February 13th, 2013

Match-Winning Rifle: Shiraz Balolia’s .300 WSM F-Open Rig

After Shiraz Balolia (President of Grizzly Industrial) won the F-Open Division at the 2013 Berger Southwest Long Range Nationals, folks wanted to know more about Shiraz’s match-winning .300 Winchester Short Magnum (WSM) rifle. That gun is a great piece of work, we can assure you. The Masterclass stock was extensively customized by Shiraz himself, who is a talented wood-worker (as well as a superb F-Class trigger-puller). CLICK PHOTO to see large “centerfold” shot of rifle.

Shiraz Balolia F-Class

Shiraz Balolia F-Class

The rifle features a BAT Machine ‘M’ action, with a 32″, 1:10″-twist Bartlein barrel. Metal work was done by Gordy Gritters. The scope is a March 10-60x52mm, which sits on a +20 MOA angled rail. The primary stockwork, including fitting of the adjustable cheek-piece and buttplate, was done by Alex Sitman of Masterclass Stocks. Shiraz customized the stock with finger grooves, fore-end channel, and a bottom rear slide. Shiraz did the final stock finishing as well.

Shiraz Balolia F-Class

Listen to Shiraz Balolia Talk about his F-Open Victory (Click PLAY to Launch Audio File)

[haiku url=”http://accurateshooter.net/Video/shirazmemo1.mp3″ title=”Shiraz Talks about F-Open”]


Q&A with Shiraz Balolia

Shiraz f-class
Q: Is the .300 WSM the “next big thing” in F-Open Competition?

Shiraz: The .300 WSM takes a bit to get used to. With more powder you have a bigger bang next to your head, plus you have to deal with the mule kick. My gun recoils so hard that it was coming to rest down on the neighbor’s target. I had to be careful about not cross-firing. Once you get these behind you it can be a very accurate caliber to shoot because of the great .30 cal bullet choices. There were about five .300 magnums in Phoenix, but only one in the top ten. You still have to read the wind!

Shiraz Balolia F-Class

Q: What’s your match load for the .300 WSM?

Shiraz: I use Norma brass with turned necks. At the Berger SW Nationals I used Berger 215gr Hybrids, Fed 215 LR magnum primers, and a stout load of Hodgdon H4831 SC. This drives the 215s at around 2910 FPS. If that sounds fast, remember I’m using a a 32″-long barrel.

Q: Can you tell us about your chamber and your fire-forming process?

Shiraz: On the .300” WSM [I run] a tight-neck .336” chamber for turned necks. Basically, I fire-form all my brass in a fire-form barrel and save the good barrels for matches. Gordy is so good that he can chamber different barrels to within .0002” in the headspace dimension. That way I can have several same-caliber barrels and can use the same brass for all those barrels. I use a .0005″ shoulder bump for my brass. I load the bullets so that the bearing surface sits above the doughnut ring.

Q: Do You Think Tuners Will Become Popular in F-Class?

Shiraz fclassShiraz: Tuners are a double-edged sword. In order to use them most efficiently you need to load test the barrel in many different conditions and record the results, fine tuning and turning the dials to find the best harmonic of that barrel in a given condition. When you encounter a similar condition at a match to what you tested previously, you would look up your notes and turn the dials so that it matches your tested condition. I am over-simplifying this, as it is quite complex and there are many articles about tuners. I do not see tuners catching on in F-Class as 99% of the users would not want to go through the aggravation.

Q: The stock looks highly customized. What special work did you do?

Shiraz: The stock is a Master Class F-Class stock that was highly modified by me. I channeled out the fore-end so the stock would ride on two “rails” on the front bag and not rock. I also added a wide 1.25″ base on the bottom of the stock that rides on the rear bag. There is a matching rear bag with a wide slot in it. The gun slides back and forth nicely and is very stable. I wanted finger grooves that fit my hand so I carefully filed those by hand with a round file, making sure to fit it many times during the process. Once all the modifications were complete I sanded and sprayed the stock with clear UV lacquer. My UV booth cures the spray in minutes. I usually assemble the gun the same day I spray it. As you know, I build guitars as a hobby as well.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 9 Comments »
February 10th, 2013

G3 Rimfire Rim Thickness Tool and Base-to-Ogive Length Gauge

g3 rimfire gaugeGerry Gereg makes two precision tools that let rimfire shooters pre-sort their ammo for improved accuracy. The first tool, the G3 Rimfire Thickness Gauge, lets you sort rimfire ammo by rim thickness. This tool clamps to the jaws of your calipers and is very simple to use. Just slide a cartridge into the gauge and slide the jaws closed. With mid-grade rimfire ammo you’ll see variances of up to .006″ in rim thickness. High-end ammo, such as Eley Tenex, shows much tighter tolerances. With no moving parts (other than the thumb screw), this simple gauge is easy-to-use and very repeatable. It also has a convenient lanyard you can loop around your wrist. You can learn more about this tool in a full RifleMagazine.com review.

Gereg’s second tool is a very nicely-crafted gauge that measures rimfire rounds from base of rim to the bullet ogive. The G3 MK II Pro tool fits comfortably in the hand while inserting a cartridge in the measuring chamber at the bottom of the tool. This G3 MK II Pro tool features a built-in dial indicator making read-outs quick and easy. Just slide a rimfire cartridge in the base of the unit and gently yet firmly push the round into the measuring chamber until the dial indicator comes to rest. The dial indicator on the gauge gives you a number which you can use to compare base to ogive lengths. Note: The piston is indexed to assure its return to the original setting. When we used the gauge with inexpensive ammo, we saw variances in rim base-to-ogive lengths of up to .025″. The high-end ammo, such as Eley Tenex, is much more consistent, with 80% of rounds falling within .008″ rim base-to-ogive length spread.

To purchase either tool, email Gerry Gereg, gerry.gereg@snet.net, or call 860-354-7500.

g3 rimfire gauge

Texas Testing: Sorted vs. Unsorted Rimfire Ammo
Texas rimfire shooter Ben Peal ran a series of tests to determine how rimfire ammo sorted with the G3 tools performs vs. “out of the box”, unsorted ammo. Ben shot a series of 5-shot groups at 50 yards, after sorting the ammo for rim thickness and then rim base-to-ogive lengths. Ben tested four (4) types of ammo: Eley Target, Federal Champion, Remington Target, and SK Standard Plus. Ben’s tests, conducted with a CZ 452 rifle shot from the bench, produced some interesting results. Ben’s tests showed that sorting resulted in a meaningful reduction in average group size for all ammo types. In each case, the sorted ammo shot smaller than unsorted ammo (biggest improvement was with the SK Standard). Admittedly these tests are far from definitive because only one factory rifle was used. We certainly don’t claim that sorted ammo will shoot better in every rimfire rifle — and the benefits of sorting high-end ammo may be hard to quantify. But Ben’s tests do suggest that sorting may be worthwhile with low- and mid-priced rimfire ammo. Here is a chart showing Ben’s results:

g3 rimfire gauge

Ben writes: “Using the ogive gauge, cartridges may be sorted into those of similar measurements, or a narrow range of measurements, allowing us to select cartridges to be chambered with the ogive at or near the same distance from the lands. Cartridges were to be grouped into two categories for test firing. Group one of each brand were cartridges ‘as received’ with no sorting, measuring, or weighing. This represents an accuracy baseline for each particular brand. Group two were cartridges first sorted by rim thickness and then separated into sub-groups based on rim base-to-ogive measurements. I included rim thickness to eliminate a controllable variable that could possibly affect accuracy. I wanted the groups from test firing to reflect the influence of rim base to ogive measurements only.”

I found a considerable difference between brands as I measured and sorted cartridges. Eley Target and Remington Target had the least variance in rim base-to-ogive measurements and very little difference in rim thickness. Federal Champion and Standard Plus had the largest percentage of cartridges longer or shorter than the norm and a wider range of rim thickness. Standard Plus turned in the largest average groups before sorting, Eley turned in the smallest. These two brands had near equal small groups after rim to ogive sorting.

g3 rimfire gauge

The groups below were shot by tool-maker Gerry Gereg with his Winchester Model 52 and a 20-power scope. In that rifle the rounds with shorter rim base-to-ogive lengths shot best, as you can see:

G3 rimfire gauge

You can learn more about the G3 rimfire gauges and Ben Peal’s testing by reading Ben’s full, 2940-word report. CLICK HERE to read Ben Peal TEST REPORT (PDF file).

Editor’s Note: Along with rim thickness, and rim base-to-ogive length, we have found that rimfire cartridge run-out (measured on the bullet) can have a dramatic effect on accuracy. In fact, in some of our barrels, we have noted that rounds with very high run-out (poor concentricity) often result in “flyers” that ruin a group. For this reason, we believe that concentricity checking is another procedure that can potentially benefit rimfire shooters.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 3 Comments »
February 8th, 2013

New FLEX F-TR Bipod from Dan Pohlabel

Report by Monte Milanuk
With the proliferation of wide bipods for competitive F-TR shooting, we’ve seen a lot of cool gear hitting the market. Whatever you can imagine, someone is either building now, or working on prototype plans. One new design that seems to have stayed under the radar thus far is the FLEX bipod by Dan Pohlabel.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

The FLEX bipod’s designer, Dan Pohlabel, offers these instructions:

The bipod feet are shipped loose. Note there is a left foot and a right foot. Mount them as shown in the diagram above. Determine the balance point of your rifle and mount the bipod approximately two inches forward of that point. You may want to move it further forward after shooting. Experiment with its placement to minimize movement of the bipod. When setting up, first grab each foot and ‘dig’ them in to the shooting surface, dirt, gravel, grass, carpet — it doesn’t matter. After making sure each foot has a hold, raise or lower the bipod to your target and use the cant adjustment to level your rifle. Loading the bipod with your shoulder is the preferred method of position. Contact me with any FLEX bipod questions you may have: danielp123 [at] earthlink.net.

The FLEX bipod is a very simple design — no Mariner’s wheel for vertical adjustment, no joystick head, no changing width as it goes up and down. And the FLEX bipod is very light (as are most, these days), but also very durable. I haven’t actively tried to destructively test it, but so far it’s held up to being tossed in the back of the truck, hauled around to the range and everywhere else in between. It definitely has not been ‘babied’ in any way, and it’s not noticeably any worse for wear. An added bonus is that it breaks down very flat for airline travel. Once I take the feet off, remove the ratchet lever (with screw), the whole bipod nestles very nicely in the bottom layer of foam in my gun case (with cuts for the head etc. in the foam). I’m definitely not worried about it in there. If someone bashes the case hard enough to damage what is essentially a plate of spring steel, then I’ve got bigger worries.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

This view (below) shows a bit of the adjustment controls. Each leg has independent control for height, and there is a ratcheting locking lever that controls the cant. Instead of being directly centered like most other designs I’ve seen, this one is off-set a little, allowing a fair amount of movement without allowing it to completely ‘flop’ over to one side. (By contrast, using other bipod designs, I’ve had guns literally flip over as they tipped over too far.) Also having the tilt control relatively close/tight to the bore of the gun helps with the stability as well.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

Inventor Dan Pohlebel developed the FLEX bipod for use in his native Ohio, where apparently grassy firing lines are the norm. Here in the Pacific Northwest, I seem to encounter concrete or gravel more often, which is why I usually place a mat under the bipod to keep it from sinking in too far. On Dan’s newest models, the “feet” have teeth to give better traction on hard surfaces such as the hard-pack clay/dirt (beneath a skim layer of gravel) that you’ll find at Raton, NM.

Why would you want more traction? Well, not everyone wants a bipod that slides around like a hog on ice. Some people manage to get things tracking straight back and forth, almost like it was constrained by a front rest. Personally, I have a hard time doing that in a repeatable fashion. While the FLEX Bipod shoots quite well with a [loose] hold, it was designed for those of us who like to ‘lean’ into the gun a bit. Quite literally, the idea is that you get the feet to dig in slightly, and push against the rifle butt with your shoulder and the bipod will ‘flex’ or bow forward slightly. It is one of those things that sounds wonky until you try it. It may take a few times to get a feel for it, but once you do, it is surprisingly repeatable.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

The system does have a few quirks to it. Personally, I wish the rail attachment had a ratchet lever like the pivot control. Currently you need a separate tool to take the bipod on/off the gun. Also, the FLEX bipod seems to work better mounted somewhat further back than other designs. Some experimenting may be necessary to find what works best. Then again, we all need more trigger time….

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 3 Comments »
February 8th, 2013

Cleaning Brass with Stainless Tumbling Media

On our main Accurateshooter.com website, you’ll find a comprehensive review of the STM system for cleaning cartridge brass with stainless media. To clean brass with stainless media, start with five pounds of small stainless pins sold by StainlessTumblingMedia.com. Place these along with a gallon of water, a little liquid cleaner, and two pounds of cartridge brass in a rotary tumbler, and run the machine for one to four hours.

CLICK HERE for Stainless Media Brass Cleaning System Review

Forum Member Tests STM System
Our reviewer, Forum member Jason Koplin, purchased the STM media and a new Thumler’s Tumbler. He then tested the STM cleaning procedure on his own brass, including some extremely dirty and tarnished “range pick-up” brass. Jason was thoroughly impressed with how well the STM process worked — as you can see from the “before and after” photos below. Brass which looked like it was ready for the scrap heap was restored to “like-new” appearance. The process works equally well on both rifle brass and pistol brass. Jason observed that one surprise benefit of the STM cleaning procedure is a big reduction in noise. Jason said the water-filled rotary tumbler was much quieter than his vibratory tumblers.

stainless tumbling Media

stainless tumbling Media

Lake City Brass STM Stainless Media

Lake City Brass STM Stainless Media

You’ll want to read Jason’s full review which shows more before and after images. The full article features a “how-to” video created by Forum member Cory Dickerson, the young man who pioneered the stainless tumbling process and founded STM. The video shows how to load brass, media, and cleaner solutions into the tumbler, and how to separate media from brass once the tumbling is done.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 4 Comments »
February 2nd, 2013

Gear Review: Bald Eagle (Grizzly) 20″ Range Bag

Bald Eagle Range BagI have been looking for a bag that can securely carry a large spotting scope as well as chronograph hardware, wind meter, and camera gear — all the extra stuff I typically take to the range in addition to the essential cleaning and shooting products that go in my regular range kit. The folks at Grizzly Industrial told me to check out their new 20″ Range Bag by Bald Eagle. These 20″ Range Bags, are very versatile and well-made. With eyepiece removed, my jumbo-sized Pentax PF-100ED spotting scope fit perfectly inside the padded central compartment. At the same time I could haul ALL the peripherals for my PVM-21 chronograph, plus a camera, wind meter, spare Pentax eyepiece, AND a netbook computer. Without the netbook, there is room for four pistols along the side channels. If you don’t need to pack a large spotting scope, the main compartment could easily hold 3 more pistols in Bore-Store socks, plus holsters, ammo boxes, and earmuffs.

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this VideoPress video.

Good Gear AccurateShooter.comWatch the video to see how much stuff will fit in this bag. NOTE: If you carry a tripod or windflag stand using the straps under the case lid, be sure to position the foam padding carefully to prevent any direct contact with a spotting scope in the main compartment. Overall, the 20″ Range Bag is a remarkably capable gear-hauler. With the nicely-padded interior it will safely carry expensive items such as laser rangefinders, and binoculars. There is also a slash pocket on the rear side (not shown in video) that will hold thin items such as target stickers and shooting log-books. The 20″ Range Bag is offered in four (4) different colors: Red, Black, Green, and Camo. Price is $59.95 for solid colors and $61.95 for camo.

Grizzly Bald Eagle 20

Smaller, 15″ Range Bag Offered Also
Grizzly also sells more compact, 15″-wide Bald Eagle Range Bags. There are six (6) color choices for the 15″ Range Bag: Red, Black, Navy Blue, Green, Hot Pink (for ladies), and Camo. Solid colors cost $45.00, while the Camo Bag costs a couple dollars more ($46.95). If you don’t need to haul a spotting scope, you may prefer the smaller version. The 15″ version still offers lot of carrying capacity — it’s big enough to hold ammo, muffs, target stickers, and much more.

Grizzly Range Bag 15" Camo

REVIEW Disclosure: Grizzly Industrial provided the 20″ Range Bag for testing and evaluation.

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February 2nd, 2013

$10 Rack System Holds Six Cleaning Rods Securely

Fishing Rod Rack Cleaning RodsForum member Nodak7mm has discovered an ideal way to store your rifle cleaning rods in your garage or loading room. Using inexpensive Berkley Fishing Rod Racks, Nodak7mm has secured a half-dozen Dewey rods on the back of a door. You could also mount the racks along a wall or on the side of a storage cabinet. This installation takes up minimal space and the Berkley Racks cost just $9.96 per set at Walmart. If you prefer wood, Wally World also sells a nice lacquered pine 6-rod wall rack for $17.54.

Nodak7mm explains: “I was moving some fishing poles around and ended up with an extra pair of Fishing Rod wall racks. I said to myself, ‘I bet this would hold my Dewey cleaning rods’. I mounted the pair on the inside of a closet door in my man cave and put my cleaning rods in it. It works like a charm and is far cheaper than a specially-made rack that only lets the rods hang. One can even slam the door with the rods mounted and they stay put. This rod rack set is found at almost any decent fishing tackle store, is made by a nationally recognized name and does a great job of holding the cleaning rods securely and safely. Best thing about them is the pair only costs $10 or less.”

Permalink Gear Review 3 Comments »
February 1st, 2013

Cleaning Rod Storage Case Sets from Benchrite.com

Benchrite cleaning rod case caddyMany of our readers have quite a bit of money invested in premium cleaning rods. When you carry your rods to the range, you want to keep them protected so they don’t get warped, kinked or damaged. Benchrite.com, a supplier of benchrest gear and precision shooting supplies, offers very sturdy and nicely-crafted cleaning rod cases made from stainless tubing. You can purchase a single rod case, but we expect most shooters will prefer the Benchrite 2-rod or 3-rod case sets. These handy systems combine multiple rod-cases in 2-rod or 3-rod portable transport caddies that store your rods securely in your vehicle or on the bench.

Benchrite cleaning rod case caddy

Benchrite cleaning rod case caddy

Benchrite’s two-rod and three-rod case sets are set up for specific rod brands and styles, but rod brands or styles may be mixed in the set on special order with no difference in pricing. Stainless rod tubes are 48″ long and will accommodate 44″ rods with a jag or brush attached. Benchrite rod cases employ a collet method to securely hold the rods in the tubes — no thumb screws, rubber bands, or hold-down blocks. For $24.00, Benchrite also offers a padded, vinyl carry bag that fits the three-rod sets perfectly.

Product tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gear Review No Comments »
January 31st, 2013

CigarCop’s .284 Win BAT-Action Beauty from Bob Green

Forum member K.W., aka ‘CigarCop’, has spotlighted his handsome long-range F-Class and Bench Rifle in our Forum’s Show Off Your Bat! thread. This is built with a BAT Multi-Flat action, Brux barrel, and a fiberglass McMillan F-Class stock. As you can see, it’s one handsome rifle. Be sure to click the image below to see the much more impressive wide-screen image!

Bob Green .284 Win BAT manners

The smithing was done by Bob Green and CigarCop was full of praise for Bob’s work: “I can’t really say enough about Bob Green, his attention to every detail and his ability to build an awesome shooting rifle… but once again he turned a pile of parts into a masterpiece! Picked this one up yesterday and enjoyed a Cigar with him as well. Built on a Bat MB Multi-flat in .284 Win with a Brux 1:8.5″ twist barrel. I put ten rounds through her today to get her up and running! It’s almost identical to my 6.5x47L that [Bob] also built. Once again, thanks Bob!”

Bob Green .284 Win BAT manners

Bob Green told us: “There was nothing really unusual about this build — this is the quality we try to maintain on all our guns. The barrel was chambered with the client’s reamer to a min-spec SAAMI .284 Win. The Multi-Flat BAT is pillar-bedded and bolted in, with no extra weight added to the stock. CigarCop provided the nice metal spacers on the buttstock and I polished them up. The finish is plain black but it looks good.”

Bob Green .284 Win BAT manners

Bob Green .284 Win BAT manners

Based in York, Pennsylvania, Bob Green is one of AccurateShooter.com’s recommended gunsmiths. To learn more about his Bob’s work visit GreensRifles.com, email Bob [at] Greensrifles.com, or call (717) 792-1069.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 6 Comments »
January 31st, 2013

Kelly Bachand Reviews Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press

This review first appeared in 2011. Having graduated from college in 2012, Kelly is now working full-time, and he has started a business, KellysGunSales.com.

Kelly BachandMost 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. As a college student, Kelly 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.

YouTube Preview Image

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.

Forster Co-Ax Press

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: 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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January 28th, 2013

Rear Sandbag Transport Caddy from Italy’s Varide Cicognani

Portacuscino modello TFC-P Sandbag Tote

Portacuscino modello TFC-P Sandbag ToteDoes your rear sand-bag get lumpy or lose its shape during transport? Are your bag ears starting to sag or get mis-aligned? Well the clever Italians have a solution for you.

Varide Cicognani, an Italian webstore specializing in competition shooting accessories, offers a cleverly-designed bag transport/storage caddy for rear sand-bags. Cicognani’s Portacuscino Model TFC-P is designed to keep your rear bag “in shape” during transport and storage. The TFC-P features aluminum top and bottom brackets, connected with threaded rods. A wedge under the top bracket fits between the bag ears. The top bracket has a convenient carry handle. The whole unit (not including bag) weighs just 13.4 ounces (680 grams). The price is € 49, or $65.99 at current exchange rates. For more information, visit www.VarideCicongnani.it.

Portacuscino modello TFC-P Sandbag Tote

Product Tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product 4 Comments »
January 22nd, 2013

SHOT Show Report: New RCBS Summit Single-Stage Press

The new RCBS Summit Press attracted a lot of attention when we first revealed it in the Daily Bulletin earlier this month. Readers wanted to know how well this radical new design really worked. To answer that question, we headed to the RCBS booth at SHOT Show 2013. There our buddy Kent Sakamoto gave us complete run-down on the new Summit. With the Summit, unlike other presses, the case does not move. As you can see in the video, the reloading die comes DOWN to the case.

The Summit’s open-front design is definitely a plus, and we really like the fact that all press operations take place ABOVE the benchtop. There are no linkages running below the bench, which lets you use the Summit on a bench with cabinet-style drawers. The Summit press is definitely beefy. With its massive center column, the design operates smoothly with no flexing issues. RCBS says the Summit has no more head flex than the classic “O”-design RockChucker.

The new Summit Press features a rugged cast-iron frame with all-steel linkages. The handle can be switched from right to left side (good for southpaws), and the open-front design provides good access, facilitating quick die changes. The 4.5-inch opening allows you to work with tall cases. Beneath the shell-holder is a spent primer catcher. The press will accept larger bushings for oversize 1-inch dies. Street Price in the new Summit Press is about $220.00 (optional Short Handle is another $19.95).


RCBS Summit Reloading PressRCBS Summit Press Features:

• Bench-top operation
• Massive 2-inch diameter ram
• Ambidextrous handle
• Compound leverage
• 4.50-inch operating window
• Spent primer catcher
• Full frontal access
• Accepts bushings for 1″ die bodies
• Press adapter bushing
• Zerk lubrication fitting
• Made in USA


RCBS Summit Press

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
January 15th, 2013

Smith & Wesson M&P C.O.R.E. Pistol Set-up for Optics

At Media Day, we had a chance to try out a new Smith & Wesson Pro Series C.O.R.E. pistol in 9mm. Despite the wicked cold weather, we enjoyed shooting this pistol. It is accurate, comfortable, and has a decent trigger.

This M&P variant features a slide that has been milled to fit modern, compact red-dot optics. Six optic types will fit: Trijicon RMR, Leupold Delta Point, Jpoint, Doctor, C-More STS, Insight MRDS The slide cut positions the red dot optic (a Trijicon on our test gun) so that the conventional iron sites are still usable below the red-dot. That’s smart, because the front blade sight can still be used to steer the gun towards the target, and then, as you bring the muzzle down on target, the red dot appears. This is a very fast, efficient system.

smith wesson core pistol

This C.O.R.E. model, like other M&P series pistols, has a comfortable, ergonomic grip-shape that is far superior to the grip on Glock handguns in this reporter’s opinion. I also like the grip better than the blocky grip on my older H&K polymer .45 ACP. Grip angle feels “just right” (unlike the Glock), and the corners are rounded (an improvement on the blocky HK). Plus the M&P has three (3) optional backstraps, so the user can “fine-tune” the grip to his or her hand. For 2013 the stipling on the backstraps has been modified for better grip and comfort.

smith wesson core pistol

This is a nice, intelligent upgrade on a gun which was already very good. And even with the special “optics ready” slide, the gun remains affordable with a $729.00 MSRP (not counting optics).

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January 12th, 2013

Impact Data Books — Tough, Versatile, User-Configurable

Impact Data log BooksBy Danny Reever
Shooters’ notebooks (aka “data books” or “log books”) allow the shooter to record critical shot data and general information. To log data, I’ve seen everything used from simple note cards to huge ledger books and everything in between. I’ve tried many of the commercial logbook offerings as well as some of the military-type sniper data books. Invariably they lack some “mission critical” information pages, while being stuffed with pages that aren’t useful at all. One ends up discarding non-useful pages only to be left with a shortage of really functional pages.

Given the shortcomings of most commercial data books, I resorted to making my own logs using simple spiral notebooks. That was until I discovered Impact Data Books, created by Tony Gimmellie, a competitive shooter and USMC vet who served seven years as a Marine Scout Sniper. While in the military, Tony made his data books for himself and for other Marines because commercial offerings lacked important (and even essential) features.

After Tony left the Marines in 2001 he set out to create modular data books with removable, replaceable pages. Some years later, Tony met Tom Challey who brought much-needed design and layout skills to the project. Starting in 2009, Tony and Tom began selling Impact Data Books. Customized Impact Data Books are now used by the U.S. military, federal and state law enforcement agencies, gun manufacturers, and by well-known shooting schools. Standardized, pre-made Impact Data Books are sold by MidwayUSA and other vendors. Two sizes are offered: the standard 9 1/8″ by 6.5″ book or a 5.5″ x 4 1/4″ pocket-sized version.

Impact Data log Books
TAB GEAR Cordura covers for large or small Impact Data Books are $42.00 from Riflesonly.com.

Review of Impact Data Books
The first thing that you will notice about an Impact Data Book is the durable Poly-carbonate three ring binder. The tough plastic covers have been scored so that the book lays open flat and won’t accidently close. Covers come in two colors: tan with the Impact Data Book logo in black, or black with logo in red. The standard page material is heavy, 80-weight executive stock, or, for a slight additional charge, you can get “Rite in the Rain” water-resistant stock.

Each Impact Data Book comes with a set of standard pages that include: wind observation, general ballistic tables, range estimation, size of objects reference, yards to meters conversion tables, common conversion formulas, leads for moving targets, angle fire information, mil-value adjustments, and MOA-adjustment values. You then can choose among eight (8) sets of ten double-sided pages to augment the basic reference pages.

Impact Data log Books

Impact Data Books offer many alternative page formats. Drawing from over 250 different page designs, you can optimize a modular book for your individual needs. If you shoot short range benchrest, 600- or 1000-yard benchrest, F-class, NRA Service rifle there are pages for you. Want blank pages, grids, circles, animal silhouettes, drills, special shapes, even Shoot-N-C targets? Impact Data Books offers those pages too. And if you still can’t find what you need, Tony and Tom can customize a page for you or your organization, optimized for your discipline(s).

The complete modular book will have 100 double-sided sheets providing the shooter with 160 data collection pages, 20 pages of reference material, plus 3 round-count pages, 3 note pages, 2 sniper range cards, and two field sketch pages. Over all, you’ll have 200 pages optimized for your needs. In the real world, that’s far more useful than any “off-the-shelf” data book filled with many pages you don’t need or want.

What Do They Cost?
A pre-made Impact Data Book, such as the F-Class book, costs $32.00. You’ll pay $42.00 for a fully-customized 200-page (100 sheets) modular data book. Additional page sets can be added for just $3.99 per set of ten double-sided pages.

Danny’s Custom GroundHog Match Data Book
I shoot a lot of GroundHog/Varmint Matches. For these competitions, I wanted a book that would work at many different club matches yet adapt to each club’s particular yardages and course of fire. I worked with Tony to come up with a GroundHog Match book that contains: one set of index pages with wind charts etc.; 40 double-sided GroundHog Match sheets; one shooters info/rifle info page; 10 load development sheets; 10 round-count sheets; 10 blank end-of-fire data sheets; 5 note pages; and 5 come-up sheets.

Impact Data log Books

I think any shooter involved in groundhog shoots or fun varmint matches can benefit from this GroundHog Match Data book, priced at $32.00. You can order from me, we3reevers [at] embarqmail.com, or order directly from Impact Data Books, P.O. Box 223, King George, VA 22485.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 2 Comments »
January 8th, 2013

Outstanding Primer Seating Tool from 21st Century Shooting

The tool-makers at 21st Century Shooting have come up with a very slick new Precision Hand-Priming Tool. This extremely well-made, benchrest-grade unit raises the bar among single-primer seating tools. Feel is great, changing shell-holders is simple, and nothing else on the market offers better control over primer seating depth. The tool’s precision-adjusting head provides clicks in .0025″ increments for precise seating depth. The tool’s body, internals, and shell-holders are stainless, while the handle is anodized aluminum. Price is $118.00 for the tool itself. Shell-holders (sizes from 17 Remington up to .338 Lapua Magnum) cost $7.99 each.

21st Century Priming Tool Review
By Boyd Allen
I have been priming cases, with various hand-priming tools, for about three decades, and in the process have pretty much tried them all, from least to most expensive. When I found out that this new 21st Century tool was adjustable for seating depth, I wondered about that. After all, what do I, who believes in seating by feel, need with adjustable seating depth? Well…..I was wrong. Let me explain.

Why Adjustment for Primer Seating Depth Is Important
Most hand-seating tools do not have an adjustment for how far up the priming punch comes up into the shell holder. As a result, when priming a case with a deep pocket, especially if there has been some wear of the tool’s linkage, the finger/thumb lever may contact the tool’s body before the primer is fully seated. Having a primer seated too high can cause a myriad of problems. Prior to this, the only seater that I had used that had an adjustable linkage was the Sinclair tool, and adjusting its linkage requires disassembly — regular disassembly if you want to keep it perfect. That’s not convenient. The Sinclair is good tool, but a pain in the neck to adjust.

Precision Control Over Seating Depth — With Click Adjustment
The 21st Century Priming Tool offers quick and easy depth adjustment (unlike its rival from Sinclair). The 21st Century unit can be adjusted in precise increments (.0025”) more quickly than you can read this sentence. The knurled head of the tool is threaded onto the body, which has a very sturdy ball and spring detent indexing system that is easy to adjust and precise. Clicks are secure and positive. With this feature, you can set the tool so that the handle is in any position (distance from the tool body) that you find convenient, when the primer is fully seated. Additionally, since leverage increases as the handle approaches the tool body, different stopping points afford differing mechanical advantages (more or less effort required) and sensitivity. By doing a little experimenting, I have found a point of adjustment that give me better feel for when the primer hits the bottom of the pocket, without overshooting the mark, while keeping the force requirement within a range that is comfortable when priming a large number of cases.

Quick and Easy Shell-Holder Changing
Changing shell holders is easily accomplished. No extra hex-wrenches or tools are needed, and there are no tiny set screws to roll of the desk, to be lost forever in the carpet, never to be heard from again until you hear them rattling up the vacuum cleaner hose. To swap shell-holders, simply screw the head off of the body, lift off the one that you one that you are replacing, set the one that you intend to use in place (assuming that it used the same size primer) and screw the head back down to the setting that you want. Changing primer sizes is equally easy. NOTE: The tool requires 21st Century-made shell holders. These may be turned (relative to the handle) so that the loading slot opening faces whatever direction you prefer.

Fit, Finish, and Feel
The body and head of the tool, as well as the internal linkages, are all made from stainless steel. These closely-fitted parts are precisely machined, with an smooth, attractive finish. The handle is black anodized aluminum. Overall, the tool is well-shaped, and built like a stainless/aluminum brick.

Bottom Line: Great Tool That Works Exceptionally Well
I can’t imagine anyone, who uses a single-primer tool of this type, not liking this tool. When it comes to hand reloading tools, I can afford to have pretty much whatever I want (within reason). After testing and using this tool, I pulled my Sinclair tool from its case, and replaced it with this one. That should say it all. After using this tool, I will have to give serious consideration to other 21st Century reloading products the next time I need a new tool. One thing is for sure — we have an important new player in the design and manufacture of top end of reloading equipment. 21st Century’s Precision Priming Tool “raises the bar” among single-primer seating tools.

Tool Size Considerations
I wrote the review and then took the pictures, which, upon reflection, make the tool look smaller than it is, because of the size of my hands. I thought about putting a ruler in the pictures, but rejected that as visual clutter, so I will simply tell you that from tip of thumb to that of my little finger, my right hand measures a little over 10 inches, and the palm is 4 inches wide. The size of the tool is just right.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 14 Comments »
January 4th, 2013

James Mock Tests “Match Burner” Bullets from Barnes

Review by James D. Mock
Around the first of November, I received a call from Boyd Allen. During one our conversations about all things Benchrest, he mentioned that Barnes made conventional match bullets. This I did not know. Most hunters are familiar with the excellent Barnes premium hunting bullets, but many like me did not know that they make match bullets also, marketed as “Match Burners”.

Barnes Match Burner Bullets VLDAfter contacting the good folks Barnes to request some Match Burners for a review in Precision Shooting Magazine, I received a box of 6mm 68gr match bullets and a box of 6mm 105gr VLDs. By the time I got these, I learned that Precision Shooting would no longer print a magazine.

These bullets sat around the house for quite some time, but I finally got around to testing them. First of all I weighed many of the bullets and found that the nominal 68gr bullets averaged 68.07 grains and the 105s averaged 105.08 grain. The 68gr bullets were .845 inches long and measured .2432 on the body and .2435 on the pressure ring of these flat-base bullets. The VLDs measured 1.192 inches long with a diameter of .2433 at the largest point and the boat tail measured .180 long with a diameter at the base of .210.

Flat-Base 68gr Match Burners Prove Very Accurate
Although I shot the 68gr bullets in some fairly “strong” conditions, they performed well as you can see below. I loaded the rounds with 28.4 grains of the new Accurate LT-32 powder (from Western Powders).

Barnes Match Burner Bullets VLD

Above is a target with three 3-shot groups shot with the 68-grainers. I chose the following seating depths: (from left to right) .020 off jam*; .010 off jam; and .005 off jam. Since then I have shot a few more groups, and have been pleasantly surprised.

Barnes Match Burner Bullets VLD

Barnes Match Burner 105gr VLDs Perform Well
For the 105 VLDs I chose my Dasher with a 26.5″ Bartlein gain twist (1:8.25″ to 1:7.75″). Like the 68gr bullets, these VLDs were a pleasant surprise. I plan to shoot these bullets again as soon as the weather improves.


*Editor’s Note: The term “Jam” (or “Jam Length”) is used to describe a maximum practical bullet seating dimension, typically measured from base to bullet ogive. As James uses the term, “Jam” means the maximum functional length to which he can seat a bullet in his brass, with his selected neck tension, before the bullet starts to move backwards in the case (in the direction of casehead) when he closes the bolt. Thus, if James specifies a load that is “.010 off Jam”, this means that James has seated the bullet ten-thousandths shorter than maximum functional length in his gun. His bullets are still engaged in the rifling at “.010 off Jam”, and probably still touching the rifling at “.020 off Jam”. The “Jam” length is specific to James’ barrel and brass. In different barrels, “Jam Length” can vary according to numerous factors — bore dimensions, land configuration, neck tension, bullet geometry et cetera.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 1 Comment »
January 1st, 2013

Nightforce NXS vs. Benchrest Model — Which is Best for You?

Nightforce Benchrest Model vs. NXS
by Jason Baney, AccurateShooter.com Asst. Editor
Anyone who has considered purchasing a Nightforce scope inevitably asks: “Which one best suits my application — NXS or Benchrest model?” Shooters also ask: “Why is there such a price difference between the NXS and Benchrest (BR) models?” This article compares the features of the two models (NXS and BR), and provides some guidelines for choosing the right Nightforce scope for your needs.

The NXS line is priced a bit higher, costing about 40% more than the comparable Benchrest model. NXS scopes are also a bit more robust, and feature a side parallax adjustment (side-focus), whereas the BR scopes have an adjustable front objective for correcting parallax. Another main difference is click value, as the BR scopes have 1/8 MOA clicks while the NXS scopes currently feature 1/4 MOA clicks. The “zero-stop” feature is something to consider as well, as it is only available on the NXS models and allows the shooter to quickly spin the elevation turret back down to a close range zero, usually 100 yards, without counting clicks.

Nightforce Benchrest & NXS
Click Value: 1/4 MOA vs. 1/8 MOA
The tighter 1/8 MOA click value is generally more desirable for long range shooting as eighth-minute clicks allow the shooter to adjust Point of Impact more precisely than quarter-minute clicks. The 1/4 MOA clicks are worth about 2.6″ at 1000 yards, while a 1/8 MOA click will move your POI only 1.3″ at 1000. It is easy to see why the 1/8 MOA click value may be preferable when trying to dial in on a 3-5 inch X-Ring or 10-Ring. This is one reason why so many F-Classers favor eighth-minute clicks. The F-Class X-ring is just 5″ in diameter.

If you wanted 1/8 MOA clicks, it used to be that you had to choose the Nightforce BR model. That has changed. Nightforce now offers 8-32X and 12-42X NXS models with 1/8 MOA clicks. The 1/8 MOA-click NXS lineup is ideal for those who prefer side-parallax control AND more precise click values. Another consideration regarding click value is the availability of milrad clicks. “Mil” clicks are desirable when the scope has a mildot or MLR reticle, or similar reticle based on a milradian scale. Mil clicks are only available on NXS scopes at this time.

Ruggedness — NXS has the Edge
Nightforce Zero StopDurability is not usually an issue with target shooters as the scope will mainly be used in benign environment on a fixed-distance range. So, as long as a scope tracks and performs reliably, most target shooters won’t fret about durability. For those that may use their rifles in a tactical or field situation, or when hunting, the added robustness of the NXS scope may prove quite important. Now the BR scopes are no slouch as far as durability compared to similar scopes, but, in my experience, they cannot take quite the abuse that the NXS scopes can.

Side-Focus Parallax vs. Front Adjustable Objective
As far as the side parallax adjust vs. adjustable objective, this usually boils down to personal preference. The side-focus parallax adjustment NXS model fits one additional focus lens in the scope body — a lens not required in the front-adjusting Benchrest model. According to Nightforce, this one extra lens in the NXS can reduce potential light transmission by 1.0 to 1.5 percent in the NXS compared to the BR model. However, most human eyes will not notice the difference, and overall resolution should be virtually the same. The side-focus NXS models will be much more convenient from a prone position than will the BR scopes as it is not necessary to reach out of position to correct parallax. The BR scopes tend to be more convenient in fixed distance environments like benchrest or F-class, where there tends to be multiple shots at a similar distance, or there is plenty of time to adjust parallax. Compared to the NXS models, the BR scopes use more movement to produce the same amount of parallax adjustment — so you can say the BR offers “finer” adjustment. By contrast, the NXS side-focus delivers a coarser yet quicker adjustment requiring less movement to “dial-in” minimal parallax.

Zero-Stop Feature on NXS Only
Nightforce Zero StopAnother point of consideration is the availability of a “zero-stop.” This is particularly useful in the same situations that the NXS scopes make the most sense. Namely, tactical or field situations where there may be stress combined with longer shots where dialing the turrets is required. The zero stop allows the shooter to set a stop point, usually a 100-yard zero. Then no matter where the turret is positioned in its span of travel, the zero can be quickly re-established by spinning the turret down until it stops at the pre-set zero.

At present, the Zero-stop is available on all Nightforce variable NXS models except the 12-42×56. So you CAN get the zero-stop on the 8-32 NXS, but not the 12-42 NXS.

CONCLUSION
With the new 1/8 MOA NXS models now available, the decision on which Nightforce scope to buy, will come down to focus/parallax adjustment, field hardiness, and price. Though it may still be a hard decision in certain situations, hopefully this discussion has made the decision a bit easier. All in all, Nightforce scopes are a great value and they offer enough choices to satisfy nearly all shooting situations. Nightforce Scopes can be purchased through EuroOptic.com and other Nightforce dealers.

Permalink Gear Review, Optics 7 Comments »
December 31st, 2012

Maisto Competition Cartridge Boxes — Quality Craftsmanship

Up in Wisconsin, a gentleman named Joe Maisto crafts some exceptionally nice competition cartridge boxes. Each box is hand-machined (no molds, no CNC), with the holes precisely fitted to the cartridge you shoot. Joe has been building his boxes since 1996, first from wood, and now from more durable (and easier-to-clean) polymers. Joe started with a hinge-top 25-round box (with magnetic latch) for short-range benchresters. He still makes that box, but now he also offers 40-round boxes, high-top boxes (for bigger, taller cartridges), open top cartridge blocks, and combo blocks with holes for cases and a built-in tray. Our buddies in the short-range benchrest game say the Maisto boxes are perfect for carrying rounds from the loading bench to the firing line. GO TO Joseph Maisto website.

25-Round Cartridge Boxes
These units were designed in 1996. The originals were machined of Walnut, Cherry, or Birch. They were lovely, laborious, and expensive. To make the price more affordable, the wood units have since been retired in favor of high density polyethylene (HDPE). The front holes are separated for “record rounds”. Holes are bored with a minimum of clearance, and up to the shoulder. Additionally, each cartridge slot has a smaller hole in the bottom to allow debris to exist. These $60.00 boxes feature a quality stainless steel hinge with small but strong magnets that provide secure closure. While these were originally crafted for PPC cases, Joe offers various hole diameters for different-sized small cartridges.

joe maisto cartridge box

40-Round Cartridge Boxes
For those who want more capacity (for longer strings of fire), Joe offers 40-round cartridge boxes. These allow shooters to change loads on the line, or simply have more rounds in a single box. With finger grooves front and back, the 40-rd boxes work for both left and right handers. Just like the 25-rd boxes, the 40s have a stainless hinge and magnetic closure. Price is $130.00.

Large Cartridge Box
Joe’s Large Cartridge Boxes are taller to accommodate the bigger cartridges used for long-range shooting. These feature magnetic latching and and bottom exit holes, just like the Joe’s original PPC boxes. Joe notes that, for some cartridges, the Large Boxes “have 20 holes instead of 25 because of the larger cartridge head size”. When ordering the Large Boxes, you need to specify cartridge dimensions and cartridge overall loaded length (COAL). Price is $65.00 per box.

joe maisto cartridge box

Cartridge Blocks
These cartridge “blocks” are made from the same material as Joe’s cartridge boxes. Each has finger grooves and exit holes. Joe says: “The size of the block is perfect for manipulating primed cases under a powder measure where space is a factor.” The 20-round block costs $19.00. Joe also offers a version with a recess on one side for empties. These have either 10 or 14 holes and cost $28.00.

joe maisto cartridge box

AccurateShooter.com field tested gear
Joseph A. Maisto
www.benchrest.com/maisto
3647 Debby Lane
Franksville, Wl 53126
PH: (262) 886-1610
Email: jmaisto [at] wi.rr.com

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 1 Comment »
December 25th, 2012

Sauer 202 with 22LR Conversion Kit

Forum member “Tooms” sent us a report on his very special Sauer 202 with a 22LR conversion kit. Sauer 202 rifles feature a “Quick-change barrel system”. The barrel is clamped into the receiver with crossbolts providing tension. This allows barrels to be swapped in a few minutes with simple tools. Tooms, from Denmark, explains: “The rifle began as a Sauer 202 Avantgarde Gold in .308 Win. I have added a 6.5×55 match barrel, plus a wide flat-bottom match fore-arm with rail for handstop and bipod. The 22LR system [originally] cost $1000.00 [including] barrel, bolt, magazine well assembly, and magazine. The barrel is attached by three cross-bolts and the magazine well assembly is attached by one screw that fits into the barrel.”

sauer 202 varmint rifle 22LR

sauer 202 varmint rifle 22LR

Using this “Quick-change system”, Tooms can easily remove his centerfire barrel and swap in a .22 LR barrel. Then he places the factory conversion kit into the magazine well. This kit provides a rimfire bolt, a fitted sleeve for the rimfire bolt, and a track for the magazine. This is a full Sauer factory-designed system so it works flawlessly. With the bolt closed, you can see the “new” 22LR chamber in the front section of the loading port. On the silver section of the bolt you can see the rimfire extractor on the side.

sauer 202 varmint rifle 22LR

sauer 202 varmint rifle 22LR

The 22LR Conversion Really Works
The Sauer 202 Varmint rifle shoots very well with the 22LR conversion, as the 50m target at right shows. Though quite expensive, the conversion kit essentially transforms your centerfire rifle into fully functional, mag-fed precision rimfire. That makes the Sauer 202 much more versatile as a hunting platform. It also allows you to cross-train with inexpensive ammo. You don’t have to purchase another scope, trigger, or stock. And you enjoy the exact same stock fit and ergonomics whether you’re shooting centerfire or rimfire. In some countries where gun ownership is severely restricted, it may be easier, from a legal standpoint, to purchase a 22LR conversion kit than to obtain a permit for a second rifle.

To learn more about the complete line of Sauer 202 rifles visit the J.P. Sauer USA website. You’ll also find more information on the primary J.P. Sauer & Sohn German website, www.Sauer.de.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 7 Comments »
December 13th, 2012

“It Hammers” — Radical Jennings-Stocked F-TR Rig Shoots Great

We recently reported on the new Jennings F-TR stock with integrated bipod. When we first saw this rig we thought, “OK, it looks cool, but how does it shoot?” Well, we had a chance to test a .308 Win F-TR rifle built by Chesebro Rifles using the Jennings stock, Barnard action, and 32″ Bartlein barrel. With the gun on the bench, we first shot a few rounds to confirm zero and test for function.

Then gun-builder Mark Chesebro set the rifle on the shooting mat, opened up a box of Federal 168gr Gold Medal Match (GMM) .308 Win ammo, and got down to business — from the ground. What happened next can only be described as “shock and awe”. Mark nailed three successive groups that left us shaking our heads in amazement. The Jennings stock works. Does it ever. This gun hammers.

All groups were shot from the ground, bipod-supported, with Federal factory GMM ammo.

Mark’s first three-shot group had two shots in one hole, then the third leaked a bit high for a 0.184″ group. Then Mark dialed down 2 MOA elevation, and drilled an astonishing 3-shot .047″ group. (For reference, the black diamond in the orange paster is 1/4″ from point to point.)

I was watching through a Swarovski spotting scope and I saw all three shots track into one hole that just got a little whiter in the middle with each successive round. I yelled out “Stop shooting!” because I wanted to measure the group. It was an easy mid-zero — and honestly it looked like just one bullet hole from a pistol. That is amazing with factory .308 Win ammo, particularly in a barrel throated for 185s, not the 168gr SMKs Federal uses in its Gold Medal Match .308 ammunition.

Mark Chesebro Rifles

After measuring Mark’s 3-shot bughole, we walked back to the firing line and Mark shot a full 5-shot group. This would have been a two-flat, but he flinched a bit and his third shot went a little high to open the group to a 0.233″. Still darn impressive with factory ammo…

Editor’s Comment: This Gun is Ultra-Stable and Tracks Straight Back
I had a chance to shoot the gun from the ground. I can tell you this — the stock design really works. With the wide-track bipod, the gun is incredibly stable. As you’re aiming there is virtually zero horizontal movement in the crosshairs. All you need to do is squeeze the ears to set your vertical Point of Aim and pull the trigger. This thing is one of the easiest guns to shoot accurately (from the ground) that I’ve ever tried. You don’t have to struggle for stability at all — the gun wants to stay dead calm.

With the large, cylindrical Delrin feet placed on a mat, the gun tracks straight back. And there is no hop, no bounce, no roll. In fact, the gun tracked so well that I could see my bullets impact on the paper target. That’s surprising for a .308 Win with no muzzle brake. After a shot I could slide the gun forward and the crosshairs were right where they should be — the only thing I had to do is squeeze the ears to re-set my vertical. All I can tell you is the thing is very easy to shoot well.

I don’t know whether it is because of the forward-angle geometry of the legs, or the Delrin feet, or the properties of the carbon fiber tube that supports the front end, but the gun seems to have more damping than other metal-chassis stocks I’ve tried. Some metal-stocked guns seem to “ring” and transmit a sharp pulse to the shooter. This Jennings stock doesn’t do that — it seems to soak up vibration somehow. And the recoil is very mild, I think because the Delrin feet slow the gun down as they slide back smoothly.

Bottom Line: We came away very, very impressed with this rifle and the Jennings stock. I have never experienced a bipod-equipped rifle (in any caliber) that is easier to aim and hold steady, or which is easier to return to precise point of aim after each shot. And, without question, this is one of the most accurate .308 Win rifles we have ever shot from the ground. And that was with factory ammo, not tuned handloads!

Making a Great Design Even Better
Could the rifle be improved? Yes. While there is some rear elevation adjustment (via an eccentric bag-rider that rotates) we would like to see more rear-end elevation adjustment, so the gun could better adapt to uphill and downhill target placements. Also we’d like to see a higher mounting point for the bag-rider so you could use a taller, beefier rear bag. We discussed these points with Mark Chesebro, and he’s agreed to start prototyping some upgrades. This may include a thumbwheel-adjustable bag-rider (sort of like an upside-down adjustable cheekpiece). At our suggestion, the vertically adjustable bag-rider may be offered in two versions — straight and angled. With an angled bag-rider (i.e. with a slight amount of drop front to rear), you could adjust your vertical point of aim by sliding the gun forward or aft in the rear bag.

We will supplement this test report with more photos and video in a few days. We know you want to see how well it tracks. The video tells the story better than words can…

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
December 11th, 2012

Dewey Offers Aluminum Jags and Aluminum-Tipped Rods

For decades shooters have used brass jags attached to brass-tipped cleaning rods. These work effectively. But there is one problem. Many bore solvents will react with the brass metal to give “false positives”. You can get bluish-green patches even when there is no copper fouling in your bore.

To solve this problem DeweyRods.com offers a full line of aluminum jags, aluminum brush adapters, and nylon-coated cleaning rods with aluminum tips. Dewey explains: “Ammonia-based solvents attack copper & brass but also leave your patches a blue-green color so you are never sure if your bore is truly clean of copper. Our aircraft-grade aluminum has the same hardness of brass, it will not embed impurities or harm your bore, and ammonia will not attack it.” As shown below, along with caliber-specific aluminum jags (center), Dewey now offers aluminum thread adaptors (left) and aluminum-shaft brushes (right).

Dewey Aluminum Jags

New Dewey ‘Copper Eliminator’ Cleaning Rods
These new rods have the same nylon coating and handle assembly as Dewey’s standard coated rods, but they feature a chemical-resistant, 8/32 female-threaded, aluminum ferrule. No brush adapters are required. Each rod is supplied with a male-threaded aluminum jag. Dewey charges $39.95 for these rods, but you may find them slightly cheaper at other vendors.

Dewey Copper Eliminator Cleaning Rod

Copper Eliminator Rods are currently offered in two diameters (.22-.26 Cal, or .27+ Cal), and three lengths: 36″, 40″, 44″. Listed rod lengths do NOT include handle assembly. One last note: Dewey cautions users to avoid TM Solution, because this solvent may harm Dewey’s nylon rod-coatings.

Story sourced by Edlongrange.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »