ISSC will soon be shipping its new SPA 22/17 series of rimfire rifles. These rifles all feature a fast, biathlon-style, Straight-Pull Action (SPA). This allows for rapid cycling without having to lift your head off the stock. Watch the video below and you can see how you can easily work the toggle action with thumb and two fingers. ISSC offers the SPA 22/17 in three popular rimfire chamberings: .22 LR, .22 WMR, and 17 HMR. We think the 17 HMR version of this little rifle would be a great “carry-around” varmint rig. And the “Target” model, as chambered in .22 LR, seems ideal for the popular “Rimfire Tactical” game.
The Austrian-made SPA 22/17 is offered in three (3) different stock versions: Wood stock (with raised comb), Polymer sporter stock (with Snabel-style fore-end), and a “Target” model (with a folding, Accuracy International-style thumbhole stock). All variants come with 10-round magazines. The rifles are currently offered in three popular rimfire chamberings: .22 LR, .22 WMR, and .17 HMR. The ISSC SPA 22/17 series of rifles is distributed in the USA through Legacy Sports International.
We’re told that the first shipments of ISSC Spa 22/17 rifles should be arriving by mid-May, with larger shipments scheduled for June, 2013. We expect these rifles to be pretty popular, so you may want to get in line. Here’s a video from Legacy Sports showing how the straight-pull actions work:
ISSC is located in Ried, Austria. The company’s design and engineering work is accomplished at the company’s ESC subsidiary, located in Ulm, Germany.
The NRA has launched a new website designed for female shooters. The new NRA Woman’s Outlook site covers firearms training, hunting, self-defense, shooting gear and much more. It includes photo and video galleries, and it even has a section for wild game recipes. According to the NRA, the site offers an “online presence for … today’s NRA woman as she exercises her Second Amendment rights in pursuit and enjoyment of the American firearms lifestyle.”
The primary sponsor of the new website is Barnes Bullets. “I must extend thanks to Coni Brooks of Barnes Bullets, our site’s first sponsor ” said Ann Smith, Editor-in-Chief of NRA E-Media. “The women in the Brooks family are examples of true pioneers in our industry, who can tell their family’s story about how they used to make bullets in the basement of their small home. Now they are known as one of the most successful and respected bullet companies in the country.”
Hunters and tactical shooters need scopes with good low-light performance. For a scope to perform well at dawn and dusk, it needs good light transmission, plus a reasonably large exit pupil to make maximum use of your eye’s light processing abilty.* And generally speaking, the bigger the front objective, the better the low-light performance, other factors being equal. Given these basic principles, how can we quickly evaluate the low-light performance of different makes and models of scopes?
Here’s the answer: ScopeCalc.com offers a FREE web-based Low-Light Performance Calculator that lets you compare the light gain, perceived brightness, and overall low-light performance of various optics. Using this scope comparison tool is pretty easy — just input the magnification, objective diameter, exit pupil size, and light transmission ratio. If the scope’s manufacturer doesn’t publish an exit pupil size, then divide the objective diameter in millimeters by the magnification level. For example a 20-power scope with a 40mm objective should have a 2mm exit pupil. For most premium scopes, light transmission rates are typically 90% or better (averaged across the visible spectrum). However, not many manufacturers publish this data, so you may have to dig a little.
ScopeCalc.com’s calculator can be used for a single scope, a pair of scopes, or multiple scopes. Once you’ve typed in the needed data, click “Calculate” and the program will produce comparison charts showing Light Gain, Perceived Brightness, and Low-Light Performance. In the example below, we compared a “generic” 5-18×50 Tactical scope with a “generic” 8-32 Benchrest scope.
Though the program is easy to use, and quickly generates comparative data, assessing scope brightness, as perceived by the human eye, is not a simple matter. You’ll want to read the annotations that appear below the generated charts. For example, ScopeCalc’s creators explain that: “Perceived brightness is calculated as the cube root of the light gain, which is the basis for modern computer color space brightness scaling.” In addition, the way ScopeCalc measures Low-Light Performance is pretty sophisticated: “Low Light Performance [is calculated] as the average of light gain and resolution gain through magnification, as a measure of target image acuity gain in low light similar to Twilight Performance specified by scope manufacturers. Low Light Performance calculated here is much more useful than Twilight Performance, as Twilight performance is the average of the just the objective lens diameter times magnification, while Low Light Performance is the average of the actual Perceived Brightness times magnification, which also includes the exit pupil/eye pupil relation, light transmission, approximated diffraction, as well as the perception of relative light gain. Just as with Twilight Performance, this Low Light Performance calculation does not yet include lens resolution and contrast as factors. Therefore lower quality optics will yield relatively less gains at higher magnifications.” Got that?
*In low light, the human eye can typically dilate to 5mm – 7mm. The exact amount of dilation varies with the individual, and typically declines, with increasing age, from 7mm (at age 20) to a dark-adapted pupil of about 5.5mm by age 65. To take full advantage of a scope’s light-gathering capacity, the diameter of an eyepiece exit pupil should be no larger than the max diameter of your eye’s dark-adapted pupil, so that all of the light collected by the scope enters your eye, rather than falling on the iris. A large 8mm exit pupil may seem good, but it would be partly “wasted” on a shooter in his 60s.
Earlier this month we ran a story on the new Sauer 101 rifle. It turns out the Sauer 101 will be distributed in the U.S. by Blaser USA. Here’s more good news for hunters — we’ve learned that Blaser will be bringing another new German hunting rifle to the USA — the Mauser M 12. You’ll find specs and photos of the M 12 below. This is a rifle with a great heritage, superb build quality, plus some innovative features.
Forum Member Chuck L. (aka “Ridgeway”) has created a handsome duo of 6mm Dashers for competitive benchrest and varmint matches in Pennsylvania. Both guns are built on Kelbly Panda RBLP actions, with Bartlein 8-twist barrels, and Shehane Laminated Tracker Stocks. However, the two rifles are not exact twins, as you can see. One, which we’ll call the Big Dasher, is built on a Shehane ST1000 Tracker stock. The other gun, the Small Dasher, sports Shehane’s “Baby Tracker” stock — a design used with great success by Richard Schatz. The Big Dasher, optimized for 1000-yard competition, also has a slightly longer freebore — 0.136″ vs. 0.104″ for the Small Dasher.
Chuck tells us: “I don’t get out shooting competition as much as I want due to time and family, but when I do compete, I shoot a Groundhog match at Southfork Rifle Club in Beaverdale, PA. Info on Southfork Club events can be found at Southforkrifleclub.com. The Southfork match is basically a 100-, 300- and 500-yard match with one sighter the entire match and 5 shots at each yardage for score. The Small Dasher, with the shorter ‘Baby Tracker’ stock, was set up for the Southfork Rifle Club’s ‘Light Unlimited’ class which has a 13.5-lb max weight.” (Editor: ‘unlimited’ is a misnomer for a weight-limited category.)
Chuck adds: “The Big Dasher with the heavy ST-1000 stock is set up for 1000-yard benchrest matches in Light Gun class. I hope to shoot a couple 1K matches with it at Reade Range in southwest Pennsylvania. I am still in load development for this rifle since it was just finished in January. One ironic thing is, it shoots the same load I’m shooting out of the lighter gun rather well. The only difference between the two chambers is the freebore is roughly thirty thousandths longer on the 1K gun (Large Dasher). I will also shoot this at Southfork in the ‘Heavy Unlimited’ class.”
Specifications for the Dasher Duo:
Small Dasher (13.5-pounder): Chambered for 6mm Dasher with approximately .104 freebore and a .264 NK. (No way of knowing exactly since it freebore was done in a separate operation by Kelbly.) Components are: Shehane Baby Tracker stock, Kelbly Panda RPLB action, Bartlein 1:8″ LV barrel at 26 ¾”, Kelbly Rings, Weaver T36, Jewell trigger. The barrel was chambered by Kelblys and the stock was bedded, glued and balanced by a shooting buddy (Forum Member johara1). I clear-coated the stock with auto urethane. Total weight is 13 lbs., 4 ounces.
Big Dasher (1K Light Gun, 17-pounder): Chambered for 6mm Dasher with a .136 freebore and .264 neck (PTG Reamer). Components are: Shehane ST-1000 stock, Kelbly Panda RPLB action, Bartlein 1:8″ HV 5R barrel at 28″, Shehane +20-MOA rings, Nightforce NXS 12-42x56mm, Jewell trigger. The barrel work, pillar installation, and bedding was done by Dave Bruno. The stock was clear-coated by Chuck with auto urethane. Chuck also made the rear butt plate and balanced the rifle. Total weight: 16 lbs., 13 ounces.
Dasher Case-Forming: Neck-Turn then Fire-form with Bullets Hard in Lands
To fireform, I turn my cases down to fit the chamber and stop where the false shoulder makes snug contact with the chamber. Fire-forming rounds are loaded up with a 29-grain charge of H4895 or Varget and a 108gr Berger bullet seated hard into the lands about 0.020″ past initial contact with the rifling. It takes about three firings to make a nice clean Dasher case with a sharp shoulder. I anneal about every 3-4 firings. I have many cases that have about 10+ firings on them and they are still shooting well. The primer pockets are a little looser, but still hold a primer.
Both Dashers Group in the Ones at 100 Yards
My main bullet for both rifles is the 107gr Sierra MK, loaded with Reloder 15 powder, Lapua cases and CCI 450 primers. My main load for the Small Dasher is 33.0 grains of Reloder 15. This load shoots in the ones at 100 yards. For the Big Dasher, I’m still working on a load, although the same 33.0 grain load shoots in the ones in the heavier gun as well. I’m still looking for more velocity and my ‘max’ node. So far, I’ve gone well above 33.0 grains of RL 15 without pressure signs, but that load produces vertical at 100 yards, so I’m going to tinker with the load until I see pressure or it starts to shoot.
When you buy a new Winchester firearm at retail between April 15 and April 30, 2013, you can receive a rebate of up to 8% of the purchase price to reimburse you for the state sales tax. That’s just like putting the sales tax right back in your pocket. See your Winchester dealer for more info. Starting April 15, 2013, you can download Rebate Forms at Winchesterguns.com. This offer is valid only on the consumer retail purchase of a new Winchester firearm purchased between April 15, 2013 and April 30, 2013.
Here’s an example: If you spend $1,000 on a new Winchester rifle or shotgun, and you pay an 8% sales tax, you’ll get an $80 reimbursement from Winchester Repeating Arms. To qualify for your sales tax reimbursement (up to a maximum refund of 8% of the purchase price as determined by the sales tax paid at time of purchase as documented by your dated sales receipt). If you live in a state with no sales tax you should submit your coupon (with valid purchase information) for special consideration.
Here’s the Fine Print: The Sales Tax Rebate Coupon must be filled out completely and returned to Winchester Repeating Arms with the supporting documents as listed, postmarked no later than midnight May 15, 2013.
Winchester Repeating Arms employees, Winchester Repeating Arms sales representatives, authorized Winchester Repeating Arms dealers and their sales staff, and members of their immediate families are not eligible for this promotion. Limited to one offer per person. Offer valid in the United States only. All purchasers must be citizens or legal residents of the United States.
J.P. Sauer & Sohn has released an all-new hunting rifle, the Sauer 101. This new rifle features a six-lug bolt that locks directly into the barrel, along with a new, sophisticated safety system that positively blocks the firing pin. The Sauer 101 also has a patented “Ever-Rest” bedding system featuring a metal block surrounding the front action screw. The Sauer 101 comes with either a black synthetic stock (“Classic XT”), or a quality walnut stock (“Classic”). MSRP has not been revealed, but the Sauer 101 is designed to fall in the “mid-class price range”, making it much more affordable than the Sauer 202. CLICK HERE to visit Sauer 101 dedicated website.
Sauer 101 Features
Smooth-running bolt with 60° lift
6-lug bolt locks directly into the barrel
Dual ejectors provide reliable 90° extraction
Safety system directly blocks firing pin
Crisp 2-lb trigger pull
22″ barrel for standard calibers
24″ barrel for Magnums
Adjustable open sights optional
Sauer 101 Technical Features Video (with Amazing Computer-Generated 3D Animations)
Sauer has provided some fantastic 3D-style cutaway animations that show the features of the new rifle. You can see 3D “exploded” renderings of all the gun’s components. As well, the animation shows the function of the safety system, the six-lug bolt, and the dual-ejector system. Watch this video!
Barrel Attachment Technology
Sauer boasts that the barrel is heat-pressed into the receiver, with the bolt locking up directly into the barrel. That may sound good, but in reality, this engineering solution makes it extremely difficult to fit a new after-market barrel to the gun. We talked with two highly-respected custom gunsmiths. Both agreed that it would be “very difficult to find a smith who would tackle the task of re-barreling this gun (starting with a barrel blank).” One smith observed that “machining the lug recesses directly into the barrel is not a procedure that 95% of gunsmiths are capable of doing.” So, when your Sauer 101 barrel wears out (or if you want to change calibers), presumably you have to send the gun back to the factory.
Standard calibers: 22-250 Rem. .243 Win, 6.5×55, .270 Win, 7×64, .308 Win, .30-06, 8x57IS, 9.3×62
Magnum calibers: 7mm Rem Mag, 300 Win Mag, .338 Win Mag
Sauer 101 Intro Video (1 Minute)
Sauer 101 Pros:
1. The safety system looks very robust and sophisticated. The Sauer 101 features an integral firing pin block that allows firing only after the bolt has been fully locked into battery. That’s smart engineering.
2. Crisp, two-pound trigger pull is very nice for a factory rifle. Sauer claims trigger has “zero creep”.
3. Sauer 101 Accepts Remington 700 long action scope base mounts.
4. Stock is ambidextrous — good for both righties and lefties.
Sauer 101 Cons:
1. The pressed-in “Heat-Lock” barrel attachment system is not “gunsmith friendly”. And, because the lug recesses are inside the barrel, it will be difficult to fit after-market barrels. The machining required is much different than simply drilling a chamber as is done with “pre-fit” threaded barrels.
2. The sling swivel stud is positioned on the front of the Schnabel fore-end. To fit a Harris bipod, the owner will have to add a stud further back, or make an adapter for the forward-facing swivel stud.
3. No factory muzzle brake option.
4. No factory rail option for mounting scope rings.
5. No provision for adjusting length of pull (fixed at 14.4 inches).
Nikon has introduced an all-new line-up of affordable riflescopes for hunters and varmint shooters. The new Nikon ProStaff 5 Series of scopes feature four times zoom range and a bright new optical system. With their fully multi-coated lenses, ProStaff 5 riflescopes provide up to 95% light transmission. That’s great for hunters working at dawn and dusk. (Some ProStaff 5s also have illuminated reticles). All ProStaff 5 scope models are waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof.
The ProStaff 5 line-up of scopes ranges from 2.5-10X to 4.5-18X with a variety of reticle options including NikoPlex, BDC, Fine Crosshair with dot, and Mil-Dot. Some ProStaff 5 scopes have an illuminated reticle with five intensity levels of red or green. A rheostat dimmer is located on the side focus knob for easy adjustment. All ProStaff 5 scopes now offer spring-loaded, instant zero-reset turrets. This makes your return-to-zero fast and foolproof in the field. (To set your zero, just sight-in as usual, then lift the spring-loaded adjustment knob, rotate to “zero,” and re-engage.)
ProStaff 5 series scopes were designed with a constant (and generous) four inches of eye relief. If you’ve ever had to move your head back and forth as you changed magnification levels, you know that constant eye relief is a big deal with very real practical benefits in the field. The new ProStaff 5 scopes also feature a quick-focus eyepiece, to allow any shooter to easily bring the reticle into focus.
Nikon ProStaff 5 Scopes
Part # Model Reticle MSRP
6735 2.5-10×40 Nikoplex $269.95
6736 2.5-10×40 BDC $279.95
6737 2.5-10×40 (silver) BDC $289.95
6738 2.5-10×50 Nikoplex $369.95
6739 2.5-10×50 BDC $379.95
6740 3.5-14×40 SF Nikoplex $349.95
6741 3.5-14×40 SF BDC $359.95
6742 3.5-14×40 SF (silver) BDC $369.95
6743 3.5-14×40 SF Mildot $359.95
6744 3.5-14×50 SF Nikoplex $449.95
Part # Model Reticle MSRP
6745 3.5-14×50 SF BDC $459.95
6750 3.5-14×50 SF Illuminated Nikoplex $569.95
6751 3.5-14×50 SF Illuminated BDC $579.95
6746 4.5-18×40 SF Nikoplex $449.95
6747 4.5-18×40 SF BDC $459.95
6748 4.5-18×40 SF Mildot $459.95
6749 4.5-18×40 SF Fine Crosshair with Dot $459.95
6752 4.5-18×40 SF Illuminated BDC $579.95
6753 4.5-18×40 SF Illuminated Nikoplex $569.95
Mirage shields really do help you hit your targets more reliably. Novice shooters may wonder “Why does that guy have a venetian blind attached to his barrel?” Here’s why. As the barrel gets hot, the heat from the barrel rises up, cooking and distorting the air directly in front of the scope’s front lens. In essense, the rifle creates its own nasty visual mirage, right in the worst possible place. You can have a $4000.00 custom rifle and a $2500.00 scope but if the air in front of your scope is distorted, it can literally move your apparent point of aim on the target relative to your cross-hairs, causing you to miss the shot.
As our friend Boyd Allen observed: “Varminters should use mirage shields. Think about it. You’ve invested thousands of dollars in a fancy varmint rifle and quality scope. You may have spent hundreds of dollars traveling to the varmint fields and spent dozens of hours loading up your ammo. Without a mirage shield on your barrel, once that barrel gets hot, you WILL get mirage effects that can make you miss a shot.”
So, we’ve established you need a mirage shield to shoot your best when the barrel gets hot. You can make your own shield from a scrap blind, or purchase a ready-made plastic or aluminum shield. Sinclair Int’l offers 2″-wide, white mirage shields in 18″ (#06-7200) or 24″ (#06-7300) lengths for $4.95. Shotmaster 10X offers a variety of Patterned Mirage Shields, starting at $6.00. These include a Patriotic theme and even Tiger Stripes:
Camo Mirage Shields for Tactical Shooters and Hunters
Though tactical shooters should use mirage shields for long-distance, slow-fire stages, for the most part, tactical shooters don’t bother. One reason is that mirage shields CAN detach if you’re crawling around in the bush. However, for many tactical shooting situations, a mirage shield IS both practical and recommended. And now, for the first time, tactical shooters can get mirage shields in camo patterns to match their rifles. These camo shields should also be popular with varminters and long-range hunters.
At the request of AccurateShooter.com, Shotmaster 10X created a line of camo-pattern mirage shields (see above). Made of 2″-wide aluminum strips, these are available in 18″, 20″, and 24″ lengths. The camo-pattern shields come complete with Velcro attachments, and start at $8.50 for the 18″ length. The 20″ models are $9.50, while 24″ shields are $11.00.
CZ has introduced a new version of the CZ-455 rimfire rifle featuring a black-finished, laminated wood stock. This new gun, dubbed the Varmint Tacticool by CZ-USA, features a 5-round detachable magazine and adjustable trigger. The new CZ-455 Varmint Tacticool was built as a affordable tactical trainer with the ergonomics and “feel” of a full-size centerfire tactical rig. The Tacticool’s stock looks similar to the Manners Composites stock on CZ’s 455 Varmint Precision Trainer, but the wood-stocked ‘Tacticool’ version is much less expensive. The CZ 455 with Manners stock retails at $899.00 MSRP while the new ‘Tacticool’ model lists for just $522.00 MSRP. The $377.00 you save will buy a lot of ammo (or a scope).
We like the looks of the CZ-455 ‘Tacticool’, and the stock has some nice features. The butt-hook stock has ambidextrous palm swells on the grip and a raised comb to provide a comfortable cheek weld for shooting with a scope. The fore-end features a wide, beavertail swell for greater stability on a front sandbag. There are two (2) sling swivel studs so you can attach both a sling and a bipod.
The Boone and Crockett Club has digitally re-mastered a series of classic hunting and adventure books. Works from Theodore Roosevelt, William T. Hornaday, Charles Sheldon, Frederick C. Selous and others are being converted to high-quality eBook versions for Kindle, Nook, iPad and other eReaders. Unlike many of older hunting and adventure books available elsewhere for eReaders, the B&C Classics series has been professionally converted to high-quality, true-digital publications. Many come complete with vintage photos and drawings not found in other editions.
Two titles are available right now in the new B&C Classics series: African Game Trails and Camp-Fires in the Canadian Rockies. Five more titles are in the works. Each book in the series was authored by a Club member in the late 1800s or early 1900s.
African Game Trails by Theodore Roosevelt. This edition includes over 100 photos, drawings and maps from the original publication as well as bonus images not found in other editions. B&C eBook price: $9.99
Camp-Fires in the Canadian Rockies by William T. Hornaday and John M. Phillips. Account of British Columbia horseback adventure with Hornaday and Phillips. Includes rare stereo camera photos. B&C eBook price: $9.99.
Other Titles Planned for Future Release:
Wilderness of the Upper Yukon by Charles Sheldon
A Hunters Wanderings in Africa by Frederick C. Selous
Big Game Shooting in Alaska by Arthur R. Dugmore
Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail by Theodore Roosevelt
In Brightest Africa by Carl Akeley
How to Purchase
These “digitally-remastered” classic B&C titles are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Apple iBookstore. Or, you can purchase direct from the Boone & Crockett online bookstore. A buyer is entitled to download the purchased publication and view it either on a computer or offline with an eReader compatible device such as a Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPad, or netbook.
On LongRangeHunting.com, you’ll find a good article by Shawn Carlock about wind reading. Shawn is a veteran law enforcement marksman and a past USPSA national precision rifle champion. Shawn offers good advice on how to estimate wind speeds and directions using a multitude of available indicators — not just your wind gauge: “Use anything at your disposal to accurately estimate the wind’s velocity. I keep and use a Kestrel for reading conditions….The Kestrel is very accurate but will only tell you what the conditions are where you are standing. I practice by looking at grass, brush, trees, dust, wind flags, mirage, rain, fog and anything else that will give me info on velocity and then estimate the speed.”
Shawn also explains how terrain features can cause vertical wind effects. A hunter on a hilltop must account for bullet rise if there is a headwind blowing up the slope. Many shooters consider wind in only one plane — the horizontal. In fact wind has vertical components, both up and down. If you have piloted a small aircraft you know how important vertical wind vectors can be. Match shooters will also experience vertical rise when there is a strong tailwind blowing over an up-sloping berm ahead of the target emplacements. Overall, Shawn concludes: “The more time you spend studying the wind and its effect over varying terrain the more successful you will be as a long-range shooter and hunter.”