Montana-based PROOF Research has released a revealing new video showcasing carbon fiber firearms technology and the company’s barrel-making process. Viewers will find the 8-minute film an intriguing introduction to composite barrel-making, which employs aerospace carbon fiber wrapped around a steel barrel core. The video showcases the high-tech machines used at PROOF’s production facilities.
PROOF’s CEO Larry Murphy explains that PROOF’s barrel technology is state-of-the-art: “What PROOF Research is doing is bringing disruption into our industry. We’re doing things that have never been done here before. That’s going to help the warfighter, and it’s going to help the average hunter … it’s going to do a lot of things.” The video shows how the company employs aerospace-grade, high-temperature composite materials to build match-grade carbon fiber-wrapped barrels, and composite rifle systems.
Dr. David Curliss, General Manager of PROOF Research’s Advanced Composite Division, and former head of the U.S. Air Force High Temperature Composites Laboratory, explains how aerospace expertise helps in the development of PROOF’s firearms-related products: “We are able to provide premier materials for PROOF Research for firearms barrels applications as well as the aerospace market. We’re probably the only firearms technology company that has composite materials in orbit around the earth.”
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Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) Annealing Machine Review
Review by Bill Gravatt
I had been following the progress of Alex and Matt Findlay with Annealing Made Perfect for almost three years as they pursued making the best annealing product for the private reloading market. The short explanation of why we anneal brass is to return the brass to a softer and consistent hardness after the brass has work-hardened from repetitive firing and sizing. As the President/co-owner of Sinclair International for over 21 years I saw a lot of products come through our doors that annealed brass but these products always seemed like they had very little supportive data and research behind them. Most of them were based on some type of torch system. The New Zealand-based father/son team of Alex and Matt spent these past three years addressing the challenging questions about annealing:
- What is the correct temperature to reach when annealing?
– How long should you take to get to that temp and how long should you remain there?
– How frequently should you anneal?
– Can you ruin your expensive brass?
– How do we make the process repeatable for the handloader?
– How do you accurately measure the case hardness?
They worked closely with the Electrical Engineering Department at the local University of Technology and invested a lot of capital into detailed metallurgical research. Their decision to use induction heating was because of its repeatability and the ability to reach exacting and consistent temperatures. Induction annealing is achieved by placing the cartridge in a magnetic field thereby inducing eddy currents within the brass and heating the brass without contacting the brass physically. To learn more, I suggest you visit the AmpAnnealing.com website. It is very informative.
Why should you anneal? If you are just a casual reloader, than annealing isn’t necessary but if you a serious wildcatter or competitive shooter you may want to consider it. More and more competitive shooters anneal their cases (not necessarily for adding life to the cases) to achieve more consistent pressures and velocities.
My first favorable impression was received by just opening the extremely well-packed shipping box. You could tell these guys take a great deal of pride in their product. The unit comes with three cartridge-specific pilots (you decide on which pilots), a shellholder collet, a power cord, a thorough, well-written, easy to follow instruction manual, and a USB cord for future software updates.
This machine is so easy to use that I was up and running within a few minutes. All I had to supply was the shells, the correct shell-holder and an aluminum pan to drop the hot cases into. I started annealing some unturned .308 Winchester cases (Lapua headstamp) that had four firings. First I screwed the pilot for .308 cases (#11) into the machine, placed my .308 shellholder into the supplied shellholder/collet and turned the power on. The display fired up right away and soon registered the program level that the machine was set to.
Since the machine uses induction heating, you need to set the heating level for the correct setting for the brass you are using. The alloy being used isn’t as important as the thickness or amount of brass in the neck and shoulder region. For example, Lapua and Norma have more brass in that area so the setting would be higher for these brands than Winchester brass. Also, if you have neck-turned brass, the setting would be reduced from the standard setting because there would be less mass in the air gap.
This manufacturer-produced video shows how the AMP annealing machine operates:
The settings are obtained by referring to the “Settings” section on the AMP website and are broken out by cartridge, brand, standard unturned cases, and then neck-turned cases with various amounts of wall thickness removed. A great service that AMP provides to the handloader is that you can send sample cases of your brass to them (U.S. location in Wolcott, Indiana) and they will test the hardness for you and send you the exact setting for your specific lot of brass.
My setting for unturned Lapua .308 Winchester brass was “92”. The buttons on the front of the machine allow you to adjust the setting quickly. After you set the program number, the setting is locked in after the first use until you change it again. I placed the first case in the shellholder, lowered the assembly down through the pilot and into position. I then hit the start button which illuminated immediately and then about 6 to 7 seconds later, the light went off signaling that heating was completed.
Now, be aware, these cases are extremely hot. I lifted the case out using the shellholder/collet and then dropped it into my aluminum pan. I then placed another case into the holder, put it into the machine and then repeated the process. Once I got the coordination down, I did 100 .308 Win cases in about 24 minutes. I did some 6mmBR cases later (Lapua) and annealed 100 cases in about 15 minutes at the “75” setting. I found myself raising my shop stool a little higher than normal so I was at a comfortable height in relationship to the top of the machine. Very easy to do — I actually had a student do a few cases with me and she had no problem at all following the instructions.
There is a thermal cut-off that prevents the machine from overheating. Depending on the setting, this can occur after 20 to 35 minutes of continuous use. When this has occurred, simply leave the machine on and the fans will cool it down so you can resume annealing. This isn’t surprising considering the amount of heat being generated.
All in all, I found this machine extremely easy to setup and operate. Now, does it work? I have test batches of brass that I am going to run over the chronograph in 10-round strings. I plan on running at least 10 strings of annealed brass and 10 strings of unannealed brass out of the same lot, same number of reloadings/firings and out of the same gun. I plan on alternating annealed strings and unannealed strings with a cooling off period every 20 rounds. When I do testing, I have my wife pre-label my batches as Batch A and B so I won’t know what rounds I am shooting until I get back from the range. I’ll make the results available as soon as I can. My expectation is that velocities will be more consistent based on my understanding of the lab results that the Findlays have achieved with their Annealing Made Perfect machine. For more information, visit their website at AmpAnnealing.com.
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Bullets.com — 6mm Dasher Brass from Norma
It’s finally here, ladies and gentlemen — factory-made Dasher brass. That means no more fireforming! This 6mm Dasher brass has been custom crafted by Norma exclusively for Bullets.com. A special blend of brass together with special treatment of the primer pockets has produced casings that will last for many firings under normal use. The necks have been specially lengthened and are .290″ from shoulder. Overall length is 1.598″ and neck walls are approximately .013″ thick. Available in packs of 100 ($109.95) or 500 ($529.95).
NOTE: This extra-sturdy brass has a thicker rim which may not work in your standard shell holder. Custom shell holder item BL12100 is designed to accommodate the heavy rim of these cases.
2. CDNN Sports — 1911-Type .22 LR Target Pistol
Everyone should have an accurate .22 LR target pistol. This German-made GSG 1911 22LR pistol shares the look, feel, and ergonomics of J.M. Browning’s classic model 1911 so it’s good for cross-training. We’ve tried this pistol and the trigger is pretty darn good — though don’t expect it be be as nice as a S&W Model 41. But consider that the GSG costs just $249.99. By contrast, MSRP on a new Model 41 is a steep $1369.00. For cross-training and target work the GSG is a very good value.
3. Monmouth Reloading — Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 LRF, $499.00
This excellent laser rangefinder rivals other premium LRFs selling for hundreds more. Head-to-head field tests with Leica, Zeiss, and Swarovski LRFs proved that the new Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 can play in that league, but at a much more affordable price point. Sig accomplishes that with tight beam divergence and state-of-the-art DSP technology which allows the Kilo 2000 to range faster (and more reliably) at longer distances. Optic magnification is 7X. The Kilo 2000 weighs 7.5 oz and measures 3″ x 4.2″ x 1.3″.
SAVE MORE: Right now you can save an additional $110 off every Rangefinder Monmouth Reloading sells, including the Sig Kilo 2000. To save an additional $110, use Coupon Code LRF 110. That will lower your cost to $389.00 for the Kilo 2000, which is a total steal. (Time-Limited Offer!)
4. Cabelas.com — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit
Everything you see above can be yours for just $225.00, after manufacturer’s rebate. Right now, Cabela’s is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $300.00. That’s a good deal as this Reloading Kit sells elsewhere for up to $360.00. But he’s the real incentive — if you spend $300.00 on RCBS products in 2016, RCBS will send you a $75.00 rebate. With that REBATE, your net cost is just $225.00 for the entire Kit.
5. Amazon — Motorola Walkie Talkies, $42.56 per Pair
Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. The 22-CH Motorola MH230R Two-Way Radio is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios. This under-$45.00 set offers 22 channels with a claimed range up to 23 miles (We’ve used them and they worked at 3 miles line of sight). The kit includes: 2 radios, 2 belt clips, 1 dual drop-in charger, 1 charging adapter, 2 NiMH rechargeable battery packs. Run-time is about 10 hours — plenty for a full day of shooting. There is also a newer version, the Motorola T260 for $59.00.
6. Amazon — Nikon 1-4x20mm M-223 Scope with BDC, $212.46
Under the CMP’s new Service Rifle Rules, you can use an optic with up to 4.5X magnification and 34mm objective. If you have money to burn, you could purchase the excellent new Nightforce 4.5x24mm SR scope for $1950.00. Or, if you would rather put your money into barrels, bullets, and brass, you can spend a whole lot less. This little Nikon 1-4x20mm M-223 can do the job and right now it’s on sale for under $215.00! You could buy NINE of these Nikons for the price of one Nightforce SR. That certainly makes you think about priorities.
7. Grafs.com — NEW Nikon Wind Meter for SmartPhones, $28.99
Here’s a great new gadget for under $30.00. Nikon’s new Spot On™ Ballistic Wind Meter plugs directly into the headphone port on most popular smart phones. The Spot On Wind Meter reads both wind speed and direction and inputs the data directly into Nikon’s free Spot On Ballistics Mobile App (available for iOS and Android). This allows you to quickly determine and calculate wind drift corrections without needing a separate, dedicated wind meter. When not in use, the Nikon device easily fits in a pocket.
8. Amazon – Frankford Arsenal Master Tumbler Kit, $56.65
This Master Tumbler Kit contains everything you need to tumble rifle or pistol brass. Now on sale for $56.65, this Kit contains: Vibratory Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, Plastic Bucket, 3 lbs. Cleaning Media, and 4 oz. Brass Polish. This product has received excellent reviews from verified purchasers.
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Tired of hauling around an old-fashioned Score Book and making entries with pencil and paper? Well now you can go digital — Creedmoor Sports has released a full-featured Scoring Book App that lets you plot your shot locations using an iPhone, iPod, or iPad (Apple tablet). The price is right — just visit the iTunes store to download the App for FREE.
Record Match and Practice Data
This new App, available for free in the Apple App Store, provides all the same functions and capabilities of the traditional Creedmoor print Data Book, but with the convenience and ease of recording your match and practice information with your iPhone or tablet. With this App you can break your 20 shot slow-fire segments into either 10- or 20-shot targets, and also opt for sighting shots. All the specific event data can also be recorded, such as location, wind, light etc., along with wind and elevation adjustments.
COMMUNICATIONS Restrictions: In some matches you are not allowed to have electronic communication ability, so you may have to set your iPhone to “Airplane Mode”, or use this only with an iPod (which does not have two-way communication capability).
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Competition Machine’s Gary Eliseo is a very smart designer as well as a talented shooter. The inventor/builder of the popular Competition Machine Tubegun chassis systems, Gary has come up with something new, which he calls the PickleForks. These are rails that fit to the sides of the tubular fore-end/handguard on his chassis systems. This allows you to use a pedestal-style front rest for F-Class competition. It also provides a much more stable platform for load testing, varmint hunting, or any kind of rest-assisted precision shooting. These new PickleForks transform a Tubegun into an ultra-stable, straight-tracking rig when used with a competition-style front rest.
Gary explains: “Now you can have the same super low-boreline, long ‘wheelbase’ and vertical sides of our innovative F1 F-Class chassis system for your tube chassis. The new PickleForks attach directly to the sides of the F-Class/Tactical fore-ends, no modifications are required. They are very rigid with no flex or twist and make the rifle track like it’s on rails.” The new Eliseo Competition Machine PickleForks are offered for a very reasonable $70.00 per pair, with Cerakote finish. (You get two metal units, one for each side of the fore-arm). For more information, visit www.GotXRing.com or call (928) 649-0742.
New Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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If you’re the kind of guy who likes to get his brass shiny inside and out, then wet-tumbling with stainless media gets the job done. For heavy-duty wet-tumbling jobs, it used to be that you had to buy a Thumler’s Tumbler and then figure out your own solution for media separation. Now there are other options on the market which may be more convenient for many users.
Lyman has just introduced its Cyclone Rotary Tumbler. For under $190.00 on Amazon.com, this ships as a complete system with everything you need — even the stainless media and media separators. The Tumbler unit itself holds up to 1000 pieces of .223 Rem brass and features a rubber lining to protect your cases and reduce noise during operation.
Conveniently, a built-in timer can be set from 0 to 3 hours, shutting off automatically. The drum features a large, screw-on end-cap to allow easy loading and unloading. In addition, the tumbler comes with two special sifter pans that make it easy to separate pins from brass. Simply empty the tumbler into the stacked pans. The first pan catches the brass, while the second, finer screen pan catches the pins. Very clever. The Cyclone Tumbler system ships with five pounds of stainless media pins and a sample packet of Brass Cleaning Solution.
Video shows Lyman Cyclone wet tumbling system in action:
TECH TIP: Wet-tumbling brass with stainless media really works. With enough “run-time” the process will definitely remove stubborn carbon on the inside of cases. However, some folks observe that case-mouths can occasionally get peened during the process. This is not a big deal but it is worth noting. In addition, with large flash-hole cases, it is possible (though rare) for a pin to stick in a flash hole. Therefore you should inspect every case before loading in a progressive press or bulk-priming cases with a bench tool.
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Nightforce has released an all-new 4.5x24mm scope for Service Rifle Competition. Nightforce’s new Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm riflescope is purpose-built for the CMP’s new Service Rifle rules that allow scopes with max 4.5X magnification, and max objective lens diameter of 34mm. Nightforce made this new scope quite light in weight (just 15.4 ounces), recognizing that Service Rifles will now be limited to 11.5 pounds for optic and gun combined. MSRP is $1950.00.
FIELD TEST COMING — Accurateshooter.com will get one of these new 4.5x24mm Nightforce scopes for evaluation soon. We will provide a complete field test, and our tester Dennis Santiago will use the new scope in actual Service Rifle competition.
The new NF Competition SR 4.5x24mm scope provides 100 MOA of both elevation and windage adjustment, with .25 MOA clicks and 20 MOA per revolution. Parallax is fixed at 200 yards. The main tube is 30mm. This scope features a handy ZeroStop on the elevation knob that allows instant, positive return to the shooter’s chosen zero setting.
Photo shows Nightforce’s new, lightweight Unimount. Half the weight of a similar steel unit, this alloy mount offers +20 MOA taper.
The new non-illuminated SR-1 reticle features heavy posts at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions, and a 10 MOA center circle with 8 MOA crosshair. The Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm will retail at $1950.00 and the UnimountTM SR will retail at $260.00.
Product tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Here’s a smart invention — a foldable cardboard cone. With this innovative Target Cone you can easily carry a target-holder wherever you go. The Target Cone from Re-Nine Safety transports flat so it can be easily stowed in the trunk of your car (or even under a seat). When you’re ready to use it, simply fold the flaps to create a self-supporting cone with pre-printed targets on one side. Place a rock on the base to hold it steady. The Target Cone can be used by itself or, as shown below, you can attach other targets, such as Re-Nine’s new Silhouette Target (below right).
We think this is a great innovation. Keep a couple Target Cone flats in the back of your car or truck and you’ll always have a target support. For spur-of-the-moment range sessions, this is much easier than toting around a big target frame. The Re-Nine Safety Target Cones retail for about $5.00.
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Father’s Day is Sunday, June 19, 2016, less than a week away. If your father enjoys the shooting sports, here are some recommended items that our staff owns or uses. All selections cost less than $100.00. It’s not too late to order. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can get two-day shipping in most areas of the country. For non-Prime members, most items will ship in 3-4 days. That’s enough time to get the gift to “Pops” by next Sunday.
TEN Great Father’s Day Gifts for Dad Under $100.00
The light-weight, compact RCBS Partner Press is ideal for loading at the range. It can easily be mounted to a bench with C-Clamps.
This is an excellent shooting mat — it is very well made with good padding/insulation. On gravel, concrete, or hard-packed ground this is way more comfortable than typical mats. It is wide enough and easy to fold. Any Dad who shoots would love this.
We’ve used Bog-Pod shooting supports on varmint hunts. They’re great for down-angle shots from a ridge or kneeling shots to get above terrain obstacles. Bog-Pods adjust from 17″ to 39″.
This battery pack can charge your cellphone, tablet, or even a chronograph. Our IT manager uses this battery pack to run his LabRadar Chrono. He also uses it as an emergency charger when camping and traveling. It has three outputs, allowing multi-device recharging.
Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. The 22-CH Motorola MH230R Two-Way Radio is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios.
Plano’s AirGlide case is a unique, top-loading rifle case. Ideal for benchrest guns with wide forearms, the AirGlide case puts no side-pressure on scopes. We like the ease of loading. This fits rifles up to about 27-28″ barrels.
The versatile MTM Range Box includes cradles so you can do gun maintenance while at the range. A lift-out tray holds small items such as patches and jags. This is a durable product that can hold ammo and other gear.
Your Editor owns this watch and wears it for all special occasions. It is a very handsome quartz dress watch crafted by Orient, a division of Seiko. The hands and case are rose-gold color. At just under 8mm, the watch is very thin and comfortable to wear. The 40.5mm case features an elegant retro-styled domed crystal. This watch is also available with a silver-tone case and white face for around $130.00.
This cleverly-designed Shotshell thermos will make Dad smile. Styled just like a 12ga shotgun shell, the Stansport thermal bottle holds 25 oz. of hot or cold liquids.
This rugged 4-pistol case will hold your handguns and magazines securely. Airline-approved for checked luggage, this lockable case has a lifetime warranty. An 0-ring seal makes the case 100% waterproof and dustproof.
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Until now, if you wanted good hearing protection with the ability to hear conversations and range commands, you’d employ a pair of electronic muffs with sound-cut-out circuitry*. Those electronic muffs worked but they were bulky, hot, and could interfere with your cheek weld. Now there’s a new alternative — an “Earbud Headset” that offers NRR 31-rated hearing protection along with the ability to hear conversations.
The innovative, patent-pending Razor-X Earbud Headset from Walker’s® could be a “game changer” in the hearing protection field. The noise-activated, sound protection hardware is contained in a padded collar that fits comfortably around your neck. Small earbuds with foam tips fit in your ear providing 31 dB of noise protection. The microphones in the headset allow you to hear normal conversations and range commands. Two versions of the Razor headset will be offered: Basic Razor-X ($119.00 MSRP) and the deluxe Razor-XV ($159.99 MSRP) with Bluetooth capability.
• Retractable Digital Ear buds
• 31 dB NRR (Noise Reduction Rating)
• Sound-Activated Compression (SAC)
• Rechargeable 250mAH battery with 10 HR run-time.
• Hi Gain omnidirectional microphones.
• HD speakers in the ear buds for good audio quality.
• Includes 3 pairs of 12mm foam tips (S/M/L) and two pairs of 16mm coated foam tips (M/L)
• Auto-Shut Off (low power mode) after 4 to 6 hours.
• Integrated Micro USB port with charging cord.
• AC wall adapter with USB port for charging.
• Patent Pending Technology
• MSRP: $119.99
Walker’s product information states:
The Razor-X incorporates a neck-worn device featuring comfortable, retractable ear buds. The “behind the neck” design allows for ZERO interference with you or your weapon, allowing you to focus on your target. These … patent-pending buds allow the user to be in loud environments without damaging their hearing, providing an impressive 31 dB of noise reduction.
The Hi Gain omni-directional microphones provide clear sound enhancement for enjoyable conversations on the range or to hear firearm instructors’ directions while training. The Razor-X HD digital speakers provide a wide range audio quality that enhances the users experience. The kit includes two different styles of noise-reducing foam tips in a variety of sizes to ensure a proper fit for maximum noise reduction. The Razor-X is equipped with an auto-shut off (low power mode) after 4 to 6 hours. The timer will reset and the unit will wake up after any button is pressed. An AC wall adapter with USB port and a one-meter micro USB cord is provided for convenient charging.
*There are some high-tech “in-ear” electronic systems with noise-activated protection, but these are typically quite expensive and not commonly used by shooters.
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Are you looking for some summertime reading material? Do you enjoy classic hunting adventures from around the globe? Then log on to the NitroExpress.com Forum. There you’ll find links for literally hundreds of vintage hunting stories, and even complete books, such as Teddy Roosevelt’s classic African Game Trails and Good Hunting, plus the wonderful book African Campfires by Stewart E. White, one of Roosevelt’s close friends and hunting companions.
Among the downloadable titles are The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo (leaflet edition) by Lt.Col. J. H. Patterson, the true tale that inspired the Hollywood movie, The Ghost and the Darkness, staring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer. The online version of the Man-Eaters of Tsavo book (right) is a shorter, 140-page edition created for Chicago’s Field Museum, which purchased the skins of the lions from Patterson and put them on display.
Here’s a great gift for Father’s Day that any dad with a truck should appreciate. Forum member John Niemi crafts custom hitch covers that look like the end of a cartridge case, complete with head-stamp. Costing $75.00 (delivered), they are made out of solid brass with a stainless steel “primer”. The diameter of the brass is 4 inches and the engraved letters are about half an inch tall. The section that slides over the trailer hitch is aluminum, so you don’t have to worry about rust.
The “headstamp” can include your favorite cartridge-maker and caliber (wildcats too!), or you can include the name of your business. John tells us: “I can engrave any text on one as long as there is enough room for it. Turn around time is usually less then a week after payment. I have sold many of these and everyone has been extremely happy with the quality and workmanship that I put into my product. These make great one-of-a-kind gifts.”
$75.00 Delivered in the USA
The current price for brass bullet hitch covers from John Niemi is $75.00 shipped anywhere in the USA. To order, send email to JohnNiemi [at] charter.net or call (503) 440-1954. John said he should be able to offer pretty quick turn-around, unless he just gets swamped this week.
Forum member Wayne (aka WAMBO) ordered a custom hitch cover from John, featuring the 30/338 Lapua Improved wildcat he calls the 300 WAMBOMAG. Wayne reports: “The hitch cover is very well made. I’m impressed with the quality. Buy with confidence.”
We’ve seen John’s craftsmanship on many of these hitches, and we can confirm that the hitches are beautifully made, and make a handsome addition to any vehicle. If you order one (or more), be sure to mention you learned about the hitch covers on AccurateShooter.com.
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MidwayUSA has just introduced a new compact shooting mat that should work great for varmint hunters as well as tactical competitors. The new MidwayUSA Lightweight Tactical Shooting Mat rolls up into a very compact 15″x 8″ package that fits into a handy carry pouch. Despite its light weight and portability, this mat has some nice features: 5 millimeter-thick close-cell foam padding, four corner tie-downs, and a water resistant, non-skid bottom. The rugged, abrasion-resistant exterior is constructed of 400D PVC-coated polyester fabric on top, with 1200D PVC-coated polyester on the bottom. There is also a data card pocket.
The price is right — as an introductory special, MidwayUSA is offering this new Lightweight Tactical Shooting Mat for just $29.99. You read that right — you can purchase the mat for just $29.99, thirty bucks off the regular $59.99 price. That’s a great deal…
When not in use, the mat conveniently stores in its included MOLLE-compatible, zippered pouch. Unrolled, the mat is 69″ long and 30.25″ wide. Rolled dimensions are 15″ x 8″. The MidwayUSA Lightweight Tactical Shooting Mat is currently offered in three colors: faded olive drab, black, and coyote tan (featured above).
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The BarrelCool is an innovative, compact barrel-cooling device that also serves as an empty-chamber safety flag. A small, battery-powered fan drives cooling air through the barrel’s bore. Yes it really works — manufacturer-provided data shows that BarrelCool significantly reduces the time it takes to cool down a hot barrel. Look at the chart above to see what to expect.
In the past, folks have tried various methods to cool barrels: water flushed through the bore, CO2 tanks, even battery-operated fish pumps. BarrelCool is a simpler, less costly, and much handier solution. Priced at $34.99, this small device can definitely save you time at the range. Potentially it can save you money by extending barrel life. To see how Barrelcool works, visit BarrelCool.com. There you’ll find video demos of BarrelCool units in both bolt-action and AR-type rifles.
BarrelCool Range Reports from Forum Members
“Early adopters” of BarrelCool have been impressed so far. Forum member Comrade Terry said: “At the range, I spend a good bit of time waiting for the barrel to cool between shot strings. I fired my usual 50 rounds today, and (though it was 85° today) I was able to leave the range 30-40 minutes earlier than usual thanks to the BarrelCool. I like it!” Another Forum member, J-Rod, reports “Did some load development on my new rifle Friday. This used to take forever due to the barrel heating up outside in full sun (90° ambient). I’d say this little gem cut about two hours off my normal shooting time. I got home early and the wife was happy — what’s that worth?”
How and Why BarrelCool Was Invented
BarrelCool originated from the idea that cease-fire periods would be a great time to cool a barrel. During cease-fires, most ranges and matches require empty chamber flags in the gun so that the range officer and everyone on the firing line can see visually that the gun is in a safe condition.
BarrelCool inventor Bryan Sumoba explains the advantage of Barrelcool: “The challenge with the previous barrel-cooling methods is one would have to be present to run the device, it required additional steps such as running patches down the bore, or it gets in the way of a required empty-chamber flag. BarrelCool now allows the shooter to cool the barrel down simply and easily while having the empty-chamber flag in the firearm.”
Sumoba says BarrelCool significantly shortens the time needed to cool down a hot barrel: “In controlled testing, it took about half the time to cool the barrel from 140 degrees F to 100 degrees F (more in some cases depending on the barrel contour/length and ambient temperatures). Our customers also report significant reductions in the time it takes to cool down a hot barrel. At a recent 3×1000 F-Class match in Sacramento, one shooter fired 25 shots out of his 7mm RSAUM and got the barrel to the point where it was too hot to touch. In most cases, the barrel would still be very warm/hot by the time the next relay started. We placed BarrelCool in his firearm and within 30 minutes, the barrel was back to near-ambient temperature. Other observers mentioned that the air coming out of the muzzle with BarrelCool in the firearm felt like a mini blow dryer.”
Using three (3) CR123A batteries, a BarrelCool unit can operate for 7-10+ hours. BarrelCool fits both AR-style rifles as well as most bolt action rifles. The Hi-Viz yellow color stands out on the firing line and BarrelCool is small enough to fit in most range or gun bags. Manufactured in the USA, Barrelcool can benefit competition, precision, or recreational shooters who need to cool down their barrels more rapidly, while displaying “safe condition” on the firing line. For more information, or to order for $34.99, visit www.barrelcool.com.
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If you watch just one episode of Shooting USA TV this year, it probably should be this week’s hour-long SHOT Show Special. Tonight, June 1, 2016, you can see the full coverage of the event. Jim Scoutten’s team of gun journalists work hard every January, bringing you highlights from the gun industry’s largest trade show. Jim, son John Scoutten, and other staffers prowled the 12 miles of aisles in the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, visiting many of the 1,600+ exhibitors. This episode provides a “first look” at the new guns, optics, and gear introduced for 2016. Click HERE to learn more about this week’s SHOT Show episode.
Shooting USA’s SHOT Show Special will air for a full hour on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 on the Outdoor Channel. Here are the air times, but you should check your local schedule. Look for Shooting USA TV on the Outdoor Channel.
Shooting USA Hour AIR TIMES BY TIME ZONE:
Wednesday Night Schedule:
Eastern Time – 9:00 PM, 12:30 AM
Central Time – 8:00 PM, 11:30 PM
Mountain Time – 7:00 PM, 10:30 PM
Pacific Time – 6:00 PM, 9:30 PM
Saturday Prime Time Schedule:
Eastern Time – 12:30 AM
Central Time – 11:30 PM
Mountain Time – 10:30 PM
Pacific Time – 9:30 PM
Here are some of the 50+ new products featured on the SHOT Show Special:
Savage A17 XP Rifle
Hornady L-N-L Iron Press
Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 Sport
Sig P210 Standard/Target 9mm
SnapSafe Titan Modular Safe
Walther PPS M2 9mm
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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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The Precision Rifle Series (PRS) has introduced a new, price-capped Production Class in an effort to boost participation by making competition more affordable. Under recently-issued PRS rules, Production Class rifles may cost no more than $2000.00. The rules state:
“Production Division combined rifle and scope MSRP as listed on the company’s website shall not exceed $3,000 USD, the rifle shall not exceed $2,000 USD and the optic not exceed $2,000 USD.
Production Division rifles are not permitted to be altered or improved in any way from the original factory configuration.
In an effort to prevent exorbitant costs for beginning shooters, Production Division round count will not exceed 80 rounds.”
To fit the new Production Class Rules, MasterPiece Arms (MPA) has developed the new BA Lite PCR Competition Rifle built around a Savage Model 12 short action. Designed specifically for the new PRS Production Class, MPA’s PCR Competition Rifle offers many premium features yet stays under the $2,000 Class limit. The Savage action is upgraded with a Rifle Basix 2-lb trigger, and the adjustable, modular chassis offers a bag rider, barricade stop, and even a built-in bubble level. Bipods can be attached up front to a rail, with optional spigot mount. MPA PCR Rifles come with stainless Bergara barrels, 22-26 inches in length, fitted with MPA muzzle brakes (muzzle thread is 5/8-24 TPI).
MPA BA Lite PCR Competition Rifle Specifications:
Chamberings: 6mm Creedmoor, 243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 Win, 6.5 x 47 Lapua, 6mm x 47 Lapua
Action: Savage Model 12 Short Action
Trigger: Rifle Basix Savage Trigger Set to 2 lbs.
Barrel: Bergara 416R Stainless Premium Barrel Blank
Chassis: MPA BA Lite Chassis
Muzzle Brake: MPA High Performance Muzzle Brake
Magazine: AICS Type (10 Round Accurate/AICS Type Magazine Included)
Chassis Weight: 2.9 lbs. (Overall rifle weight depends on barrel length and contour.) MSRP: $1,999.99
Left-Hand and Right-Hand Models in Choice of Five Cerakote Colors
The MPA BA Lite PCR Competition Rifle is available in black, burnt bronze, flat dark earth, gunmetal, and tungsten in both left- and right-handed set ups. All chassis and barrels are Cerakoted® in a multitude of colors and patterns. (Custom patterns are $150.00 extra). Barrel lengths available include 22 inches through 26 inches. The barrel twist is caliber-specific and the barrel muzzle thread is 5/8-24 TPI.
Editor’s Note: While the MPA PCR Competition rifle has nice features, it’s hard not to compare it to the Ruger Precision Rifle costing hundreds less. The latest Gen 2 Ruger Precision Rifle, with a sleeker handguard and factory muzzle brake, is available for under $1500.00 “street price”. Ruger lists a $1599.00 MSRP for the Gen 2 RPR versus $1399.00 for Gen 1 models.
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What was old, is new again… RCBS has just introduced an all-new balance beam scale, the RCBS M1000 Scale. RCBS claims this magnetic-dampened scale will weigh up to 1,000 Grains with +/- 0.1-grain accuracy (one-tenth of a grain is about three kernels of Varget). The new M1000 mechanical scale features a magnetic damping system for fast readings, and maintenance-free movement. A newly-designed “tip-proof” pan should ease powder loading. Notably, the M1000 scale was designed to work in both right-handed and left-handed configurations. Curtis Smith, RCBS Product Director, explains: “For those who choose mechanical scales, accuracy and reliability are top priorities. The new M1000 scale provides exactly that for both left- and right-handed users.” The scale is quite affordable — it is available now at Amazon.com for $129.59. (MSRP is $159.45.) For more information, visit www.RCBS.com.
Triple Poise Operation with 1000-Grain Capacity
The scale has some interesting features, including three poises (weight index adjusters). The main poise goes to 1000 grains, while the medium poise runs up to 20 grains. The most precise small poise spans one grain in tenth of a grain increments. The rated capacity of the RCBS M1000 scale is 1000 grains.
Multiple Reference Pointers for Target Weights
The M1000 also features multiple pointers which can be used to set target weight ranges. This speeds up operations. According to the M1000 Users Manual: “[There are] three separate pointers for easy reading of over and under loads. The center Pointer is what is used when balancing the scale and establishes a ZERO Balance. The top and bottom Pointers represent approximately 1.5 grain above and below target load. The top and bottom pointers allow the user to quickly weigh loads knowing that if the beam pointer is oscillating between the top and bottom pointers the load is within +/- 1.5 grains. Having top and bottom pointers also eliminates the need to move the small poise to check powder charge variations.”
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Edgewood makes some of the best front and rear shooting bags you can buy. And the latest Edgewood rear bag is better than ever, with a new hybrid “slick material overlay”. This combines the shape retention and stability of leather ears, with slick, low-friction material where the stock rides. This “best of both worlds” solution delivers both bag stability and improved tracking. Derek Rodgers, the only man who has won BOTH the F-Open and F-TR National Championships, is using this new rear bag, and he says it’s excellent. He says his gun tracks great with the slick material on top of leather-based ears.
You’re probably familiar with Edgewood for its high-quality shooting accessories. You may not know that Edgewood also offers a full line of quality leather holsters. And we bet you didn’t know that Edgewood got its start making tack and bridles for horse riders. Here’s a short history of Edgewood Leather, a family-run business based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The History of Edgewood Leather
by Jack Snyder
I’ve always enjoyed working with leather and still do to this day. Something about starting with an idea and building a useful and hopefully, beautiful piece does it for me. There’s nothing like leather to stimulate my imagination. It brings out my creativity and makes me happy.
I began doing leatherwork as a kid, 12 or 13, and the first piece I made was a pair of shoes. Got a job in a leather shop in the late ’60s and made purses and belts, wallets and sandals — many pairs of sandals. I opened a small retail shop in Estes Park, CO and made even more of the same, adding vests, halter tops, hats, mountain man gear of all sorts from skunk hats to goat fur high-top moccasins.
After a decade or so, I became restless for something new and taught myself bridle work. I discovered a niche market with English riders who were always looking for beautiful, well-fitting show bridles and over a period of about twenty years developed and produced many products for these riders — numerous types of nosebands, breastplates, martingales, girths and many different varieties of reins. At the same time I observed that for every horse and rider there were at least two dogs trotting along beside. I began making dog products which closely resembled their horse buddies bridle work. Sales were good. Leashes, leads, halters and collars showed up at dog shows around the country. My bridles were worn by many champions in every horse discipline — dressage, show ring, hunter-jumpers, and my polo gear became popular among the players. All of that was fun and I’m still proud of those products (still being made today), but it was time for a change. I sold my interest to my partner and tried to retire. Didn’t work, though.
My plan was to shoot benchrest matches, as many as I could. And I did for some time and loved every minute. I’ve made many friends among the shooters, discovering early on that these people are the most interesting, smart folks a guy could ever associate with. To the man, they’ll share what they know with you and even hand you their gun when yours malfunctions during a match, and grin and slap you on the back when you beat ‘em with it!
When I was getting started in benchrest, one aspect of the game was somewhat disappointing to me-the quality and stability of the shooting bags. It was natural with my past leather experience to make what I thought would be a better product. I cobbled up a couple of bags and went to a match in Oklahoma. All hell broke loose. Most of the shooters had to have one. By the end of the summer, I had so many orders for shooting bags, I couldn’t keep up the pace. I was improving the designs, based on the shooters telling me what worked and didn’t work. I was adding new products, experimenting with materials, processes and configurations and having a great time. Completely by accident, Edgewood Shooting Bags was born. My wife Cindy and my two kids Jackie and Aaron jumped in and we became a bag-making machine — always looking to improve and expand upon the products. Jackie’s husband Ryan joined us several years ago and together, we’ve made a pretty awesome team.
Edgewood’s New Line of Leather Holsters
Since we’re all avid shooters with many handguns among us, the next logical product to add to our catalog would be a line of high-quality leather holsters. For the last year or so, we’ve come up with what we believe to be the most comfortable, elegant holster out there. Affordably priced, these holsters are are available in many different styles and configurations, for both outside carry and concealed carry.
Latest Rear Bag Design — Leather Ears with ‘Slick Material Overlay’
Edgewood constantly strives to improve its products. Witness the new “slick material overlay” bag ears. This is a major design improvement over our regular “slick ears”. The development of the overall design all started when we noticed some shooters applying household products like talcum powder or dryer sheets to the ears of their bag in an effort to reduce friction and speed up their rifle’s return to battery. We found a material that would achieve this function without the need to raid their wife’s pantry for powders or laundry accessories and began sewing the ears up using this “microscopic glass bead impregnated” fabric. We were happy with the results. However, we soon began to realize that the slick material could have the longevity of our nylon as well as its slick properties, if we found a way to increase its thickness without causing wrinkles or inconsistencies.
First, we ended up hunting down some similar fabric with a much higher strength and thickness. It even has a fireproof backing that makes it far more durable — even if shooters aren’t planning on exposing it to temperatures higher than the Arizona desert can offer. This material was definitely superior and even more representative of the quality and durability that shooters have come to expect from products wearing the Edgewood logo. We didn’t stop there, either.
We started experimenting with a way to combine our toughest ear design, which is made from soft leather, with the slick material to create the best of both worlds. We deemed it the “slick overlay” option and many of the world’s top shooters now swear by it. There is no compromise with this ear set — shooters gain all of the advantages of the slick material, in addition to durability and consistency that exceeds even our tried and true nylon ears. Many of our original bags have been punished by shooters for over a decade and are still performing. We expect this design to last even longer.
Keeping ahead of the curve with innovations that create and help propel evolution in the sport is a signal of our commitment to retain our status into the future. Along with other new products like our second generation of concealed and open carry holsters, range bags for sighting in hunting rifles, radius front bags for AR-style rifles, camouflage color options and more — we even have a new logo for 2016. Check us out online or give us a call. We’re ready to meet the demands of shooters — from Benchrest and F-Class to concealed carry and IDPA.
President – Edgewood Shooting Bags and Gun Leather
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Fred Zeglin has released a Kindle eBook edition of his popular book Wildcat Cartridges — Reloader’s Handbook of Wildcat Cartridge Design. Gunsmith/author Zeglin explains: “The print edition of Wildcat Cartridges has gone out of print. We have plans to produce a second edition, but that is currently on the back burner. Demand of this book has remained strong so the decision to offer the first edition in a e-book format was made.” The Kindle eBook edition retails for $9.99 on Amazon.com. You can preview a FREE SAMPLE of the book to “try before you buy”.
This is more than just a history of cartridges. Dimensional drawings and loading data accompany many of the cartridge descriptions. More recent and popular designs are included as well as the “classic” older wildcats. There are chapters about important cartridge designers like P.O. Ackley, Jerry Gebby, Rocky Gibbs, and Charles Newton. (The hardback edition of the book contains 288 pages of stories, illustrations, instructions, and data.)
Gunwriter Wayne Van Zwoll says Zeglin’s book is a valuable resource: “Fred has illustrated his book well, with neat line drawings and photos you probably won’t find anywhere else. It’s a rare technical treatise that draws you in with illustration, or that keeps you with an easy flow of chat that, were it lifted from print, might pop up at any gun counter or handloading bench. Fred Zeglin has done well with this book, giving wildcatters – indeed, all rifle enthusiasts – an overview of a culture often mentioned but little explored on the page.”
Writing about the 2005 Print Edition of Wildcat Cartridges, Big Bore Journal declared: “This is a fantastic book on American wildcats, US loads and much more. A must have for wildcatters and gunsmiths.”
About the Author
An award-winning writer, Fred Zeglin operates Z-Hat Custom, and Hawk Cartridges. Fred has taught classes for the NRA Gunsmithing Schools in Colorado and Oklahoma. He served as production manager for McGowen Precision Barrels for a time, and was a tech advisor for 4D Reamer Rentals. To learn more about Z-Hat and Fred’s Wildcat Cartridges eBook, contact: