July 24th, 2014
Hate chasing brass ejected from your AR platform rifle? Well here’s a clever new accessory — a brass catcher that mounts easily to the Picatinny rail on top of your upper receiver. There are other types of brass-catching rigs on the market, but this is one of the best products we’ve seen for ARs with Picatinny rails. Caldwell’s AR Pic Rail Brass Catcher mounts easily with a quick-detach aluminum clamp. Both the clamp and wire frame are adjustable so they won’t interfere with your scope or scope mounts.
We like the quick-detach feature. This lets you quickly check and/or clear your chamber, or inspect the bolt. The bag itself, made from heat-resistant mesh fabric, will hold approximately one hundred .223 Rem cartridge cases. And here’s another nice feature — the bag has a zipper on the bottom so you can quickly dump your spent brass without having to remove the brass-catcher from your rifle.
Brass Catcher Features:
- Captures fired casings before they hit the ground.
- Quick-detach system mounts securely — no fumbling with straps.
- Compatible with most Picatinny rail-equipped AR-10s as well.
- Heat-resistant mesh bag holds 100 pieces of brass.
- Fully adjustable — can be placed at any point on Picatinny rail.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
If you shoot an AR and reload your own ammo, you should get some kind of brass-catching device. With a $39.19 “street price” ($49.99 MSRP), this is one of the more affordable options. Once you use a rig like this and no longer have to pick up brass from the ground, you may get spoiled. Moreover, a brass-catcher like this will earn you “Brownie Points” with other shooters at your range who no longer have to dodge your hot brass.
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July 22nd, 2014
Imagine if you could “steer” your bullet to the target, after the projectile leaves the muzzle. That has been a dream of marksmen ever since the first rifle was invented. Well that dream is now one step closer to reality, thanks to America’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
DARPA has developed a manueverable .50-caliber rifle bullet. DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program recently conducted the first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets. Inside EXACTO bullets are optical guidance systems, aero-actuation controls, and multiple sensors. The top-secret technology permits the trajectory of the bullet to be altered in flight, allowing the bullet to move left or right, or even fly in an arc around an obstacle.
DARPA has released a video showing EXACTO 50-caliber bullets in flight. Watch carefully and you will see the tracked trajectory appear to bend off in one direction in the last segment of the bullet’s flight. Here is the DARPA Video:
According to DARPA: “This video shows EXACTO rounds maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are offset from where the sniper rifle is initially aimed. EXACTO’s specially-designed ammunition and real-time optical guidance system help track and direct projectiles to their targets by compensating for weather, wind, target movement, and other factors that could impede successful aim.”
DARPA states: “For military snipers, acquiring moving targets in unfavorable conditions, such as high winds and dusty terrain commonly found in Afghanistan, is extremely challenging with current technology. It is critical that snipers be able to engage targets faster, and with better accuracy, since any shot that doesn’t hit a target also risks the safety of troops by indicating their presence and potentially exposing their location.”
The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) system seeks to improve sniper effectiveness and enhance troop safety by allowing greater shooter standoff range and reduction in target engagement timelines. The objective of the EXACTO program is to revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first ever guided small-caliber bullet. The EXACTO 50-caliber round and optical sighting technology expects to greatly extend the day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems. The system combines a maneuverable bullet and a real-time guidance system to track and deliver the projectile to the target, allowing the bullet to change path during flight to compensate for any unexpected factors that may drive it off course.
Technology development in Phase II included the design, integration and demonstration of aero-actuation controls, power sources, optical guidance systems, and sensors. The program’s next phase includes a system-level live-fire test and technology refinement[.]
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July 22nd, 2014
Carl Zeiss Sports Optics (Zeiss) has a new mobile Ballistics Calculator App for iOS (Apple) and Android devices. Modeled after the web-based Zeiss Ballistics Calulator, the new Mobile App is tailored to work precisely with Zeiss Ballistic reticles. Mike Jensen of Carl Zeiss Sports Optics explained: “We wanted those who use our proprietary ballistic reticles to have a ballistic tool that could be used virtually anywhere you have a signal for your device.”
The Zeiss Ballistic Calculator App allows users to pick their ballistic reticle from a drop-down menu. The user also has the ability to select factory or hand load data as well as environmental variables, and then the system will calculate and display the optimum magnification setting. With this system, distant yardages now coincide with the Zeiss ballistic reticle subtensions. The system allows the user to adjust standard settings for altitude and temperature, as well as other advanced settings, e.g. for muzzle velocity and sight height above bore.
Zeiss Ballistics Calculator App Features:
- One page screen application for fast data entry and easy to read results.
- Comprehensive and current database for factory and hand-loaded ammunition.
- Adjustable settings to customize unique shooting environments.
- Slide feature to visualize how magnification change alters point of impact.
The Zeiss Mobile Ballistic Calculator App can be downloaded at Google Play (Android App) and iTunes (iPhone App) for $4.99. Zeiss has noted that the App will soon be updated to include the Zeiss ASV ballistic turret system.
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July 20th, 2014
Farley Manufacturing has just introduced a new gravity-fed cartridge caddy that puts your rounds right next to your rifle’s loading port. Farley’s new G-Feed Cartridge Elevator has a unique switchback-type feed path that provides high capacity in a compact unit. This unit is handy and fast to use. Farley says that, with a little practice, a skilled benchrest shooter can run five shots in less than 18 seconds. We believe that — provided a shooter has quality rests, a stock that tracks well, and good technique.
The G-Feed Elevator is held up by a 3/4″-diameter spring steel gooseneck (similar to 50s-style lamp support arm). You can easily adjust the gooseneck to the exact height and angle you want. (But Farley recommends at least 10 degrees of “tilt” to ensure proper feeding.)
Made from machined 6061 aluminum, the G-Feed Caddy ranges in price from $125.00 to $160.00 depending on cartridge size. Currently three sizes are offered: PPC, BR/PPC, and .284 Winchester. The BR/PPC model holds 22 rounds of BR cases or 23 rounds of PPC cases. The larger .284 Win model has a 25-cartridge capacity.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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July 14th, 2014
iPhone and iPad users rejoice. The Apple iOS version of the Applied Ballistics Mobile App is now available. It has all the features of the much-loved Applied Ballistics Android App with full Apple functionality. This mobile App will run on iPhones, iPods, and iPads.
Price is $29.99. Click here to view details or order the App: Applied Ballistics iOS App.
CLICK HERE for Detailed Summary of App Features (Applied Ballistics Website)
The new iOS mobile App accounts for all major and minor trajectory variables that a shooter could encounter. Conveniently, the App displays single-shot solutions in HUD View or Reticle View.
Real-World Calibration — Shooters can enter their observed drops and the program will calibrate and “true” the predictions based on actual bullet impact. This is done by incorporating muzzle velocity and drop-scaling over various segments of the trajectory.
Sync to Web — A web-sync feature allows you to store your rifle and ammunition libraries online. And you can backup all the profiles online or restore them to a device.
Forum member Snuggie308, who acquired the new iOS App, gives it a thumbs up: “I bought it last night. It is a great tool. There’s a massive data base … built into it. You can’t find a better [mobile ballistics app] in my opinion.” Snuggie308 also reports that the new iOS is iPad friendly, and fills the iPad screen so it is easy to use all the features.
The Applied Ballistics iOS Mobile App runs the state-of-the-art Point Mass ballistic solver. This solver, along with the built-in library of ballistic coefficients, makes this the most accurate, precise, and complete mobile ballistics app available for iOS devices.
Ballistician (and former missile design engineer) Bryan Litz wrote this solver. The program integrates the equations of ballistic motion numerically, using a 4th-order Runge-Kutta method, the preferred method of solving dynamic equations for aircraft and missiles. The application also comes with G1 and G7 BCs for over 1,300 bullet types.
Bryan Litz tells us: “We have worked extensively on this product. With the success of the Android version of the application, released two years ago, the demand for the iOS version has been high. We are excited to now offer a full-featured iOS version that runs on iPhones, iPods, and iPads.”
Available now through iTunes, the Applied Ballistics Mobile App costs $29.99, and requires iOS 7.0 or later for proper functionality. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices, this App is optimized for the iPhone 5 series of smart phones.
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July 14th, 2014
Here is a simple but effective product that can benefit varminters and game-hunters. The slip-on, padded RRR (“triple R”) gun rest cushions your rifle on any surface and helps eliminate noise when shifting the gun from one shooting position to another. The RRR slip-on rest is made of neoprene (wet suit material) with a built-in, thick Armaflex foam cushion on the bottom. This $19.95 sleeve protects the finish of your rifle, while providing a cushioned layer between your rifle and the supporting surface.
Hunters will appreciate how the RRR slip-on rest quiets the gun when the forearm is placed on supporting surface (watch video). The padded, neoprene covering acts like a sound deadener. With the RRR in place, the rifle forearm doesn’t clang or rattle, even when you set the gun on a metal frame or hard surface.
Video Shows RRR in Use in the Field
This padded sleeve works great when shooting from a truck, providing a padded surface when aiming from a truck mirror or door frame. Likewise, the RRR rest works well in the field when shooting from a tree-limb, or a boulder.
The patented RRR slip-on rest fits rifle stocks from 1¼ inches to 2¼ inches wide, and will not interfere with your scope. Installation is easy — after unloading the rifle, simply slide the RRR over the barrel and fore-end, with the RRR logo on top, so that the cushion section is under the rifle stock.
► The RRR slip-on rest cushions your rifle. This helps to keep the shot from going high even when the rifle is placed on a hard surface.
► The RRR protects the finish on the stock of your rifle from scratches when resting on hard surfaces.
► The RRR can be slipped over the fore-end with a sling attached.
► The neoprene, water-resistant RRR works well even in wet or snowy weather. (But you should remove from gun after a wet hunting session.)
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July 11th, 2014
Etymotic Research now offers its GSP•15® Electronic Earplugs in a smaller form factor. This gives shooters some of the best “wearable technology” on the market. These small, electronic earplugs protect the user from loud shot and blast noises, while at the same time allowing normal conversations. The active circuitry in GSP•15 earplugs allows for natural hearing when sound levels are safe. (Natural hearing is automatically restored when hearing is not at risk.) In this respect, these small earplugs do the job of a much larger, bulkier pair of electronic ear muffs.
GSP•15 plugs have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 25 dB, better than many electronic muffs. And these plugs are small, light, and comfortable. Using the company’s bean-sized Quiet Sound Amplifier® outer case, the latest GSP•15 earplugs fit great. A variety of tip shapes/materials are provided.
Special 15% Off Savings Now Through August 31, 2014
Etymotic GSP•15 Electronic Earplugs normally retail for $399.00. As a special offer for AccurateShooter.com readers, the full GSP•15 kit is now 15% off (roughly $339.15) if you use discount code AS2014 at checkout. This special offer is valid until August 31, 2014.
GSP•15 plugs pack impressive engineering inside a small package. High-sensitivity microphones, high-definition balanced-armature drivers, and advanced signal processing combine to deliver high-fidelity, natural sound. And, like the original model, the new GSP•15 earplugs come with a wide selection of ear-tips, with custom molds an available option.
“Hearing loss is preventable,” says Dr. Patricia Johnson, audiologist and hearing conservation specialist at Etymotic. “Etymotic has been providing the world’s only truly flat-attenuation in passive earplugs for over 25 years. We’re pleased to launch this new version of GSP•15 electronic earplugs that lets wearers hear naturally when sound levels are safe, but be protected when it counts.”
GSP•15s Work Well for Hunters — Providing Protection AND Amplification
Unlike bulky muffs, the GSP•15s fit perfectly under a hat or other cold weather headgear. And while they protect a shooter’s hearing from blasts, these electronic ear plugs also provides up to five times amplification in the enhancement mode. At the flip of a switch, sound is amplified, giving hunters “super hearing” in the field.
Etymotic is a research, development and manufacturing company that designs high-fidelity personal audio products and hearing wellness solutions to assess, enhance, and protect hearing. For more information about Etymotic and its products, visit www.etymotic.com.
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July 10th, 2014
Weaver has a brand new, high-magnification, 46X target scope. Chances are you haven’t heard a thing about it — the new Weaver T-Series XR 46x48mm scope is so new you won’t even find it on the Weaver website. Compared to the older T-36, this new 46-power scope offers more magnification, more elevation, a larger front objective (48mm vs. 40mm), and a larger 30mm main tube (compared to 1″ for the old T-36). The new XR 46X Weaver also features side-focus parallax control. That’s a big change. You could instantly spot a classic Weaver T-36 by the adjustable front objective with its knurled ring and yardage markings. The T-Series XR 46X (as well as the new XR 24X and XR 36X) have the parallax control on the left side of the main tube (photo below).
We have looked through the new Weaver 46X scope and it is very sharp. Brightness is good — it seems comparable with a Leupold 45x45mm Competition (but that was on a bright, sunny day). Initial tests show the clicks to be tactile and positive, but we haven’t had a chance to do a full “box test” to confirm tracking. Weaver claims the new XR series scopes will focus down to 50 feet, but with the 46X we had some questions about its extreme close-focus capability. If you’re shooting beyond 50 yards, the focus should be fine.
The new T-Series 46X XR is offered with two reticle choices, a fine cross-hair (FCH), or FCH with 1/16th MOA dot. Both reticles are well-suited for benchrest work. The current “street price” for the new 46X Weaver is $829.95. That’s way more than the old T-36, but it undercuts Leupold fixed-power competition scopes by hundreds of dollars. We know of only two vendors who currently carry the Weaver 46X. These are Killough Shooting Sports, and Bruno Shooters Supply.
New 24X and 36X T-Series XR Scopes with Side-Focus and 1″ Tubes
The new 46-power XR scope is the star of the XR line-up. Designed to go head-to-head with Leupold’s 45X Competition scope, the 46X Weaver XR offers a modern 30mm main-tube and large (48mm) front objective. If you don’t need the bigger tube and larger objective, but still want side-focus parallax control, Weaver offers two other new XR scopes — a 36x40mm and a 24x40mm. These will both retail for under $600.
Dan Killough offers the black-finish 36-power XR for $559.95 and the black-finish 24-power XR for $549.95. Silver models are slightly more. These 1″-tube XR scopes are worth considering, but keep in mind that you can now purchase the older T-series scopes with adjustable front objectives for well under $400.00. For benchrest shooting at a fixed distance, side-focus is not necessary; adjustable front objectives work just fine. Just set and forget.
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June 30th, 2014
The gyro-stabilized two-wheeled Segway was supposed to revolutionize personal transportation. That may never happen (mall cops excepted), but remote-controlled Segways just might revolutionize the way military and police personnel train for urban engagements.
Robotic Segway “Smart Targets” for Live-Fire Training
An Australian company, Marathon Robotics, has created wheeled robot targets — remote-controlled Segways fitted with target silhouettes. The Segway Robots can move and respond like humans, ducking into doorways, or dispersing at the sound of gunfire. This provides challenging, ultra-realistic training for military and police sharp-shooters. This is not just science fiction. Australian Special Forces units already train in a mock urban center populated with Marathon’s rolling robots. And the U.S. Marine Corps has hired Marathon to create a similar robot-equipped, live-fire training venue.
Marathon combined computer gaming technology with armored, remote-controlled Segways to create the ultimate 21st century moving target. The lower halves of the Segways are armor-plated, so the expensive electronic innards don’t get damaged by an errant shot. On top is mounted a replica human torso. The torso section can be clothed to distinguish “civilians” from military targets, or to distinguish terrorists from hostages.
Marathon’s sophisticated software can control multiple Segway Robots at the same time. A group of Segways can be programmed to mimic a squad on patrol, or a group of terrorists holding hostages. The control software allows autonomous or “intelligent” behavior by the Segway Robots. For example, the Segways can disperse automatically at the sound of a gunshot, and the Segways can be trained to seek cover in hallways or behind objects. Importantly, the Segway Robots are capable of human-like movement — they can stop quickly, turn 360° and retreat slowly, or accelerate to a human running pace. Marathon’s Segway Robots are equipped with laser range finders so they can avoid running into obstacles, including people on the move. The “Segbots” lean forward slightly as they walk forward, like people do.
To really understand how the Robotic Smart Targets work, watch this amazing video:
RESOURCES: Marathon Targets Webpage | Smart Targets Product Info (PDF) | Photo Gallery
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June 28th, 2014
Do you own a .22 LR rimfire pistol? Well now you can transform that handgun into a high-tech laser pistol, thanks to a new gadget from LaserLyte. The new .22 Caliber Laser Trainer works with nearly all .22 LR pistols (but not revolvers) with a striker or conventional firing pin. The battery-powered device emits a laser beam when you pull the trigger. The video below shows how it works.
Watch LaserLyte .22 LR Trainer in Action
We have to admit we liked the idea of this device so much, we ordered one from Amazon.com. The $96.59 retail price seems a little steep, but think of all the money you can save on .22 LR ammo (which is pretty darn hard to find these days anyway). We just wish there was a version for .22 LR revolvers.
WARNING: Before you use the LaserLyte .22 Caliber Trainer, check and double-check to ensure your pistol is UNLOADED!! That means NO ROUND IN THE CHAMBER! Pulling the trigger with the training device in the barrel (and a loaded round) could cause serious injury or death to yourself or someone downrange. As with any firearm, always make sure to follow all basic firearm safety rules! Additionally, never point the laser beam at another person — as the laser can cause eye injury.
New product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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June 27th, 2014
Over the years, noted gunsmith and a Benchrest Hall-of-Fame inductee Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzalez has learned a few things about “tuning” rear sandbags for best performance. On his Facebook page, Speedy recently discussed how sand bag fill levels (hard vs. soft) can affect accuracy. Speedy says you don’t want to have both your front and rear sandbags filled up ultra-hard. One or the other bag needs to have some “give” to provide a shock-absorbing function (and prevent stock jump).
SAND BAGS & HOW TO FILL THEM by Speedy Gonzalez
I was asked several times by competitors at the S.O.A. Matches and F-Class Nationals as to how I fill my sand bags for benchrest competition. Here is a copy of a reply I gave several years ago:
Back in the old days, about the time Fred Flintstone was still alive, I worked for Pat McMillan for free, from time to time to learn all his secrets. One day little Speedy was filling some new sand bags out behind Pat’s shop, stuffing them with more sand than Taco Bell put beans in their Burritos. When Pat stepped out the back door and inquired as to what in the hell was I doing packing them there bags the way I was.
I looked up at him with eyes like a kid with his hands in a cookie jar. My reply must have sounded like Homer Simpson “Doooh”. Finally I said “I don’t know, Boss. I just thought you were supposed to fill these babies up and go shoot. I got that ‘You dumb bastard look’ from Pat and I knew it was lecture time. This was what he told me:
You can not have two bags filled so hard that you gun bounces on them in the process of firing round at your target, especially if you have a rig with a very flexible stock. The bags must be set up in a manner for them to absorb the initial shock of the firing pin moving forward and igniting the primer. Then [they must] maintain their shape and absorb the second shock wave as well the rearward thrust and torque of the rifle. What happens to the rifle when this is not done? Well let me tell you. The rifles have a very bad tendency to jump and roll in the bags. This causes many of those wild, lost shots that one can’t explain.
Charles Huckaba, Ken Terrell, Larry Baggett, Ralph Stewart and some of us Texas shooters talk about this phenomena quite often. We have all agreed that:
- 1: You can not have two hard bags [i.e. both front AND rear] in your set-up.
- 2: Heavy sand magnifies these phenomena.
- 3: If you are a bag squeezer, pack ears hard and leave bag pliable enough to squeeze for the movement required. You may pack front bag as hard as rules permit.
- 4: Free recoil shooters pack both bags firm, but not so hard as to allow stock jump. Especially if you have a stock with a very flexible forearm.
- 5: We use play-ground sand, also know as silica sand. I sift mine to get any large impurities out then mix it with 25% to 50% with Harts parakeet gravel to the desired hardness that I am looking for. The bird gravel keeps the sand from packing itself into that solid as a brick state.
Speaking of bricks — another thing that happens when shooters employ that heavy zircon sand is the ears form a low spot under them from recoil and then tend to rock back and forth with the rifle causing many low shots to crop up. Edgewood makes an Edgewood/Speedy rear bag specially reinforced under the ears to eliminate this scenario.
One last note –If you use the Cordura bags keep them sprayed with a good silicon spray or “Rain-Ex”. This keeps them from getting sticky. Hey guys, try that and see if it helps. — Speedy
P.S.: I do not like the solid double-stitched leather bottoms. While this seems like a good idea, I see more shooters have problems because of them. They tend to slide around the bench and or slide with the rifle on recoil. The standard Protektor with Cordura rabbit ears and an Otto ring bag with a Cordura front would be what I would suggest to the new shooter or one of the Edgewood / Speedy rear bags, these mimic the “Donut” and feature a ring of leather around the bottom circumference that keep the bottom from rocking on the bench or ground if that is where you reside these days…
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June 26th, 2014
Applied Ballistics, LLC is offering an all-new book by Bryan Litz, the first in a series. The new 339-page, hard-cover book, Modern Advancements for Long Range Shooting, Volume I, documents the ongoing R & D being done at the Applied Ballistics laboratory, the “Area 51″ of the shooting world.
“This new series is heavily based in experimental ballistics, and takes a ‘Myth Busters’-type approach to many of the questions and problems faced by modern long range shooters,” stated Litz. Volume I of the series is scheduled for release in late July, 2014. The book will cost $39.95, but you can pre-order now for $35.95, a 10% savings.
Bryan adds: “Anyone interested in the underlying science behind shooting can benefit from this book. We address the important questions… How much does faster twist affect MV? How does stability affect BC from the muzzle and downrange? What chronographs are capable of high accuracy and precision? What characteristics should you look for in your long range rifle and optic set up? What new gadgets are being developed to enhance long range shooting?
New Book Features Extensive Live-Fire Test Results
Bryan tells us: “The book spotlights state-of-the-art technologies (and methodologies) in long range shooting. New equipment and old ideas are explored using experimental, live-fire testing. Extensive test results are reported in an easy-to-understand way. Among other things, our tests explore the effects of twist rate on muzzle velocity, BC (supersonic and transonic), precision, even spin rate decay for various rifling profiles as they are tested experimentally.
Chronographs and Optics Are Tested and Compared
Litz’s new book traces the evolution of modern rifle, bullet, and optic design. Results from chronograph comparison tests are presented, showing the strengths and weaknesses of available commercial chronographs. High-tech instrumentation such as laser rangefinders and wind measurement devices are explained in detail by contributing author Nick Vitalbo.
The New Book Puts Theory into Practice
We asked Bryan Litz how this new book differs from his previous treatises. Bryan replied: “My original Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting book explains the fundamental elements of external ballistics. It’s the academic background which all future work relies on. The new book, Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting, covers the ongoing development of equipment and ideas. We explore things like twist rate effects, modern rifle and optic design, and some of the high tech instruments which are being used to enhance the effectiveness of long range shooting.
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