Here’s an impressive hardware package for long-range shooting. This set-up combines a folded-path spotting scope with a Laser Rangefinder (LRF) and a Kestrel Wind Meter. The LRF is mounted directly to the Hensoldt-Zeiss spotting scope ($4330.00 retail) so the two units stay aligned at all times. That makes it easy to spot and range your target quickly. LRF and weather data is piped into a PDA which automatically generates a firing solution (providing windage and elevation adjustments). That’s slick.
Ashbury Precison Ordnance sent us these photos, noting: “The ingenuity of APO customers never ceases to impress us! This rig has a co-located LRF adjustable for azimuth and elevation, a Kestrel weather station (Bluetooth?) and Trimble NOMAD RPDA. Firing solutions are updated as data is transmitted to the PDA from the LRF and weather station. That Hensoldt Spotter 60 is a nice piece of glass for shooting at extremely long distances.” The spotting scope is mounted on a Manfrotto 410 3-axis geared head.
Click Image to View Full-Screen Version
Click Image to View Full-Screen Version
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Glock just released a new single-stack 9mm pistol, the Glock 43 (G43). Why did it take Glock so long to bring a single-stack 9x19mm handgun to market? Better late than never we suppose. Given the large market for concealable handguns, this IS an important product introduction. In fact, Glock says: “The G43 is the most highly desired and anticipated release in Glock’s history”.
The key question for potential buyers is “How thin is it?” If this pistol is not significantly thinner or lighter than a double-stack 9mm handgun, then there really isn’t much reason for it to exist. Here are some dimensional comparisons. We included the G43, the double-stack 9mm Glock 19, along with single-stack 9mm carry pistols from Smith & Wesson, Ruger, and Kahr:
You can see that the G43 is about 1/10″ thicker than some of its rivals, but it is 0.16″ thinner (and 7.46 oz. lighter) than its bigger brother, the G19. That’s significant. On the other hand, at 26mm, the G43 is 2mm thicker than Glock’s .380 ACP G42 compact pistol. That gun was a big hit — Glock sold nearly 200,000 G42s last year. Will the G43 be as popular even though it is slightly thicker? Probably. All the pundits predict the G43 will be a big seller for Glock.
6+1 Capacity Now with 7+1 in Future
The G43 comes with a six-shot magazine. According to the CTD Shooter’s Log: “Glock has promised to deliver a magazine in the near future that will bump the capacity by one additional round and add a pinky extension.”
G43 Shines in Reliability Testing
Absolute reliability is ultra-important in a carry pistol. We don’t particularly like Glock ergonomics, Glock sights, or the Glock trigger, but Glock pistols have proven to be very reliable. It looks like the G43 lives up to the Glock reputation for reliability. During intial media testing, the G43 was tested with CCI Blazer and Winchester white box FMJ. The only failure to fire was a bad round. The G43s performed flawlessly with low-dollar ammo. Source: Shooter’s Log.
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It’s summer time. That means many of our readers will be hitting the road (for matches at Camp Perry or summer vacations). How do you do your reloading chores while living like a Gypsy for a few weeks? Here’s a solution from Forum member Dave Gray (U.S. Army Retired).
Dave is a self-declared “full-time RVer” who spends most of his time on the road. Behind his Ram 3500 pickup, Dave tows a huge 41-foot Heartland Cyclone toy hauler featuring a 12X8 foot garage in the rear. In the rear garage area, which holds a Smart Car, Dave has set up a removable reloading bench complete with RCBS Rockchucker single stage press and Dillon progressive press.
Reloading Bench Mounts to RV Wall with Brackets
Dave explains: “I used a 2″X6″X5′ board for the bench. It’s perfect for my needs, and is easy to disassemble. I made it this small so that I can park my Smart Car in the garage during travel to my destinations. The bench, attached to the wall frames, is very solid. The presses’ centers are 3″ and 6.5″ from the brackets. [There are] four bolts on the wall into aluminum wall frame and 3 bolts in the bench. If I ever have to replace the current board, I’ll do so with oak or birch or hickory. When I’m not reloading, I remove the presses and store them in a protected space. I can easily attach other equipment to the bench by using C-Clamps.” Dave’s “rolling reloading room” looks very well thought-out. We commend Dave for his inventiveness.
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If you’ve tried one of the Chombart-designed, CG X-Treme Mod 22 triggers*, you know it is one of the best two-stage triggers you can buy. Now there’s a model, adjustable from 0.5 to 3.5 pounds pull weight, for shooters who prefer single-stage operation. This single-stage trigger will be offered by X-Treme Shooting Products (XTSP) in three versions, two with an integral lever-style safety. You can choose an adjustable trigger shoe (shown at right) or a conventional solid-style shoe. The trigger offers over-travel adjustment. That’s important — we’ve found some shooters like minimal over-travel while other shooters want to be able to pull smoothly past the break point. We expect to see this new trigger used in F-Class rifles as well as mid-range and long-range benchrest rigs.
No Lubrication Needed
The sears are nickel + Teflon coated, so the XTSP single-stage trigger can work smoothly with zero lubrication. That helps the trigger stay gunk-free even in dusty conditions. The new trigger boasts a rugged CNC-machined steel body, just like the two-stage Mod 22 trigger. This new trigger should be available before the end of the summer. Mod 22 two-stage triggers cost $300.00-$350.00. We expect the new XTSP single-stage triggers to retail at roughly the same price point, but that’s a guess.
*The CG Mod 22 trigger was originally designed by Robert Chombart of France and updated by X-Treme Shooting Products for the U.S. market. The Model 22 trigger is the successor to the popular CG Jackson trigger also known as the Mod 21. The Mod 21 was designed to be universal and fit a variety of popular actions. However, in the Remington action, the Model 21 had clearance issues when installed in repeater rifles. The Mod 21 trigger is no longer manufactured. The Mod 22 target trigger is a 2-stage, 4-lever trigger for Remington 700 actions and Rem 700 clones. The Mod 22 tactical trigger utilizes 3 levers to increase the final pull weight. Both Mod 22 trigger versions feature a re-designed upper frame to fit into the receiver with two cross pins. This eliminates clearance problems with internal box magazines or detachable box magazines.
Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Got a 1911-style centerfire pistol? Would you like to cross-train with an ergonomically-identical rimfire version that lets you shoot less-expensive .22 LR ammo and not worry about recovering your brass? Well check out Kimber’s Rimfire 1911s. We think John Moses Browning would smile at this adaptation of his classic 1911 design.
Kimber’s line-up of rimfire pistols includes matte black and silver-tone Rimfire Target models ($871 MSRP), plus a deluxe, two-tone Rimfire Super model ($1220 MSRP) with Rosewood grips, front strap checkering, and KimPro II finish. Shown above, the Rimfire Super model is guaranteed to put five shots in 1.5″ or less at 25 yards. Both standard and deluxe models feature aluminum frame and slide, steel barrel, and adjustable match-type sights.
What’s That Pistol?
While viewing Panteo’s Training with a 22 DVD, we noticed a sweet-looking, silver-tone m1911-style rimfire pistol in the hands of host Michael Bane. At first, we thought this might be a new stainless version of Sig Sauer’s popular 1911-22. But, in actuality, Bane was shooting a Kimber Rimfire Target pistol. Michael’s aluminum-framed Kimber performed great in rapid-fire drills. See one in action below.
Watch Slow-Motion Video of Kimber Rimfire Target (Black Version)
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Here’s something you may not have seen before — a left-port, side-charging AR15 Upper. This unit was developed by John Scandale of Keystone Accuracy. While this was designed for left-handed High Power shooters, the lefty upper also works well for right-handed F-TR shooters. This design allows a prone shooter to single-load with his left hand, an efficient system for a right-handed shooter. Here is a review of the lefty upper from German Salazar’s Rifleman’s Journal website. Like John Scandale, German is a southpaw.
The Lefty AR Upper from Keystone Accuracy
by German Salazar, RiflemansJournal.com
We left-handed shooters are always the last to get the benefit of new firearms developments, or so it seems to us most of the time. There is no rifle more popular today than the AR15, whether for competitive shooting or plain recreational use; but even for that ubiquitous black rifle, left-handed items are few and far between. However, Keystone Accuracy run by left-handed High Power shooter John Scandale has some good stuff for us.
John is a long time High Power shooter, a member of the National Guard’s All-Guard rifle team and a Distinguished Rifleman. He knows exactly what makes a good High Power rifle — unlike many of the mail-order parts and pieces you see offered for sale by someone who only shoots his computer keyboard… John is a real shooter, I’ve known him for many years and trust his work.
The most interesting item from Keystone is the left-hand billet upper receiver for the AR15 match rifle. This thick-wall, CNC-machined piece appears to be very durable and fits all existing AR15 lower receivers.
When the AR15 was becoming popular in High Power shooting in the mid-1990s, I had a match rifle built on one. To solve the left-hand problem, I had a second port milled into the left side to allow me to load the rifle comfortably in slow-fire, single-load matches. Unfortunately, sometimes the round I flicked into the left port would fall right out of the right port! That was a bit frustrating and this receiver, along with an appropriate left-handed bolt assembly will work for the lefty just as we desire.
I’ve seen quite a few AR15 based rifles in F-TR at our local club matches over the past year. This upper would be a good choice for many right-handed shooters using the AR for F-Class as it allows loading with the left hand while the right hand remains on the pistol grip and ready to fire when the target appears. In light of the fact that the bolt release is on the left side, that makes life a lot simpler than using the right hand! So if you’re a left-handed shooter or even a right-handed F-Class shooter, give this some thought, it might be just what you’ve been waiting for and didn’t even know it!
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If you have ever turned a large quantity of case-necks using power assist, you know that a carbide mandrel can make the job go easier, with better end results. In our experience, when using carbide mandrels (as opposed to ordinary steel), the cases move more smoothly with less heat build-up. Pat Reagin of PMA Tool explains why carbide neck-turning mandrels work better:
Carbide offers several advantages over conventional steel and stainless steel when making any tooling, specifically neck-turning mandrels:
Dimensional Stability — Carbide maintains its dimensions indefinitely during heating and cooling. This eliminates the need to allow the mandrel time to cool every few cases.
Coefficient of Friction and Wear-Resistance — Carbide exhibits a low coefficient of friction value as compared to all steels and wears up to 100 times longer. This reduces (but does not eliminate) the amount of lubricant required.
Galling Resistance — Carbide has exceptional resistance to galling and welding at the surface. This basically eliminates the chance of getting a case stuck on a mandrel due to insufficient lubrication.
Given the benefits of carbide neck-turner mandrels, you may be asking “where can I get one?” Sinclair Int’l offers carbide mandrels for Sinclair neck-turners for $49.99, in a full range of calibers: 17, 20, 22, 6mm, 25, 6.5mm, 270, 30, and 338.
$49.95 Carbide Mandrels from PMA Tool
PMA Tools now also offers carbide mandrels in a full variety of sizes. At $49.95 each, PMA’s carbide mandrels are priced competitively with Sinclair’s mandrels. PMA offers carbide mandrels in .17, .20, .22, 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm and .30-caliber. These will work with Sinclair Int’l and 21st Century neck-turners, as well as PMA neck-turners. PMA tells us: “We now have carbide neck-turning mandrels in stock. These mandrels are made with high-tech CNC grinding-machinery, and should give you excellent results. We hope to be add other larger-caliber carbide mandrels to our lineup in the future.”
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Minox has introduced two new high-quality spotting scopes, the MD 60 Z and MD 80 Z. Both employ a “folded light path” design that makes these optics much more compact than conventional spotting scopes. With 20-60X magnification and a retail (MAP) price of $1398.00*, we think the MD 80 Z could become popular with long-range shooters who prefer a straight-through optic. With 12-40X power, the ultra-compact MD 60 Z ($1298.00 MAP), would be a good choice for hunting applications. We hope to get an MD 80 Z to test soon. These should be hitting dealers’ shelves by late April.
We like the folded light path design for two main reasons. First, this puts the heavy objective lens much closer to the tripod mount, reducing the amount of overhang (or cantilever). In practice, this makes the scope much more solid on the mount. With other long, heavy spotting scopes, even with a sturdy bipod, just a slight touch causes the scope to jiggle or shake. We’ve found with some of the big 80-88mm (objective) spotting scopes, it is almost impossible to focus the scope without causing it to jiggle a bit, which takes a while to settle. With a shorter spotting scope with the balance point much closer to the mount, the “jiggle factor” is much reduced.
The compact design also makes these Minox spotting scopes much easier to transport and tote around. The MD 60 Z and 80 Z will easily fit in a medium range bag or utility box. If you regularly use a spotting scope you’ll appreciate the compact size and portability of the MD Series units.
Built-in Eyepieces, with 20-60X on MD 80 Z
Minox’s MD Series spotters have permanently-attached wide-angle, zoom eyepieces. This keeps dust and moisture out of the scope bodies, but it does limit your options. You can’t swap eyepieces to change the zoom range or go to a fixed-power. But we think the 20-60X magnification range is ample on the MD 80 Z, while the 12-40X range on the MD 60 Z is plenty for hunting use. We think that, for most outdoor uses, a fixed eyepiece has benefits. And we bet that 9 out of 10 spotting scope owners just stick with the eyepiece that came with their scope (and never swap in a different ocular). So, ask yourself, “Do I really need to change eyepieces?”
The Minox MD eyepieces have ample 30mm eye relief. Notably, Minox gave these spotting scopes a huge range of diopter adjustment, from -5 to +50. This means that just about any person can use the optics with no need for glasses or corrective lenses.
Straight Eyepiece Only
No angled eyepiece option is offered on either the MD 80 Z or MD 60 Z. If you’re spotting for a fellow shooter from a seated position, a straight eyepiece makes sense. On the other hand, for prone shooting, when you’re spotting your own shots, most folks prefer a spotting scope with an angled eyepiece. When shopping for a spotting scope, determine how you will most commonly use the optic. This Editor owns both a straight spotting scope and an angled spotting scope. I use the straight spotter most of the time, except when I am shooting prone. If you really need an angled spotting scope, Minox does offer an ultra-short, 16-30X MD 50W spotter. This is one of the most compact angled spotters on the market, and it weighs just 24.3 ounces!
* The MD 80 Z’s Minimum Advertised (MAP) price is $1398.00 while MSRP is $1498.00. MAP price for the MD 60 Z is $1298.00 with a $1398.00 MSRP.
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If you are looking for a premium riflescope with 25-26X max magnification, there are two impressive new options, and both come from Europe. Swarovski just announced its new X5 5-25x56mm scope while Leica has unveiled the new ER 6.5-26x56mm LRS. Intended for long-range shooting, both these scopes offer razor-sharp glass and some advanced features. The Swaro offers 20 MOA per revolution, plus a unique “Sub-zero” capability. The Leica has some interesting reticles and an attractive price.
Swaro X5 5-25x56mm
1/4 or 1/8 MOA
Leica ER 6.5-26×56 LRS
* This is at 100m for the Euro version with 0.5cm click values (1/6 MOA). Leica has not published MOA elevation. 120 cm at 100m works out to about 41 MOA at 100 yards.
** Based on €1990.00 (Euros) stated price. The actual price, as sold in the USA, could be higher.
Swarovski X5 5-25x56mm
Swarovski recently unveiled its new X5 series of second focal plane scopes for long-range shooting. There will be two models, a 3-18x50mm and a 5-25x56mm. Both are available in standard and illuminated versions, the latter designated as X5(i). Long-range reticles with be available with either 1 MOA or 2 MOA stadia hash-marks. The 5-25X model offers either 1/4-MOA or 1/8-MOA clicks.
Swaroski says: “The X5 series has been developed specifically with the long range shooter/hunter in mind. The newly-designed turrets allow for 20 MOA per revolution, have a viewing window to show the user what revolution he or she is on. At the heart of the X5(i) is a Spring Retention and Lever System that exerts the same pressure on both turrets from the inversion system regardless of positioning. This assures maximum accuracy and repeatability.”
Check Out Features of Swarovski X5 Riflescopes
The 5-25x56mm X5 has a lot of elevation travel — 82 MOA. And this is a rugged scope — the elevation, windage, and parallax turrets, as well as the inversion system are built with stainless steel components. This enhances component longevity and durability.
X5 Offers Dual Zeros (for Long Range and Short Range
The Swarovski X5 scopes boast a new “Subzero” Function. This innovative feature allows the shooter to instantly come down 10 MOA (40 clicks) from a pre-set zero. That’s a nice option for training, letting you quickly switch from near to far. The new X5(i) Rifle Scope will be available in two different models, X5(i) 3.5-18×50 and X5(i) 5-25×56, in Fall 2015. For more information, visit Swarovskioptik.com.
Leica ER 6.5-25x56mm LRS
With 26X magnification on tap, the ER 6.5-26x56mm LRS riflescope is suitable for long-range hunting as well as many target disciplines. The new Leica ER 6.5-26×56 LRS offers ultra-sharp glass with low color fringe (chromatic aberration). This is a big advantage when viewing high-contrast subjects such as black-on-white targets. Eye relief is ample, and the scope offers a -4 to +3 Diopter compensation. Three reticle options are offered including two Ballistic reticles with elevation lines and horizontal (windage) hash marks.
With a rugged, aluminum “mono-body” main tube, the Leica is waterproof and fog-proof. Like all of Leica’s ER riflescopes, the ER 6.5-26x50mm LRS features a high-tech glass coating process technology. The scope is bright, with 91% light transmission. The HD glass elements are precision-ground with a state-of-the-art laser-guided production process.
Leica Pricing is Attractive
The new Leica ER 6.5-25x56mm is priced competitively. At the IWA show in Germany this month, Leica said the scope should retail for about 1990.00 Euros, which works out to $2089.00 U.S. Dollars at current exchange rates. Even if the “as imported” price goes up for the U.S. Market, that makes the scope much less expensive than Swarovski’s X5 5-25x56mm scope, and less than some comparable US-made optics.
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ThoseShirts.com offers a selection of T-shirts with pro-gun rights messages. Priced at $19.95, these shirts allow you to show your support for the Second Amendment. The shirts’ themes range from serious (“The Bill of Rights is not negotiable”), to sarcastic (“Less Flower Power… More Firepower”). Below are some of the more popular designs printed on the back of the 100% preshrunk heavyweight cotton shirts (some designs are front + back).
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It’s rare when Soldiers and Marines agree on anything. But in this case, both Army shooters and Marine marksmen endorsed the electronic target system at Talladega. Members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) and the U.S. Marine Corps Service Rifle Team traveled to Alabama to test the Kongsberg electronic target system at the CMP’s new Talladega Marksmanship Park. Despite wet weather, the system worked well, allowing shooters to see their shot locations (and scores) instantly. At each shooting station a monitor displays the shooter’s target. Shots are plotted as contrasting white dots with shot values automatically calculated. Watch the video below to hear what the Soldiers and Marines thought of this high-tech system.
Video Shows Electronic Target System in Action
SGT Joseph Hall of the USAMU said the target system was “Super-smooth, super-quick. So far everything has been fantastic. We are saving a tremendous amount of time. There are no pit changes because everything is electronic. We are able to concentrate more on the shooting aspect… and less on … taking care of the targets and pit changes and relay changes. The relay changes here are just as simple as moving your equipment and the next guy getting on the line. The amount of time you’re saving is just incredible.”
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They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case a video is way more illuminating than anything we can write. The video below, produced by Savage, demonstrates how the new 17 HMR Savage A17 rifle works. The video includes nicely-done 3D Graphics that illustrate the function of the A17’s delayed-blowback action with “interrupter lug”. Using “X-Ray View” animation, the video shows what happens INSIDE the chamber as rounds are fired. The video also explains how the 17 HMR presents a tougher engineering challenge than the lower-pressure .22 LR cartridge.
Watch this Video — You’ll Learn Something about Semi-Auto Rimfires
NOTE to Readers: Watch the video! If you have any interest in how guns work, check this out (full-screen if possible). For some reason (maybe slow connections), most readers skip over the videos we embed in our stories. In this case, take 3 minutes to watch. Click arrows button to view Full-Screen.
Savage officially launched the A17 this month, after previewing the new 17 HMR rifle at SHOT Show in January. We tested the gun on Media Day and came away very impressed. The A17 fed and functioned flawlessly. It is fun to shoot, and it will be affordable. MSRP is $469.00 so street price should be about $425.00. READ AccurateShooter A17 Report.
We plan to test one of these very soon. If the field test goes as well as I expect, your Editor will probably buy one of these rifles. The A17 has a barrel nut system just like centerfire Savage rifles. This means it will be easy to fit an aftermarket custom barrel to the A17. We already have some ideas for a suppressed A17 project gun with upgraded stock and barrel(s). Stay tuned….
The Magic Chicklet
Look below at the A17 bolt. The little black hardened metal piece (called a “chicklet” by the Savage engineers) is the secret ingredient. This “Interrupter Lug” retracts, allowing the A17 to operate in delayed blow-back mode. That permits the A17 to function flawlessly with the 17 HMR cartridge.
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