December 26th, 2008

CG Trigger for High Power and Long-Range Rifles

The two-stage CG Universal Match Trigger has proven very popular with High Power and Long-Range Shooters. The CG-Jackson trigger is a Robert Chombart design, like the RPA Quadlock and the Millennium actions. The trigger’s final stage pull-weight adjusts from 10 ounces to over 63 ounces, and both a curved or straight trigger finger is offered. Notably, this new design works with a very wide range of actions, both custom and factory. In addition to a Remington 700 version, for example, there are versions for Barnard, Mauser, RPA, SAKO, Tikka, and Winchester Model 70 actions. That makes this CG Trigger one of the most versatile match triggers ever offered. In Europe, the trigger is sold by Jackson Rifles. In the USA, the CG trigger is solf by Tom Myers, through his company X-Treme Shooting Products.

German Salazar has tested the CG Trigger and written a detailed product review. CLICK HERE for CG Trigger Review by Salazar.

CG Universal Trigger

The CG Universal Trigger uses a variety of upper frames to fit each specific rifle action. The upper frame contains the final lever(s) of the trigger. A universal main housing is attached to this upper frame. This ensures similar function, settings and “feel”, whatever action the trigger is fitted to. The CG Universal is a true two-stage trigger, so that (unlike modified direct-pull triggers fitted to some “tactical” rifles), the sear engagement reduces and fully recovers with the first-pull movement of the trigger finger. The CG Universal trigger system was designed by Robert Chombart, who also designed the CG MILLENNIUM, CG INCH and other target rifle actions.

The CG Universal Trigger System works with numerous rifle actions including:

RPA 2000
TIKKA 5xx/6xx
US 1917 – P14

CG Universal Trigger

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December 24th, 2008

Spotting Scopes — Straight vs. Angled

We’ve looked through many different types of spotting scopes. Initially we thought angled was the only way to go. This lets a shooter mount the spotting scope at his side and easily glance through the lens with the scope body rotated 30 to 90°. However, at matches where you spot for a partner, the straight scopes seem to work better. You don’t have to bend your neck down or remove your hat and your “free” eye can scan downrange for wind changes. When spotting for your partner (while seated or standing), a tripod-mounted straight scope was definitely the most “user-friendly” set-up.

Straight (in-line) Spotting Scope

Danny Reever, author of our Spotting Scope Review, tell us: “Straight vs. angled? Man, that’s a tough call! Having used both personally for over a year I’d have to say this: I feel the straight gives you a clearer, sharper image. One less mirror to contend with. If you have a dealer that can give you a side-by-side look at a couple of hundred yards the difference is apparent. That’s one reason Chip Allen chose the straight Zeiss over the angled. On the other hand the angled gives you more options in the way of setup which can be a bonus between cramped benches, when you’re spotting for yourself. I don’t shoot prone, but I think the angled would be the way to go for a solo prone shooter, again more setup options. Another benefit of the angled is that you can keep the tripod lower, a plus on a windy day. The 100MM scopes like the Pentax and Optolyth do not offer an angled body option — maybe there are some engineering issues, or perhaps that’s just to control costs.”

Angled Spotting Scope

Scope Stands for Bench Use
It you plan to use an angled spotting scope on the bench, Ray-Vin has a great clamping system that allows you to position the eyepiece exactly where you want it. The clamp mount Ray-Vin Benchrest Scope Stand allows you to easily adjust the scope height and horizontal position relative to the shooter. A twist handle with a ball joint on the end then lets you set the scope (and angled eyepiece) to any angle you want. It’s a very slick system. At $199.00 for the complete system (not including scope) shown below left, it’s not inexpensive. However, if you already own a Ray-Vin scope head with ball joint, the Benchrest Clamp is just $119.00. Another option for bench use is the Ray-Vin C-2004 “Tactical Tripod” (photo below right). This low-profile, $199.00 unit can be used on the bench or on the ground. Note: the Tactical Tripod uses a 3/4″-diam. vertical shaft, while the Benchrest Scope Stand has a 1″-diam. vertical shaft. Accordingly, the scope heads are not interchangeable between the two units.

Ray-Vin Scope StandRay-Vin Scope Stand

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December 23rd, 2008

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers For Shooters

Gun Gear ShoppingYep, there’s only two more shopping days left before Christmas. If you didn’t order months ago, Santa probably won’t arrive with a new gain-twist barrel, carbon-fiber stock, custom action, and 10-40×56 Benchrest scope on Christmas day. The expensive goodies required advance planning. However, there’s still time to do some online shopping for other gun gear, with delivery later this week.

Here are a few suggestions for Stocking Stuffers:

Handy Tools:
Hood Kwik Estimator — Use this handy $2.50 tool to measure your 6mm groups. Bracket the group within the diverging lines of the Kwik Estimator to get a close approximation of group size.
• Hornady Comparator body with Comparator — This simple device, mounted on your calipers, lets you measure the base to ogive of your bullets, or bottom of rim to ogive of your loaded rounds. A “must-have”.
• Pin Vise with #53 Bit — This will let you clean up the flash hole of Lapua PPC and BR cases. The number 53 bit measures .0595″, the perfect size for the .059″ BR flashholes.

gun gear shopping

Solvents and lubes:
• Ballistol — Extremely versatile, non-toxic case cleaner/lube. Use this to remove the carbon from the necks of your cases. It is also an outstanding case lube for regular resizing of small cases.
• CARB-OUT — The product name explains its function. The stuff plain works on carbon–as well or better than anything out there.
• Eezox — This product outperformed Break-Free and most other rust preventatives in our tests. It displaces water and leave a dry barrier on the surface of metal. Use it on your barrels, dies, and tools.
• Kroil — A classic penetrating lube, Kroil has myriad uses in the reloading room and home workshop. It can be combined with other solvents and used for bore cleaning.
• KG12 — Tests have shown KG12 to be a super-effective copper cleaner. It works fast and there’s no ammonia smell. Should you dump your other bore cleaners? No. But we recommend you give KG12 a try.

gun gear shopping

Full Holiday Buyer’s Guide
For more Holiday shopping ideas, check out our 2006 Holiday Buyers’ Guide. In that story we recommended dozens of products ranging in price from $1.99 to over $2000.00. While prices have changed since 2006, you’ll still find many bargains among the featured items in the Buyers’ Guide.

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December 21st, 2008

CARB-OUT — If It's Good Enough for Tony B…

Tony Boyer, all-time benchrest Hall of Fame points leader, has had a spectacular year, racking up many major wins. Of course, most of that success is due to his shooting skills, but Tony also benefitted from his superb Bartlein gain-twist barrels, and a new bore-cleaning product, CARB-OUT™ from SharpShoot-R™ Precision Products of Kansas. Boyer has been using CARB-OUT for the past year, and Tony enjoyed one of his best seasons ever. The use of CARB-OUT has helped Tony to remove carbon from his match barrels, reducing the need for abrasives. CARB-OUT, we’ve found, can also reduce the amount of brushing you need to do.

SharpShootR Precision Carb-Out solventOur friend Boyd Allen tested CARB-OUT on a rifle that had stubborn carbon fouling. Boyd had previously applied conventional solvents which did a good job of removing copper and conventional powder fouling. However, when examining the barrel with a borescope, Boyd saw heavy “burned-in” deposits of carbon. In this situation, Boyd observed, scrubbing with an abrasive such as Iosso or JB would normally be required. But Boyd had received a sample of CARB-OUT and Boyd decided to give it a try: “After working with a nylon brush and patches, getting all that I could out, I was able to see heavy carbon next to the lands, extending forward. This I removed by wetting the bore with the nylon brush, letting it soak for 20 minutes, and brushing with a bronze brush. I did this twice. Previously I would have expected to have done a lot of strokes with an abrasive to get the same result, since this was a worst case situation. Being able to to remove hard carbon without the use of abrasives is a ‘great leap forward’ to steal a phrase”.

Using this regimen, Boyd was able to remove the stubborn carbon. “CARB-OUT really works”, Boyd told us. “This was that baked-on black stuff that normal solvents won’t touch. After a good soak, the CARB-OUT on a wet [bronze] brush knocked it out.” Boyd observed, “Others may differ, but after using this stuff, I think abrasives may be a thing of the past.” Boyd observed: “If Boyer, who has been at the top of the BR heap for years, believes in the stuff… that’s significant.”

While Boyd used CARB-OUT with a bronze brush, Terry Paul says the product is designed to work well without brushing. For the typical type of carbon fouling seen in barrels, Terry says: “You simply put it on a patch or a mop and swab it thru the barrel. CARB-OUT also leaves behind a protective coating that prevents future carbon adherance. This coating is less than 100th of a micron in thickness, so it will not affect first shot accuracy.” For more info, visit, or call (785) 883-4444.

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December 13th, 2008

Cargo Pants — Fieldwear for Active Shooters

Serious marksmen know the benefits of shooting hats, shooting coats, and shooting glasses, but less thought seems to be given to the rest of the wardrobe — pants. Jeans are OK for bench shooting, but they are less than ideal for prone work or tactical matches. Typical jeans provide little room for anything but loose change, car keys and a thin wallet. They tend to be restrictive in the wrong places, and heavy denim can be too hot in summer weather.

Propper Tactical pantsBy contrast, cargo pants or “tactical trousers” offer many advantages for the shooter. Many designs feature a small pocket that’s ideal for a cell phone or Kestrel wind meter. The large lower “bellows” pockets can hold a medium-sized log-book, empty chamber indicator (ECI), digital timer, a small camera, or ammo magazines. The upper slash pockets make it easy to access earplugs, come-up cards, or other small items. Some of the better cargo pants have double knees. This can provide a little more comfort and protection while shooting prone. Overall the cargo pant design is more practical, and in my opinion, more comfortable, than a pair of denim jeans.

This Editor was recently looking to replace a much-used pair of cargo pants that had finally worn out after two years. The cheap “no-name” cargo pants didn’t fit well and the stitching was poor. I looked at the military-style BDUs. They are durable, but I didn’t like the pocket options or the feel of the ripstop-type fabric. In addition, I wanted something “neutral” rather than camo. As I often wear field pants in business settings, such as banks and the post office, I didn’t need Tiger-stripes screaming “urban commando wannabee”.

I checked out various styles ranging from $15.00 to $65.00 and settled on the Propper F5220, 9-pocket “Tactical Pants”. Priced at $29.99, these have a myriad of features I really like. The elasticized waist band eases movement when you’re shooting from a prone or kneeling position. The double knees are great when you’re shooting a tactical match off bare ground. The front “cellphone pocket” is big enough to hold a Kestrel securely. The seat area is double thickness (nice when sitting on wet grass). There’s a clever double-level rear pocket that lets you position your wallet high for easy access or a low for extra security.

I also ride a motorcycle and I found the Propper tactical pants work well on a two-wheeler. Again the stretch waistband is a big plus. The front slash pockets are not cut so low that I have to worry about stuff falling out when riding. The large side cargo pockets allow me to carry checkbook, PDA, and digital camera securely on the sides of my legs. My cellphone is easily accessible and I like the extra D-ring for holding keys on a carabiner while off the machine.

Propper Tactical pants

Propper F5220 “Tactical” trousers are made from a durable 65% polyester / 35% cotton canvas blend. They are shrink-resitant and a DuPont Teflon coating makes them stain-resistant. For my purposes, the F5220 pants are every bit as good as Royal Robbins’ 5.11 pants (maybe better), and they cost at least ten bucks (25%) less. Propper F5220s are available in Khaki (tan), Black, Olive and Navy Blue from or

Never heard of Propper? Propper International is a 37-year-old manufacturing company that produces uniforms for the U.S. Armed Services and police agencies. Propper has been ISO 9001-certified since 1996 and operates factories in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

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December 11th, 2008

MINI-REVIEW: Dewey Crocogator Primer Pocket Cleaner.

There are many tools for cleaning the carbon out of primer pockets. We’ve tried most of them, and Dewey’s handy double-ended “Baby Crocogator” is our current favorite for normal carbon/primer residue removal. This Editor keeps one in the range box and one in the loading room. The Baby Croc will get your primer pockets clean without shaving brass or slightly enlarging the primer pocket. Priced at $5-$7 (depending on vendor), the Baby Croc cleans faster than metal brushes, and you’ll never have to worry about bent or broken bristles. It also seems to clean the edges of the primer pocket better than the wire brush tools. Some folks prefer to use primer-pocket uniforming tools (such as the carbide Whitetail Tool) for removing carbon. These tools work really well, but they are extremely sharp and you have to be careful not to shave brass while removing the carbon. Most serious primer pocket uniformers are also much more expensive than the Baby Croc, and only have one working end.

Dewey Crocogator Tool

The Baby Croc has cleaning tips on both ends — one for small primer pockets and the other for large pockets. The tool uses diamond shaped teeth to remove the carbon, without shaving brass. Made of hardened tool steel, Dewey’s Baby Crocogator will outlast a half-dozen wire brush tips. Order from ($6.50, item 55374), or Lock, Stock & Barrel ($5.10, item DWYCROC).

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December 8th, 2008

Spectacular SEB Rest for F-Class Team Vice-Captain

seb rest F-ClassRight out of the box, the SEB Coaxial Rest is already one of the slickest pieces of hardware in the shooting game. The SEB joystick rest functions smoothly and is beautifully machined.

But Americans always like to “hot-rod” their gear, and this SEB rest enjoyed some very special customization by Grizzly Industrial’s Shiraz Balolia. Shiraz, who the Vice Captain of the USA F-Class Open Team, teamed up with Bob Pastor of Viper Rests to create what may be the “Ultimate” SEB rest. This candy-apple-red beauty features a new CNC-machined base with integral carry handle. The base was finished mirror-smooth then treated to a stunning bake-on red finish. The base started as a solid block of aluminum which was milled out on the underside to save a bit of weight. The rest now also boasts large-diameter custom footpads fabricated by Bob Pastor. These aluminum pads feature wide conical “spikes” in the bottom. “US F-Class Team” is engraved in the top of each pad.

seb rest F-Class

seb rest F-Class

The base required many hours of expert machine work by Shiraz to complete. Sorry, for now, the base is a one-of-a-kind, so you can’t buy one. Shiraz says “It would be way too expensive to produce these one at a time.” But, you can get the large-diameter footpads from Bob Pastor. Call Bob at (269) 521-3671 for specs and prices.

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November 29th, 2008

Sweet Browning Falling Block For Sale in Forum

We believe that every serious gun collector should have at least one falling block rifle in his or her collection. This classic design allows a very short, compact action. Falling blocks can be extremely accurate. Remember that the finest, long-range target rifles of the 19th Century were falling blocks. And the more modern BSA Martini designs were very successful rimfire target rifles in their heydey.

Compared to shooting a semi-automatic rifle, or even a modern bolt gun, using a falling block is a very different experience. It seems old-fashioned, but in a reassuring kind of way. The pace is slower, and there is something calm and purposeful about working the smooth under-lever and loading the case by hand. You “work” a bolt gun… but you “caress” a falling block.

Browning High Wall 1885

Right now there is a very nice Browning B-78 High Wall falling block for sale in our Shooters’ Forum Classifieds. Chambered in 22-250, it features a full octagon barrel and superbly-figured wood. The seller reports this rifle: “Is in 99% condition [and] shoots under 1” at 100 yards with factory ammo.” The $1,100 asking price includes a 6-12×44 Simmons Aetec scope, rings and bases, 125 pieces once-fired brass, and a Sinclair 22-250 bore guide.

This Editor has shot one of the older Miroku-built Browning B-78 falling blocks and it was beautifully built, with a butter-smooth action and gorgeous blueing. (Japan’s Miroku, which also builds Citori shotguns for Browning, is renowned for the superb metal-work and finish of their rifles and shotguns.) The B-78 was produced by Miroku from 1973 to 1982. This single shot rifle was initially offered in .22-250, 6 mm Remington, .25-06, and .30-06. .243 and 7mm Rem Mag was added to the standard rifle line and a .45-70 version was added on a heavier frame. The B-78 was discontinued in 1982, and then reintroduced in 1985 as the Model 1885 High Wall. The more recent 1885s feature a more traditional stock with a straight wrist and no roll-over comb.

Browning High Wall 1885

Chuck Hawks is also a fan of the Browning falling blocks: “The Browning 1885 High Wall is a modern version of the John Browning designed classic, widely regarded as the strongest and best of the American single-shot rifles. It is a very simple yet elegant looking rifle. It has an exposed rebounding hammer that cocks automatically when the ‘S’-shaped underlever is operated. The automatic ejector can be user set to throw the empty case out to the right or left, or extracted for convenient removal by hand.”

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November 27th, 2008

Canadian "Ski Bipod" for F-Class Shooters

We first featured Henry Remple’s Canadian-made F-Class bipod last winter and we still receive many questions about this product. Nick-named the “Ski Bipod”, this impressive unit offers unrivaled stability from an ultra-wide footprint. The height of the bipod is adjustable as is the distance between the runners or “skis” that contact the ground. And there is a cant adjustment allowing the rifle to be leveled on uneven ground. The reason Henry used ski-like runners rather than flat pads is that this allows the rifle to slide slightly reward during recoil. That eliminates much of the hop and rotation associated with conventional bipods.

Remple Ski Bipod

Forum member Keith Skjerdal reports: “A lot of F-CLass guys in Canada are using the Ski Bipod made by Henry Remple out of Calgary. It is very well made and steady as a conventional pedestal rest. Even some guys in the USA and Britain have them now. If you want the best, this is it, in my opinion. This makes the trip to the mound easier than with a big pedestal rest. Downside? Well, since the Ski Bipod attaches to your rifle, it counts in your total weight under the rules. The Ski Bipod adds roughly 3.5 pounds to your gun’s weight. The cost is around $400-420 Cdn (this basically covers the cost of materials and all that milling work.)

To get one, contact Henry Rempel from Calgary. He does not have a web site. His home phone number (after 7 pm) is 1-403-272-8416. I think his email is henry.rempel [at]”

Rempel Ski Bipod

Rempel Ski Bipod

Rempel Ski Bipod

Photos Copyright © Richard Dreger, used by permission.

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November 22nd, 2008

Lee Classic Cast Iron Press — Great Press for a Great Price

Lee reloading products have always represented good “bang for the buck”. The Lee Classic Cast “O”-style press is no exception — it works as well as some other presses costing twice as much. One well-known “boutique” bullet maker has recently switched to Lee presses because the tolerances and lack of slop were actually superior to more expensive presses.

Though relatively inexpensive, the Lee Classic is a well-designed unit with a strong, cast-iron frame and all-steel linkage. It has important (and very cool) features you won’t find on an RCBS RockChucker. First, the ram is drilled in the center and fitted with a plastic drop tube so spent primers drop right out the bottom (where you position your trash can). Second, the handle adjusts for length and “attack angle”. This allows you to change the leverage to suit your task. As Lee explains: “The start and stop position is adjustable with a 48-tooth, ratchet-type handle clamp. In addition, the handle length is completely adjustable. Shorten when you’re loading handgun and short rifle cases.” As you can see from the photos, you can also mount the handle on either side, left or right.

Lee Classic Cast Iron PressLee Classic Cast Iron Press

You can purchase the Lee Classic Cast Press for under $75.00 at major vendors. MidwayUSA sells the Lee Classic (item 317831) for $72.99. Natchez Shooters Supply also offers the Lee Classic for $72.99, item LEE90998.

Lee Classic Cast Press Primer systemMark Trope of has written a detailed Review of the Lee Classic Press. He notes that the press is “southpaw friendly” and he praises the priming system. Mark found that the spent primer drop tube worked very well and that the press “works perfect and has great sensitivity” when seating primers.

Not yet convinced? CLICK HERE to read comments from actual Lee Classic owners. Here are some highlights:

“It has a large, heavy-duty 1-1/8″ diameter ram that has been drilled out for spent primers … and a long clear plastic hose attached to it so you can route it to a trash can. [This is] a VERY well thought-out way to collect ALL primers to your trash can when you’re decapping.” –D. Oldham

“Fit and finish are impeccable. The spent primer disposal system is simple and neat. There is no spring or flexing of any kind. There is virtually no play in the ram, which is a good tight fit in the frame. Operation is totally smooth.” –R. Smith

“Totally outclasses any other press in its price range. Runs with presses in the $100-$120 range.”–W. Rose

“I like…the position of the ram at priming. The Lee seats the primer with the ram at the bottom of the stroke vs. the RC II, which seats in the middle of the stroke. Priming at the bottom of the stroke gives you a much better ‘feel’.” –M. Gallagher

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November 16th, 2008

Praise for 6mmBR for 600-Yard High Power

Forum member Russ T. is an experienced High Power shooter, with a Tennessee LR State championship to his credit among other excellent performances. He recently reviewed the performance of his Eliseo Tubegun chambered in 6mmBR. Russ writes:

“Got a good chance to shoot my tube gun today at 600 yards. I put a new Bartlein barrel on it chambered in 6BR. I had to do VERY little load develpment to find a good load. In fact all loads I tried would have shot a 200 out 200 possible at 600 yards. The winner load is a classic 6BR recipe right from the pages of this web site: 30.0 grains Hodgdon Varget, CCI 450 primers, 105gr Berger VLD seated .010″ into the lands, Norma brass with two-thousandths (.002) neck tension.

The gun, built on an Eliseo B1/R1 (single shot) tube stock*, has a trued Remington action with Dave Kiff (PT&G), fluted, coned bolt with Sako extractor, GTR firing pin, spring and shroud, and Rifle Basix trigger. The barrel is a 30″ Bartlein, 1:8″ twist 5R heavy Palma. My reamer is a .272 neck for Norma brass and .104 Freebore. Centra rear iron sights are fitted.

Weather was very dark and cloudy but there was very little wind. On the MR-1, 600-yard target I squeeked out a 200-16X. This little case is a flippin’ hammer at 600 yards! What a lot of fun to shoot. Lynwood Harrell just sent me a die in the mail so I’m ready for the season. I can see why the Europeans shoot this case at the very demanding 300-meter target!

This little case is a real winner at 600 yards. The nice thing about it is there is no false-shoulder/fire-forming hassle, and no necks to turn. Just load it and shoot it. I have two rifles that have turned necks and that is a lot of work when you’re doing 200 pieces of brass per rifle. The 6BR is just not picky. In fact the bullets just seem to know where to go.

My 6BR was built by Wald Precision Rifles. Call (701) 527-6447 and ask for Steve. Steve has produced Three National Championship quality rifles for me. I really have to thank Steve for doing such great work, he really stands behind his product. I know every one reading this can appreciate a good craftsmen when you’re putting your hard-earned money into a project such as this. So who deserves the credit — the Archer or the arrow-maker?”

Eliseo tubegun

*The B1 is the original Eliseo single-shot Tubegun stock, designed for the Barnard action. The newer R1 has a similar design, but is configured for a Remington 700 or Rem-clone actions.

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November 13th, 2008

Harrell's Combo Press — Compact and Well-Designed

If you are looking for a very solid, beautifully fabricated, loading press that can do double-duty at home as well as the range, consider the Harrell’s Combo Press. Though it is very compact, it has plenty of leverage to full-length size cases. As you can see in the photo, the Harrell’s combo works BOTH as an arbor press and as a standard press that functions with shell-holder and conventional screw-in dies. The arbor section on the left is tall enough to hold a Wilson micrometer-top seater. The threaded die section on the right has enough clearance for .308-sized cases.

One of the best features of the Combo Press from Harrell’s Precision is its sturdy clamp. This mounts solidly to a wood loading bench or table top. It also has enough vertical clearance between the jaws to work with most range benches. Forum member Boyd Allen has written a detailed review of the Harrell’s press, with additional photos by Paal Erik Jensen of Norway.


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November 8th, 2008

Whitley builds Ultimate AR Prairie Dog Rifle

Some months ago, and Robert Whitley teamed up to build a new 20-caliber AR15-based rifle. Our project goal was to create the “ultimate” semi-automatic prairie dog rifle. We wanted a low-recoiling, flat-shooting AR that worked great with a front rest and rear sandbag on a transportable field bench (such as the Coyote Jakes bench). We knew the basic AR15 design needed some “upgrades”, so Robert developed Delrin bag-riders for the forearm and buttstock. But we wanted the bag-riding components to be removable so the gun could be easily returned to standard configuration for shooting with sling or bipod. Robert worked with EGW to develop machined Delrin bag-riding units front and rear. The 3″-wide front “sled” attaches to the threaded anchor for the sling swivel stud, while the rear bag-rider mounts in place of the standard rear sling loop.

20 Practical AR15

20 Practical AR1520 Practical AR15

Our Ultimate Prairie Dog Rifle (PDR) features a 24″ Bartlein 11-twist cut-rifled barrel, DPMS side-charging upper, and a Jewell trigger. It is chambered in “20 Practical”, a cartridge popularized by Warren “Fireball” Brookman. This is simply the .223 Remington necked down to .204. You can use your existing .223 brass — no special case-forming required! The 20 Practical is accurate, flat-shooting, and has almost no recoil. The advantage over the standard .223 Remington is that, grain for grain, the bullets have a higher BC and travel at a higher velocity for more dramatic effect on a small varmint. The ultra-low recoil allows you to easily see your hits, even without a muzzle brake. The 20 Practical, launching 40-grainers at about 3750 fps, shoots flatter than a .223 Rem with 55gr hollowpoints.

20 Practical AR15

Robert has lots of experience building AR15 uppers and he has developed advanced features that make the gun much more ergonomic and easier to shoot from a prone position or from the bench. First, Robert offers a side charging handle. This lets you keep your head in shooting position while charging the gun or retracting the bolt. Second, he has fitted a GG&G extended scope rail. This permits the scope to be mounted far enough forward to allow proper eye relief while using a high-magnification scope. Without an extended scope rail you typically have to move way back on the gun to get enough eye relief and then you can’t seat the buttpad properly on your shoulder.

YouTube Preview Image
CLICK HERE for another 20 Practical AR15 video by Robert Whitley

20 Practical AR15In the video above, Robert shoots the Ultimate PDR with Berger 40gr BTHP bullets. Robert is using the Caldwell Fire Control front rest and rear sandbag. The Fire Control Rest is an affordable, joystick-style mechanical rest that allows you to easily adjust windage and elevation with a single movement of the joystick. The rest is solid and sturdy; Robert says it worked well.

In this session, Robert shot three five-shot groups. Each group could be covered by a dime, which measures 0.705″ in diameter. Subtract the 0.204″ bullet diameter, and you can see this rifle easily shoots under half-MOA, even rapid fire (groups 1 & 2). For the third (and last group), Robert slowed down the pace, aimed more precisely, and put five shots in 0.257″. Not bad for shooting off a wooden bench without wind flags! Like what you see? As soon as accuracy testing is complete, this rifle will be auctioned off to benefit this website. EGW will be offering the front and rear Delrin bag-riders. They will cost $40 each or both front and rear for $75.00 total. Robert will also be offering 20 Practical uppers for your AR15. Email rcw3 [at] or visit for upper specs, options, and prices.

20 Practical AR15 bullets .204

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October 27th, 2008

SEB Products (Coaxial Rests) Changes U.S.A. Dealer

SEB coaxial benchrestSEB Coaxial Rests are premium joystick-style front rests favored by many leading Benchrest shooters. The movement of the front support (both horizontally and vertically) is smooth and positive, and the rest can be easily adjusted so the arm won’t “droop” even if you remove your hand after adjustment. The base is beefy and stable, and the quality of machining is excellent. This Editor shoots off a SEB rest. I can testify that it helps me get on target faster and shoot smaller groups.

Until recently, Paul Schmid has been the U.S.A. dealer for SEB Rests and other products from innovative designer Sebastian Lambang. Sadly, however, Schmid passed away in late August. SEB Products has secured a new dealer for the American market: Ernie Bishop of Gillette, Wyoming, phone: 307-257-7431, email: ernieemily [at]

Seb Lambang tells us: “I have a new USA dealer for the SEB products now…Ernie Bishop in Gillette, WY. I am trully sorry that Paul Schmid, my mentor and the last US dealer for my products, passed away last August 30. He died suddenly several days after hip surgery. Paul was a man of honor, very trustworthy, and a great friend in the same time. He was truly a great loss for me! He and his family will always be in my heart and prayers….

Just like Paul, Ernie Bishop is a man of honor, trustworthy, and a very friendly guy, too. Ernie and I became close friends during a visit (for prairie dog shooting) to Wyoming after the 2008 Super Shoot. I asked Ernie to be the new US dealer because I know he can handle the dealership well and he will provide good service. Ernie will have rests, bags, ammo holder sets (etc) around mid-November, next month. I am preparing the items at this moment.

Please feel free to contact/email me anytime, or Ernie, if you have any questions, or problems, with SEB products. Email me at sebastianlambang [at] or visi [at]

All the best, Seb”

For more info, visit

Sebastian SEB front rest

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October 14th, 2008

Soft Gun Cases for Long-Barreled Rifles

Typical soft cases for scoped rifles are 45-46″ overall. These may lack clearance for large, high-magnification scopes, and the front section may be too tight for rifles with a 3″-wide forearm. Our Assistant Editor Jason Baney recently posed the question, “Who makes a high-quality soft case for large varmint and BR-style rifles with wide forearms and barrels 27″ or longer?”

We’ve done some research and identified some affordable options. While there are dozens of possible choices, the products shown below all offer some nice features and cost less than $45.00. NOTE: The Plano case offers a plastic-reinforced rubberized muzzle protector box. These are found on many Kolpin soft cases as well. We think a rubber/plastic nose guard is very important. This ensures your gun can’t slip out of the case muzzle first. A nose-guard also shields the delicate crown against hard objects and metal zippers. (Sooner or later you WILL drop a rifle, and they usually fall nose-first.) Remember that even the finest soft case is no substitute for a sturdy hard case. Also, hard cases are mandatory for airline transport.


48″ Length
Plano’s model 64860 (Brown) or 64800 (Gray) are nice cases that feature hard nose protectors and high-density foam padding. At 48″ overall, the Plano is 2″ longer than most cases. It boasts interior tie-down straps, two external zippered pockets, and an adjustable, padded shoulder strap. Users report the padding is excellent and the 600 dernier material and zippers are very durable. Price is $25.95 at


49″ Length
The Gamo case (item 6212374) is very inexpensive (just $12.99 at AirGunWarehouse), but owners report it is a “great value for the money”. The 48″ interior length should handle most rifles with a 28″ barrel, and there is ample space for a large scope. The case has one large pocket and a fabric shoulder strap on the reverse side. The interior has a soft, fleece-like lining and there is a rubberized, protective layer on the front, rear, and bottom. However, we warn that, because there is no hard nose box, if you leave a gap in the zippers near the front, the muzzle could exit the case. There are two zipper pull-tabs, front and back. Zip them up so they meet near the middle. Also we suggest putting a small rubber cap on the muzzle so it doesn’t catch on the zipper. The same advice applies to any soft case without a plastic nose guard.


50″ Length
The Allen “Euro” is a quality 50″-long case with enough interior space to handle 29-30″ barrels. This deluxe case features a fatter/taller front section to fit guns with wide forearms or attached bipods. This would be a good choice for a long-barreled varmint rifle. It features very thick foam padding (1.5″ per side) and multiple, velcro-closed external pockets. Midsouth Shooters Supply offers this case in hunter green (item 168-91550) for $35.66. A similar Allen-made case in blue or tan sold as the Remington Yukon. The Yukon is $33.66 at Cheaper than Dirt.


52″ Length
Among the ultra-long soft cases, the Kolpin Deluxe Soft Armor Gun Boot is one of the best you can buy. It has the nose-guard we recommend and is very thickly padded. A molded EVA foam bottom with a rubberized “track” allows the case to stand on its own. What are the negatives? Because Kolpin’s Soft Armor Gun Boot is designed for both scoped rifles and shotguns, the width of the front third of the case is pretty narrow. Also there is less clearance at the top than with some other soft cases. However, unless you have an extremely high scope mount or very long stock, this case should work for those long rifles with 30-32″ barrels. The Soft Armor Gun Boot is typically priced from $40-$55.00. Natchez Shooters Supply lists it for $45.50 but they are currently out of stock.


Bulldog Cases offers a bargain-priced 52″ soft case. If your rifle has a 31-32″ barrel, this Bulldog case should handle the length. The 52″ Bulldog features 2-1/4″ total padding thickness, a zippered slash pocket, and a shoulder strap. The 52″ Bulldog is offered in tan (BD242-52), green (BD241-52), or Mossy Oak camo (BD244-52). This case is available directly from Bulldog for $29.99. It is also sold by other vendors on the web for similar prices. NOTE: This case has no nose guard and has less padding than the cases listed above. It’s a “bare-bones” case, but if you have a super-long barrel, there aren’t many other inexpensive choices.

Battle Lake Predator Case — Plenty Long, but Pricey
Battle Lake Outdoors makes a 52″-long “Predator” rifle case that “has the best protection possible in a semi-soft case” according to one of our Forum members, Ron G. (aka “Radar”). The “Predator” case has an impact resistent .070″ plastic shell topped by high-grade 1000 Dernier Cordura nylon. The linining is soft “Chambrelle” fiber, which wicks away moisture. Overall, it is an impressive product, but it lacks a plastic nose guard and it costs $89.95. That puts it out of our list of “under $45.00″ products, but this case is worth considering if price is not a major factor.

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October 13th, 2008

Custom Cartridge Caddy Design from Australia

Forum Member Jeff R. (“aJR”) from Australia has crafted a slick, handsome cartridge holder to use with his heavy Benchrest Gun. This is a simple, elegant design that would be relatively easy to build in a home workshop. Composed of two blocks of wood with parallel metal arms, the unit adjusts for height and block angle. Jeff tells us: “This is my new cartridge dispenser I knocked up in the shed. I wanted to get the record rounds up next to the action and this is adjustable for just about any gun/port configuration, right or left.” The cartridge caddy has ten round holes (for record shots) in the top wood block, stacked in two rows. The base piece has five holes for sighters, with the holes cut at an angle for easy access.

Benchrest Cartridge Holder

For the blocks, Jeff used “Jarrah” wood, a deep, red hardwood native to West Australia. Jeff says he did not stain the wood–what you see is the natural color, just sprayed with acrylic lacquer. A similar wood available in the USA is Satiné, also known as “Bloodwood”.

Benchrest Cartridge Holder

By the way, Jeff’s 1000-yard rifle is worth mentioning in its own right. The gun shoots a large 30-cal magnum wildcat cartridge and has set many Australian BR records. The rifle features a tensioned barrel system, custom Magnum drop-port action, and a metal/composite stock. Click HERE for more info. There’s even a YouTube Video showing Jeff shooting his big boomer.

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October 11th, 2008

Popular MidwayUSA Range Bag on Sale, $39.99

Now through October 31st, the MidwayUSA Competition Range Bag is on sale for $39.99, marked down from $59.99. This is a BIG bag, almost the size of an airline carry-on. Padded full-length pouches line each side and offer plenty of room for handguns. A drawstring bag for spent brass is also included. The main bag has multiple accessory pockets, two padded pistol rugs, and a water bottle pouch with drain grommet. The MidwayUSA Competition Range Bag is actually two bags in one. Inside the main compartment is a removable open-top bag with wrap-around web handles. It contains 6 magazine pouches and 2 hook and loop internal dividers.

Competition Range Bag MidwayUSA

Here are reports from actual owners, as posted on, which has no affiliation with MidwayUSA:

“Yes, the bag is huge. I’ve been using the bag for the last two years and really like it. I carry lots of stuff to the range, including several handguns.”

“Own it, Love it! It is a great deal if you ask me. I have plenty of room for weapons, targets, ammo, eye and ear protection and it even has a drink holder. It also comes with a brass bag!”

“The MidwayUSA range bag is money well spent! I bought one when they were 50% off, and it’s an awesome bag. Plenty of room for pistols and ammo, front and side pockets, drink holder, brass bag, shotgun shell bag, and two pistol sleeves. It’s great!”

“I got it and I love it. It’s well made and you can’t beat the price. Best 40 dollars I ever spent. And if they would sell it for 60 or 70 dollars, it would still be a bargain.”

Over 160 other user reviews are available on MidwayUSA’s website — just click the “Review” tab on the Product Page. The most recent review was posted yesterday by Brian in Kent, WA: “I cannot say enough good things about this bag. I looked at a few range bags that were double or even triple the price of the Midway USA Competition Range Bag, and none of them stacked up. Everything about this bag is high quality — the stitching, zippers, shoulder strap, fabric — and every time I open this bag I find another pocket or pouch. You will not find another bag of this quality with these features for under $60. Trust me I have looked.”

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October 1st, 2008

Leatherman Skeletool CX on Sale at Natchez

Natchez Shooters Supplies has the Leatherman Skeletool CX on sale for $53.49, marked down from $96.00. Light-weight (just 5 oz.), compact (4″ closed), and versatile, the Skeletool CX features pliers, wirecutter, screwdriver (with changeable bits), and a very nice semi-serrated cutting blade. The handle is tungsten-coated steel and carbon fiber. We’ve checked around the web, and the next lowest price for the versatile Skeletool CX is $62.99 at If you do order from Natchez, please mention that you saw this deal on

Buyer Reviews of the Skeletool CX have been extremely positive. One owner declared: “I’ve owned practically every Leatherman and SOG multi-tool produced over the past 15 years; a few Gerbers and Swiss Army brands thrown in there as well. And I’ve got to just jump in and say, this is arguably the best Leatherman ever.” Another Skeletool user wrote: “I’ve owned this product for about 4 months now and really do love it. I appreciate that this Leatherman has done away with all the extraneous tools that add bulk and weight but are rarely used. Instead of needing a holster, I can wear it in my pocket like I would any other knife.”

Leatherman Skeletool CX

Better Than a Blade Alone
For years, this Editor’s favorite, carry-around cutting instrument has been a semi-serrated Spyderco Delica. I may finally retire the Delica and replace it with the Skeletool CX. For not much more money than a Delica costs today, the Skeletool provides a semi-serrated stainless cutting blade, plus pliers and a bit-driver. The overall package isn’t much larger than my Delica, and it’s just as easy to carry. The Skeletool CX has a removeable pocket clip PLUS a handy, carabiner type carry loop (see photo at right).

• Length: 4 in. / 10 cm closed
• Weight: 5 ounces / 142 grams
• Features: Combination Straight/Serrated Cutting Blade (154CM stainless steel), Pliers, Wire Cutters, Screwdriver with bits, Bit Storage in handle, Bottle Opener, Lanyard Ring, Carabiner snap-loop, Removable Pocket Clip
• Materials: Stainless Steel, Tungsten DLC Coating, 154CM, Carbon Fiber (handle)

Included Bits:
• Phillips #1 and #2
• Screwdriver 3/16″ and 1/4″

Leatherman Skeletool CX

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September 30th, 2008

Sinclair Releases New, Advanced Neck Turning System

Sinclair International has just introduced a new Neck-Turning Tool. Part of a complete system with carbide mandrels, this product promises to be one of the best neck-turners on the market. The new tool has many improved features we really like:

▪ The cutter body is big, and curved to fit the hand. So, it is easier to hold than the old Sinclair tool or the K&M tool.

▪ The cutter-depth adjustment works really well. A large, knurled rotary knob on the back of the cutter body connects to an eccentric mechanism. This moves the mandrel shaft (and case) in and out relative to the cutter tip. You start by setting the cutter with feeler gauges, then fine-tune with the knob. Adjustments are very positive and precise, with laser-engraved index marks. This is a very good adjustment system, we think.

▪ The end of the tool is open so you can easily eyeball the caseneck as you’re cutting.

▪ High-grade carbide mandrels in 17 through 338 calibers will be offered with the new cutter system. At about $45 per caliber, they’re expensive, but the carbide mandrels DO work better — you’ll notice smoother case rotation and less heat build-up than with conventional (non-carbide) mandrels. If you already have mandrels, don’t worry. Sinclair says: “Our single-ended stainless mandrels will work fine with the new Neck-Turning Tool.”

Sinclair Neck-turning tool

Precise Adjustments Possible
With the eccentric adjustment system, you can make quick cut-depth changes with great precision. The cutter adjustment knob is click-adjustable in .0002″-.00025″ per click increments. The cut depth can be adjusted through a range of .004″-.005″ using the adjustment dial. A mandrel adjustment screw is included to make mandrel set-up and adjustment easier.

Sinclair Neck-turning tool

Sinclair’s new Premium Neck-Turning Tool includes three (3) feeler gauges for quickly setting cutter depth in the approximate range of the cut desired. With the cutter in range using the feeler gauge, the eccentric adjustment knob can make final adjustment for the exact neckwall thickness you desire. Sinclair claims: “Cutter adjustment is very fast and sure with none of the usual trial and error experienced with other tools.”

The $145.95 Premium Neck Turning Tool Kit (item NT-4000) includes three feeler gauges and a case-holder Turning Handle. Or you can save ten bucks and get the Tool and gauges without handle for $135.95 (item NT-4100). All popular Sinclair neck-turning tool accessories, including expander mandrels, will work with the Premium Tool. Order caliber-specific carbide turning mandrels separately for $44.75 per mandrel (items 95-0XX).

Sinclair Neck-turning tool

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September 20th, 2008

Keep That Barrel Cool — Temp Strips Display Barrel Temperature

Bad things can happen if your barrel gets too hot. First, with some barrels, the point of impact (POI) will shift or “walk” as the barrel heats up excessively. Second, even if the POI doesn’t change, the groups can open up dramatically when the barrel gets too hot. Third, if the barrel is very hot, the chamber will transfer heat to your loaded cartridge, which can lead to pressure issues. Finally, hot barrels wear out faster. This is a very real concern, particularly for varmint shooters who may shoot hundreds of rounds in a day. For this reason, many varminters switch among various guns, never letting a particular barrel get too hot.

Bar-L shooting temp strips

How do you monitor your barrel temperature other than guessing by “feel”? offers Bar-L Benchrest strips that visually display heat readings from 86 to 140 degrees. Think of these strips as compact, unbreakable thermometers. With adhesive backing, they can also be used to monitor barrel heating. Put a strip on the side of the barrel and the barrel’s temp will be indicated by a stripe that changes from black to green. There is also a “general purpose” strip that reads to 196 degrees (bottom row). The Benchrest strip (86F to 140F) is in the middle. Bar-L temp strips cost $9.00, or $25.00 for a 3-pack.

Value-Priced Temp Strip 10-packs
If you have many rifles, (a large industrial supply house) offers the same reversible, 7 temperature, 86F to 140F strip (item 59535K13) for $11.86 per pack of ten (10) strips. That’s an excellent value. Thanks to reader Josh B. for this tip!

Controlling Ammo Temperature is Important Too
Keeping your loaded cases at a controlled temperature is vital for maintaining good ES and case life. At a late summer varmint match we observed pressure signs with cases that had been sitting in direct sunlight for about 15 minutes. As we were running a “moderate” RL15 load, the pressure indications were surprising. Testing over a chronograph, cases that had been sitting in direct sunlight showed velocities up to 70 fps higher than those that had been kept in the shade. Using QuickLoad’s temperature function, we calculated from the rise in velocities that case pressures had increased by over 4,000 psi–just from 15-20 minutes in direct sunlight!

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