Media Day at the Boulder City, Nevada range was a blast — literally. We had a chance to sample some big .338 Lapua Magnum rifles from Barrett and Sako. The recoil on the Sako TRG42 was epic, as it lacked a muzzle brake, and the front sandbag did nothing to tame rearward movement. We’ll provide more info on the TRG42 (and its new folding stock) later this week.
New Tikka T3 Sporter — Master Sporter Reborn
Tikka unveiled an interesting new T3 Sporter, fitted out in a handsome laminated position stock. This seems to be the successor to Tikka’s popular (but long since discontinued) Master Sporter series. We only hope Beretta, Tikka’s parent company, will eventually offer a wider selection of calibers — right now Beretta only plans to sell .223 Rem and 22-250 versions in the USA.
New Tikka T3 Sporter
MRAD is Impressive — and Brutally Expensive
Barrett’s new MRAD “adaptible” rifle was an impressive beast — as it should be at $6000.00 per unit. It did display some very clever engineering that allows a user to switch barrels and even change calibers with no gunsmithing. Check out the video for a review of the many unique features of the MRAD.
Crosman’s Computer-Controlled Airgun
Perhaps the most innovative (or at least technologically advanced) rifle on display wasn’t officially a “firearm” at all. Crosman’s new Benjamin Rogue, pneumatic varmint rifle actually has a microprocessor-controlled “fire control” system. Yes this state-of-the-art airgun actually has an internal computer that monitors the available air pressure, and sets the output level according to the bullet weight and desired velocity. This is no Daisy B-B gun — the Rogue is big and bulky. But it also delivers the hitting power of a 38 Special, all without a single kernel of gunpowder. Crosman’s Rogue will launch a 145gr polymer-tipped Nosler bullet at 850 fps. Just run the numbers and you’ll find the Rogue delivers as much terminal energy as many centerfire pistol cartridges.
Polymer Cartridge Casings from PCP
A Florida-based company, PCP Ammunition, unveiled a truly revolutionary product — polymer-cased ammo. The “cartridges” have a metal rim/base section (like shotgun shells) but nearly all the cartridge body is a tan-colored high-strength polymer. No, this product won’t do reloders much good, but it could be a huge “hit” with the military, as a polymer case is at least 25% lighter than brass. PCP Reps claimed that PCP’s plastic-bodied ammo can withstand loads that would be considered “full presure” in conventional brass. Stay tuned for further updates.
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The new Micro-Sight was developed by scientists at Idaho National Laboratory (INL). This revolutionary optical insert for iron sights allows you to see BOTH the target and your front sight in sharp focus. The Micro-Sight employs Phased Zone Plate technology to improve focus of both close and distant objects.
Creedmoor Sports Now Selling Production Micro-Sight
This summer we reported that the Micro-Sight was in development. Now Creedmoor Sports has the first-ever production Micro-Sight, a special hood for AR and service rifle rear sights. The Micro-Sight hood sold by Creedmoor replaces a standard AR-15 hood (1/4-32 threads) as found in most NM AR-15 rear sights. The Micro-Sight element is positioned in the center of the hood, where it is shielded from moisture and impacts. Licensed by INL, the new Micro-Sight for ARs will be followed in the spring by inserts for popular rear match sights. The new SR Micro-Sight insert for ARs, item MS-1, costs $139.95. Order soon — Creedmoor has sold nearly 100 sights in just two days! Click HERE or call 800-273-3366 to order.
The Micro-Sight really works, and it makes a huge difference, particular for “older eyes” that have trouble focusing on both the target and the front sight. For the first time you’ll have a sight picture where the front sight and the target are both in focus. Creedmoor’s Dennis DeMille, a former National Service Rifle Champion, tells us: “This is one of the most game-changing products to come out in years!”
WATCH the VIDEO below to see the Micro-Sight in Use and to learn how it works…
Disclosure: Creedmoor Sports Advertises with AccurateShooter.com
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Lyman has introduced a handy new multi-function Case Prep Tool. Most serious reloaders employ a variety of tools to chamfer and de-burr case mouths, and to clean and uniform primer pockets. As you may need four or five separate tools to do all these tasks, keeping track of all those gadgets can be a challenge. The Lyman Case Prep Multi-Tool makes life simpler. The Multi-Tool comes with six matching tool-heads, all of which conveniently store inside the orange-anodized aluminum handle.
Lyman’s new double-ended Case Prep Multi-Tool is a smart design. It holds tools on both ends, and the orange handle unscrews in the middle to provide secure storage for all necessary case prep fittings: Outside Deburring Tool, VLD Inside Deburring Tool, Large & Small Primer Pocket Cleaners, and Large & Small Primer Pocket Reamers. Both ends of the handle are threaded, allowing two heads to be mounted at the same time.
COMMENT: Priced at $24.95 MSRP, the Lyman Case Prep Multi-tool is a good value, considering what it would cost to buy a full set of case prep tools one by one. However, we wish some of the tool heads had better cutting edges out of the box. For the Multi-tool heads (as with most Lyman cutting tools), you’ll benefit by honing the cutting edges with a good whetstone or blade sharpener.
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JBM Ballistics (JBM), based in Las Cruces, NM, has provided free online ballistics info for the past 15 years. JBM Ballistics’ sophisticated algorithms deliver extremely reliable ballistics solutions. To complement its software, JBM plans to introduce a new hardware product: the BallistiComp.
Laster this year, JBM will unveil its new BallistiComp, a portable handheld ballistics computer that measures atmospheric temperature and pressure. Once your load data (Bullet BC, Velocity) is entered, the BallistiComp provides instantaneous drop and windage corrections for your load and shooting conditions. Calculated parameters include drop, windage, coriolis, drift and lead, plus terminal information including velocity, energy, time of flight and danger space. All of these parameters are displayed on an LCD display with backlight. Small enough to fit in your pocket, the BallistiComp is packaged in a rugged, watertight Lexan® case, measuring about 3″x5″x1″.
Why Not “An App for That”
Why would JBM produce dedicated hardware when there are good Ballistics Apps that can run on an Apple or Droid smartphone? Battery life is one reason. The single 9-volt battery should last for months (by contrast some smartphones need to be charged every DAY). Importantly, no connection to cell towers or the internet is needed. You could use this unit anywhere on the globe. Lastly, JBM wanted something that was inherently rugged and reliable. Smartphone touch screens are notoriously fragile.
How It Works
Using an 8-button keypad, you enter your firearm, ammunition and zero parameters into the system memory. BallistiComp then calculates the bullet drop and windage correction at the current atmospheric conditions, latitude and altitude (or calculated pressure altitude). BallistiComp continually measures the air temperature and pressure and provides constantly updated drop and drift numbers.
JBM has not yet disclosed a launch date or a suggested price for the new BallistiComp. However, you can download an Operators Manual to learn more about the BallistiComp. JBM cautions: “The manual is just a draft and may change during beta testing”.
Most readers recognize Kelly Bachand from the popular Top Shot TV show on the History Channel. Kelly didn’t win the $100K grand prize, but he was a talented competitor who became an audience favorite with his accurate rifle shooting and “toughness under fire” (Kelly survived more one-on-one challenges than any other competitor). Last spring, with the cooperation of Forster Products, AccurateShooter.com supplied Kelly with a new Forster Co-Ax® Press. Kelly, a college student, had previously reloaded with a low-priced Lee Challenger Press — all that his “starving student” budget would allow. (In fairness to the Lee — it did produce some match-winning ammo for Kelly over the years.)
Kelly has been very impressed with the Co-Ax Press and he put together a video review for us. Kelly likes the ease with which dies can be swapped in and out of the press, and he also enjoys the added mechanical leverage provided by the coaxial design. Kelly favors the Forster’s straight-drop, spent primer-capture system. On other, conventional presses, spent primers and debris can collect around the base of the press, or end up on the floor, on your carpet, or on your bench-top.
Forster Co-Ax Press Design Features
The Co-Ax’s spring-loaded shell holder jaws float with the die, allowing cases to correctly center in the die. Dies snap easily in and out of the jaws so you can change dies in a couple of seconds. Many folks believe this improves die alignment, producing loaded rounds with less runout.
We really like the primer recovery system on the Co-Ax. Spent primers pass straight down into a cup — no more primers and carbon on the carpet. Every other single-stage press we’ve tried will toss a spent primer now and then, and primer residue builds up around the ram shaft.
PROS: Floating jaw shell-holder design delivers low run-out ammo. Smooth stroke without wobble. Best spent-primer collection system.
CONS: Clearance can be an issue with some very tall dies (but you can mill the yoke to accommodate). Dies must be equipped with cross-bolt style lock rings. We recommend the Hornady lock-rings.
If you need power for case sizing, the Co-Ax delivers three times the mechanical advantage of some conventional presses. The Co-Ax’s dual parallel guide-rod design also ensures that the ram movement is straight and smooth throughout the power stroke. With a center-mounted handle, the Co-Ax works equally well for both right- and left-handed reloaders.
The Co-Ax press accepts any standard 7/8″x14 threaded reloading die. You will need to use cross-bolt-style lock-rings on your dies. We recommend the Hornady rings. These are steel and have a hex-head cross-bolt. The Co-Ax requires no expensive shell-holders. The standard “S” jaw set supplied with the press fits nearly all common calibers except except: 22 Hornet, 378 Wby., 45-70, 256 Win. Mag., 44 S&W, 416 Rigby, 416 Rem., 45-90 and 348 Win. These calibers can be used if you purchase the optional “LS” Jaws.
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Ruger has just released a new, compact .308 Win bolt-action rifle with iron sights and a front-mounted scope rail. Developed in conjunction with Gunsite instructor Ed Head, the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle is based on the Ruger M77 action. Designed for defensive and “tactical” use, the Scout Rifle features a 16.5″ barrel with birdcage flash suppressor (standard 5/8-24 muzzle threads allow muzzle brakes or suppressors to be installed). Rounds are fed via 5-round or 10-round AICS-sized detachable box magazines, with a Mini-14 style mag release forward of the trigger guard. Total rifle weight, without scope, is just 7.0 pounds. MSRP is $995.00 but expect the street price to be closer to $800.00.
Ruger Scout has Iron Sights and Front Picatinny Rail
The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle comes from the factory with good iron sights: a protected non-glare post front sight and receiver-mounted, adjustable ghost ring rear sight. A forward-mounted Picatinny rail can hold various optics — such as Burris or Leupold Scout Scopes which allow “both eyes open” sighting and fast target acquisition.
Laminated Stock with Adjustable LOP
The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle features a gray/black laminate stock with sling swivel studs and checkered grip and forearm. A soft rubber recoil pad, with three 1/2″ spacers, allows length of pull (LOP) to be adjusted.
The rifle’s integrated trigger guard/magazine well is glass-reinforced nylon. “Gunsite Scout Rifle” is engraved on the stock’s grip cap, and the receiver is roll-marked “Ruger Gunsite Scout”. Watch the video below to see the Ruger Scout Rifle in action.
Bane Gives Thumbs-Up
Gun Jounalist Michael Bane has shot the new Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle and he gives it high marks: “I’ve had the chance to put a lot of rounds through this rifle, both on AR platform-based courses and out to 300 yards, and IT IS SUPERB! My wish list was a gun aimed squarely at the TBD/SURVIVAL market, a gun that would deliver major caliber results for self-defense and then do double duty as an easy-to-carry hunting rifle.” Read More: The Michael Bane Blog.
Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine Redux?
When we first saw the Ruger Scout Rifle, our first thought was “that looks familiar….” Indeed, in size and intended function, the Scout Rifle is a modern version of the famous Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine. “Jungle Carbine” was an informal term used for the Enfield No. 5 Mk I, which was designed for fighting in the Far East and other tropical regions where a shorter, lighter rifle was needed. The No. 5 was about 100 mm shorter and two pounds lighter than the Enfield No. 4 from which it was derived. A number of “lightening cuts” were made to the receiver body, the bolt knob was drilled out, and woodwork was cut down to reduce weight. The Jungle Carbine had other useful features like a flash suppressor and a rubber buttpad to help absorb recoil.
If you found a surplus Jungle Carbine ($270-$500 on Gunbroker.com), fitted it with a forward-mounted scope rail, you could have a nice scout rifle for hundreds of dollars less than the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle ($995.00 MSRP). Granted, the Ruger offers an AICS-type detachable box magazine and some other nice features not found on the Enfield*, but the practical concept is the same.
*A reader correctly points out that the Lee Enfield No. 5 magazine is removable. Lee-Enfield magazines did open, permitting rapid unloading of the magazine without having to operate the bolt repeatedly to unload the magazine. However, the rifle was not designed like modern magazine-fed weapons, for which soldiers carry loaded magazines and discard the empties. Soldiers were instructed to leave the magazine in place and feed with stripper clips. Early models of the rifle actually had a chain holding the magazine to the rifle. There were both 5-round and 10-round magazine versions of the Lee-Enfield. Since these magazines could be removed, it is technically correct to say the Lee-Enfield had a detachable box mag. But soldiers using the weapon would not normally swap magazines in and out as with a modern-day mag-fed infantry rifle.
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This Christmas Santa (in the guise of John Loh) brought us a most wonderful gift — a special edition JJ Industries front Ultra-Rest, customized for AccurateShooter.com + 6mmBR.com. If you have never used (or fondled) a John Loh rest, we can assure you it is a masterpiece of machining. Loh Rests are rock-solid and utterly smooth in use. The horizontal windage tracking is perfect — absolutely smooth and linear. You can move the windage all the way from max left to max right and back again and your horizontal cross-hair stays rock steady. And for fine elevation adjustments, the gold-tone “speed screw” is as good as it gets. John employs a super-fine thread pitch so you can easily make very precise up/down corrections.
The “feel” of the controls is what really sets a John Loh rest apart from the competition. Everything is ultra-smooth — as though the controls were running on tiny ball bearings. This is achieved by maintaining super-fine tolerances on all threaded components.
Click Photo to see LARGE Size
Separate Base Unit Provides Secure Footing
John Loh also provided a custom triangle base, which mates perfectly to the three adjustable feet on the pedestal rest. This base, which has circular rubber pads at each of the corners, provides extra grip and stability for the rest. In addition, it allows you to position the front rest securely without creating screw holes in your benchtop. (In case you’re wondering, yes if you already own a Loh rest, John can craft a triangle base like this for your unit.) Also, FYI, the small scratches in the base unit were our fault — we didn’t retract the pointed tips of the height-adjustment screws when transporting the unit. FYI, in the triangle base, John does machine three countersunk recesses for the screw-tips, so you can precisely locate the rest each time without scratches. To avoid scratches, simply carry the black Ultra-Rest separate from the triangle base.
Click Photo to see LARGE Size
Another nice feature John provided in our special rest was an extra black rectangular “riser” block that fits between the normal base and the upper section (riser not shown in photos). This raises the whole bag assembly up an extra inch. That extra “lift” comes in handy when your target is placed “uphill” at a much higher elevation than the benchtop. The riser block is so nicely made and finished that it looks like part of the original unit when installed.
Click Photo to see LARGE Size
Edgewood Bag and Bag-Block Included
As with all his pedestal rests, John Loh supplies a high-quality Edgewood leather and cordura bag in your choice of fore-arm width. In addition, the rest comes with a precision-crafted bag-block, with integral bubble level. The bag-block helps maintain the proper front bag geometry, and the level helps you ensure that the bag itself provides a level surface for your rifle. This is important! Many people level their rest, only to have a bag that is higher on one side than the other. In addition to the level in the bag-block, the Loh rest features an easy-to-see bubble level mounted on the rear-facing leg.
If you’re interested in purchasing a JJ Industries front Ultra-Rest, contact John Loh at (562) 602-5553 or email info [at] jj-industries.com. Sinclair Int’l also sells the JJ Industries Ultra-Rest for $879.95, but the product is currently back-ordered at Sinclair. We suggest you order directly through John.
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Over the past few weeks, we’ve had a chance to test and evaluate a one-piece shooting rest designed by Wally Brownlee of TargetShooting.com. The model 1000LP rest is solid, strong, nicely-machined, and versatile. We found it provides a very stable platform for every kind of rifle — from big magnums all the way down to benchrest air rifles.
The 1000LP rest is distinguished by its use of two (2) leather sandbags, a normal-sized one in the front and a compact mini-bag in the rear. Many other one-piece target rests use low-friction pads or Delrin contacts in the rear. The typical “lead-sled” rests use a solid cradle or V-block in the rear. The small, cube-like, rear mini-bag helps the model 1000LP out-perform typical, one-piece steady-rests. The small rear bag, which is supported by metal plates on three sides, does a great job stabilizing your gun. We also found that the combination of front and rear sandbags seems to provide good vibration damping — something that really helps with precision shooting.
When our designated trigger-puller Joe Friedrich tried the 1000LP with his tuned rimfire benchrest rifle, he immediately noticed that his gun shot amazingly well. Joe owns a variety of high-quality, one-piece rests, and the model 1000LP produced results equal to the best of them. Consider this, in Joe’s ARA unlimited discipline, a perfect score on a 25-bull target is a 2500, with “worst edge” scoring. “Perfect” 2500s are very rare. Only a handful are shot each year in ARA competition. Now get this, Joe managed to shoot multiple 2500s in a row off this rest, and he did that shooting in a variety of conditions (with different lots of ammo) over a 24-hour period. Joe was amazed that this rest, which was not designed for rimfire benchrest competition, could perform so well.
The model 1000LP has many features which contribute to the rest’s fine performance. First, as noted above, the small, 3-way-braced rear bag really seems to work, as long as it fits your stock well. Second, the windage control (which can be switched from left side to right side), is extremely precise and positive — it has zero slop. Third, the 1000LP has a relatively low-mass center bridge connecting the higher-mass front and rear sections. We think this barbell-type design, combined with the integral hand-rest, helps quell vibrations. Finally, the rear height control lets you make fine elevation adjustments without altering the gun’s position on the front bag.
The 1000LP Works Well for Many Purposes
While we were enthusiastic about the 1000LP’s performance with a rimfire benchrest rifle, we want to stress that this rest was not optimized for smallbore shooting. In fact the 1000LP was designed primarily to provide a stable platform for centerfire rifles. It works great for sighting in your hunting rifle, and it is a fine choice for varminters shooting off a field bench. Though not as fast to adjust as a joystick rest, the 1000LP is no slouch. The rear elevation knob is very quick and easy to employ, while the windage adjustment provides precise horizontal tracking with no vertical or diagonal drift. And because the front support is connected rigidly to the rear section, your front and rear bag always stay in perfect alignment, shot after shot. In the video below you can see Wally Brownlee shooting a 22-250 varmint rifle off his 1000LP rest. Note how well the gun tracks, and how little torque and hop there are, even with a narrow sporter-style stock. (Of course, the installed suppressor does reduce some recoil.)
1000LP Breaks Down into Sections for Transport
The TargetShooting.com model 1000LP easily breaks down into two or three sections. This makes it is easier to pack up and transport than most one-piece rests. The 1000LP also allows easy exchange of front bag assemblies so you can quickly switch from a 3″-wide bag to a narrow front bag for thinner, hunter-style fore-ends. A variety of accessories are available for the model 1000LP, including extra quick-release front bag units ($125.00), large-diameter machined discs for the feet (for added stability), and a dual-rail, front fore-end stop ($89.95).
Model 1000LP Starts at $699.95
Are there downsides to the model 1000LP? Well at $699.95 for the base unit, the 1000LP is far more expensive than a typical Lead Sled-type one-piece rest sold for hunters. However, that’s like comparing a Mercedes with a Yugo. The 1000LP is far more sophisticated than a Lead Sled. Plus, as Joe demonstrated, the model 1000LP can do double-duty as a true competition rest. Don’t even think about using a primitive $130.00 Lead Sled in ARA benchrest competition.
We also found that peak performance demands careful sandbag packing and a good fit of the rear bag to your particular stock. Someone who shoots multiple rifles may want to purchase more than one rear mini-bag so that the rear bag-to-stock fit is optimal. Joe found that bag-to-stock matching was important if you want to shoot ultra-small groups off this rest.
If you are interested in the model 1000LP one-piece rest, visit www.TargetShooting.com or call Wally Brownlee at (800) 611-2164, or +1 605-868-2164 (int’l).
Disclosure: TargetShooting.com provided a “loaner” 1000LP (with accessories) for testing, but Joe Friedrich then purchased the rest at a slight discount off retail.
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Smith & Wesson’s M&P pistols have become quite popular. Many law enforcement agencies have moved away from Glock in favor of the American-made M&P. If you own or shoot an M&P, now you can train with a .22LR version that has the same size, shape, and controls as your centerfire M&P. Smith & Wesson plans to release its new M&P22 semi-auto pistol very soon. Offered with either 10- or 12-round magazines (depending on local laws), the new M&P 22 looks just like its big brother. One large dealer has listed a sales price of $364, based on a $419.00 MSRP, but the guns aren’t available quite yet. We expect to learn more at SHOT show.
In general, we commend S&W for producing a rimfire clone of its M&P duty pistols. This allows M&P owners to cross-train with inexpensive .22LR ammo, without having to adapt to different ergonomics. Reportedly made by Walther, we suspect the new M&P22 will be reasonably accurate, but we’re skeptical of the quality of the trigger. Hopefully it will be better than the trigger on the full-size M&Ps.
Of course, if you want a superb trigger in a .22LR semi-auto pistol, there is the classic S&W model 41. For $1700.00 to $2000.00 you can find the fully engraved, 50th Anniversary Model 41 in presentation case on Gunbroker.com. First released in 2008, the engraved model 41 combines superior accuracy with stunning appearance.
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Christmas is less than a week away, so today we’re offering a selection of last-minute “stocking stuffers” for precision shooters. So as not to bust your holiday budget, all of our selections are priced under $10.00. Despite their low price, many of these items are handy tools that you’ll use over and over again at the range and/or at your loading bench.
Tactical Xmas Stocking
But first things first — to hold our selected gifts, first you need a handsome Christmas stocking to stuff. What better option for a shooter than than a tactical Xmas stocking from LA Police Gear? On the outside are two mag pouches, a flash-light holder, and a pocket for toy guns. There is also a Velcro square where you can attach a large variety of Milspec Monkey Patches. Offered in tactical black or Desert Tan, these Christmas holster stockings retail for $13.99 each (patches sold separately). There is also a $10.99 version with just MOLLE straps (no external pouches). Be the envy of all your tacti-cool friends.
Gifts $1 to $5
Hood Kwik Estimator
Bifocal 3X/6X Magnifier
Barrel Mirage Shade
Surveyors’ Tape. You should always watch the wind when you shoot. Inexpensive, Day-Glo Surveyors’ Tape, attached to a stake or target frame, makes a great wind indicator. It will flutter even in mild breezes, alerting you to both angle and velocity shifts. This should be part of every range kit. Don’t leave home without it.
Hood Kwik Estimator. Here’s a very handy tool to measure your 6mm groups. Bracket the group within the diverging lines of the Kwik Estimator and you’ll instantly get a good approximation of the actual group size. No more trips to the tool box for calipers. The inexpensive Kwik Estimator fits in a shirt pocket. (Thanks to Boyd Allen for this suggestion.)
Bifocal 3X/6X magnifier. This handy, inexpensive dual-power magnifier is always close at hand on our loading bench, because it helps with so many task. We use a compact magnifier to inspect bullet tips, to check brass chamfers, and inspect the internals of triggers and other parts. Priced at just $2.95, a magnifier like this (or the folding variety) is a “must-have” item for every hand-loader.
Sinclair Barrel Mirage Shade. For high-volume varminters, and competitors who shoot fast in warm weather, a mirage shield is absolutely essential. This prevents hot air rising off the barrel from distorting the image in your scope. The aluminum Sinclair shield can be trimmed to fit, and comes with stick-on Velcro attachments. Two lengths are available: 18″ for short BR barrels, and 24″ for longer barrels.
Gifts $6 to $10
Ballistol Aerosol Lube
Sinclair Barrel Bag
Sinclair Load Block
Dewey Crocogator. The Crocogator tool, with knurled “teeth” at both ends, is simple, inexpensive, and compact. Yet nothing zips though primer-pocket gunk faster or better. Unlike some cutter-tipped primer pocket tools, the Crocogator removes the carbon quick and easy without shaving brass. One end is sized for large primer pockets, the other for small.
Ballistol Aerosol Lube. Ballistol is a versatile, non-toxic product with many uses in the reloading room. We have found it is ideal for lubricating cases for normal full-length sizing. It is clear, not gooey or chalky like other lubes. It is very, very slippery, yet is easy to apply and just as easy to wipe off. As you lube your cases, the Ballistol will also clean powder fouling off the case necks. For heavy-duty case forming and neck expansion, we’ll still use Imperial die wax, but for every-day case sizing, Ballistol is our first choice. It also helps prevent your dies from rusting and it even conditions leather. Ballistol is a favored bore cleaner for Black Powder shooters because it neutralizes acidic powder residues.
Sinclair Barrel Bag. If you run a switch-barrel rig, or take spare barrels to a big match, this simple but effective barrel bag will protect your valuable steel. The bag is moisture-resistant vinyl on the outside with a soft, quilted interior to protect the barrel’s finish and delicate crown. The 26″ bag costs $8.95, while a 31″ bag costs $9.50. Either way, it is cheap insurance for those priceless barrels.
Sinclair ‘Poly’ Loading Block. We’ve tried wood and injection-molded loading trays, and we like Sinclair’s white polyethylene loading blocks the best. They fit BR, .308, and 6.5-284 cases very well, with chamfered holes sized for the particular case you reload. The blocks are heavy enough to be stable on the bench, and the “dishwasher-friendly” material is easy to clean. The PBX model hold 50 cases, while the PLX version holds 25 cases with a tray for empties. There is also a heavy-duty model (08-4275) with an extra-thick 1″ base. Sinclair’s loading blocks are superior products at a fair price.
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Most reloaders have used a powder trickler at one time or another. However, they can be frustrating to use for a variety of reasons — e.g. the tube is too short, or the trickler is too low, or the unit isn’t stable enough, or the powder volume isn’t adequate. Well, the inventors of the Omega Powered Powder Trickler have considered all those practical shortcomings in existing tricklers, and built a superior product — a “better mouse trap.”
Every aspect of the new $55.00 Omega powered trickler (from Dandy Products LLC) shows smart thinking. First, hopper height can be adjusted from 1/2″ to 5.5″ high. The tube is long enough to reach the middle of large-footprint scales such as the Denver Instrument MXX-123. And the outer end of the tube is cut at an angle, so you can see the powder kernels as they flow out — no more surprise clumps that raise your charge 0.2 grains. The powder hopper itself is bigger than most, holding a full 1000 grains. That lets you load all afternoon without having to constantly replenish your trickler.
In practice, the Omega trickler is easy to use. It is reasonably fast, while being as precise as anything on the market. The unit is controlled by a two-button control pad, with a black button for slow feed and red button for fast feed. You can use the fast button to load the bulk of reloading powder and then use the slow button to maximize the accuracy of your load. The control pad is connected to the dispenser by a 24″ cable. That two-foot cable run allows plenty of trickler placement options on your bench. Watch the video below to see the Omega Trickler in use.
Omega User Comments
Posting on 24HourCampfire.com, JasonK gave the Omega Trickler high marks: “This thing rocks! It can trickle fast, it can trickle slow, it can drop a kernel or two at a time. After ordering my Omega I quickly shopped for an Acculab VIC-123 scale, accurate to within .02 grains.”
Another Omega user, In2Deep, writes: “You can actually tap the low-speed button and drop kernels while watching the scale. After a little practice it only takes a few seconds to trickle up a load. Using an Acculab 123 scale, it can drop charges that repeatedly read down to around 4 one-hundredth’s of a grain. It turned out to be a tool that really works and saves time. There are rubber feet on the unit and surprisingly it does not cause interference with the digital scale which is often mentioned as a problem with most of the vibratory tricklers. Not many products are even worth the time to do a testimonial but this is a winner[.]”
Forum member Barry O (aka TheBlueEyedBear) has been using an Omega Trickler for a while, and he currently has a second-generation (upgraded) unit on his bench. Barry likes the unit, with some reservations. Barry tells us: “it took me some time to get used to it. One main gripe is the length of time it takes to get the thing primed and ready to dispense powder. But after that, not too bad. I still use my trusty tweezers for fine tuning loads.”
Handy View Prism for Beam Scale Viewing
For reloders using balance-beam scales, Omega offers a clever portable prism that makes it much easier to see the tip of the balance beam, when the scale is on the benchtop. Omega’s Handy View accessory mounts a prism in a plastic stand. The prism changes the sightline so you can easily monitor the beam tip without having to bend down to see the beam alignment marks.
The prism slides up/down and swivels (around horizontal axis) to allow adjustment of viewing angle. It is a simple set-up, but it really works, allowing you to monitor scale beam movement with greater precision (and less neck strain). The Handy View costs $17.95, and is offered with either a yellow stand or clear plastic stand. You can see how the Handy View works in the video below.
Thanks to Boyd Allen for suggesting this product for review.
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With the price of some premium scopes approaching $3000.00 (and beyond), it’s more important than ever to provide extra protection for your expensive optics. ScopeCoat produces covers that shield scopes with a layer of neoprene rubber (wetsuit material) sandwiched between nylon. In addition to its basic covers, sold in a variety of sizes and colors, ScopeCoat has a line of heavy-duty 6mm products that provide added security.
Triple-Thickness XP-6 Model for Added Protection
The XP-6 Flak Jacket™ is specifically designed for extra protection and special applications. The 6mm-thick layer of neoprene is three times thicker than the standard ScopeCoat. XP-6 Flak Jackets are designed for tall turrets, with sizes that accommodate either two or three adjustment knobs (for both side-focus and front-focus parallax models). To shield an expensive NightForce, March, or Schmidt & Bender scope, this a good choice. XP-6 covers come in black color only, and are available for both rifle-scopes and spotting scopes.
The heavily padded XP-6 Flak Jacket is also offered in a Zippered version, shown at right. This is designed for removable optics that need protection when in storage. The full-length, zippered closure goes on quick-and-easy and provides more complete protection against dust, shock, and moisture. MSRP is $30.00.
Special Covers for Binos and Red-Dots
ScopeCoat offers many specialized products, including oversize covers for spotting scopes, protective “Bino-Bibs” for binoculars, rangefinder covers, even sleeves for small pistol scopes and red-dot optics. There are also custom-designed covers for the popular Eotech and Trijicon tactical optics. Watch the Shooting USA video below to see some of ScopeCoat’s latest specialty covers.
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