July 26th, 2012

New Modular Swarovski Spotting Scope: 65mm, 85mm, 95mm

Swarovski has just announced a truly revolutionary spotting scope system. Imagine a “normal” spotting scope sliced in half, with separate objective (front) units and separate eyepiece (rear) units. This way you can have both straight and angled viewing options, and you can select from three (3) different objectives (65mm, 85mm, 95mm), depending on the light-gathering and max magnification you need for the job (and the weight you’re willing to carry).

Swarovski ATX Modular Spotting Scope

The new Swarovski Optik ATX/STX Modular Spotting Scope combines a straight (#49902) or angled (#49901) rear eyepiece module with any one of three front objective sections, the largest of which is a whopping 95mm. All three available objectives have coated HD lenses for high contrast, low chromatic aberration, and optimal light transmission. These lenses are bright, with excellent color fidelity.

Swarovski ATX Modular Spotting Scope

Both eyepiece modules have extended-eye-relief ocular lenses, with a “field-flattener” lens design that provides high contrast and correct geometry all the way out to the edge of the image. The eyepiece modules deliver either 25-60X or 30-70X power depending on front module. NOTE: The eyepieces are built into the rear modules — they are non-removable and you can’t swap in a third-party eyepiece. However, digiscoping adapter can also be fitted in the rear.

Watch Video to See Product Features and Lens Modules Changed in Field

Swarovski ATX Modular Spotting ScopeWith front and rear modules joined, the zooming and focusing rings are located right next to each other. This allows you to zoom quickly, and then easily fine-tune the focus without moving your hand. Centralizing both controls is smart because you don’t have to take your head away from the eyepiece to look for one control or the other. Your hand can stay in one position. We’ve always liked the large-diameter focus rings on Swarovski spotting scopes. Now, with the new modular Swarovski system, you get the advantage of a large-diameter, centralized zoom control as well.

Swarovski ATX Modular Spotting ScopeBig Money for Complete System
As you might expect, the Swarovski ATX/STX system commands a premium price. Either angled or straight eyepiece module is $2179.00 at EuroOptic.com. The 65mm front objective module is $879.00, but you’ll pay $1599.00 for the 85mm objective module. The biggest 95mm objective module costs $1899.00. So, for an angled rear module plus the jumbo 95mm objective, you’re looking at $4078.00 total. If you want BOTH rear modules AND the 95mm objective, you’ll need to pony up $6257.00! That’s got to be some kind of record for consumer spotting scopes. The minimum you can spend (for one rear module and 65mm objective), will be $3058.00, which is still pretty pricey. There are some significant advantages to this modular system though. For example, transport and storage is simplified, and we like the ability to choose the objective size based on the “mission”. You don’t need a 95mm objective to see bullet holes at 100 yards. But at long range, a bigger objective can be very useful.

Permalink - Videos, New Product, Optics 1 Comment »
July 25th, 2012

New Wheel-Drive Concentricity Gauge from Accuracy One

Talented tool-maker Curt Knitt has designed a better mousetrap — a new Concentricity Gauge that makes it easier than ever to get fast, repeatable results when measuring case and bullet run-out (aka “eccentricity”). The breakthrough design feature is the large-diameter wheel which spins the case. With most other concentricity gauges you must rotate the case with your finger(s). Anyone who has tried this knows that it is difficult to get a full, 360° rotation of the case without disturbing the indicator. Typically you can get two-thirds of a rotation or so, but then you have to reposition your finger to complete the rotation. Moving your finger often causes the case to jiggle or move slightly, and more often than not, the dial indicator jumps a bit, interrupting your measurement. Been there, done that.

Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge

Drive Wheel Smoothly Spins Cases for Fast, Error-Free Readouts
With the new Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge from CTK Precision, the rubber-rimmed drive wheel has a much larger diameter than any cartridge case (7:1 diameter ratio on magnums). So, when you rotate the drive wheel just a half-turn or so (using knurled knob on the wheel axis), you can easily and smoothly turn the cartridge three (or more) full rotations. The drive wheel maintains a constant, even load on the case, so the case doesn’t wobble and the dial indicator gives a continuous, un-interrupted read-out. What’s more, clever cartridge support design geometry pulls the case back against the rim stop as you engage the drive wheel. This holds the case in position laterally during measurement. Morever, this allows very fast one-handed operation. You don’t have to hold the case down with your fingers while maintaining side force against the case rim stop.

Watch Video Showing Concentricity Gauge Used with Small and Large Cartridges

Accuracy One Concentricity GaugeThe Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge works with the full range of cartridges — everything from .22LR to .50 BMG. Adjusting the tool for different-length cases is incredibly easy, because the roller blocks (case supports) are held in place by magnets. You just slide the blocks to the desired position — no tools needed! The indicator stand is also held by magnets so it can slide to any position you want along the case body or bullet. And, the indicator can be moved to the front rail and rotated 90°. This way you can measure on the inside of the case neck.

Does this new design really work? Absolutely — it works brilliantly and it’s FAST. Watch the video and see for yourself. We could do two-rotation (720°) measurements on cases in a third the time it takes to do a one-rotation gauging operation with other tools. And the actual measuring operation can be done one-handed, leaving your free hand to pic up the next case (or bullet) to be measured. And yes, this tool can also measure bullet concentricity — measured from tip, ogive, bearing surface, and/or boatail.

Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge

1. Directional Drive Wheel pushes the cartridge or bullet into the stop for accurate, repeatable readings with equal pressure. The replaceable rubber drive ring will not harm cartridges or bullets.

2. Two-position bullet and cartridge stop.

3. Precision ball bearings provide friction-free movement.

4. Heavy steel base with E-coat finish and bolt-on rubber feet.

5. Indicator stand and roller blocks ride in machined slots and are held in place by N42 Neodymium magnets. This allows rapid, smooth, tool-free adjustments.

6. Indicator stand can be place in front OR rear machined slots. This allows for both internal and external measurements.

7. Fine-Adjustment Horizontal Indicator Stand allows very precise indicator angle/load adjustments.

8. Indicator Stand will accept horizontal indicators that are .350″ wide or narrower, and are 1.75″ to 2.25″ from the indicator contact point to the center of the main body.

9. Adjustable mechanical arm stop holds the arm up for one-handed operation.

10. Precision Drive Wheel has a 13:1 ratio for .22 rimfire, 7:1 for magnums, and 3.7:1 for 50BMG.

11. Concentricity Gauge accepts cartridges from .22LR rimfire to .50 BMG.

The Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge is available from BulletTipping.com. Price for the unit, complete with quality horizontal indicator, is $325.00. Price, without indicator, is $280.00. The initial run of Concentricity Gauges is now in final production. Gauge sets should hit the market in 4 to 6 weeks. To place an advance order, fill out the PDF Order Form, or call (814) 684-5322. To learn more about setting up and using this new tool, read the Concentricity Gauge Instructions, and watch the video above.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 8 Comments »
July 20th, 2012

Sako Quad Rimfire Trainer — Buyer-Configurable Special Edition

Looking for the perfect rimfire training rifle, one that has the look, feel, and ergonomics of your favorite centerfire field/tactical rifle? Well here’s a unique opportunity. EuroOptic.com is putting together a special limited edition run of 49 Sako Quad rifles, configured exactly as the buyer specifies, with McMillan Stocks, Lilja Barrels, and Cerakoted Metal. There will only be 49 such rifles available, and the deadline to order is July 31, 2012. EuroOptic.com has a few offerings left, but it expects all 49 Special Edition Quads will be sold by the end of this month.

The Sako Quad was a great concept — one rimfire rifle with a quiver of barrels in different rimfire chamberings. However, many potential buyers didn’t need or want all four barrels. Many potential buyers liked the idea of the Quad as a rimfire trainer, but they wanted a rifle fitted with a full-size, fiberglass stock, so the gun would have the same ergonomics and feel as their centerfire bolt-guns. That would make it the ideal rimfire training rig.

Eurooptic.com Sako Quad

Eurooptic.com Sako QuadWell, this dream is now a reality. EuroOptic.com has decided to make a special limited run of 49 custom rimfire trainer rifles with premium components.

These Special Edition Quads will feature Sako Quad actions, McMillan fiberglass stocks, Lilja custom barrels, as well as quality third-party scope rails, triggerguards, and bolt knobs. The bedding and coating work will be done by GA Precision.

49 Special Quads — With McMillan Stocks, Lilja Barrels, and Cerakoted Metal
Each rifle will be “made to order” for the 49 lucky guys who sign up before orders close. The pre-order price (including ONE barrel, no optics) is $2195.00 + $30.00 for insured shipping in a hard card. Those who pre-order the rifles will be able to select the colors and special features they prefer. Buyers can chose among six (6) different McMillan stocks (with your choice of finish). Each rifle comes with one (1) .22 LR barrel. For an additional $350.00 per barrel, you can also order extra Lilja barrels chambered for any of these rimfire cartridges: .22 WMR, .17 HMR, or 17 Mach 2.

Each rifle will have the following standard features:

  • SAKO Quad receiver engraved with EuroOptic Logo and 1 of 49, 2 of 49 etc.
  • Lilja custom drop-in bull barrel in .22 LR. Other barrels/calibers can be added.
  • McMillan stock of your choice, bedded by GA Precision.
  • Cerakote metal color of your choice: Black, Desert Tan, Mil-Spec OD.
  • Picatinny +20 MOA scope rail by DIProducts.
  • Billet Aluminum trigger-guard by DIProducts.
  • KMW bolt knob.

You can choose from a variety of popular McMillan fiberglass stock designs. These include: A2, A3, A3-5, A5, HTG (M40), and Sako Varmint. The purchaser can also select the stock color/pattern. Click here to view some stock color options.

Additional Features (Extra-cost Options)

Threaded muzzle with cap — $125 per barrel
Coating of one additional barrel — $75.00
KMW cheekpiece installed — $150.00
Sling stud — $7.50 | Flush cup — $13.00
Limbsaver butt-pad — $23.00
Adjustable LOP with Spacer System — $116.00
2-way vertical butt-plate — $116.00
3-way butt-plate — $180.00
Saddle Cheekpiece — $116.00
Integral thumbwheel cheekpiece — $142.00
Anschutz fore-end rail — $53.00
Seekins fore-end PIC rail for bipod — $33.25

Ordering Instructions

To order, call EuroOptic at (570) 220-3159 or email: alex [at] eurooptic.com . When ordering, please specify McMillan stock model and color choice, as well as any extras you would like (including additional barrels), along with your choice of metal color. NOTE: Eurooptic.com requires a 25% non-refundable deposit for these rifles. Once the deposit is taken, the stock will be ordered as specified. The Quads are to be delivered by Sako in August 2012, and all 49 rifles should be completed before the end of 2012.

Eurooptic’s special pricing will continue until all 49 rifles are sold or until JULY 31st, whichever comes first. July 31st is the last day to pre-order a rifle to your spec. If any rifles remain unsold at that point they will be sold at normal price reflected on the Eurooptic.com website.

Permalink Hot Deals, New Product No Comments »
July 17th, 2012

Monitor Balance Beam with Magnified Image on SmartPhone

If you use a balance-beam scale to weigh powder and reloading components, here’s a clever way to magnify the view of the beam tip. Of course you can use an old-fashioned magnifying glass, clamped in place, to upsize the view. But now there’s a parallax-free, electronic solution that works for anyone with an iPhone or Android OS smartphone.

Forum member Allan E. (aka “1066″) discovered that he could use the camera on his smartphone to display and magnify the image of a balance-beam tip. This works via a Magnifying Glass App you can download for free. Just turn on the smartphone, activate the Magnifying Glass App and zoom-in to suit your preference. Alan explains: “This saves those tired eyes. It’s much more accurate because there’s no parallax — the lens is directly in line with the pointer so we can see [the pointer] off the screen from any angle. It’s a much clearer view, and it costs nothing.”

You’ll need to fabricate some kind of stand or clamp for the phone. Allan created a smartphone mount with a bit of wire, rubber bands, and a bullet box. You can see the system working in the video below. (The video starts by showing a webcam + laptop balance-beam monitor system. The Smartphone system demo begins at the 1:30″ time-mark.)

Magnifying Glass Apps AndroidMagnifying Glass Apps for iPhones and Android Phones
There are numerous ‘magnifying glass’ programs for Apple and Android smartphones that use the built-in camera. Most include a zoom function and auto-focus. You might try a couple different Apps and see which works best for you. Some perform better in low light, while others resolve better. All of the following have 4-star or better user ratings:

Magnifying Glass App, (iBeam), Apple iPhone/iPod, $0.99.

Magnifying Glass App, (David Perry), Android OS, Free.

Magnifying Glass App, (Perun Labs), Android OS, Free.

Magnify App, (Appd Lab), Android OS, Free.

Ultra-Magnifier +, (zapDroid), Android OS, include Flashlight Function, Free.

Story find by Boyd Allen. We welcome readers submissions.
Permalink - Videos, New Product, Optics 1 Comment »
July 17th, 2012

New Polymer AR15 Lower Receiver from ATI

ATI Omni AR15 lower polymerAmerican Tactical Imports (ATI) has introduced its new ATI Omni Lower Receiver, a multi-caliber AR15 lower made of reinforced polymer. Since it was designed to milspec dimensions, ATI claims the Omni polymer lower is compatible with most current AR15 lower parts kits, grips and stocks. ATI says the durable polymer material “can withstand harsh environments as well as everyday wear and tear.” The Omni lower will be available as either a stripped lower, OR a complete finished kit including all lower internal parts and collapsible stock. ATI claims the Omni lower has tested reliably with .22 LR, 5.56×45 (.223 Rem), and .410 but is “not recommended for larger calibers“.

ATI Omni AR15 lower polymer

The Omni stripped lower has an MSRP of just $49.95 while the complete finished kit has an MSRP of $129.95. The Omni lower comes in either black or dark earth colors. The .22LR version is available now. The .223 (5.56) version is slated for release in August, 2012, and a .410 version will be offered in the fall. To learn more about the ATI Omni Polymer AR15 lower, visit www.AmericanTactical.us.

Editor’s NOTE: This story is based on a press release by ATI. We have not examined or tested the product. Accordingly we can give no opinions as to fit/function, durability or safety. Likewise, we cannot venture an opinion as to whether the ATI Polymer lower would be legal in restrictive jurisdictions such as California. Nonetheless, this is an interesting technology that may prove useful in some applications. For example, the inexpensive ATI lower could work well with the Crosman MAR177 AR15 Airgun Upper, keeping total system cost down.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 8 Comments »
July 10th, 2012

New Saguaro Compact BR Action from Marsh Industries LLC

Product Preview by Boyd Allen
Saguaro Benchrest Action MarshMarsh Industries LLC of Cave Creek, Arizona, has just started production of its new “Saguaro” benchrest action. (Saguaro is the distinctive tall cactus plant found in the Southwest.) If the Saguaro action looks familiar, that’s by design. The idea was to produce a Panda-type action with 1 1/16″ removed from the middle to allow for reduced weight, and importantly, shorter bolt “draw” during cycling. In addition, Marsh Industries wanted smoother function and optimal accuracy. In that quest, Marsh crafted a state-of-the art striker assembly, configured specifically for short cartridges typically used for 100- and 200-yard benchrest matches.


The Saguaro action is like a Stolle Panda with 1 1/16″ removed from the middle.

Design and Testing of New Saguaro Action
After spending some time with “Doc” Marsh, (the owner of Marsh Industries), I must say that I am impressed with his new product. After learning what has gone into the design and production of these actions, and hearing how well Saguaro prototypes shot, this is one action I want to add to my collection.

Beneath the shiny exterior, the heart of any benchrest action is the striker assembly. Its specifications and adherence to tolerance are a formula that ultimately determines the potential of the action. Striker fall, weight, and spring rate, all work together to put the sharpest edge on accuracy, or if they are not right, result in run of the mill (for a benchrest action) accuracy, even if all the other details are perfectly executed. Rather than leave these details to the expertise of one person, several big names in the benchrest community were consulted about this part of the design. Intelligent input was received, and the design was improved from one prototype to the next. The final result is impressive to say the least. When the late prototype Saguaro was tested in a very good tunnel, using a rail-gun, the results were unequivocally outstanding. (Editor: This means the Saguaro action shot small enough groups to be “more than competitive” with any other hardware on the market.)


Saguaro Actions Can Use Barrels And Stocks Now Fitted to Pandas
The truth is that no one can quite put his finger on what makes the difference between a good action and a great action. Designs are created, actions built, they become parts of rifles, and only then is the truth revealed. Whether you believe that it was skill or luck, it would seem that the details that comprise this new action just happen to have the exact right stuff. For many of you, who already know how your barrels shoot on your rifles that have Panda actions, for the first time, a direct comparison is available. This is because Panda barrels fit Saguaro actions. So current Panda owners can remove one of their barrels, place it on a Saguaro-actioned rig, and see if the barrel shoots as good or better. That allows direct testing of one action vs. another.

You can use that closet full of barrels, on your new action, without modification, (and have a couple of more ounces toward that tuner that you have been waiting to try). For that matter, other than having to do a little filling in at the front of the action, you can replace your Panda with a Saguaro, and keep using the same stock. That offers a significant savings on a new build.


Saguaro Actions Start at $1050.00
For serious benchresters, an action that comes out of the box a potential winner is almost priceless. Saguaro actions will cost $1,200.00 polished, or $1,050.00 with a 400 grit finish. That’s reasonable given the build quality and performance. While you could pay a bit less for some other actions, if you are in the game to win, a less-than-competitive action isn’t worth owning (even if it is inexpensive).

Marsh Industries, LLC
7040 E. Lone Mt. Rd. North
Cave Creek, AZ 85331
Email: info [at] marshindustriesllc.com
Phone: 480-699-2902 | Fax: 480-699-2397

And so there you have it — Part One of my report on a brand new action. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, I will have a chance to do more than just cycle the bolt (felt good) and actually shoot a rifle built around one. Until then, I will have to content myself with trying out some of Bergers new Column bullets, and doing some more work with the slower but otherwise identical brother to the yet to be released Accurate LT 32 powder, some of that Canadian 2015, as soon as the temperatures get out of the triple digits on a day when the wind is suitable.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
July 9th, 2012

Colt 901 Modular Carbine Shoots Both .308 Win and .223 Rem

Colt Manufacturing Company (“Colt”) has finally released T&E versions of the long-promised Colt 901 “Modular Carbine” first revealed in 2011. This rifle shoots both .223 Rem and .308 Win cartridges using the SAME LOWER with different uppers. The Colt accomplishes this task by using a unique magwell insert, along with different mags and buffer assemblies. The 901 is very different than other AR variants which squeeze a short .30-caliber cartridge, such as the .300 AAC BLK, into a .223-length AR magazine. The Colt 901 shoots regular .308 Winchester cartridges, from .308-Win sized magazines. The key is the proprietary magwell insert, which allows standard 5.56×45 (.223 Rem) AR mags to fit inside the lower. To move from .308 to .223, once the insert is in place, you simply switch the buffer spring and buffer, and then attach your .223 Rem upper.

Colt 901 GunsAmerica.com ReviewGunsAmerica Review
You’ll find a detailed review and field test of the Colt 901 in the latest GunsAmerica Blog. The testers say the Colt 901 caliber-changing system works as advertised: “It can be adapted from .308/7.62, using standard P-Mags, to .223/5.56, using standard AR mags, and back again, in literally seconds. The design uses one proprietary part, and you have to swap out the recoil system. It is that simple, and it works fantastic…. What [Colt] did was to design a very simple part that adapts both the lug and the magazine size from one size upper to the other. The part itself is made from aluminum, and weighs exactly 3 ounces, including the captured steel push pin. It is simply an adapter, and its genius is in its simplicity.”

The GunsAmerica Review of the Colt 901 is worth reading if you’re interested in a dual-caliber AR. The review offers plenty of photos (zoomable to large size), with close-ups of the magwell insert and the buffer systems. In addition, the reviewers field-tested the Colt 901 with both .223 Rem and .308 Win uppers. Accuracy at 100 yards was not impressive (1.5″ group with the .308, about 2″ for the .223 version), but the reviewers believe the rifle could have shot better with a trigger upgrade.

Colt 901 Video from Military.com (2011 Unveiling)

Permalink - Videos, New Product No Comments »
June 30th, 2012

Walther Goes It Alone — Ends Distribution Deal with S&W

German gun-maker Walther will be selling its own firearms in the USA, starting in 2013. Previously, Smith & Wesson distributed Walther firearms and accessories in the United States. Walther has decided to handle the marketing, distribution, sales, and servicing of its firearms in the USA through the newly-formed Walther Arms Inc., a subsidiary of the PW Group of Arnsberg, Germany. (PW owns both CARL WALTHER GmbH Sportwaffen and Umarex.) Starting January 1, 2013, Walther sales and marketing will be handled by Walther Arms Inc., with the exception of the Walther P22 and PK380 models, which Smith & Wesson will continue to sell and distribute through April 30, 2013.

Walther GmbH Smith Wesson

Walther GmbH Smith WessonWalther Will Continue to Build M&P22 Pistol
and Umarex Licenses Smith & Wesson Name

Though Walther will now import and distribute its own guns, Smith & Wesson will continue to manufacture the PPK for Walther Arms, Inc. and CARL WALTHER GmbH will continue to manufacture the M&P22 handgun for S&W. Additionally, Umarex will continue to license the Smith & Wesson brand for airgun products. “We are extremely thankful for the relationship we have had and will continue to have with the quality organization of Smith & Wesson,” said Wulf-Heinz Pflaumer, President of the PW Group, who added: “Smith & Wesson has been an outstanding partner.”

New Walther Arms Inc. Enterprise Will Be Based in Arkansas
Walther Arms will begin operations sharing a corporate campus in Fort Smith, Arkansas with Umarex USA, another company in the PW Group. “The new U.S.-based Walther Arms Inc. allows a more direct influence from the U.S. consumer’s wants and needs into our product development.” said Karl Heinz-Luther, V.P. of Sales & Marketing, CARL WALTHER GmbH. The President & CEO of Walther Arms will be Adam J. Blalock, who will also remain as President & CEO of Umarex USA. Blalock stated: “We will have a dedicated team focused on meeting the needs of U.S. consumers. We are very thankful for the many loyal Walther customers and we’re excited for the opportunity to serve them.” For more information visit www.carl-walther.de.

Permalink New Product, News No Comments »
June 24th, 2012

Dan Lilja Now Offers Pre-threaded Barrel Option ($30 Extra)

Lilja Rifle Barrels prethreadedDan Lilja of Lilja Barrels has announced that, starting this month (June), his company will offer a pre-threading option for in-stock and made-to-order Lilja barrels. The price for the threading option is $30 per barrel. The first offerings will be for Rem 700 actions, and Lilja will, later on, offer pre-chambered barrels as well. Dan tells us: “To begin with we are threading for the Remington 700 actions. Other action types will be added in the future. And we are also planning to offer chambering along with the threading for a limited number of cartridges in the near future.”

CLICK HERE for CAD drawing .PDF file showing pre-threaded Rem 700 barrel shank dimensions.

Details of Pre-Threaded Barrels — Gunsmithing Still Required
Pre-Threading will only be offered, initially, on 28″ or 30″ blanks (length prior to threading). The barrel will NOT be finish-crowned, and Lilja does not offer muzzle threading except for drop-in AR-type barrels. Dan points out that his pre-threaded barrels are not ready to install: “The barrels will still require a gunsmith, experienced at fitting barrels to actions, to make the final fitting and headspacing adjustments on a lathe and using headspace gauges. Lilja will turn these threads for the nominal dimensions for the action type. But action makers have tolerances and other operations such as truing an action face or bolt or lapping bolt lugs can change dimensions enough that headspace or thread shank length may need to be modified.”

Lilja Rifle Barrels prethreaded

Story lead from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 1 Comment »
June 19th, 2012

Gear Review: EVO F-TR Bipod from Third Eye Tactical

Review by Alan de Lacy of F-TR Ireland
EVO Leisure (the makers of Third Eye Tactical products) provided four brand-new EVO F-TR bipods for review and testing. When we collected the bipods from Stuart Anselm of Osprey Rifles, the European and Worldwide exporter of Third Eye Tactical products, I was struck by the lightness of the bipods. Carrying four bipods under one arm, I noted how light, neat, and tidy they were.

Osprey EVO F-TR Bipod Ireland

Build-quality is excellent, as one might expect from a Third Eye Tactical product. Manufactured from what appears to be hard-anodized CNC-machined solid aluminum parts — each element appears to have been machined from solid billet aluminum. No pressed- or sintered-aluminum parts here!

Osprey EVO F-TR Bipod IrelandThese EVO-FTR bipods are available in two colors: A very tacticool satin black and a nice satin gray. The finish appears to be hard-anodized, rather than painted or powder-coated. Milled from solid aluminum, the structural integrity is retained, while reducing the weight, by machining out sections of the aluminum to form a “honey-comb” or lattice-structure within the leg elements, on the underside.

Vertical adjustment is by way of a capstan turn-wheel, readily accessible from the prone position (even for those with short arms). The vertical adjustment is fast yet positive. When set, there doesn’t appear to have any play or backlash. The aluminum feet are decent-sized, 75mm-long curved sled-feet, finished to match the bipod.

Attachment to the rifle is by way of an aluminum mounting-block which fits quickly and neatly to a standard Universal Rail. Securing the mount is by way of a PodLoc-type lever and fixing is positive and secure. Also available from Osprey Rifles is a mount for a standard-sized QD sling-stud. The adjustment for cant is also easily provided by way of a Podloc lever and has a wide range. Again, this can be operated and adjusted while in the prone position.

EVO F-TR Bipod Specifications:

  • Overall Weight (including attachment): A fraction under 1.75 lbs. (800 grams)
  • Lowest Height (Ground-to-Underside-Rail): 13.5cm (5.3 inches)
  • Maximum Spread-of-Feet (at Lowest Setting): 48cm (18.9 inches)
  • Highest Height (Ground-to-Underside-Rail): 25cm (9.8 inches)
  • Minimum Spread-of-Feet (at Highest Setting): 36.5cm (14.3 inches)

Osprey EVO F-TR Bipod Ireland

Field-Testing at Long Range
To provide two qualified opinions and to ensure that the new bipods were truly put through their paces, the reviewer, Alan de Lacy, was duly assisted by his regular F-TR team-mate and shooting-buddy, Adrian Casey. After some initial short-range bench-testing completed, we headed out to the 1000-yard Firing Line for the serious field-test. As F-TR shooters, we were shooting prone from-the-ground at 1000 yards onto the standard ICFRA F-Class 800-1000 yard target. The .308 Win rifles used in the range-test were a factory Sako TRG-22 (with a custom 32″ barrel) and a Savage 12 FTR (with custom 32″ barrel and stock). Both rifles had Anschutz-type UIT Universal accessory rails to which the bipods were attached. Both rifles are tried and tested in national and international competitions.

Osprey EVO F-TR Bipod Ireland

Adjustment (Range and Ease of Use) – The range of vertical adjustment is excellent as is the speed with which the EVO can be adjusted. A couple of quick rotations (3 or 4) of the capstan-wheel and the cross-hairs were on the target. No more time-consuming fiddling to bring the cross-hairs out of the vegetation or down from the clouds! While the vertical adjustment is as fast and extensive as we’ve seen on any F/TR bipod, the capstan-wheel also allows for a surprisingly welcome amount of fine-tuning of the vertical point-of-aim. The fine-tune vertical adjustment is positive and solid. Both guns stayed in position and the scopes’ point-of-aim did not falter once during the entire range-day.

Solidity – Throughout the day’s shooting, the rifles remain solidly planted in position. Any initial misgivings we may have had about a small amount of slack and looseness “in-the-hand” were dispelled once the ‘pods were fitted onto the rifles and weight of the guns loaded onto the bipods. Set-up on the firing point, the bipods (and the rifles) were rock-solid.

Tracking – Over the day, both shooters fired the equivalent of roughly three details each, all at 1000 yards, with over 100 rounds sent down-range. Rifle tracking and the guns’ return-to-battery were exceptional. “What I like best about this bipod is it tracks like it’s on rails”, commented tester Adrian.

Summary
Craig Coote of Third Eye Tactical, with design input from 2011 Euro F-Class FTR Champion Stuart Anselm, has produced one of the best bipods we have had the pleasure of using. Adrian was so impressed with the one he tested, he wouldn’t hand it back! While there are indeed lighter bipods and there are cheaper bipods, we think the EVO F-TR bipod has set a benchmark in terms of build-quality, adjustment, and ease of use. This bipod, while aimed squarely toward the F-Class F-TR market, would be equally at home on any range and in other disciplines. Everyone who has tested and inspected this new bipod is convinced that we’ve found a cost-effective, performance-for-weight optimized, great-tracking and great-looking new piece of equipment.

A more detailed version of this review originally appeared on the F-TR Ireland Facebook Page.
CLICK HERE to read full review with more field test information and shooter comments.

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June 17th, 2012

Great Father’s Day Gift: Custom Hitch Covers by John Niemi

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 $70.50 (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.

Niemi custom hitch cover Niemi custom hitch cover

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.”

$70.50 Delivered in the USA
Niemi custom hitch coverThe current price for brass bullet hitch covers from John Niemi is $70.50 shipped anywhere in the USA. To order, send email to JohnNiemi [at] charter.net or call (503) 440-1954.

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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June 15th, 2012

Modular Low-Profile Competition Stocks from Wayne Young

Texas stock-maker Wayne Young has created an innovative modular stock. The fore-end side-plates bolt on to an aluminum sub-chassis so you can alter the width, or run an offset on either side of center. You can transform the stock from 3″ wide to 5″ wide in a couple minutes. Or, if you want to experiment with offset (i.e. having more fore-end width on one side of the barrel than the other side), you can simply remove a few bolts, and stack up the sideplates on one side.

Wayne's Gun Stocks

Wayne's Gun Stocks

The ability to quickly (and inexpensively) transform a stock from 3″ wide to 5″ wide is a definite plus for shooters who want to use the same rig in both F-Class and benchrest. You can run your rifle at max-legal 3″ width for F-Class, then bolt on additional fore-end “wings” to run at 5″ for bench competition. The 5″-wide stocks are now legal for 600-yard and 1000-yard benchrest, at both IBS and NBRSA registered matches. Those folks who have tried out 5″-wide stocks on Light Guns have been impressed with the results. The extra width stabilizes the rifle on the bags, reducing perceived twist (torquing) and hop. There is less “Rocking and Rolling”. With the gun torquing less, the tracking during recoil normally shows an improvement as well. (But we should say that, even with the standard 3″ width, these stocks track great.)

Wayne's Gun Stocks

Video Demonstrates Superior Tracking
How does a Wayne Young stock track? Straight and true — with virtually no hop. You can see for yourself. In the video below, Wayne shoots a test rifle chambered in .284 Winchester, a popular F-Class cartridge. The load is a 175gr Berger XLD bullet pushed at 3010 fps by Reloder 17 powder. That’s a stout, fast load — the recoil force easily meets or exceeds a typical F-Open match load. To better demonstrate the gun’s handling characteristics, Wayne deliberately shoots the gun free-recoil style — without gripping hard or shouldering the stock*. As you can see, the gun recoils straight back. The forearm and buttstock also slide perfectly in the bags, without “grabbing”. (Note: In the video, the rifle’s front bag-rider section is aluminum without polymer “wings”. This particular gun was built with a wider aluminum channel to fit a large-diameter, straight-contour barrel).

Stock Specifications and Design Features
Finished stocks weigh approximately 7 pounds, 4 ounces. If needed, stocks can be lightened to just under 7 pounds. Overall length is 36″. Length of pull is adjustable from 13 to 13.75 inches with standard two-way adjustable butt pad. The main chassis is machined from billet 6061-T6 (Tee Six) aluminum, while the fore-end chassis section is 6063-T5 (Tee Five). The black side sections, fore-end plates, and buttstock lowers are CNC-machined from high-grade HDPE, a rugged, chemically-resistant polymer.

The chassis for round actions features a “V-Block” seating area. There is a flat configuration for Panda and Stiller flat-bottom actions. With either the round- or flat-bottom configuration, actions can be mounted directly on the 1.25″-square aluminum chassis, using supplied action bolts. (Skim bedding is optional.) No inletting, pillar-installation, or stock finishing (painting) is required. Just bolt your barreled action into the chassis and head to the range.

Wayne’s stocks come with two-way adjustable butt-plate, adjustable cheekpiece, trigger guard, and all fasteners. If you consider all that standard equipment and the fact that Wayne’s gunstocks require no inletting and no finishing, these stocks are attractively priced. Wayne’s F-Open/Benchrest Stock, with 3″ fore-end, costs $499.00 plus $25.00 S/H. There is also a $499.00 F-TR version with a fore-end set up for bipod attachment. (Wayne produces an integral, adjustable and removable F-TR bipod for $75.00.) Add $100.00 extra if you want the aluminum components hard-anodized. With long actions or Savage actions, there is an extra charge to configure the central chassis to fit. For more information visit WaynesGunstocks.com or call (210) 288-3063 from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.

* If Wayne was shooting a .284 Win in an F-Class match, he would grip the gun and put some shoulder into it. But for demonstration purposes in the video, Wayne free-recoiled the rig so you can see how well it tracks with no holding or steering by the shooter.
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