May 24th, 2011

Protect Your Barrels with New Polymer Jags and Brush Guides

German Salazar has found some innovative and smartly-engineered new cleaning accessories that can benefit any shooter who wants to maintain the accuracy of his precious (and expensive) barrels. Here’s German’s report on the new Bore Rider Jags and Bore Rider Brush Guides.

Good Stuff: Bore Rider Barrel Care Products by German Salazar
We see new bore cleaning solvents introduced with some regularity, but cleaning hardware evolves more slowly. I’ve been using some new jags from Don Leidich’s Bore Rider Barrel Care Products for a few months and am satisfied that they are a genuine improvement over anything else I’ve used. Don began making these items for the black powder cartridge shooters as their cleaning needs are serious and frequent. He has now expanded the line to include popular bore sizes for modern centerfire barrels.

Bore Rider Jags Brush Guides

Modern Jags and Brush Guides Made from Acetron Polymer
Don’s Bore Rider enterprise makes jags as well as companion Brush Guides for use with bore brushes. These are all made from Acetron® GP, an acetal polymer material similar to Delrin, but with greater lubricity. Bore Rider Jags and Brush Guides minimize any damage that might occur to the crown when the jag or brush exits the bore. With conventional jags and brushes, when brushing or patching your barrel, the cleaning rod shaft falls to the bottom of the bore as the patch or brush exits. Over time, that can result in excessive wear at the lower edge of the bore (6 O’Clock position) in the last few millimeters on the muzzle end. In extreme cases you can even wear a slight groove in the lip of the crown (i.e. the very end of the rifling at the muzzle). Another advantage of Bore Rider Jags over conventional brass jags is that you don’t get “false positive” green/blue patch colorations from solvent reactions with the metal jag itself (as opposed to actual copper fouling in the barrel).

Bore Rider Jags Brush GuidesThe Bore Rider Jag has an extra-long shank so that when the patch exits, the Acetron (polymer) shank is the only thing that makes contact with the crown. This way you don’t have a metal rod tip riding over the delicate crown. The Bore Rider Jag shank diameter is also a close fit to the bore to avoid uneven wear. The Brush Guide is an Acetron extension that fits between your brush and the end of the cleaning rod. This extension protects the crown when you brush, allowing you to push the brush completely out of the barrel without dragging metal connections over the edge of the crown. [Editor’s Tip: While the polymer material used in the Bore Rider Jag and Brush Guide is “kinder” to crowns, be sure keep the Acetron shanks clean from small particles and debris. These particles can embed themselves in the polymer. Wipe off the Jags and Brush Guides regularly.]

If protecting your barrel’s crown was all that these items did, that would be enough to merit their use. However, what’s more interesting about the jags is that they are made for a very tight fit in the bore and as a result, they truly get the patch working to scavenge the grooves of all the residue possible. The fit is so tight that Don was concerned that not all patches might work properly, as some extra thick ones might not enter the bore at all on this jag. I’ve used the jags with patches from Sinclair, Bruno’s Pro-Shot and a couple of no-name bags and all have worked flawlessly. Also, the jags are designed so that the segments that hold the patch material can never come in contact with the crown while pulling it back into the barrel. My borescope examination of the barrels shows that the job is getting done right.

Bore Rider Jags Brush Guides

Source for Bore Rider Jags and Brush Guides
The .223, .243, .264 and .308-caliber jags sell for $15.00 and the Brush Guides sell for $13.00. Other caliber jags start at $22.00 for jags and $18.00 for Brush Guides. These are threaded and chamfered to fit appropriate Dewey rods. The opposite ends on the brush guides have 8-32 female threads. Customers can buy adapters (from other vendors) to fit other brands of cleaning rods. Don can also customize Jags to fit a customer’s rod specifications if you don’t want to deal with an adapter. Don’s custom made Jags and Brush Guides cost $25 and $18 respectively.

Bore Rider Barrel Care Products
Don Leidich
18855 Nelson Rd.
St. Charles, MI 48655
989-642-5036 evenings
brbcp@yahoo.com

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 5 Comments »
May 20th, 2011

Modern Rifle Suppressors — What You Need to Know

In our recent story on the 2010 Steel Safari in New Mexico we included photos of tactical rifles fitted with suppressors (sound moderators). Whenever we show photos of suppressor-equipped rifles, some readers ask: “Why did you show silencers in that article — aren’t they illegal?”


J. Holdsworth ranges a target at the 2010 Steel Safari. Holdsworth finished 3rd overall in the main match.

In fact, sound moderators, also known as “suppressors”, “silencers”, or “cans”, are legal to own in most of the fifty U.S. States. You have to pay a special tax, fill out some official paperwork, and submit fingerprints. And the suppressor must be transferred through a Class III SOT Federal Firearms License-holder (FFL). In this article, tactical shooter Zak Smith explains the basic regulations concerning suppressors. Zak, whose company Thunder Beast Arms Corp., makes a line of advanced sound moderators, also explains the many benefits of modern suppressors.

What You Need to Know about Suppressors
by Zak Smith
Despite common perceptions, silencers are not illegal in the United States. That is, unless you live in CA, DE, HI, MA, MI, MN, MO*, NJ, NY, RI, or VT. If you live in one of those states you’re out of luck. Sorry! Try to elect better politicians.

For the rest of us in the Free United States, sound suppressors — also called silencers — can be owned legally by private citizens provided a little extra paperwork is filled out and approved by the ATF. Silencers (and other NFA items) are transferred to individuals on an ATF Form 4, which requires a $200 stamp tax, a chief law enforcement sign-off, and a set of fingerprints to be submitted to the ATF. In some cases a “corporate” transfer can be done that bypasses the requirements for fingerprints and the local chief law-enforcement sign-off. It usually takes between 3 and 6 months for a Form 4 to be approved by the ATF. At that point you can take possession of your shiny new suppressor. The suppressor itself is the NFA item; you can place it on any firearm (that is otherwise legal to own in your jurisdiction).

Silencers, along with other National Firearms Act (NFA) items, must be transferred only by Class 3 SOT (Special Occupation Tax) license holders, which is an additional license on top of a regular FFL. To buy a suppressor, you can choose one your local Class 3 dealer has in stock, or you can have him order it for you from the manufacturer. A manufacturer-to-dealer transfer is done on an ATF Form 3, and typically takes 10 days to 3 weeks.

“But I don’t plan to be a sniper so why would I want a silencer anyway?” If you hear a shooter say that, you can bet your beer money that they haven’t shot a modern suppressor. Modern suppressors allow the use of full-power ammunition, do not reduce the muzzle velocity, do not contact the bullet during flight, and often aid accuracy. On high-power rifles, a suppressor acts like a muzzle brake and reduces recoil, and of course, the “ka-BOOM” report of the shot is reduced 25-30 dB, yielding a sound not unlike high-pressure gas escaping from an air hose being disconnected.

I have been shooting high-power, bolt-action rifles at long range in competition since 2004. The same year, I had the opportunity to try a modern suppressor on a long-range rifle and there was no going back. Since 2005, my long-range shooting is done almost exclusively suppressed — the only exceptions being F-class (which prohibits their use) and for comparative testing with brakes or bare muzzles.

If you take an accurate bolt-action rifle in .260 Remington or .308 Winchester and fit a suppressor, the recoil will be noticeably reduced and the report will be more similar to a .22 WMR. Most premium .30 caliber suppressors will reduce the report by 25-30 dB — a very substantial sound attenuation. While I do recommend wearing ear protection when using suppressors because hearing damage is subtle but cumulative, the entire experience is more pleasant with a suppressed rifle.

Modern Suppressors Are Superior to Older Designs — And May IMPROVE Your Accuracy
Historically, suppressors had rubber baffles that slowed down the bullets and ruined accuracy. Modern suppressors don’t have any of these drawbacks. While you’ll find competing viewpoints as to whether a suppressor-equipped rifle is more inherently accurate than a rifle with a bare muzzle (or muzzle brake), in practice many shooters shoot better with a suppressed rifle due to psychological and physiological factors — call it “shootability”. With less noise, less barrel hop, and less felt recoil — thanks to the suppressor — many shooters can achieve greater accuracy, shot after shot.

In the last few years, the use of suppressors by competitors has gone from an oddity to being commonplace. At recent matches such as the 2010 Steel Safari, as many as half of the top ten competitors used suppressors.

Suppressors from Thunder Beast Arms Corp.
Several years ago two fellow long-range shooters and I had the opportunity to start a suppressor manufacturing company. We all shared a passion for long-range shooting, had a history of competition, and were convinced that shooting suppressed was the way to go. Thunder Beast Arms Corp., based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, was formed to produce the best suppressors for practical long-range rifle shooting. Our “cans”, as they are sometimes called informally, are designed for accuracy, durability, and light weight, while maintaining best-in-class sound suppression levels. Many of our suppressors are made from Titanium for ultra-light weight and superior corrosion resistance.

Although I am proud of our products, there are many good brands of suppressors on the market right now. A suppressor buyer can dial in the performance, application, and amount he wants to pay very precisely — there will almost certainly be a suppressor on the market that meets his requirements. If you have a chance, see if you can get a suppressor demo lined up — I guarantee you’ll be impressed.

*In Missouri, suppressors may be legally acquired, but only by the military, by law enforcement personnel (acting officially), and by certain Federal Firearms License Holders (including C&R). See: http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C500-599/5710000020.HTM .

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review 16 Comments »
May 15th, 2011

Bushnell Releases 12x50mm Range-Finding Binoculars

Last year we reported on the Bushnell Fusion 1600 ARC rangefinding binoculars. As first introduced, the Fusion 1600 was sold as a 10×42 binocular with ten-power magnification. Now Bushnell has introduced a larger, more powerful 12×50 Fusion ARC model. This has larger, 50mm objective lenses, plus 12X magnification. With a “street price” under $900.00, the new 12×50 Fusion 1600 is less than half the price of the less powerful 10×42 Leica Geovids ($2349.00) or Zeiss Victory RF Binoculars (10×45, $2,799.00). That huge price advantage makes the Fusion very tempting — but can Bushnell’s 1600 ARC binos perform as advertised?

Don’t Expect to Range a WhiteTail at 1600 yards
There is BIG difference between ranging a water tower, and ranging a deer-sized animal. Bushnell lists three different effective ranging distances for the Fusion 1600, and Bushnell claims only 500-yard effectiveness on deer-sized objects (vs. 1000 yards on trees). This is fairly consistent with our LRF comparison tests.

You can see the features of Bushnell’s new 12×50 Fusion 1600 ARC rangefinding binoculars in the video below. This also shows the smaller 10×42 Bushnell Fusion for comparison. The video does a good job explaining the functional differences between the 12X and 10X units, helping you decide which one best fits your needs. Surprisingly, the bigger Fusion is only about one ounce heavier. If you have any interest in a combo bino/rangefinder you should watch this video. The reviewer concludes the Fusions represent good value for the money.

Bushnell 1600 ARC
Fusion 1600 ARC Features
The 12×50 roof prism binoculars feature built-in battery life indicator, twist-up eye pieces, and multi-coated optics with RainGuard. The Fusion 1600 is fully waterproof and submersible, meeting IPX7 “waterproof” specification. Owners have reported that the Fusion 1600 has good glass, and the red readouts are easy to see. Bushnell employs Vivid Display Technology™ (with four display brightness settings) to enhance display readability in all lighting conditions.

The built-in laser rangefinder features ARC (Angle Range Compensating) technology, which calculates the angle to the target (-90 to +90 degrees). ARC also and gives the hold-over range for the rifle shooter, and true horizontal distance for bow hunters. We like the fact that you can choose between Inches and MOA for holdover. There is a brush mode for measuring distances in heavy cover and a bullseye mode for ranging in open areas. The brush mode can filter out false returns from closer objects. This IS a useful feature that actually does work. The Fusion 1600 ARC laser rangefinder binoculars come with battery, neck-strap, and carrying case. Typical retail price for th 12×50 Fusion is around $900.00. For more info, visit www.bushnell.com or call 800-423-3537 for consumer inquiries.

Permalink Gear Review, Optics 1 Comment »
May 14th, 2011

GEAR REVIEW: Field Density Altitude Compensator

by Ian Kenney
A week before the fall Allegheny Sniper Challenge (ASC), I first saw Adaptive’s Field Density Altitude Compensator (FDAC). I was impressed by its capabilities and compact size and I managed to take one home from the ASC prize table the very next weekend. The FDAC comes from Adaptive Consulting and Training Services in Stafford, VA. The guys at Adaptive know a thing or two about long-range shooting — many of them are former USMC Scout Snipers. Their long-range shooting and combat experience helped them perfect the FDAC.

At first glance the $39.95 FDAC appears to be just another data card. However, in a number of ways, it is completely different than traditional data cards. The FDAC was designed to be simple and accurate, so that any military or civilian shooter could pick it up and, within minutes, effectively employ it. Anyone familiar with a Midot Master should find the FDAC simple and intuitive. Another plus is that, unlike electronic gadgets, the FDAC doesn’t need batteries or shielding from the elements. You don’t have to carry around extra batteries, chargers, and “ruggedized” weather-proof cases.

FDAC Offers Multiple Cards for More Precise Solutions
The FDAC is quite different than traditional data cards that calculate trajectories based on a single muzzle velocity in a given set of conditions. The problem with those traditional data cards is that, as soon as one variable changes, the card’s ballistic solution becomes less valid. The FDAC solves this problem by employing several cards for different muzzle velocities and using Density Dltitude to compensate for the differences in environmental conditions. For the uninitiated, Density Altitude combines the temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and elevation figures into one number that is more easily used over a wider range of conditions. Density Altitude can be obtained with a portable weather station (such as a Kestrel). If a portable weather meter is not available, the basic chart printed on the card itself works pretty well even when guessing at the physical altitude and temperature.

Adaptive FDAC ranging card
CLICK HERE for FDAC Users’ Guide PDF

FDAC Ballistic Solutions Deliver First-Round Hits in the Field
I first tested the FDAC at Reade Range in Pennsylvania, shooting from 500 to 1000 yards. I used the 2700 fps velocity card that came with my FDAC for the 175 Sierra Match King since that most closely matched what I had loaded up. Starting out with a cold bore shot from the 500-yard line, I obtained the density altitude using my Brunton ADC Pro, and slid the card over until the proper density altitude column was showing. With 3.2 mils of elevation and .2 mils of left wind dialed into my Nightforce 3.5-15×50 (first focal plane) scope, I went for my cold bore shot, hoping the FDAC would put me close. I was happily rewarded with a first round, center mass hit, just a little left of center.

The FDAC continued to shine at longer ranges. FDAC solutions gave me first-round hits at 600 and 800 yards, a second round hit at 1000 yards. Several weeks later I found myself in a field in rural North Carolina once again putting the FDAC to good use this time without any electronic aids. To my surprise, my guestimate of about 500’ for density altitude was pretty darn close to what the Kestrel my friend had was saying also. Just like at Reade Range, the FDAC values delivered cold bore hits that were nearly point of aim = point of impact. That demonstrated how well the FDAC worked in warm weather.

This winter I was able to see how the FDAC performed in cold conditions. In cooler, denser air, a bullet requires more elevation correction to get on target than it would need in warmer temps. So I went out one chilly January morning and confirmed that the FDAC can handle cold conditions. The FDAC solutions once again gave me first round hits from 250 yards to 730 yards. The little DA chart put me in the right vicinity for density altitude just by knowing my altitude and making a guess for the air temperature. Since I’ve started using the FDAC I’ve found that the data is either spot on or within about .2 mils of the correct dope at nearly all distances when using the correct density altitude column. This is very impressive. I found that the FDAC delivered practically the same data as popular digital PDAs and field ballistic calculators. But the FDAC can be even faster in use (once you become familiar with its operation), and, at $39.95, it costs a fraction of what a dedicated electronic ballistics solver would cost. The FDAC is practical, very accurate, inexpensive, compact, lightweight and never needs batteries — what’s not to like?

Below is a SnipersHide Video Review of the FDAC Tool

New Enhanced Milspec FDAC Released this Year
Adaptive has put much R&D into the FDAC and it shows. Thousands of Field Density Altitude Compensators have been provided to soldiers and marines, who are making good use of the devices. At the 2011 SHOT Show, Adaptive unveiled an enhanced FDAC, the MILSPEC-XR. This new version includes a new Density Altitude calculator, extended range dope for the .338LM and .300WM, as well as tools for slope dope and moving targets. Adaptive also offers conversion tables and compatibility charts so that the FDAC can be used with other bullets besides the original FDAC default projectiles. (For FDAC owners, the conversion charts are FREE!) The FDAC is truly one of those few products that I wish I had when I was deployed to Afghanistan. I highly recommend it to any long-range shooter using .308 Win, .300WM or .338LM cartridges (with a mil-based optic). For more information, or to order an FDAC tool, visit the Adaptive website, ACTSVirginia.com, or call (540) 657-8541.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Optics 10 Comments »
May 4th, 2011

Power Case Trimmers Reviewed in May Shooting Sports USA

The May digital edition of Shooting Sports USA has a good article on Power Case Trimmers for rifle brass. Trey Tuggle reviews self-powered units from Giraud, Gracey, Hornady, and RCBS, plus a drill-mounted trimmer fitting from Little Crow Gunworks. Tuggle reviews the main features of each unit. Reading this article is recommended for any one in the market for a high-output, powered case prep machine. CLICK HERE to read story.

Power Case Trimmers Gracey Giraud

Power Case Trimmers Gracey GiraudState Champions Listed by Discipline
The May edition of Shooting Sports USA also dedicates six full pages to 2010’s State Champion shooters, listed discipline by discipline. The recognition give these many shooters is well-deserved. As you’ll find in every edition of Shooting Sports USA, there is a comprehensive calendar of NRA shooting competitions for a vast range of disciplines: Action Pistol, Air Pistol, Pistol Silhouette, Black Powder Target Rifle, Black Powder Silhouette, Lever Rifle Silhouette, Air Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Smallbore Rifle Silhouette, High Power Rifle, High Power Silhouette, and more. You’ll find match listings for hundreds of shooting clubs around the country.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review No Comments »
May 2nd, 2011

Gear Review: PMA Neck Turning Tool

The PMA Neck Turning Tool, review by Danny Reever
PMA Tool was founded by Matt Harris and Pat Reagin, two former employees of Fred Sinclair. They both worked their way through college working for and designing tools for Sinclair Int’l. They now have branched out on their own and are offering some unique tools for the reloader.

PMA Neckturner Neck Turning Tool

I, like many other shooters out there, would sooner take a beating than change the settings of my neck turner. Many shooters even go out and buy a separate neck turner for every caliber — just so they don’t have to adjust the settings. Most of you know what it’s like, you ruin half dozen cases (or more) getting your neck turner just right, and if you change it the chances of getting it back to where it was are practically nil. Let me be the first to tell you those days are over! Like many of you, I first saw the PMA Neck Turning Tool in an advertisement on this website’s home page. It’s hard to miss, blue anodized finish with the large PMA logo on the body.

PMA Tool Moves the Mandrel, Not the Cutter Tip
From PMA’s website I learned that this turner does NOT use a coarse or fine drive screw to move the cutter towards or away from the mandrel. Nor does the PMA tool move the mandrel on an eccentric (another method of cutting depth control). The PMA tool does something very different. PMA’s Model A Neck Turning Tool simply adjusts by moving the mandrel toward or away from the stationary cutter with an 80 TPI drive screw with 60 indicating marks. Each mark moves the mandrel .0002″ (two ten-thousandths). I found, if you stop between the marks, .0001″ isn’t out of the question. It’s such a smart arrangement, I wondered “why didn’t anyone think of that before?”

Use PMA, 21st Century, or Sinclair Int’l Mandrels
My interest now piqued, I contacted Pat Reagin for one of the PMA tools. Pat suggested that I also use PMA’s stainless expander and turning mandrels since they have put a lot of effort to get them exactly right. I might mention that the 3/8 shank stainless or carbide mandrels from 21st Century or Sinclair Int’l will work also. PMA does have carbide turning mandrels in the works — a nice upgrade for those of you who turn lots of cases at one sitting. I personally didn’t encounter any unnecessary heat build-up with the stainless mandrels only turning 10-20 cases at a time. Considering that carbide mandrels run about $40.00 compared to $7.95 for stainless, it’s nice to save a couple of bucks when you can.

Cut-Depth Settings Can Be Dialed “Dead-On” (Even after Caliber Changes)
Upon receiving the PMA tool I immediately went to my reloading room to set it up for turning some culled .308 Lapua brass — to clean it up 75% for a no-turn chamber. I followed the directions included with the turner and it was a snap to set up. After turning a few of the .308s I made note of my setting and changed both mandrels to 6MM to turn some Lapua 6BR brass for my .269″-neck chamber. Again the change went smooth as silk and I was turning the 6BRs in no time for my preferred loaded neck diameter of .26730″. I then decided to take the leap of faith and change back to turning the .308s after making note of the 6BR setting. That worked, so I then again switched back again to the 6BR setting — again with success. I have gone back and forth (between calibers) numerous times in the last couple of weeks. Each time I easily returned to my caliber-specific settings and I did not ruin a single case in the process. Without sounding like I’m gushing here I must say this is the nicest neck turner that I have ever used. The adjustments are so easy and repeatable “Even a cave man can do it”!

If, like me, you absolutely hate setting up neck turners, for fear of losing your settings, you owe it to yourself to give the PMA Model A neck turner a try. I think you’ll be impressed. The PMA Neck Turning Tool costs $95.95, complete with one carbide cutter with your choice of 30° or 40° shoulder angle.

Disclosure: Danny Reever is a Forum Member. He received no “freebies” or compensation. PMA Tools advertises on AccurateShooter.com.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »
May 1st, 2011

Stanley Rolling Tool Chest Holds Your Bench Gear

Stanley mobile tool chestHow do you haul a heavy front rest, jumbo rear sand-bag, ammo boxes, and all the miscellaneous gear you need for a Benchrest or F-Class match? Stanley makes an inexpensive, lockable Pro Mobile Tool Chest (product 033023R) with a 25-quart capacity that holds plenty of gear.

This wheeled tool chest is big enough for large joystick rests, and rolls on large rubber-coated wheels. Two feet long and 16″ deep, the cargo compartment has lots of space for the big stuff, and the included yellow tool tray will hold smaller components such as dies, priming tools, and loading blocks. On the left and right side of the top lid are two small transparent parts compartments that can store small parts, bullets, ear-plugs, nuts and bolts. Overall, it’s a very handy, versatile rig.

The Stanley Pro Mobile Tool Chest, model 033023R, is available online and through major home hardware stores. Amazon.com sells the Pro Mobile Tool Chest for $48.68. And if you want even more storage space, Stanley makes an even larger 19″x29″x18″, 24-gallon-capacity wheeled chest (product 029025R) that sells for $70.49.

Stanley mobile tool chest

Australian Robert Carnell uses this rolling tool chest to haul his SEB rest and other gear: “Below is the Stanley cart I modified to use for carting all my various gear around from bench to bench at a match. By cutting out one of the pockets in the liner, my SEB rest fits in nicely on its side, with lots of room for the rear bag and pads etc. I also often pack all the various loading gear around this as well. Then I wheel it into the loading room, drop the loading stuff on the bench, then park it outside on the line behind my first bench.”

Stanley mobile tool chest

Permalink Gear Review 3 Comments »
April 29th, 2011

Gear Review: AIM 60 Tactical Drag Bag

AIM Tactical Drag BagThe folks at AIM Field Sports Ltd. in the UK recently sent us an AIM 60 Tactical Drag Bag for testing and evaluation (T&E). Capable of handling a rifle up to 59″ overall, and equipped with shoulder straps and lots of storage pockets, this unique product is far more versatile than the typical “soft” rifle case. In backpack mode, the AIM 60 will carry the weight of your gun and all the extras comfortably over long distances. The AIM 60 costs £159.00 incl. VAT (or £132.50 duty-free, US $215.40), while the smaller AIM 50 version costs £141.00 incl. VAT (or £117.50 duty-free, US $191.02). (USA prices at current exchange rates; shipping not included.) Both AIM 60 and AIM 50 are offered in Lincoln Green, Tan, or Black.

The AIM 60 is crafted from heavy-duty 1000 denier Cordura® nylon, and employs high-grade zippers and fasteners all around. On the front of the bag are two jumbo-sized, padded utility pockets. The larger pocket has a string of elastic straps that are ideal for magazines, and the pocket is large enough to hold a rear sandbag. The smaller pocket has elasticized, gusseted inner pockets for holding radios, rangefinders, tools, earmuffs, and personal gear. On the outside of the smaller front zippered pocket is a diagonal zippered compartment which can hold logbooks, maps or other flat items.

AIM Tactical Drag Bag

The main gun compartment has a detachable drag hood, adjustable internal weapon securing straps, and a cleaning rod sleeve. Extra thick foam padding protects the rifle and there is a stock support sleeve that cradles the butt. This is a really important feature. The sleeve supports the rifle’s weight (keeping it off the zipper) when you use the bag in backpack mode.

AIM Tactical Drag Bag

Field Tests Demonstrate ‘Quality in the Details’
Over the past couple months, Our “master fabricator” Mark LaFevers has used the AIM 60 to carry his gear at local tactical and varmint matches. He’s impressed by the quality of the AIM 60: “In assessing this soft-sided rifle case from the UK, ‘Top Flight’ has to be the lead descriptor. The target market for this bag looks to be the extreme end of the performance spectrum, where demands on gear are the highest.

What impressed me most about this bag is how well thought-out the design is. Everywhere you look there are smart features that make the bag perform better, last longer, or provide better protection for your gear. To ensure the front drag handle won’t fail, AIM provides heavy nylon webbing doubled over at the loop, triple-stitched six inches down each side of the bag. To better protect the rifle, AIM added a floor stiffener in the full length pocket provided for a cleaning rod, and a padded 2” flap inside the full length top zipper so that contents bear against the flap and not the zipper. To make the bag more versatile (and boost its carrying capacity) AIM provided over 30 external heavily-stitched web loop attach points for gear. And to ensure that the shoulder strap mounts never fail, AIM uses high-quality METAL clips and rings. The shoulder straps even stow cleanly inside a zippered compartment when not in use. In summary, the AIM bag showcases superior attention to detail in both design and construction.

This is no ordinary rifle case — and people notice that immediately. As I was getting ready to leave a local rifle match, I was stopped by one of the other competitors. ‘Wait a minute’, he said. ‘Where did you get that bag… can I check it out?’ After looking at the AIM for a minute, he said: ‘You know I just spent a lot of money on the best bag I could find. But my bag doesn’t have half the features that yours does. I wish I had bought one of these [AIM] bags instead.'” That’s a pretty strong endorsement for the AIM.

YouTube Preview Image

Here are some other reviews of the AIM Tactical Drag Bags:

“The Drag Bag is a proper sniper-style drag-bag with rucksack-style straps…It has some enormous pockets that will swallow an unbelievable amount of gear. The bag is packed with features…every time I use it I seem to find another well thought-out feature — like the quick-release straps which hold your rifle in place…The pockets have more pockets inside and elasticised retainers which stop all your bits ‘n’ bobs falling about. This bag is also longer than most I looked at. The price? Just [£138 for AIM 50] and I defy you to find one in the same class for anything like that.” — Vince Bottomley (Target Sports, Nov. 2008)

“Full bore shooters… need a rifle bag that can be worn as a rucksack. It did not take me long to figure out the hard case I had for my rifle was of no use whatsoever. It could not hold my range book, ammo box or much else other than the rifle. My .308 Remington 700 is fitted with a muzzle brake and a huge 12-42 Nightforce NXS scope. The bag swallows this 53″ gun easily. It has two snap buckle securing straps inside the bag to hold the rifle securely as well as a stock support pocket [and] 5 snap buckles to ensure the gun remains in the bag. I like the fact that my £3000 gun is cradled and protected in this ‘over the top’ way. I no longer take a range bag when going shooting a tactical competition, everything fits in the AIM bag. The rucksack shoulder straps [make] for a very comfortable carrying system. This leaves your hands free for a [front] rest if you use one….” — Tim Finley (Gun Mart, Jan. 2008)

CLICK HERE for a Video Guide to the AIM 50 Drag Bag

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 7 Comments »
April 2nd, 2011

M1 Carbine Conversion Kit for Ruger 10/22

E. Arthur Brown Co., i.e. EABCO.com, has a neat, affordable conversion kit for the Ruger 10/22. This transforms your plain Jane 10/22 into an M1 Carbine look-alike. EABCO’s 10/22 M1 Tribute Kit includes a two-piece, M1 Replica wood buttstock and handguard with barrel band and front sling swivel. This stock is compatible with original factory sights. Installation on your Ruger 10/22 is an easy, drop-in fit. The conversion kit, less sights, is currently on sale for just $109.00.

Eabco 10/22 M1 Conversion

Replica Sights for 10/22 M1 Conversion
Eabco 10/22 M1 ConversionEABCO also offers two iron sight kits, both of which improve on the Ruger’s factory sights. As shown in the large photo above, the $69.00 TechSights 200 model has a winged NM post sight in the front and a shielded rear peep with circular, AR15-style adjuster. This system provides 7.5″ more sight radius than original factory sights. For $59.00, EABCO offers the even more authentic Replica M1 Carbine Sights. The Replica sight kit features a functional flip-up rear peep sight, on a base that screws into the 10/22’s rear scope mounting holes. The Replica winged-style front sight assembly slips over the front sight barrel band and is secured with a set screw. These sights look and function just like the original M1 sights. They work great for Appleseed events.

The Story Behind the M1 Carbine Ruger 10/22 Tribute, by Eben Brown

One of the most satisfying things about business is the way trying something different can lead to greater opportunities than just the original idea. My friend Andy approached in 2009 with his concept of doing an M1 Carbine styled stock for the Ruger 10/22. Like any 10/22 lover, I thought, “Neat”! But as a businessman, I was thinking, “The 2-piece stock is going to be expensive to make and by the time you add in the sling, oiler, and sights, it could get pretty expensive. Will customers want to buy it?”

Well, I liked the idea enough to pursue it and gave Andy an order for the stocks. I began looking around for sights, sling, and oiler to complete the project. The M1 Carbine Sling and Oiler can be found in a wide variety of conditions and prices. We found some that were brand new WWII war surplus selling at up to $60 to gun collectors — too expensive for this project. After a couple of months we finally found some brand new production M1 Carbine Slings with Oilers that we can sell for only $19.

Next, I found a company called TechSights that has the exact, military style sights that we needed. The TechSights folks revealed their 10/22 retrofit sights are very popular with shooters involved in Project Appleseed. This is a basic rifle marksmanship training program that typically employs the Liberty Training Rifle, a low-cost 22LR concept usually built on a Ruger 10/22. They also shoot centerfire rifles.

Editor’s Note: Project Appleseed is an activity of The Revolutionary War Veterans Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, dedicated to teaching the nation’s heritage as well as traditional rifle marksmanship skills. The Appleseed Project has expanded rapidly. It organized over 1,000 shooting events in 2010, including “Adaptive Appleseed” clinics for physically challenged individuals.

Permalink Gear Review, Shooting Skills No Comments »
March 20th, 2011

Manners Offers New Stock for CZ 452 and 455

Manners Composite Stocks has released its new MCS-T4 trainer stock for CZ 452 and 455 actions. This should work well for guys who cross-train with a .22LR or who compete in the popular Tactical Rimfire matches now offered by many clubs. The MCS-T4 duplicates the feel, heft, and ergonomics of a full-size tactical stock, making it easy to transition from your centerfire rifle to your smallbore trainer.

Manners CZ training stock MCS-t4

Tom Manners reports: “This is the second .22LR trainer stock we have developed. The design goal is the same as the first stock we built for the SakoQuad. This project was started for the guys that wanted a full-size rimfire training rifle that had the same size and feel as their full-size service gun. The goal was to have a gun that had the same balance, feel, and as close to same ergonomics as a full-size Remington 700. That lets you train effectively with inexpensive .22LR ammo.”

Tom added: “We designed the MCS-T4 so the CZ 452/455 bolt handle and trigger are in the same location as your full-size service rifle”. Manners can also deliver the MCS-T4 with an extra-heavy fill to bring the weight of the complete gun up to about 13 lbs — about the same as a centerfire bolt gun with a medium-contour barrel. With the MCS-T4, a shooter can put together an affordable rimfire cross-trainer without having to spend big bucks on a 40X action or 40X clone. The new Manners MCS-T4 CZ Trainer Stock lists for $475.00 plus shipping. For more info, visit MannersStocks.com or call (816) 283-3334.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 3 Comments »
March 6th, 2011

Gear Review: Bruno Concentricity-Checking Tool

German Salazar has posted an informative article about concentricity-checking tools on his Rifleman’s Journal Blog. In that article, German provides a detailed review of the impressive new Bruno Concentricity Checker which features a high-grade dial indicator and an innovative system for holding both loaded cartridges and empty brass in place during the measurement process. German gives the Bruno tool high marks and it is now his favored concentricity gauge, replacing on older Sinclair tool (also reviewed in the article).

German writes: “When measuring a seated bullet, the Bruno [tool] is simple and intuitive in use: adjust the length of the tip holder, set up the indicator to bear on the ogive and get to it. I usually slip a Sinclair hex nut comparator over a bullet to make a faint mark right at the ogive to help me in determining where to set the indicator. I then set the indicator tip about 0.010″ behind the mark so that I am definitely on the bearing surface even if some of the bullets have a bit of variance. It’s a handy way to get set up consistently from one session to another.”

German continues: “Reading an empty case requires a little more effort, but not much…. Once the case mouth is smooth, the readings are in line with those of the Sinclair tool, although easier to read to a fine level of precision due to the finer gradations on the indicator and its horizontal mounting. The Bruno tool has become my principal tool for checking the concentricity resulting from different die setups and for comparing the results of one loading process to another. I simply have more confidence in my ability to get an accurate reading from it. After many years of service, I’ve decided to retire the old Sinclair and make the Bruno tool my primary concentricity tool. It is simply a better made, easier-to-use, more accurate tool and those are the qualities I value in any tool.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
March 5th, 2011

New Smith & Wesson Governor Revolver is Triple Threat

If you’re looking for a versatile carry revolver, consider the new Smith & Wesson Governor, introduced at the 2011 SHOT Show. The six-shot Governor will chamber three types of ammo: .45 ACP, .45 Long Colt, and .410ga 2.5″ shotshells.

Smith & Wesson Governor RevolverThe ability to chamber shotshells makes this piece more useful as a “trail gun” that can put down snakes and other threats that are difficult to hit quickly with a pistol round. If you choose, you can load a mix of shotshells and regular cartridges. The 29.6 oz. Governor has a Scandium frame with blackened stainless cylinder. The basic model ($679.00 MSRP) comes standard with a Tritium dot front sight. There is also a more expensive ($899.00 MSRP) version with a Crimson Trace grip with built-in laser. A button in the grip activates the laser.

This Editor personally likes the shape and feel of the laser grip better than the standard grip. The laser grip (shown in the slideshow below) lets you position your hand up higher on the frame for better control, and it has a smoother profile. The laser obviously offers an advantage in low-light situations. We think, if you can afford the laser version, that’s the smart choice.

CLICK HERE for more photos showing both standard and Laser grips and open cylinder.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
March 4th, 2011

Ransom Rifle Master ‘SL Mega Rest’ — Review Part One

Ransom recently introduced the Ransom Rifle Master ‘SL Mega Rest’, a large, modular rest system for FSCA, NBRSA, and IBS shooters and other shooting disciplines that allow a rest system. We persuaded accomplished NBRSA point blank and long range shooter John Crawford to check out this system and share his experiences. This article is Part One of a two-part series.

Ransom’s SL Mega Rest: Part One (First Impressions) by John Crawford

Ransom SL Mega Rest

Upon receiving the Ransom SL Mega Rest, the first thing I noticed was how well the rest was packaged. There were two boxes, a large box holding the two base plates and a small box holding all of the small parts for the rest. The large box is double-walled, cardboard construction. It held up well to the rigors of shipping, keeping the two rest halves, each in their own inner box, in perfect shape.

Unpacking the Ransom SL Mega Rest one could not help but notice the weight of each half and their very attractive, black, Rhino coating. [Rhino coating is a heavy, extremely durable and tough, textured polyurethane coating commonly sprayed in the bed area of pickup trucks to protect the bed from damage.] Unpacking the small parts, which were all packaged separately for protection, gave me a good chance to note their excellent fit and finish. The small parts are made of steel and have a black oxide finish, including the ½:20-threaded legs which have nicely knurled knobs and lock rings. The black oxide finish compliments the bases.

Ransom SL Mega Rest

Front Section
The front base and post, used exclusively for elevation adjustment, are well built and have some very nice features. The post, which is 1.25″ in diameter, has a keyway and key in the front to keep it from turning, and the lockdown bolt has a carbide ball in the end to lock the post in place. The mariner’s wheel has a cogged rubber belt on the outside (fits into a groove) and makes adjusting height easy and comfortable without hand slippage. The post assembly can be located, front-to-rear, in one inch increments, to provide a center-of-front-rest-base-to-center-of-rear-rest-base distance of from 24″ to 32″, thus accommodating an 8″ difference in stock length.

The Ransom SL Mega Rest’s elevation rest top is a modular system. The base for the rest top broke tradition and has two bolts, side by side, to hold it to the post, a welcome change from having a single bolt to hold the top on. With two bolts you reduce the stress when putting a heavy rifle on the rest. The front post is mounted to a plate that bolts down to the rest base. The rest base has a series of tapped holes that allows one to adjust the front rest location, front-to-rear, to fit different stock lengths.

Ransom SL Mega RestRear Section
The rear rest, used exclusively for windage adjustment, has the rest top holder bolted in place. As a modular system, you can put the elevation rest top bag holder or windage top bag holder in either the front or rear rest as needed. You could also have a few different elevation rest tops or windage tops for different rifles. Both front and rear rests have a bubble level.

The Ransom SL Mega Rest’s windage top and bag holder are also modular. You can put the windage top and bag holder, or just the bag holder, in either the front or rear rest by removing four thumb screws and changing the tops. You can buy different width rest tops and swap them out in a few minutes, a nice feature for different stock length and width configurations. The windage top has a dovetail fit with a center bolt to hold the top in place and has no perceivable side play or movement, nice and tight and the windage adjusts easily.

The forearm stop is well thought out and fully adjustable for height and length to accommodate different front bag heights and stock lengths/positions. It can be adjusted forward about 4″ and, in height, from 1-1/2″ to 3-1/2″. It easily adjusts with two thumb screws.

83 pounds of Steel Solidity
The bridge plate between the front and rear rests is also black Rhino-coated, matching the bases. There are four dowel pins in the bridge plate for alignment and six 5/16-18 bolts that securely hold the bridge plate in place. The rest can be shot with the bridge plate in place, as a one-piece rest system, or the bridge plate can be removed, making it a two-piece rest system.

Ransom SL Mega Rest

The rear rest with windage top weighs 38 pounds and the front rest weighs 45 pounds, for a total weight of 83 pounds. This is without sand bags or sand. Overall the all-steel-construction, Ransom SL Mega Rest is well thought out, nicely finished, and made to the standards and quality you would expect from the Ransom Company. The MSRP for the whole unit (everything except sand bags) is $1,330.00. This includes front heavy bag plate, and rear windage-adjustable bag plate. Additional plates (for different sized bags) start at about $90.00. Next step is to fill my sand bags and do some field testing. We’ll cover that in Part Two of this review, later this spring.

Test Arranged by Edlongrange.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product 2 Comments »
February 26th, 2011

New Neck-Turning Tool Holder from 21st Century Shooting

The wizard tool designer who runs 21st Century Shooting has invented a clever yet inexpensive new bench accessory that makes it much easier to turn case-necks. 21st Century’s new Neck Turning Tool Swivel Bracket gives you a “third hand” when using the 21st Century Neck Turning Tool, simplifying the process of neck turning, particularly when using power.

neck turning tool bracket

CNC-machined from aluminum billet, 21st Century’s Swivel Bracket mounts right on your bench. You can either attach it semi-permanently with screws or simply clamp it in place. Adjust your neck-turning tool (red unit in photo), at any angle from 0-90°, for best viewing of the cutter operation. With your neck-turning tool attached to the bracket, you have easy access to the arbor adjustment screw, arbor screw clamp, and the bracket rotation clamp screw. Once you’ve adjusted the angle, and locked the neck turner in place with the supplied Allen wrench, you can concentrate on turning the case, either by hand, or with power assist. The neck-turning tool is held securely; however, rubber bushings on the bracket allow the neck-turning tool to “float” just enough to work properly when using power.

This new Neck Turning Tool Swivel Bracket is simple, but very effective. It really does help you turn necks with greater ease and a greater sense of security. Importantly, the bracket lessens hand fatigue. No more “cramped hand syndrome” from struggling to hold the neck-turner steady. We really like this little device, and it only costs $19.95. However, for the time being, the Swivel Bracket ONLY works with the 21st Century Neck Turning Tool — it does NOT work with a Hornady, K&M, Neilson, or Sinclair Neck Turning Tools. For more info, call 260-273-9909 or visit 21stCenturyShooting.com.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 5 Comments »
February 9th, 2011

NEW Neck-Turning Tool From 21st Century Shooting

Gear Review: 21st Century Neck Turner
by Germán A. Salazar
A new neck-turning tool with easy adjustments, super-high quality of manufacturing and an ergonomic design sounds like a good thing to me. If you also like good tools and like to keep up with developments in the field, read on (most of the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them).

I recently received the new Neck-Turning Tool made by John at 21st Century Shooting. I always enjoy seeing John’s work because he really has a good grasp on how a tool should be designed to work effectively and this tool certainly fits that mold. The basic requirements of a good neck turner are: (a) accurate adjustments, (b) good blade design, (c) ergonomic design and (d) a well thought-out system of ancillary items. Let’s look at each of those areas and give the tool a test drive.

21st Century Neck TurnerHandy Cut-Depth Adjustment Dial
The 21st Century neck turner has a unique dial adjustment for the depth of the cut which makes small adjustments simple and fast. Each full number represents 0.001″ of cutter movement, and the fine lines in between let you zero in on the exact neck wall thickness that you need. The dial is simply turned in until the desired neck thickness is reached. If you go too far, it’s best to turn it out a full turn, then back in once again; this reduces the effect of any backlash that might exist in the threads. I found the dial easy to use and had no trouble getting to my usual thickness setting of 0.0125″.

Excellent Carbide Cutter Blade Design
At its core, a neck turner is a cutting tool and good blade design is what sets any good cutting tool apart from the competition. Here, John really shows his ability as a designer and manufacturer. The blade supplied on my tool is carbide and cuts brass effortlessly, however, that’s not the real point of interest. Many neck turners have blades with less than ideal nose radius and create a “threading” effect on the neck unless the tool is fed over the brass at a very slow rate. The 21st Century blade has a good radius at the transition to the shoulder angle which allows for a smooth cut with a reasonable feed rate.

The shoulder angle is another well thought-out feature as it is a very close match to the actual shoulder angle of the case. This allows you to bring the cutter a bit further into the shoulder without weakening it and definitely avoid the subsequent occurrence of the donut of thick brass at the base of the neck. (When ordering, 21st Century lets you specify one of four (4) different cutter shoulder angles to match your particular cartridge: 20°, 30°, 35°, and 40°.) The photo of the case in the cutter shows the cutter making solid contact with the shoulder after a substantial cut on the neck, yet the shoulder was really just lightly touched. I backed the cutter off a bit from this setting for the final adjustment. If you tend to use heavy bullets which extend below the base of the neck, this feature alone makes John’s tool worthwhile.

21st Century neck turner

Turning necks is tedious, especially if you’re turning a large number of cases as High Power shooters generally do. Accordingly, a design that takes ergonomics into consideration is highly appreciated. Note the slight hourglass shape of the tool, that really lets your hand take a grip that counters the natural tendency of the tool to turn with the rotation of the case, especially when turning with a power case driver. The size of the tool itself also helps; if you’ve used one of the smaller tools on the market, you know just how tired your hand can get from trying to hold on to it after a while! I turned 70 case necks in two sessions with the 21st Century tool and my hand and fingers remained comfortable throughout.

However good the turner may be, it doesn’t work alone. Any neck turner needs a matching expander. The 21st Century expander is a nicely designed unit that allows you to change expander sizes with no tools by simply unscrewing the cap of the die body and dropping in the appropriate expander.

K&M Arbor Adapters Available
I’ve been using a K&M turner for some years now and have accumulated turning arbors (mandrels) in various sizes. John knows that’s the case for many of us, so he makes affordable adapter bushings for his tool that allow the use of K&M turner arbors. That’s a nice feature that will allow me to save the price of a few arbors and expanders. The adapter for K&M arbors costs $12.00.

Although I use a cordless screwdriver to turn the case, I still like to have a manual option for case turning. Sometimes the cordless driver dies with just a few cases left to go in a session and I know that, one day, when I most need it, it’ll just quit altogether. John’s case handle for manual case turning is another well-designed, ergonomic piece that shows his careful, thoughtful approach to tool design. He even makes a version of it for the .50 BMG if your tastes in cartridges run on the large side!

21st Century Neck-turner

Neck-Turning Tool and Accessory Order Information
Order the Neck Turner and accessories through www.21stCenturyShooting.com, or call (260) 273-9909. The 21st Century neck-turning tool, by itself, costs $78.00, including a carbide cutter (standard size). You can chose among four different cutter shoulder angles, to match your particular cartridge: 20°, 30°, 35°, and 40°. Additional carbide cutters cost $26.00-$28.00. Caliber-specific turning arbors and expander mandrels are priced at $7.95 each. The standard size Universal Case-Holding Handle (photo above), costs $16.95.

You can also purchase a complete Neck-Turning Tool Kit from 21st Century. This $112.99 package includes everything you need:

Neck Turning Tool w/cutter
Turning Arbor
Expander Mandrel
Expander Die Body
Loading Die Locking Ring
Neck Turning Universal Handle

Disclosure: 21st Century Shooting, an advertiser on this website, provided a neck turner tool and accessories to German Salazar for testing and evaluation.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »
February 7th, 2011

PSW Wireless Target Viewing Video System — Field-Tested

When conditions are absolutely perfect, you can see 6mm bullet holes (in the white) at 600 yards with a premium spotting scope (with at least 45x magnification). But add some haze and mirage into the mix and all bets are off. This weekend, we tested three top-of-the-line “big name” spotting scopes. All three had at least 60X magnification, all had HD glass, and the average price of the three units was over $2500.00 with eyepiece. Even with all those pricey, state-of-the-art optics, on Saturday we couldn’t see bullet holes at 400 yards because of thick mirage and dust in the air.

Quality Target Cams Can Provide Reliable Viewing from 50 yards to 1000+ yards
What can you do if you want to practice at long ranges, and see your bullet impacts — reliably, every time? There are electronic target systems that plot shot locations with sonic sensors or accelerometers, but these are large, complex, semi-permanent installations costing many thousands of dollars. For most shooters, the only practical, field-deployable solution is a quality, wireless target cam system. You can source the necessary components — video camera, transceivers, antennas, batteries, display screen — or you can purchase a turn-key system. There are a handful of target cam systems now marketed for shooters. We’ve tried a couple that did not perform as claimed. But one system that we can endorse without reservation is the Target Cam System from Pro Security Warehouse (PSW). We purchased PSW’s Long-Range Wireless Target Observation System and have tested it outdoors extensively. With a well-illuminated target, this system will reliably display even .22 caliber bullet holes in the black, at distances out to 1000 yards. In order to see bullet holes in the black you may have to increase the contrast or adjust the brightness — but that’s a simple matter of clicking a couple control buttons. During daylight hours, we could easily see all bullet holes, with the camera displaying an area about two feet by two feet square. When shooting at night, you need to illuminate the target with lights.

PSW Target Cam System

PSW Target Cam SystemPSW Wireless Video Viewing System Components
The PSW Target Cam System costs $1499.00 but that includes everything you need, even tripod and batteries. The target image is captured by a high-resolution, auto-focus color camera with 22X max magnification and motorized zoom. This can be set as far as 30 feet from the target, but we got the best results with the camera positioned about 10 feet from the target, on one side of the target frame. The camera connects to a digital wireless multi-channel transceiver (with high-gain antenna) clamped to the same tripod that holds the camera. A sealed, rechargeable 12V gel cell battery will run the camera for a full day’s worth of shooting.

Pro Security Warehouse Target Cam System Brochure (PDF).

For the shooter’s station, PSW provides a compact transceiver (the size of a smart-phone), plus a rugged color monitor in a padded carry pack. These are likewise powered by a rechargeable 12V battery. Initially, we suspected the 5.6″ monitor was a little on the small size, but it proved more than adequate in use. With the monitor positioned a couple feet from your rifle (either on the bench or on the ground when shooting prone), you can easily see scoring rings, score numbers, and, of course, bullet holes. You may want to fiddle with the color and contrast controls to create the best definition for viewing bullet holes in the black. The resolution is good enough that we could easily make out “doubles” where two 6mm shots landed virtually on top of one another.

PSW Target Cam System

One smart feature is that the target display is set for a short time delay. This allows you to turn your head from sights or scope to the display screen and see the bullet hole “arrive” on paper a few seconds after the actual hit. Being able to actually see the bullet hole appear on the target helps you quickly locate the latest shot even if there is a cluster of bullet holes close together. That’s smart engineering.

The PSW system works really well. We have no negatives to report — everything performed as advertised. Are there any improvements/enhancements we would like? Yes — it would be nice if the receiver could output to a laptop computer, so you’d have the option of a larger display screen and so you could capture video of shot strings. We would like PSW to offer an optional, small solar panel that could trickle-charge the unit during use. Lastly, we would like to see PSW offer a lower-cost system that could be used with a user-supplied video camera. We know many shooters already own small video cameras, and this could reduce the overall “buy-in” cost of the system.

Certainly, $1499.00 for the complete PSW system is not cheap. However, when you consider that the PSW wireless viewing system reliably displays bullet holes at long range in all daylight viewing conditions — something not even a $3500.00 spotting scope can do — the system is worth the money for shooters who practice at long ranges. Interestingly, all four testers who looked through the top-end spotting scopes agreed that they would rather have this $1500.00 target cam AND a $1000.00 spotting scope rather than a $2500.00+ spotting scope alone. To learn more about the PSW Target Cam system visit www.ProSecurityWarehouse.com or call (407) 447-1637.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics 2 Comments »
January 29th, 2011

SHOT Show Report: Sig Sauer 1911-2 and P210 “Legend”

While our SHOT Show coverage concentrated mainly on rifles and rifle accessories, we did find two notable handgun offerings from Sig Sauer: 1) a new .22LR version of the 1911; and, 2) a re-introduction of the classic Sig P210, with some enhancements. There are a handful of 22-cal 1911s on the market. Some, like the Chiappa, leave much to be desired, both in functionality and build quality. By contrast, the new Sig Sauer 1911-22 looks and handles like a high-grade .45acp 1911. CLICK for More Photos.

Sig 1911-22

The grip safety and ambidextrous frame safeties work just like those on a well-built centerfire 1911. The frame ergonomics and grips are identical to the classic 1911 design. The sights are good, and most importantly, the single-action trigger is light and crisp — just as you’d expect on a good, tuned 1911. We were very impressed with the gun, especially after noting the MSRP is just $399.00. We should add, however, that Germany’s GSG also makes a similar 1911-22 that costs less. You can buy a GSG 1911-22 for about $350.00 at larger gun dealers. The Sig Sauer 1911-22 we tried had nicer grips and a lighter trigger pull than the GSGs we’ve sampled.

Sig Sauer 1911-22

Sig 1911-22 Photos courtesy Osage County Guns and SigSauerGuns.com.

Sig Sauer Re-Releases P210 “Legend”
Prominently displayed at Sig Sauer booth was the Sig P210 “Legend”, an updated version of the classic Sig P210. The new version has been released with an American-style mag release at the rear of the trigger guard, and some subtle modifications. The original Sig P210 is a genuine classic, perhaps the most accurate 9mm duty pistol ever created. Because of the high quality of its construction and careful hand-fitting, the P210 has never been cheap. The latest “Legend” version will be priced about $2,200.00 in the USA.

The new P210 “Legend” continues to offer superb accuracy, with some enhancements for target shooters. As expected, the P210 Legend’s trigger pull was sweet indeed — light, crisp, with no creep. Let me put it this way — the Legend’s trigger is smoother and lighter than what you’ll get on most custom 1911s. The optional, new rear target sight has a 3-position slider that adjusts the zero for three different target distances. That’s a smart feature we’d like to see on other target pistols.

In the video below we show the Sig Sauer 1911-22 and Sig P210 “Legend”. The Video starts off with a visit to the Smith and Wesson booth.

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Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product 2 Comments »
January 24th, 2011

SHOT Show Report: New Hornady Case Prep Assistant

Hornady has a new, compact, one-station Case Prep Assistant for 2011. This handy, affordable unit easily fits on your benchtop. The dual-voltage (110v/220v) Case Prep Assistant can power inside and outside chamfer tools as well as neck brushes and primer pocket cleaners/uniformers. Included with the Case Prep Assistant are chamfer and deburr tools, with plenty of onboard storage for optional case prep accessories such as primer pocket cleaners, case neck brushes and other 8-32 thread tools. The unit is compatible with both 110V or 220V power. The Case Prep Assistant retails for under $90.00 — Midsouth Shooter’s Supply has it for $83.88 currently.

Hornady Case Prep Assistant

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The new compact Case Prep Assistant complements Hornady’s large Case Prep Center, introduced in 2010. The large prep center performs all case prep functions, including case trimming which is handled by a vertical (drill-press-type) motorized trim station. Cases are held with a cam-lock shell-holder and then lowered vertically on to the spinning trimmer head. Hornady’s Dave Emary demonstrated both products for us at the 2011 SHOT Show. Dave then told us about the Vintage Sniper Rifle Matches which he has helped organize for the CMP.

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Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 2 Comments »
January 23rd, 2011

SHOT Show Report: Something Old, Something New from CZ-USA

Bargain Competition Air Rifle — Model 200 S
The new red and black model 200 S air rifle from CZ-USA is an excellent deal at $429.00 MSRP. Expect to find this at discounters for around $399.00. For that price you get a modern, ergonomic three-position stock, an nice adjustable 2-stage trigger with low pull weight, and a 4x32mm scope. The action also has dovetails to mount iron sights. Offering 16 Joules of energy from its gauge-equipped air cylinder, the 200 S airgun will launch .177 caliber pellets at 800 FPS. As Kelly Bachand explains in the video below, this rifle offers plenty of bang for the buck. Kelly says he has “spent a lot more money for an air rifle with far fewer features.” If you are looking for a training rifle for your club or organization, the CZ 200 S would be a good choice. Kelly feels this air rifle is a real winner for the price.

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CZ 200 S Air Rifle

Perfect Fit — the CZ550 FS Mannlicher
As this website’s Editor, I see hundreds of rifles at SHOT Show. If there was one rifle I wanted to purchase and take home from this year’s Show, it was the CZ 550 FS (see video above). A 7.2-lb Mannlicher-stocked field rifle, with 20.5″ barrel, this gun fit me like a dream. Equipped with safari-style iron sights, the rifle mounted and indexed perfectly. The sights seem to align themselves. The instant I shouldered the rifle with my cheek on the rounded Euro-style comb, the front bead-tipped blade indexed perfectly in the rear v-notch. I could literally mount this rifle to my shoulder with my eyes closed, then open my eye and find the safari sights were perfectly aligned both vertically and horizontally. That’s remarkable. Watch the above video — the CZ 550 is covered in the second half.

CZ 550 FS Mannlicher Hunter

The action is very smooth — much better than most domestic factory guns, and noticeably smoother than a Tikka T3. The top of the action has a 19mm dovetail for secure, low-profile mounting of scope rings. The 550 FS comes with a handsome Turkish walnut stock, fitted with proper sling swivels. This rifle has been very popular with owners, and I can understand why — it’s light, easy to handle, and it is one of the best-pointing hunting rifles I’ve ever shouldered. The model 550 FS is offered in a variety of calibers: .243 Win, 6.5×55, .270 Win, .308 Win, 30-06, and 9.3x62mm. Note, for 2011, CZ is offering a Mannlicher-stocked rimfire rifle chambered in .17 HMR, the CZ model 452 FS, priced at $514.00 MSRP. That would be a great carry-around varminter for squirrels and small game.

Related Resources

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
January 21st, 2011

SHOT Show Report: New Leupold 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope

Yes, bigger is better. Leupold has upgraded its popular “folded-light-path” compact spotting scope, by adding an HD-glass, 80mm front objective and boosting the magnification up to 60-power. That will give this NEW scope better low-light performance and higher magnification while retaining a usable exit pupil (if you increase magnification without increasing the front lens diameter, the exit pupil shrinks). The unit costs $1800, not bad considering the price of other 80mm spotters, and the Leupold is much easier to carry, given its compact design.

Bigger Objective, Better HD Glass, More Useful Magnification Range
We’ve always liked the Leupold compact spotter because it is light weight and it’s Newtonian (folded light path) design makes it much more compact than most spotters of comparable magnification. The U.S. Military currently uses the Mark 4 “tactical” version of the Leupold 12-40x60mm spotter. However, we felt that the glass in the 12-40 spotter was not on a par with the latest generation HD spotters from Kowa, Zeiss, and Leica, or even Nikon and Pentax for that matter. Leupold has taken a huge step forward by gracing its new spotter with a big, HD (low dispersion) front objective. This should give the scope better perceived sharpness with much less color fringing (chromatic aberration) when viewing targets at long range. Upsizing the objective to 80mm makes the scope brighter, improving low-light performance. That’s important, particularly for tactical guys and hunters. The bigger objective also allows Leupold to increase magnification all the way from 40X to 60X. Do you always want a 60-power view? No, but it is great have 50% more magnification on tap when you need it.

Leupold 20-60x80mm spotting scope

60X is a Good Thing for Target Shooters
Most 40-power spotting scopes struggle to resolve 6mm and 6.5mm bullet holes at 600 yards. With HD glass and 60X magnification, you’ll have a much better chance to see small bullet holes at long range (though you’ll also need good viewing conditions). That’s a huge advantage for the long-range target shooter. Overall, we were very pleased that Leupold engineered this much-enhanced 80mm spotter. We predict it will be a big hit with anyone who needs serious magnification in an easy-to-carry optic.

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