Semi-auto 17 HMR — could this be the perfect light-recoiling fun gun and squirrel slayer? With its new A17, Savage has created a gun that should be hugely popular. If you like the Ruger 10/22, you’ll love the A17. It shoots a more powerful cartridge, and has a stronger action and a better trigger. With a beefy steel action that looks like it belongs on a centerfire, this gun is strong. With quality barrels (fitted, as you’d expect, with a barrel nut), the A17 is accurate. And with the capability to launch 17 HMR rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger this gun is a hoot to shoot. The ability to get a quick second shot (without disturbing the rifle by working the bolt) will be a game-changer in the varmint fields.
Watch Us Shoot the New A17 (Rapid-Fire at 1:50):
Star of the Show
Jason and I both felt that the star of this 2015 Industry Range Day was this modestly-priced little Savage A17 in 17 HMR. MSRP is $469.00 we were told. No one knows the “street price” yet but we expect that to be about $370.00. Both of us wanted to own one of these compact new rifles (Jason tried to buy one on the spot) — what does that tell you? With a strong steel action, the A17 is accurate, fun, and ultra-reliable.
Jason put the gun through three rapid fire drills — firing as fast as he could pull the trigger. We could not get the A17 to malfunction in any way. It just ripped through magazines like a sewing machine. Flawless operation. Bill Dermody of ATK says “this is one of the most thoroughly tested Savage rifles ever. We put over half a million test rounds through the rifle during development. That’s why it’s so reliable.”
The Magic Chicklet
Look below at the A17 bolt. The little black hardened metal piece (called a “chicklet” by the Savage engineers) is the secret ingredient. It works like a retracting lug, allowing the A17 to operate in delayed blow-back mode. That permits the A17 to function flawlessly with the energetic 17 HMR cartridge.
Optimized 17 HMR Ammo That’s 100 FPS Faster
CCI has developed new, higher-velocity 17 HMR ammo for the A17. Because Savage is now part of the ATK conglomerate, CCI is now Savage’s sister company. So, CCI and Savage cooperated during the development of the A17. CCI found a way to get more speed from the 17 HMR and Savage engineered an action and bolt that are strong enough to handle the new 17 HMR ammo, which runs 100 fps faster than other 17 HMR ammo on the market.
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Just another YouTube video … NOT. This video is a winner. If you want to see state-of-the-art 21st Century rifle-building, with advanced CNC milling operations, watch this clip. It shows how man and machine combine to create a fine custom rifle.
One of the best short features of its kind, this video shows the creation of a high-end, 22-250 varmint rifle from start to finish. All aspects of the build are covered. The rifle was crafted by Chad Dixon for O’Neill Ops. Once the build is complete, the video shows the rifle being tested at 440 yards. With the camera filming through the scope, you can even watch the trace, starting at the 2:36″ time mark (this is very cool).
Watch this Video in HD!
Any person with an interest in gunsmithing should watch this video. It shows barrel profiling, tenon-thread cutting, chambering, CNC stock inletting, bedding, and stock painting.
For this build, Chad Dixon of LongRifles, Inc. teamed up with O’Neill Ops. The video shows the “Coyote Rifle” build, step by step, from the cutting of the tenon threads, to the 440-yard field test at the end of the build. To learn more about this rifle’s components and its performance in the field, contact James O’Neill, www.oneillops.com, (605) 685-6085.
Chad Dixon of LongRifles, Inc.
Chad Dixon’s introduction to firearms began in 1991 as a marksmanship instructor and competitive shooter in the U.S. Marine Corps. Chad began building rifles in 2000 at the Anschutz National Service Center, where he worked with U.S. Olympic shooters. In 2003 Chad took a position with Nesika Bay Precision/Dakota Arms. After leaving Nesika, Chad deployed to the Middle East as a security contractor for the U.S. Dept. of State. On his return to the USA, Chad started LongRifles Inc., a custom rifle-building company.
Dixon-built rifles combine modern CNC manufacturing methods with traditional expert craftsmanship. Chad’s rifles have won major int’l and national level competitions in Smallbore, Smallbore Silhouette, High Power, and Long Range Palma disciplines.
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The Boone and Crockett Club (B&C) has renounced the use of its name and scoring system in conjunction with hunting programs that use captive deer and elk. “With the growth of the deer breeding and shooting industry, and modern marketing and selling of ‘shooter bucks’ raised in captivity and graded and sold using B&C scores, it was time to make this unauthorized use of our scoring system more widely known,” said B&C club president William A. Demmer.
The Idaho Statesman agrees: “The Boone and Crockett Club has reinforced its heritage as a conservation organization by banning the use of its name and scoring system for captive deer and elk advertised for or killed in canned hunts. It’s the right call for the club and an important step to separate trophy, free-ranging big-game animals taken by hunters under fair-chase conditions from captive animals manipulated to grow large antlers and shot in a controlled, captive environment.”
For nearly 100 years Boone and Crockett’s record books and B&C scores have been considered the gold standard for evaluating and verifying the trophy quantity of wild, native North American big game taken under fair chase conditions. With this resolution, ratified at Boone and Crockett’s 127th annual meeting this month, B&C is taking a firm stand against captive game hunting programs:
The Boone and Crockett Club scoring system exists to document the successful conservation of wild game animals in North America. The Boone and Crockett Club objects to and rejects any use of or reference to the Boone and Crockett Club or its scoring system in connection with antlers/horns grown by animals in captivity.
Through this official resolution, the Club reaffirms that no one is authorized to exploit this standard by using the B&C scoring system, name or logo in connection with captive animals. The Club strictly opposes any attempt to legitimize the trophy quality of pen-raised animals or put and take shooting operations by associating either with the Boone and Crockett Club.
About Boone and Crockett Club Scoring
The Boone and Crockett Club’s records program was established in 1906 as a way of detailing species once thought headed for extinction. In response to public interest generated by B&C’s National Collection of Heads and Horns in the 1920s, and increased hunting by the general public, the Club established an official measurement and scoring system for trophy big game. The National Collection and the measurement system were initially conceived to record species of North American big game thought to be vanishing. Club Members and others in the scientific community soon recognized that the system was an effective means of tracking the success of new conservation policies. Today, the B&C scoring system is used to collect data on free-ranging big game. These data reflect successful conservation efforts, population health and habitat quality. Biologists compare and contrast records to improve local management strategies as well as state and federal wildlife policies.
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You’re looking at the #1 product our readers have purchased at Amazon.com this month. And we’re not surprised. What outdoorsman would not want a thermos configured like an giant-sized shotgun shell? This is an ideal gift for the shooting enthusiast. Stansport offers shotshell-style thermal bottles in two sizes. The “12 gauge” bottle holds 25 ounces of liquid while the smaller “20 gauge” bottle carries 16 ounces. Both bottles feature a brass-colored screw-on top that doubles as a drinking cup. There is a second, gasket-sealed stopper with a quick-dispense feature. This allows you to pour the hot contents without needing to remove the screw-in stopper. That’s smart — one less item to drop on the ground.
These shotshell thermal cannisters are offered in four colors: Red, Black, Green, and Yellow (16 oz. only). All shotshell thermal bottles feature double-wall 18-8 stainless steel insulated construction with insulated cap. Prices for the red, 25-oz. version start at $27.31 on Amazon.com. (Other colors may cost more — also check for free shipping offers).
Shotshell Thermos Demo Video on YouTube
A hunter who owns one of these Shotshell Thermos bottles has posted a video of his bottle on YouTube. The video will give you an idea of the size of the cannister and how the outer cap/cup and inner stopper work. CLICK HERE to watch Shotshell Thermos Video.
Disclosure: AccurateShooter.com has an affiliate relationship with Amazon.com.
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Smith & Wesson (S&W), has agreed to acquire Battenfeld Technologies, Inc. for $130.5 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close in December. In acquiring Battenfeld, S&W will become an industry leading in the sales of hunting, shooting, and reloading tools and accessories. Battenfeld markets dozens of popular products such as Tipton gun vises, Frankford Arsenal tumblers, Caldwell shooting rests, and Goldenrod safe heaters.
Founded 22 years ago, Battenfeld Technologies has generated a largely organic* compound annual revenue growth rate in excess of 18% (Since 2006). Based in a 145,000-square-foot facility in Columbia, Missouri, Battenfeld Technologies develops and sells shooting, reloading, gunsmithing, and gun cleaning supplies under several brands, including Caldwell, Frankford Arsenal, GoldenRod, Lockdown, Tipton, and Wheeler Engineering. Battenfeld grew rapidly by developing new products and by acquiring smaller accessories makers such as BOG-POD and GoldenRod.
Acquisition Helps S&W Expand Accessories Business with Strong Brand
James Debney, Smith & Wesson President and CEO, said, “Battenfeld Technologies… fits perfectly within our core firearm business. It also allows us to move more strongly into the hunting vertical as well as establish a strong platform for growth in our existing firearm accessories business[.] Battenfeld Technologies’ sophisticated sourcing and distribution infrastructure, should provide a solid framework for organic and inorganic growth as the new accessories division of Smith & Wesson. Our intention is that eventually all existing Smith & Wesson®, M&P®, and Thompson/Center Arms accessories will be housed within this new division.”
*Biz Terminology 101: Organic growth is the process of business expansion due to increasing overall customer base, increased output per customer or representative, new sales, or any combination of the above, as opposed to mergers and acquisitions, which are examples of inorganic growth.
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Last year, PrecisionRifleBlog.com published results from the most comprehensive field test of rangefinder binoculars ever conducted. The comparison test included virtually every product then available in the USA. If you are thinking about getting a set of binoculars with range-finding capability, you should definitely read this test. Here we summarize key findings of the test, but you’ll want to read theFULL STORY.
Six range-finding binocular optics (and two monocular rangefinders) were field-tested in a variety scenarios to see which had the best performance in terms of both optical clarity and ranging capabilities. The results are based on over 10,000 data points collected from the field over 3 months of testing. Cal Zant, author of PrecisionRifleBlog.com, published a series of posts with exhaustive details about his optical and ranging tests and results, but we’ll hit the highlights here.
VOICE FILE: Click Button to Hear Cal Zant TALK about Rangefinder Binocular Test
Six of the models tested were binoculars, and the other two were monoculars. The Leupold monocular was included for reference, because many shooters have a 1,000-yard rangefinder similar to the RX-1000. The Vectronix Terrapin model was included as the control for ranging performance, because it is known to be an extremely accurate rangefinder (spoiler alert: it is). Cal provides a very detailed side-by-side spec comparison for these models in one of his posts.
Ranging Test Results
Each model was used to range 500+ times in a variety of scenarios from 25 to over 30,000 yards. The tests showed these models had similar performance at close and mid-range targets, but at 600 yards their performance started to diverge … so that is where most of the testing was focused.
The chart below summarizes the ranging performance found on the test targets in ideal conditions, which was from a sturdy tripod, at sunset, with 10+ mile visibility. The exact target shape and surroundings varied, but the targets were all approximately 2 MOA wide, highly reflective, and perpendicular to the rangefinder. Specifics on target dimensions, view from the ranging position, and target surroundings are given in the detailed ranging performance results post.
Vectronix is the leader of the rangefinder world, and that was proved once again in these tests. The new Leica Geovid HD-B wasn’t far behind them, with accurate ranging beyond 1 mile. The Zeiss Victory RF also had surgical precision off a tripod, although it had a reduced range compared to the Vectronix and Leica. The Bushnell Fusion 1 Mile also proved to be able to range targets out to their claimed max range of 1,760 yards.
PrecisionRifleBlog.com also tested the ranging performance of each model in bright lighting conditions, and offhand as well. The data from those tests also contained a few surprises. To determine how accurate each model really was, Cal Zant carefully analyzed the results from each model when aimed at precisely positioned, “known distance” targets. To see how those tests turned out, or learn more details about specific models, GO TO full results.
Optical Test Results
For the optics tests, Cal’s goal was to find an objective, data-driven approach to testing optical performance. What he came up with was placing eye exam charts from 600 to 1,400 yards with different size letters, and then recording what two different people could accurately read with each model. The data for each unit was summed into a single score so they could be ranked relative to how much detail the testers could make out. More specifics are provided regarding how the test was conducted and how scores were calculated in the optical performance results post. Here are the results from Cal’s data-driven approach:
The Leica Geovid HD-B edged out the other models for the top spot, with its completely new, Perger-Porro prism design. The original Leica Geovid HD, and Zeiss Victory RF also showed great optical clarity.
The Rest of the Story
Cal’s full series of posts is very informative. He’s done tons of analysis on the data, and summarizes it in several charts that provide a lot of insight. Cal is also in the process of publishing detailed reviews on each model, including notes he and the other testers compiled for each unit. They used them all — a lot, so they have a unique perspective on what’s good or bad about each. Find out more at the link below:
Readers know Jim Borden as a Hall of Fame shooter and the owner of Borden Accuracy/Borden Rifles. Jim won 10 IBS National Championships, set 10 IBS world records, and was inducted into the Benchrest Hall of Fame in 1996. But Jim is not just a great shooter. This highly-trained engineer is very much a Renaissance man. He is as skilled with cameras as he is with benchrest rifles.
Jim is a talented outdoor photographer who has compiled an impressive portfolio of wildlife and landscape photographs. For our Thanksgiving-day edition of the Daily Bulletin we are featuring some of Jim’s favorite nature images. We hope readers enjoy them as much as shooters prize Borden’s Rimrock benchrest and Rimrock hunting actions.
Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, in a hunting household and hunting community, Jim learned about shooting at a very early age. He started hunting at the age of nine with his father and grandfather. His grandfather had an avid interest in photography while they were on hunts and Jim became interested as well. Jim began using SLR cameras in the 1970s, often carrying cameras on his hunts. As the years passed, Jim became more interested in “shooting” the animals with a camera versus a gun. Jim converted from film to digital in 2006 and in 2007 Jim’s wife Joan started accompanying Jim on the photo safaris. Jim has a particular passion for elk, moose, and eagles and Jim also enjoys scenic photography. Jim and Joan both shoot Nikon professional equipment. Their photographs can be viewed at www.BordenPhotography.com. You’ll also find Jim’s images (along with photography tips) on his JandJB Wildlife Photography Blog.
All in the Family
Jim’s grandfather was a gunsmith who taught Jim the trade when Jim was very young. Jim’s father and grandfather ran a country business that included an auto repair shop, welding, a small lathe, and a forge. Jim earned a degree in Mechanical engineering at Penn State University. For 23 years he worked for Procter and Gamble (P&G) as an engineer and as an engineering manager/project manager.
Borden Rifles — A Success Story
Borden Accuracy/Borden Rifles has been a source for precision benchrest and hunting rifles for many years. Jim started doing his own gunsmithing while competing in benchrest and high power silhouette matches. Jim launched his business in 1987, working nights and weekends while still employed at P&G. The business became full-time in 1995 with Jim and his wife Joan doing the work. The business was expanded in 1999 with the construction of the new Springville, PA facility and the addition of sons Jim Jr. and John to the staff. Son-in-law John Mecca came onboard in January 2000.
Jim and company began making Rimrock benchrest and Rimrock hunting actions in 2001. They added Borden Alpine and Timberline actions in 2006. These actions are made in an advanced manufacturing facility which has three CNC vertical Machining centers, three CNC lathes, three manual lathes, a manual knee mill, a surface grinder, a cylindrical grinder and wire EDM machine. To learn more, visit BordenRifles.com, call 570-965-2505, or send email to info [at] bordenrifles.com.
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OK, you’re feelin’ fat and happy after the traditional Thanksgiving Day feast and you need to kill some time. Sure you could rake the leaves or wash the dishes, but why not have some mindless fun targeting turkeys with this online video game? Be forewarned, this Turkey Shoot Game starts pretty easy, but those gobblers get sneakier as you move up in levels. Also — you can take your time and still get through the first five levels, just try to avoid misses.
For more fun, use the up/down and left/right keys on your keyboard to move around the 3D forest and sneak up on the gobblers hiding behind the bushes. Have fun, and enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday!
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. What better way to celebrate the occasion than to blast away at some bearded gobblers (of the paper variety). Here’s our festive Turkey Day target, ready for some family fun. This special Turkey Bullseye Target was created by our friend and Forum member Pascal (aka “DesertFrog”). CLICK HERE for FREE Turkey Target.
Get Turkey and Other Critters
For your convenience, we’ve packaged the Turkey Target along with five (5) other varmint/animal-themed targets. These are all offered in .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) format for easy printing.
Richard Franklin (who operated Richard’s Custom Rifles prior to his retirement), has built scores of varmint rifles, in many different calibers. One of Richard’s all-time favorite varmint rifles is a 14-twist, 22BR built on his model 11 stock in laminated Black Walnut and fiddleback maple. Richard says the rifle is versatile and deadly accurate out to 400 yards. Richard uses a Leupold 8.5-25x50mm LRT with varmint reticle.
“This is my light walking varminter. It’s built on a blueprinted SS Remington 700 short action and chambered as a no-turn 22 BR for Lapua brass. The bolt handle is a Dave Kiff replacement and I’ve fitted a Jewel BR trigger with bottom safety. Barrel is a Lilja, 1:14″ # 6 contour with a muzzle diameter of .750″. I shoot the 40gr V-Max in the rifle at 4000 FPS. Its tough on hogs if you don’t try them too far. 400 yards is about the max with it. Accuracy is outstanding and with Roy, Mike, my grandson and myself shooting this rifle I don’t believe it has missed more than 3 hogs out of over 100 shot at this summer. This rifle is carried in a ceiling rack in the truck where its handy and is used by the first person that grabs it when a hog is sighted if we are moving between setups. The Varmint reticle on the Leupold is nice for quick hold-overs as you change distances.”
Detail of Model 11 Stock (Different Rifle in Birdseye Maple)
22BR Rivals 22-250 Performance
With bullets in the 40gr to 60gr weight range, the 22BR gives up very little in velocity to a 22-250, despite burning quite a bit less powder (30-32 grains for the 22BR vs. 35-38 grains for the 22-250). With a match-quality chamber, the 22BR will probably have an edge in accuracy over a 22-250, and you should experience longer barrel life. Here are some recommended 22BR loads for 40-60gr bullets:
Story by Kyle Jillson forNRABlog.com
The NRA Foundation is proud to support Louisiana State University’s Mobile Marksman Project, a system developed by the LSU Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Program to help high-level quadriplegics to participate in the shooting sports. The nearly $2,200 grant funded the 2014 system, the team’s final design iteration.
Created in 2009, the Mobile Marksman Project is a manually-controlled shooting platform that allows handicapped hunters to aim and fire a mounted firearm with head-tracking software and a small tube that is activated with a puff of air.
Capstone Design Instructor Capt. Dave Giurintano and the Mobile Marksman team worked with high-level quadriplegics to address system requirements and create a lightweight, portable system that is simple to use and enjoy. Recent additions include recoil-absorbing legs and a rail-mounted camera that displays the crosshairs and target on a high-resolution digital screen.
“It has been our profound pleasure to have a hand in working on it, to extend the hunting and shooting experience to everyone, regardless of physical disability,” said Garen Armbruster, Mobile Marksman Team Leader.
Established in 1990, The NRA Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that raises tax-deductible contributions in support of a wide range of firearm-related public interest activities of the National Rifle Association of America and other organizations. These activities are designed to promote firearm and hunting safety, to enhance marksmanship skills, and to educate the general public about firearms.
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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.
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