Here is AccurateShooter’s Forum Boss with the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR). The commercial success of this innovative firearm inspired other gun-makers to release their own “blacktical” bolt-guns.
It looks like 2017 will be the year of the metal-stocked, tactical-style bolt-action rifle. Inspired by the success of the Ruger Precision Rifle, other rifle-makers have built their own Blacktical Bolt-guns. These feature modular chassis systems with adjustable buttstocks. While optimized for PRS and tactical competition, these tough, versatile rifles can also be used for hunting. Popular chamberings are: 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, and .308 Winchester. All the rifles showcased here retail for under $2000.00, so they can be campaigned in the new PRS Factory Class.
PRS Production Class Cost Limits
Production Division combined rifle and scope MSRP as listed on the company’s website shall not exceed $3,000 USD, the rifle shall not exceed $2,000 USD and the optic not exceed $2,000 USD. [Editor: For example, you could have a $2,000 rifle with a $1000.00 scope or vice-versa. The total system cannot exceed $3000. Rifle alone cannot exceed $2000.00 retail sale price.] Production Division rifles are not permitted to be altered or improved in any way from the original factory configuration.
Bergara B14 BMP Chassis Rifle
The Bergara B14 rifle features a modern, modular aluminum chassis. The buttstock assembly offers an adjustable comb and adjustable length of pull. Like Savages, the BMP employs a barrel nut so owners can quickly swap barrels. The new B14 features a good adjustable trigger. Current chamberings are 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester (both fed from AICS-type box mags). Our friends Ed and Steve (aka the 6.5 Guys) were impressed with the new Bergara: “Bergara has in-sourced chassis and triggers to produce very high-quality offerings at a very competitive price. Handling, shooting and cycling the bolt on the $1150 MSRP Hunting and Match Rifle would lead one to believe the price tag was a mistake (maybe the first digit should have been a 2). We felt the same when we got behind the $1,699 Bergara Match Precision Rifle.”
Howa HCR Modular Rifle
The new Howa HCR Chassis Rifle combines a Howa 1500 barreled action with a modern aluminum chassis and LUTH-AR MBA-3 stock. Length of pull is adjustable from 12.5″ to 16.75″. Comb height is also adjustable. Weight with a 24″ barrel is 10.2 pounds (before optics) so the Howa HCR is lighter that many of its competitors. The Howa’s MSRP is $1299.00, a good value in this category. These guns feature a smooth-running action plus excellent 2-stage HACT adjustable trigger. Available chamberings are: .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester. NOTE: If basic black’s not your color, this rifle is also offered with a rugged, Multicam CeraKote finish.
Tikka T3X TAC 1
We got a chance to handle the impressive new Tikka T3X TAC 1 at Media Day at the Range. The ergonomics are good and the rifle balances well. Bolt cycling is smooth and the T3X boasts an excellent, adjustable 2-stage trigger. The Tikka T3X has a nice folding stock, and the T3X accepts other AR-platform buttstock units and pistol grips. The T3X will be offered with choice of 16″, 20″, or 24″ barrels, all threaded at muzzle (factory muzzle brake is standard). There are three chamberings: 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Remington, and .308 Winchester. MSRP is $1899.00, so the T3X is legal for PRS Production Class. We really liked the Tikka T3X, and so did GunsAmerica.com: “Chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor or .260 Remington, the barrel is a perfect balance of being thick enough to shoot seriously, while thin enough not to feel like a benchrest gun. It ships with three magazines, which is a bargain for anyone looking to shoot PRS. I see lots of guns at SHOT Show I want to test or review, but few I would write a check for in the booth. The Tikka T3 TAC A1 is an exception to that rule.”
Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis
Weatherby’s new Vanguard® Modular Chassis (VMC) rifle features a Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) aluminum stock, Luth AR MBA-1 buttstock, and 22″ heavy barrel. The Weatherby Vanguard action is fitted with an adjustable 2-stage trigger. Priced at $1519.00 MSRP, this rifle is offered in three chamberings: .223 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester.
Winchester Repeating Arms XPC
As reported in the NRA Blog: “The XPC Rifle from Winchester Repeating Arms is a full-house precision chassis rifle based on their proven XPR bolt action. The stock features a Cerakoted fully-machined alloy chassis frame paired with a Magpul PRS Gen III stock. A full-length Picatinny rail allows for mounting optics, and M-LOK and QD mounts grace the XPC for easy attachments. A Magpul MOE-K grip rounds out the furniture, and the rifle comes bundled with one 10-round Magpul AICS PMAG and one five-round MDT metal mag.” The barrel is threaded for muzzle brake or suppressors.
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SHOT Show is a cornucopia of products, with everything gun-related under the sun on display. The SHOW features a vast array of items for hand-loaders. Here are some of the most notable reloading and ammunition products we found at SHOT Show, Wednesday, January 18th.
Alliant Reloder 16 — Great Powder — Accurate and Temp-Stable
If you like Hodgdon H4350, you should like Alliant’s Reloder 16 powder. First revealed at SHOT Show 2016, the impressive Reloder 16 is now widely available at vendors nationwide. This advanced-formulation powder is extremely temp stable. We confirmed that during hot weather testing sessions last summer. In addition, in mid-sized match cartridges such as the 6XC, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, and 6.5 Creedmoor this powder has shown impressive accuracy. No hype — our Forum guys who’ve used Reloder 16 have told us this stuff can deliver match-winning results. This is definitely a viable rival to H4350. We recommend you buy a pound and test it.
Reloder 16 is NOT just a slower version of Alliant’s double-based Reloder 15 (which words great in the 6mmBR and Dasher cartridges). Reloder 16 is a completely new formulation, produced in Sweden by Bofors for Alliant. Reloder 16 utilizes TZ technology, which resists the natural tendency to generate more pressure at higher temperatures and less pressure at lower temperatures. Based on the test results we’ve seen, if you are using H4350 or IMR 4451 currently, you should definitely give Reloder 16 a try. The powder also boasts excellent lot-to-lot consistency and contains a proprietary de-coppering additive.
Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor Brass
The 6.5 Creedmoor has been “all the rage” at SHOT Show 2017. This cartridge, a proven winner in PRS competition, is riding a huge wave of popularity right now. There are many great factory rifles now offered with this chambering. And now we have superb Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass. You read that right Lapua is now producing ultra-premium 6.5 Creedmoor brass that will “raise the bar” for this cartridge. Lapua’s new brass features a small primer pocket and small flash hole (just like Lapua’s superb .220 Russian, 6mmBR, and 6.5×47 Lapua brass). This small primer pocket design can deliver longer brass life, and (potentially) enhanced velocities. We predict serious 6.5 Creedmoor shooters will be switching to this brass as soon as it becomes available later this year. NOTE: The new Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass can also be easily necked down for the 6mm Creedmoor.
New RCBS ChargeMaster Lite
RCBS unveiled a new, more affordable electronic powder scale/dispenser system. Called the ChargeMaster Lite, this new-for-2017 unit has some features we really like. The touch screen is easy to use and the power tray cover slips off easily — no more hinges to fight. Most importantly the CM lite has a redesigned, fluted dispensing tube which delivers powder kernels is a smooth flow with no clumps. The RCBS Rep told us “No more McDonald’s straw required”. We tested the unit and it does seem like the newly-designed dispensing tube is better. In fact, this new design will be adapted to the next generation of larger ChargeMasters.
Here is the RCBS Press Release: “The new RCBS ChargeMaster Lite packs unparalleled powder-measuring accuracy in a compact package. The one-piece unit features an LCD touchscreen display that ensures accurate data input. The hopper holds nearly a pound of smokeless powder, and can dispense anywhere between 2 to 300 grains with a +/-0.1-grain accuracy. The ChargeMaster Lite is an effective, accurate powder-measuring tool. Featuring 120/240 switching power supply, the ChargeMaster Lite is EU/UK/AUS compliant, includes a cleaning brush and two calibration/check weights and has an MSRP of $299.99.”
22 Nosler Brass and Ammunition
Here’s a new higher-capacity cartridge designed for folks who want to step up from the .223 Remington in their AR-platform rifle. Nosler has created a new SAMMI-spec cartridge which is similar to a 6.8 SPC necked down to .224 caliber. Nosler says the .22 Nosler cartridge will deliver significantly more velocity* than a .223 Remington, when shooting the same weight/type of bullet. For varminters using AR-style rifles, that’s a significant performance gain. We hope to test the 22 Nosler this spring in the varmint fields. This little round should definitely out-perform the standard .223 Rem cartridge while still operating from a standard AR platform, using the same bolt carrier group but with different, 6.8 SPC magazines.
Nosler explains: “Retrofitting a standard AR-15 chambered in .223 Rem / 5.56 NATO to a 22 Nosler is simple. All that is required is a simple barrel swap to the new 22 Nosler chambering, run 6.8 Remington SPC magazines instead of 5.56 magazines and the swap out is complete. Approaching 22-250 velocities in a significantly smaller package, the 22 Nosler® yields nearly 25% more capacity than the 223 Rem/ 5.56 NATO making the round capable of pushing a 55gr Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet at 3,350 fps out of an AR-15 fitted with an 18″ barrel and a 77gr Custom Competition® bullet at 2,950 fps.”
*When Nosler’s listed 22 Nosler velocities for 55gr and 77gr bullets are compared with .223 Rem maximum loads from Hodgdon load manuals, it looks like the speed gains with the 22 Nosler are 250-300 FPS, or about ten percent.
Bring the Bling, Baby! This Desert Eagle Mark XIX features a highly polished Gold-Tone Titanium Tiger Stripe finish. Conspicuous Consumption, SHOT Show Style.
There were literally thousands of handguns on display at SHOT Show, most of which you could hold, cycle, and test the trigger pull. Among the hordes of handguns, we found some very eye-catching examples, such as the Gold-tone Titanium plated “Tiger Stripe” Desert Eagle above. Just what a Rap Star or Tin-Pot Dictator needs. Below are some other interesting handguns we saw at SHOT Show 2017
Ed Brown Signature Edition Engraved 1911
This Ed Brown Signature Edition Model 1911 boasts elaborate engraving over the entire slide and frame. The blueing is rich and deep (the photo does not do it justice). This is not an “entry-level” handgun, that’s for sure — the wholesale “dealer price” is a whopping $6,156.00. Expect to pay well over $7000.00 at retail. Beauty ain’t cheap.
Smith & Wesson Performance Center 9mm Revolver with Hogue Mods
This handsome S&W Performance Center 9mm revolver features a beautiful Cocobolo and Walnut grip along with a special speed lever for the cylinder release. That speed lever assists rapid reloading of the pistol with moon clips. This kind of revolver is used in action shooting matches, such as the Bianchi Cup.
Best of the Old West — A Slew of Schofields
At the Taylor & Company booth, there were hundreds of single action revolvers on display. Here is a brace of top-break Schofields. This design features a hinge at the front of the frame which allows rapid unloading. Based on the original S&W Model 3, the “Schofield” model was named after Major George W. Schofield, who modified the original Model 3 to better serve the needs of Cavalrymen. Smith & Wesson incorporated the Major’s mods into an 1875 design that now bears Major Schofield’s name. S&W Model 3 Schofield revolvers saw service in the Indian Wars, and they were popular with legendary lawmen and outlaws in the American West (including Jesse James).
9mm 1911 — Havoc Dan Wesson Elite with Angled Reflex Sight
We like 1911s, and we like the 9mm Luger cartridge for its affordability and low recoil. Put the two together and you have a very accurate, shootable package, with a superb trigger. This bad-ass 9mm 1911 is a Dan Wesson Elite Series Havoc. It caught our eye because it boasts a C-MORE SlideRide red dot Reflex Sight mounted at an angle on the left side of the slide. Clever design — that gives you the advantage of the Red Dot Sight, with a lower profile. The Havoc, which sells for $4,299.00, is also offered in .38 Super.
Taurus Spectrum — A Pastel Pistol Fashion Statement
Apparently small carry guns have become fashion items. Tauras displayed its new .380 ACP Spectrum pistol in a rainbow of frame/grip color combinations. Along with white frame and blue grip, there were gray/tan, gray/green, gray/red, and gray/blue versions. Taurus really does deliver a spectrum of colors…
Double Trouble — Two Super-Sized Revolvers
At the Smith & Wesson booth, one visitor showed off two mega-sized S&W Performance Center hunting revolvers. These jumbo S&W500™ wheelguns, chambered for the mighty 500 S&W Magnum cartridge, feature massive 10.5″ barrels plus muzzle brakes. Overall length is 18″. Size counts right?
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Here are new Rimfire Cross-Trainer Rifles from Kelbly’s. These feature Anschutz .22LR rimfire actions in full-size, competition stocks. This is a great offering for F-TR, prone, and long-range competitors looking to train with less expensive rimfire ammo. Kelbly’s will sell these as complete rifles with rimfire actions bedded in fiberglass stocks.
SHOT Show, held every year in Las Vegas, is the largest gun show in North America. Thousands of exhibitors showcase hosts of new products — rifles, pistols, shotguns, optics, stocks, reloading tools, bullets, brass, powders, hunting accessories and much more. This is the ultimate “candy store” for gun guys, with literally “miles of aisles” and countless products on display. Here are some of the more interesting items we saw during Day One of SHOT Show.
Howa HCR Chassis Rifle
All decked out in a Camo Cerakote finish, the new Howa HCR Chassis rifle was an eye-catcher. Designed for PRS-type competition, the HCR features a modular aluminum stock with a separate buttstock section with adjustable comb and adjustable length of pull. The HCR will be offered in four chamberings: .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win. There will be standard and heavy barrel options with 20″, 22″, and 24″ lengths. The rear of the stock accepts AR-type furniture (for those guys who need to customize). This new rifle will be sold in Black or Multicam Cerakote finishes. A package will be offered with Nikko Stirling 4-16x50mm scope and EGW 20-MOA, one-piece base and rings.
New Viper PST Gen II Scopes from Vortex
The versatile Viper PST series can work for many disciplines — Target Shooting, 3-Gun, Hunting, or Precision Long Range. The new second generation PSTs offer many improvements, with four new models for 2017: 1-6x24mm, 2-10×32mm, 3-15×44mm, and 5-25×50mm: Vortex offers a wide magnification range with its 2017 line-up of Viper PSTs. These new scopes offer tall tactical turrets and side-focus parallax adjustment with integrated illumination. To ensure reliable return-to-zero, all new models feature the patented RZR Zero Stop from the Razor HD 5-20×50 riflescope. Reticles include Vortex’s new EBR-4 and EBR-2C with MOA or MRAD stadia to match your turrets. First Focal Plane reticles are available on select models.
Savage AR10-Type MSR in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win
Our friends Ed and Steve (aka the 6.5 Guys) visited the Savage booth to take a look at the new Savage MSR Long-Range model, an AR10-type modular semi-auto rifle with a Magpul PRS Gen3 buttstock. The 6.5 Guys report: “Savage’s new MSR 10 Long Range Rifle is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Win. It appears to be a terrific option for those wanted to compete in the new PRS Gas Gun Series. It is built on a compact frame with a non-reciprocating side-charging handle that is particularly useful for left-handed shooters. The Blackhawk AR Blaze™ two-stage target trigger was light and crisp. It features an upgraded Savage barrel, with 5R rifling and a Melonite QPQ finish. Read more new practical/tactical product reports at www.65guys.com.
New Accurate No. 11FS Low-Flash Pistol Powder Western Powders showcased a new Accurate powder that delivers 90% less muzzle flash, while still offering good consistency and accuracy. Accurate No. 11FS (for Flash Suppressed) is designed for magnum pistols, and small rifle rounds such as the Hornet. The advanced flash-suppressing formula dramatically reduces muzzle flash in many large pistol cartridges. Notably, this Accurate 11FS was specifically designed to work with the .300 Blackout cartridge.
Enhanced Bluetooth Connectivity for Kestrel
At the Kestrel booth, we learned that Kestrel will be offering an enhanced LiNK Bluetooth low-energy enabled protocol that will allow wireless connections with a greater variety of devices. This will allow Kestrels to share data with Bushnell, Wilcox, and Vectronix Laser Rangefinders, Steiner LRF Binoculars and many other devices. This kind of connectivity allows Kestrel windmeters to be more versatile than ever.
Big Boomer Brass from Peterson Cartridge
For those who shoot the .408 or .375 Cheytac, sourcing top-quality brass has been a challenge in the past. That’s changed with the introduction of premium Cheytac brass from Peterson Cartridge Company. Along with the new Cheytac brass, Peterson produces quality casings for other large rifle cartridges including: .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, and 7mm Rem Magnum. Peterson’s brass offerings for smaller match cartridges include: 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Remington, .308 Win Palma (Small Primer Pocket), and .308 Win Match.
Shown is a new .338 Lapua Magnum rifle from Israel’s IWI. Impressively beefy rig.
For folks in the gun industry, the third Monday in January is the best day of the year. Held in conjunction with SHOT Show, Media Day at the Range lets us try out dozens of new rifles and pistols, as well as meet top gun designers and friends in the shooting sports. We saw some very interesting new products this year. Here are some of the most interesting “take-aways” from Media Day at the Range 2017 on January 16th.
Most Innovative — “The FIX” Rifle from Q
The star of Media Day, at least in the rifle category, was “The FIX”, a new modular rifle from the Q Team. This innovative rig features a totally unique bolt system with a 45° lift and a bolt housing that runs on rails (literally). This thing cycles fast and smoothly.
The trigger, set at 2.5 pounds, was one of the best we’ve ever tried on a centerfire factory rifle. One has to admire the engineering on “The FIX”. This new rifle has definitely “raised the bar” for tactical-style rifles. It’s different, it works, and it offers real advantages for both hunters and tactical style shooters.
Savage 10 with Ergonomic GRS Stock
Perhaps the most ergonomic rifle we shot all day was the new Savage GRS-10 in a stiff, composite GRS stock. European-crafted GRS stocks feature a very comfortable hand-grip, plus fully adjustable cheek-piece and adjustable length of pull. As shown this rifle is very affordable for PRS production-class competition.
To be frank, this Editor liked this rifle more than the Ruger Precision Rifle. A lot more. The GRS stock fit better, the Savage bolt cycled much more smoothly, the trigger was better, and the magazine seated more easily. If you don’t have to be “tacticool” with a metal stock, you should definitely consider this Savage. The new Savage GRS-10 will be offered in 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win chamberings. Here’s a video review by Guns America.
Blacktical Bolt-Action Rifles — The PRS Influence
We saw many new (or upgraded) PRS-style bolt action rifles in modular aluminum frames. There were offerings from Savage, Bergara, Tikka, and more. We’ll provide a more thorough run-down on these new guns next week. We really liked the new Tikka T3x TAC A1, while tactical shooters Ed and Steve (aka the 6.5 Guys) were impressed with the new Bergara: “Bergara has in-sourced chassis and triggers to produce very high quality offerings at a very competitive price. Handling, shooting and cycling the bolt on the $1150 MSRP Hunting and Match Rifle would lead one to believe the price tag was a mistake (maybe the first digit should have been a 2). We felt the same when we got behind the $1,699 Bergara Match Precision Rifle.”
Tikka T3x TAC A1
Bergara Match Precision
Pistols — The Sounds of Silence
The most interesting handgun on display was SilencerCo’s Maxim 9, which features an integral suppressor. It looks bulky but it felt relatively normal in the hand. The silencer did tame muzzle lift as well as reduce sound levels dramatically. This is an impressive piece of engineering.
There were many other pistols equipped with more conventional screw-on silencers. Here is a special edition Smith & Wesson M&P model.
Optics — High-End Models from Schmidt and Bender
There were many new optics on display at Media Day, none more impressive than the new 5-45x56mm PMII from Schidmt & Bender. Led by our good friend Kyle Brown, Schmidt & Bender USA had a strong presence at Range Day, with many optics models fitted to high-end tactical rifles. Jason Baney (shown below with Kyle), used one of these rifle/scope combos to make 5 of 5 hits on steel at 960 yards.
Jason Baney checks out the new 5-45x56mm PM II with help from Kyle Brown (left).
Meeting Old Friends
One of the great things about Media Day is the chance to re-connect with old friends. At the Winchester booth, it was great to see Kim Rhode, a six-time Olympic medalist (including three golds). She is the first Summer Olympian to win an individual medal at six consecutive summer games. Kim, a Californian, is leading efforts to challenge draconian new California laws that will severely restrict how ammo is distributed and sold in California. Kim said that, under the new ammo laws, she will not be able to obtain the special “International Loads” she shoots in competition. We wish Kim well in her efforts. We believe that California’s new laws restricting the purchase of ammunition are unconstitutional and, hopefully, will be challenged successfully in court.
Along with Kim we met with our friends Steve (L) and Ed (R), aka the 6.5 Guys, along with past Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann (in middle below).
World Record AR Speed-Shooting by Jerry Miculek
At the Smith & Wesson shooting bay, we watched the legendary Jerry Miculek set a world speed record for 10 rifle rounds total on three targets. Before a cheering gallery of fans, Jerry drilled multiple sub-two second runs using his S&W M&P 15T semi-auto rifle. The fastest split was a 1.59 (but we’re waiting for final confirmation on that). We’re told that’s definitely a new world record. Jerry may not be getting any younger, but he’s still blazing fast. Jerry calls this 10-shot drill “STL” or Share the Love.
Ammunition — Polymer Jacketed Pistol Bullets
One of the more notable, recent developments in pistol ammo has been synthetic jacketed bullets. With a total polymer shell over a lead core, these are safer when shooting steel targets because they do not fragment like conventional, jacketed bullets. With no exposed lead or copper, there’s minimal contact between these materials and the barrel, so there’s less copper and lead fouling. Moreover, according to Federal’s test engineers, the red Syntech coating produced 12% less friction in the barrel. Here is the American Eagle 9mm Luger 115gr Total Syntec Jacketed ammo provided by Beretta at Media Day.
And that’s a wrap… now on to SHOT Show.
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Get ready for a revolution in the F-Open, ELR, and Long-Range Benchrest games. Sierra just introduced a new 7mm bullet with a stunning 0.780 G1 BC. This new 197-grain HPBT MatchKing is one of the highest-BC, jacketed .284-caliber projectiles ever offered to the public. By comparison, Sierra’s own advanced 183-grain 7mm Matchking has a .707 G1 BC. That means the new 197-grainer has a 10% higher BC than the already slippery 183-grainer. That’s an impressive achievement by Sierra.
We expect top F-Open and long-range shooters will be trying the new 197-grainer as soon as they can get their hands on this new projectile. They may need new barrels however, as Sierra states: “This bullet requires a barrel twist rate of 1:7.5″ or faster”. Sierra expects to start shipping these slippery 7mm 197s very soon. You can order directly from Sierra’s website, stock code #1997, $54.20 for 100 bullets.
Factory Uniformed Bullet Tips
Sierra has officially announced that the 197gr SMK will come “pointed” from the factory. These impressive new 197s will have a “final meplat reducing operation” (pointing). This creates a higher BC (for less drag) and also makes the BC more uniform (reducing vertical spread at long range). Our tests of other factory-pointed Sierra MKs have demonstrated that Sierra does a very good job with this pointing operation. The “pointed” MatchKings we’ve shot recently had very nice tips, and did hold extremely “tight waterline” at 1000 yards, indicating that the pointing process does seem to enhance BC uniformity. Morever, radar-derived “real-world” BCs have been impressively uniform with the latest generation of pointed Sierra MKs (such as the new 110gr 6mm MatchKing).
Here is the statement from Sierra about the new bullets:
Shooters around the world will appreciate the accuracy and extreme long range performance of our new 7mm 197 grain HPBT (#1997). A sleek 27-caliber elongated ogive and a final meplat reducing operation (pointing) provide an increased ballistic coefficient for optimal wind resistance and velocity retention. To ensure precise bullet to bore alignment, a unique bearing surface to ogive junction uses the same 1.5 degree angle commonly found in many match rifle chamber throats.
While they are recognized around the world for record-setting accuracy, MatchKing® and Tipped MatchKing® bullets are not recommended for most hunting applications. Although MatchKing® and Tipped MatchKing® bullets are commonly used for varmint hunting, their design will not provide the same reliable explosive expansion at equivalent velocities in varmints compared to their lightly jacketed Hornet, Blitz BlitzKing, or Varminter counterparts.
New product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Brownells is providing real-time coverage of SHOT Show on its SHOT Show Web Page. Starting Tuesday, January 17th, you can tune in to see videos filmed at the SHOT Show Convention Center. Brownells will spotlight new products and interview firearms industry experts.
All during SHOT Show week, Brownells will unveil new products. In addition, Brownells will interview industry notables such as Larry Vickers, Taran Butler, Bill Gieselle, and Frank Brownell. Along with video demos, dozens of new-for-2017 products will be spotlighted in a photo showcase.
Watch New Product Demos from the Brownells Booth at SHOT Show.
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We like binoculars with built-in Laser Rangefinding capability. With rangefinding binoculars, you can carry one less piece of gear, and a binocular optic is much more effective in the field than the monocular on a typical dedicated laser rangefinder (LRF). The stereo view gives better definition and depth perception, and the larger, binocular lenses give better low-light performance than the smaller-diameter monocular optic found in a conventional LRF.
Leica and Swarovski make excellent rangefinding binoculars, with great glass and impressive laser performance. But these European LRF Binoculars are very expensive — the latest Leica 10×42 Geovid is $2600.00 and the Swarovski 10×42 EL hits the three grand ($3000.00) mark. Frankly, that’s just too expensive for the vast majority of consumers.
New Vortex Rangefinding Binoculars at $1199.00 Street Price
Enter Vortex into the HD rangefinding binoculars marketplace with a quality, life-time “unconditional” guaranteed product at less than HALF the price of the Leica Geovid. MSRP of the Vortex’s new Fury HD Laser Rangefinder Binoculars is $1599.00, but “street price” will be hundreds less. Vortex says “expect to pay about $1199.00 at dealers for the Fury HD”. A lot more guys can afford $1200.00 than $2600.00, that’s for sure.
The Vortex Fury has some very cool features. It offers angle compensation as well as line-of-site modes. Scan mode gives readings as you pan or track a moving animal. You can set the distance output to yards or meters. All the controls are on the right side so you can operate the Fury HD easily with one hand. Check out the Fury’s features in the promo video below:
The Fury HD has good glass — fully multicoated HD lenses with good lowlight performance. The armored housing seems pretty tough. We like the fact that Vortex has provided a left eye diopter adjustment so users can fine-tune image focus for their vision.
Vortex says the Fury HD will range “reflective targets to 1600 yards with an ultra-fast readout”. That may be a bit generous. In the real world, we expect the hand-held Fury HD to range deer-sized objects out to 800 yards or so, and larger objects (such as vehicles) out to 1200. This is based on our testing of other similar rangefinding binoculars.
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A beefy, new BAT action will debut at SHOT Show 2017. The new BAT TR Tactical action will be showcased by BulletCentral.com at Booth #2963. Notably, Bruce Thom, founder of BAT Machine, will be at the booth on Wednesday, January 18, 2017. Stop by to meet Bruce and learn more about this action.
Designed from the ground up for tactical and PRS shooters, the new TR action features a very stiff, robust body that still fits a Remington 700 inlet. The TR’s bolt is different than on BAT’s benchrest actions, so the TR runs better in dusty conditions and with extended strings of fire. This new action is fully compatible with Accuracy International double-stack magazines.
Story idea from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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At SHOT Show in Las Vegas, March Optics will unveil its new “High Master” series scopes. These top-of-the line optics are designed for Benchrest and Long-Range Competition. We’ve always been impressed with the clarity and sharpness of March optics, and now they are even better. The High Master line of scopes boast class-leading, state-of-the-art ED glass that delivers outstanding sharpness with near-zero chromatic aberration.
The March engineers tell us: “We’ve found a way to improve upon perfection with our new High Master™ line. Meticulously designed and individually hand-assembled by the expert engineers at March, these scopes feature our new Super-ED, high-refractive glass for unparalleled quality and exceptional clarity. This high-tech glass greatly reduces chromatic aberration for a previously unheard-of level of sharpness and brilliance.”
New March High Master Scopes
March 10-60x56mm Zoom Scopes for Ultimate Long Range
(Five Versions: MAR1078 3⁄32 MOA DOT Reticle, MAR1079 1⁄8 MOA DOT Reticle, MAR1080 MTR-1 Reticle, MAR1081 MTR-3 Reticle, MAR1082 MTR-4 Reticle)
NOTE: The new 10-60x56mm scope features the same mechanical precision and user-friendly design as March’s match-winning 10-60x52mm zoom scope, but with a larger 56mm objective lens and enhanced glass.
March 40–60x52mm EP Zoom Scopes for Benchrest Competition
(Three Versions: MAR1083 CH Reticle, MAR1084 3⁄32 MOA DOT Reticle, MAR1085 1⁄8 MOA DOT Reticle)
NOTE: For shooters seeking “one-hole” accuracy in the Benchrest game, this is the scope. The new High Master 40-60x52mm EP Zoom scope gives serious Benchrest shooters an ultra-sharp, high-magnification variable scope with zero POI shift when changing magnification.
March 48 x 52mm Fixed Power Scopes for Benchrest Competition
(Three versions: MAR1075 Cross-Hair Reticle, MAR1076 3⁄32 MOA DOT Reticle, MAR1075 1⁄8 MOA DOT Reticle)
NOTE: These new March 48-power scopes look to set new quality standards among high-magnification, fixed power scopes for benchrest competition. Fixed-power scopes are lighter and simpler than variable scopes of equal magnification. In weight-limited Benchrest classes this fixed 48X will be a top choice.
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Leupold has released three new VX-3i scopes for precision shooters. The new VX-3i LRP (“Long Range Precision”) series of scopes offer impressive features at affordable price points. There are three new LRP models: 4.5-14x50mm, 6.5-20x50mm, and 8.5-25x50mm. The “3i” in the model names indicates a three-times zoom ratio.
Both front focal plane (FFP) and rear focal plane VX-3i LRP models will be offered. All VX-3i LRP scopes come with a removable throw lever on the zoom ring. The big, knurled turrets are easy to manipulate and feature an elevation zero stop. You can choose either quarter-MOA or 1/10th MIL clicks, and the reticles are matched to the click values — MOA/MOA or mil/mil.
Several popular reticle options are available, including MOA-based Impact-29 MOA, Impact-32 MOA and T-MOA®; or the mil-based TMR® and the new Leupold CCH (Combat Competition Hunter) reticle. The Leupold CCH is a grid-based reticle providing holdovers and wind holds in mils. That should prove popular with tactical marksmen and PRS competitors.
For target work at 400+ yards we like the 8.5-25x50mm LRP:
Competing with Vortex and Bushnell for the Tactical Market
We see these VX-3i scopes as direct competition for the Vortex and Bushnell scopes now favored by many tactical and PRS shooters. Leupold’s goal was to build a scope with the features customers want at affordable prices. Tim Lesser, Leupold’s VP of product development, explains: “The VX-3i LRP [optics line] is a high-end, long-range riflescope that’s within most people’s budget, be it for PRS, long-range target shooting or even hunting.”
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Here’s the latest leveling technology for shooters. The innovative “SEND iT” device is an electronic level featuring five colored LEDs along with a conventional bubble level. When the rifle is level, a single green LED lights in the middle. If you are off-kilter, blue or red warning LEDs alert you. There are five sensitivity levels (from 0.2° to 1.0° between lights). The Send iT level can be mounted vertically as well as horizontally and the electronics will auto-sense the correct position.
The makers of the SEND iT claim it is the “most accurate and fastest shooting level made”. The system mounts to a Picatinny-style scope rail, extending out to the left side. There are multiple modes, including leveling, battery check, and sleep mode. The LEDs can be dimmed for night use.
This Video Shows the SEND iT Level Sensitivity Settings:
Headed to SHOT Show in ten days? Then you should download the FREE SHOT Show Mobile App. Available for all mobile devices, this App really makes it easier to plan your SHOT Show schedule, and navigate the floor of the Sands Convention Center. The 2017 SHOT Show Mobile App is now available for download on Apple, Android, and Windows smartphones and devices. Apple users will find the app in the App Store, Android users will find their version in the Google Play Store. Windows users can access via the WEB Dashboard. Learn more about the SHOT Show 2017 App at SHOTmobile.com.
Handy Interactive Map
The App includes an interactive map that can direct you from your current location to your next destination. Arrange your meetings with a handy scheduling calendar. And you can search for any SHOT exhibitor by name or product category. In addition, the App lists major show events as well as important new products.
The Free SHOT Show App lets you do some very cool things with your smartphone. You can contact exhibitors directly through the App to request appointments or callbacks. You can take notes while visiting a vendor’s booth or attending a seminar. Of course you can schedule your agenda, and see an entire day’s events in a glance. But perhaps the best function of all is the “Smart Route”. This allows you to create the most efficient point to point route from one booth location to another.
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Savage Arms has joined the black rifle bandwagon with its new MSR Series of gas guns. Savage will offer four AR-style semi-automatic rifles in 2017. Savage will offer a variety of buttstock configurations, barrel lengths, along with some interesting chambering options. The MSR 15 Patrol and Recon feature a .223 Wylde target chamber for use with 223 Rem. or 5.56x45mm. The MSR 10 Hunter and MSR 10 Long Range models are AR-10 platform rigs offered in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win chamberings. The top-of-the-line MSR 10 Long Range model carries a hefty $2284 MSRP price-tag, but it does include a two-stage AR Blaze target trigger, adjustable gas block, and a genuine Magpul® PRS Gen3 buttstock.
While most of the engineering of the MSR series is classic AR, there are some interesting features and notable upgrades. The MSR 10 Long Range offers a non-reciprocating, left-side charging handle (along with conventional rear charging handle). All the MSR rifles have high-quality barrels with a durable surface hardening treatment known as Melonite QPQ. This should make the rifles run longer (with higher round count) before needing replacement barrels. Bill Dermody of Savage states: “These are high-performance barrels you’d have to buy as an upgrade with standard AR-15s.”
Savage MSR Notable Features:
Non-reciprocating SIDE charging handle on MSR 10 LR (plus normal charging handle)
1:8″-twist Barrels, Melonite QPQ hardening, 5R rifling (MSR 15 Patrol and Recon)
1:8″ or 1:10″-twist Barrels, Melonite QPQ hardening, 5R rifling (MSR 10 Hunter and LR)
Conventional AR-Type Gas System (No Op Rod)
Adjustable Gas Block (MSR 10 Hunter and LR)
Flip-up Front and Rear Sights
Field Test of Savage MSR 15 Patrol
YouTube ace .22 Plinkster got his hands on one of the very first Savage MSR 15 Patrol M4 models. In this video, he tests it for function and accuracy, finding the MSR 15 to be “a good shooter”. He adds: “The Patrol is Savage’s entry-level M4. Because this rifle is brand new … you may want to check out Savage’s website at www.SavageArms.com.”
This Twang ‘N Bang video explains the key features of the MSR 10 Long Range, including the side charging handle and QPQ-treated barrel. It also describes the specs of the other three models.
Savage’s new MSR 10 Hunter and MSR 10 Long Range are purpose-built modern sporting rifles for game hunting and long-range shooting. Both are available in .308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor chamberings. Both models are built on compact, lightweight frames and feature adjustable gas blocks, plus the MSR 10 Long Range is equipped with a non-reciprocating, side-charging handle (see below).
On the AR-15 platform, the new MSR 15 Patrol and MSR 15 Recon are chambered in .223 Wylde for safe, reliable function with both 223 Rem. and 5.56x45mm ammo. All Savage MSRs offer premium features such as 5R button-rifled barrels with Melonite QPQ surface hardening, new BLACKHAWK! furniture, upgraded sights and more. To learn more about Savage’s new line of MSR rifles, visit www.Savagearms.com/msr.
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Want a preview of the hot new products of 2017? Then check out the January 2016 Digital Edition of Shooting Industry Magazine. This free, digital eZine contains a 32-page Product Showcase with dozens of new products — rifles, pistols, optics, reloading tools, hunting gear and more. The product showcase article reveals many new-for-2017 firearms, including new guns from Bergara, Colt, Savage, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Weatherby (and more). Along with the product guide, the January issue includes a complete listing of 2017 SHOT Show Exhibitors, with booth numbers.
Shooting Industry Buyer’s Guide Lists Thousands of Companies
Shooting Industry Magazine also offers a very comprehensive Shooting Industry Buyer’s Guide. This searchable, online resource lists 2500+ companies, complete with address, phone number(s), email, and website link. All the major precision shooting suppliers, such as Berger Bullets, Lapua, Hodgdon, McMillan, Nightforce, Redding, Sierra etc. are listed. Access this comprehensive directory gun industry companies at http://sibuyersguide.com/.
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Bergera Rifles has introduced a new rifle designed for the tactical, PRS, and long-range hunting markets. Bergara’s new B14 Series Hunting and Match Rifle (HMR) features an ergonomic, adjustable stock fitted with an internal aluminum sub-chassis. Initially, the HMR will be offered in 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win chamberings, fed with AICS-compatible box magazines. We’re pleased that all HMRs are guaranteed to produce sub-MOA groups at 100 yards using factory match-grade ammunition. Weight, without optics, is 9.15 lbs, about one pound less than the Ruger Precision Rifle. MSRP is $1,150.00.
The Spanish-made HMR boasts a molded synthetic stock with built-in machined aluminum mini-chassis. This mini-chassis allows secure, repeatable bedding for Bergara’s B14 action, which features two-lug bolt wtih coned bolt-head. The Chrome-Moly Bergara barrels are threaded 5/8″ x 24 at the muzzle for brakes or suppressors. The HMR uses a precision-machined bottom metal and is designed to accept AICS-style magazines.
The stock has a multi-stage textured finish, which looks good. Designed for both righties and lefties, the ambidextrous stock features an adjustable cheekpiece, and length of pull is adjustable with simple spacers. For slings and accessories, the HMR stock offers multiple flush cup QD mounts as well as multiple swivel studs for bipods and/or slings.
This should be an interesting addition to the line-up of factory rifles suitable for the PRS Series Production Class. But frankly, we think Bergara went too short with the barrels (or at least should offer longer barrels as options). In 6.5 Creedmoor, at 22″ you’re giving up 90 FPS or so compared to a 27″ (See Barrel Cut-Down Test). Additionally, we think most PRS competitors would prefer a different profile on the fore-end. Nonetheless for tactical guys who don’t like modular metal stocks, this is an interesting (and pretty affordable) new offering.
Bergara B14 HMR Rifle Specifications:
Chamberings: 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester
Action Type: 2-lug action, sliding plate extractor, cone bolt nose and breech
Magazine: AICS style mag compatible – Includes one Magpul® PMAG AICS Magazine
Barrel Specs: 6.5 Creedmoor (1:8″ Twist, 22″); .308 Win (1:10″ twist; 20″)
Mini-Chassis Material: 7075 T6 aluminum
Weight without scope: 9.15 pounds
Learn more about Bergara rifles in this SHOT Show Video by the 6.5 Guys
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Ever wondered what pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammo really looks like on the inside? Well, thanks to two clever friends, you can NOW see exactly what’s on the inside. Bernard Martinage and David Swanson, fellow NRA-certified firearms instructors, have created a new kind of training tool — cutaway ammo samples. The two men call their line of cutaways, AmVIEWnition. The sliced cartridges and shotshells are employed as visual/tactile training aids. These cutaways help new shooters understand ammo components and how cartridges and shotshells are engineered.
Bernard Martinage (L) and David Swanson (R) are the inventors of AmVIEWnition products — cutaway ammo samples for training.
Bernard told the NRA Blog: “In order to make teaching easier and increase trainee comprehension, I simply decided to cut bullets lengthwise and show them [students] what’s inside. It certainly sped up their understanding and it was cool to look at! I always liked inventing and creating things that solved problems or made life easier. So, doing it with firearm training was no different.” To learn more about the history of AmVIEWnition, read the NRA Blog’s Interview with Bernard Martinage.
Bernard and David also produce Barrel Cutaways and “Solo-Blast” 3-D Ballistics Models of projectile wound channels. Visit www.AmVIEWnition.com to see these products as well as the full line of pistol, rifle, and shotgun AmVIEWnition cutaways.
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Some interesting products were featured in Brownell’s New Product Review this week. Brownells Merchandise Manager Paul Levy looks at a new Rem 700 Magwell system from Magpul, along with Hornady’s impressive new Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, 10th Edition. For a quick look at these and other new products, check out the Video below:
Magpul Magnum Long Action MagWell — This fits Long-Action Rem 700 and Rem clone actions. Priced at just $75.95, this composite “bottom metal” is light-weight polymer, with a handy ambidextrous magazine release on either side of the trigger guard. Designed to work with AICS-pattern long action magazines, this kit also includes one Magpul PMAG® 5ACL magnum magazine for .300 WM-based family of cartridges.
Hornady 10th Edition Reloading Manual — This was just released, so it is one of the most up-to-date load manuals in print. Hornady’s new Manual is very comprehensive. It includes new information for the 6.5 Creedmoor and other modern cartridge type.
Smith Tactics Battle Bar — For Black Rifle fans, this slick extension that makes it easier to operate an AR’s bolt release.
Nowlin Drop-In 1911 Pistol Barrels — Upgrade your 1911 with a new barrel in .40 SW or .45 ACP. If you have an older pistol with many thousands of rounds this can be a “drop-in” accuracy fix.
Note: If you are interested in these or other Brownells products, you can get free ground shipping for orders over $99.00. Use Code LYH at checkout.
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Keystone Sporting Arms has created a new rimfire rifle that shares the looks and ergonomics of the Accuracy International AICS. Keystone’s new Crickett Precision Rifle (CPR) is a single-shot .22 LR bolt action rifle that uses the barreled action from the Crickett series of rifles. Trigger pull weight is 2.5-3.0 pounds. The AICS Classic-style stock is ambidextrous, but only a right bolt, right port version of the CPR is offered at this time, model KSA2150. Stock length of pull is adjustable (via spacers) from 11.5 to 13.5 inches, and there is an adjustable cheek-piece.
The Crickett Precision Rifle should be available in January 2017 and retail for approximately $310.00. This small .22 LR bolt action should appeal to Accuracy International fans who want a rimfire rifle for low-cost cross-training. This could also be a good first rifle for a young shooter. And if Dad owns a real Accuracy Int’l AICS rifle, the little AI clone would be a fun rimfire rig for son or daughter. That way the youngster(s) could shoot a smaller version of their parent’s rifle. Like father, like son (or daughter)!
Reader Boyd Allen likes this little rifle, which has a length of pull suitable for younger shooters: “I like seeing parents taking their kid(s) to the range, developing the next generation of shooters. For the price of what some guys spend on a set of fancy rings, you can purchase this little rifle and a youngster can enjoy shooting a rimfire that looks like the real-deal tactical rigs used by the ‘Big Boys’. That’s how you capture a kid’s interest.”
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Here’s a cool Christmas Gift item — a high-quality 70-page coloring book featuring firearms. If you have kids or grandkids that enjoy shooting or hunting, this could be a fun, interactive gift. (Heck we know some adults who would enjoy it too.) Offered by Top Shot Champ Dustin Ellermann, Full Metal Coloring features quotes from famous people and shooting tips from ace shooters such as Jerry Miculek and Bryan Zins. The WideOpenSpaces Blog says: “Forget abstract designs or run-of-the-mill shapes. Instead, get your hands on this cool coloring book full of guns.” The price is $11.99.
Product Description: Filled with humor, history and iconic images, Full Metal Coloring appeals to military, veterans, shooting sports athletes and hunters. Amusing quotes by Aristotle, Walter Cronkite, Wyatt Earp and more. Shooting tips by Jerry Miculek, Brian Zins, Jim Henderson and more!
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