August 26th, 2017

17 HMR Spotlight — Affordable Ammo and Accurate Varmint Rifles

Savage A17 varmint rifle 17 hmr rimfire

Everyone should own a rifle chambered for the 17 HMR. This is an inherently accurate cartridge, with minimal recoil. The 17 HMR, loaded with 17- or 20-grain bullets, is effective on small varmints well past 150 yards. The ballistics are way better than the .22 LR and .22 WMR. There are also a variety of good factory rifles available, including Savage’s innovative A17, now available in a nice, thumbhole laminated stock. And most importantly, the ammo is becoming more affordable. You can now get good 17 HMR ammo for under twenty cents per round.

The laminated thumbhole stock version of the Savage A17 is a great carry-around varminter.
Savage A17 varmint rifle 17 hmr rimfire

Savage A17 varmint rifle 17 hmr rimfireThere are great deals to be had right now on 17 HMR — you can pick up a 50-round box for under $9.00. A couple seasons back you might have to pay $12-$15 for the same stuff. The best deal we’ve found is at Midsouth Shooters Supply, which has Hornady 17 HMR ammo loaded with 17-grain V-Max bullets, for just $8.69 (17.4 cents/round).

Here are other current good deals, as found with the WikiArms.com ammo search engine:

Federal 17 HMR, 17gr TNT (50 rd), $8.99 at Outdoor Limited
CCI 17 HMR, 17gr V-Max (50 rd), $9.49 at Outdoor Limited
Hornady 17 HMR, 20gr XTP (50 rd), $9.99 at Outdoor Limited.
CCI 17 HMR, 20gr Game Point (50 rd), $10.24 at Bud’s Gun Shop

Volquartsen 17 HMR dustin ellermann

A while back we tested a variety of 17 HMR ammo types in a pair of 17 HMR rifles, a Ruger 77/17 and a Volquartsen (above), chronographing the ammo samples in both guns. Here are our chrono test results.

17 HMR data chrono chronograph

Dustin Ellermann (past Top Shot Champion) has tested both normal and subsonic 17 HMR ammo in another Volquartsen rifle. He got the best accuracy with the CCI-brand A17 ammo, which is optimized for the Savage A17 rifle. This impressive 100-yard group was shot with A17 ammo:

Dustin 17 HMR CCI suppressed ammo ammunition

Dustin 17 HMR CCI suppressed ammo ammunition

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
August 23rd, 2017

Shooting USA Spotlights Texas Benchrest Varmint Silhouette

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

If you like accurate rifles and reactive targets, you’ll enjoy this episode of Shooting USA TV, which features long-range varmint silhouette competition in Texas, the Lone Star State. We have participated in these kind of matches on the West Coast — they are definitely a ton of fun. The sport combines the pure accuracy of benchrest competition with the fun of knocking down critter targets. These are smaller than standard silhouettes, so it’s quite a challenge to hit them at 300 yards and beyond. In this episode, host John Scoutten competes with his 6.5 Creedmoor PRS rifle. He found that 1-MOA Coyotes offered plenty of challenge at 385 meters! Most shooters use benchrest-grade rifles with premium front rests.

EDITOR: We strongly recommend you take the time to watch this Shooting USA feature — it shows some top-flight benchrest rifles, and also covers the origins of benchrest varmint silhouette in Pennsylvania. There are even some AccurateShooter Forum members on screen. John Scoutten also does nice job explaining the challenges of shooting this discipline with a PRS rig. We think any benchrest or tactical shooter will really enjoy watching this video.

Full 48-Minute Episode of Shooting USA featuring TX Varmint Silhouette:

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

Travis Frazier of Field & Cave Outfitters says shooters love the reactive targets: “The most exciting thing is seeing your hits — these [targets] really go airborne”. Yep, that’s the best thing about Varmint Silhouette matches — hits deliver instant gratification. Travis designs and produces these steel targets.

This Texas match features multiple target shapes, 10 at each distance: Tiny Prairie Dogs at 200m, 3″x3″ Armadillos at 300m; 3″x5″ Coyotes at 385m; 5″x4″ Hogs at 500m; Chickens (on swingers) at 600 yards; and Pigs (on Swingers) at 750 yards. Competitors are allowed 10 rounds and 10 minutes to hit each set of targets.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

BONUS Features in this Shooting USA Episode

Rimfire Challenge World Championship
This episode also includes the Rimfire Challenge World Championship in Alabama (starting at 33:25). This event attracts hundreds of shooters who ring steel with .22 LR rifles and pistols. This may be the ultimate fun match for the whole family. Many of the top shooters are juniors, who can run the all-steel stages in three seconds. The 16 stages each have 5 to 8 steel targets that can be shot in any order, but the last round must go on the red-marked “Stop Plate”.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

History of the Gun: Remington 700
This week’s gun history segment of Shooting USA features the Remington 700, one of the most successful bolt-action rifles ever, with over 5 million produced. The Rem 700 has served hunters, military marksmen, and Rem 700 actions have been used for countless competition rifles.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Hunting/Varminting, Tactical No Comments »
August 18th, 2017

Ultra-Affordable Portable Front and Rear Bag Combo Set

Caldwell DeadZero front rear sandbag rifle support

Here’s something for varmint hunters looking for a simple, inexpensive rifle support system. For just $12.49 you can get the Caldwell DeadShot front and rear bag set (unfilled). These work fine on any kind of bench, and you can also shoot off a truck hood or bed. The two bags clip together for easy transport. The front bag, when filled, is about 8.5″ high. You may want to set it on a wood block to raise it up.

[UPDATE 8/19/2017: After we released this article, the price got event lower. Amazon is now listing this bag set at just $11.99.]

Of course, this won’t match a SEB Neo front rest with an Edgewood in the rear — but it only costs $12.49! This is a good “field expedient” system that costs less than a couple movie tickets. Varminters can keep this system in a vehicle for deployment any time.

Act quick — this is a special sale price at Amazon.com. This unfilled bag combo sells for up to $25.00 elsewhere.

Yes this is a very inexpensive system, but it works surprisingly well, particularly with “standard” rifles with narrow fore-ends. Rather than sand, you can fill with rice or media to make the bags lighter. This system features a heavy-duty clip and D-Ring for attaching the front bag to the rear bag for easy transport. The Caldwell DeadShot bags are crafted from durable, water-resistant 600 denier polyester.

BAG Dimensions (filled): FRONT bag 11″ x 8.5″ X 6″; REAR bag is 5″ x 5″ x 4.5″.

Caldwell DeadZero front rear sandbag rifle support

USER REVIEWS have been quite positive. Most users seem to favor a lighter fill material to make the bags easier to carry around:

“Great bags overall. I filled mine with ground walnut shells from the reptile section at the local Petco store. Similar to sand but lighter. Filling the big bag was easy. I used the top part of a Gatorade bottle as a funnel.” — Natumes

“The large front bag is about 8″ high when filled. The smaller, rear, butt rest bag is about 3″. I filled mine with the ground walnuts.” — Hal1945

“Used with AR and bolt action .308, works well as expected. I filled mine with rice. You will need a little more than 10 lbs of rice to fill both bags.” — Li N Ngoc

Permalink Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
August 17th, 2017

New Savage Model 10 GRS in 6mm Creedmoor

GRS Savage Model 10 tactical Rifle Norway PRS 6mm Creedmoor 6.5 CM

Savage has added a new chambering, 6mm Creedmoor, to its impressive Model 10 GRS rifle, already sold in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. The 6mm Creedmoor version shoots a slightly lower recoil cartridge that is well-suited for both PRS competitions and varminting. Savage’s Model 10 GRS features a very high-quality, strong, and ergonomic composite stock crafted by GRS Rifle Stocks in Norway.

With outstanding Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass now available that can easily be necked down to 6mm CM, we believe this 26″-barreled rifle could become popular with PRS competitors. We like the longer 26″ barrel length and the 1:7.5″ twist lets you shoot the latest high-BC 6mm match bullets, including Sierra’s new 110gr MatchKing*.

GRS Savage Model 10 tactical Rifle Norway PRS 6mm Creedmoor 6.5 CM

We shot a 6.5 CM Model 10 GRS rifle at SHOT Show Media Day and liked it better than many of the metal-chassis rifles being marketed to the tactical/PRS market. The Model 10 GRS is very comfortable to shoot, and the inherent accuracy is impressive for a rifle with a $1449.00 MSRP and “street price” around $1250.00.

GRS Savage Model 10 tactical Rifle Norway PRS 6mm Creedmoor 6.5 CM

The Model 10 GRS features adjustable cheekpiece and adjustable length of pull. The grip area is very comfortable, filling the hand naturally. The stock has a nice surface texture providing good “traction” on forearm and grip. The stock is fairly light but very strong, being made from 15% fiberglass-reinforced Durethan, with 65% glass bedding material. Only right-hand versions are available.

Savage Model 10 GRS Designations:
22597 / 6mm Creedmoor, 26-inch barrel/ 1:7.5″ twist / $1,449
22596 / 6.5 Creedmoor, 24-inch barrel / 1:8″ twist / $1,449
22599 / 308 Winchester, 20-inch barrel / 1:10″ twist / $1,449

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

* Sierra recommends a 1:7″ twist, but, given the velocities the 6mm Creedmoor can deliver, field testers are reporting success shooting the 110gr SMK with a 1:7.5″ twist.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product, Tactical 1 Comment »
August 13th, 2017

P-Dogs Beware — Dustin’s Wicked Accurate 17 HMR

Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR

Top Shot former Champion Dustin Ellerman likes his Volquartsens, and we can see why. With his latest 17 HMR rimfire varminter, he’s seen some outstanding accuracy with CCI ammo. On his Facebook page, Dustin reports: “Prepping for prairie dogs and I’m floored by this cold, sub-half-inch group shot with the Volquartsen Custom 17 HMR at 100 yards.” This thumbhole-stock rifle features a Bowers Group USS suppressor, and 3-12x56mm Meopta Scope. Dustin tried different types of CCI 17 HMR ammo. This small group was shot with CCI A17 ammo.

Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR

A couple years back Dustin took another Volquartsen 17 HMR on a Prairie Dog hunt in Wyoming. He was impressed with the rifle (shown below) and the little rimfire cartridge. Dustin says the effective range of the 17 HMR is farther than one might expect: “I made hits out to 300 yards. 200 yards was easy as long as the wind wasn’t too bad.”

Here’s the Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin used in Wyoming in 2015:
Volquartsen 17 HMR Dustin Ellermann 17 HMR

After that 2015 P-Dog expedition, Dustin became a fan of the 17 HMR cartridge: “Never paid it much attention before now because the ammo is five times more expensive than .22 LR and I mostly target shoot. However, for prairie dogs, the 17 HMR is amazing!” Consider this — Hornady’s 17 HMR ammo pushes a 17gr V-Max bullet at 2550 fps, twice as fast as typical .22 LR rounds.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
August 10th, 2017

Killer Deal on Winchester XPR Hunting Rifle with Factory Rebate

Winchester Arms Hunting rifle rebate bargain XPR Vias Camo Camouflage

Are you or a friend/family member looking for a good hunting rifle at a great price? Check out this promotion for the Winchester XPR. This is a fine-handling rig with a smooth bolt and some of the best camo finishes you can get. Right now at Cabelas.com the Winchester XPR in Vias Camo is on sale for $399.99. But here’s the kicker, Winchester is offering a $100.00 Mail-In Rebate. That drops your net cost to just $299.99. That’s an insanely good deal.

Winchester Arms Hunting rifle rebate bargain XPR Vias Camo Camouflage

You’ll also find other versions of the Winchester XPR on sale at other vendors. Here are some of our favorite XPR variants (and there are a dozen others):

Winchester Arms Hunting rifle rebate bargain XPR Vias Camo Camouflage

The Winchester Rebate is good through September 30, 2017. It also applies to Winchester SX3, SX4, and SXP Shotguns. CLICK HERE for Rebate Form.

Winchester Arms Hunting rifle rebate bargain XPR Vias Camo Camouflage

Permalink Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
August 10th, 2017

Is Bullet B.C. Important When Hunting? (Answer: It Depends)

Sierra Bullets Deer Hunting BC Ballistic Coefficient bullet
Game image courtesy OutdoorNebraska.gov/deer.

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
Judging by the calls I’ve had through the years, I think some shooters might be placing too much importance on Ballistic Coefficient (B.C.). The best example of this comes from a call I had one day. This shooter called wanting the ballistic coefficient of one of our Sierra bullets. After I told him he seemed a little disappointed, so I ask him what his application was. Long range target, deer hunting in the woods? Talk to me.

As it turned out, he hunted deer in open timber. He very rarely shot beyond 100 yards. I pointed out to him that, under 200 yards, B.C. has little impact. Let’s compare a couple of bullets.

Let’s look at the trajectory of a couple of bullets and see how they compare. The .30 caliber 180 grain Round Nose #2170 RN and the 180 grain Spitzer Boat Tail #2160 SBT. The round nose has a B.C. of .240, while the SBT is .501. Starting both bullets out of the muzzle at 2700 FPS [with a 100-yard ZERO], at 200 yards the #2170 RN impacts 4.46″ low while the #2160 SBT impacts 3.88″ low. That’s a difference of only 0.58″ in spite of a huge difference in Ballistic Coefficient. If we compare out at 500 yards, then we have a [significant drop variance] of 14.27″ between these two bullets. [Editor: That difference could mean a miss at 500 yards.]

Distance to Your Prey is the Key Consideration
In a hunting situation, under 200 yards, having a difference of only .58” isn’t going to make or break us. But when elk hunting in wide open spaces it could mean everything.

The next time you’re choosing a bullet, give some thought about the distances you will be shooting. Sometimes B.C. isn’t everything. If you have any questions, please give the Sierra Bullets technicians a call at 800-233-8799.

sierra bullets ballistic coefficient hunting BC bullet logo customer support

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
July 30th, 2017

Howa Mini Action Rifles Reviewed by 6.5 Guys

Howa Mini Action Rifle 6.5 Guys 65guys.com Legacy Sports 6.5 Grendel 7.62x39

We’ve been fans of the Howa Mini Action rifles since they were introduced a couple years ago. With actions that are nearly an inch shorter than typical “short actions”, these Mini Action rigs work great as a compact “truck gun” or carry-around varminter. Current chamberings are: .204 Ruger, .222 Rem, .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, and 7.62×39. There are 20″ lightweight, 20″ heavy contour, and 22″ standard contour barrel options.

6.5 Guy Ed Mobley Tests the 7.62×39 Howa Mini Action Rifle
Howa Mini Action Rifle 6.5 Guys 65guys.com Legacy Sports 6.5 Grendel 7.62x39

The Howa Mini Action rifles come with the excellent HACT 2-stage trigger and a 5-round or 10-round, synthetic detachable box mag (depending on caliber). The Mini Action’s bolt is 13% shorter than on regular short actions, providing a shorter, faster bolt throw. Weight is also reduced. This makes for a nice, compact (and very shootable) package.

6.5 Guys Test Howa Mini Actions in 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39

The 6.5 Guys recently secured a pair of Howa Mini Actions, one chambered in 6.5 Grendel and the other in 7.62×39 Russian: “After trying out the Howa Mini Action rifles at SHOT Show 2017, we got a couple of loaners in 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39 courtesy of Legacy Sports. These rifles are known for their smooth cycling and lightweight actions, as well as some unique chamberings for bolt rifles (6.5 Grendel, 7.62×39). Long story short, we really enjoyed them.” In fact Steve liked his 6.5 Grendel enough that he plans to purchase the gun. Get the full scoop in this VIDEO REVIEW:

The folks at Legacy Sports also conducted extensive accuracy tests of commercial ammunition in 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39. The most accurate 6.5 Grendel ammo, with a stunning 0.29″ group, was Alexander Arms with Lapua 123gr Scenar; second best (0.56″ group) was Hornady with 123gr A-Max bullet. The most accurate 7.62×39 ammo was Hornady 123gr SST with a 0.62″ group in the 20″ Heavy Barrel version. View Howa’s Test Reports with these links:

6.5 Grendel Factory Ammo Data | 7.62×39mm Factory Ammo Data

Howa Mini Action Rifle 6.5 Guys 65guys.com Legacy Sports 6.5 Grendel 7.62x39
Click HERE for full-screen image.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
July 30th, 2017

NRA Hosts Black Powder Target Rifle Championship August 14-20

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Raton NM
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

The NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship will be held August 14-20, 2017 at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Top Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (BPCR) shooters from around the country have come to Raton to test their skills during a week-long event with targets set from 200 to 1000 yards. Today through Thursday, mid-range matches continue at 200 to 600 yards. On the firing line you’ll see many handsome, custom-built BPCRs (Sharps, Ballards, Browning High Walls, Rolling Blocks) with exquisite wood, hand-checkering, and color-case-hardened receivers.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

The 800-1000 yard Creedmoor matches will be held Friday and Saturday, August 19-20. Interestingly, for safety reasons, there are minimum bullet weight and muzzle velocity requirements for the Creedmoor matches. These BPCR shooters launch some seriously heavy projectiles downrange.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

REGISTRATION: Registration will take place at the Eagle’s Nest Building beginning at 13:00 – 17:00 on August 13, and 07:15 – 09:00 August 14 for the Championships. NOTE: The NRA Black Powder Committee and NRAWC has changed the minimum requirements of bullet weight and velocity. There may be a 2% variance in bullet weight or velocity. Numbers in BOLD indicate the 2% variance. Only ammunition which produces these results, or better, and only rifles that have long-range sights will be permitted for use in the Creedmoor Championships. See the BPTR Nationals Ballistic Velocity Chart below for minimum requirements.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

ACCOMMODATIONS: There are many motels in the town of Raton, about 10 miles from the Range. In additions, there are accommodations on the grounds of the Whittington Center: 90 beds in Competitors Housing and 100 beds in Log Cabins. These facilities fill up quickly — call the Whittington Center right away at (575) 445-3615 to reserve.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

Permalink Competition, Hunting/Varminting, News No Comments »
July 28th, 2017

Extreme Ammo: 5000 Ft-Lbs from the .500/.416 Nitro Express

300 .300 Winchester Win Magnum Mag Swedish Norma Cartridge of the Month Norma USA

When you need the ultimate in “knock-down” power, bigger is better. One of the most potent hunting rounds ever created is the mighty .500/.416 Nitro Express. For those who yearn for “More Power”, this is true “Extreme Ammo”.

Kreighoff unveiled the .500/.416 Nitro Express 3 ¼”, based on the proven .500 Nitro Express case, with a nice, long neck for good bullet tension, a good taper for easy feeding… and enough case capacity. The result was a winner — the .500/.416 NE pushes a 410-grain bullet at 2,325 fps, for just under 5,000 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle.

On the Norma website is a collection of Cartridge of the Month Articles, currently numbering 29. Here’s Norma’s run-down on an ultra-powerful big game cartridge, the .500/.416 Nitro Express.

300 .300 Winchester Win Magnum Mag Swedish Norma Cartridge of the Month Norma USA

The .500 / .416 Nitro Express

Text by Norma Staff Writers
The history of double rifle cartridges is a long and colored one. These cartridges were largely designed around the heavy-for-caliber cup-and-core round-nosed and full-patch bullets of yesteryear, and the guns were regulated for relatively close shooting. Almost all of the designs were rimmed cartridges; the rimmed case giving just about the best headspacing available. While the rimmed cartridges didn’t work very well in the repeating rifles, they work just fine in the single-shot and double rifles.

There are some double rifles chambered for the rimless and belted cartridges, but the rimmed cases offer the easiest and most positive extraction. The reputation and performance of the .416 Rigby (and later the .416 Remington) were undeniable, and while there are doubles chambered for these cartridges, Kreighoff saw the wisdom of a rimmed cartridge using a .416″-diameter bullet.

Early in 1996, Kreighoff unveiled the .500/.416 Nitro Express 3 ¼”, based on the proven .500 Nitro Express case, with a nice, long neck for good bullet tension, a good taper for easy feeding under duress, and enough case capacity to mimic the performance of the rimless .416s. The result was a winner — the .500/.416 NE pushes a 410-grain bullet at 2,325 fps, for just under 5,000 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. This ballistic formula has been used on the largest game on earth with great results, and in a double rifle, will allow for the reliable, immediate second shot that double rifle shooters have come to appreciate.

Photo courtesy Namibia Hunting Safaris.
Namibia Hunting safari

The .500/.416 NE bridges a huge gap between the .450/400 and the .450 NE, and offers a shooting experience closer to the .450/400, while giving plenty of power for hunting any and all dangerous game. I think that the .450/.400 and .500/.416 make a great choice for the traveling sportsman. When comparing the two, the .500/.416 offers a bit more frontal diameter (.416” v. .411”) and a considerable increase in velocity (2,325 vs. 2,050 to 2,125, depending on manufacturer), so it boils down to whether you desire a bit more reach-out-and-touch-‘em or the lesser recoil of the lighter cartridge. What I see in the .500/.416 NE is a double rifle cartridge with a performance level on par with the highly familiar .416 Rigby, yet available in the quick-handling double rifles. [Norma’s African PH .500/.416 NE ammo, loaded with excellent Woodleigh projectiles, is an excellent choice.]

Cartridge of the Month Norma USAIf you haven’t checked out NormaUSA’s website, you should. There you’ll find Norma’s Cartridge of the Month Archive. This great resource provides a detailed history of popular cartridges, along with a discussion of these cartridges’ hunting and target-shooting uses. There are currently 29 Cartridge of the Month articles, including the popular 6.5 Creedmoor.

Also on Norma-USA.com you’ll find information on Norma cartridge brass, bullets, powder and factory ammo. The site also offers a video archive plus links to Norma Reloading Data.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
July 18th, 2017

New Mexico War Wagon for Varmint Safaris

Shooting Varmint Bench Trailer

AccurateShooter Forum member John H. of New Mexico (aka “Skratch”) has created an impressive mobile shooting bench that he can haul with his ATV. This trailer-mounted, movable bench is built on a central tubular spine that also serves as the tongue for the trailer, which attaches to a standard hitch. The bench offers two (2) shooting positions so it works for both left-handed and right-handed shooters.

Up front, for storage, a surplus .50-Cal ammo can is secured to the trailer frame. The V-shaped middle section of the wood benchtop looks to be reinforced with a metal stiffener frame on the underside. The front section of the bench is supported by twin tubular uprights attached to the box-section axle housing. The two wooden bench-style seats (on left and right) ride on a cross-tube. At the ends of that cross-tube are adjustable legs for additional support.

Shooting Varmint Bench Trailer

Great Rig for New Mexico Varmint Hunting
There are plenty of great varmint hunting areas in Skratch’s home state of New Mexico — you’ll find some huge prairie dog fields there. But to get the best results on a varmint-hunting field session, you need a solid shooting station that can be easily hauled to new locations as needed. It looks like John (aka “Scratch”) has come up with an outstanding “War Wagon” for his New Mexico varmint safaris.

Click on image frames to see full-size photos

Some readers wanted to know how John’s War Wagon is positioned in the field and if it is ever detached from John’s ATV. John answers: “We do unhook the 4-wheeler for target-checking unless we have an extra along which is usually the case. That way we can level the table front to rear. We have an umbrella from a patio table to provide shade on extra warm days.”

War Wagon Construction Details
John told us: “My brother-in-law and I built this mobile bench a few years ago. The axle, wheels and tire are a tag axle from a small Chevy car, obtained from a salvage yard for about $35-$40 a decade ago. The tubular frame is drill stem, while the bench-top and seats are 3/4′” plywood. Under the plywood we fitted rails so we can slide our target stand under the benchtop for secure travel. The total cost for everything (including storage box) was about $250-$300.”

We set the bench and seat heights so that, with adults, the rifle sets straight level to the shoulder. For the smaller ‘younguns’ we just use a sofa pillow to raise them up. (Yes, adjustable seat heights would be great.) The ammo box holds our rifle rest, sand bags, spotting scope, and miscellaneous gear. Options are a couple of lawn chairs, and a cooler of brew (for after the shooting is done).

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
July 9th, 2017

The 22BR as General-Purpose Varmint Cartridge

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:

For more info on the 22BR for varminting, read our 22BR Cartridge Guide

Permalink Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
June 22nd, 2017

Wildcattin’ Wisdom — Good Resource for Wildcat Cartridges

Zegline Wildcat Cartridges ManualAre you a wildcatter? We know many of our readers like to invent new cartridge types. If that applies to you, here’s a great resource…

Fred Zeglin has released a Kindle eBook edition of his popular book Wildcat Cartridges — Reloader’s Handbook of Wildcat Cartridge Design. Gunsmith/author Zeglin explains: “The print edition of Wildcat Cartridges has gone out of print. We have plans to produce a second edition, but that is currently on the back burner. Demand of this book has remained strong so the decision to offer the first edition in a e-book format was made.” The Kindle eBook edition retails for $9.99 on Amazon.com. You can preview a FREE SAMPLE of the book to “try before you buy”.

CLICK HERE to Read FREE eBook Sample from Zeglin’s Wildcat Cartridges

This is more than just a history of cartridges. Dimensional drawings and loading data accompany many cartridge descriptions. More recent/popular designs are included as well as “classic” older wildcats. There are chapters about important cartridge designers like P.O. Ackley, Jerry Gebby, Rocky Gibbs, and Charles Newton. (The hardback edition of the book contains 288 pages of stories, illustrations, instructions, and data.)

Gunwriter Wayne Van Zwoll says Zeglin’s book is a valuable resource: “Fred has illustrated his book well, with neat line drawings and photos you probably won’t find anywhere else. It’s a rare technical treatise that draws you in with illustration, or that keeps you with an easy flow of chat that, were it lifted from print, might pop up at any gun counter or handloading bench. Fred Zeglin has done well with this book, giving wildcatters – indeed, all rifle enthusiasts – an overview of a culture often mentioned but little explored on the page.”

Writing about the 2005 Print Edition of Wildcat Cartridges, Big Bore Journal declared: “This is a fantastic book on American wildcats, U.S. loads and much more. A must have for wildcatters and gunsmiths.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, Reloading No Comments »
June 19th, 2017

Bargain Finder 91: 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, 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.

1. CDNN — Browning Stainless Buck Mark, $279.99 After Rebate

Browning Buckmark Stainless Camper UFX Pistol Handgun .22 LR 22 rimfire

Everyone needs a good .22 LR rimfire handgun, and the Browning Buck Mark is a classic. This stainless, bull barrel version is marked down this week to $329.99. That’s a very good deal, but you can save even more with Browning’s $50 Rebate. Buck Marks, with their excellent triggers and great ergonomics, are fun to shoot and VERY accurate. This is a pistol you can keep for a life-time. Browning says: “Every Buck Mark starts out as a solid piece of aircraft-grade 7075 aluminum alloy, and then is CNC-machined to exacting tolerances. The crisp single-action trigger, hand reamed chamber, target crowned barrel and finely adjustable target sights mean the Buck Mark comes ready for fun straight from the box.” There is also a blued Buck Mark version priced at $289.99 (or $239.99 after Rebate).

2. Grafs.com — Caldwell Long Range Target Cam System, $329.99

Amazon Caldwell Precision Long Range Target System Cam Camera
Labradar chronograph

Forum members have purchased this Caldwell Target Cam System and they’ve found that it works reliably, providing a clear signal to any WiFi-enabled mobile device (smartphone, iPad, Laptop). One member specifically tested the unit at 1000 yards and it functioned fine. NOTE: This system does NOT have a zoom camera lens, so you need to position the camera within 10 yards or so of the target. But if you place it to the side a bit, this shouldn’t be a problem. This system comes with a nice, fitted carrying case that holds camera, transceivers, antennas, and stands. You get a very capable system for under $330.00. Graf’s offers free shipping after a flat $7.95 handling charge.

3. Midsouth or Bruno’s — Labradar Chronograph and Accessories

Labradar chronograph

Midsouth Shooters Supply is now carrying the advanced Labradar chronograph. This unique unit allows you to measure your shots without having to set up a tripod and skyscreens downrange. When you start using a Labradar, you’ll never want to go back to old-style chronographs. You can also purchase the Labradar from Bruno Shooters Supply. Price is $559.95 from either vendor. NOTE: Very soon Labradar plans to offer Bluetooth functionality, allowing you to control the machine remotely with your mobile device. This functionality will come via new software — the Bluetooth transceiver is built-in to all current Labradar units, so you can buy one now and use Bluetooth later (when the software is released).

4. Lyman — $25.00 Off Top-Selling Products

Lyman rebate mail-in borecam cyclone powder measure, Case Prep Xpress

You can now get $25.00 Off five of Lyman’s top-selling products: BoreCam, Case Prep Xpress, Gen6 Powder Dispenser, Cyclone Rotary Tumbler, and AutoAdvance Target. With Lyman’s Summer Mail-In Rebate Program, you can earn a $25 rebate per select item bought from any Lyman dealer, online or direct from the Lyman website. Items must be purchased between June 9 and August 31, 2017 to qualify. CLICK HERE for the Rebate Redemption Form.

Products included in this Sizzling Summer Rebate Program include:

Case Prep Xpress (Item #7810220)
Borecam Borescope (Item #04055)
Cyclone Rotary Tumbler (Item #7631550)
Gen6 Compact Digital Powder System (Item #7750550)
AutoAdvance Remote Control Target System (Item #4320051)

5. Whittaker Guns — Howa Lightning 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle, $299.99

With this deal you can get a complete 6.5 Creedmoor Howa 1500 Rifle with HACT 2-Stage Trigger for just $299.99. That’s $150.00 less than the price of a Howa 1500 barreled action by itself! ($449.99 at Brownells). This is a no-frills rifle, but its hard to beat the $299.99 price for a solid, multi-purpose rifle. Use “As-Is” for hunting or drop it into a modular stock for tactical/practical games.

6. Amazon — RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press, $126.99

Amazon.com Amazon RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage Reloading Press Sale

The RCBS Rock Chucker remains a classic — a big, strong, versatile press that can handle most reloading chores with ease. And now you can get a genuine Rock Chucker Supreme for $126.99 — a very good deal. The Rock Chucker offers plenty of leverage for case-sizing and the “O” is tall enough for long cartridges. The Rock Chucker has a very strong base and should last a lifetime. We’re not fans of the Rock Chucker’s priming system but most serious reloaders use a separate priming tool.

7. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $16.79

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With 2850+ customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $16.79, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

8. Midsouth — 17 HMR V-Max Ammo, $9.75 for 50 rounds

17 HMR Hornady Midsouth V-Max Vmax Sale

Need 17 HMR ammo for your planned 2017 varmint safaris? Then grab this Hornady V-Max ammo while you can at $9.75 for a 50-round box. This is a great price. Other vendors are selling the same Hornady ammo for as much as $13.50 per box. We’ve used this ammo and it was very accurate out of both semi-auto (Savage A17) and bolt-action (CZ 455) 17 HMR rifles.

Permalink Handguns, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, Reloading No Comments »
June 16th, 2017

Lithgow LA101 — Tack-Driving .22 LR Bolt Action from Australia

lithgow LA101 crossover .22LR rimfire rifle varmint stock
Along with .22 LR, the LA101 is offered in .22 WMR and 17 HMR chamberings.

There’s an impressive bolt-action rimfire rifle built in Australia, the LA101 Crossover from Lithgow Arms. Imported by Legacy Sports Int’l, this relatively new rimfire rifle offers a smooth-running action, excellent accuracy, a crisp trigger, and a durable, Cerakote finish.

YouTube host 22Plinkster recently tested the LA101 in .22 LR, and found that it delivered very impressive accuracy. He recorded multiple “one-ragged-hole” groups at 50 yards (see video below). Even at 100 yards, the LA101 was shooting close to 1 MOA with relatively inexpensive ammo. This is an impressive rifle, as it should be, with a $1000+ price tag. MSRP is $1079.00 USD (synthetic), $1215.00 USD (laminate).

22Plinkster writes: “I have shot a lot of .22 LR bolt rifles in my day, but this one, is a nail driver!” After testing, he concluded that the LA101 was “the most accurate bolt rifle I own”. He reports the stock is very comfortable for off-hand shooting as well as bench work.

LA101 Crossover Features and Specifications
The Lithgow Arms LA101 Crossover features a 3-lug, 60°-throw action with rear-locking bolt. It is available in both right-hand and left-hand versions, with a very good factory trigger advertised at 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg). Note — testers report report the trigger feels lighter. Choose between a fiberglass-reinforced polymer stock, Walnut, or laminated wood stocks. This rifle is offered in three rimfire chamberings: .22 LR, .22 WMR, and 17 HMR. The .22-cal barrels are hammer-forged while the 17 HMR barrel is button-broached. Action and barrels are Cerakote finished. The Lithgow LA101 can use CZ 452/455 5-round and 10-round magazines.

lithgow LA101 crossover .22LR rimfire rifle varmint stock

The LA101 is offered with choice of wood or synthetic stocks, all of which feature a straight, lower rear section that works well in rear bags:

lithgow LA101 crossover .22LR rimfire rifle varmint stock

Here is another, lengthy LA101 review, done in Australia a couple years back. The reviewer field-tests a composite-stocked Lithgow LA101 with a wide variety of .22 LR ammunition. Warning: Starts with loud, annoying music — you may want to turn down your speakers:

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 4 Comments »
June 10th, 2017

Dakota Dogs — Prairie Dog Hunt with Dan Eigen in South Dakota

South Dakota Varmint Hunting Safari

South Dakota Varmint Hunting SafariNever had a chance to hunt prairie dogs in the American west? Then check out this video. Dan Eigen (aka “Walleye Dan”), host of the We Love It Outdoors Television series, head to South Dakota for some varmint hunting. Dan teams up with Varmint Hunter Association President Jeff Rheborg to patrol some South Dakota Dogtowns where things get serious. In the video, you’ll see p-dog hits at distances from 70 yards to roughly 450 yards. The hunters were shooting from portable, wood-topped swivel rests, using AR-platform rifles on X-type sandbag rest. (Rifle zeroing session is shown at the 5:30+ mark.)

Multiple cameras were employed so you can see both the shooter’s POV and close-ups of the prairie dogs downrange. Watch the shooters having fun with a prairie dog cut-out and some Tannerite at the 9:00-minute mark. This guys are having a grand old time sending critters to Prairie Dog Heaven — we think you’ll enjoy the video.

Prairie Dog Hunting Starts at 2:00 Time-Mark in Video:

South Dakota Varmint Hunting Safari

South Dakota Varmint Hunting Safari

NOTE: This video actually covers three sequences: 1) Three-gun training; 2) Prairie Dog Hunting; and 3) Coyote Hunting. We’ve embedded the video so it plays back the Prairie Dog segment from 2:00 to 15:15. If you wish, you can slide the controls forward or back to watch the other segments.

Video found by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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June 1st, 2017

Get FREE Classic Hunting Books as Downloadable PDFs

Free PDF hunting books Nitro Express Forum

Are you looking for some outdoors-oriented reading material? Do you enjoy classic hunting adventures from around the globe? Then log on to the NitroExpress.com Forum. There you’ll find links for literally hundreds of vintage hunting stories, and even complete books, such as Teddy Roosevelt’s classic African Game Trails and Good Hunting, plus the wonderful book African Campfires by Stewart E. White, one of Roosevelt’s close friends and hunting companions.

CLICK HERE for Hundreds of Vintage Hunting Books and Articles | Alternate Link

Theodore Roosevelt Good HuntingAmong the downloadable titles are The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo (leaflet edition) by Lt.Col. J. H. Patterson, the true tale that inspired the Hollywood movie, The Ghost and the Darkness, staring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer. The online version of the Man-Eaters of Tsavo book (right) is a shorter, 140-page edition created for Chicago’s Field Museum, which purchased the skins of the lions from Patterson and put them on display.

You’ll find scores of classic adventure tales, recounting hunts in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. You’ll doubtless find something of interest, whether it be Bear Hunting in BC, Chamois Hunting in Bavaria, Reindeer (Caribou) Hunting in Iceland, Jaguar Hunting in South America, or Dangerous Game Hunting in Africa. Hundreds of articles, all scanned from original texts and saved as PDFs, are available for downloading — and they are all free for the taking. Many of these works feature handsome original illustrations, as shown below.

Theodore Roosevelt Good Hunting

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May 30th, 2017

Varminter.com Field Tests New Lead Free 17 WSM Ammo

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test
Photo Courtesy Varminter.com.

The team at Varminter.com just completed an extensive test of Winchester’s new LEAD FREE 17 WSM ammunition. During multiple sessions, Varminter.com shot the ammo using no less than nine different rifles. Four, 5-shot groups were shot with each rifle from the bench at 100 yards. Results were impressive. Average group size for a 1:9″-twist heavy barrel Savage B-Mag was a remarkable 0.5005 inches. Group size averages for seven of the eight other 17-cal rifles* ranged from 0.755 to 1.03 inches at 100 yards — pretty impressive for factory rimfire rigs. A LOT of time was invested in this test, and we recommend you read the full report on Varminter.com.

» READ FULL 17 WSM Lead-Free AMMO Review on Varminter.com

Fastest Rimfire Cartridge Ever
If you’re not familiar with this cartridge, the 17 WSM is the fastest, flattest-shooting rimfire round you can buy. It stomps the .22 LR, and even offers significantly better ballistics than the popular 17 HMR. This lead- free version is impressively flat-shooting. With a 100-yard zero, it drops only 4.3 inches at 200 yards. Compare that with a .22 LR which can drop 18 inches or more from 100 to 200 yards (based on 1150 fps MV).

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test

Zinc Replaces Lead in Winchester’s Eco-Friendly 17 WSM
For folks who live in areas where lead ammo is restricted, such as California, the arrival of this Lead Free 17 WSM is good news. Winchester’s new 17 WSM ammunition features a Zinc-cored, polymer-tipped 15-grain bullet with 0.118 G1 BC. The ammo is rated at a speedy 3300 FPS velocity. Winchester says that the zinc core and “thin alloy jacket with engineered sidewall profile” deliver “explosive fragmentation.”

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test

*The ninth rifle, a Savage BMAG with original thin-contour barrel, was the “odd man out”. Accuracy was mediocre, averaging 1.763 inches.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
May 21st, 2017

Cartridge Comparison Guide is Great Resource

Cartridge Comparison Guide

Cartridge Comparison GuideA unique, comprehensive Cartridge Comparison Guide is available as a 340-page, spiral-bound book. Covering over 250 cartridges, the updated Second Edition of the Cartridge Comparision Guide is the product of many years of labor by Andrew Chamberlain, a Utah-based hunter. Andrew says his $36.95 Guide “compares every factory available cartridge from the 17 calibers up to the 50 caliber cartridges”. (Sorry, most wildcat cartridges are not covered.) Chamberlain’s Guide also compiles cartridge data from major ammunition manufacturers such as Barnes, Federal, Hornady, Norma, Nosler, Remington, Sierra, Swift, Weatherby, and Winchester. It shows the optimal velocity achieved for each bullet weight and calculates bullet energy, recoil, and powder efficiency. Large color photos illustrate handgun and rifle cartridges.

The Cartridge Comparison Guide provides data for thousands of cartridge/bullet/velocity combos. Quick reference data sheets and ballistics charts cover Trajectory, Velocity, and Energy out to 500 yards. The Cartridge Comparison Guide also offers a firearms lexicon, plus Appendices covering Cartridge Selection for Game Animals, Bullet Selection/Design, Bullet Expansion, Wound Channel Characteristics and more.

New Content in Second Edition of Cartridge Comparison Guide
The Cartridge Comparison Guide (Second Edition) costs $36.95 plus shipping and tax. CLICK HERE to visit the Online Store where you can order the 340-page book. Here’s what’s new in the Second Edition:

  • Addition of Shotgun Ammunition (Both Slug and Shot loads).
  • Momentum Calculation for all Rifle, Shotgun and Handgun loads.
  • Integration of Shotgun Slug Ammunition with Center Fire Rifle Data Tables.
  • Factory Load Summary Added (Shows manufacturers and loads produced).
  • One factory load and one hand load for every bullet weight available in each cartridge.
  • Over 90 pages of additional ballistics content (roughly 35% more than in First Edition).

(more…)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
May 20th, 2017

Field Skills: Reading the Wind When Hunting

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.”

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »