September 13th, 2012

New Flex-Arm Mount for Sure Feed Ammo Caddies

A few days ago we featured Tim Sellar’s new Double-stack Sure Feed Ammo Caddy. No sooner had we revealed Tim’s double-stacker, than we got a call from Tim saying that he was developing a new flex-arm support for his gravity-fed ammo caddies. The advantage of the flex arm is that it allows the vertical position of the caddy to be adjusted for different guns (or different shooter positions). In addition, the arm raises the caddy up off the bench, clearing space for the operation of a joystick on a coaxial front rest.

Tim explains: “At the IBS 1000-yard nationals in West Virginia this year I had a lot of requests for a flex-arm type caddy. Here’s the first prototype — the paint just dried this morning. It works great especially for the joy-stick type rest. This opens up space for the arm movement. The example in the photo has a bracket attaching the flex-arm to the rest. I can fabricate any mount specified. I also plan to offer a magnetic base for the caddy flex-arm for use with ferrous metal front rests.”

Sure Feed Flex Arm Caddy

Tim hasn’t announced a price for the flex-arm option yet: “The price is still being worked out. I will announce it after some anodizing and aluminum estimates come in. Production should start early January next year”. For more information on Sure Feed Ammo Caddies contact Tim in Texas:

Sure Feed Ammo Caddies (Tim Sellars)
4704 Redondo Street
North Richland Hills, TX 76180
Phone: (817) 581-7665 (cell)
eMail: sel248 [at] aol.com

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September 10th, 2012

New Double-Stack Sure Feed Ammo Caddy by Tim Sellars

On his Facebook Page, Gunsmith Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzales featured the Sure Feed cartridge caddy by Tim Sellars. This device works well, and Tim can customize the height to fit your rifle and rest elevation. Speedy reports: “Here’s the new double-stack Sure Feed made by Tim Sellars out of Ft. Worth, Texas. This is one he made for me for my PPC. Each column holds 10 rounds plus five additional hole on the side for sighters or for holding a different test load. Tim makes these for all calibers and work great if you need to dump rounds down-range fast. Each consecutive round slides out and goes directly into the chamber without having to orient it into the correct position.”

To order a Sure Feed Cartridge Caddy (either the original single-stack or the new double-stack model), send email to sel248 [at] aol.com, or call Tim at 817-581-7665, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Speedy adds: “Tim is very accommodating and will build just about whatever [size caddy] you want.” Single-column caddies are $85.00 (short) and $95.00 (tall). Call for prices on the double-stack models.

Sure Feed Ammo Caddies
Tim Sellars – Sure Feed
4704 Redondo Street
North Richland Hills, TX 76180
Phone: (817) 581-7665 (cell)
eMail: sel248 [at] aol.com

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September 9th, 2012

Digital Scale Comparison: GemPro 500, AY123, Sartorius GD503

This article first appeared in 2011.
JayChris, AccurateShooter.com’s IT “guru”, has tested three different digital scales. The first is the relatively inexpensive ($150.00) GemPro 500, the second was the $333.00 Sartorius AY123, which is very similar to the Denver Instrument MXX123 and Acculab-123. Lastly, JayChris tested his $1225.00 Sartorius GD503 lab scale. The 3-way comparison test produced interesting findings. We learned that the AY123 had some serious shortcomings when used to weigh powder. The GemPro 500 performed well for the price, but was quite a bit slower than the big GD503. In speed of response, accuracy of measurement, resistance to drift, and overall reliability, the GD503 was the clear winner in our comparison. Sometimes you do get what you pay for. CLICK HERE for GD503 Review with Videos.

digital scales GD503, AY124, GemPro 500 250

BATTLE of the BALANCES

Three-Way Comparison Test: GemPro 500, Sartorius AY123, Sartorius GD503
Testing Report by JayChris
Precision Weighing Balances, www.balances.com, an authorized Sartorius Distributor, shipped me an AY123 (same as Denver MXX123, Acculab 123, etc.) along with a high-end GD503 force restoration scale. I had purchased the GD503, while the AY123 was a loaner for this comparison test. I included in this test a GemPro 500 scale that I already had. My key objective in this comparison test was to test each scale for measurement drift over time. We wanted to see if the displayed weight of a given object (here a certified test weight), would change over time, or with repeated measurements.

The first test was a “quick” test, where I measured the same weight ten (10) times, in the same order, about every 30 seconds or so. I did this at about the same speed as weighing out powder, maybe a bit slower. This took about 5 or 6 minutes. The second test was more-or-less an overnight test, where I measured the same weight in lengthening intervals, starting every 10 minutes, then every 30, then every 60, and so on. You can see the time series on the included graphs.

digital scales GD503, AY124, GemPro 500 250

TEST SETUP:
– I used the same 100 GRAM Sartorius certified check weight for every test (see photo). Note: 100 GRAMS = 1543.233 GRAINS
– I calibrated each scale within 30 seconds of each other before starting the test.
– I tare’d each scale within a few seconds of each other
– All three scales are connected to the same line conditioning PDU and are located in the same environment (right next to each other)

Measurement Resolution and Display Increments
– The Sartorius AY123 measures to the nearest hundredth of a grain (.00). Increments are in 0.02 grain divisions, i.e. the nearest two hundredth of a grain.
– The Sartorius GD503 measures to the nearest thousandth of a grain (.000). Increments are in 0.005 grain divisions, i.e. the nearest five thousandth of a grain.
– The GemPro 500 measures to the nearest half-tenth of a grain (.05).

NOTE: When weighing powder, I weigh to the nearest .05 grain so any of these provide adequate (or more-than) resolution.

FIRST SERIES Quick Test:

digital scales GD503, AY124, GemPro 500 250

* X-axis is weighing series iteration

SECOND SERIES Time-based:

digital scales GD503, AY124, GemPro 500 250

* X-axis is a time series in minutes-from-0.

THIRD SERIES AY123 “Stable” vs. “Unstable”:

digital scales GD503, AY124, GemPro 500 250

* X-axis is a weighing series iteration

This is a test of the AY123 in “Stable” vs. “Unstable” environment mode. The GD503 was used for comparison. I ran this test to compare the AY123 in “Stable” conditions mode (default) vs. “Unstable” conditions mode, based on anecdotal reports that the “Unstable” mode produces more consistent results. I did not find that to be so. In addition, I found that the weighing time for the “Unstable” mode was extremely slow — taking nearly 5 – 7 seconds per instance to complete a measurement. It then takes a few seconds to return to zero. In the AY123’s default “Stable” mode, it takes a second or so. Based on my testing then, there is no advantage to running the AY123 (or similar clones) in the “unstable mood”. It will simply slow you down.

Observations and Conclusions
Overall, the GD503 was the most consistent, never varying more than .005 (five-thousandths) of a grain, which is about ten times less drift than the next closest scale. The GemPro was “close” behind, never varying more than .05 of a grain. The AY123 was consistently variable and lost significant resolution over time. It was difficult to plot the AY123 results because it rarely settled at a weight for longer than a few seconds — it would routinely come up with a different weight every few seconds, varying by as much as .04 of a grain. I selected the first reading it “settled” on as the “official” reading.

The one thing this test does NOT demonstrate is trickling — our previous Review of the GD503 has a video that shows that nicely. The GD503 gives you near instantaneous read-outs when trickling. By contrast, both the AY123 and GemPro 500 require a “trickle-and-wait-for-update” plan. The GD503 is really dramatically better in its ability to return a “final” weight very quickly. This allows efficient trickling. CLICK HERE for GD503 Review with Videos.

[UPDATE: One of our readers observed that there is a setting which can make the AY123 more responsive (and accurate) when trickling charges: “Note that the video shows the 123 jumping as powder is added. The reason is the scale is in the default setting, which is for single weightings. When changed to ‘Filling’ mode, the scale reacts very quickly, and in my case accurately. Trickling is easy in the ‘Filling’ mode. My experience is that the AY123 is an excellent scale, but is sensitive to environmental factors. The GD503 is way better and is also way more expensive.” — Matt P.]

GemPro 500 Performed Well — Drift Was Usually Minimal and Charges Settle Fairly Quickly
I’ve used the GemPro 500 for quite a while now and have found it to be fairly reliable. However, over one previous loading session I have seen it drift as much as .150 of a grain. I had to go back and re-weigh charges because of this. Therefore, I tend to tare it every five (5) weighings or so which is probably overkill based on one case. I’ve not had that problem since so I am guessing something happened environmentally (maybe I bumped it or something). Overall, the GemPro is not overly sensitive to environment and settles fairly quickly and reliably.

Charges Weighed by SD503 Have More Consistent Velocities, with lower SDs
I’ve loaded a few hundred rounds with the GD503 now. I have not found it to drift more than .010 of a grain in that time. So, now, I only tend to tare it once at the beginning of a load session. I have gotten extremely consistent velocities from charges loaded with this scale, with single-digit standard deviations. By contrast, previously, my best efforts usually resulted in standard deviations (SDs) in the low teens.

Based on my experience testing the AY123, I would not choose this scale to load powder with. The readings are just too variable. The slightest environment factors (breathing, hand movement, etc.) cause large changes in results. I tried to load some rounds using this scale (backed by my GD503 to verify) and I couldn’t do better than a few tenths of a grain, and that was with considerable effort. The Sartorius AY123 is really the wrong tool for the job when it comes to measuring powder.

Thanks to Precision Weighing Balances for providing the AY123 for comparison. The other two scales, the GemPro 500 and GD503, I purchased on my own nickel. [Editor’s Note: When purchased in 2011, Jay’s GD503 cost approximately $900.00. The current 2012 price at Balances.com is $1225.00.] All three of these digital scales can be purchased through the Precision Weighing Balances webstore:

GemPro 250 | GemPro 500 |AY-123 |GD503

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 8 Comments »
September 4th, 2012

New Ammo Boxes from MTM Case-Gard with Mechanical Hinges

After our recent post on ammo boxes for benchrest-sized cartridges, Forum Member Dave Berg let us know that MTM Case-Gard has introduced a new series of R-50 Ammo Boxes with mechanical hinges. The new mechanical hinge on the improved MTM R-50 series box allows the box lid to open fully and lay flat, providing unimpeded access to your rounds. This is smart — no longer will shooters have to struggle with a box lid that wants to spring back over your ammo.

MTM Case-Gard R 50 Series Ammo Box

For some guys this makes the MTM R-50-series ammo boxes easier to use both on the bench and at the range. Dave notes: “The new and improved MTM RS-S-50… has a real mechanical hinge that just flops the lid back out of the way. The dimensions are virtually identical to the 512. [The RS-S-50 box is] tall enough that long-seated 6mm 108gr bullets will just fit and the walls between the compartments are high enough the empties can’t jump out.” The new MTM R-50 series are made from tough UV-resistant polypropylene that won’t crack. The mechanical hinge is warranteed for 25 years. The MTM CaseGuard R-50 series is offered in eight (8) sizes to fit everything from 17 Hornet all the way up to .375 Rem Ultra-Mag. For .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, and .223 Rem shooters, get the RS-50 box. For 22-250, 22BR, 6PPC, 6mmBR, 30BR, and 7.62×39, you should order the RS-S-50 box, shown below. For other rifle cartridge types, CLICK HERE for Chart showing the right-size MTM box.

MTM Case-Gard R 50 Series Ammo Box

Consumer NOTE: Some online vendors still may still have older-inventory MTM R-50 series Ammo Boxes with the older-style lid attachment. The newer, hinged version shares the same product names, for example RS-50 and RS-S-50, so you’ll need to ask for the newer versions when ordering. (NOTE: The two-tone boxes all have the new hinges.) When shopping online, you may see extended product codes, such as “RS50-24″, and “RS50-16T”. The suffixes are box color codes, “-24″ referring to blue, and “-16T” referring to green/black, with “T” for two-tone. The RS-50 series comes in four (4) color options, each with its own suffix.

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August 20th, 2012

LED Lamp Kit Improves Shooting Chrony Low-Light Performance

Here’s good news for owners of Shooting Chrony Chronographs — you can purchase a Chrony LED Lamp (CLL) upgrade kit that allows your Chrony to work indoors. In addition, the new LED illuminators will enhance outdoor performance in uneven or shaded lighting conditions. The CLL kit costs $87.95 and can be ordered directly from the Shooting Chrony Website, or from vendors such as MidwayUSA.com.

Shooting Chrony LED Lamp

Why the LED Illuminator Kit Is Needed
Shooting Chronys are popular “entry-level” chronographs. They are inexpensive to purchase and they stow compactly with their signature “folding box” design. This Editor used a Shooting Chrony (Beta Master model) for a few years with generally good results. However, I quickly learned that the Shooting Chrony gave the most reliable readings in diffuse mid-morning light with mildly overcast skies (thin cloud layer). The unit did not like to work in the late afternoon with the sun at a low angle. Likewise, uneven, shady conditions caused problems. In summertime, the ultra-bright, noontime summer sun, directly overhead, seemed to “over-power” the diffusers, causing errors. So, I learned to do my speed tests only when conditions were most favorable for the Shooting Chrony. Now, admittedly, not all Shooting Chronys are so temperamental — I’ve seen a few that worked great in bright overhead sunlight. But most Shooting Chronys do seem to struggle with shady conditions or low-angle sunlight.

LED Lamp Kit Components and Accessories
To improve Shooting Chrony reliability in all light conditions, Shooting Chrony offers a $87.95 LED kit (Item #110) that comes with LED-equipped 14″ white diffusers mounted on 16″ wire support rods. The LEDs provide a constant, consistent light source, so you can shoot in the late afternoon and evenings. The kit includes a 120V/220V AC Adapter, output 12VDC @500mA. If AC power is not available, you can run the LED Lamp with an optional 12v dc “Power Station” battery pack (Item #111, $47.95), or you can draw 12v current through an available cigarette lighter-style adapter (Item #112, $10.00).

Shooting Chrony LED Lamp

LED Kit Users Say It Works
We haven’t tested the LED kit ourselves yet, but here’s what one kit buyer had to say:
“If you shot in poor light, you are going to miss velocities no matter what chronograph you are using. You go to all the work of assembling your handloads, set up the chronograph, and then shoot at the target through the detectors… only to get ‘Err 2′ or ‘Err 9′ and use up most or all of the carefully assembled handloads without getting any velocity data. The Chrony LED Lamp assembly has been perfect. Bright sun/no clouds, hazy/cloudy, or shadows/shade makes no difference — all the readings come through without a single ‘Err X’ code. Current draw is also surprisingly low. With the C.L.L. on for five straight hours, the battery pack still shows a full charge.”

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August 10th, 2012

RVB Precision Cleaning Rod Bore Guide for 17 HMR Rifles

When Hornady (and CCI) developed the 17 HMR cartridge, they really hit a homerun. And the rifle manufacturers quickly marketed some nice rifles to chamber this 17-cal rimfire round. But unlike .22 LR rifles which, typically, require very little cleaning, 17 HMRs demand frequent bore cleaning to maintain good accuracy. That’s because 17 HMRs shoot copper-jacketed bullets at 2550 fps velocities.

17-Cal Bore Guides — The Challenge
The problem is, it’s hard to find a well-designed, quality bore guide for 17-caliber rimfire rifles. With many 17 HMR (and 17 Mach 2) rifles, you encounter mechanical interference when you try to use a standard bore guide to protect the delicate chamber edge and the bottle neck area of the chamber. A fixed ejector is in the way. On many 17 HMR rifles, this little “shark fin” ejector is right in line with the chamber and is fixed — it doesn’t retract. Therefore the kind of bore guide you might use for centerfire rifles won’t work in 17 HMRs — it will hang up on the ejector.

Polymer bore guides exist for this type of action, but they are typically open-bottom designs that do not enter and seal the chamber. These open-bottom designs don’t protect the delicate chamber edge or the bottleneck area of the chamber, and they also allow some seepage of solvents out of the chamber. That’s why Roy Bertalotto created his RVB Precision Bore Guide for 17 HMR rifles. The 7075 aluminum tube on his Bore Guide is thin enough to pass by the ejector, yet it is extremely rigid. (Photos below.)

Roy explains: “My bore guide is made of 7075 anodized aluminum tubing, which is totally unaffected by any type of cleaning solution. One end is swagged down to fit completely into the chamber of a 17 HMR rifle. This guides your cleaning rod perfectly to the bore without touching the chamber walls or front edge of the chamber. The tight fit of the bore guide in the chamber also stops cleaning solvents from getting into the action, magazine, and trigger housing.” (Editor: Solvent seepage can do damage. We had a 17 Mach 2 rifle that rusted internally because solvents leaked past an open-bottom bore guide.)

Using the RVB 17 HMR Guide – Once the bore guide is in place, slide the supplied aluminum bushing over the tube, and gently push the bushing into the rear of the action. This centers the guide rod in the action to keep the guide rod tube aligned. Once the guide rod and bushing are in place, you can use a 17-caliber cleaning rod* with patches and/or brushes to clean the barrel. Use the rod normally, but make sure your patches are quite small and don’t apply too much pressure as these small-diameter rods can kink if you try to force over-size patches down the bore.

The RVB Precision 17 HMR Bore Guide costs $19.95 plus $5.00 shipping. To order, email Roy Bertalotto via rvb100 [at] comcast.net. Roy will then send you shipping/payment details.

* NOTE: You really do need a dedicated .17-cal cleaning rod for this job. Most other rods are too fat to pass through the barrel. Dewey Mfg. makes a decent 17-caliber cleaning rod that is reasonably stiff and doesn’t kink too readily. It is available sizes from 7″ to 36″, either bare stainless or with a nylon coating. We prefer the nylon-coated version, in either 26″ or 36″ lengths, depending on barrel length.

Dewey 17 cal caliber bore guide

If you have a high comb on your rifle, you may need extra length to avoid interference with the rod handle. Use this formula to determine correct rod length: Length of barrel + action or breech rod guide length + 2-3″ clearance + high comb if applicable = total rod length needed.

There are other quality 17-cal cleaning rods, but we’ve used the Dewey and it functioned well. The nylon coating cleaned easily and was gentle on the throat and crown. You should clean the coating before and after each use to ensure it does not embed grit or other contaminants.

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August 9th, 2012

New Bald Eagle Rests with Remote Windage Controls

Some clever F-Class competitors, such as Forum Member Peter White, have fitted remote flexible-drive-shaft windage controls to their front rests. This allows you to easily adjust windage with the twist of a knob without leaving your shooting position. Until recently, if you wanted a flex-drive windage system on your rest you had to fabricate it yourself.

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage

Now you can enjoy the advantages of remote flex-drive windage adjustment in a ready-made product. Bald Eagle Precision Products has introduced a trio of front rests with “factory” flex-drive windage controls. There are three (3) models. The model BE1006 boasts a heavy, cast-iron slingshot-style base with heavy-duty 1/2″ x 13 TPI threaded feet. Weight is 20 pounds without front bag. This heavyweight model BE1006 should be popular with F-Classers shooting the 7mm and magnum calibers, as the added mass provides great stability.

The slingshot base design has a longer rear leg, bringing the windage control closer to the shooter’s hand. Bald Eagle’s model BE1005, shown below, shares the clever slingshot design of the ME1006 along with remote windage adjustment, but the BE1005’s base is cast aluminum. This drops total weight to 11 pounds (without front bag), making the BE1005 easier to carry than its heavyweight cousin. The aluminum-based BE1005 saves you 9 pounds compared to the BE1006.

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage

The third new Bald Eagle front rest, model BE1004, features a more conventional triangle pedestal design. Like the model BE1005, it has a cast aluminum base, and weighs 11 pounds without front bag. All three Bald Eagle rests, BE1004, BE1005, and BE1006 can be equipped with over-size disc-type feet (item BE1007) for greater stability in soft or soggy ground.

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage


SEB-Made Bags with MicroFiber Tops Available for Bald Eagle Rest
Bald Eagle offers high-quality front bags to fit its line of front rests. These bags are crafted by SEB and feature a low-friction, smooth microfiber surface. We have used SEB front bags with micro-fiber tops and we think they are some of the best available. The microfiber allows your rifle to slide easily without powders, silicon sprays, or other surface lubricants. Having two fill spouts, the front bags are also easy to fill to the firmness level your gun prefers. The front bags measure 4-5/8″ wide by 1-3/4″ tall, and come in three configurations: 3″ wide for F-Class and Benchrest; 2-1/4″ wide for medium-wide flat forearms; and a 3″ radius for sporter/hunting stocks.

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage

All Three Bald Eagle Rests, Front Bags, F-Class Feet, and other accessories can be purchased from Grizzly Industrial and other retailers nationwide. Here are “street prices” of the three rests, as sold on Grizzly.com:

BE1006 is priced at $475.00 but has an introductory sale price of $425.00.
BE1005 is priced at $450.00 but has an introductory sale price of $399.95.
BE1004 is priced at $450.00 but has an introductory sale price of $399.95.

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August 5th, 2012

Billet Aluminum Loading Blocks from Tom Sziler

Billet Aluminum Loading Block

Review by German Salazar, Contributing Editor
Tom Sziler, a very talented machinist and shooter, is now offering handsome billet aluminum loading blocks through CNCshooter.com. I recently bought a set and am very impressed with their quality. You can see I have the cartridge type engraved on my .30-06 block. Tom makes these in all case head sizes and will engrave just about anything you like on the side. Tom’s been a bit backlogged lately, but for a custom product, delivery was more than speedy. I received mine in about three weeks.

Billet Aluminum Loading Block

2011 Update (By AccurateShooter.com Editor)
Tom has recently expanded his line of CNC-milled loading blocks, which are sold through his website, CNCshooter.com. There are now four price levels for the 50-round blocks: $16.50 for .22LR blocks (Small); $28 for most centerfire cartridges (Standard); $31 for very large cartridges such as .338 Lapua, .45-70, etc. (Large); and $33 for BMG, CheyTac, etc. (Jumbo). Tom also offers an “economy” version of his 50-rd loading block for just $19.00. These are made to the same quality and precision as the original loading block; however, they are crafted from 3/4″ aluminum and have NO engraving.

New Products: 25-round Block and Range Tray
New this year from Tom is a smaller, 25-round loading block, priced at $17.50. This has the same basic design (with engraving) as the 50-rounder, but it is half the length (with half the capacity). This is perfect for low-quantity handloading. Some guys like to use the 25-round ammo block when shooting in competition. It makes for a quick, handy ammo caddy. But even better for competition is Tom’s new Range Tray shown below. It has a milled-out tray for empty brass or small parts. Price is $28.00 for most cartridges up to WSM head diameters.

If you order from Tom, add $5 for shipping up to 2 pieces, or $10 for 3-7 pieces. Loading blocks ship in USPS flat-rate boxes. Tom prefers to receive payment by way of U.S. Postal Money Order. Send money order, order specs and your shipping address to:

Tom Sziler
5521 W 110th Street, Ste 6
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
tom.sziler[at]gmail.com

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August 2nd, 2012

Innovative Vertical-Feed Annealing Machine from Giraud Tool

This report was first published in 2011. Due to numerous requests, we are republishing the story. The time is right because the Giraud Annealer is currently on display on vendors’ row at Camp Perry. Doug Giraud will be at Perry through the morning of August 4th.

Doug Giraud of Giraud Tool Company has created a new bulk Cartridge Annealing Machine that uses an innovative vertical hopper feed. Giraud’s patent-pending design allows the machine to process as many as 700 .223 Rem cases with no hand-feeding required. The new Giraud Cartridge Case Annealer, using a single propane torch, will anneal most cases in 6-8 seconds (that dwell time will melt 750° Tempilaq inside the neck). Annealing dwell times can be adjusted using a simple rotary knob on the right side of the machine. During annealing, each case is rotated in the flame through the motion of a Trolley Plate which moves right to left under the case. At the left-most limit of Trolley Plate movement, each case drops vertically down for air cooling. CLICK HERE for Giraud Annealer Users’ Manual (PDF)

Giraud Cartridge Case Annealer

The Giraud annealer uses a large, V-shaped hopper to hold up to 700 .223 Rem cases or 450 .308 Win cases for annealing. You can switch from small cases to larger cases by swapping out the rotary Feeder Wheel below the hopper. Changing Feeder Wheels takes a couple minutes. Five available Feeder Wheels (with different size cartridge slots) let you anneal pretty much any size cartridge — from .17 Remington all the way up to .50 BMG. The common .223 Rem and .308-sized cases used by High Power shooters are served by the Red Feeder Wheel and Blue Feeder Wheel respectively. The Blue Wheel will also work with 6mmBR, .243 Win, and .30-06 cases. The three other Feeder Wheels are: Black (.300 Win Mag); Purple (WSM, RUM, RSAUM, Lapua and Norma Mags); and Green (.50 BMG). For the large mags you also need to switch to a wider Trolley Plate.

Watch Video to See Giraud Annealer in Action

Giraud Annealer Can Process Hundreds of Cases in One Session
The biggest advantage of this machine is its ability to run with minimal user “intervention”. Once you’ve determined the right dwell time for your cartridge type, you can stack hundreds of cases in the V-shaped hopper, turn on the torch and let the machine do its thing. With a typical 8-second dwell time, the Giraud annealing will process about 450 cases an hour. While other multi-torch annealing machines may be faster, Giraud prefers the single-torch design: “With a single torch, you can control total heat input over a longer time. You don’t over-cook the case in a half-second — you have a lot more leeway with a 6-9 second dwell time.”

Giraud Cartridge Case Annealer
Yes the case spins in the flame — the Trolley Plate running under the case rotates it. The user may wish to experiment with the speed control knob on the right side panel near the power switch. Typical annealing operations will require the cartridge cases to be positioned in the torch flame for between 6 and 9 seconds.

Much smart thinking went into the Giraud Annealer design. Doug Giraud tells us: “We went through a couple different ideas. Our key goal was to vertically stack a large quantity of cases that would self-feed. The automatic feeding capability of the machine means that the operator can perform another task while the machine is running. The user doesn’t have to load cases one by one. I would caution, however, that you don’t want to turn on the annealer and just walk out of the room… but you can be doing some other reloading task while the annealer is running nearby.”

Giraud wanted a machine that could process lots of cases cheaply and efficiently. The machine’s single torch is optimized to run on inexpensive propane gas. Doug says: “You can process 15,000 cases on a single $2.00 disposable propane bottle.” If the user wants faster processing, the torch is rated for MAP gas, but Doug cautions that, “with more heat, you’ll have to adjust the dwell time accordingly.”

Giraud Annealer Impresses High Power Shooters
The new Giraud Cartridge Case Annealer has already attracted considerable interest. Doug took some early production models to Camp Perry in 2011, and he immediately got orders for 50 machines. Doug told us: “The response from the High Power guys was amazing. There was a pent-up demand for a simple, robust annealer that can process hundreds of cases without having to feed them one by one, and that’s what we created. We’re selling these units as fast as we can build them.”

Giraud Annealers Cost $435.00 — Delivery in Six Weeks from Order Date
Doug has components for 100 more machines, and he’s producing them at a rate of 15 units per week. He’s been back-ordered, but if you order soon, Doug believes he can ship the Annealing machines in about six weeks from date of order. The basic price, with one Feeder Wheel and one Trolley Plate, is $435.00. Additional Feeder Wheels cost $20.00 while extra Trolley Plates are $10.00. For more information, visit GiraudTool.com. To place orders, call (281) 238-0844 Monday through Friday between 9am and 5pm CST. You can also email doug [at] giraudtool.com.

Giraud Tool Company, Inc.
3803 Dawn Lane
Richmond, Texas 77406
281-238-0844 (orders)
281-232-0987 (fax)
Website: www.GiraudTool.com

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July 25th, 2012

New Wheel-Drive Concentricity Gauge from Accuracy One

Talented tool-maker Curt Knitt has designed a better mousetrap — a new Concentricity Gauge that makes it easier than ever to get fast, repeatable results when measuring case and bullet run-out (aka “eccentricity”). The breakthrough design feature is the large-diameter wheel which spins the case. With most other concentricity gauges you must rotate the case with your finger(s). Anyone who has tried this knows that it is difficult to get a full, 360° rotation of the case without disturbing the indicator. Typically you can get two-thirds of a rotation or so, but then you have to reposition your finger to complete the rotation. Moving your finger often causes the case to jiggle or move slightly, and more often than not, the dial indicator jumps a bit, interrupting your measurement. Been there, done that.

Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge

Drive Wheel Smoothly Spins Cases for Fast, Error-Free Readouts
With the new Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge from CTK Precision, the rubber-rimmed drive wheel has a much larger diameter than any cartridge case (7:1 diameter ratio on magnums). So, when you rotate the drive wheel just a half-turn or so (using knurled knob on the wheel axis), you can easily and smoothly turn the cartridge three (or more) full rotations. The drive wheel maintains a constant, even load on the case, so the case doesn’t wobble and the dial indicator gives a continuous, un-interrupted read-out. What’s more, clever cartridge support design geometry pulls the case back against the rim stop as you engage the drive wheel. This holds the case in position laterally during measurement. Morever, this allows very fast one-handed operation. You don’t have to hold the case down with your fingers while maintaining side force against the case rim stop.

Watch Video Showing Concentricity Gauge Used with Small and Large Cartridges

Accuracy One Concentricity GaugeThe Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge works with the full range of cartridges — everything from .22LR to .50 BMG. Adjusting the tool for different-length cases is incredibly easy, because the roller blocks (case supports) are held in place by magnets. You just slide the blocks to the desired position — no tools needed! The indicator stand is also held by magnets so it can slide to any position you want along the case body or bullet. And, the indicator can be moved to the front rail and rotated 90°. This way you can measure on the inside of the case neck.

Does this new design really work? Absolutely — it works brilliantly and it’s FAST. Watch the video and see for yourself. We could do two-rotation (720°) measurements on cases in a third the time it takes to do a one-rotation gauging operation with other tools. And the actual measuring operation can be done one-handed, leaving your free hand to pic up the next case (or bullet) to be measured. And yes, this tool can also measure bullet concentricity — measured from tip, ogive, bearing surface, and/or boatail.

Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge

1. Directional Drive Wheel pushes the cartridge or bullet into the stop for accurate, repeatable readings with equal pressure. The replaceable rubber drive ring will not harm cartridges or bullets.

2. Two-position bullet and cartridge stop.

3. Precision ball bearings provide friction-free movement.

4. Heavy steel base with E-coat finish and bolt-on rubber feet.

5. Indicator stand and roller blocks ride in machined slots and are held in place by N42 Neodymium magnets. This allows rapid, smooth, tool-free adjustments.

6. Indicator stand can be place in front OR rear machined slots. This allows for both internal and external measurements.

7. Fine-Adjustment Horizontal Indicator Stand allows very precise indicator angle/load adjustments.

8. Indicator Stand will accept horizontal indicators that are .350″ wide or narrower, and are 1.75″ to 2.25″ from the indicator contact point to the center of the main body.

9. Adjustable mechanical arm stop holds the arm up for one-handed operation.

10. Precision Drive Wheel has a 13:1 ratio for .22 rimfire, 7:1 for magnums, and 3.7:1 for 50BMG.

11. Concentricity Gauge accepts cartridges from .22LR rimfire to .50 BMG.

The Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge is available from BulletTipping.com. Price for the unit, complete with quality horizontal indicator, is $325.00. Price, without indicator, is $280.00. The initial run of Concentricity Gauges is now in final production. Gauge sets should hit the market in 4 to 6 weeks. To place an advance order, fill out the PDF Order Form, or call (814) 684-5322. To learn more about setting up and using this new tool, read the Concentricity Gauge Instructions, and watch the video above.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 9 Comments »
July 25th, 2012

Varminters Need One-Rev Elevation Knobs Too

Hey Burris, Leupold, Sightron and Weaver — are you reading this? If you want to dominate the market for varmint scopes, give us a large elevation knob offering at least 20 MOA in a single revolution. IOR and U.S. Optics already offer this “one-rev” option on tactical scopes and it is clearly superior when moving back and forth between multiple yardages. Schmidt & Bender offers a single-turn option on some S&B PMII Tactical scopes, along with a color-coded, double-turn elevation turret option.

IOR Scope Elevation

IOR’s big 9-36×56 scope offers 25 MOA of elevation in ONE ROTATION (and about 75 MOA overall). If you use the zero stop, that one rotation (25 MOA) will get most rifles to 850 yards with ease (and very few varmint shots are made beyond that). That means you should never loose track of your elevation setting. Right in front of your nose is a large visible number that corresponds to your actual come-up: “7” for 7 moa, “12” for 12 moa, and so on. Wow–this is so easy compared to other systems that require multiple revolutions and leave you staring at unlabeled hash marks wondering how many clicks you just dialed in or out.

IOR Scope Elevation

When this Editor first tried a one-rotation elevation knob I had the same reaction I did years ago when I watched a ultra-high-grade flat screen TV for the first time. Then I thought… “wow, this flat screen is just better in every respect and, eventually, will change everything.” Scopes aren’t TV sets, but I think the large one-rotation knob IS a huge advancement — a breakthrough in scope design. When used with a come-up table showing the elevation needed for various yardages (50-1000 yards), the one-rev system makes it really hard to be “way off” in your elevation. With conventional elevation knobs it is very easy to lose track of clicks (and whole revolutions) as you move up and down to different yardages.

USO Scope ElevationThe IOR and U.S. Optics products offering 20+ MOA in one-revolution are large, heavy, expensive scopes. The big elevation knob on the IOR Ultra Long Range scope has about 125 MOA total elevation (25 MOA per turn) with 1/4-MOA clicks. The large flat EREK (Erector Repositioning Elevation Knob) on the U.S. Optics scopes offers 22.5 MOA per revolution, with a total of about 62 MOA in a 5-25 SN-3 model with 1/4-MOA clicks.

Scope-Makers Should Adapt Technology to Varmint Scopes
It’s time for the mainstream scope makers to bring this techology to the market. Adding a one-revolution elevation knob (with 25 moa of travel) to a $600.00 varmint scope would make a huge difference in practical functionality in the field. You could reliably click back and forth between yardages all day long and never lose track of your elevation setting. This is almost as easy as a yardage-calibrated elevation knob (but not limited to a single load.) So, you scope makers out there… How about giving us a one-revolution elevation knob on an affordable hunting scope?

U.S. Optics EREK photo © 2005 Precision Rifle & Vince Bottomley, used with permission.

Permalink Gear Review, Optics 8 Comments »
July 16th, 2012

Peltor Folding ‘Shotgunner’ Muffs Work Well for Rifle Shooters

Peltor folding ‘Shotgunner’ ear muffs are on sale right now at Amazon.com. Available in red (#97013), dark green (#97012), or black (#97011), the muffs cost about $17.00, and you can get free shipping with an order over $25.00. That’s a good deal for a good product. This Editor owns two sets of these muffs. They are very lightweight and comfortable. Because they fit well, with gel foam cushions, they actually seem to work better than some big bulky muffs (with higher NRRs) that don’t seal so well.

Peltor’s Shotgunner muffs feature tapered ear domes, cutaway on the lower half for stock clearance. We have not found any other muffs on the market that allow a better cheek weld, with less interference with the comb on a riflestock. These muffs also fold up into a very compact package. You can keep one set in your range kit and a spare set in your vehicle for back-up or if a friend needs hearing protection.


Peltor Shotgunner muffs

USER REVIEW: Because I am a firearm instructor I own a half-dozen muffs including a pair of electronic Peltors. These [folding shotgunner muffs] are my favorite at 10% of the cost of electronic muffs. I bought them for trap/skeet. My Browning has an adjustable comb but these do NOT interfere with mounting the shotgun or getting a proper cheek weld as do the large electronic muffs. I highly recommend these to you. They are inexpensive but are EXTREMELY COMFORTABLE and WORK VERY WELL. What more could you ask? — F.M. (Idaho)

Ear Plugs vs. Muffs
Personally I prefer using foam earplugs, because they have a better Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) than the Shotgunner Muffs. However, there are times when the muffs come in handy, as when I am scoring for a fellow shooter and need to hear range instructions. I also like to keep a spare pair of muffs in my vehicle at all times. It always seems that, when we go to the range, someone forgets ear protection, or doesn’t like to use plugs.

For Indoor Use — Add Plugs Underneath
For indoor use, particularly on a tight firing line (with a guy shooting a .44 Mag right next to you), you’ll want muffs with a higher NRR. Alternatively, wear ear plugs under the muffs. Peltor Shotgunner folding muffs have a NRR of 21 db — compare that to 25-30 db NRR for big, heavy muffs and 29-33 db NRR for good ear plugs, such as the Howard Leight Max UF plugs (33 NRR). Of course, to achieve those 30+ Noise Reduction Ratings, earplugs must be inserted correctly.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals 5 Comments »
July 11th, 2012

A Day at the ‘Dasher Dome’ with Birdog and Voldoc

Report by Birdog
Forum member John S. aka “Voldoc”, came over Sunday to check the elevation come-ups on his new March scope. At my home range, dubbed the ‘Dasher Dome’, we had either a gong or paper target at 100-yard intervals to 800 yards. Voldoc wanted to check his ballistic chart against real world conditions. Voldoc will use this test to verify his come-ups for a “quick-view” BDC tape that will be applied to his elevation turret. He was running his “go to”, tried and true “red mist load”, an 87gr Hornady V-Max. The rifle was a Nesika-action 6mm Dasher with 1:12″-twist HV-contour Krieger. Doc has doubles with this combination out to 700 yards and many kills past 1,000. [Editor’s Note: We featured Voldoc’s varmint rifles in our Tennessee Triple Threat story, a Gun of the Week article on this site. Notably, Voldoc made a 1,000-yard plus prarie dog kill with a 20BR shooting 55gr Bergers.]

Dasher Dome Voldoc

My ‘Dasher Dome’ is a good place for testing. Dirt berms have just been completed at 100, 300, 600, 700, an 780 yards. Voldoc started at 100 and shot at 100-yard intervals recording his elevation at each interval. His ballistic chart was within a click or two at each distance. When he reached 780 yards, he repeated the test at each distance down to 300 yards. Dead on!

Dasher Dome Voldoc

BDC Turret Tape XterminatorCustom BDC Turret Tapes
Doc already has ballistics tapes fitted to his Nightforce-equipped rigs. But Doc’s new Dasher has a March so he need to confirm the come-ups. The tapes, made by Forum member Dominic (aka “Xterminator”), show rotation clicks for various yardages. There are versions for both standard and “High-Speed” Nightforce turrets, as well as some other scope brands. For more info, send email to: media-banc [at] videotron.ca . Learn more about Dominic’s custom come-up tapes in this Forum Thread.

Doc at the ‘Dome’

Confirmed results at 780 yards
Sub-Quarter MOA group on Steel Prairie Dog

The photo at right confirms that VolDoc has his zeroes confirmed at 780 yards. Look closely. That’s about a 1.5″ center-mass group on ‘Chico’ the prairie dog (lower right). Nice Shooting Doc! Chico’s buddy, ‘Chuckie’ the steel ground-hog, took many hits. Show in photo are three hits in the throat zone.

Good Friends, Good Rifles Make for the Best of Times
Birdog reports: “Overall, this was a great way to spent a Sunday. Temps reached 103° F, but Doc got to the ‘Dasher Dome’ at 5:30 a.m. and we beat the heat. After testing was completed, we walked two miles with temps in the 90s. What can I say — good friends, good BRs — this was the best of times!

Rangefinders

Birdog Dasher Dome

Serious Rangefinders:
Very high-quality laser rangefinders permitted the shooters to confirm target distances with great precision. Birdog uses a Vectronix LRF while Voldoc uses a Leica GeoVid rangefinding binoculars.

Rangefinders

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
July 10th, 2012

New Saguaro Compact BR Action from Marsh Industries LLC

Product Preview by Boyd Allen
Saguaro Benchrest Action MarshMarsh Industries LLC of Cave Creek, Arizona, has just started production of its new “Saguaro” benchrest action. (Saguaro is the distinctive tall cactus plant found in the Southwest.) If the Saguaro action looks familiar, that’s by design. The idea was to produce a Panda-type action with 1 1/16″ removed from the middle to allow for reduced weight, and importantly, shorter bolt “draw” during cycling. In addition, Marsh Industries wanted smoother function and optimal accuracy. In that quest, Marsh crafted a state-of-the art striker assembly, configured specifically for short cartridges typically used for 100- and 200-yard benchrest matches.


The Saguaro action is like a Stolle Panda with 1 1/16″ removed from the middle.

Design and Testing of New Saguaro Action
After spending some time with “Doc” Marsh, (the owner of Marsh Industries), I must say that I am impressed with his new product. After learning what has gone into the design and production of these actions, and hearing how well Saguaro prototypes shot, this is one action I want to add to my collection.

Beneath the shiny exterior, the heart of any benchrest action is the striker assembly. Its specifications and adherence to tolerance are a formula that ultimately determines the potential of the action. Striker fall, weight, and spring rate, all work together to put the sharpest edge on accuracy, or if they are not right, result in run of the mill (for a benchrest action) accuracy, even if all the other details are perfectly executed. Rather than leave these details to the expertise of one person, several big names in the benchrest community were consulted about this part of the design. Intelligent input was received, and the design was improved from one prototype to the next. The final result is impressive to say the least. When the late prototype Saguaro was tested in a very good tunnel, using a rail-gun, the results were unequivocally outstanding. (Editor: This means the Saguaro action shot small enough groups to be “more than competitive” with any other hardware on the market.)


Saguaro Actions Can Use Barrels And Stocks Now Fitted to Pandas
The truth is that no one can quite put his finger on what makes the difference between a good action and a great action. Designs are created, actions built, they become parts of rifles, and only then is the truth revealed. Whether you believe that it was skill or luck, it would seem that the details that comprise this new action just happen to have the exact right stuff. For many of you, who already know how your barrels shoot on your rifles that have Panda actions, for the first time, a direct comparison is available. This is because Panda barrels fit Saguaro actions. So current Panda owners can remove one of their barrels, place it on a Saguaro-actioned rig, and see if the barrel shoots as good or better. That allows direct testing of one action vs. another.

You can use that closet full of barrels, on your new action, without modification, (and have a couple of more ounces toward that tuner that you have been waiting to try). For that matter, other than having to do a little filling in at the front of the action, you can replace your Panda with a Saguaro, and keep using the same stock. That offers a significant savings on a new build.


Saguaro Actions Start at $1050.00
For serious benchresters, an action that comes out of the box a potential winner is almost priceless. Saguaro actions will cost $1,200.00 polished, or $1,050.00 with a 400 grit finish. That’s reasonable given the build quality and performance. While you could pay a bit less for some other actions, if you are in the game to win, a less-than-competitive action isn’t worth owning (even if it is inexpensive).

Marsh Industries, LLC
7040 E. Lone Mt. Rd. North
Cave Creek, AZ 85331
Email: info [at] marshindustriesllc.com
Phone: 480-699-2902 | Fax: 480-699-2397

And so there you have it — Part One of my report on a brand new action. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, I will have a chance to do more than just cycle the bolt (felt good) and actually shoot a rifle built around one. Until then, I will have to content myself with trying out some of Bergers new Column bullets, and doing some more work with the slower but otherwise identical brother to the yet to be released Accurate LT 32 powder, some of that Canadian 2015, as soon as the temperatures get out of the triple digits on a day when the wind is suitable.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
July 6th, 2012

Truck-Vaults Provide Secure Storage for Expensive Arms

A custom, high-end Benchrest, F-Class, or High Power rifle can cost upwards of $4000.00. Some of the latest scopes (March, Schmidt & Bender) cost $2000-$2800 by themselves. If you’re transporting three or four “ultimate rifles” with premium scopes to the range, you could be hauling $16,000 worth of firearms. Bring along a rangefinder, Co-Axial rest, spotting scope, and chronograph, and that could push the total closer to $20,000.

How do you safeguard that kind of investment (without driving around in a Brinks armored truck)? One of the best storage systems available is the Truck-Vault, built in Washington state. Truck-vaults are custom-fitted, locking storage cabinets that fit in a Pick-up truck bed, SUV, or station wagon. Various designs are available, including a waterproof “Extreme Series.” Both single-drawer and multi-draw layouts are offered with lengths up to 60″ overall, and top-load capacity of 2000 pounds. A variety of interior configurations are available.

For transporting scoped match rifles, we suggest Truck-Vault’s “Magnum Line”, which has two drawers with 10.5″ of vertical clearance. This offers two primary sliding compartments (on roller casters), plus smaller storage boxes where you can keep valuable gear securely out of sight.

Truck-Vault Video Showing Break-In Attempt

Truck-Vaults carry a big price-tag. SUV models start at $1355.00, but expect to pay closer to $2000.00 for a unit with all the bells and whistles. Balance that cost against the value of the all firearms and accessories you are transporting. If you spend much time on the road with a pricey collection of guns, optics, and accessories, a Truck-Vault may be a wise investment. This editor first saw a Truck-Vault on a Chevy Suburban belonging to an Arizona gunsmith who does a lot of work for the military. It was not unusual for him to haul $50,000 worth of Class III weapons. For him, the Truck-Vault was an essential security feature. For more info, visit TruckVault.com or call (800) 967-8107.

Permalink Gear Review 4 Comments »
July 4th, 2012

STOKBOOT Shields Stock from Solvents and Scratches

Benchrest shooter Bill Gammon offers a nice product that helps prevent solvents and oils from marring the finish of a fine wood stock, or a painted fiberglass stock. The STOKBOOT also prevents solvents from softening the bedding, while guarding against nicks and scratches. Gammon’s STOKBOOT fits over the rifle stock during cleaning of the barrel. The quilt on the outside soaks up the solvent before it reaches the stock and holds it until it evaporates. A twin layer of vinyl on the inside stops any solvents from getting through, but Gammon cautions that you should not leave the STOKBOOT on overnight, because solvents could soak through. The basic colors are Red, Wine, Black, Blue, and Green. Typical retail price is about $17.00.

Gammon Stokboot

Gammon explains how he came up with the STOKBOOT: “My wife Barbara and I started this business in 1992 as a means to support a very expensive sport, namely Bench Rest. My wife had been in the sewing business for many years. Her experience included sewing, layout, cutting, and management, so it was only logical that the next step was opening our own business. I had complained about having to use a rag over my stock to prevent solvents that I was using from ruining the paint job on the stock, and also seeping into the bedding area and softening up the bedding. So between her expertise in the sewing world and my practical knowledge, we came up with our first STOKBOOT.”

Gammon Stokboot

Gammon sells wholesale only. His STOKBOOTs are available through popular retail vendors including: Accuracy Arms, Borden Rifles, Bruno Shooters Supply, Russ Haydon’s Shooters’ Supply, Sinclair International. European dealers are: Reloading Solutions (UK), and Heinz Henke (Germany).

Permalink Gear Review No Comments »
June 19th, 2012

Gear Review: EVO F-TR Bipod from Third Eye Tactical

Review by Alan de Lacy of F-TR Ireland
EVO Leisure (the makers of Third Eye Tactical products) provided four brand-new EVO F-TR bipods for review and testing. When we collected the bipods from Stuart Anselm of Osprey Rifles, the European and Worldwide exporter of Third Eye Tactical products, I was struck by the lightness of the bipods. Carrying four bipods under one arm, I noted how light, neat, and tidy they were.

Osprey EVO F-TR Bipod Ireland

Build-quality is excellent, as one might expect from a Third Eye Tactical product. Manufactured from what appears to be hard-anodized CNC-machined solid aluminum parts — each element appears to have been machined from solid billet aluminum. No pressed- or sintered-aluminum parts here!

Osprey EVO F-TR Bipod IrelandThese EVO-FTR bipods are available in two colors: A very tacticool satin black and a nice satin gray. The finish appears to be hard-anodized, rather than painted or powder-coated. Milled from solid aluminum, the structural integrity is retained, while reducing the weight, by machining out sections of the aluminum to form a “honey-comb” or lattice-structure within the leg elements, on the underside.

Vertical adjustment is by way of a capstan turn-wheel, readily accessible from the prone position (even for those with short arms). The vertical adjustment is fast yet positive. When set, there doesn’t appear to have any play or backlash. The aluminum feet are decent-sized, 75mm-long curved sled-feet, finished to match the bipod.

Attachment to the rifle is by way of an aluminum mounting-block which fits quickly and neatly to a standard Universal Rail. Securing the mount is by way of a PodLoc-type lever and fixing is positive and secure. Also available from Osprey Rifles is a mount for a standard-sized QD sling-stud. The adjustment for cant is also easily provided by way of a Podloc lever and has a wide range. Again, this can be operated and adjusted while in the prone position.

EVO F-TR Bipod Specifications:

  • Overall Weight (including attachment): A fraction under 1.75 lbs. (800 grams)
  • Lowest Height (Ground-to-Underside-Rail): 13.5cm (5.3 inches)
  • Maximum Spread-of-Feet (at Lowest Setting): 48cm (18.9 inches)
  • Highest Height (Ground-to-Underside-Rail): 25cm (9.8 inches)
  • Minimum Spread-of-Feet (at Highest Setting): 36.5cm (14.3 inches)

Osprey EVO F-TR Bipod Ireland

Field-Testing at Long Range
To provide two qualified opinions and to ensure that the new bipods were truly put through their paces, the reviewer, Alan de Lacy, was duly assisted by his regular F-TR team-mate and shooting-buddy, Adrian Casey. After some initial short-range bench-testing completed, we headed out to the 1000-yard Firing Line for the serious field-test. As F-TR shooters, we were shooting prone from-the-ground at 1000 yards onto the standard ICFRA F-Class 800-1000 yard target. The .308 Win rifles used in the range-test were a factory Sako TRG-22 (with a custom 32″ barrel) and a Savage 12 FTR (with custom 32″ barrel and stock). Both rifles had Anschutz-type UIT Universal accessory rails to which the bipods were attached. Both rifles are tried and tested in national and international competitions.

Osprey EVO F-TR Bipod Ireland

Adjustment (Range and Ease of Use) – The range of vertical adjustment is excellent as is the speed with which the EVO can be adjusted. A couple of quick rotations (3 or 4) of the capstan-wheel and the cross-hairs were on the target. No more time-consuming fiddling to bring the cross-hairs out of the vegetation or down from the clouds! While the vertical adjustment is as fast and extensive as we’ve seen on any F/TR bipod, the capstan-wheel also allows for a surprisingly welcome amount of fine-tuning of the vertical point-of-aim. The fine-tune vertical adjustment is positive and solid. Both guns stayed in position and the scopes’ point-of-aim did not falter once during the entire range-day.

Solidity – Throughout the day’s shooting, the rifles remain solidly planted in position. Any initial misgivings we may have had about a small amount of slack and looseness “in-the-hand” were dispelled once the ‘pods were fitted onto the rifles and weight of the guns loaded onto the bipods. Set-up on the firing point, the bipods (and the rifles) were rock-solid.

Tracking – Over the day, both shooters fired the equivalent of roughly three details each, all at 1000 yards, with over 100 rounds sent down-range. Rifle tracking and the guns’ return-to-battery were exceptional. “What I like best about this bipod is it tracks like it’s on rails”, commented tester Adrian.

Summary
Craig Coote of Third Eye Tactical, with design input from 2011 Euro F-Class FTR Champion Stuart Anselm, has produced one of the best bipods we have had the pleasure of using. Adrian was so impressed with the one he tested, he wouldn’t hand it back! While there are indeed lighter bipods and there are cheaper bipods, we think the EVO F-TR bipod has set a benchmark in terms of build-quality, adjustment, and ease of use. This bipod, while aimed squarely toward the F-Class F-TR market, would be equally at home on any range and in other disciplines. Everyone who has tested and inspected this new bipod is convinced that we’ve found a cost-effective, performance-for-weight optimized, great-tracking and great-looking new piece of equipment.

A more detailed version of this review originally appeared on the F-TR Ireland Facebook Page.
CLICK HERE to read full review with more field test information and shooter comments.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 3 Comments »
June 17th, 2012

Great Father’s Day Gift: Custom Hitch Covers by John Niemi

Here’s a great gift for Father’s Day that any dad with a truck should appreciate. Forum member John Niemi crafts custom hitch covers that look like the end of a cartridge case, complete with head-stamp. Costing $70.50 (delivered), they are made out of solid brass with a stainless steel “primer”. The diameter of the brass is 4 inches and the engraved letters are about half an inch tall. The section that slides over the trailer hitch is aluminum, so you don’t have to worry about rust.

Niemi custom hitch cover Niemi custom hitch cover

The “headstamp” can include your favorite cartridge-maker and caliber (wildcats too!), or you can include the name of your business. John tells us: “I can engrave any text on one as long as there is enough room for it. Turn around time is usually less then a week after payment. I have sold many of these and everyone has been extremely happy with the quality and workmanship that I put into my product. These make great one-of-a-kind gifts.”

$70.50 Delivered in the USA
Niemi custom hitch coverThe current price for brass bullet hitch covers from John Niemi is $70.50 shipped anywhere in the USA. To order, send email to JohnNiemi [at] charter.net or call (503) 440-1954.

Forum member Wayne (aka WAMBO) ordered a custom hitch cover from John, featuring the 30/338 Lapua Improved wildcat he calls the 300 WAMBOMAG. Wayne reports: “The hitch cover is very well made. I’m impressed with the quality. Buy with confidence.”

We’ve seen John’s craftsmanship on many of these hitches, and we can confirm that the hitches are beautifully made, and make a handsome addition to any vehicle. If you order one (or more), be sure to mention you learned about the hitch covers on AccurateShooter.com.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
June 10th, 2012

Keep Your Ammo Cool in Insulated Multi-Purpose Carry Pack

It’s vitally important to keep your ammo at “normal” temps during the hot summer months. Even if you use “temp-insensitive” powders, studies suggest that pressures can still rise dramatically when the entire cartridge gets hot, possibly because of primer heating. It’s smart to keep your loaded ammo in an insulated storage unit, possibly with a Blue Ice Cool Pak if you expect it to get quite hot. Don’t leave your ammo in the car or truck — temps can exceed 140° in a vehicle parked in the sun.

NorChill Cooler bagInsulated Case Does Double-Duty
Standard plastic coolers work fine, but if you don’t want to borrow the family’s food carriers, consider this Norchill insulated Cooler Bag. When not used to keep your ammo cool, the 7″ wide x 12″ high x 14″ long small Norchill Bag doubles as a gear carrier. Norchill bags feature dual-temp insulation and a waterproof inner liner. With side-zip compartments, Norchill Cooler Bags are more versatile than typical plastic coolers. These Norchill cooler bags are soft, collapsible and can be rolled up to fit into your carry on luggage. When not in use for ammo, they can be used to as a suitcase, or carry bag for cameras, optics, and electronic gear.

Norchill Bags come in three sizes and a variety of colors. Price starts at $39.99 for the small bag (12-can capacity) is $39.99. The 10″x12″x18″ medium bag has double the capacity (24 cans) and costs $49.99. There is also a jumbo 48-can capacity bag, 13″x13″x21″. But this is probably more capacity than you’d ever need.

Ammo cool storage

Bosch Insulated tool caseTo learn more about how ambient temperature (and primer choice) affect pressures (and hence velocities) you should read the article Pressure Factors: How Temperature, Powder, and Primer Affect Pressure by Denton Bramwell. In that article, the author uses a pressure trace instrument to analyze how temperature affects ammo performance. Bramwell’s tests yielded some fascinating results.

For example, barrel temperature was a key factor: “Both barrel temperature and powder temperature are important variables, and they are not the same variable. If you fail to take barrel temperature into account while doing pressure testing, your test results will be very significantly affected. The effect of barrel temperature is around 204 PSI per F° for the Varget load. If you’re not controlling barrel temperature, you about as well might not bother controlling powder temperature, either. In the cases investigated, barrel temperature is a much stronger variable than powder temperature.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 2 Comments »
June 3rd, 2012

FREE Shooting Bench Plans — Eleven Do-It-Yourself Designs

Building your own portable shooting bench is a great winter do-it-yourself project. You can build a sturdy bench for well under $100 in materials. Compare that to some deluxe factory-built benches which may cost $450.00 or more.

A wide assortment of home-built shooting bench designs have been featured on the internet. Renovation Headquarters has put together a web page with plans for eleven (11) different shooting benches. Each bench is illustrated with a photo and link to FREE Plans and building instructions. You’ll find all-wood designs as well as benches that combine a wood top with a metal sub-frame or legs.

CLICK HERE for Shooting Bench FREE Plans Webpage

Among Renovation HQ’s eleven featured shooting benches, here are four designs we liked:

Larry Willis Shooting Bench

Sandwiched Plywood top, 1.5″ Galvanized Pipe Legs

Missouri Hillbilly’s
All-Wood Bench

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

Manuel Ferran’s
Steel Shooting Bench

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

Bill Clarke’s
Basic Shooting Bench

Restaurant table Cast Metal Pedestal Base, plywood top.

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