or local authorities. Therefore, SafeQueen can deliver the faux firearms straight to your front door — no FFL involved. And there is no problem with shipping, waiting periods, or background checks.

Permalink Gear Review, Handguns, New Product, News 7 Comments »
March 30th, 2018

New Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer — Fast and Affordable

Lyman Cyclone Cartridge Brass drying Case Dryer

Here’s a new product that should please shooters who wet-tumble their brass with stainless media, or use ultrasonic cleaning machines to clean cartridge brass (and gun parts). Employing forced hot air circulation, the new Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer will dry a large quantity of brass in under two hours. Internal racks provide five drying levels. With “street price” under $60.00, the Cyclone Case Dryer is a very affordable and effective addition to an ultrasonic or rotary-tumbler cleaning system.

Lyman Cyclone Cartridge Brass drying Case Dryer

The Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer works fast. No need to wait overnight (or longer) to air-dry your brass. Lyman states that “The forced heated air circulation of the Cyclone will dry your brass inside and out within an hour or two, with no unsightly water spots.” The handy individual trays keep different types of brass separate. The dryer can also be used for gun parts that have been ultrasonically cleaned.

Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer Features:
• Holds up to 1000 .223 Rem cases or 2000 9x19mm Luger cases
• Works with cartridge brass cases or gun parts
• Fast drying time — Typically 1 to 2 hours
• Timer control can be set up to 3 hours
• Durable ABS trays with recessed handles

Watch How Cyclone Case Dryer Functions with both Cartridge Brass and Gun Parts

Cyclone Case Dryer 115V (Part #7631560) MSRP: $69.95
Cyclone Case Dryer 230V (Part #7631561) MSRP: $69.95

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 3 Comments »
March 30th, 2018

TECH TIP: Use a Block to Maintain Front Bag Shape

John Loh Front Rest JJ Industries

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

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
March 25th, 2018

High-Contrast EZ2C Targets Make Shooting Fun

EZ2C hi viz bright orange red targets

High-contrast targets make aiming (and seeing your bullet impacts) easier. EZ2C Targets, a family business in Pennsylvania, has developed a series of very bright, high-contrast targets printed with eye-popping fluorescent red/orange and Deep Black Inks. These are available from the EZ2C online store. A set of 11″x17″ Hi-Viz targets printed on quality white paper costs $8.50 for either 25 or 40 sheets, depending on design. A wide variety of designs are available — Bulleyes, Grids, Silhouettes, and Diamonds as well as many specialty targets. There are also 20 types of 3.5″ x 3.5″ Mini stick-on targets. These are printed with deep Black Ink on Fluorescent Red Self-Adhesive Label Stock.

EZ2C Fun Challenge Targets

EZ2C’s Battleship Target (Style 22) would be great for precision rifles at 100 or 200 yards. The red circles are about 3/4″ in diameter. That’s 0.36 MOA at 200 yards. That’s a good test for an accurate rifle (and for any shooting pals who boast that their guns can shoot “1/4 MOA all day long”.) The Dartboard target is great for a two-man shooting competition. You can shoot the numbers in order, or for more challenge, shoot the red rings (for each number), from the outer diameter to the middle. Just as in a real darts game, there are many variations.

EZ2C TargetEZ2C  bright neon orange high contrast Target

Here are some other EZ2C Targets. The pistol diagnosis target (second from left) shows how to correct your aim and hold, based on where your errant shots fall. The decreasing dots target is a fun challenge for rimfire cross-training. Set it at 200 yards for centerfire.

EZ2C bright neon orange high contrast printed Target

Get Customized Targets for Your Club or Business
EZ2C targets can be customized with the name/logo of your gun club or business. This is an excellent way to promote your organization or store. Here’s a suggestion — have your gun club print up customized targets to award as prizes at shooting matches.

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March 22nd, 2018

Power to the People — Battery Solutions for Range Trips

LabRadar FosPower USB Battery pack charnging LED

Today’s precision shooter is connected. He or she is likely to bring a number of electronic items to the range, such as a smartphone, tablet computer, Kestrel, LabRadar chronograph, and more. These digital devices all require electricity to operate. Unfortunately, most ranges don’t include convenient charging stations for your gadgets. Therefore you need to bring battery back-up. Here are three good options, with storage capacities from 10200 mAh to 42000 mAh. The first unit is fully weather-proof, so it is good for hunters and tactical shooters exposed to the elements. The largest power pack, with AC outlet, is quite versatile and works well on car-camping trips.

1. FosPower 10200 mAh Waterproof Charger, $26.99

FosPower USB Battery pack waterproof shockproof LED

When you’re at the range or on a hunt, it’s smart to have a USB-output battery pack for smart phone, target-cam monitor, even a LabRadar. There are many battery packs available, but most are fairly fragile, with exposed ports. This “ruggedized” FosPower 10200 mAh charger is different. It is waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-proof. (IP67 certified: dust and water resistance for up to 3ft/1m for 30 minutes under water.) It can handle all that a PRS competitor or hunter can dish out. It even has a handy LED light. Right now it’s priced at $26.99 with FREE Shipping (on orders over $25.00).

2. EasyAcc 20000 mAh Battery Pack with Fast Charging, $35.99

USB

If you want to charge multiple devices, such as a tablet and a LabRadar, you need serious capacity. The EasyAcc 20000 mAh battery pack can charge up to four devices simultaneously. Notably, this $35.99 Battery Pack charges faster than most other 20K packs. It has two power input ports, allowing it to fully charge in 6-7 hours. (We have another 20000 mAh battery unit that takes over 16 hours to fully charge!). This unit will charge an iPhone 7 six times, a Samsung S8 four times or an iPad Mini two times. Note, 77% of Amazon purchasers rated this unit Five Stars (with 13% Four-Star reviews).

3. Webetop 42000 mAh USB, 12v DC, 110v AC Power Station, $143.88

USB

Many folks have asked us “How can I use a laptop, chronograph, or electronic powder dispenser that requires 110 volt AC power when I’m at the range?” Sure you can take power from your car’s 12 volt cigarette lighter jack, but you’ll still need a very long cable and a 12 volt to 110 volt step-up transformer. If you run a cable from the parking lot to the bench or shooting bay you’ll have to leave a window open in your vehicle and fellow shooters can trip over the long cord.

A better solution is to get a portable, combo 12 volt + 110 volt power unit. This versatile 42000 mAh Webetop Power Station will drive a 110v device, plus charge a tablet and cellphone, all at the same time. You can run a LabRadar for days with this power-pack. It will also power CPAP machines and other 12V devices. One nice feature is rapid charging. Before your range session or camping trip, plug this into the wall. It will get fully charged in 7-8 hours.

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March 20th, 2018

Vernal Equinox Varminter — Six Items for Spring Varmint Hunts

CFE 223 Powder Varmint Bullet Prairie dog
This custom war wagon hauls varmint hunters around the Longmeadow Game Resort in Colorado.

The woes of winter are behind us — it’s officially Spring. Today, March 20, 2018, is the Vernal Equinox, the official start of Spring. For many shooters, the coming of Spring means that it’s time to head out to the varmint fields. Here are six items that can help ensure successful spring varmint adventures.

Six Great Products for Varmint Shooters

1. BarrelCool In-Action Fan

Busy Varmint shooters may expend hundreds of rounds in a day. That’s tough on barrels. One way to extend your round count is to use the ingenious BarrelCool device. This little yellow gadget fits in your action with a blower tube that goes into the chamber. A small electric fan blows cooling air through the barrel. It really works — folks who’ve purchased the Barrel Cool and run temp strips on their barrel say the BarrelCool can significantly reduce the time it takes to cool down a hot barrel.

barrelcool cool fan empty Chamber indicator

In the past, folks have tried various methods to cool barrels: water flushed through the bore, CO2 tanks, even battery-operated fish pumps. BarrelCool is a simpler, less costly, and much handier solution. Priced at $34.99, this small device can potentially can save you money by extending barrel life. To see how Barrelcool works, visit BarrelCool.com. There you’ll find video demos of BarrelCool units in both bolt-action and AR-type rifles.

2. Uncle Bud’s Bulls Bag Sandbag

On most varmint hunts we spend most of the time shooting from a portable bench with a pedestal-type rest (we like the SEB Mini). But it’s nice having a big, heavy X-Type sandbag rig also. These four-chamber designs, such as the Uncle Bud’s Bulls Bag, allow shooting from a truck hood or any flat surface. Some rifles with narrow fore-ends really benefit from the firm “hug” provided by these “butterfly” style sandbags. We like the 15″ Uncle Bud’s Bulls Bag, currently $51.30 at Amazon (camo fabric). Durable and well-made, it will provide years of service. There is also a 10″ version that is easier to carry. Forum member Stoner24mkiv likes a Bulls Bag for shooting from a vehicle. He also suggests: “[take] an adjustable bipod if you are going to do any walking. Have a fanny pack or backpack for extra ammo, water, bore-snake, etc. when you go on your walkabouts. Bring a Boonie hat for blocking the sun, sun glasses, sunscreen. High leather boots.”

Bulls Bag sandbag varmint rest front

3. Scope with Built-In Laser Rangefinder

The Burris Eliminator III is an impressive piece of electro-optical technology. With a push of a button, a built-in laser rangefinder senses the distance to your target and the Eliminator’s microprocessor instantly calculates the required hold-over based on your load’s ballistics. The calculated aiming point is then displayed in the reticle with an illuminated red dot on the vertical cross-hair. Just put the red dot on the target and make the shot. Easy as that. If you are working a large prairie dog field and constantly moving near to far and back again, this scope is really handy. Laze, adjust aim with the dot, and squeeze the trigger. Its that simple. We’ve used this scope out to 500 yards on small steel targets and it worked flawlessly.

Burris Eliminator III laser optic Scope

4. Hornady 17 HMR V-Max Loaded Ammo

For those distant prairie dog shots, you’ll want a centerfire round with some reach, such as a 22 BR or 22-250. However, for closer work, or for smaller varmints such as ground squirrels, the 17 HMR is hard to beat. There are many good factory rifles chambered for the 17 HMR, such as the Savage A17 (shown below). Right now Hornady 17 HMR ammo is on sale at Grafs.com for $8.99 ($0.18 per round). That’s a good deal. This same ammo sells elsewhere for up to $13.99 per 50-round box. For example, MidwayUSA’s price is $12.99.

Grafs.com 17 HMR sale ammo discount

5. Stick-On Temp Strips Monitor Barrel Heat

You never want your barrel to get too hot. Accuracy suffers when barrels over-heat, and excessive heat is not good for barrel life. So how do you monitor your barrel’s temperature? You can check if the barrel is “warm to the touch” — but that method is not particularly precise. There is a better way — using temperature-sensitive strips. McMaster.com (an industrial supply house) offers stick-on temp strips with values from 86° F to 140° F. A pack of ten (10) of these strips (item 59535K13) costs $12.16 — so figure it’ll cost you about $1.20 per barrel for strips. That’s cheap insurance for your precious barrels. For best barrel life, try to stay under 120 degrees F.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

6. Low-Fouling Power for High-Volume Varmint Loads

For high-shot-count varmint safaris, you want a clean-burning powder that minimizes barrel fouling. While there are many great powders for the .223 Rem, we like Hodgdon CFE 223 for our high-volume varmint loads. This powder really seems to keep barrels cleaner. Originally developed for U.S. rapid-fire military systems, CFE 223 incorporates a proprietary chemistry named “Copper Fouling Eraser”. Based on tests with extended shot strings, Hodgdon claims that, by using CFE™223, match shooters, varmint hunters, and AR shooters can maintain accuracy for longer periods, with less barrel-cleaning time. You may want to check it out.

CFE 223 Powder Varmint Bullet Prairie dog

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
March 19th, 2018

The 85% Scale 1911-380 — What Would J.M. Browning Think?

Browning 1911-390 Black lable .380 acp 1911 pistol

The classic John Moses Browning-designed Model 1911 pistol was created for the .45 ACP cartridge. Many believe the M1911 represents the pinnacle of .45 ACP pistol performance. The 1911 has served the nation in combat, and even today, full-size, hot-rod model 1911-type pistols dominate the top classes at action pistol shooting competitions (though typically shooting smaller caliber cartridges).

Which raises the question — does it make sense to shoot a down-sized .1911-type pistol with a smaller, lighter-recoiling cartridge? Browning, the company named after genius inventor J.M. Browning, thinks so. In 2014, Browning introduced an 85%-scale version of the 1911 that shoots the .380 ACP, another cartridge that Mr. Browning favored. What happens when the Model 1911 is reduced to 85 percent of its original size and paired with the .380 ACP cartridge?

WATCH: Check Out This Cool Animation to See How the 1911-380 Works:

This gun, with its polymer composite frame, is a LOT lighter than an all-steel 1911. The Browning 1911-380 tips the scales at a mere 17.5 ounces. Gun reviewers have praised Browning’s new 1911-380, saying that it functions great and fits well in the hand. NRA America’s 1st Freedom Editor Frank Winn states: “This is precisely where the [1911-380] Black Label .380 ACP excels so dramatically — as a transitional pistol. The 85-percent scaling caters to those with smaller hands and less grip strength. In every test we conducted, on paper, on steel (plates to 35 yards), and through defensive and competitive drills, the Black Label performed flawlessly.” Testers have praised the pointability and function of the down-sized 1911. It operates like a full-sized 1911*, and the “take-down” procedure is the same. This video shows the features of Browning’s 1911-380.

To be honest, we think this is sort of sacrilege. We like the full-size 1911 and we love the original .45 ACP cartridge. That classic fat round is accurate, easy-to-reload, and makes nice big holes in paper. One could also ask, if you want to shoot a .380 ACP, why not shoot it from another J.M. Browning design, the lovely little Model 1908. This beautiful design also served the U.S. Military, and it’s still one of the best-looking semi-auto pistols ever made. The NRA’s Frank Winn notes: “A revamped Browning design (based on the Colt M1903 “Pocket Hammerless”) became the M1908, the first mature, successful .380 ACP handgun. In 42 years of manufacture, several hundred thousand were sold.”

J.M. Browning 1908 Pocket Hammerless .380 ACP

So, much as we applaud innovation, we’ll stick to the original, full-size 1911. If we want to shoot the little .380 ACP cartridge, we’ll do so with J.M. Browning’s lovely little M1908, or another great .380 ACP pistol, the Sig P230/232. This editor owns a sweet Sig P230 in stainless. It is thin, handsome, durable, and easy to carry. It’s also an appreciating asset.


* The Browning 1911-380 has one main functional difference — it has a magazine disconnect. this means “with the magazine removed, the hammer won’t fall, even with all safeties disengaged”. LINK.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Handguns 1 Comment »
March 18th, 2018

PacNor Barrels Can Shoot — 1.240″ Group at 500 Yards Is Proof

6BR 6mmBR Preacher PacNor

You don’t hear much about PacNor barrels in long-range competition, but FORUM member Wes J (aka P1ZombieKiller), proved that they can shoot “lights-out” in a rig assembled by a talented gunsmith. A few seasons back, Wes decided to upgrade a 6mmBR for mid-range benchrest and varmint matches. Wes tells us: “Since I restocked my 6BR … I have not had a chance to shoot it much since I have been playing the 100-200 game. I decided to take it out and do some playing at 500 yards. I have to give some serious props to my buddy (and fellow FORUM member) ‘PREACHER’ who did the chambering and barrel work for me. He can certainly make a gun shoot good. The barrel is a PacNor 1:8″ twist. My load was 105gr Berger VLDs pushed by 29.6 grains of Varget.” The five-round, 500-yard group shot by Wes J with his 6BR, measured just 1.240″, as measured by OnTarget software. Now that’s one accurate rig!

Five by Five — 5-Shot Group at 500 Yards, 1.240″, 0.237 MOA
6BR 6mmBR Preacher PacNor

This Editor knows something about the potential of a PacNor barrel. I have a 3-groove stainless PacNor SuperMatch on a Savage-actioned 6BR. This barrel shoots honest quarter-MOA in calm conditions, and it cleans up super-easy. The interior finish is so good, I’ve never had to brush the bore or use abrasives, and after 750 rounds it shoots as well as ever. I attribute the easy cleaning to the fact the lands in a PacNor 3-groove are wide and flat, so they are gentle on bullet jackets. I think accuracy is helped by the fact that my PacNor runs on the tight side (0.236 land dimension) with a good amount of choke. That works well with the 105gr Lapua Scenars and 103gr Spencers I like to shoot. You can read more about my rifle, nick-named the “Poor Man’s Hammer”, in this Feature Article from our archives. On one particularly calm day, in the hands of my friend (and ace trigger-puller) Joe Friedrich, the Poor Mans’ Hammer put 3 shots in under 0.200″ (measured center to center) at TWO Hundred yards. If you get a good one, PacNor three-grooves can definitely shoot.

OnTarget SoftwareTarget Measurement with OnTarget Software
We used OnTarget software to measure the 5-shot group in the target above. This easy-to-use software is very repeatable, once you get a feel for plotting the shots. The latest On Target v2.25 Precision Calculator is FREE for a 15-day evaluation period. If you like it (and you will, trust us) there’s a modest $11.99 registration fee to activate the program. In addition to group size (in inches), OnTarget plots distance to aiming point, and the software automatically calculates the group’s vertical height, horizontal dispersion, average to center (ATC), and group size in MOA.

You can run a measurement on a scanned target or a photo of a target. You’ll need some known reference to set the scale correctly. The target above had a one-inch grid so it was easy to set the scale. Once you’ve set the scale and selected bullet diameter and target distance, you simply position the small circles over each bullet hole and the OnTarget software calculates everything automatically, displaying the data in a data box superimposed over the target image. To learn more about OnTarget Software, read AccurateShooter.com’s OnTarget Product Review. This article covers all the basics as well as some advanced “power user” tips. NOTE: Since the review was written, On Target has updated the software, and the free version now has a time limit.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review 1 Comment »
March 16th, 2018

Reloading Gear Review: Lyman Case Prep Xpress

Lyman Case Prep Xpress gear review

For a few years now, Lyman has offered the Case Prep Xpress, an all-in-one case prep center that chamfers necks (inside and out), cleans and uniforms primer pockets, brushes the inside of case-necks, and uniforms flash holes. The unit can also ream out the crimps on military brass. However, the Lyman Case Prep Xpress does NOT trim cases.

The Lyman Case Prep Xpress comes with all the necessary tools (listed above), so you don’t have to purchase extra accessories. The five (5) gear-driven heads on the unit are powered by a high torque, low-speed motor ideal for case prep operations. Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress features handy storage areas for accessories, a removable brass shavings dump pan, and a handy clean-up brush.

Sinclair Int’l video clearly illustrates all case prep functions. Worth watching.

In the 5 years that this product has been on the market it has been a strong seller. If you’re prepping hundreds of cases, this unit will save considerable time and reduce hand/finger fatigue. While the Case Prep Xpress is not as sturdy as the metal-bodied Hornady prep center, the Lyman unit offers a lot of functionality for the money ($115-$125 normal price, and sometimes around $100 on sale).

Lyman Case Prep Xpress gear review

Lyman Case Prep Xpress Pros and Cons

GOOD Features
Quite Affordable (under $120)
Compatible with RCBS and Redding Tool-heads
Removable Bin for Shavings
Four Brush Sizes: .25, .30, .38, .45
Compact Footprint

Not-So-Good Features
Tool-heads Not Particularly Sharp
No Case Trim Function
No Flash-hole Uniformer
No Top Dust-Cover
Only 1-Year Warranty

Reviews by Verified Purchasers

“Case prep is the most tedious and boring aspect for hand loading in my opinion. The process center makes all the steps in prepping the case very quick and with consistent results. It has reduced the time required to do these steps with separate tools by easily 50% if not more. Highly recommended.” — Brandon G.

“Quiet and capable. Worth every penny. I adapted a Lee Cutter and Lock Stud, to cut case lengths, and I can fly through my brass. I can do so much more brass without getting the sore, cramped-up hands.” — Dean Ellis

“This unit has plenty of torque, and my unit is very quiet. This unit will also work with tools made by RCBS and Hornady, or anything else with 8-32 threads. My Redding tools (specifically, my primer pocket uniformers) do in fact fit on this machine. This unit is certainly worth the money, and will revolutionize the way you reload by saving you massive amounts of time and wear on your hands/fingers.” — Mule

“A simple machine to perform complex solutions. I was up and running in about 10 minutes flat. This thing has made my life of reloading so much easier. I do wish there was a trimmer included, but I have a manual one from L.E. Wilson.” — Richard Niles

Lyman Case Prep XpressYou can find Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress for under $100.00 at Amazon and under $120.00 at Brownells, making it much less expensive than the larger Hornady Case Prep Center, which runs over $450.00. The Hornady unit is beefier, and will trim cases. However, we think the compact Lyman unit makes sense for guys who already have a good case trimmer, such as a Forster or Wilson. The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is hundreds of dollars less than the Hornady prep center. The money you save will buy lots of bullets and brass.

Case Prep Xpress $99.99 at Amazon
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is sold by most of the big vendors. The best current price we found was at Amazon, which sells the Lyman unit for $99.99, with free shipping.

Gear Review Tip from Edlongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
March 16th, 2018

Get a Handle on Your Swivel Bipod — KMW Pod-Loc

KMW pod-lok lock bipod handle swivel

KMW Pod-Loc BipodIf you’ve ever used a Harris Swivel Bipod, you know that, without tools, it is difficult to put enough tension on the swivel locking knob to really lock the unit solid. And, if you do manage to get the knob really tight (perhaps by using pliers), it is difficult to loosen with fingers alone.

That was why Terry Cross and the folks at KMW Long Range Solutions invented the Pod-Loc™. This system replaces the knurled swivel tension knob with a push-button adjustable handle. Using the handle you can easily set the swivel tension at any level from loose to “rock solid”. And you can release tension to adjust the bipod to different terrain just as easily. The genuine KMW Pod-Loc™ retails for $24.99 at Brownells.com.

KMW Podlock Pod-loc bipod swivel locking handle accessory

How to Build Your Own Bipod Swivel Locking System
While we use genuine KMW Pod-Locs on our rifles, readers on a tight budget, or who have a large collection of bipod-equipped rifles, can economize by putting together their own swivel locking systems from off-the-shelf components. You can buy suitable levers from www.T-Nuts.com. This vendor offers a variety of appropriate handles, ranging in price from $7.00 to $10.00. So, by sourcing the parts, you can outfit three bipods with swivel adjusters for the cost of one Pod-Loc.

T-Nuts Bipod Handle lock

We recommend the Nylon/Stainless BPL/NS model ($7.70), but you may prefer the all-metal BPL-ZS ($8.50), or the shorter BPL-Micro model ($8.25). The compact Micro lock does not protrude past the body of the bipod, yet is still easily grasped. T-Nuts supplies one 3/16″ spacer with most of its bipod handles. T-Nuts handles are also available with a metric M6x1.0 thread for use with imported bipods such as Outers and Rockport.

Installation is Easy — With the Right Socket
To install a swivel locking system, first you’ll need a 1/4″ socket to remove the keeper nut from the threaded pivot rod. (During this process, you’ll need to keep pressure on the pivot rod retaining pin on the opposite side of the bipod.) Don’t try to remove the keeper nut with pliers or an open-end wrench. You really need the correct socket. Once that keeper nut is removed, then unscrew the knurled tension knob/ring. This is attached to the same threaded shaft as the keeper nut but you should be able to remove it without tools.

After the knurled tension ring is off, it is easy to put your handle on the bipod. First slip the 3/16″ spacer over the threaded pivot rod. Keeping finger pressure on the pivot rod retaining pin (on reverse side), then spin on the T-Nuts handle. Rotate the handle inwards until it firmly locks the bipod swivel mechanism. By pushing the button in the head of the handle, you can swing the handle left or right to set its position without altering the swivel tension.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Tactical 1 Comment »
March 14th, 2018

The Remarkable Merkel RX Helix — German Straight-Pull Hunter

Merkel RX Helix straight-pull rifle

EDITOR: Our story on the Strasser RS14 straight-pull rifle created quite a stir. So, we thought we’d serve up another straight-pull feature — this time the German-crafted Merkel RX Helix. We shot the Helix a few years back during Media Day at the Range. One notable difference between the German Merkel and the Austrian Strasser is the bolt travel. During cycling, the Merkel bolt stays completely inside the action (see video below at 00:30). By contrast the Strasser bolt moves pretty far back, outside the action. For some folks that makes the Helix better for fast follow-up shots. All we can say is that Merkles and Strassers BOTH cycle way faster than conventional bolt-action rifles.

Merkel RX Helix Range Report

One of the most innovative rifles we have ever shot was the Merkel RX Helix, a very impressive piece of rifle engineering. Merkel claims the RX Helix is the fastest-cycling centerfire bolt action in the world. We can’t confirm that claim, but the Helix certainly cycles faster than any other centerfire bolt-gun this Editor has ever tried. (Yes, a Fortner biathlon action can be worked more rapidly, but that’s a rimfire). Both Jason and I really liked Merkel’s RX Helix. It balances well, the action is smooth, the wood is gorgeous, and the overall design thinking that went into this German-engineered take-down rifle is very impressive. The Helix’s universal-sized action lets you shoot anything from a .222 Rem to a .300 Win Mag with the same gun. And — get this — you can really swap barrels (and change bolt heads) in a couple of minutes with no tools, employing a dead-simple bolt-release lever concealed under the push-button-released removable forearm. (Watch VIDEO BELOW to see Barrel Swap procedure).

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifleRotary 7-Lug Bolt
While the RX Helix is a straight-pull rifle, it retains the strength and safety of a rotary bolt head with seven locking lugs that seat in a barrel extension. Unlike a Blaser, the RX Helix has a fully-enclosed action housing. That’s an important safety feature. Moreover, since the RX Helix employs a closed action, the bolt body doesn’t travel outside that action. This means the shooter can maintain his cheekweld with an eye on the target as he cycles the bolt.

The RX Helix’s linear (back and forth) bolt-handle motion is transmitted to the bolt head through a 1:2 ratio “transmission” gearing system. This allows smooth and fast cycling without the rotational or tipping movement found on other straight-pull, bolt-action rifles, such as the Blaser.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The Merkel linear-movement action cycles exceptionally fast, which allows for faster follow-up shots — a good thing if you’re hunting dangerous game. The RX Helix features a manual cocking lever on the tang and a direct trigger system. And here’s good news for southpaws — though Merkel does not make a dedicated left-hand version, lefties can very easily use their right hand to work the bolt while maintaining cheekweld. That may sound awkward, but with practice, it’s actually pretty efficient.

Fast, Easy Disassembly and Barrel Exchanges
The video below shows how the Helix can be disassembled (for cleaning or transport) in a matter of seconds WITHOUT TOOLS. The forearm slips off with the push of a button. A short lever on the left side of the action holds the barrel. Simply rotate the lever and the barrel (with bolt head) slips off. That’s it — in 30 seconds the rifle is apart, and you don’t even need an allen wrench as with a Blaser.

The RX Helix has a universal action length that covers calibers from .222 Rem to .300 Win Mag. Changing calibers (or chamberings) takes less than a minute with the appropriate barrel, bolt-head and magazine. Weaver rails are integrated into the action, and iron sights with three-dot rear and one-dot front fiber-optic inserts are standard.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The RX Helix is available with a standard black finish as well as four levels of design—Arabesque, Wild Boar, Spirit, and Deluxe. An all-carbon-fiber version is also available either with or without a carbon-wrapped barrel. The RX Helix comes in a wide range of popular calibers including .222 Rem, .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5×55 SE, .270 Win, 7×64, .308 Win, .30-06 Sprg., 8×57 IS, 9.3×62, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag. Barrel lengths vary according to caliber, and barrels, bolt-heads and magazines are available for caliber changes. EuroOptic.com sells the Merkel RX Helix with Grade 2 wood for $3,785.00.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 7 Comments »
March 14th, 2018

TECH TIP: When and How to Use Bore-Snakes

Handloading USAMU Facebook Bore Cleaning

On Wednesdays, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit often publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. One “Handloading Hump Day” post covered bore-cleaning, specifically the use of pull-through style bore snakes. Visit the USAMU Facebook page each Wednesday for other helpful tips.

Today, we’ll shift from handloading to rifle bore cleaning and maintenance, with information courtesy of the USAMU’s Custom Firearms Shop. We recently had some inquiries about bore cleaning, and this seems a good opportunity to share. After all, even the best handloads won’t yield their full potential in a poorly-cleaned and maintained rifle.

BORE SNAKES: MIRACLE REPLACEMENT FOR THE CLEANING ROD?
The experiences of both our firearms test specialist and this writer have given no evidence that proper use of a clean bore-snake will damage a match barrel. Of course, one does not pull the bore-snake at an angle to the crown when removing it — pull it straight out, parallel to the bore’s direction, to prevent crown wear over time.

USAMU Handloading facebook page bore snake cleaningBore-snakes are very useful for some applications (primarily a hasty, interim wipe-down). In [my] experience they cannot replace a thorough cleaning with a proper rod and brushes. While the experiment cited here involves rimfire, it may help illustrate. Several years ago, the writer used his new, personal Anschutz to investigate the bore-snake issue. It had been fired ~350 rds with match ammo and had had 3 typical rod/brush cleanings.

Next, starting with a clean bore, the writer fired 300 more rounds without cleaning in order to build up a “worst-case” fouling condition. Afterwards, the writer examined the bore with a Hawkeye bore scope. There was a uniform, grey film down the entire barrel, with some small, intermittent lead build-up at and just forward of the throat.

A new bore-snake was then wet with solvent and pulled through the bore. The Hawkeye revealed that the grey fouling was gone, and much of the visible fouling at the throat was reduced. However, nine more passes with the bore-snake, checking after each with the Hawkeye, revealed no further improvement in cleaning. The writer then cleaned with two wet patches, observed, then one stroke of a new, wet bronze brush, and one wet patch to clean out residue.

USAMU Handloading facebook page bore snake cleaning

The Hawkeye showed a significant reduction in fouling at the throat; it was virtually gone. A second pass with a wet bronze brush and a wet patch removed the remaining fouling. Scrubbing the bore further, checking to see how much fouling was removed, revealed no significant improvement. The reason for this test was to learn what’s needed to get (and keep) this Anschutz clean with minimal cleaning rod use — and thus, minimal risk of bore damage/wear. Leaving fouling in the bore promotes corrosion over time.

Obviously, this applies to a nice, smooth rimfire match barrel, using good, well lubed ammo. It doesn’t apply directly to the use of copper-jacketed bullets, which leave a stubborn fouling all their own. However, it does suggest that while the bore-snake can be helpful and a useful field-expedient, to truly clean a rifle barrel one will still need a good quality rod, bronze brush and solvents. [Editor: Add a good-fitting cleaning rod bore guide

SO, WHAT ABOUT BORE SNAKES FOR BARREL BREAK-IN?
The goal of barrel break-in is to fire each shot through a clean barrel, preventing copper buildup and allowing the bullets their best chance at burnishing sharp edges. Thus, it seems this purpose would be best served by one’s usual rods, brushes and rod guides.

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March 6th, 2018

New High-Quality Portable Press from EVO Engineering

Vince Bottomley EVO reloading compact press review UK England

If you don’t own a good portable press yet, you should get one. A quality portable press lets you load precision ammo at the range, streamlining the load development process. In addition, a small portable press can serve as a second, light-duty press in your main loading room. For example, you might dedicate the compact press to de-capping duties or bullet seating.

There is a new portable press on the market, the EVO, crafted in the UK. Our English friend Vince Bottomley got one of the first EVO presses and he found it impressive. Comparing it to the respected Harrell’s Precision Compact Press, Vince found that the EVO has some advantages. The EVO is definitely beefier and has some upgraded elements, such as a bronze ram bushing and steel linkage arms.

EVO Press Notable Features

1. The EVO press ram column moves in a bronze bushing. By contrast the Harrell’s ram runs through the CNC-machined body of the press.

2. The EVO’s mounting system (where it clamps onto the bench) is an integral part of the press-body, rather than a separate screw-on unit with the Harrells press.

3. The EVO press features sturdy, steel connecting arms. The Harrell’s compact press has aluminum linkage arms. That said, the aluminum is more than adequate — Vince notes his Harrell’s press has served him well for over 20 years.

We recommend you read the full review on TargetShooter.co.uk. Vince provides many more photos which show the EVO press components in detail. See Bushing Photo.

READ Full EVO Compact Press Review on TargetShooter.co.uk »

EVO Press Handles Wide Range of Cartridge Types
When viewed from the side, you can see that the new EVO is beefier than the Harrell’s press throughout the press “body” and lever arm base. The EVO is bigger and stronger. On the other hand, the Harrell’s press is lighter and easier to pack, and the clamping system can be detached.

Vince Bottomley EVO reloading compact press review UK England

Vince tells us: “The EVO is a ‘one size fits all’ press that will do a .308 Win or larger case (that’s a .284 in the photo)”. Vince concludes the EVO may be more versatile than the Harrell’s press. The Harrell’s Compact Reloading Press comes in three different sizes: “a really small one (left above) specifically for the benchresters’ 6PPC cartridge, a medium one for .308-sized cases, and a larger version which will take a 2.9 inch Magnum case”.

Though it has the capacity to run larger cases, Vince cautions: “please, don’t think of using your little benchrest press for all your re-sizing — stick to a Rock Chucker or what have you for your general reloading and keep the EVO for on-range reloading or as a secondary bench press.” The EVO press is available from Fox Firearms for just under £200 (about $280 USD). You can contact Fox Firearms via email: irvingfox1234 [at] aol.com.

Vince Bottomley EVO reloading compact press review UK England
The Harrell’s Compact Press is smaller and less expensive than the $280.00 EVO. It can also be purchased in three different sizes.

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March 2nd, 2018

New Euro Rimfire Rifles Previewed by Varminter.com

There were some interesting new Euro-Rimfires on display at SHOT Show 2018. We were impressed with the new Tikka T1x along with the handsome Steyr Zephyr II. Both these rifles are offered in .22 LR and .17 HMR rimfire chamberings, and the Zephyr comes in .22 WMR as well. Our friends at Varminter.com have created preview videos showcasing the notable features of these new rifles. We hope to test one of these Tikkas this spring — one great feature is the action has the same footprint as the Tikka T3/T3X centerfire rifles. That means you can drop the rimfire barreled action into any stock that fits a T3 or T3X.

Tikka T1x MTR Rimfire Rifle (.17 HMR, .22 LR)

Tikka T1x Rimfire varmint rifles .22 LR 17 hmr 22 WMR

Varminter.com Reports:
Tikka has built a reputation for offering quality firearms, for an affordable price. Up until now, they have focused on the centerfire platform. However, they are now entering the rimfire market with the new Tikka T1x MTR rimfire rifle. This rifle is loaded with everything we love about Tikka’s T3 centerfire rifles, in a rimfire. Unique to the T1x is the ability to place the barreled action into one of their T3, or new T3x, rifles. This truly gives this rimfire a centerfire feel, in the calibers we love (.22 Long Rifle and .17HMR).

Linked above is Varminter.com’s video with Miikka Tammlnen from SAKO in Finland from the floor of the 2018 SHOT Show, where he discusses this new rifle in length. READ Varminter.com Review.

Steyr Arms Zephyr II Rimfire Rifle (.17 HMR, .22 LR, .22 WMR)

Steyr mannlicher ARms Zephyr II Rimfire varmint rifles .22 LR 17 hmr 22 WMR
Photo from GunTrader.uk.

Steyr Arms showed off a handsome rimfire rig at SHOT Show. The Zephyr II sports a handsome walnut stock with good ergonomics and nice checkering on grip and fore-end. This is not an inexpensive rifle — MSRP is $995. The .22 LR version is shipping now, and other the .22 WMR and .17 HMR versions should be available before summer. The rifle is trim and easy to carry — overall length is 39.2″ (with 19.7″ barrel) and the rifle weighs just 5.8 pounds without scope. You’ll find more product photos on Guns.com.

Varminter.com has prepared a preview video highlighting features of this attractgive rimfire varmint rig. View the video below. For more details read the FULL Varminter.com Review.

Product description from Steyr Arms
The Steyr Mannlicher Zephyr II is the rebirth of the original Zephyr rifle, which was produced from 1955 through 1971. This new rifle features a classic European walnut stock with a Bavarian cheek piece and fish-scale checkering. The Zephyr II has a tang safety, detachable 5-round box magazine, and comes with a threaded barrel option for all calibers. The cold hammer forged barrel with Mannox finish make for tough, reliable design that will withstand the elements while out in the field. This lightweight bolt-action, is available in .17 HMR, .22 LR, and .22 WMR.

Chamberings: 17 HMR , 22 Long Rifle, 22 WMR
Magazine: 5 Round, Detachable
Stock: European walnut with fish scale pattern

Overall Length: 39.2″
Barrel Length: 19.7″
Weight: 5.8 lbs

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February 28th, 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

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February 28th, 2018

Creedmoor Sports Seeks Ideas for New Products

Creedmoor Sports Product customer plan invention

Do you have a smart idea for a new shooting-related product? Or have you figured out how to improve/enhance a popular item already on the market? If so, Creedmoor Sports wants your product ideas. Creedmoor Sports invites its customers to conceive the next great Creedmoor Sports product. Many of Creedmoor’s most creative ideas come from shooters who are out using products every day and know how to make them better. That’s why Creedmoor Sports wants to hear from you. You can email your ideas to: shoot [at] creedmoorsports.com.

Dennis DeMille, Creedmoor’s V.P. of Operations, tells us: “We love it when a customer calls or emails us with an idea. If the idea has merit we will immediately try to put it into play. If a soft-good (such as clothing) we try to take it from idea to sample within a couple days. The idea is walked back to our designer, it’s cut and sewn on the spot in our Anniston, Alabama facility and we start testing. If a hard-good (such as a metal product), we start designing the product on our mill and lathe and see what it would take to bring to market.”

Success Stories of Customer-Inspired Products
Creedmoor Sports products based on customer “bright ideas” have included the handy Scope Kennel. Made with a top strap for easy rifle carry, it serves to protect a rifle scope.

Creedmoor Sports Product customer plan invention

Another customer-suggested product is Creedmoor’s Quad-Fold Shooting Mat. This thickly-padded mat provides a comfortable, stable base for elbows and knees. When folded, it measures just 2.5″ x 19″ x 29″. The new Bench and Field Shooting Mat is another customer-inspired product. This unique mat is designed to work both on the ground and on a shooting bench. Check it out HERE.

NEW! First-Ever Reloading Catalog from Creedmoor Sports (Print and Digital)
Just this week, Creedmoor Sports released its first-ever Reloading Catalog. Equipment lines include Redding, Forster, L.E. Wilson, Hornady, RCBS and many more. Many additional component suppliers have been either added or enhanced including Berger, Lapua, Sierra, Hornady, and Nosler.

Creedmoor Sports Product customer plan invention

“We get calls and emails every day asking us to carry more reloading supplies. We decided it was time to make the investment into adding equipment that our customers demand. We didn’t want to jump into the reloading game without extensive research on what brands and philosophy that would set us apart from larger suppliers. We feel our mix of equipment, components and technical will satisfy everyone from the beginner to the expert.” Says Greg Kantorovich, President, Creedmoor Sports.

About Creedmoor Sports
Creedmoor Sports has been serving the competition/precision rifle shooting community since 1979 — nearly four decades. Creedmoor Sport’s key mission has been to supply great products that help shooters win at every level of competition. For more information, visit CreedmoorSports.com and the Creedmoor Sports Facebook page. Also check out the Creedmoor INFOZone for helpful Video Tips on shooting and reloading.

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February 27th, 2018

Lyman Borecam Video Review by UltimateReloader.com

Lyman Borecam Video UltimateReloader.com Shilen Match Barrel

Our friend Gavin of UltimateReloader.com has a new tool — the second generation Lyman Borecam. This upgraded version features higher-resolution 300K output so you can better see details inside your barrel. This digital borescope can also be used to inspect the interior of dies and other tools. Illumination, via LED, is adjustable. Record still images with the push of a button. The screen resolution for the latest Lyman Borecam is now 640×480, roughly 300,000 pixels (300K).

CLICK HERE for Full UltimateReloader Lyman Borecam Review »

Gavin created a very thorough 15-minute video putting the Lyman Borecam through its paces. He uses it to scope a number of firearm barrels as well as some reloading dies. If you are considering buying a Borecam or other borescoping device, you should definitely watch this video. We have included time references to make it easier to “fast forward” to the subjects you want to see:

Lyman Borecam Video Timeline
1. 1:15 — Lyman Borecam Unboxing (All Components)
2. 4:00 — Shilen Match Barrel Blank Inspection (Brand New Barrel)
3. 6:16 — Thompson Center Compass .223 Rem Barrel Inspection (Used Barrel)
4. 9:08 — Smith & Wesson 686 .357 Mag Barrel Inspection (Used Barrel)
5. 10:30 — Glock 20 Polygonal Rifling Barrel Inspectino (Used Barrel)
6. 11:45 — M1911 Barrel Inspection (Defective Barrel with Bulge in Chamber)
7. 13:12 — Sizing Die Internal Inspections (Lee .223 Rem, Redding 300 BLK)

Lyman Borecam Video UltimateReloader.com Shilen Match Barrel

The Lyman Borecam comes complete with everything you need. Shown in photo are:

1. Borecam Wand (includes handle, rod, mirror, and digital lens/camera) with length indication scale. An inch scale runs the full length of the rod. That tells you where the lens is positioned inside the bore. Note the wand scale marks when recording screen captures.
2. Borecam Digital Display. The 600×480 display can record stills with included 128MB SD Card. A USB SD Card adapter is included.
3. Borecam Mirror Protector and cleaning kit.
4. AC Power Adapter (not shown, international plug adapters included).

UltimateReloader offers three key tips for the Lyman Borecam:

— First, before you start, make sure the mirror is clear and free of dirt, lint, or solvents.
— Use the Up and Down Arrows to adjust the illumination to suit your barrel.
— Experiment with how close you hold the mirror to the wall of the bore. This affects both brightness and focus.

YouTube Viewer Comments on UltimateReloader Lyman Borecam Video:

“Great review, Gavin. Your video capture of the display looks better than what they show in Lyman’s own product video.”

“Price is getting low enough to think I need one on the short ‘To Buy’ list. Have some milsurp rifles with horrid bores that should be very interesting to view. Don’t waste $$ on those $20 things on Amazon, I did and thoroughly wasted my money.”

NEW and IMPROVED — Lyman Higher Rez Borecam

Lyman Borecam Video UltimateReloader.com Shilen Match Barrel

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product, Optics 4 Comments »
February 25th, 2018

What is Your #1 Favorite Reloading Equipment Item?

Wilson hand die arbor press Sierra Bullets

Sierra Bullets asked a few hand-loaders to reveal their favorite reloading tool or accessory: “What is your favorite ‘don’t know how you ever lived without it’ piece of reloading equipment?” Some of the answers are listed below. We were interested to see some high-tech, micro-processor items mentioned, such as the AMP Annealer, and the Auto-Trickler powder dispenser. Old standbys, such as the rugged RCBS Rockchucker and Dillon 650, also made the favorites list. You can nominate your own favorite reloading hardware in the comments section of the Sierra Bullets Blog.

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin answered: “A comparator gauge to measure from the base of a case to the ogive of the bullet. This bypasses the tip of the bullet, so I can repeat the same seating depth the next time I visit a specific combination.”

Forster Co-ax press

Bill, Editor of Rifleshooter.com, answered: “I have so many favorite reloading tools, it’s hard to pick one. But if I had to, it would be my Forster Co-Ax press. I like the ease [with which] you can change dies and that it doesn’t require traditional shell holders. It’s a great tool to have!”

Forster Co-Ax Press

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks answered: “I don’t know that you would actually call this equipment, but the item that comes to mind would be my reloading room/shoot house. I had always had to squeeze everything into a corner or even an unheated shed. After we bought our current house, I built a garage and placed it so that I had a window looking down a 250-yard range. I built a dedicated room with heat and A/C. It contains my reloading bench and a shooting bench. The shooting bench lets me slide open the window and shoot down the range. It is very handy to not have to load everything up to go to the range. It also makes load development a lot simpler and efficient. I don’t know how I ever got along without it.

I also wonder what I did before I acquired the Lyman 1200 DPS Powder Dispenser. This has made the process so much simpler and much easier. I also have a Lee Precison Universal Decapping Die that I would gladly spend the money on again. This may be a small thing, but it certainly is handy. The Lee would accommodate some very large cases that some of the others were too small for.”

Jon Addis answered: “Putting an A&D FX-120i scale with Auto-Trickler and Auto-Throw on the bench has changed the way I reload. It’s kernel accurate in about 15 seconds. Saves time and reduces a variable. And of course, the system is made better by the Area 419 Billet Adjustable base for the trickler and Billet Powder Cup.”

This video shows the Auto-Trickler V2 and Auto-Throw Combo:

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Carroll Pilant answered: “Dillon 550 and 650 presses.”

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box answered: “The Lee Precison hand priming tool.”

Sierra Bullets Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd answered: “A brass annealing machine and a RCBS Chargemaster complimented with a Sartorious scale.”

RCBS RockchuckerSierra Bullets Ballistician Gary Prisendorf answered: “RCBS Rock Chucker Press, it’s built like a tank, and it will last me a lifetime.”

Sierra Bullets Production Manager Chris Hatfield also answered: “RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage reloading press.”

Jeremy Kisner answered: “My Giraud trimmer has taken [three operations] and combined them into one easy task. I can now size my brass and then sit down and trim, chamfer, and debur to a 0.001″ tolerance in one motion.”

Dan Blake answered: “My Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) annealer. With consistent neck tension being one of the largest contributions to small Extreme Spread on muzzle velocities, I believe this induction annealer is truly the best on the market.”

This manufacturer-produced video shows how the AMP annealing machine operates:

Trevor Aldinger answered: “Area 419 Master Funnel Kit. In the past I’ve used plastic funnels and even other metal ones. This system fits case necks and flows much better than any others I’ve used, and there is no static since it’s metal. We spend a lot of time and money to get precise charges, I don’t want to lose or miss a kernel because of a cheap funnel.”

Area 419 Master Funnel kit

Tyler Riley answered: “My RCBS bench primer (priming tool). It has a lot more leverage than a hand primer and still has a good feel to how tight primer pockets are. Makes it much easier on my hands to prime large runs, especially new brass with tight pockets.”

Craig Arnzen answered: “My Annealeez [annealing machine] is one of the best tools in my reloading room. Neck tension is SO important, and annealing every firing really helps with that. This is an inexpensive tool that can anneal a lot of cases at once, and help me produce more consistent ammo.”

Josh Temmen answered: “Time is critical for me so my RCBS Chargemasters are indispensable (pun intended.) They cut down on time at my reloading bench while maintaining the weight tolerances required for long range shooting.”

Josh Bartlett answered: “I have my Dillon 650 set up with Whidden floating tool heads to do decapping and sizing on my match ammo. The case feeder and progressive function of the press save me a TON of time when doing lots of several hundred rounds.”

Ryan Brandt answered: “… A quality set of calipers. My reloading room is full of very nice equipment but little does more to satisfy my perfectionism than a good check with the calipers.”

Sierra Bullets

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