Here’s something you don’t see every day — pistol-caliber Lapua brass. We shoot superior Lapua brass in our rifles, and now you can get the “good stuff” for your 9mm pistols too. It’s nice to know that Lapua 9mm brass is available for those guys who accept “nothing but the best”. Grafs.com received a special order of 9mm Luger (aka 9x19mm or 9mm NATO) pistol brass made by Lapua. It is available right now for $19.99 per 100-count bag or $179.99 per 1000-count box. That’s 38% off the regular 1K box price.
When It Pays to Shoot Premium Pistol Brass
Is this Lapua 9mm brass worth the price compared to the cheaper alternatives (such as once-fired police range pickups)? We think the answer depends on your application. If you shoot a 9mm pistol in Bullseye competition, yes it makes sense to get the Lapua. Or, if you have a 9mm revolver that carries the shells in a moon clip, the Lapua brass may be worth getting. With a 9mm revolver, your brass is not marred by an extractor claw and then ejected on to the ground. If we had the impressive new 8-shot, Miculek Edition Smith & Wesson model 929 9mm revolver (below), we’d definitely shoot Lapua brass.
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Here is some serious Saturday “gun glamour” from the folks at Star Shooter Precision, a bipod-builder and stock-maker based in Montreal, Canada. This stunning .308 Win F-TR rifle features a carbon-wrapped Star Shooter stock, angle-adjustable tubular bag-rider, star-shaped escutcheons, and a Kelbly Panda action. Up front is Star Shooter’s signature lightweight bipod.
Click Each Image for Large, Full-Screen Version
About the Rifle Builders Star Shooter Precision is a company located on the south shore of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Fred Harvey is the designer. Fred says: “Our goal is to perfect the art of competition shooting the best we can with our custom bipods. The Star Shooter bipod is designed for shooters in F-Class competition, varmint hunting, load testing, tactical shooting and sighting in rifles.”
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Editor’s comment: The new lens technology described here is a big deal. The “flexible” polymer lens is nothing short of revolutionary — there’s never been anything like it on a riflescope (though our own human eyes have flexible lenses). In the world of optics, this is as noteworthy a development as the touch-screen was for personal computing. Flexible, “adaptive” lenses can potentially be employed for a wide variety of products, from cameras to spotting scopes. Think about the benefits of “instantaneous zoom” for security cameras.
Sandia’s RAZAR Scope Features Flexible Lenses That Can Change Focal Length Instantly
Sandia National Laboratories has developed a truly game-changing piece of optical technology at the direct request of the Department of Defense: the RAZAR (Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles). Fundamentally different than every other riflescope ever made, the RAZAR represents a revolution in lens design and function. Until now, all riflescopes used a set of rigid, hard lenses (usually glass). The new RAZAR utilizes an advanced set of flexible polymer lenses that allow the user to toggle between high and low magnification with the press of a button. The RAZAR can literally zoom in and out in the blink of an eye (250 milliseconds).
The RAZAR works in conjunction with a tactical-style optic, such the Leupold HAMR (top photo). This tandem (two-part) sighting system combines the conventional scope’s eyepiece and illuminated reticle with the RAZAR’s ultra-fast zooming capability. Unlike traditional eyepiece (ocular) magnifiers, the RAZAR sits in front of the primary optic.
See RAZAR Demonstrated in Sandia Labs Video
The RAZAR’s instant, push-button zoom capability gives soldiers the ability to change field of view and magnification without re-positioning their grip on the rifle, unlike traditional variable-power riflescopes. This capability can be invaluable to a soldier in combat.
Michael Squire, a former SFC with Special Operations Research Support Element, said the ability to zoom between near and far targets within seconds, without taking his hand off the weapon, is “game-changing.” Squire added: “The difference that can make, especially with somebody shooting back, could mean life or death…”
The secret to the RAZAR’s high performance lies within the development of the advanced technologies within the scope. A hermetically sealed, flexible polymer lens core encapsulates a proprietary polymer liquid, and this core then works in tandem with glass lenses to form the basis of the optical design.
Rapid changes in magnification are accomplished via a piezoelectric motor that changes the curvature of the lenses, achieving the correct positioning within 250 milliseconds within an accuracy level of 100 nanometers. When zooming, these electronically-controlled actuators act much like the tiny muscles that allow the human eye to change focus from near to far. Human eyes have flexible lenses controlled with muscles*. The RAZAR has flexible lenses controlled by tiny electric motors.
It’s important to highlight the reliability that Sandia was able to build into the RAZAR. The system requires very little mechanical power to operate, and can undergo up to 10,000 zoom actuations on a single set of two standard AA batteries. The ultrasonic motor draws no power unless it’s being used to bend the soft lenses, which makes the RAZAR very reliable. If the batteries do go flat, the RAZAR remains fully usable — the system simply stays at the last magnification level until the batteries are replaced.
Sandia’s RAZAR design provides a large, clear viewing aperture, without sacrificing any of the optical quality found in traditional riflescopes. The RAZAR is also shock-proof, vibration-proof and capable of operating in a very wide temperature range.
The Future of “Instant Zoom” Adaptive Lenses
Sandia Labs is developing other specialty lenses in the near-infrared, short wave-infrared and mid-wave infrared spectrum, primarily for DOD use. However, Sandia has suggested that its flexible polymer-lens technology could be adapted for other imaging applications where rapid zoom is needed, such as binoculars, spotting scopes, and even security cameras. For more information, visit the Sandia Labs website.
*Changing the curvature of the human eye lens is carried out by the ciliary muscles surrounding the lens. They narrow the diameter of the ciliary body, relax the fibers of the suspensory ligament, and allow the lens to relax into a more convex shape. A more convex lens focuses divergent light rays onto the retina allowing for closer objects to be brought into focus.
About the Author
Kip Staton is a freelance gun writer based in North Texas, and loves to blog about news within the firearms industry and his perceptions on marksmanship. Kip is a content marketer, copywriter and digital strategist for an award-winning Dallas marketing agency. To read more by Kip, visit KipStaton.com.
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Our friend Anette Wachter, a member of the 2015 U.S. Palma Team, recently tested some .308 Win ammo from Eagle Eye Precision. We have heard good things about this ammunition, and Anette (aka 30 Cal Gal) confirms that it shoots great. Here is her impressive 200-yard test target. Anette posted: “Most amazing out of box ammo I have shot. First six rounds at 200 yards test [is shown at right].”
0.212 MOA at 200 yards
Using OnTarget group-measuring software, we measured Anette’s 6-shot group at 0.445″ (center-to-center). That’s 0.212 MOA. That’s right, Anette’s group measured under quarter-MOA at 200 yards. For reference, a dime is 0.705″ in diameter.
Anette’s Group was measured with On-Target Software.
Another U.S. Palma Team member, Top Shot competitor Kelly Bachand, has also tried Eagle Eye ammo. Kelly came away very impressed: “I’ve personally tested this ammunition and in my initial tests it was as consistent as anything I can hand-load myself. Eagle Eye Precision Ammunition is on the up and up, you’ll have to check it out.”
Eagle Eye Ammo is Verified to Shoot 1/2 Minute of Angle or Better
Remarkably, every lot of Eagle Eye ammunition is rifle-tested for accuracy. If it doesn’t shoot 1/2-MOA or better, it will not ship. Obviously Eagle Eye can’t guarantee its ammo will shoot this well in every customer’s rifle, but this is still an impressive standard. Eagle Eye states:
“At Eagle Eye Precision we guarantee every lot is tested to 1/2 minute of angle or better. One minute of angle equates to approximately 1 inch at 100 yards and 1/2 minute of angle is approximately 1/2 inch at 100 yards. For comparison, the diameter of a dime is approximately 0.7 inches. Therefore, Eagle Eye Precision 1/2 minute of angle (0.5 inch) groups are smaller than a dime at 100 yards. Eagle Eye Precision ammunition is test fired with real rifles (not accuracy barrels bolted to a bench) at 100 yards. If the group size from the test exceeds 1/2 inch we reject and scrap the lot. If we are not absolutely certain a lot of ammunition can shoot 1/2 minute of angle we do not ship it to customers.”
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Schmidt & Bender revealed some impressive optics at SHOT Show. Perhaps the “star” of the S&B line-up was the 3-27x56mm PMII. This optic boasts the first-ever 9 times zoom range. Originally custom-designed to U.S. SOCOM specs, this impressive optic won a contract for use in SOCOM sniper platforms. S&B’s representative said this scope, when employed with steep-angled bases, may be used to engage targets at distances exceeding 2 kilometers.
Unrivaled Brightness — T96 Polar Offers 96% Total Light Transmission
Schmidt & Bender also unveiled its all-new 2.5-10x50mm Polar T96 scope, which S&B claims is “the brightest low-light hunting scope in the world” Designed for hunting, the new Polar boasts extremely high 96% light transmission levels, the most ever in a 10-power scope. In addition, transmission of “night-relevant wavelengths” has been improved dramatically, offering 5% more light in the evening than other hunting scopes. This means the scope will be brighter at dusk than other optics, effectively extending a hunter’s usable time in the field, allowing the hunter to use “the last light of the day.” S&B is considering expanding the T96 scope line to include 3-12X or 4-16X models.
Schmidt & Bender had scores of scopes on display, worth well over $100,000 in retail value.
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Springfield Armory has taken the M1A into the 21st Century with an adjustable modular stock that makes this classic semi-auto rifle more versatile than ever. The adjustable stock on this Loaded M1A (MP9826, MSRP $2,021) offers many cool features. You can raise/lower the cheek-piece with a handy rotary knob. Likewise the buttplate can be moved in and out with a quick-adjusting knob, allowing length-of-pull adjustment up to 1.3 inches. The toe of the stock features a bag-rider section, making the gun more stable on a sandbag. Up front you’ll find an accessory rail plus a forward-angled swivel stud allowing easy bipod mounting. The included iron sights feature half-minute adjustments for windage and 1-MOA adjustments for elevation. The 22″ stainless steel barrel has a 1:11″ twist. Rifle weight with an empty magazine is 11.25 lbs.
At the 2015 SHOT Show, Rob Leatham runs through Springfield Armory’s new Loaded M1A Series rifle with an adjustable stock (MP9826, MSRP $2,021).
Click Image to See Full-Size Photo
MIA Match at Camp Perry is Popular
In 1974, Springfield Armory began offering a civilian-legal, semi-automatic version of the M14 known as the M1A™. M1As have enjoyed some success in Service Rifle and High Power Competition but today most Service Rifle shooters use the lighter-recoiling AR-platform black rifles. Nonetheless the M1A remains popular with American shooters and the annual M1A Match at Camp Perry offers serious, big-time prize money, thanks to Springfield Armory. In 2014 over $25,000 worth of cash and gear was awarded to Camp Perry M1A competitors, making the M1A Match the richest single rifle event at the NRA National Championships.
Nick Till in 2009 M1A Match. Nick was the 2007 Service Rifle Nat’l Champion. Photo courtesy NRA Blog.
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At SHOT Show 2015, SIG Sauer showcased a host of new optics products. SIG’s new Electro-Optics division will market a complete line of riflescopes, battle sights, red dot/reflex sights, rangefinders, binoculars, and spotting scopes. For ALL the new Electro-Optics products, SIG will be offering a lifetime transferable warranty. That’s impressive. SIG’s new electro-optical offerings, which are named after radio alphabet words (such as “Bravo” and “Tango”), are revealed in this video:
The “Whiskey” riflescope series is marketed as a rugged, affordable optical solution for hunters. Designed for law enforcement and tactical shooters, the “Tango” series of riflescopes feature 6X zoom ratios and meet MILSPEC requirements. Shown below is the 3-18x44mm Tango.
The “Bravo” series of prismatic battle sights (illustration below) are pretty remarkable. An innovative new lens design provides an exceptionally wide field of view. SIG claims that Bravo battle sights offer a 50 percent greater field-of-view than similar battle sights.
The “Romeo” series of red dot sights are designed for tactical carbines. The miniature “Romeo1″ Reflex Sight is designed to be slide-mounted on a pistol, and SIG will offer several pistols with the Romeo1 pre-installed. For big game hunting or extreme long-range shooting, SIG developed the “Kilo” rangefinder series, the “Victor” spotting scope line and the “Zulu” binocular series. The “Kilo” rangefinder (bottom photo) can reach out to 1600 yards and features an auto-dimming display. It is about the same size as a Leica CRF, but it is easier to hold. There are molded, rubberized finger grooves on the top and the whole unit has a nice feel in the hand.
To learn more about other SIG Sauer products for 2015, visit the Shooter’s Log, presented by Cheaper than Dirt. For 2015, along with new handguns and rifles, SIG Sauer has rolled out a branded line of suppressors. SIG’s new cans should be popular with both tactical shooters and hunters (where suppressor use is allowed).
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Digital editions of all four issues of SHOT Daily, the magazine printed each day of the SHOT Show, are available free in both Web eZine and downloadable PDF formats. You’ll find many product features plus articles that can benefit shooting club directors and range managers. SHOT Daily is produced for NSSF by Bonnier Corp., publishers of Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, and many other magazines.
Highlights Day 1: New Handguns Lead Story, Footwear, Legal Defense of Traditional Ammo, Women of Outdoor Channel, Midnight 3-Gun. Highlights Day 2: New Optics Lead Story, New Ammunition, Outerwear, Christensen Arms, Volquartsen Custom, CZ Factory, SilencerCo.
Highlights Day 3: New Knives Lead Story, Shooting Accessories, Hunting Rights, Women Shooters, Proof Research, Ultra Light Arms. Highlights Day 4 eZine: Walt Berger Profile, Steyr Scout, Lena Miculek, Sara Palin Q&A, New Remingtons.
Our friends Ed and Steve, aka the 6.5 Guys, were in Las Vegas last week, checking out new products at SHOT Show. On Day 2, Ed and Steve tracked down some cool products from Bushnell, McRee’s Precision, Timney, and TargetVision. Here are Ed and Steve’s Show product preview video reports. You can see more SHOT Show videos by Ed and Steve at 6.5Guys.com.
Laser RangeFinder with BlueTooth: Here Bushnell showcases the brand new Elite CONX Rangefinder. Using a Bluetooth connection, this “networkable” rangefinder can communicate with a smart-phone (and certain Kestrels). This allows you to push range/angle data directly into a ballistics App on your phone. We will certainly see more of this kind of inter-device connectivity in the future. The CONX can work with both iOS (Apple) and Android OS devises.
Chassis Systems and Prefit Kits: The 6.5 guys interviewed Top Shot Season 2 Champion Chris Reed at the McRee’s Precision booth. McRee’s offers chassis systems as well as turn-key pre-fit barrel kits using Criterion barrels. Chris Reed reviews the “Remage” pre-fit barrel system for Remington actions at 5:25 in the video.
New Double-Sear Trigger: The 6.5 Guys checked out Timney’s new “Calvin Elite” double-sear trigger. This versatile trigger adjust from 8 ounces up to 2.5 pounds. It allows you to shoot a rifle with a low trigger pull weight for competition, then raise the pull weight to 2.5 pounds for field use or hunting.
Wireless Target Camera: If you want to see bullet holes reliably, in all conditions, past 400 yards, you need some kind of digital camera system, preferably wireless. TargetVision sells a reliable system that works through common WiFi technology, so you can view your shooting session on a smart-phone, iPad, or Android tablet. The TargetVision system includes proprietary software that can highlight the last shot fired. You can even take snapshots or record videos of your shooting sessions.
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Our readers wanted more information on the $259.95 Magpul Hunter 700 stock, so here it is. We got our hands on the new product. The polymer shell is strong and stiff — not like the “Tupperware” plastic stocks you’ll find on some factory offerings. The stock comes standard with a flush bottom plate. However, for $70 more you can get a polymer magwell unit that allows use of new MagPul 5-round and 10-round magazines. The stock features an anodized aluminum V-block that allows easy installation of a Rem 700-footprint action.
CLICK Photo to See Full-Screen Image:
But perhaps the most important element of this stock can’t be shown in photos. INSIDE the stock is a metal “skeleton” that extends from the middle of the fore-end back into the grip. This skeleton, an important design innovation, gives the stock great strength and rigidity. It is sort of like a race car with a tube chassis under the body work. We suspect Magpul is working on a patent.
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Forget flames — induction may be the future of cartridge annealing. Induction heating, using an electrical current passing through a coil, can be controlled with great precision (you can dial in the “dwell time” to a small fraction of a second). With a high-wattage power source, induction annealing is also very fast. A cartridge case can be done in two seconds or less. Combine that with an automatic case feeding system and you have a true assembly-line process capable of cranking out hundreds of precision-annealed cases per hour. Sound too good to be true? Well Giraud Tool recently announced its new Electro-Induction cartridge annealing system. This combines Giraud’s proven hopper-type case feeding system with a powerful Fluxeon Annealer. Watch the video below to see how it works.
Including case-shuttle time, a case is annealed and processed approximately every 4 seconds (rate based on the video demonstration). At that rate, if you keep the hopper full, you could anneal over 900 cases per hour. Even if you don’t need that production capacity, this system allows unattended annealing of your cartridge brass while you do other tasks — such as weighing powder charges or seating bullets.
We know some of you guys are now thinking “OK — I want one. What’s it going to cost?” Giraud has not listed a price yet for a complete induction annealing system. Giraud’s torch-equipped, hopper-fed annealing rig starts at $470.00. We expect that integrating the “Annie” induction unit by Fluxeon will add $500 to the price. By itself, the “Annie” induction annealer costs $449.00 on Fluxeon’s online store. But that $449.00 Fluxeon price does not include long-reach cables and adapters for the hopper feed.
Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Our friends Ed and Steve, AKA the 6.5 Guys were in Las Vegas this week, checking out new products at SHOT Show. Ed and Steve visited some of our favorite gear-makers, including Nightforce Optics, Manners Composite Stocks, David Tubb, and G.A. Precision. Here are Ed and Steve’s Show reports for these important vendors. You can see more SHOT Show videos by Ed and Steve at 6.5Guys.com.
Highlights include Nightforce’s new F1 First Focal Plane scopes. Our readers will probably be most interested in the new ATACR™ 5-25x56mm F1™ riflescope. With a beefy 34mm maintube, the new 5-25x56mm F1 boasts an impressive 30 MOA (or 12 Mil-Rads) of elevation per revolution, with 120 MOA (or 35 mils) of total elevation adjustment.
Manners Composite Stocks
There are about a half-dozen new stocks from Manners for 2015, both for precision long-range shooters as well as hunters. In the video Tom Manners shows a new tactical folder and the T7 Hybrid, an older design that Tom brought back by popular demand.
11-Time National High Power Champion David Tubb displayed his new T7T 2-stage trigger for Remington 700 actions. This is an impressive new component that is a major upgrade over the factory trigger. First stage and second stage are separately adjustable. Price is $350.00 for right- or left-hand versions at DavidTubb.com.
George Gardner, founder of G.A. Precision shows off the impressive new Tempest Action, and talks about trends in the world of tactical competition. Shown below is a black-finish Tempest in a rifle at G.A.P.’s booth.
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