June 28th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Trio of Tack-Driving Thumbhole Varmint Rifles

gunday sunday varmint rifles Richard Franklin Custom rifles virginia thumbhole

Mr. Smith’s Tack-Driving Thumbhole Trio
What is it they say? “Can’t have too much of a good thing?” We’ll in the case of Sam Smith of Wisconsin, that goes for beautiful wood-stocked thumbhole rifles that shoot like the blazes. This week we feature a troika of thumbholes, all smithed and stocked by Richard Franklin of Richard’s Custom Rifles (Richard is now retired but still offers DVDs). Not content with a single caliber or twist, Sam commissioned three different chamberings and barrel twist rates.

First, in Fiddleback Walnut — a 6PPC Walking Varminter
thumbhole varmint rigThe most elegant of the three thumbholes is this handsome .261″-neck 6PPC. The blue-printed Rem 700 action is pillar-bedded in a highly-figured stock of laminated Curley Fiddleback Walnut, in Richard’s #004 pattern. Richard uses three sections of wood bonded together so the outside looks like a single piece of Walnut.

The lead photo at top, and the image at right show more details of this rifle. The grain really takes on a rich color in sunlight, with the Tiger-stripe figure showing brilliantly through the clearcoat. Believe it or not, Sam doesn’t even consider this one of his best-looking rifles. Sam tells us, “these three thumbhole stocks are not even close to the prettiest guns Richard has built for me–you should see the Maple ones he did for me–they are unbelievable.”

Sam tells us the gun’s 1:14″-twist Krieger barrel is a hummer — it regularly shoots one-holers at 100 yards. Sam has even logged some groups in the Zeros with the gun–awesome accuracy for a varmint rifle/Sam tells us that, using VV N133 and 58gr V-max bullets, this gun is absolutely deadly on prairie dogs out to 500 yards. (SEE: One-hole Sample Target.)

Rifle #2 — Cherry and Walnut Together in a 6mm Rem Improved

gunday sunday varmint rifles Richard Franklin Custom rifles virginia thumbhole

When more knock-down power or more distant targets are in order, Sam pulls out his 6mm Rem Improved 1:12″-twist thumbhole Varminter. Like the other two guns, this features a pillar-bedded Remington 700 action and Krieger barrel. While the 6mm AI’s #004 stock shares the same shape and form as the 6PPC above, it is much more colorful, employing a seven-layer laminate in Cherry and Walnut, covered with multiple coats of automotive clear-coat. One of Sam’s favorite varminters, this rifle sees more range use than his 6PPC because “the PPC is so accurate I want to keep the round count down.” That’s not to say the 6mm Improved is any slouch in the accuracy department. Using VV N160 and 75gr V-max bullets, the gun averages in the 2s and 3s. The best group to date was .189″ with the 87gr V-Max (See V-Max Target below). Chalk that up to another superbly accurate Krieger barrel combined with outstanding chambering work by Richard.

6mm Rem Improved with 87gr V-Max at 100 Yards
6mm Rem improved target

Rifle #3 — Fast-Twist 6.5-284 with Benchrest Forearm

6.5-284 with Benchrest Forearm

Last but not least is Sam’s handsome 6.5-284 (below), also in a laminated Walnut and Cherry stock. The Krieger barrel is a Heavy Varmint contour, with an 8-twist and .290″ neck. This gun hasn’t been shot much yet, but during initial testing it grouped in the mid-threes with 53gr of H4831 and 142gr Sierra MKs. You’ll note the stock is a bit different than the other two guns–this is the #005 stock pattern, which boasts a 3″-wide, flat forearm. It is identical to the #004 from the recoil lug rearward. Sam tells us that the #005 tracks better than the #004, though he prefers the rounded forearm of the #004 for a walking varminter.

Sam’s all-time favorite stock pattern in Richard’s #007, a roll-over comb design with conventional wrist and Cooper-style Beavertail forearm. Sam has a similar Maple #007 that he says is “even nicer than the gun in the picture.”

Nice Wood? You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!
After this trio of thumbhole rifles, Sam commissioned two more rifles — a matched pair in 6mm BR Norma and 6PPC, done up in absolutely amazing 500 year-old Turkish Walnut, sourced from a one-of-a-kind 48″ diameter Burl. What does a piece of wood like this cost? Trust us, if you have to ask, you couldn’t possibly afford it. Let us just say these are some of the most spectacularly figured blanks ever shipped from Turkey and they are priced accordingly. Here’s a preview, taken right before Richard bonded the first stock together. The lower two pieces look lighter because of the flash angle but the upper section more accurately shows how all three pieces appear in natural light. “Wow” is right!

gunday sunday varmint rifles Richard Franklin Custom rifles virginia thumbhole

Richard Franklin is Now Retired in Montana
The last we heard, gunsmith Richard Franklin was enjoying his retirement years up in Montana. On RichardsCustomRifles.com Richard posted: “I built fine custom rifles and for many years. I was the first stock maker to laminate woods such high-grade walnut, fiddleback maple and other fancy woods. I designed my own ideas into my patterns and carved, finished, pillar bedded thousands of stocks on the rifles I built. My most popular stock pattern was my Model 11 thumbhole.

I love building rifles but my health has forced me to retire and to take time to smell the roses. I made many great videos on how to build rifles and have been selling them for many years. They are still in great demand.” CLICK HERE to check out Richard’s DVDs about rifle building and varmint hunting.

gunday sunday varmint rifles Richard Franklin Custom rifles virginia thumbhole

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June 28th, 2020

Need to Swap Barrels? Get Grizzly Barrel Vise for $38.95

Grizzly Barrel Vise clamping barrel swap

Grizzly.com has a handy product that should prove very useful for readers who need to swap barrels. This CNC-Machined aluminum barrel vise can be used in your home workshop, or on the road. In the field the vise can be fitted to a block of wood which can then be temporarily clamped to a bench. Or, as you can see below, you can mount the vise to a trailer hitch for use during a match or varmint hunt. The barrel vise is currently ON SALE for just $38.95.

Grizzly Barrel Vise clamping barrel swap

This vise was designed by a member of the U.S. Shooting Team for quickly changing barrels up to 1.5 inches in diameter. Made of T-6061 Aluminum, the top clamping part of the vise is spring loaded so you can hold the gun with one hand while tightening the two nuts with the other. Grizzly notes: “Sometimes the action and scope can even remain on the rifle stock while the barrel is changed out.”

Clamping Range: Secures 7/8″ to 1.5″ Diameter Barrels
Block Dimensions: 5″ x 2.5″ x 1.4″ (Upper); 7.5″ x 2.5″ x 1.1″ (Lower)
Bolt Diameter: 3/4″ | Mounting: Use 1/2″ Hex Bolts to secure

IMPORTANT: This vise was designed for 7/8″ to 1.5″-diameter barrels. It may not work correctly with barrel diameters outside that range, or with unusual barrel contours. Not recommended for fine, polished blued steel barrels unless you protect the barrel surface before clamping. For most situations, where practical, we would remove the barreled action from the stock before using the vise.

Product Tip from EdLongRange. We welcome Reader Submissions.
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June 27th, 2020

Krieger Barrel Shines in .22 LR Rimfire Ammo Testing

Krieger barrel .22 LR center-X rimfire ammo ammunition testing Sniper's Hide padom
All photos hosted on Imgur as posted by Padom.

Serious riflemen know that Krieger makes outstanding centerfire barrels that hold world records and have won many National Championships. But did you know that Krieger makes great rimfire barrels too? Well, Krieger does make outstanding .22 LR rimfire match barrels that can deliver impressive accuracy.

Sniper’s Hide moderator “Padom” recently tested a variety of rimfire ammo types, employing five different barrels: Krieger, Bartlein, Benchmark, Lilja, and Green Mountain. He tested at both 50 yards and 100 yards. FULL Rimfire TEST REPORT HERE.

Krieger barrel .22 LR center-X rimfire ammo ammunition testing Sniper's Hide padom

Reporting on the 50-yard test, Padom posted: “Had a virtually dead calm day today for 50-yard RimX testing (Keystone Accuracy RimX barreled action with 1:16″ Krieger 20″ barrel). A few infrequent 3 mph gusts but pretty dead [calm] and the target showed. This Krieger just barely edged out the Bartlein by 0.003″ with a 0.177″ 6×5 with SK Rifle Match. The 10×5 was 0.198″. The best lots of Center-X weren’t far behind either. This is the first Krieger rimfire [barrel] I’ve shot and it didn’t disappoint.”

Krieger barrel .22 LR center-X rimfire ammo ammunition testing Sniper's Hide padom

Krieger barrel .22 LR center-X rimfire ammo ammunition testing Sniper's Hide padom
Padom noted: “Winds were much calmer tonight than this morning so the 100-yard Krieger test was a success. Winds were pretty consistent [at] 3-5 mph.”

Krieger barrel .22 LR center-X rimfire ammo ammunition testing Sniper's Hide padomTest Results at 100 Yards
Padom then tested ammo at 100 yards, again using his Krieger rimfire barrel: “To recap, the Krieger shot the best 50-yard results of the barrels tested so far, just barely beating the Bartlein but it was so close you can call the 50-yard results equal (.005). Well the Krieger beat all the barrels tested to date at 100 yards by a pretty good margin with Center-X. The 10×5 was incredible as well at just barely over 0.6″ showing the results were very consistent. A second lot of Center-X was right there with the previous 100-yard 6×5 best results just barely over 0.6. The third lot of Center-X shot a respectable 0.75″ 6×5. This Krieger sure is shooting very nicely. I’m really looking forward to shooting it at 300 and 400 yards[.]”

Krieger barrel .22 LR center-X rimfire ammo ammunition testing Sniper's Hide padom

Components Tested: 20″ Krieger M24 barrel, .22 LR Match Eachus chamber 0.046 headspace, Zermatt RimX Action, Bix’N Andy TacSport Pro 2-Stage Trigger, RimX 10rd magazine, XLR Envy Pro Folding Chassis, Athlon Cronus BTR 4.5-29x56mm MIL scope.

Shooting Set-up: 100 Yards Prone with Bipod and Rear Bag.

Krieger barrel .22 LR center-X rimfire ammo ammunition testing Sniper's Hide padom

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
June 27th, 2020

.300 Blackout Fired in .223 Rem AR — Recipe for Disaster

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56
Photos and Facebook post by Tactical Rifle Shooters

Yet another .300 Blackout disaster. Unfortunately, that .300 Blackout cartridge can fit in a .223 Rem chamber. Shooting a .308-caliber bullet in .223 bore is a recipe for disaster.

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56The .300 AAC Blackout aka “300 BLK”, is a compact 30-caliber cartridge designed to work in AR-15 rifles. It has a shorter cartridge case to accommodate the bigger 30-caliber bullet while still fitting in a standard AR-15 magazine. Unfortunately, that’s the danger. A careless shooter can toss a .300 Blackout cartridge in with .223 Rem rounds without noting. And because the case-head size is the same as the .223 Rem (5.56×45) the rifle’s bolt assembly will happily chamber and fire the .300 BLK round. Problem is, that forces a .308 diameter bullet down an undersized .223-caliber bore. Not good!

This images were provided by Tactical Rifle Shooters on Facebook. The message was clear: “Don’t try to run 300 Blackout in your .223/5.56mm. It won’t end well. The problem is identical rifles and identical magazines but different calibers.”

For those who MUST have a .300 Blackout, here are some things you can do:

1. Use different colored magazines for .300 Blackout vs. .223 Rem.
2. Fit all your uppers with caliber-labeled ejection port covers.
3. Mark .223 Rem upper handguards with the caliber in bright paint.
4. Mark all .300 BLK Rounds with heavy black marker.

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56

Comments by Folks Who Viewed these .300 Blackout Disaster Photos:

“The .300 Blackout is simply a badly-designed round. A properly-designed round would have had a feature in the shape that would have prevented cross loading in the first place.” — D. Santiago

“I almost made that mistake… I had a magazine of 300 BLK inserted in my .223/5.56 all night. Fortunately, I never pulled the trigger. Once I realized the mistake, I almost got ill. [After that incident] I no longer own a 300 BLK.” — B. Welch

“Happened to me hog hunting from a helo. Gun exploded in my face.” — B. Hood

“Fire-forming projectiles [is] so wrong in centerfire!” — M. Stres

“Had some dude come into the store the other day wanting .300 Blackout ammo to shoot in his 5.56 AR. It took 15 minutes of explaining for him to understand you got to have a .300 Blackout Upper!” — R. Williams

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tactical, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
June 18th, 2020

AR Trigger Round-Up: Geissele, Elftmann, Timney, and ALG

AR15 AR10 Trigger Geissele Timney Elftmann 2-stage ALG Defense modularTrigger images from PrimaryArms.com, which sells all the triggers reviewed here: Geissele, Elftmann, Timney, and ALG Defense.

Are you thinking of upgrading the trigger system for your AR-platform rifle? There are dozens of options available, from $45 up to $300. Thankfully, Brownells has created video reviews of some of the more popular AR trigger options from Timney, Geissele, and ALG Defense. And we included a video review of the highly-regarded Elftmann Match Trigger. If you want the best solution for Service Rifle competition, you might favor the Geisselle. For ease of installation, it’s hard to beat the Timney, a “drop-in” module. Like the Timney, the super-smooth Elftman is a drop-in module. At $249.00 it’s pricey, but it is one of the best AR triggers out there. If you’re on a tight budget, the best “bang for your buck” may be the “Perfected Mil-Spec” ALG which starts at around $45.00.

Geissele Enhanced Two-Stage Trigger

Geissele makes a variety of quality AR trigger sets both single-stage and two-stage. Many High Power competitors like the two-stage Geissele trigger. This delivers a repeatable, controlled pull through the first stage with a very clean break in the second stage. The Super Dynamic Enhanced Trigger, shown above, features a distinctive, trigger blade. Reviewer Thomas Conroy says: “The flat surface is very easy to press against. Both stages are light and very distinct.”

Elftmann Drop-In Match Trigger

Though pricey ($249.00 at PrimaryArms.com), we really like the Elftmann AR trigger. It combines the best of both worlds — the precision and smoothness of the Geissele with the Timney’s ease of installation. This single stage trigger is user-adjustable from 2.75 to 4 pounds pull weight. It is offered with either straight or curved trigger blade. Primary Arms says: “The amazingly short take-up, glass-rod crisp break and [near-zero] over-travel can be compared to the finest custom 1911 triggers.” The above video shows the installation process start to finish. There is also a “mil-spec” version for $162.00 at Primary Arms.

Timney Drop-In Trigger Module

This trigger module is available for both the AR15 and the AR10 platform (as covered in the above video). Timney triggers are easy to install and come with multiple pin size and pull-weight options. Reviewer Thomas Conroy confirms that the single-stage Timney “breaks cleanly and crisply. This trigger is modular, meaning that the trigger, sear, hammer, and spring are all encased in a bright, shiny yellow aluminum housing.”

ALG Defense Trigger — Higher-Quality Basic AR Trigger

According to Thomas Conroy, ALG triggers “are the perfected version of the standard, non-adjustable mil-spec original trigger. They have the same geometry, but are made to higher quality standards, and come with … hardened and smoothed-out sear contact surface to eliminate all grittiness.” These are also offered in a nickle-boron coated version. Available for under $50.00, the ALG is a well-made, low-cost option for shooters who want a better factory-type trigger system.

GET MORE INFO about AR-Platfrom Triggers

Learn more about Geissele, Timney and ALG triggers, plus two more AR trigger options (CMMG and Rock River Arms) in a Trigger Comparison Review by Thomas Conroy on Ammoland.com. And here is a very current (April 2020) review of 10 popular AR triggers:

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June 11th, 2020

Bet You Ain’t Seen This Before — Barrel-Indexing Rimfire Action

Bill Myers Indexing Action

The late Bill Myers was recognized as one of greatest rimfire gunsmiths who ever lived. Myers crafted many match-winning, record-setting rimfire benchrest rigs. Here we feature one of Bill’s most interesting creations — a clamping action that allows a rimfire barrel to be indexed (rotated) around the bore axis.

Bill was a creative thinker, and his own exhaustive testing has convinced him that barrel indexing can enhance accuracy in rimfire benchrest guns. Myers did acknowledge that, particularly with a very good barrel, the advantages of indexing may be subtle, and extensive testing may be required. Nonetheless, Myers believed that indexing could improve rimfire accuracy.

Indexing with the Myers’ Clamping Action
To index the barrel, Myers simply loosens the three clamping-bolts and rotates the barrel in the action. Because there is no thread to pull the barrel in or out, the headspace stays the same no matter how much the barrel is rotated. In other words you can rotate the barrel to any position on the clockface and the headspace remains unchanged.

Bill Myers Indexing Action
Bill Myers Indexing Action

The Challenge of Barrel Indexing
cone breech bill myers rimfire indexable actionWith a conventional barrel installation, employing a shoulder with a threaded tenon, it is difficult to index the barrel. Even with a cone breech (photo right) that eliminates the problem of extractor cuts, you’d have to use shims to alter the barrel index position, or otherwise re-set the shoulder each time you screwed the barrel in further.

Clamping Action Allows Barrel to Be Rotated to Any Position
Bill has come up with a masterful solution to barrel indexing. He designed and built his own prototype custom action that clamps the barrel rather than holding it with threads. The front section of the action is sliced lengthways, and then clamped down with three bolts. A special bushing (the gold-color piece in photos) fits between the barrel and the action. By using bushings of different inside diameters, Bill can fit any barrel up to an inch or so diameter, so long as it has a straight contour at the breech end. To mount the barrel, Bill simply places the fitted bushing over the barrel end-shank, then slips the “sleeved” barrel into the front end of the action. Tighten three bolts, and the barrel is secure.

Bill Myers Indexing Action

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June 8th, 2020

SIG Sauer Will Shut Down German Firearms Production Facility

eckernforde germany sig sauer closing factory
SIG Sauer Eckernförde fireams production facility. Photo credit Alexander Losert, SIG Sauer

The parent company of SIG Sauer USA and SIG Sauer Germany will be shutting down a production facility in Eckernförde, Germany. SIG Sauer firearms production will continue elsewhere. One big reason for the shutdown, experts report, were the anti-gun policies of the current German government. In addition, because SIG Sauer is a multinational enterprise owned by Lüke & Ortmeier Holding Gruppe (L & O Holding Group), it was excluded from many German military and police contracts. Also the economic effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic hurt the company. SIG executives* stated:

“The locational disadvantages in Germany for SIG Sauer do not economically allow for manufacturing of sports and LE/military firearms in the future. Legislation is increasingly restricting the use of sports firearms. When awarding public contracts, both the German police and the Bundeswehr prefer a few local producers. SIG Sauer is systematically excluded from tenders due to its international orientation, most of its developments originating from the USA. In addition to the existing problems, there are the current effects of the Corona crisis, which place an additional considerable economic burden on the continuation of business operations in Eckernförde”.

So what SIG Sauer guns have been produced in the Eckernförde factory? German website All4Shooters answered: “A large part of [SIG Sauer’s] European catalog products comes from Eckernförde, Germany. In addition to the complete P220 and P226 X series, this includes the P210 series, various classic P226/P229s, as well as the SSG 3000 and STR rifle lines.”

eckernforde germany sig sauer closing factory
Sig sauer p210 pistol germany

What is the Future for SIG Sauer USA?
The Shooting Wire noted: “With L&O Holding Group’s announcement [that] SIG Sauer GmbH division in Eckernforde, Germany was being shut down, the speculation began almost immediately as to what the impact might be on SIG Sauer’s operations in Newington, NH. Since the U.S. operation has recently celebrated scores of defense and law enforcement contracts, any disruption in that operation could have a significant impact on the status of our military and many law enforcement agencies.” However, SIG’s official release affirmed that SIG Sauer USA will “continue business as usual”.

SIG Sauer Official Statement about USA Operations:

L & O Holding group has announced that it is closing its SIG SAUER, GmbH (Germany) division in Eckernförde, Germany. L&O Holding owns and operates numerous business units in the defense and hunting market including SIG SAUER, GmbH (Germany), SIG SAUER, Inc. (U.S.A.), and German Sports Group, GmbH (GSG), among others.

SIG SAUER, Inc. operations in the U.S. will continue business as usual. The U.S. based division, headquartered in Newington, New Hampshire, has over 2,300 employees throughout 9 facilities in New Hampshire, Arkansas and Oregon where the company designs and manufactures firearms, ammunition, optics, suppressors and air guns[.] SIG SAUER, Inc. markets and distributes its U.S. made products in 88 countries. The SIG SAUER, Inc. International Sales Team, based in Europe, will expand its responsibilities to include the German market.

SIG Sauer Rifle and Pistol Production Will Continue in the USA

What Went Wrong in Germany for SIG Sauer?
Why did SIG Sauer Suffer Business Setbacks in Germany? The Firearm Blog (TFB) suggested multiple issues: “A number of factors have led to the downturn in SIG Sauer GmbH’s fortunes, [including its] exclusion from Bundeswehr small arms programs due to ITAR restrictions (as the company’s firearms are principally developed in the US, by SIG Sauer, Inc). The impact of the European Union’s increasingly hampering firearms legislation and recent legal issues have also been factors. The ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic has also no doubt played a part with sales slowing significantly in 2020.”

SIG Sauer Company Background and Organization
SIG Sauer was created in 1976 as a partnership of Swiss company Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG) and German enterprise J.P. Sauer & Sohn. SIG Sauer products were sold in the USA under the SIGARMS brand for some years, and then SIG Sauer Inc. was created in 2007. Currently, under L & O Holdings, SIG Sauer runs as three entities: SIG Sauer, GmbH (with Eckernforde facility), SIG Sauer, Inc. (U.S.A.) and SIG SAUER’s International Sales Team (based in Europe).

* In a press release to German media, SIG Sauer Mng. Dir. Tim Castagne declared that “SIG Sauer [GmbH] is systematically excluded from the tender because of its international orientation.”

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June 8th, 2020

Ten Greatest Lever Guns of All Time — What’s on YOUR List?

Greatest top 10 lever RifleShooter magazine Winchester Savage Ruger

RifleShooter Magazine released a list of the Ten Greatest Lever-Action Rifles of All Time. Writing for RifleShooter, Brad Fitzpatrick examined a wide selection of lever guns produced in the past 150 years, and came up with this short list of ten “all-star” lever action rifles:

Rifleshooter marlin 336 1894 1886 lever gun

1860 Henry Rifle
Browning BLR
Marlin 336
Marlin 1895/444
Ruger 96/44

Savage Model 99
Winchester Model 1873/73
Winchester Model 1888/88
Winchester Model 1892/92
Winchester Model 1894/94

As with all “Top 10″ lists, this will be controversial. Where is the Winchester model 1866 “Yellowboy”, the favorite of Native Americans? Where is the iconic Winchester model 1895, the beloved gun Teddy Roosevelt called “Big Medicine”? But other choices are hard to fault. The Henry Rifle, the first popular cartridge lever gun, surely belongs on the list. And, believe it or not, the Winchester Model 94 is the best-selling sporting rifle of all time in the USA, according to RifleShooter.

Greatest top 10 leer guns yellowboy 1866

Greatest top 10 leer guns yellowboy 1866

So what do you think of RifleShooter’s Top 10 list? Does it make sense, or did RifleShooter magazine get it wrong? NOTE, on the Rifleshooter Lever Gun Page, to see descriptions/photos of ALL the guns, you need to click the gray arrows that appear (barely) below each gun description (see below). That will scroll through the ten guns horizontally, back and forth.

Rifleshooter marlin 336 1894 1886 lever gun

Fitzpatrick writes: “The lever action played a very legitimate role in America’s westward expansion. It could bring meat to your table or protect your land and assets against rustlers. Nostalgia aside, the lever gun is an effective hunting tool for those willing to live within its limitations. While it can’t beat a bolt gun with a light trigger and free-floated barrel in a long-range shooting competition, a lever action in the right hands can be rather accurate, especially given new advancements in rifle design and bullet technology.”

Historic American Arms — Teddy Roosevelt’s Lever Guns
These two lever action rifles, owned by President Theodore Roosevelt, are part of the NRA Museum collection. First is a Winchester 1886 rifle known as the tennis match gun because Roosevelt used winnings from a tennis match to buy it. Below that is a suppressed Winchester model 1894 rifle. Roosevelt liked to shoot varmints around Oyster Bay (Long Island, NY) with this gun so he wouldn’t disturb his neighbors — the Tiffany and Du Pont families.

Teddy Roosevelt Winchester 1894 1886 lever gun

Teddy Roosevelt Winchester 1894 1886 lever gun

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June 7th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Barrel-Block F-Open Beast from Ireland

Enda Walsh F-Class Ireland

Today’s Sunday GunDay story features a beautiful F-Open rifle from Ireland. This was crafted a few years back, but it’s still one of our favorites. It has a handsome thumbhole custom stock, and it boasts an unusual chambering — the .300 Blaser Magnum. This impressive rig carries its barreled action in a massive barrel block — not often found in F-Class rigs.

.300 Blaser Magnum Cartridge F-ClassHere’s a very impressive F-Class project from Enda Walsh of Custom & Precision Rifles in Ireland. This rifle features a free-floated BAT Machines ‘M’ action with a Benchmark barrel chambered in .300 Blaser Magnum (300 BM). The barreled action is secured with a large barrel block. This handsome, long-wheelbase F-Class rig demonstrated some stunning accuracy at 1000 yards when it was brand new. Enda tells us: “I couldn’t wait until the rifle was fully polished before testing. I went to MNSCI (Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland) to shoot my new barrel block rifle. I came home with a huge smile on my face after shooting a five-shot group with 1.5″ vertical and 3″ horizontal at 1000 yards in an 8 mph wind.”

Click Photo for full-screen version
Enda Walsh F-Class Ireland

AUDIO FILE: Enda Walsh Talks about his New .300 BM Barrel Block F-Open Rifle.

Below you can see the barrel block in the handsome Padouk wood and carbon fiber stock. Enda uses high-spec epoxy layered between the barrel and the aluminum barrel block. Yes, those three “super-sized” cartridges are .300 Blaser Magnums loaded with with 230gr Berger Hybrids. The smaller cartridge is a .308 Win (with 150gr bullet), provided for comparison. This .300 BM drives the 230s at 3140 FPS.

Enda Walsh F-Class Ireland

CLICK HERE for Horizontal Version of above photo.

.300 Blaser Magnum Cartridge F-Class.300 BM Runs 230-grainers at 3140 FPS!
Enda tells us: “I wanted something to beat the 300 WSM. After studying the .300 Blaser Magnum, I decided this was the [chambering] that could deliver high accuracy consistently and be able to shoot the 230gr Bergers at 3140 FPS. Using H1000 powder, they do very well but the case life is short at these speeds. We have backed them off a little and retained the accuracy and extended case life considerably.”

Enda says the 230gr Hybrids at 3140 fps drift much less in the wind than do 7mm 180gr Hybrids launched from a 7mm WSM. A quick run through JBM Ballistics for a 10 mph, full-value crosswind at 1000 yards (sea-level) tells the tale. JBM predicts 4.2 MOA horizontal deflection for the .30-caliber 230s at 3140 fps vs. 5.0 MOA for the 7mm 180s at 3050 fps. That 0.8 MOA difference represents more than 8 inches at 1000 yards. When you consider the small size of the F-Open X-Ring, you can see how the enhanced ballistics could be a game-changer in the wind.

Note the metal bag-rider “keel” on the underside of the buttstock.
Enda Walsh F-Class Ireland

Barrel Block Acts as Heat Sink
Enda needed a way to beat the heat, with this big case. He explains: “Because of the large case volume (roughly 82 grains of usable capacity) there are two issues. Firstly, throat wear, and secondly heat. To combat this I have a new reamer on order with slight alterations which will help the throat wear. To combat the heat affecting a 34″ barrel I decided to build a barrel block rifle. It was previously mounted in a standard stock, and when the barrel got too hot accuracy was an issue. The barrel block acts as a heat sink and also shortens the overhanging barrel considerably, which has greatly improved accuracy over a complete string. The block is made from aircraft grade aluminium.” As a final note, Enda wanted to thank Pacific Tool & Gauge for the special-order reamers.

More .300 Blaser Magnum F-Classers from Enda Walsh in Ireland
Here are three more .300 Blaser Magnum F-Class rifles Enda built for the 2014 European Championships at the Bisley Range in the UK. The color scheme comes from the Irish Flag.

Enda Walsh F-Class Ireland

And here is Enda Walsh himself shooting of of these rifles in Ireland:

Enda Walsh F-Class Ireland

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June 4th, 2020

Jewell Trigger Tips — Take-Down and Re-Assembly Procedures

6.5 Guys Jewell Trigger assembly disassembly maintenance cleaning

Jewell triggers are still the most-used triggers on competition benchrest and F-Class rifles and they are also popular for hunting, varmint, and tactical rifles (with or without safeties). While a Jewell trigger can work for years with minimal maintenance, if the trigger becomes gunked up, it may be necessary to disassemble the trigger for a thorough cleaning. Our friends Ed and Steve, aka the 6.5 Guys, have produced a helpful video that shows how to disassemble and then reassemble a Jewell trigger.

CLICK HERE for 6.5 Guys Jewell Trigger Assembly Guide

Why You May Need to Disassemble Your Jewell Triggerthe 6.5 Guys
Jewell triggers are a popular choice in the sport of long range precision shooting, and like everything else require regular cleaning and maintenance. In most cases they can be cleaned with charcoal lighter fluid or dropped into an ultrasonic cleaner. Should the situation require, they can be completely disassembled according to the Jewell Trigger Manual.

We ran into a situation where we had to dissemble a trigger due to the entrapment of some sticky dirt that couldn’t be removed with an ultrasonic cleaner. Our first step was to find some step-by-step instructions but we couldn’t find anything.

Recognizing that other shooters might be in the same situation we produced a step-by-step guide and video, published in full on 65Guys.com. These instructions will work with a left- or right-handed trigger. In our case we worked with a left-handed BR model trigger with safety and bolt release.

Step-by-Step Instructions are provided on 65Guys.com website. We recommend you read all the instructions carefully before you even think about disassembling your trigger. This video explains the process so you can get a sense of what is involved.

6.5 Guys Jewell Trigger assembly disassembly maintenance cleaning

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May 31st, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Gavin Gear’s .22 LR Bergara B14-R

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

The Bergara B14-R is a high-quality, accurate .22 LR rimfire bolt-action rifle. The rifle’s accuracy and functionality make it a good choice for NRL22 competition. And with stock geometry and ergonomics that duplicate a full-size centerfire rifle, the Bergara B14-R is also an excellent choice for cross-training. By training with a rimfire rifle, you can get essential “trigger time” while saving money. Good centerfire ammo can cost $1.50 per round or more. Decent rimfire ammo can be found for $6.00 per 50rd box. That’s just 12 cents per round.

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire
Click above photo to load full-screen high-rez image.

To find out how well the Bergara B14-R can perform, Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently tested a B14-R (carbon-covered barrel version) at his private range. Using a variety of Lapua and SK Ammo, this rig delivered impressive results. Watch this video to see the B14-R in action.

“The B14-R is a great shooter, and for me it felt very familiar. Just like shooting one of my centerfire match guns, but without all of the recoil!” — Gavin Gear

Gavin reports: “At the 2020 SHOT Show, Bergara announced the B14-R trainer. The concept? Take the B14 HMR series centerfire rifle formula, and adapt it for rimfire. The result is a .22 LR rifle you can shoot all day long without wearing out your arm or your wallet! It looks/feels like a centerfire long-range precision rifle. And that’s what makes this rifle a GREAT training platform for serious long-range shooters.”

The B14-R comes with a 18″-long 1:16″-twist threaded barrel. The single-stack .22 LR magazine is the same size as a short action AICS mag. The Bergara B14-R shares Rem 700 specs, so it is compatible with Rem 700 stocks and aftermarket triggers. Weight with standard barrel is 9.2 pounds without optics, or 8.1 pounds for the carbon version seen here. MSRP for basic version is $1150.00 and street price is $950.00.

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Gavin told us: “I couldn’t wait to get the B14-R out to my new 50-yard ridgeline range to see how it would perform with premium .22 LR ammunition. Once I shot this rifle suppressed, I didn’t want to take off the can. The 18″ barrel really works well with the SilcencerCo suppressor to help keep the overall length reasonable, and balance is spot-on.” NOTE: This rifle has the optional carbon-covered barrel.

As tested, the rifle was equipped with these components:

Athlon Midas TAC 6-14x50mm FFP Scope with MK Machine lever, Lone Star bubble level
SilencerCo Omega 300 Suppressor with 1/2×28 direct thread mount
Harris S-BRM 6″-9″ Bipod with aftermarket swivel tension lever

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Outstanding Accuracy with Lapua and SK .22 LR Ammo

Remarkable accuracy for a factory rifle earned this Bergara its Sunday GunDay selection. Shooting with bipod and rear sandbag, Gavin was able to achieve multiple, sub-half-inch groups at 50 yards. The best group shot with SK Match ammo was a remarkable 0.22″ as measured by Ballistic-X software (see below). That’s an impressive 0.42 MOA at 50 yards. If you watch the video above, starting at 14:40 time-mark, you can watch Gavin shoot that 0.22″ group.

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Here are two more groups, both under 0.5″ at 50 yards. Lapua Center-X on left, SK Match on right. Gavin says that “with good conditions, 0.35″ 5-shot groups at 50 yards are easily attainable.”

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

B14-R Trigger Tested with TriggerScan TS-11

Gavin tested the Bergara’s trigger with the TriggerScan TS-11 from DVORAK Instruments, a very sophisticated, high-tech device. Gavin states: “This trigger works well, and mine was adjustable down to just over 2-lb peak force for pull weight. I ran a 3-scan pass on the B14-R trigger with the pull weight set to minimum [barely over 2 pounds].”

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Gavin notes: “You can see how consistent this trigger is by how well the scan graph plots overlap! This trigger is great for an out-of-the-box rifle like this, and it’s great to know that I can always swap out triggers and use the same exact Remington 700-compatible trigger that I’m running in my match guns.”

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Bergara Test Gavin Gear ultimate reloader B14-R rimfire

Gavin Gear’s Closing Thoughts — More to Come
The Bergara B14-R rimfire trainer has been a great rifle to shoot and has exceeded my expectations. The B14-R feels like a full-size PRS rifle, has the same basic features, but is chambered in .22 LR. I have been amazed by the accuracy I’ve achieved with this rifle with Lapua and SK match ammunition — it’s very confidence inspiring.

This rifle feels right and shoots great. I can’t wait to get more steel targets setup, and to go deeper into calculating dope for the ammunition I will shoot with this rifle. Perhaps I’ll think about competing in an NRL22 match at some point. If you are looking for a rimfire trainer, look at the Bergara B14-R for sure. It checks all of my boxes for this type of rifle!

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May 30th, 2020

Cool Tool — Real Avid’s 18-in-1 Gun Tool for Rifles & Shotguns

Real Avid sells a unique multi-tool designed expressly for rifles and shotguns. The $24.99 Gun Tool™ combines 18 of the most commonly used long gun tools in a compact package. The Gun Tool boasts three Torx wrenches (T20; T15; T10), two Allen hex drives (3/32″; 5/32″), and four screwdriver blades (1/8″ flat; 3/16″ flat; Phillips 1 & 2). In addition, there is a magnetic 3/16″ driver, a pin punch, and a stainless claw blade useful for opening shipping boxes or trimming target backers.

The most unique feature of the Gun Tool is a stepped, multi-size choke-tube wrench that fits six shotgun bores from .410 all the way up to 10 gauge (see photo below right). For active shotgunners, that provides great versatility in a small package.

Praise from Respected Reviewers
In 2012, the NRA’s American Hunter magazine awarded The Gun Tool their Golden Bullseye award in the “Gear of the Year” category. The Gun Tool has also been awarded an outstanding 100% approval rating and a full endorsement by the North American Hunting Club.

Noted gun journalist Jim Shepard wrote: “I’ve been playing with ‘The Gun Tool’… and I’ve found it to be a pretty promising device that really should find a place in lots of range bags. If you’re a long gun shooter, it has something you’ll eventually need in the way of a tightening/loosening/adjusting tool.” Jim cautions that the claw blade does not lock into place.

More Specialized Multi-Tools and Micro-Tools for Handguns and Rifles
Real Avid also produces a variety of multi-tools for specialized firearm applications. For example, Real Avid’s new AMP series are specially designed for AR15s, Pistols, or Model 1911s. There is also a 4-in-1 Glock Tool, Tactical Multi-Tools, and Micro-tools for AR15s, AK47s, and 1911s. See all these tools at RealAvid.com.

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May 29th, 2020

Seven Stunning Semi-Autos — The Art of Engraving

Engraved pistols

Artistry in metal — Engraving has long been used to decorate fine firearms. The examples shown here prove that engraving is not a lost art. There still remain fine craftsman who can engrave beautiful designs into the metal components of pistols, rifles, and handguns. Above are engraved 1911s and Browning High Powers displayed by Baron Engraving at SHOT Show 2020. Baron Engraving also does great work on revolvers and long guns. Below are seve more beautiful examples of engraved semi-auto pistols, from a tiny Colt .25 ACP to Chuck Yeager’s gold-plated Beretta.

Centennial 1911 from Colt — Marking 100 Years
In 2011, to celebrate the 100th birthday of the 1911 hangun, Colt created a spectacular, fully-engraved “Anniversary Edition” pistol. J.M. Browning’s 1911 pistol was officially adopted by the U.S. Army on March 29th, 1911. (The U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy adopted the 1911 pistol roughly two years later). This Centennial 1911 is pimped to the max, complete with gold inlay and genuine ivory grips.

model 1911 colt handgun

Stunning Engraved Trio — Colt, Mauser, and Luger
Here is a matching set of three three beautifully engraved pistols by the late Indiana engraving wizard Ben Shostle — a Luger, a Mauser, and a diminutive Colt. By themselves, these three matching pistols would make a prized handgun collection. Photo courtesy Amoskeag Auction Company.

Gun porn glamour rifle pistol shotgun stunning engraved Luger Colt Mauser Walther

Smith & Wesson Model 41 — 50th Anniversary Edition
The .22 LR Smith & Wesson Model 41 is one of our favorite rimfire target pistol. First released in 2008, the engraved model 41 combines superior accuracy with stunning appearance.For $1700.00 to $2000.00 you can find the fully engraved, 50th Anniversary Model 41 in presentation case on Gunbroker.com.

Model 41 .22 LR pistol

The Right Stuff — Chuck Yeager’s Gold-Plated Beretta
Here’s another pistol with a famous owner “The Right Stuff” Pilot, Chuck Yeager, the first human to break the sound barrier. This Beretta has extra value because it was owned by pilot Chuck Yeager. Photo NRA Museum.

Chuck Yeager Beretta

One-of-a-Kind Fully Engraved Walter Q5
On display at the 2019 IWA Outdoor Classics Show in Germany was this stunning fully-engraved Walther Q5 pistol. Note how even the magazine end plate is engraved. On the slide is an American Eagle and the quote “We the People”. Those rare wood grips are also very eye-catching and handsome. This may be the fanciest Walther pistol on the planet.

Walther Q5 Engraved

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May 24th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Fuchs Double Barrel Bolt-Action “Big 5″ Rifle

fuchs Szecsei double barrel safari rifle fine engraving

One of the most unique and exotic rifles in the NRA Museum is the Fuchs Double Barrel Bolt Action Rifle. “This is the … most substantial bolt action rifle ever made,” said NRA Museums Senior Curator Philip Schreier. This unique double barrel bolt-action rifle loads two cartridges at the same time. It is the world’s only repeating double rifle design. Incorporating titanium components to reduce weight, this .416 Remington Magnum rifle has an eight-shot capacity, feeding from a beautifully engraved massive magazine assembly mounted under the receiver. Hungarian inventor Joseph Szecsei developed this innovative design after being charged simultaneously by three elephants in 1989. These rifles are sold by Fuchs Fine Guns in Innsbruck, Austria.

peterson collection nra museum sxecsei & Fuchs

An engineering tour de force, this elaborately engraved rifle is also a work of art. On the action, and bottom metal are engraved images of the “Big Five” African game species: elephant, cape buffalo, rhino, lion, and leopard. This rifle has been featured on Curator’s Corner on the Outdoor Channel, and it now resides behind glass in the Robert E. Peterson Collection at the NRA Museum.

Here gun builder Gerhard Fuchs explains the features of the exotic double-barreled bolt-action rifle:

peterson collection nra museum sxecsei & Fuchs

double rifleThis amazing twin-barreled bolt-gun has a unique closing mechanism that locks two separate bolt bodies into the chambers of the right and left barrels. Yes there are two firing pins, two ejectors, two extractors, and two triggers. We’re not sure how one jumbo camming system closes two bolts — Perhaps one of our gunsmith readers can explain how this system works.

This Rifle Has TWO Barrels and TWO Bolts
double rifle

Just $78,000 at “Half-off Pricing”
Shown here (above and below) is another Fuchs double bolt rifle chambered in .416 Remington. This example, without the “Big Five” animal engravings, sold a few years back on Gunbroker.com for $78,000. That astronomical sum is just half the original cost, according to the seller. This amazing double safari rifle has 22″ barrels and weighs 11.5 pounds.

double rifle

More Eye-Catching Examples of the Fuchs Double Barrel Rifle

Along with the rifle featured in this article, you can see other Fuchs Double Barrel Repeater rifles with the same twin-bolt action on the Fuchs Fine Guns website. Here are examples.

fuchs Szecsei double barrel safari rifle fine engraving

fuchs Szecsei double barrel safari rifle fine engraving

fuchs Szecsei double barrel safari rifle fine engraving

fuchs Szecsei double barrel safari rifle fine engraving

fuchs Szecsei double barrel safari rifle fine engraving

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May 22nd, 2020

Gunwerks States It Has Settled Lawsuit with Lender Wells Fargo

gunwerks wells fargo bank litigation creditor lawsuit federal court loan payment

Today, May 22, 2020, Gunwerks LLC published a statement on its website, declaring that it has settled the lawsuit brought by lender Wells Fargo Bank. This Official Statement from Gunwerks CEO Aaron Davidson explains that the Wells Fargo credit line has been paid. In addition, Davidson said that Gunwerks is NOT delinquent on Wyoming State Sales Taxes and that there are no late payments to the company’s vendors. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming. View Court Documents HERE.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM GUNWERKS CEO
REGARDING WELLS FARGO LITIGATION

Cody, WY – May 22, 2020

The reports of Gunwerks’ demise are completely false. In fact, we’re crushing it! So far, 2020 has set records for sales performance and profitability, and it only gets better from here!

This week’s report of Wells Fargo filing a lawsuit has gotten a lot of attention. The bottom line is, the litigation has been settled, the entirety of our Wells Fargo operating loan has been paid off, and it is business as usual for Gunwerks.

The Wells Fargo narrative of Gunwerks’ financial distress was untrue. The dispute was never about Gunwerks’ financial condition or late payments, but about a difference of opinion on asset valuation. Within days of filing the suit, it has been settled and the case will be dismissed immediately.

Most of the stories circulating around the social media landscape are just wrong! Here are two good examples: In Wells Fargo’s narrative complaint filed in federal district court, they assert that Gunwerks was delinquent on sales tax payments. This is not true now and has never been true (Check here for a list of current delinquents in WY). They also allege that Gunwerks is late paying vendors. Again, this is untrue. We pride ourselves in dealing fairly with our vendors.

Unfortunately, despite our numerous good faith attempts to resolve the issues with Wells Fargo, the bank chose to file a lawsuit, which has now been settled. Fortunately, we had the resources to pay off the credit line within two business days of Wells Fargo filing suit. Our customers have really supported us this year with record sales. We’re on track to have our best performing year on record.

Gunwerks CEO Aaron Davidson Comments on Litigation

About the Future — New Products
In 2020 Gunwerks will be announcing several new and innovative products that have been in development the past several years. Keep an eye out for an entirely new, next-gen rifle system engineered from the ground up, at least three more Skunkwerks projects, and new optics products and ballistic solutions in the Revic lineup.

The damage to Gunwerks’ reputation from Wells Fargo’s lawsuit will take quite a while to overcome, but with our team and a foundation of innovation and product quality, we see this as a minor incident. We’ve never been more excited about our business!

Sincerely,

Aaron Davidson, CEO Gunwerks

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May 22nd, 2020

ATF Approves Updated Form 4473 for Background Checks

FBI NICS Forum 4473 firearms background check form new

The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is set to release its newest version of the Form 4473. The Updated Form 4473 is used by all Federal Firearm License (FFL) holders to record pertinent information from persons seeking to purchase a firearm or firearms prior to the FFL performing a background check via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) or state-approved point-of-contact law enforcement agency. FFLs may start using the new Form 4473 immediately. The FBI intends to start shipping these new forms in July 2020.

CLICK HERE to View Draft May 2020 Revised Form 4473 »

IMPORTANT: Use of the updated Forum 4473 becomes MANDATORY as of November 1, 2020, for paper applications (not using the FBI E-Check system).

The May 2020 Form 4473 includes several changes from the previous version, including:

— The warning at the top of the form includes information about illegal exportation.

— Information on the firearm/s to be transferred is now Section A, which must be completed before the transferee completes Section B.

— The Citizenship information (Country of Citizenship and US-issued alien or admission number) has been moved to precede the prohibitor questions.

— The “County” block has been changed to “County/Parish/Borough” to accommodate Louisiana and Alaska, respectively.

— The “Sex” box has been revised to include a third option of “Non-Binary”. [Comment: Really? And how does this prevent crime? Thank you SJWs.]

— Item 26b, which previously applied to situations in which the identification document did not show the current residence address of the transferee, has been updated to include situations in which the identification document does not include the full legal name of the transferee.

— New item 26c has been included for the recording of official military orders establishing permanent change of station.

OTHER Changes: A detailed summary of ALL Form 4473 changes has been prepared by Orchid Advisers, which provides ATF and ITAR compliance services to manufacturing, distribution, and retail FFLs.

FBI NICS Forum 4473 firearms background check form new

Expected Delivery Dates and Pre-Order Links
Use of the May 2020-approved Form 4473 will be mandatory for all FFLs beginning November 1, 2020. FFLs may use supplies of their current Form 4473s (October 2016 version) until that date. The new Form 4473 and continuation sheets are available for preorder in both English and Spanish. FFLs can expect their preorders to begin shipping in late July 2020. In addition, ATF expects to ship 50-quantity starter packs of the new Form 4473 to all FFLs in late July 2020, and the agency intends to have an updated eForm 4473 up and running during that same time period for those FFLs utilizing the FBI’s NICS E-Check system instead of the paper Form 4473.

CLICK HERE to Pre-Order Revised FBI Form 4473 »

NSSF has ordered both Spanish and English overlays for the new Form 4473 and we will notify our members when they are in stock and available through the member portal. These overlays, which complement an FFL’s compliance best practices, help improve accuracy and completion of this critical form and are available free to NSSF members.

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May 19th, 2020

Gun Price Bible — Blue Book of Gun Values, 41st Edition for 2020

Blue Book of gun values

The 41st Edition of the Blue Book of Gun Values will be released later this month. Purchase this popular price guide through Blue Book Publications for $49.95. Or you can from order from Amazon for a few dollars more. The Blue Book of Gun Values by S.P. Fjestad is the leading gun valuation resource. There are now over 1.8 million copies in circulation worldwide. This book continues to be the “Bible” for buyers, sellers, collectors, and connoisseurs in the firearms industry. This 41st Edition is dedicated to long-time author and publisher S.P. Fjestad, who passed away in 2019.

Blue Book of gun values

Blue Book of Gun Values, 41st Edition, May 2020

The 41st Edition contains 2,512 pages covering nearly 1,900 manufacturers/trademarks, with almost 30,000 gun model descriptions, and over 180,000 values, with new-for-2020 data!

Review by Tom Gresham, Gun Talk Radio Host
“At some point, every gun owner asks the question, ‘What’s it worth?’ The leading reference for decades has been the Blue Book of Gun Values. Whether you are a seller, a buyer, a shopper, or just curious, this constantly-updated gold mine of research is your friend.”

Online Subscription Options
You can also access all the latest Blue Book gun pricing info via an Online Subscription. You can purchase a One-year subscription for $34.95, or you can get a monthly subscription, billed $3.95 per month recurring. For general subscription information, visit the Blue Book Online Subscription Page.

Features of the new Blue Book of Gun Values:
· Includes the new 2020 makes and models, with many new handguns and rifles, and important pricing updates.
· 2,512 Pages covering nearly 1,900 manufacturers and trademarks, with almost 30,000 gun model descriptions. 60 NEW manufacturers/trademarks have been added.
· 180,000+ up-to-date values are provided — most complete resource in print.
· Important pricing updates on major trademark current, antique, and discontinued models, including Colt, Winchester, Smith & Wesson, and Ruger.
· An 80-page color Photo Percentage Grading System (PPGS) which makes firearms grading even easier and more accurate.
· More information, more values, more illustrations, and more history than any other gun price guide on the market.

(more…)

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May 15th, 2020

Complete 6.5×47 Benchrest Rifle Build — Start to Finish on Video


Watch this Video — It’s one of the best Custom Rifle Build Videos ever produced!

S&S Precision 6.5x47This video, produced for the folks at S&S Precision in Argyle, Texas, shows a full custom 6.5×47 Lapua bench rifle being crafted from start to finish. It is a fantastic video, one of the best benchrest gunsmithing videos you’ll find on YouTube. It shows every aspect of the job — action bedding, chambering, barrel-fitting, muzzle crowning, and stock finishing.

You’ll be amazed at the paint job on this rig — complete with flames and four playing cards: the 6, 5, 4, and 7 of spades. Everyone should take the time to watch this 13-minute video from start to finish, particularly if you are interested in stock painting or precision gunsmithing. And the video has a “happy ending”. This custom 6.5×47 proves to be a real tack-driver, shooting a 0.274″ three-shot group at 400 yards to win “small group” in its first fun match. NOTE: If you have a fast internet connection, we recommend you watch this video in 720p HD.

S&S Precision 6.5x47 Lapua benchrest precision rifle stock build gunsmithing

S&S Precision 6.5x47 Lapua benchrest precision rifle stock build gunsmithing

S&S Precision 6.5x47 Lapua benchrest precision rifle stock build gunsmithing

S&S Precision 6.5x47 Lapua benchrest precision rifle stock build gunsmithing

S&S Precision 6.5x47 Lapua benchrest precision rifle stock build gunsmithing

S&S Precision 6.5x47 Lapua benchrest precision rifle stock build gunsmithing

S&S Precision 6.5x47 Lapua benchrest precision rifle stock build gunsmithing

S&S Precision 6.5x47 Lapua benchrest precision rifle stock build gunsmithing

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May 3rd, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Berger SWN F-Open Champ Jay C’s 284 Wheeler

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Report by Jay Christopherson
2020 Berger SW Nationals F-Open Champion

Team Member, Team Lapua-Brux-Borden
I’ve been shooting F-Class for about 9 years now. In fact, I shot my very first match, a 600-yard mid-range match, using a 6mm Dasher, on March 19, 2011. My first relay was a 188-4X and my overall score was 582-19X. I remember shooting a really nice group in the 9-ring, because I dialed the scope the wrong way and I shot lots of “verification” shots before making adjustments. I also remember wondering if that was a good score for that range in those mostly calm conditions (it wasn’t). I’ve tracked every match I’ve ever shot and I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve always been a competitive person and F-Class gave me an outlet to indulge both my competitiveness and my fondness for details. In what other individual sport does a thousandth of an inch (or less!) become important? Or a tenth of a grain?

Some of my greatest pleasures in this sport come not necessarily from winning a match (though I won’t turn that down), but in identifying something small in what I am doing that has a material effect on paper. Maybe it’s a tiny change in seating depth. Maybe it’s a slightly modified strategy for making wind calls. Maybe it’s a tiny position or hold change. Whatever it is, when it works, there’s no better feeling.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

I have a full-time job to go with this hobby, so finding the time for productive training is difficult. You have to really plan ahead to maximize the time you spend reloading, developing loads, and training at the range. To that end, I invest a lot of time in reducing the things that I do at the loading bench. I load ammo on a progressive press, though modified to produce ammo to my standards. I don’t clean brass. I don’t do a lot of things that most shooters would call traditional in the loading room. Because frankly, I don’t have the time between family, work, and other interests.

If it doesn’t make a difference on paper, I mostly don’t do it. Still, there are one or two loading habits I’m trying to get rid of. I also pre-seat all my ammo for matches — whatever I show up at the match with, is what I have. I don’t clean my rifle between days at the match. I had well over 200 rounds without cleaning by the time the last shot was fired at the 2020 SWN. It took a lot of time for me to get comfortable with that. That works for what I do, but I wouldn’t dare try it with any other loads or rifles, at least, not without a lot of testing to be comfortable. My original 6MM Dasher shooting Reloder 15 couldn’t go that many rounds without cleaning and building up a carbon ring. Unfortunately, I learned a tough lesson on that one my first year.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profileI do all my own gunsmithing, including chambering, bedding, and stock work. I’m no Keith Weil, Alex Wheeler, or some of those other guys, but I feel pretty good about the work I do. I know that when there’s a mistake or imperfection, it’s MY mistake and I can live with that. I like to keep things as minimal as possible, so I shoot off a SEB Mini (no mods) and SEB rear bag.

I also shoot with a spotting scope at Long Range, using a Kowa TSN-663 with 25X LER eyepiece and a relatively new spotting scope stand by Rod Brakhage who is a fine F-Class shooter himself. I really like how smooth and adjustable it is on the ground compared to some other rigs I’ve used.

The 284 Wheeler — Slightly Modified .284 Win
This year at the SWN, I shot a 284 Wheeler, which is a straight .284 Win that has some small modifications designed by Alex Wheeler. I think that the work and experimentation that Alex does with reamer design really shows up on paper. In 2019 I was testing the reamer in a couple barrels, looking for the right load. I shot some great relays and team practices with it that year, but this was the first time I brought enough ammo to shoot the entire week with it. Coupled with Berger’s 7MM 180 grain Hybrid Target bullets which I point to increase BC consistency, and Lapua brass, it’s an effective combination. In particular, the brass has lasted me for 13 firings with no signs of fatigue, so I expect I’ll be able to use it at Worlds in 2021 and beyond.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

I also shot the entire 2020 SWN with a Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60x52mm scope, my preferred scope for individual matches. It’s a rock-solid reliable scope in my experience, with a great eye box, reliable and repeatable mechanical controls. The Vortex ECR-1 reticle has quickly become my favorite reticle. All four of my Open rifles are built on Borden BRMXD actions, Brux barrels, and sitting in X-Ring F-Open stocks, which are Robertson clones (more on that below). I’ve tried to make each of my rifles as much of an identical clone as possible.

I am not sponsored by anyone as an individual shooter, only through team sponsorship with Lapua-Brux-Borden. Which means that for individual matches, I am free to use what I think gives me the best opportunity to win for individual matches. In practice, the only difference tends to be the scope that I use, as mentioned above.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Jay Christopherson F-Open Rifle Specifications:
Cartridge: 284 Wheeler (variant of .284 Winchester)
Optics: Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60x52mm
Stock: X-Ring F-Open Stock with R.A.D.
Barrel: Brux 1:9″-twist, 32″-long barrel
Action: Borden BRMXD action
Trigger: Flavio Fare

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Q: What was your biggest challenge at the 2020 Berger SWN?

Jay: The biggest challenge for me at this year’s SWN was purely mental. At past SWN matches where I had done well, I was trying to focus on not thinking about the different things going on around me. Where I was ranked on the score sheet. How well other shooters were doing. How many points or Xs I was ahead (or behind). Being worried about conditions or whether my ammo would hold up. And so on. And sooner or later, I think those things break your focus.

Going into a relay calculating the points or Xs that you can’t afford to drop is a recipe for losing. It’s like trying NOT to picture a pink elephant with purple dots when somebody challenges you try to not think of a pink elephant with purple dots. In previous SWN events, I came up just short three times in a row, for one reason or another. So, in 2020 I went in with a mental game plan.

Mental Game Plan — Envisioning Success
I pictured what it would take to be successful and what winning would feel like. First relays, then days, and then the match. I started that process months before the match actually happened. I thought about who I was shooting against and how much pressure there was to make every shot count. I thought about how I had performed or reacted in similar situations in the past. And I planned out what I would do and how I would handle those things. I strived to be neither negative nor positive — I wanted to be neutral. I wanted to be ready to win, instead of being surprised by it.

Q: What gear/hardware items give you an edge over the competition?

Jay: There’s no single piece of gear that I can think of that gives someone an edge over somebody else. It all sort of works — it’s more about being consistent with whatever hardware you have. But one piece of new gear that I tried out at the SWN was a single-piece scope mount called the Alphamount (photo below), by Richard Near of NEAR Manufacturing.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

I think scope mounts are the most overlooked piece of equipment in F-Class right now — whether they be improperly aligned, improperly torqued, or just plain junk. I think people put a lot of blame on their scopes that can be traced back to mounts. The Alphamount (and single-piece mounts in general) are something that I believe in now, having done a lot of testing. It worked out OK for me at the SWN.

Action for Back-Up Rifle Is Glued and Screwed into Stock
One of the new things I am trying this year is a “glue and screw” action set-up. At the 2019 US F-Class Nationals in Raton, we got rained on a little and when I pulled my rifle apart, I found water between the bedding and action (the bedding is about 2 years old). At the SWN, I found that something had moved enough that I could torque the front action screw and bind the bolt. Not good, but luckily this was my backup rifle that I shot for Mid-Range (badly) and not my lead rifle. There could have been stock movement or other factors as well, but there was no question the bedding had shrunk when I stuck a dial indicator on it and found that my pillars were now standing proud.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Some people had been goading me to try a “glue-and-screw” procedure. Since I had nothing better to do during the COVID-19 lockdown, I pulled out the Dremel, scuffed up the action and bedding, removed the recoil lug, and glued the action into the stock. I’ve had it out a couple times since and it seems to be shooting well, but we’ll see how it holds up and what sort of difference it might make as time goes on.

Q: What is your advice to newcomers in F-Class and Long Range competition?

Jay: Find a nemesis. Someone local who puts in the same effort that you do and is as competitive as you are. Be friends, share info, but work your behind off to make sure you win on match day. I guarantee you someone reading this knows what I’m talking about. The best thing you can do is have someone who pushes you to perform better each time out. You love to win against them, but not as much as you hate to lose to them.

Q: What do you like most about Long Range and F-Class competition?

Jay: I like the challenge of F-Class — it’s a nice blend of working to get the most out of your equipment and the most out of yourself as a shooter. You can have the greatest shooting rifle in the world and it won’t matter a bit if you can’t be consistent pulling the trigger or making good wind calls. By the same token, you can be the greatest wind caller and most consistent trigger puller in the world — but it won’t matter a bit if you can’t wring the best possible performance out of your rifle for that tiny little target at 1000 yards. I like Long Range because everything is magnified — there are rarely easy shots.

Q: What do you prefer, individual events or team matches?

Jay: Team matches. No contest. Most of the reason I travel to matches is for the team events. But just throwing together a team of great individual shooters is not enough to consistently win. You have to operate as a team, which at times means subsuming your own individual goals for the good of the team. I’ve gone into big matches knowing that my team rifle is my best rifle by a mile — but knowing that the best thing for the team’s current and future success is for me to not burn that barrel out (or burning up known good components) in the individual events. And that’s fine with me. Being part of a team of shooters with the same goal, with the same drive, the same focus on team rather than individual — and able to deliver the goods — that’s the reason why I do this.

Team Lapua Brux Borden

Q: What kind of stock do you use and how does it behave?

Jay: I use an X-Ring Open stock, which is basically a Robertson clone. I’ve been using X-Ring for about 4 years now. I’ve been through a lot of different stocks to find the one that fits me and the way I like to shoot, and X-Ring has done that for me. There’s a lot of focus recently on lowering the center of gravity and extending the stock length through various methods to solve problems like torque, jump, etc. — those are just problems that I don’t experience or, at least, that don’t bother me while I’m shooting. So, I don’t tend to worry about them. The X-Ring fits nicely and runs very well in the bags that I use. I do think that you have to spend some time finding the right bag setup for the stock you are using. I have at least 9 different rear bags that I have tested at one time or another until I settled on my current bag.

Q: Do you have any specific Gun Handling Tips for F-Open shooters?

Jay: As for gun handling, I prefer a light hold — my cheek indexes off the stock with a very light touch and my trigger hand indexes off the stock also with a light touch so that I have a consistent trigger finger position. What I do is in the style of “free recoil”, but is NOT fully “free recoil”, since I DO lightly touch the stock. For the butt, I run the R.A.D. recoil reducer at its lowest setting, which means that I can barely touch off for indexing purposes and still not interrupt the recoil pulse because the R.A.D. absorbs it. This was a suggestion that Will McCloskey made to me a couple years ago in place of leaving space.

This video, from a past Berger SWN, illustrates Jay Christopherson’s shooting style. He employs a very light touch on the gun. The front rest is a SEB Mini. If this Facebook video doesn’t load, CLICK HERE.

My hold for F-Class has evolved over time into what it is now. There are lots of successful shooters that are using varying degrees of holds, from light to hard. Again, It all sort of works — the most important part is that whatever you do is consistent and repeatable, hence my touch points that ensure my head, shoulder, and trigger finger are in the same position every time. There are shooters out there that will rant about “the fundamentals of shooting” and insist that your legs have to be a certain way, your cheek has to be a certain way, your breathing has to be done a certain way. I’m sure that’s valid for what they do and I’m fine with them looking down on me for it, but I do what produces results for me. For certain, my position and hold when shooting sling is completely different. All it means is that you have to be prepared to adapt.

PARTING SHOT — Have Guns, Will Travel

Here is one of Jay’s other F-Open Rifles. When traveling he separates the stock from the barreled action. He uses a custom-cut foam piece that holds the components very securely. Note the separate slots for barreled action, stock, scope (in rings), bolt assembly, and spotting scope.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

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May 3rd, 2020

The Illustrated History of Firearms, Second Edition

Illustrated History of Fireams NRA museum 320 page 1700 photos

Looking for a superb illustrated coffee table book about guns? Yes there is such a thing, a great book we highly recommend — The Illustrated History of Fireams (2nd Edition). This full-color 320-page hardcover book features more than 1,700 photos compiled by NRA Museums curators Jim Supica, Doug Wicklund and Philip Schreier. This Second Edition includes 300 photos more than the original, plus dozens of new profiles of important persons who influenced firearms development.

This follow-up to the best-selling original NRA Museums book is loaded with great images, historical profiles, and technical data on old, new, and currently-manufactured firearms that have changed history. Covering the earliest matchlocks to modern match-grade superguns and everything in between, The Illustrated History of Firearms provides a fascinating education on how guns evolved, where they originated and how they worked.

The Illustrated History of Firearms, 2nd Edition

– Authored by the experts at the NRA Firearms Museums

– Published by Gun Digest Books

– 9 ½ x 11 1/2 inches, hardcover with dust jacket

– 1,700 full-color photos

– 320 Pages

– Price: $39.99

The Illustrated History of Firearms, 2nd Edition is available at gundigeststore.com, Amazon ($34.95), Barnes & Noble and most other major booksellers.

Historic American Arms — Teddy Roosevelt’s Lever Guns
These two lever action rifles, owned by President Theodore Roosevelt, are part of the NRA Museum collection. First is a Winchester 1886 rifle known as the tennis match gun because Roosevelt used winnings from a tennis match to buy it. Below that is a suppressed Winchester model 1894 rifle. Roosevelt liked to shoot varmints around Oyster Bay (Long Island, NY) with this gun so he wouldn’t disturb his neighbors — the Tiffany and Du Pont families.

Roosevelt NRA Museum lever gun suppress 1886 1894
Roosevelt NRA Museum lever gun suppress 1886 1894

About the NRA Museums
The NRA opened the original National Firearms Museum at its Washington DC Headquarters in 1935. In 2008 the Francis Brownell Museum of the South West opened at the NRA’s Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Then, in 2013, the National Sporting Arms Museum opened at the Bass Pro Shops store in Springfield, MO. Every year, at these three museum facilities, over 350,000 persons visit to see the impressive exhibits and many of America’s most famous firearms. For more information, visit www.NRAMuseum.org.

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