Warner Tool Company (WTC) has introduced a new series of “Flat Line” ultra-high-BC bullets. These sleek, lathe-turned solids are some of the most perfectly-streamlined projectiles ever sold. The Ballistic Coefficients (BCs) of Flat Line projectiles are as much as 20% higher than other match bullets of similar caliber and weight. For example, the .30-caliber 200gr Flat Line bullet has a claimed G1 BC of 0.780. Compare that to 0.555 for the Sierra 200gr MatchKing and 0.622 for the Berger 200gr Hybrid.
The new Flat Line bullets all show extremely high Ballistic Coefficients for their weights:
WTC also claims that Flat Line bullets can be launched at faster velocities than other bullets of similar caliber and weight. In its marketing materials, WTC says that Flat Line bullets deliver “Higher velocities when compared with projectiles in its weight class [and] much higher velocity when compared with projectiles of similar BC.” For example, WTC claims that “the 155.5gr .30-caliber bullet has the velocity of a 125-135gr bullet [with] the BC of a 185-200gr bullet.” It will be interesting to see if these claims can be verified in field tests.
Here are comparative G1 BCs for a variety of large .30-caliber bullets:
Cal Zant of the Precision Rifle Blog has obtained some early-production Flat Line bullets from their designer, Josh Kunz. Zant has written a lengthy article explaining the design and features of the new Flat Line bullets. If you are considering ordering some of these new lathe-turned solids, you should definitely read Zant’s report.
These bullets were designed by Aerospace engineer Josh Kunz using advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to simulate supersonic air flow around the bullets. Through the use of advanced modeling and precision CNC machining, Kunz has developed extremely uniform, ballistically “slippery” bullets that fly faster and flatter than other projectiles of similar weight/caliber.
Premium Pricing: Flat Line Bullets Cost $125 to $165 per Hundred
These new Flat Line solid bullets are pricey. The 155s cost $1.25 per bullet and the price goes up from there. If you need large quantities of projectiles for a week-long match, the cost can be daunting. One hundred fifty of the 200-grainers will set you back $435.00! Here is a price list for the new Flat Line bullets. All quantities are in boxes of 50. Pricing is introductory and subject to change.
.30 Cal 155 grain
$62.50 per 50-ct box ($1.25 per bullet)
.30 Cal 180 grain
$67.50 per 50-ct box ($1.35 per bullet)
.30 Cal 200 grain
$72.50 per 50-ct box ($1.45 per bullet)
.338 Cal 255 grain
$82.50 per 50-ct box ($1.65 per bullet)
Is the cost worth it? When you look at the overall expense of attending a major match, and the fact that the top places in big matches are sometimes are decided by a single point (or X-Count), some competitors will spend the extra money for these ultra-high BC solids.
The new F1 Chassis System from Competition Machine is now in production. This straight-line, all-metal chassis with ultra-low bore axis is optimized for F-Class competition. Designer/builder Gary Eliseo tell us that Competition Machine is now accepting F1 Chassis orders for fall 2015 delivery. To order or if you have questions, email Gary via his website contact page.
Gary tells us: “The new F1 Chassis System, designed specifically for F-Open class, has already begun to rack up awards. The system has several innovations that make it an excellent choice for your next build.” F1 Chassis has many design features that improve tracking and tame torque effect:
Low COG — Super low rider fore-end keeps the center of gravity as low as possible
Long Wheelbase — The long separation from front of stock to rear bag-rider improves tracking and reduces the tendency to jump or twist (torque).
Adjustable Offset — The bag-rider section of the fore-end can be adjusted left to right. This adjustable horizontal offset allows you to choose if you want the fore-end offset left, right or center.
Adaptable to All Shooters — The F1 Chassis System features adjustable length of pull, buttplate drop, and cheekpiece height.
Unique Bonded Barrel Block™ System
Stress is the enemy of accuracy. For this reason the F1 Chassis system features a “zero stress” barrel mounting system which uses a barrel block permanently bonded to the barrel. This allows the action to float, relieving all stress from the threaded joint between the barrel and action and all flexing of the action. With this unique “floating action” design, the F1 chassis is compatible with ANY round rifle action! Replacement barrel blocks are available so you can run multiple barreled actions with your F1 chassis. When it’s time to replace the barrel, the barrel block can be “unbonded” and adapted to a new, same-diameter barrel.
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USA F-TR Team Captain has a new competition rifle, which features the brand new McMillan F-TR stock. Ray is very pleased… “It’s like Christmas”, he says. The reduced mass of the new McMillan stock helps F-TR shooters “make weight” more easily. Ray tells us:
“This McMillan stock really changes the weight budget. Kelly McMillan updated his three-way buttplate design to make it substantially lighter and the stock itself has a very light fill. Fully assembled, with a 29″ HV-contour barrel (.900″ at muzzle), Duplin bipod, and Nightforce NXS scope, the rig is about 10 ounces under weight. Switch to a Nightforce Competition scope and it will be 14-15 ounces under.” Ray says he could run a slightly longer barrel and still make weight.
Initially, Ray will install a Jewell trigger in the rifle, but he hopes to try out a Bix ‘N Andy trigger in the future. Made in Austria, the advanced Bix ‘N Andy trigger (shown below), features ball bearing internals for an ultra-smooth, creep-free pull and very short lock time.
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First revealed at SHOT Show 2014, the Steyr SSG Carbon is finally making its way to America. It took Steyr 16 months to fill a large quantity of LEO orders, but now the innovative Steyr SSG Carbon should be available throughout the USA for $3695.00 MSRP. That sounds pretty expensive, but this is a very sophisticated rifle.
Here’s a very cool video — worth watching full-screen in HD.
The SSG Carbon is based on Steyr’s SBS action (with a +20 MOA rail on top). This gun features the same crisp, adjustable single-stage trigger used in the vaunted SSG 08. The rifle has a hammer-forged, four-groove 1:10″-twist barrel (20″ or 22.4″) chambered for the .308 Winchester. The SSG Carbon rifle offers excellent ergos, with adjustable cheek piece, adjustable butt plate, and an integrated adjustable rear mono-pod. But the real selling point for this rifle is the stock — a carbon stock built like a Formula 1 car chassis.
Chipped Carbon Stock Construction
Unlike conventional carbon-fiber stocks made from woven carbon fabric, the SSG Carbon’s stock is made using the same “chipped-carbon” Sheet Molding Compound (SMC) construction used to create load-bearing structures in Formula 1 racecars and high-performance aircraft. The SSG Carbon’s chipped-carbon flakes combine thermally with the binding agent to form the SMC for a distinctive appearance to the stock. The carbon chips interlock with each other to create a “tension net” that is superior to steel, at a fraction of the weight of steel or even aluminum. Steyr claims that the SMC stock material absorbs recoil better than wood, metal, fiberglass or other synthetics.
Steyr SSG Carbon Features
Caliber: .308 Winchester
Magazine type/capacity: Polymer double-stack detachable box/10 rounds
Safety: 3+1 Position Safety
Trigger type: Single-stage, 3 lb. 8 oz. pull-weight
Stock material/type: SMC carbon fiber
Length of pull: 14.25 inches minimum (adjustable with 0.33″ inserts)
Comb adjustments: 0.5 inches longitudinal; 0.133 inch lateral (rotationally adjustable)
Drop at heel: +1.07 to -3.8 inches vertical adjustment
Pistol grip: Polymer with interchangeable rubber inserts
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Reactive targets — whether balloons, steel gongs, or clay birds — always add fun to a range session. But precision shooters may want something more challenging (i.e. smaller) than a clay bird when shooting inside 300 yards. For a change of pace, try shooting at inexpensive pool cue chalks. Less than 1″ square, these will test your marksmanship skills.
Pool Cue Chalks — Cheap, Fun, Dramatic
If you’re looking for a small target that makes a nice big cloud of color when hit, try pool cue chalks — those little blue cubes you use to dust the end of billiard cues. Measuring about 7/8″ per side, billiard chalks make very challenging targets at 100 and 200 yards. When you hit them, if you nail the circular “dimple” in the middle, they disintegrate impressively, tossing blue “smoke” in all directions. Billiard chalks are inexpensive. You can buy a dozen chalks online for about $3.00 — just 25 cents each. And the prices drop with more quantity. One gross of chalks (that’s 144 pieces) costs just $19.95 at ozonebilliards.com.
To see actual hits on chalk at 100 and 200 yards, watch the video above. (WARNING: Soundtrack is loud and advertisement may play before movie.) The movie-maker, Phil of the Random Nuclear Strikes Blog, cautions that: “You’ll notice (in the video) that some of the hits are ‘wiffs’ instead of ‘poofs’. If you look at the picture above, you’ll see the 1/2 inch dimple in the cube face. If you don’t put the bullet in that dimple, it’ll ‘wiff’ on you.”
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Here’s a handy new item, particularly if you load large quantities of bulk ammo for a variety of firearms. Lyman’s new Ammo Checkers check the diameters of reloaded rounds and factory ammo, so you can quickly confirm that your ammo fits a standard chamber. Just drop your loaded rounds in the Ammo Checker, and if the round fits into the gauge, it will fit in the gun’s chamber.
Lyman Ammo Checkers are multi-caliber — each orange block checks six or eight different cartridge types, with each caliber/cartridge name engraved on the gauge. Ammo Checkers are machined to SAAMI minimum chamber dimensions from solid blocks of 6061 T6 aluminum. Ammo Checkers are available in three versions covering most common handgun and rifle calibers:
Why Use a Case Gauge?
We find that case gauges like the Lyman Ammo Checker are particularly useful for handgun reloaders using progressive presses. The chambers of many popular semi-auto pistols are partly unsupported. This allows the case to swell in the bottom quarter. The case may not be sized adequately by your sizing die, which can lead to misfeeds or malfunctions.
Additionally, if you have loaded a large quantity of ammo for a semi-auto rifle such as an AR15, it’s not a bad idea to check your cartridges before you load them into your magazines. All you need is one mis-sized round to cause a stoppage. That will ruin your day if you are competing in a Service Rifle match or 3-Gun event.
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Howa now offers “Mini Action” rifles with actions that are nearly an inch shorter than typical “short actions”. With the Mini Action, the chamber and bolt are 12% shorter than regular short actions with shorter bolt throw for faster reloads. Weight is also reduced with a shorter bolt. The Howa Mini Action rifles come with ten-round, synthetic detachable box magazine and a reasonably light HACT 2-stage trigger. This makes for a nice, compact (and very shootable) varmint package. Nice enough, in fact, that we are looking seriously at the Mini-Action Howa as a donor for a .221 Fireball varmint gun project. We like the idea of a shorter action with a compact 10-round mag.
Howa Mini Action rifles chambered in .223 Rem are available now with 20″ lightweight, 22″ standard and 20″ heavy barrel options. Other chamberings, including the .204 Ruger, will be available soon. Synthetic stocks designed to fit this new Mini Action configuration are offered in black, OD green, and Kryptek Highlander camo colors.
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Here’s a smart new product that could save your life (or the life of a loved one). The EPIC-id bracelet stores your vital information on a shockproof, weatherproof USB flash drive that can be instantly accessed by an EMT or doctor. Your Editor just bought two of these med-info bracelets — one for himself and another for a diabetic family member. If you’re a shooter, or spend much time outdoors, you should have this device or some other kind of tag that provides your vital info (such as blood type and drug allergies) to first responders.
If you’re injured, first responders need to know if you have a medical condition, have drug allergies, or take any medications. With this bracelet, that vital info is available even if you can’t communicate. The EPIC-id Emergency Band stores medical data on a USB flash drive that can be “read” by any computer or mobile device with a USB port. Firefighters, EMTs, and medical professionals can instantly determine your name, emergency contacts, insurance, and medical information. (Read my experience below).
It’s easy to load your medical data on to the device. Standardized emergency info forms come pre-loaded — just insert the Epic-ID into any computer to fill out the forms. PC and Mac™ compatible, the waterproof EPIC-id features a durable stainless steel clasp and trim-to-fit silicone band.
Editor’s Story — Why This Is Important
Just this past Wednesday July 8th, at 2:00 am, a family member was rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke. She was non-responsive and unable to communicate at all. This created problems for EMTs because they were unaware of her current medications, insulin needs, resusitation preferences, and some relevant past medical history. After that experience I decided to buy these bracelets for her and myself. The good new is that she survived… but it was close.
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Tikkas are boring, nondescript hunting rifles right? Wrong. Check out this Tikka T3 tactical with “attitude”. For the British Shooting Show in 2014, the folks at Osprey Rifles placed a Tikka T3 action into a modern modular chassis: “A standard factory Tikka T3 was fully Cerakoted and dropped into a Third Eye Tactical chassis stock which also had the Cerakote treatment. It certainly pulled a crowd and was sold on the Show’s first day! We have been commissioned to do another one straight away.”
If you have been waiting to acquire a chronograph, it may be time to buy. Brownells.com now has the popular new MagnetoSpeed Sporter Chronograph in stock for just $179.99. This Sporter model shares most of the capabilities of the $399.00 MagnetoSpeed V3, but at a much, much lower cost. Like all MagnetoSpeeds, the Sporter is easy to set up. Just attach the unit to your barrel with a strap and toggle clamp. There is no need to go downrange to set up tripod and skyscreens, or run wires.
We’re impressed by the Sporter chrono (as are other shooters — this unit is selling out nationwide). Like the V3, the Sporter faithfully records shots, even in complete darkness. Shot strings are recorded digitally and can be transferred to a smart phone via MagnetoSpeed’s XFR accessory (and Apps).
What’s the downside? The manufacturer says the Sporter is limited to 1″-max diameter barrels. In actuality, it can go a bit bigger than that. We have used it successfully on a 1.15″ straight contour barrel — but “your mileage may vary”. Second, the manufacturer says the new Sporter is NOT designed for use with airguns or shotguns. We have tested the original MagnetoSpeed with air rifles and it successfully recorded .177 and .22 pellet velocities, once we adjusted the sensitivity.
This Video Shows How to Use the Magnetospeed Sporter Display
Here is the XFR Device that allows Sporter and V3 chronos to work with smartphone Apps:
With MagnetoSpeed’s $24.99 XFR adapter and associated Apps, you can download your current shot series from Sporter and V3 chrono displays to an Android or iOS device. Once synced, users can rename the current shot series, delete irrelevant shots, email the data, reconfigure the display settings (units and sensitivity level), and clear the display’s current series.
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Ever heard of the Canadian Rangers, an element of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Reserve? Founded in 1947, the Rangers serve as the CAF’s eyes and ears in sparsely-settled northern and coastal areas of Canada. The Rangers cover the remote frontiers, performing public safety as well as security duties. For their entire history, the Canadian Rangers have always used a compact model of the Lee-Enfield No. 4. But that’s about to change…
Stirring Rapid-Fire Demonstration by Canadian Rangers
The Rangers have decided to replace their beloved (but antiquated) Lee-Enfields for something more advanced — the Tikka T3 Compact Tactical Rifle (CTR) in .308 Winchester.
Canadian Ranger Model Tikka Compact Tactical Rifle Features:
1. Barrel, Bolt, and Action made by Colt Canada under license from SAKO.
2. Larger bolt handle and enlarged trigger guard to accommodate gloved hands.
3. Protected front and rear iron sights.
4. Laminated stock in unique gray/orange or red colour with Ranger Crest.
5. Two-stage trigger with three-position safety.
The first 125 prototypes have been delivered to the Rangers for field testing. Feedback from the Rangers will be incorporated in the final production rifles. The contract calls for 6500+ production rifles to be delivered to the Rangers by end of 2018.
In addition to the rifle, the package will include a custom-molded Pelican hard transport case, plus a soft transport case (outfitted with sling and cleaning kit). Both hard case and soft case feature the Canadian Ranger Crest.
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Many tactical shooters have adopted the .260 Remington as an alternative to the heavier-recoiling .308 Winchester. The .260 Rem has also performed well in the hands of long-range High Power shooters such as SSG Sherri Jo Gallagher, past National High Power Champion. The .260 Remington is basically the .308 Win necked down to .264 (6.5 mm) caliber. It can launch very high-BC 130-142 grain projectiles at impressive velocities. The ballistics of the .260 Rem allow it to shoot flatter, with less wind drift, than typical .308 Win loads.
For fans of the .260 Remington, very high-quality factory ammo is now available. ABM Ammo, a division of Berger Bullets just announced that it will produce two varieties of .260 Remington ammo.
ABM’s 260 Remington 140gr Berger Match Hybrid Target ammo is designed for class-leading ballistic and superior accuracy. Using the highest-BC 6.5 mm caliber bullet offered by Berger, the 140gr Hybrid, this load features less wind deflection and more energy on target than the competition. ABM claims that this Match Hybrid ammo is “unrivaled as a long-range 260 Remington factory ammo option.” Since it pushes a higher-BC bullet than other .260 Rem factory ammo, we’d have to agree with that statement.
Performance based on a 26″ barrel and sea level conditions.
Mission Ready .260 Rem OTM Tactical Load for Mag-Fed Rifles
ABM Ammo also offers .260 Rem factory ammo loaded with the NEW 130gr AR Hybrid bullet. The .260 Rem 130gr Berger Match AR Hybrid OTM Tactical load is optimized for the AR-10 platform or any magazine-fed rifle. Berger’s 130gr AR Hybrid bullet offers a 0.290 G7 BC. That’s very close to the 0.317 BC of the longer 140gr Hybrid. This, combined with a 2847 FPS muzzle velocity, provides excellent performance in a shorter COAL that feeds perfectly from box magazines.
In fact, if you run the ballistics (using JBM) using ABM’s published MVs, you’ll find that you give up nothing with the shorter bullet. At 600 yards, the 130gr “Mission Ready” load has 78.8″ (12.5 MOA) of drop. By comparison, the “Match Ready” load with 140-grainers has 80.3″ (12.8) MOA of drop at 600 Yards (That’s not a mistake — the smaller bullet has LESS drop because it has a higher MV to start.) At 1000 yards, the “Mission Ready” load is virtually identical to the “Match Ready” load: The 130gr ammo has 304.6″ (29.1 MOA) of drop at 1000 vs 303.4″ (29.0 MOA) for the 140gr ammo at the same distance. (These calculations are based on standard conditions at sea level, with ABM supplied MVs.)
Because the ballistics are so close, you may want to try both loads in your .260 Rem rifle, even if you single-load and are not restricted by mag length. Some barrels may have a preference for one bullet over the other.
Product Tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Here’s something that will teach unwanted guests some “table manners”. We’ve seen handguns hidden in books, and stowed behind faux baseboard vents, but this hand-crafted, slide-open table takes the cake. We doubt that anyone could sit down at this table and suspect that a shotgun, scoped rifle, two pistols and a knife were stored securely inside. There’s an arsenal hiding in there!
To access the guns under the sliding table-top, first you flip down a wood trap-door on the side. That exposes a key-lock which unlatches the interleaved left and right table segments. These slide open horizontally on metal tracks, exposing the full arsenal underneath. This “table vault” is a very clever design, built with fine craftsmanship.
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McMillan has developed a new stock for F-TR competition. The front half is like a prone stock while the rear section has a straight underside (toe) section for smooth tracking in the rear bag. This stock appears to be designed for hard-holding, with a vertical grip and a fairly tall adjustable cheekpiece. The stock weighs just five pounds complete with adjusting hardware, so F-TR rigs built with this new stock should “make weight” easily. (The F-TR limit is 8.25kg or 18.188 pounds including bipod.)
Paul Phillips of Team Sinclair revealed the new McMillan stock on his Facebook page. Paul reports: “McMillan has been a leader in the industry for 40 years. I can’t thank the McMillan family enough for all they have done for our Military, Law Enforcement and Competitive shooting communities. Kelly McMillan and Team Sinclair worked together on what stock profile and features would be the best for FTR competition and this is what came out of the oven. Kelly also came up with some strong, super-light hardware that put the entire weight of the finished stock after bedding at 5 pounds even.
After Alex Sitman from Masterclass Stocks bedded my new stock, he told me that this new stock design is a true work of art and will fill a huge void in F-TR. Derek Rodgers set the current 1000-Yard F-TR record, 200-12X, with a McMillan prone-style stock. Team Sinclair holds the current 1000-Yard Team Record, 792-38X, and McMillan also contributed to that. McMillan [helps sponsor] the USA F-TR Team and Team Sinclair. Team USA will also be using these stocks in the upcoming 2017 World Championships hosted in Ottawa, Canada.”
Making Weight in F-TR — Every Ounce Counts
One Facebook reader asked why the new F-TR stock was so light. Here is Paul’s response:
Question: Paul, 5 pounds seems a little light. My Anschutz [stock] is heavier. Wouldn’t you want a heavier stock for stability, particularly for long range shooting?
Answer: It’s a fine line making an 18.18-pound weight limit. We need longer barrels to get the velocity to push 185- and 200-grain bullets. We also have a scope and bipod that add weight. It’s a balancing act. As I mentioned before, the current National record is with the same weight McMillan prone stock, just different profile. It works.
Applied Ballistics has just released a fully upgraded version of its popular Tactical App for Android devices. Bryan Litz tells us: “AB Tactical has received a major overhaul (including a new Bullet Library with over 420 options). The upgrade will require that you uninstall the previous version that you have of the application and then install this new version. This is due to the complete re-write of the internal database handling.” NOTE: You need to record your gun-specific data before you install the new version. Details of the updated AB Tactical App are featured in the new 19-page USER Manual.
NOTE: This upgrade is for the Applied Ballistics Tactical Version only. There is no iPhone version of this App, and this is not the standard app that can be purchased from Google Play, or iTunes.
The new version of AB Tactical has a host of important enhancements:
ABM Ammo, a division of Berger Bullets, has introduced new, high performance .308 Winchester factory ammunition, loaded with the high-BC, 185gr Berger Juggernauts. The long-loaded “Match Ready” version of this ammo is designed for Palma (Full-bore) and F-TR shooters. A “Mission Ready” version, loaded shorter to mag length, is designed for tactical and military applications. These two new offerings should “raise the bar” for long-range performance with factory .308 Win ammo.
Offering a high Ballistic Coefficient (0.560 G1, 0.283 G7), the 185-grain .308-caliber Juggernaut bullet is designed to remain stable even in the transonic zone. This way it offers good performance at extended distances, contributing to higher hit percentages at longer ranges.
Meet the new PL-14 9x19mm pistol, also called the “Pistolet Lebedev” (Пистолет Лебедева), after its designer. This new pistol comes from Russian arms-maker Kalashnikov Concern. Notably, it is designed for both sport and war. Two versions will be produced — one for military use, and another for competition. The match version will have a lighter pull-weight trigger. “The versatility of our new pistol allows [use] not only as a military weapon for the military forces and police, but also as a pistol for different shooting competitions,” said Kalashnikov CEO Alexey Krivoruchko.
This new pistol was developed with input from both IPSC shooters and Russian Special Forces (Spetsnaz) soldiers. A lot of smart thinking went into this ergonomic design. We were pleased to see the ultra-low bore axis and a grip that does NOT copy the worst features of the Glock design. Fully loaded, the PL-14 weighs 1 kg (2.2 lbs). The PL-14 prototype frame is aluminum. We’re informed that the production military version will have a polymer frame.
We know that many of our readers have never seen a “Hammerhead” benchrest stock before. This is a design with an extra wide section in the very front, tapering to a narrow width starting about 6″ back. When paired with a super-wide front sandbag, the hammerhead design provides added stability — just like having a wider track on a racing car. Some folks think mid-range and long-range benchrest stocks can only be 3″ wide. Not so — IBS and NBRSA rules now allow much wider fore-ends. While F-Class Open rules limit fore-end width to 3″ max, there is not such restriction on IBS or NBRSA Light Guns or Heavy Guns for 600- and 1000-yard competition. Here’s a 5″-wide Hammerhead design from Precision Rifle & Tool (PR&T).
Ray Bowman of PR&T sent us some photos of another hammerhead benchrest rig. Ray reports: “Here’s another benchrest rifle that Precision Rifle & Tool crafted. The customer shot this rifle at the 2014 IBS 1000-yard Nationals in West Virginia.” This IBS Light Gun sports PR&T’s “Low Boy Hammer Head” stock in red/black laminate. Other components are a 6mm BRUX 30″, 1:8″-twist barrel, Borden BR Action, and a PR&T 20 MOA scope rail.
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Berger Bullets has just announced a new 6.5 mm (.264 caliber) 130gr Hybrid projectile. Optimized for magazine-length seating (and AR10-friendly), the new 130gr bullets should be ideal for tactical comps and the PRS series. We expect this new bullet to work great when loaded in modern mid-size cartridges such as the 6.5×47 Lapua and 6.5 Creedmoor. Berger’s new 6.5mm 130gr Match AR Hybrid OTM Tactical bullet (could Berger come up with a longer name?) will soon be released to the public. Berger says this new 130-grainer is the first of many new bullet designs to be introduced in the next few years. Here is a run-down on the new bullet from its designer, Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics.
NEW 130gr Hybrid — Behind the Design
by Bryan Litz, Berger Chief Ballistician
Intelligent bullet design and selection begins with an understanding of application constraints. For bullets that will be used in unlimited rifles, there are few constraints and performance can truly be maximized. However, many shooting applications have realistic constraints such as magazine feeding of loaded rounds. In constrained applications, you need to ask the question: “What’s the best bullet that will work within the constraints of my shooting application?”
The new Berger 6.5mm 130 grain AR Hybrid OTM Tactical bullet is specifically optimized for maximum performance in magazine-length ammo.
6.5mm cartridges are the second most common cartridges used by top shooters in many of the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) matches, with 6mm being the most common. These kinds of tactical matches all have stages that require repeating rifles — either AR-10 platforms or bolt guns — so magazine feeding is a must. Recognizing that Berger did not have an option that was truly optimized for this particular application, we went to work and the latest 6.5mm Hybrid is the result.
The new Berger 6.5mm 130 grain AR Hybrid OTM Tactical bullet is specifically optimized for use in loaded ammo with COAL constraints for magazine feeding. This bullet maximizes overall performance through BC as well as achievable muzzle velocity in mid-capacity 6.5mm cartridges fed from AR-length magazines.
What makes this bullet optimal for magazine length ammo? To start with, the nose of the bullet is constrained in length so that when it’s loaded to mag length in 6.5mm cartridges such as the 6.5mm Creedmoor, 260 Remington and 6.5×47 Lapua, the nose of the bullet won’t be pushed below the case mouth. This can be an issue with some of the heavier 6.5mm bullets like the 140s. Furthermore, the hybrid ogive design is not sensitive to jump distance like some other designs such as the VLD.
Another consideration of length-constrained ammo is how much of the bullet is pushed down into the case. The inside of the case is for powder, and the more space you take up with bullet, the less powder you can fit in. Less powder means less total energy available, and muzzle velocity is depressed. A bullet weight of 130 grains is an optimal balance between external ballistic performance (BC) and internal case capacity considerations which translate into muzzle velocity. Further to this objective, the AR Hybrid has a minimal air gap in the front of the nose, which allows the bullet to have an even shorter OAL. When dealing with length-constrained designs, you need to pack as much bullet into as little length as possible< to optimize overall performance. Another advantage of making the bullet shorter is that stability, including transonic stability, is improved. Although this design is length-constrained, the combination of a hybrid ogive and 7 degree Boat Tail produce a very respectable G7 form factor of 0.920 which is within 1% of the popular 6mm 105 grain Hybrid. See below for full live fire ballistic performance data.
The 6.5mm 130 grain AR Hybrid will be barely stable from a 1:9″ twist, and reaches full stability from a 1:8″ twist which is common for many 6.5mm rifles. Visit the Berger Bullets twist rate calculator to get more detailed stability information on your specific barrel twist, muzzle velocity and environment.
Cartridge Selection for Magazine Length Constraint — Advanced Analysis
The trend to smaller calibers in magazine-fed rifles is happening for a very good reason. For a .308 Winchester round, you only have 2.37 calibers of nose length available for the bullet to protrude from the case. Such a short nose will have relatively high drag for the caliber. By contrast, smaller calibers such as 6.5mm and 6mm have proportionally more length available for the nose to protrude from the case and still fit in the same COAL constraint. Proportionally longer noses mean lower drag. Proportionally longer bullets mean higher sectional density. Combine an elevated sectional density with lower drag, and you get higher BC bullets. For example, consider a 175 grain .30 caliber bullet commonly used in .308 Winchester M118LR-type ammo. These 175 grain bullets have G7 BCs in the neighborhood of .243 to .260. Neck the .308 down to 6.5mm (260 Remington) or 6mm (.243 Winchester) and now look at the BCs of the bullets available in these calibers which work within the same magazine length constraint. The 6.5mm 130 grain AR Hybrid has a G7 BC of 0.290, and the 6mm 105 grain Hybrid has a G7 BC of 0.278 — both of which are higher than the .30 cal 175 grain bullet BC. Furthermore, you get hundreds of feet per second more velocity with the necked-down cartridges as well.
All of the above translates into higher hit percentage. See the caliber comparison chart below* which is an excerpt taken from the book: Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting which addresses this and many other topics in even more detail.
*The Weapon Employment Zone (WEZ) analysis shown above is for a 1000-yard shot on a standard IPSC silhouette in an uncertain environment having: +/- 2 mph wind, +/- 1 yard range, Muzzle Velocity SD of 10 fps, and a rifle shooting 1 MOA groups.
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Any experienced varmint hunter knows the value of a good .17 HMR rifle, particular when used inside 150 yards on small critters such as ground squirrels. The .17 HMR is a great round, but for general plinking and target practice, we prefer shooting the venerable .22 Long Rifle. The .22 LR has less recoil and less noise. Importantly, .22 LR ammo (even with today’s shortages) remains much less expensive than .17 HMR ammunition.
Wouldn’t it be great if a single, affordable varmint rifle could shoot both .22 LR and .17 HMR? Well, CZ offers just such a rig — the CZ Model 455 American Combo, a versatile switch-caliber rifle priced at about $485.00 (MSRP is $531.00). The American Combo comes complete with both .22 LR and .17 HMR barrels, easily interchanged with a simple Allen wrench. As CZ explains: “The CZ 455 eliminates the need to spend the extra expense on a second rifle when you want to add another quality shooter to your rimfire battery”. For a bit more money, you can even purchase a .22 WMR barrel, making your CZ a triple-threat varmint-slayer.