June 17th, 2018

Black Rifle Blow-Ups — The Kaboom Collection

AR15 AR-15 Kaboom explosion pistol powder accident catastrophic destroyed
AR15 Kaboom big photo
This shocking photo of destroyed AR-15 bits and pieces was posted on Facebook by William Walter, a firearms instructor. William said this was “The worst AR-15 blow-up I have ever seen. The case head literally atomized …you can see the brass residue on the parts. The bolt was split in two also.”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with AR-platform rifles (well, except that they run dirty). Over the past six decades Eugene Stoner’s semi-automatic design has proven its merits in military and civilian applications. You may not know, but the original AR from 1955 was a .30-caliber. The Armalite AR-10 shot the 7.62×51 cartridge. Later, at the request of the U.S. Military, Armalite created a smaller version that became the M16/AR15. The rest was history. Now there are millions of AR “black rifles” in the hands of soldiers and sportsmen.

With so many ARs in circulation, it’s no surprise that some get used by folks who don’t know how to hand-load or otherwise fail to follow safe gun practices. The AR is actually a pretty sturdy rifle, but when it’s fed bad ammo, or abused, bad things can happen. Very bad things… commonly known as Kabooms.

Black Rifle Duplex Kaboom

The American Shooting Journal (ASJ) has compiled a set of particularly extreme AR Kabooms. Compiling the “evidence” from various web sites, ASJ has published nine (9) of the most Unbelievable AR-15 Fails. Here are two of the worst “AR-15 Fails”. CLICK HERE to see them all.

Nothing but busted parts after this catastrophic Kaboom…
AR AR16 m16 AR-10 AR-16 kaboom failure catastrophic reloads American Shooting Journal

Notice the bolt is still stuck in the barrel extension … with the rest of the gun in pieces.
AR AR16 m16 AR-10 AR-16 kaboom failure catastrophic reloads American Shooting Journal

Another view of this sad blow-up…
AR AR16 m16 AR-10 AR-16 kaboom failure catastrophic reloads American Shooting Journal

These catastrophic AR failures are eye-openers, that’s for sure. ASJ cautions: “Any weapon can fail if given the wrong ammunition, faulty reloads or a plugged barrel. Always be aware of what can happen at anytime if you fail to follow common sense and gun safety rules.”

ASJ Sources: Photobucket, Armory Blog, Pinterest, Northeastern Arms, Eric Nestor

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical 5 Comments »
June 13th, 2018

Home-Built F-Open Rifle and Dual-Belt-Drive Front Rest

Tikka 590 Essex Custom

We like Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects. It takes initiative, creativity, and dedication to make your own hardware, and that’s worth acknowledging. For you dedicated DIY guys, here’s a great project that should inspire. Here is an owner designed and crafted F-Open rig, complete with home-built, belt-drive front rest.

Some of our mechanically-skilled readers chamber their own barrels or bed their own stocks. But these are relatively simple tasks compared to the jobs of constructing an entire rifle plus building an advanced front rest from scratch. Well that’s exactly what Forum member Steve B. (aka Essexboy) did a couple seasons back. He built his own rifle and an impressive twin-belt-drive pedestal rest. (Click photo below for large version). And get this, Steve’s home-made rifle was victorious in its first-ever match. Steve reports: “I shot my first Comp with the rifle … and managed to win with a score of 239-21!” (The match was shot at 300/500/600/1000/1100 with English scoring of 5 points for center bullseye).

Do-It-Yourself F-Open Rig from England
Steve, who hails from Essex in the UK, constructed virtually every component of his skeleton-style rifle except the 28″ HV Bartlein barrel (chambered as a 6mm Dasher) and the Tikka 590 donor action. Steve also did all the design and fabrication work on his one-of-a-kind front rest. Steve tells us: “Over the last year or so, I made this rifle stock and rest. I managed to make it all on a little Myford Lathe, as you can tell I’m no machinist but it saved me a load of money — so far I’ve got about $200 invested plus the barrelled action. The stock is aluminum except for the stainless steel bag runner. The rifle came in at one ounce under weight limit for F-Class Open division.” Steve did get help with the chambering and barrel-fitting, but he hopes to do all the barrel work himself on his next project.

Tikka 590 Essex CustomThe gun is very accurate. Steve notes: “I have shot the rifle to 1100 yards and it shoots well. Last time out the rifle dropped just one point at 1000 yards and 5 points at 1100 yards [English scoring system]. I know it’s not pretty, but it got me shooting long range F-Class for peanuts.” Message to Steve: Don’t worry how it looks. As another Forum member observed: “Any rifle that shoots well at 1100 yards is beautiful….”

Steve started with a Tikka 590 action: “The whole stock was made on a small (6.5×13) lathe and a vertical slide. This caused a few head scratching moments, figuring out how to hold the T6/HE30 alloy for the milling/turning operations, but it did teach me a few things. The hardest parts were clamping the longer sections (such as the fore-end) and keeping it all square. Due to the short cross-slide travel I had to keep re-setting the parts. I managed to keep all measurements to 0.001″ (one thousandth). I’m most proud of the trigger guard (photo below). This took a full day but came out really well, even if I say so myself.”

Tikka 590 Essex Custom

Belt-Driven Front Rest
We’re impressed with Steve’s ingenious front rest. Steve explains: “The rest is belt-driven and still in the experimental stage — hence no powder coating or polishing yet. I may have gone over the top as the key moving parts (the pulleys) run on three (3) types of bearings: radial; reamed bush; and a ball race. The main post runs on a radial bearing and the feet even have bearings in them, so when I raise the main body up (for rough height adjustment) the foot stays static.”

Tikka 590 Essex Custom

Will Steve build another rifle? Steve says he will, and he’s upgraded his tools: “Since building the rifle I have acquired a bigger lathe (Harrison m250) and a milling machine. For the next project I hope to be able to do the barrel work (threading, chambering, crowning) as well.” The next gun might be another Dasher. Steve explains: “After extensive reading on AccurateShooter.com, I chose the 6mm Dasher chambering, as I have a shoulder problem and can’t shoot a rifle with a lot of recoil.”

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 3 Comments »
June 10th, 2018

YouTube Terminates Brownells YouTube Channel — Then Relents

Brownells youtube channel termination lock-out ban kill videos

UPDATE: At approximately 6:00 pm CT, the Brownells YouTube Channel was restored. We don’t know why or how — but apparently protests from Brownells customers many have played a part in getting YouTube to relent. Brownells just issued this statement via Facebook:

Brownells facebook page restored terminated censorship

PREVIOUSLY…
The Brownells YouTube channel has been terminated (shut down) without warning or notice from either YouTube or its parent company, Google. On June 9, 2018, at roughly 2:00 am, the Brownells channel was pulled from YouTube. This removed ALL Brownells YouTube content, including videos that cover firearms safety, hunting skills, firearms maintenance, and marksmanship. YouTube didn’t simply block Brownells’ gun sales-related videos — it shut down the entire Brownells channel, which had offered nearly 1800 helpful videos. The Brownells channel had acquired over 67,000 subscribers since its launch in January 2007.

Brownells youtube channel termination lock-out ban kill videos

History of YouTube Policies on Firearms Content
No specific reason for the Brownells shut-down was provided by YouTube, but this is part of a policy shift by YouTube. For quite some time, YouTube has been de-monitizing firearms-centric YouTube channels. As a result, gun video producers no longer receive advertising revenues, or receive a fraction of what they were once paid. Then in late March, YouTube announced tough new policies limiting the type of firearms content allowed. Gun content producers feared YouTube’s new policies might doom their channels. With the Brownells ban, it appears those fears were correct…

Ars Technica reported: “YouTube is placing more restrictions on weapons-related videos, focusing on guns with new, forthcoming policy changes. According to a Bloomberg report, YouTube intends to ban videos that ‘promote or link to websites selling firearms and accessories’, including bump stocks, beginning this April. The new policy will also prohibit instructional videos that detail how to build firearms. YouTube took similar action after the Las Vegas shooting last year by banning gun-modification tutorials.

‘We routinely make updates and adjustments to our enforcement guidelines across all of our policies,’ a YouTube representative said in a statement to Bloomberg. ‘While we’ve long prohibited the sale of firearms, we recently notified creators of updates we will be making around content promoting the sale or manufacture of firearms and their accessories’.”

Current YouTube Policies on Firearms Content are displayed below. (Read More).

Policies on Content Featuring Firearms

YouTube prohibits certain kinds of content featuring firearms. Specifically, we don’t allow content that:

Intends to sell firearms or certain firearms accessories through direct sales (e.g., private sales by individuals) or links to sites that sell these items. These accessories include but may not be limited to accessories that enable a firearm to simulate automatic fire or convert a firearm to automatic fire (e.g., bump stocks, gatling triggers, drop-in auto sears, conversion kits), and high capacity magazines (i.e., magazines or belts carrying more than 30 rounds).

Provides instructions on manufacturing a firearm, ammunition, high capacity magazine, homemade silencers/suppressors, or certain firearms accessories such as those listed above. This also includes instructions on how to convert a firearm to automatic or simulated automatic firing capabilities.

Shows users how to install the above-mentioned accessories or modifications.

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, News 13 Comments »
June 9th, 2018

Colt AR-15 Comp Rifle Kit — Good Option for DIY Gas Gun Build

Colt AR AR15 match rifle upper lower kit discount CDNN
The Colt Kit does NOT include barrel, bolt carrier group, charging handle, or magazine.

Thinking of building an AR-platform rifle for varmint hunts or PRS Gas Gun Matches? Here is an interesting option from Colt — a value-priced kit with upper, complete lower, handguard, and Magpul stock. To this, add your choice of barrel and optic. We like this option because the barrel is so important to accuracy and overall performance. This Colt package costs $599.99. Add a match-grade, finish-chambered barrel from Criterion or Krieger, plus bolt carrier group, and you’re in business.

There are some very nice features on this Colt Comp Kit. The Magpul PRS stock features a quick-adjustable cheek-piece and butt-plate — allowing you to easily adapt head position and LOP for your discipline of the day. (You may want a different LOP for prone shooting vs. bench shooting). The Magpul stock works well in a rear bag. In addition the handguard comes complete with Picatinny rails on top and on both sides, affording lots of options. We might move one of the rails to the bottom, however, so it could be used for a bipod mount. The upper receiver has an integral Picatinny rail for optics.

Colt AR AR15 match rifle upper lower kit discount CDNN

We like the Blackhawk grip which is more comfortable than the typical grips supplied by most black rifle makers. The lower includes a trigger group, but you can later upgrade to a Timney, Geissele, or other aftermarket trigger system.

Add Your Favorite Premium Barrel:
Colt AR AR15 match rifle upper lower kit discount CDNN

NOTE: This Colt Kit features a Sadlak Low Profile .750 Gas Block and carbine-length gas tube. With longer barrels you may need to adapt a longer tube, but that is an easy change.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hot Deals, Tactical No Comments »
June 6th, 2018

Cool Suhl — Rimfire Benchrest Rig with Home-Built Stock

Suhl 150 IR 50/50 cedar stock

Forum member Evan K. (aka “Katokoch”) has crafted a nice rimfire benchrest rig using a Suhl action fitted into a handsome home-built cedar and carbon fiber stock. This shows what a skilled hobbyist wood-worker can create in his garage. Evan tells us: “Here is my Suhl 150-1 with a factory 1:19″ twist barrel, Leupold 36X scope, Harrell tuner, and my handmade cedar/carbon fiber stock. I started working on the laminate blank a couple years ago and finally finished it earlier this year. I’ve been using it in my IR 50/50 matches this summer. I haven’t shot a 250 with it yet but I know the rifle is very capable — as usual, I am the weak link!”

Suhl 150 IR 50/50 cedar stock

We think Evan did a great job on his stock, though he has limited stock-building experience. Evan explained: “The stock is my first attempt at making a very lightweight laminate and also gluing both vertical and horizontal seams in a blank. The wood is Spanish and Red Cedar and I made the trigger guard and buttplate with carbon fiber too (great use for small scrap pieces). The finish is hand-rubbed spar urethane and the action is semi-glued-in with Devcon 10110 and stainless pillars.”

Suhl 150 IR 50/50 cedar stock

USRA-IR50/50 is a popular .22 rimfire benchrest discipline with three (3) classes: 13.5 lb., 10.5 lb., and 7.5 lb. (Sporter). The matches are shot at 50 yards and 50 meters.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
May 31st, 2018

6.5×47 Tactical Tack-Driver — The Non-Creedmoor ‘Six-Five’

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

A couple seasons back we published our comprehensive 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide, researched by the 6.5 Guys. In case you’ve been wondering what kind of accuracy is possible for a tactical-type rifle chambered for this mid-sized cartridge, check out this tack-driver built by gunsmith Ryan Pierce. That’s a mighty impressive 0.206″ five-shot group fired with Berger 140gr Hybrids using a Brux cut-rifled barrel. The powder was Hodgdon H4350, a very good choice for this cartridge.

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Ryan reports: “Here is a 6.5×47 I built for a customer. It features a trued Rem 700 action, Brux 1:8″ Rem varmint-contour barrel, Mcmillan thumbhole stock, Surgeon bottom metal, and 3-port muzzle brake. The customer’s preferred load is the same that has worked in the last couple dozen 6.5x47s I’ve built: 41.1-41.3 grains of H4350 with 140 hybrids .050″ off the lands. This should run about 2810-2815 fps from a 26″ barrel. The 3.128″ refers to length of a loaded round from the base to ogive including the Hornady ogive comparator tool.”

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Yep, It Measures Up…
Lest anyone dispute Ryan’s measurement of this group (the internet is full of nay-sayers), 0.206″ is EXACTLY what we got when we measured this group using OnTarget software. See for yourself:

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tactical No Comments »
May 30th, 2018

Economic Impact of Firearms Industry, State by State

economic impact firearms gun industry state NSSF
For this chart, HowMuch.net analyzed data from the NSSF’s 2017 Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report to estimate gun industry output and jobs in each state.

The firearms industry is an important element of our nation’s economy. Manufacturing products for shooting, hunting, and LEO/military applications employs hundreds of thousands of workers and contributes billions of dollars to America’s GNP. The mainstream media demonizes firearms and attempts to ridicule gun-owners, but the fact remains that guns and ammo are an important part of American culture and a key element of our economy.

Guns America recently published an article showing the economic impact of the firearms industry on a state-by-state basis. This features a “money map” of the USA created by HowMuch.net based on data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The number one state is Texas, with $3.83 Billion of economic impact and 23,070 jobs. That may not surprise you, as many quality companies such as Shilen are based in the Lone Star state. However, you may be surprised by the number two state, California, given that jurisdiction’s liberal legislature, and anti-gun policies. But there are still plenty of guns, shooting accessories, and ammo produced in California, generating $3.64 Billion in firearms industry economic activity and over 20,000 jobs. Given that job number, perhaps California’s politicians should think twice before they enact more misguided anti-gun laws.

Weatherby Wyoming move California taxes
Weatherby is relocating from California to Wyoming, citing California’s high corporate taxes and hostile business regulations.

Here are Top Ten States, ranked in order:

1. Texas: $3.83B and 23,070 jobs
2. California: $3.64B and 20,610 jobs
3. Minnesota: $2.43B and 11,650 jobs
4. Florida: $2.39B and 14,850 jobs
5. Illinois: $2.18B and 10,681 jobs
6. North Carolina: $1.98B and 11,427 jobs
7. Pennsylvania: $1.94B and 12,436 jobs
8. Massachusetts: $1.86B and 7,116 jobs
9. New York: $1.84B and 8020 jobs
10. Ohio: $1.61B and 11,772 jobs

Ranking third overall is Michigan with $2.43 Billion in economic activity, followed by Florida close behind in fourth place with $2.39 Billion. The NSSF’s data reveals some surprising trends, notes Guns America: “While pro-gun states like Texas ($8.83B) boast a large firearms industry that employs thousands of people, states with stricter firearms regulations like California ($3.64B), Minnesota ($2.43B), Illinois ($2.18B), and Massachusetts ($1.86B) also incorporate relatively large gun industries.”

Looking at that list, it is noteworthy that, along with California, another anti-gun state, New York, has made the Top Ten. New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has attacked the firearms industry and the NRA, and the N.Y. State Department of Financial Services has pressured Banks and Insurance companies to stop doing business with gun industry firms. One wonders if Governor Cuomo and his minions have considered the full consequences of their anti-gun activism. Guns America observes: “it is notable that gun makers can survive at all in states like New York, California, and Massachusetts. Attacking firearm makers and sellers is one of the most common anti-gun tactics, but some companies still manage to scrape by despite increasing regulations and public hostility.”

Remington Arms factory New York

Though it has moved much of its production to Alabama, Remington retains production facilities in New York state. The Remington enterprise was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, New York, as E. Remington and Sons. Remington is America’s oldest gun maker and is still the largest U.S. producer of shotguns and rifles.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting, News 2 Comments »
May 29th, 2018

Build Your Own 10/22 with $90 Brownells Railed Receiver

Brownells railed 10/22 Ruger receiver picatinny rail barrel semi-auto rimfire .22 LR
A pre-cut hole at the rear of each receiver allows easy insertion of a cleaning rod to clean the bore from the chamber. The Brownells BRN022 receiver will take all accessories/parts made for the Ruger 10/22. You can order factory bolt parts, and a premium barrel.

Now you can build the ultimate 10/22 with an affordable billet railed receiver. Precision-machined from billet 6061 aluminum, the Brownells BRN-22 receiver is fully compatible with components for the Ruger 10/22 platform. Brownells offers both standard factory 10/22 top profile (with drilled-and-tapped scope mounting holes), and a Railed Receiver (shown above) with an integral Picatinny top rail. We think most buyers will get the railed version shown above. At $89.99, it’s only $10 more than the basic version.

Some folks may ask — “Well why not just purchase a production Ruger 10/22 rifle from the factory? It will come complete with barrel, trigger, and stock…” The answer is the components. By starting with a bare bones receiver you can have better-than-factory components from the start — a better barrel, a premium trigger. Plus the Brownells BRN-22R Railed Model comes with a built-in Picatinny rail — that makes it easy to mount optics. And, if you want a specialty stock — say for rimfire tactical games — you can purchase an aftermarket stock that fits your requirements. Finally, the action has a port in the rear so you can insert a cleaning rod to clean from the breech end. This avoids accuracy-compromising cleaning rod damage to the muzzle.

The first part of the video features the all-new Brownells BRN-22R Railed Receiver:

Railed Receiver with Installed Barreled for $159.99
Brownells also sells BRN-22 receivers complete with pre-installed .22 LR barrels. The BRN-22 Barreled Receiver features a 16″ long barrel in either sporter or heavy contours, threaded at the muzzle. Price is $149.99 standard, and $159.99 with Railed Receiver. Then you can add the remaining components — your choice of trigger, stock, sights/optic, and muzzle device.

Brownells railed 10/22 Ruger receiver picatinny rail barrel semi-auto rimfire .22 LR

NOTE: This is NOT a complete barreled action — you will still need bolt, bolt handle, and trigger group — but all those parts can be easily acquired by direct mail-order. Like the bare BRN-22 receiver, this barreled receiver is the “gun” component for ATF purposes, so this must be shipped to your FFL. If you don’t want the rail, get the standard barreled receiver and save $10.00.

BRN-22 Barreled Receiver Features:

  • Receiver machined from 6061 T6 aluminum billet
  • Matte black hardcoat anodized receiver finish
  • 1/2″-28 tpi muzzle threads for brakes and suppressors
  • Matte black oxide finish on barrels
  • Compatible with all components that fit a factory Ruger® 10/22®
  • FFL required for purchase

Barrels are available in Sporter and Heavy profile, both in 16″ length, while the Heavy barrel is also available in a short, 10″ length for pistol or SBR builds. All barrels come with ½”-28 tpi muzzle threads for the installation of a compensator, flash suppressor, or silencer.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product 2 Comments »
May 29th, 2018

How to Clear-Coat Laminated Wood Stocks

Laminated wood stocks offer an excellent combination of price and performance, and they can be obtained in a myriad of styles to suit your discipline — hunting, benchrest, tactical, silhouette, or high power. Laminated stocks can be a little trickier to finish compared to a hardwood such as walnut, as laminates are often delivered in bright or highly contrasting colors. Traditional wood finishes can alter the colors. Also, filling the pores in laminated stocks is an issue.

Automotive clear-coat products have become popular for finishing laminated wood stocks because they won’t alter the stock’s colors, and the clear-coat provides a durable weather-resistant finish. Clear-coat is also easy to “touch up” and it fills pores better than some other alternatives. Mike Ricklefs has written a comprehensive article on stock painting that includes a special section on clear-coating over laminated woods. If you want to clear-coat a stock, Mike’s article is a must-read!

In that Stock Painting Article, Mike offers these tips:

When finishing laminated stocks with clear-coat, you need to prepare the wood carefully, and build up quite a few thin layers one at a time. Begin by sanding, with progressively finer paper, all the way to 400 grit. Certain laminated stocks are so rough when they come from the stock-maker, that you may have to be very aggressive at first. But be careful with angles and the edges of flats. You don’t want to round these off as you sand.

After sanding, use compressed air to blow out all dust from the pores of the wood. This is very important to avoid a “muddy” looking finish. If you don’t blow the dust out with air before spraying the clear it will migrate out as you apply the clear. Also, after each sanding session, clean your painting area to remove excess dust. I also wet down the floor of my spray booth to keep the dust down.

Some painters recommended using a filler to close the pores. That’s one technique, but the filler can detract from the clarity of the final finish. Rather than use a pore-filling sealer, I use a high solids or “build” clear for the initial applications. This is slightly thicker than “finish” clear and does a good job of sealing the pores. Three (3) fairly heavy coats of “build” clear are applied. If you get a thick spot or a run in the finish at this point, it is not the end of the world but this does create more sanding work.”

There is a helpful thread in our Shooters’ Forum that discusses the use of clear-coating on laminated stocks. Member BHoges offered this advice: “Stick with Diamont, Glassurit, and Spies. If anyone has questions, I painted cars for a long time.”

Forum member Preacher, whose bolt-action pistol is shown in the photo below, states: “I buy my two-part clear-coat from the local NAPA dealer. They recommended Crossfire mixed 4:1. I really like the end results. There are six coats on that stock that were sanded down to bare wood for the first two, and then 600 wet-sanded for the other four coats. Two to three coats would be sufficient if the pores were filled first, but I would rather fill ‘em with the clear as it seems to make it appear deeper and I have the time to devote to it. I have PPG’s Deltron DC 3000 clear-coat on a few stocks of mine, but I like the NAPA better price wise, and it seems to hold up just as good as the Deltron.”

Clear-coat Laminated wood

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
May 28th, 2018

BargainFinder 140: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

Today, 28 May, 2018 is Memorial Day — the important day when we honor those military personnel who have died serving their nation. We urge all of our readers to respect this solemn occasion and remember those who “sacrificed all” to safeguard your freedom.

To mark this holiday, many vendors are running Memorial Day Sales. We spotlight some of these end-of-May promotions. Be aware that Memorial Day Sales are typically short-lived — quite a few of these sales conclude at 11:59 pm on Monday May 28th, or a day later — Tuesday May 29th. A few sales end Tuesday at noon. If you want these deals — act now.

1. Natchez — 10% Off Everything Memorial Day Sale

Memorial Day Sale Natchez Monday deals sale

Natchez Shooters Supplies typically offers some of the best prices on reloading tools and optics. Now those deals are even better as Natchez has knocked 10% off the price of virtually every item in stock. Use Code PO180526 to get these savings. But hurry — sale ends 5/28/2018 at 11:59 pm CT.

2. Bruno’s Shooters– Major Memorial Day Sale

Memorial Day Sale Natchez Monday deals sale

Bruno Shooters Supply runs a big sale each year during Memorial Day weekend. Lots of premium items are discounted: BAT Actions, Krieger Barrels, Berger Bullets, Lapua components, Nosler Bullets, Redding Dies and more. There are also discounts on primers and powders. CLICK HERE to see all the Sale Items. You’ll want to act quickly, as Bruno’s Sale ends Tuesday, 5/29/2018 at 12:00 noon Mountain Time. That’s a mid-day cut-off on the 29th!

3. Brownells — Upgrade Summer Sale — Discounts & Free Shipping

Memorial Day Sale Brownells Monday deals sale

As part of its Upgrade Summer Sale, Brownells is offering Free Ground Shipping ($49+) and Free Second-Day Shipping ($99+). Scores of popular items are on sale now through 11:59 PM on May 28, 2018: Leupold Scopes, Aero Precision Uppers and Lowers, Lake City Ammo, Federal Ammo, Remington Shotguns, Smith & Wesson pistols, MagPul magazines, and much more.

4. MidwayUSA — Save $10, $20, or $30 with Codes

Memorial Day Sale MidwayUSA Monday deals sale

Large retailer MidwayUSA offered free shipping for Memorial Day Weekend. Now MidwayUSA is running a money off promotion through 5/31/2018. While some exclusions apply, this applies to most regularly-priced, in-stock items (not sale or clearance items). Here’s how it works, use code 10MAY18 during check-out to save $10 off $100+, use code 20MAY18 to save $20 off 200+, or use code 30MAY18 to save $30 off $300 or more. Note, this special ends 5/31/2018 at 11:59 pm CT.

5. Precision Reloading — Money Off Memorial Day Savings

Memorial Day Sale Precision Reloading Monday deals sale

Precision Reloading has a pretty straight-forward promo for Memorial Day. You can get $10 off any order of $100 or more with Code 10M18, OR get $30 off any order of $300 or more with Code 30M18. That’s 10% saved right off the top. But act soon — this offer expires May 28 at 11:59 pm CST.

6. Optics Planet — 10% Off Orders $50 or More

Memorial Day Sale Optics Planet Monday deals sale

Right now you can save 10% off scores of products at Optics Planets. Of course this includes Riflescopes, Rangefinders, and Spotting Scopes, but Optics Planets carries many other products of interest to shooters and hunters. Use Code MEMWK to save 10% off all qualifying Sale Items. NOTE: This offer expires May 28 at 11:59 pm CST.

Optics Planet Sale Tip courtesy EdLongRange.

7. Brownells — Howa Barreled Actions on Sale, Starting at $259.99

Memorial Day Sale Brownells Monday deals sale

Right now, Brownells is running a big sale on Howa Barreled Actions, in a wide variety of chamberings. You may want to pick up one of these barreled actions, which start at $259.99. We like Howa actions — they are smooth, and they feature an excellent two-stage trigger. Howa also offers a unique Mini Action, which is great for a small-caliber varmint rig. Here are some of the Howa Barreled Actions currently in stock at Brownells. NOTE: This is just a partial sample — there are many other varieties:

.223 Rem, 20″ Heavy Barrel, $399.99
6.5 Grendel, Mini Heavy Barrel, $389.99
6.5 Creedmoor, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $399.99
6.5 Creedmoor, 26″ Heavy Barrel, $429.99
7mm-08, Std Cerakote, $579.99
7.62×39, Mini Light Barrel, $259.99
.308 Win, 20″ Heavy Barrel, $289.99
.308 Win, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $299.99
.30-06 Sprg, 22″ Sporter Barrel, Cerakote, $349.99
.300 Win Mag, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $279.99

8. Creedmoor Sports — Free Shipping on $49 Plus Sale Items

Memorial Day Sale Creedmoor Monday deals sale

Creedmoor Sports is running an attractive promotion for Memorial Day. First you can get Free Ground Shipping on orders $49.00 or more. In addition many items are 10% off. For example Lapua and SK rimfire ammo is 10% off now. NOTE: This is a limited time offer. Some exclusions apply. Drop-shipped items exempt.

9. Stocky’s — LR Stocks with Aluminum Bedding Block, $179.99

Stocky's Stocks Composite V-block stock

Here’s a good deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $179.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel. This would be a good choice for a varmint rifle. This is also offered with handsome hydrographic or web-pattern baked-on textured finishes for $199.99.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Hot Deals, Reloading No Comments »
May 28th, 2018

Cure Cratering Issues with a GreTan Firing Pin Hole Bushing Job

Crater moon primers greg tannel bushing firing pinCraters may look interesting on the moon, but you don’t want to see them on your primers. Certain mechanical issues that cause primer craters can also cause primer piercing — a serious safety problem that needs to be addressed. If you have a gun that is cratering primers (even at moderate pressure levels), there is a solution that works with many rifles — send your bolt to Greg Tannel to have the firing pin hole bushed.

Shooters who convert factory actions to run 6BRs, 6PPCs or other high-pressure cartridges should consider having the firing pin bushed. These modern cartridges like to run at high pressures. When running stout loads, you can get cratering caused by primer flow around the firing pin hole in the bolt face. The reason is a little complicated, but basically the larger the hole, the less hydraulic pressure is required to crater the primer. A limited amount of cratering is normally not a big issue, but you can reduce the problem significantly by having a smith fit a bushing in the firing pin hole. In addition to reduced cratering, bushing the firing pin often produces more consistent ignition.

CLICK HERE for Gre-Tan Firing Pin Bushing Service INFO

This is a highly recommended procedure that our editors have had done to their own rifles. Greg Tannel (Gre-Tan Rifles) is an expert at this procedure, and he does excellent work on a wide variety of bolts. Current price for a bushing job, which includes turning the firing pin to .062″, is $80.00, or $88.00 with USPS Priority Mail return shipping.

If you have a factory rifle, a bushed firing pin is the way to go if you are shooting the high-pressure cartridges such as 6PPC, 6BR, 6-6.5×47 and 6.5×47. This is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial upgrades you can do to your factory rifle. For more info on the Firing Pin Bushing process, visit GreTanRifles.com, or email greg [at] gretanrifles.com. (After clicking the link for GreTanRifles.com, Click on “Services” > “Shop Services” > “Bolt Work”, and you’ll see a listing for “Bush Firing Pin Hole & Turn Pin”. Select “View Details”.)

Gre-Tan Rifles firing pin bushingFiring Pin Hole Bushing by Greg Tannel

Work Done: Bush firing pin hole and turn pin.
Functions: Fixes your cratering and piercing problems.
Price: $80.00 + $8.00 return shipping
Total Price: $88.00

Actions for which Bushing is Offered: Remington, Winchester, Savage multi-piece pin, Sako, Kimber, Nesika, Stiller, BAT Machine, Kelbly, Lawton, Surgeon, Borden, Wichita, Hall, Ruger, Howa, Weatherby, Dakota, Pacific Tool, Phoenix, and Defiant bolt action rifle or pistol.

Actions for which Bushing is NOT Available: Case hardened receivers, ARs, Accuracy International (AI), Barnard, Big Horn, Cooper, Desert Tactical Arms, Kimber, Rosenthal, New Savage single piece pin, Rimfires, Falling block, Break-open, Lever, Pump rifles, 1903-A3, CZ, Mauser.

How to send your bolt in to be bushed:
You can send your bolt snail mail, priority mail, or UPS (Please do not use FEDEX as it sometimes has delivery delays). Pack your bolt carefully and ship to: Gre’-Tan Rifles, 24005 Hwy. 13, Rifle CO 81650. Please include your name, phone number, and return shipping address.

Due to the high volume of work, turn around is 5 to 8 weeks on bushing a bolt. Three or more bolts will be sent back to you UPS and we will have to calculate shipping. We can overnight them at your expense. You can pay by check, money order, or credit card. For more information visit GretanRifles.com.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Reloading 2 Comments »
May 27th, 2018

Brilliant Video From Beretta about Gun-Making

Beretta shotgun technology robot video Human

Here’s a really great video about firearms crafting produced by Beretta, a legendary Italian gun-maker. This movie, entitled “Human Technology”, is one of most impressive videos we’ve ever featured on this site. It’s that good. You’ll see an amazing blend of modern technology along with old-world artisanship — “a mesmerizing meld of the high-tech and the traditional”. (Daniel Xu, Outdoor Hub.)

“Human Technology is a singular and symbolic movie, its cast entirely made up of Beretta workmen, thus illustrating the perfect synthesis between craftsmanship and technology,” Beretta writes. This artistic movie by Ancarani Studio illustrates all the aspects of the manufacturing of a high-end Beretta shotgun. This video is a study in contrast. The movements of robotic assembly machines are juxtaposed with the centuries-old craftsmanship of stock carvers. Beautifully filmed and edited, this video should amaze and entertain anyone who loves fine firearms. (Full-screen HD Recommended.)

Beretta shotgun technology robot video Human

Beretta shotgun technology robot video Human

Beretta shotgun technology video Human

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
May 26th, 2018

Build Your Own Rifle with Affordable Howa Barreled Actions

Howa 1500 Mini action barreled sale action HACT trigger Brownells deal

Right now, Brownells is running a big sale on Howa Barreled Actions, in a wide variety of chamberings. You may want to pick up one of these barreled actions, which start at $259.99. We like Howa actions — they are smooth, and they feature an excellent two-stage trigger. Howa also offers a unique Mini Action, which is great for a small-caliber varmint rig.

Howa Barreled Action Basics

The above video shows the basics of the Howa barreled actions, which are offered in Mini, Standard, and Long Action versions, with dozens of chamberings, from .204 Ruger all the way up to .300 Winchester Magnum. If you’re not familiar with Howa barreled actions you should be. Each barreled action comes with Howa’s Lifetime Warranty and is guaranteed to deliver sub-MOA performance at 100-yards when using premium factory ammo. The Howa 1500 barreled action also features a crisp two-stage trigger, three-position safety, 70° bolt throw, M16-style extractor, two-lug bolt design and a flat bottom receiver with an integral recoil lug.

Howa 1500 Mini action barreled sale action HACT trigger Brownells deal

Howa Barreled Action Project Videos

Brownells has created a series of helpful videos showing how to put together an accurate rifle using a Howa barreled action. We think this is a sensible, cost-effective option for a varmint rifle, or entry-level tactical rig. Not counting optics, you should be able to assemble a good shooting, general-purpose rifle for under $700.00.

1. Long-Range Precision Rifle Build
Here the Brownells team puts together a nice tactical rifle in an MDT modular aluminum chassis made specifically for the Howa 1500 action. Attached, AR-style, to the back end of the chassis, is a Luth-AR adjustable buttstock also sold by Brownells. An EGW Picatinny rail is fitted to the action for mounting a Nightforce optic. As you can see in the video, the entire build takes less than 10 minutes. Using this Howa 1500 heavy-barreled action, you can save hundreds over the cost of a factory tactical rifle, and we bet the accuracy will be better than you’ll get with some popular brands. We’ve seen heavy-barreled Howas shoot well under 1 MOA.

2. Hunting Rifle Build
In this video, Brownells puts together a general-purpose hunting rifle using the Howa 1500 barreled action. This was attached to a Hogue Overmolded stock with internal aluminum bedding block. Fitted to the top of the action is an EGW Picatinny Rail with a Sig Sauer scope in Leupold rings. As with the Precision Rifle build above, the entire assembly process took less than ten minutes. This was done with a standard-length Howa action, but the same procedure could be used with the Howa Mini Action, or a Long Action. NOTE: No separate bedding compound was used here. That’s an option that would extend build time significantly.

Check out the Prices for Howa Barreled Actions
Here are some of the Howa Barreled Actions currently in stock at Brownells. NOTE: This is just a partial sample — there are many other varieties:

.223 Rem, 20″ Heavy Barrel, $399.99
6.5 Grendel, Mini Heavy Barrel, $389.99
6.5 Creedmoor, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $399.99
6.5 Creedmoor, 26″ Heavy Barrel, $429.99
7mm-08, Std Cerakote, $579.99
7.62×39, Mini Light Barrel, $259.99
.308 Win, 20″ Heavy Barrel, $289.99
.308 Win, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $299.99
.30-06 Sprg, 22″ Sporter Barrel, Cerakote, $349.99
.300 Win Mag, 24″ Heavy Barrel, $279.99

Howa Barreled action sale Brownells PRS HACT Trigger

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 2 Comments »
May 21st, 2018

Brownells Video Shows How to Cut Chamfer on Barrel Crown

brownells crown muzzle barrel bullet accuracy gunsmithing

This video from Brownells talks about a the crown of a barrel and how the crown’s condition affects accuracy. As the bullet leaves the barrel of the gun, the shape, alignment and the condition of the crown can affect the accuracy of your shot. A proper crown is essential to ensure that the bullet leaves the barrel correctly and that the propellant gasses behind the bullet are distributed evenly on firing. A square crown without burrs and a smooth transition will normally ensure consistency from shot to shot. By contrast, a damaged crown can cause unpredictable flyers that open your group. That’s why it’s important to have perfect crowns on all your barrels.

The video explains the different types of crowns that can be used. In addition, the video shows how you can chamfer your muzzle in a home shop. If you use a properly-sized pilot, cutting a shallow chamfer is something that most guys with some mechanical skill can handle. Just be sure to use lubricant, flush chips, and don’t rush the job. Cutting the barrel is another matter. At the 1:20 mark the video shows how to use a hack-saw to remove a damaged muzzle section. While this may be fine for an inexpensive rifle that needs a “quick fix”, we do NOT recommend using a hack-saw with a vise for a competition barrel. The reason is that it is too easy for a novice to produce a cut that is not square. We suggest letting a professional gunsmith cut and crown your competition barrels.

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing No Comments »
May 19th, 2018

Water Transfer Printing for Rifle Stocks

hydro-dip stock finish

There’s a great new way to apply an eye-catching finish to fiberglass and synthetic stocks. Water Transfer Printing (aka Hydro-Dipping) can apply beautiful, stylized patterns to your stock, and the process costs less than a custom paint job. Hydro-dipping is ideal for applying amazing photo-realistic effects such as stone, wood burl, snakeskin, or faux carbon fiber. Hydro-dipping requires no harsh chemicals or high heat so there are no negative side effects. You just end up with an amazing, patterned finish on your stock.

Hundreds of different patterns are available. We like the carbon-look finish on benchrest guns and the snakeskin patterns on hunting and varmint rifles. Natural snakeskin designs, in this Editor’s opinion, are perhaps the most effective camouflage for the largely arrid backcountry in the American southwest.

hydro-dip stock finish

hydro-dip stock finish

Hydro-Dip of Idaho Does Great Work
While there are a half-dozen companies offering water transfer printing for rifle stocks, Forum member Francis B. recommends Hydro-Dip, LLC of Meridian, Idaho. Examples of Hydro-Dip’s work are shown above. Francis writes: “Scott, Adam, and old man Rod Springer own and run Hydro-Dip. This is a company that will ‘paint’ your rifle, tool box, trailer, airplane, whatever and will do an excellent job while doing it. Check out their archives of jobs done. You will be amazed. I’ve not had one of their jobs done for any of mine (yet) but I’m considering it. Those who have had their rifles done tell me the cost is very reasonable. I have seen a few stocks done and they are works of art.”

Hydro-dipping (water transfer printing) can be performed on virtually any metal or plastic surface. You can Hydro-dip car parts, archery gear, rifle stocks — you name it. Watch the process in the video:

CLICK VIDEO to See Hydro-Dipping Process!

Hydro-Dip of Idaho

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, New Product 8 Comments »
May 16th, 2018

Good News for Gunsmiths — Major ITAR Changes Coming

ITAR Department of State Commerce Trump administration Rule Changes gunsmithing

This is good news for gunsmiths and small manufacturers who have been threatened by onerous regulations (and huge fees), under ITAR. With a Republican President in the White House, it looks like the Departments of Commerce and State are moving towards removing common gunsmithing activities (such as threading barrels or fitting brakes) that were potentially under the purview of ITAR. In addition, possible Federal rule changes would broadly move firearms and ammunition out from ITAR regulation. Generally speaking, it appears that the proposed rule changes will make Federal law more tolerant, so that producers of small firearms accessory parts would no longer have to register as ITAR manufacturers (with hefty annual fees).

As part of the Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative and ahead of expected publication in the Federal Register this week, the Departments of Commerce and State have posted the new proposed rules transitioning export licensing of sporting and commercial firearms and ammunition from the ITAR-controlled U.S. Munitions List (USML) to the EAR-controlled Commerce Control List. Thus, items removed from the USML would become subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

The NSSF states: “The new proposed rules represent significant change in the regulations controlling exports of our products, and all exporters need to review these important proposed rules.

NSSF is preparing comments on the rules for formal submission. We will be sending out a recap of the changes in the next few days. Please make sure all your export specialists have a chance to review and provide comments. NSSF will be drafting a comments letter for both rules based on this review.”

If you have points that you would like to see included, please email Kim Pritula (kpritula@comcast.net) and Elizabeth McGuigan (emcguigan@nssf.org).

Access New Proposed Federal Rules HERE:

Department of Commerce (click to view)

SUMMARY: This proposed rule describes how articles the President determines no longer warrant control under United States Munitions List (USML) Category I – Firearms, Close Assault Weapons and Combat Shotguns; Category II – Guns and Armament; and Category III – Ammunition/Ordnance would be controlled under the Commerce Control List (CCL). This proposed rule is being published simultaneously with a proposed rule by the Department of State that would revise Categories I, II, and III of the USML to describe more precisely the articles warranting continued control on that list.

Department of State (click to view)

SUMMARY: The Department of State (the Department) proposes to amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to revise Categories I (firearms, close assault weapons and combat shotguns), II (guns and armament) and III (ammunition and ordnance) of the U.S. Munitions List (USML) to describe more precisely the articles warranting export and temporary import control on the USML. Items removed from the USML would become subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 2 Comments »
May 14th, 2018

Beast for the King — Reigning King of 2 Miles Gets .416 Barrett

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Current F-TR World Champion Derek Rodgers is also the reigning King of 2 Miles champ, so he knows something about Extreme Long Range (ELR) shooting. While Derek won his KO2M title at Raton shooting the .375 CheyTac cartridge, Derek decided that something even bigger was in order. This season, Derek will be shooting a .416 Barrett. Last week we showcased his impressive .416 Barrett ammo, with massive Cutting Edge bullets.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Now we can show the Big Rig that will deliver those .416-caliber projectiles. This monster weighs 40+ pounds and sports a 40″ Bartlein barrel — more length for more velocity. Derek’s new ELR rifle features a McMillan Beast 2 stock, BAT EX action, and Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm scope. Derek explained why he moved up to a bigger caliber: “I built a new rifle with the anticipation of seeing impacts easier. It was not just a larger caliber being more effective on hitting ELR targets, but rather hoping that a missed shot would have a much larger impact. Impacts beyond a mile become harder to see due to terrain and vegetation. So any added dust or splash erupting from the earth is a decisive benefit over an equally-accurate smaller caliber.” Here is Derek’s full report on his new .416 Barrett rifle.

Derek Rodgers Campaigns a .416 Barrett

Report by Derek Rodgers
Cartridge Choice — I chose a standard .416 Barrett cartridge as it allows for bullets up to and slightly exceeding 550 grains. It really does bridge the gap between the .375 variants and a 50 BMG. There are several great solid ELR bullet options from manufactures like Cutting Edge that range from 475-550 grains. These offer a variety of extremely high BC options for barrels that have different twist rates. Most loads will utilize the slowest burn rate powders commercially available. Good options are Vihtavuori 20N29, RL50, H50BMG and other powders with a similar burn rate.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Shooting the .416 — Tamer than Expected
An initial observation is that the rifle is very controllable and feels much like a larger F-TR gun. The rifle weighs 40+ pounds, balanced and stays on target very well. The recoil is manageable and linear. This seems to give a straight rearward impulse that does not affect positioning. This allows for quick repositioning into battery and faster follow-up shots.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Rifle Details — BAT EX Action, Bartlein 40″ Barrel, McMillan Beast 2 Stock
Derek’s .416 Barrett ELR Rig features a BAT EX action with a Bix N’ Andy trigger. Out front is a gigantic 40” long, 1:9″-twist Bartlein barrel fitted with a Terminator T5 muzzle brake. The handsome McMillan Beast 2 stock combines a lower center of gravity design with a higher butt location. Given that high butt geometry, McMillan cleverly fitted the higher buttpad with a port allowing the cleaning rod to pass through (see photo below). On top is a Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm scope in NF rings on a +60 MOA rail, with Holland 34mm bubble level. The stock is supported by a Phoenix bipod and rests in an Edgewood bag designed for the McMillan Xit F-TR stock.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Note the extended Buttpad height. That helps with recoil in prone position. This McMillan Beast 2 stock includes a pass-through hole for the cleaning rod.

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

Gunsmithing by Blake Barrel and Rifle in Arizona
Derek’s rifle was built and chambered by Bryan Blake of Blake Barrel and Rifle in Phoenix, Arizona. The chambering was done with a Manson Precision reamer. Derek explains: “Bryan and his family have been in the machine shop business for several generations and have the expertise and equipment to handle larger barrel diameters associated with F-Class to ELR type rigs. I tried to consider all angles and potential pitfalls that might occur during the building process. However, Bryan added his own touches to make the project his own. He truly created a work of art and supplied a turn-key rifle that is meticulously built from the inside out and looks as great as the tolerances it holds.”

Derek Rodgers .416 Barrett ELR KO2M king of 2 miles Beast 2 McMillan stock Nightforce ATACR scope extreme long range New Mexico

.416 Barrett Derek Rodgers Action

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 5 Comments »
May 13th, 2018

Cartridge Headspace — Understanding the Basics

Brownells Headspace Gauge cutaway chamber drawing SAAMI ANSI

Do you know what the inside of a rifle chamber (and throat zone) really looks like? Do you understand the concept of headspace and why it’s important? If not, you should read the Brownells GunTech article Gauging Success – Minimum Headspace and Maximum COL. This article explains the basics of headspace and shows how to measure headspace (and length to lands) in your barrels with precision. The article also explains how to adjust your full-length sizing dies to “bump the shoulder” as needed.

Why is headspace important? The article explains: “Controlling headspace and setting proper C.O.L. also represent improved safety and reduced cost of handloading. Excessive headspace can cause case head separation and gases in excess of 60,000 PSI escaping from a rifle’s chamber. Too little headspace can result in a chamber forced bullet crimp and a bullet that becomes an obstruction more than a properly secured projectile. Excessive C.O.L. can result in a rifling-bound bullet, a condition that could result in spikes of excessive pressure.” [Editor’s NOTE: It is common for competitive benchrest shooters to seat bullets into the rifling. This can be done safely if you reduce your loads accordingly. With some bullets we often see best accuracy .010″ (or more) into the lands. However, this can generate more pressure than the same bullet seated .010″ away from initial lands contact. As with all reloading, start low and work up gradually.]

Brownells Headspace Gauge cutaway chamber drawing SAAMI ANSI

How is headspace specified? Most cartridges used within the United States are defined within ANSI/SAAMI Z299.3-4. Brownells explains: “In the case of the .243 Winchester, as an example, there are pressure specifications, cartridge drawings and, as pictured above, chamber drawings. Armed with a chamber drawing, each manufacturer producing a firearm for the .243 Winchester knows the proper standard dimension to cut chambers and set headspace. Notice there are two headspace reference dimensions for the chamber. The upper is a place in the chamber where the shoulder is .400″ in diameter; the “datum” or “basic” line. The lower is the 1.630″~1.640″ minimum – maximum dimension from the breech face (bolt face) to that point in the chamber that measures .400″.”

The actual headspace of any firearm is the distance from the breech face to the point in the chamber that is intended to prevent forward motion of a cartridge.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
May 4th, 2018

Left-Port, Side-Charging AR Upper — Not Just for Southpaws

left hand ar15 upper keystone accuracy

Here’s something you may not have seen before — a left-port, side-charging AR15 Upper. This unit was developed by John Scandale of Keystone Accuracy. While this was designed for left-handed High Power shooters, the lefty upper also works well for right-handed F-TR shooters. This design allows a prone shooter to single-load with his left hand, an efficient system for a right-handed shooter. Here is a review of the lefty upper from GS Arizona, who created the Rifleman’s Journal website. Like John Scandale, GS is a southpaw.

The Lefty AR Upper from Keystone Accuracy

by GS Arizona
We left-handed shooters are always the last to get the benefit of new firearms developments, or so it seems to us most of the time. There is no rifle more popular today than the AR15, whether for competitive shooting or plain recreational use; but even for that ubiquitous black rifle, left-handed items are few and far between. However, Keystone Accuracy run by left-handed High Power shooter John Scandale has some good stuff for us.

Left-handed Left AR15 Upper Keystone Accuracy  Scandale

John is a long time High Power shooter, a member of the National Guard’s All-Guard rifle team and a Distinguished Rifleman. He knows exactly what makes a good High Power rifle — unlike many of the mail-order parts and pieces you see offered for sale by someone who only shoots his computer keyboard… John is a real shooter, I’ve known him for many years and trust his work.

The most interesting item from Keystone is the left-hand billet upper receiver for the AR15 match rifle. This thick-wall, CNC-machined piece appears to be very durable and fits all existing AR15 lower receivers.

left handed billet ar-15 ar15 upper side port

When the AR15 was becoming popular in High Power shooting in the mid-1990s, I had a match rifle built on one. To solve the left-hand problem, I had a second port milled into the left side to allow me to load the rifle comfortably in slow-fire, single-load matches. Unfortunately, sometimes the round I flicked into the left port would fall right out of the right port! That was a bit frustrating and this receiver, along with an appropriate left-handed bolt assembly will work for the lefty just as we desire.

left-handed ar15 upper

I’ve seen quite a few AR15 based rifles in F-TR at our local club matches over the past year. This upper would be a good choice for many right-handed shooters using the AR for F-Class as it allows loading with the left hand while the right hand remains on the pistol grip and ready to fire when the target appears. In light of the fact that the bolt release is on the left side, that makes life a lot simpler than using the right hand! So if you’re a left-handed shooter or even a right-handed F-Class shooter, give this some thought, it might be just what you’ve been waiting for and didn’t even know it!

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 3 Comments »
May 2nd, 2018

Vista Outdoor May Sell Off Savage Arms and Stevens

Vista outdoor divesting selling Savage Arms Steven rifles strategic reorganization

Vista Outdoor Announces Strategic Business Transformation Plan
Big news. Vista Outdoor Inc. (NYSE: VSTO) may be selling off gun-makers Savage and Stevens, declaring it will “explore strategic options” for those brands. However, Vista Outdoor will retain its businesses that produce ammunition and reloading components: Alliant Powder, CCI, Federal Premium, and Speer. The sell-off of Savage and Stevens is not a sure thing yet, but Vista’s new CEO Chris Metz has been looking hard at the “bottom line” and he says that the gun-making brands have not been as profitable as expected. This is not just an exit from gun-making. Vista Outdoors executives have analyzed the company’s full portfolio of brands, and decision-makers have targeted other brands for sell-off. READ Vista Outdoor News Release.

The Wall Street Journal reported: “The company [Vista Outdoor, VSTO, -13.07% on 5/1/18] said Tuesday it would pare its brands to focus on business lines including ammunition and shooting accessories, water bottles and packs and outdoor cooking ware. It will explore the sale of several brands including Bell bike helmets, Giro snow goggles, Blackburn handlebar tape, Jimmy Styks paddle boards, and Savage and Stevens firearms[.]”

Notably, Vista Outdoor remains fully committed to the ammunition and components businesses. In an official news release, CEO Metz stated: “Vista Outdoor is excited about the potential of each of our core businesses, particularly ammunition, which is our largest core business. An increased focus on our heritage ammunition business will manifest itself in more innovative and breakthrough new products introduced over the next few years. We also anticipate that by prioritizing this business, we will be able to invest more capital to further enhance and expand our global leadership position.” Metz denied that the sell-of of Savage and Stevens was a response to a boycott by the REI outdoor retail chain. The CEO said that REI represents less than 1% of the company’s total sales.

CEO Metz acknowleged that revenues were down substantially for the past fiscal year (ending 3/31/18), and reduced gun sales were one reason: “Sales were $2.3 billion, down 9% from the prior year. The decline was caused by lower volume in Shooting Sports across all ammunition categories, lower pricing across the portfolio, and lower firearms sales as a result of decreased demand impacting the shooting sports industry. Additionally, Outdoor Products declines were caused by market conditions affecting shooting-related categories, including hunting and shooting accessories, optics, and tactical products.”

Vista outdoor divesting selling Savage Arms Steven rifles strategic reorganization

Vista Outdoor currently has a large portfolio of brands, including guns, gear, eyewear, ammunition, camping equipment, and much more. Top brands for guns and shooting, after Savage and Stevens, are: Alliant Powder, American Eagle, Blazer Ammunition, Bushnell, CCI, Federal Premium, RCBS, and Speer.

Vista outdoor divesting selling Savage Arms Steven rifles strategic reorganization

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, News 7 Comments »