January 22nd, 2012

SHOT Show: New Products from Redding Reloading Equipment

Video Report by Robert Whitley
Redding Reloading Equipment unveiled some new products at the 2012 SHOT Show. In this video, Dave Dibble, staff engineer for Redding, showcases some of Redding’s new items. These include the new small-caliber drop tube adapter, the Micrometer Seating Stem Retrofit kit, and Redding’s New Imperial BioGreen Case Lubricant (for pad application).

17-20 Caliber Drop Tube Adapter
This is a Lexan replacement fitting that goes on the bottom of a Redding powder measure drop tube to provide a better fit on small cases. The adapter is a simple friction fit and works with all Redding powder measures and the Redding powder funnel. The adapter simply slides onto the existing drop tube. The adapter should fit any Redding drop tube of 1960s vintage or newer.

Micrometer Seating Stem Retrofit Kit
Redding offers a unit that upgrades existing Redding standard seating dies to a micrometer-top seating die, with hash marks corresponding to .001″ (one-thousandth) movements in bullet seating depth. Note, before you order, check the part number on top of your existing standard seating die, and find the corresponding upgrade kit.

Imperial Bio-Green Case Lube
This new, non-petroleum lube, said to be “as slippery as traditional Imperial Die Wax”, can be used on any pad type-lubricant applicator. Clean-up is easy because the lube is water-soluble and the lube won’t stain your brass. Redding recommends this for folks who use ultrasonic cleaners as there is no petroleum to contaminate the ultra-sonic cleaning solution. Redding says reloaders should be able to “clean a lot more cases before changing the [ultrasonic] fluid.”

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January 22nd, 2012

SHOT Show: New Reloder 33 and Power Pro 1000 from Alliant

When Alliant’s Reloder 17 was introduced, it represented a real break-though in propellant technology. In some cartridges, Reloder 17 delivered significantly more velocity than any other propellant on the market. The secret was a new method of impregnating the powder kernels with burn-controlling compounds. This delayed the initial pressure spike, allowing a longer, more constant powder burn. This effectively delivered more energy over the powder’s full burn cycle, and the extra energy produced higher velocities than could be attained with conventional powders. READ Reloder 17 test report.

Alliant Reloder 33New Reloder 33 Delivers More Speed in Big Magnums
Now Alliant is introducing a new powder, Reloder 33, that uses the same kernel-impregnation technology first pioneered in Reloder 17. Alliant Reloder 33 is a new powder created by Rheinmetall Nitrochemie in Switzerland (Nitrochemie also makes Reloder 17). Like Reloder 17, Alliant’s new Reloder 33 powder employs a proprietary process by which the powder kernels are impregnated with burn-rate controlling elements. This delays the peak pressure spike and smooths out the pressure curve. Effectively, this allows the powder to deliver energy at a more constant rate, producing more overall velocity for the bullet — as much as 150 fps more than with any other powder. Reloder 33 was designed for the .338 Lapua Magnum but it is suitable for other large magnums and ultra-magnums.

In this video, Allliant’s Dick Quesenberry explains the properties of Reloder 33, noting that it should “raise the bar” of velocity for the .338 Lapua Magnum and other ultra-magnums. Outstanding velocities have been achieved in initial tests with the .338 LM. This has attracted the interest of the U.S. Military, which has already placed orders for Reloder 33 in bulk. Reloder 33 should hit the consumer market in mid-April to mid-May, the actual release date depending on DOT transport certification. Expect vendors to have the new powder in stock by the end of May, if not sooner.

Power Pro 1000 for High-Volume Reloaders
In addition to Reloder 33, Alliant is introducing Power Pro 1000. This is a new spherical (ball) powder with a burn rate similar to Alliant 10X. Power Pro 1000 is designs for varmint shooters and .223 Rem shooters who load large quantities of ammo on progressive presses. Power Pro 1000 meters exceptionally well through progressive press powder measures, and it should provide good load density in cartridges such as the .223 Remington. Alliant hopes to release Power Pro 1000 in early- to mid-April.

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January 22nd, 2012

SHOT Show: Stukey Sturdy Shooting Bench

Stukey Shooting Bench

If you want a good, solid portable bench that doesn’t wobble, or move unpredicatbly from shot-to-shot, consider the Stukey Sturdy Shooting Bench. No it doesn’t spin, and it doesn’t have an attached seat. But the very simplicity of the Stukey bench is why it works so well. The legs lock up absolutely solid, and there is no attached seat to bounce the bench. As Royal told us: “I don’t like hookin’ my butt to my reticle”. If you have a seat attached to your bench, a slight movement of your body on the seat can impart a wobble to the bench top. That’s no good if you’re trying to shoot 1/4-MOA groups or hit varmints at very long range. As Royal says: “You’re never going to tag that 900-yard prairie dog is you have any wiggle in your bench. It just translates to too many minutes of angle out there.” Makes sense.

The Stukey bench has a patented leg attachment system — a floating nut plate/socket/collar arrangement that assembles quickly without tools. The patented connection provides a rock-solid lock-up between the legs and frame. And these benches are strong — check out the photo of Royal’s pick-up truck supported by four of his benches.

Stukey Shooting Bench

Currently, the Stukey bench does not have adjusting leg heights. However Royal says that the triangle leg design accommodates most terrain. He just takes a level with him into the field and adjusts the bench orientation until the top is not tilted. Stukey benchtops have cut-outs on both sides, so they fit both right- and left-handed shooters. Simply move the seat to your preferred side. Total bench weight is roughly 65 pounds (30 lbs. for the top and 35 lbs. for the legs.) For more info, visit Royal’s website, www.ShootingBenches.com. The Stukey bench costs $545.00 (without shooting stool).

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 1 Comment »
January 21st, 2012

SHOT Show: Nightforce Offers New Reticle, Expands Production

Nightforce Optics logoFor months now, we’ve heard rumors of an all-new, high-magnification Nightforce scope, to be introduced in 2012. Unfortunately, Nightforce had no new “super-scope” on display at SHOT 2012, but Nightforce reps did indicate that “important announcements will be forthcoming in a few months”. Possibly we will see the new model(s) at the NRA Annual meeting, but that’s not definite. The only thing we can tell you — and this is NOT official — is that more magnification may be on tap on the high-end, giving Nightforce something to compete with the latest high-magnification competition scopes from other optics-makers.

We were pleased to see that Nightforce is offering an enhanced MOA-marked reticle with 1 MOA stadia (hash marks), and a center floating “X” that is 2 MOA high and 2 MOA wide. This new “MOAR” reticle should be a good choice for long-range shooters who prefer to hold off for windage corrections, rather than dial windage turrets. By comparison, the popular NP-R1 has 1 MOA marks on the elevation bar and 2 MOA marks on the windage bar. With the MOAR you get 1 MOA stadia (dividers) on the horizontal line as well. This should help shooters make more precise wind holds. NOTE: Initially the MOAR reticle will only be available for new NXS 3.5-15, 5.5-22, and 8-32X models (MOAR will NOT be offered in current Benchrest Models). ETA for the first MOAR-equipped NXS scopes is June, 2012.

In the video above, a Nightforce spokesman covers the function of the New Nightforce Velocity Reticle Calculator. This interactive program helps Nightforce scope owners select the particular velocity reticle (from a series of eight available) which best matches the ballistics of their particular rifle and load. Once you input the bullet velocity and BC data for your load, the calculator selects one of the eight velocity reticle options. This gives the scope owner a reticle with vertical hold-over points that closely match the actual trajectory of his ammunition.

Nightforce Adds Workers and Expands Production Facilities
In other Nightforce news, Nightforce Marketing Director Kyle Brown announced that Nightforce is beefing up its workforce and expanding its production facilities. With Nightforce scopes being in such high demand, there have been extended delivery times for some of the most popular Nightforce models. With more assemblers and a larger assembly plant, Nightforce hopes to keep up with growing demand for its products. We commend Nightforce for committing added resources to scope production. This will certainly benefit scope buyers by increasing “on-the-shelf” inventory at Nightforce stocking dealers.

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January 21st, 2012

SHOT Show: Whiskey 3 Chassis System from KRG

KRG whiskey 3 chassisWe met up with Justin Juarez of Kinetic Research Group (KRG), producers of after-market stocks for SAKO TRG 22/42, and the new Whiskey 3 Chassis (W3C) system for Tikka T3 and Remington 700.

We were pleased to get a first-hand look at a Whiskey 3 rifle build because Zak Smith is currently testing a KRG Whiskey-3 tactical rifle for AccurateShooter.com. We hope to publish Zak’s field report in February. While Zak’s W3C-fitted rifle is chambered as a Rem .260, Justin showed us a .223 Rem version with an innovative carbon-wrapped barrel. This rifle, shown at right, recently won a F-TR match — no mean feat for a .223 competing against a field of .308 Win rifles.

KRG whiskey 3 chassis

The modular W3C combines tool-less adjustments, (length-of-pull and cheek piece height) with good ergonomics and very durable construction. Rounds feed through the reliable AICS-type magazines. The W3C Gen II is currently available in fixed and folding stock versions for Tikka T3 (non-magnum length calibers) and Remington 700 short action (and 700 clones). KRG currently taking pre-orders (no money down required) with an open delivery date for other versions such as the Sako M995/TRG-S and Badger M2008. Price: Fixed $890; Folding $1260.

KRG whiskey 3 chassis

KRG whiskey 3 chassis

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January 20th, 2012

SHOT Show: Match Air Rifles and Full-Auto Pneumatics

At the Pyramyd Air booth we ogled high-end competition air rifles from Feinwerkbau and Anschutz. These are Olympic-grade rigs, with prices (for the Anschutz) approaching four grand fully outfitted with all the accessories, plus premium sights. It’s obvious the Germans take accuracy very seriously when it comes to airgun engineering.

New Full-Auto Pneumatic Rifles from Evanix
We were quite surprised to see a full-auto offering among the many new products on display. Evanix of South Korea is now producing a pair of self-loading, pre-charged pneumatic air rifles that can shoot in either semi-auto or full-auto modes. When running full auto, the electronically-controlled servo breach can cycle pellets at the equivalent of 400 rounds per minute. We’re not sure why full auto capability is needed, but this certainly offers a new experience for the air gun crowd. An airgun is definitely the cheapest way to go if you have a hankering for “hosing down targets” (quoting the AirGun Reporter video below). We do like the self-loading feature for general plinking and “fun gun” use, and the 2.5-lb trigger is decent for bench use. The Evanix Conquest sells for $1699.99. Being a brand new product, the Conquest is not yet in stock but Pyramyd is taking pre-orders now. To see how the Conquest operates in full-auto mode, watch the video below.

Evanix Conquest Air Rifle

Evanix Conquest (AirGun Reporter Sponsored Video)

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January 19th, 2012

SHOT Show: Impressive New “Varmint Tactical” Rigs from CZ

We were impressed with some new varmint/tactical rifles we saw at the CZ-USA SHOT Show booth. Our Assistant Editor Jason Baney favored the brand new CZ-USA CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT). This rifle should prove ideal for tactical rimfire games and small-bore cross-training. The new-for-2012 CZ 455 VPT features an .866″ diam. heavy barrel, in a very rigid, high-tech Manners Composite stock. The 455 VFT’s list price is $899.00.

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

Manners Rimfire Varmint/Tactical Stock Sold Separately — Special 5% OFF Promo
The Manners’ stock used on the CZ 455 VPT can also be purchased separately and used with other barreled actions: Sako Quad, Savage Mark II, CZ 452, CZ 453, along with the 455. Inletting is complete, so this will be a drop-in solution if you already own one of the listed rimfire rifles.

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

Regular price for the Manners MCS-T4 rimfire stock is $475.00. However, if you mention AccurateShooter.com, Manners Composite Stocks will take five percent (5%) off that price through the end of January. That reduces your cost to $451.25 before options.

New CZ 527 Precision Varminter
CZ also makes excellent, affordable centerfire rigs, such as the new-for-2012 model 527 Precision Varminter. This gun is offered in .204 Ruger or .223 Remington chambering, and it is well-suited for the varmint fields or “tactical” style shooting from bipod. What sets the new 527 Varminter apart from most other CZ offerings is its high-quality Bell & Carlson fiberglass stock. This stock features an ergonomic grip section, comb height suitable for scopes, and a nice, rigid fore-end that’s plenty solid for shooting from bipod. The external finish is a handsome green/black blend with some texture. Our reporter Kelly Bachand reviews the CZ 527 in the video below.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 3 Comments »
January 19th, 2012

SHOT Show: Hodgdon Introduces New CFE™223 Powder

Hodgdon CFE 223 PowderHodgdon Powder has introduced a new spherical (ball) powder called CFE™223. Hodgdon claims that this new powder “greatly deters copper fouling” compared to other propellants. Originally developed for U.S. rapid-fire military systems, CFE™223 incorporates a proprietary chemistry named “Copper Fouling Eraser”. Based on tests with extended shot strings, Hodgdon claims that, by using CFE™223, match shooters, varmint hunters, and AR shooters can maintain accuracy for longer periods, with less barrel-cleaning time.

Load Data Now Available Online for CFE™223
Reload data for CFE™223 is available for 27 different cartridges with 147 loads. It is suitable for loading in many popular chamberings including: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, 22-250, 6mmBR, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, 7mm-08, and .308 Win. Maximum velocities are obtained in the .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, 22-250, and .308 Win with load data found at Hodgdon’s Reloading Data Center. CFE™223 is a spherical (ball) powder, so it meters well. The new powder will be available in one- and eight-pound containers starting in January, 2012. For more info, call (913) 362-9455 or write to: Hodgdon Powder, 6231 Robinson, Shawnee Mission, KS 66202.

Hodgdon CFE 223 Powder

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January 19th, 2012

SHOT Show: New 125gr Flat-Based .30-Cal MatchKing from Sierra

Sierra Bullets rolled out few new products for SHOT Show 2012. The one new bullet is a .30-caliber flat-based bullet, the 125gr OTM (open-tip match HP) MatchKing, item #2121. This unique flat-based bullet was designed in conjunction with AAC (Advanced Armament Corporation) and Remington for the new .300 AAC Blackout (BLK) cartridge, a relatively small cartridge based on the .223 Rem necked up to .30 caliber. The bullet length is tailored to correctly fit and feed from AR-15 platform magazines. The relatively light weight of Sierra’s new 125gr MK allows it to reach fairly impressive velocities even with a modest powder charge. Of course it can also be used in subsonic mode, running at sub-Mach velocities. However, it is more typical for .300 BLK shooters to run a heavier bullet, such as the 240gr SMK, for subsonic applications (the heavier projectile delivers much more downrange energy at subsonic MVs).

The projectile’s Open Tip is pinched for greater uniformity in the same manner as Sierra’s Palma Competition bullets. The G1 BC is surprisingly high for a relatively short, flat-based bullet: 0.310 (below 1600 fps), 0.330 (1,600-2,000 fps), 0.338 (2000 – 2650 fps), and 0.349 (above 2650 fps). Though it will perform well at low velocities in the .300 BLK, this bullet can handle the higher velocities produced by common .30 cal mid-sized cartridges, such as the .30-30.

Sierra 125 gr Matchking

The new 125gr Matchking is now being loaded in factory ammo, including Remington’s Premier Match, which retails for $34.00 for a 20rd box. These 125gr bullets are available now from MidwayUSA for $34.99 per hundred.

Sierra Bullets 125 grain match king 308

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 3 Comments »
January 18th, 2012

SHOT Show: Kelbly’s Atlas Custom Rifle and 40th Super Shoot

Each year, at SHOT Show, we get a chance to meet up with the Kelbly clan. Jim Kelbly and his family-run operation always have something new and interesting on display, and this year was no exception. Jim explained to us that 2012 marks the historic 40th Anniversary of the Firearms Industry Super Shoot. Jim is expecting the largest turn-out ever for the short-range benchrest event, held annually at the Kelbly Range. And Jim said that 50-60 foreign shooters may join the fun in 2012. The Super Shoot already has the highest attendance of any 100/200-yard benchrest match on the planet — even more than the World Championships. Jim said he is planning some extra surprises to help celebrate the 40th Super Shoot anniversary.

On the hardware side, Kelbly’s had some some new March scope options on display and Jim noted that Kelbly’s now produces 30mm and 34mm scope rings for both Davidson and Picatinny-type scope rails. These new rings have an improved clamping design with a floating side clamp piece providing direct lateral tension. This strong design replaces the squeezing-type ring base found on Kelbly’s older rings. This provides more positive clamping force and it also allows more repeatable tensioning.

$2,300.00 Kelbly Atlas Custom Rifle
Ian Kelbly provided the big news — Kelbly’s is now offering a “factory custom” rifle. The Kelbly Atlas Custom Rifle features a Stolle Atlas action in a bedded Bell & Carlson T-1000 stock with aluminum chassis. Each gun will feature a precision-chambered, Krieger cut-rifled barrel. (You won’t find those on other “factory customs”). You have a wide choice of chamberings including: .223 Rem, 22-250, .243 Win, .308 Win, 300 WSM and 7mm WSM. The Atlas rifles come with a crisp, Rifle Basix two-pound trigger.

kelbly atlas Krieger rifle

The good news is that this complete package — with your choice of stock finish — is just $2,300.00 complete. That’s a good price considering the quality of the components. We’ve seen other vendors asking $3,500.00 or more for rifles with “plane Jane” Remington actions and “no-name” barrels. And we were pleased to hear that you don’t have to wait a year or more for a Kelbly Atlas Custom Rifle. Kelbly’s has over two dozen rifles in stock, ready to ship right now.

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January 18th, 2012

SHOT Show Report: New Actions from Stiller Precision

We dropped by the Stiller Precision Firearms SHOT Show booth to see the latest product roll-out from Jerry Stiller and his crew. Jerry showed off some of his hot new action designs, including the long-awaited Copperhead rimfire benchrest action. Along with two rimfire actions, Jerry unveiled his hot-selling P1000 Benchrest Action, and his new TAC30 AW bottom metal system for Rem-clone actions.

The advanced Copperhead rimfire BR action, “in development” for years, is finally a reality. This is a pure benchrest-quality action, built from the ground up to deliver the smallest groups with today’s rimfire ammo. The Copperhead’s innovative design features DUAL firing pins at 6 and 12 o-clock. This serves to make rimfire ignition as consistent as possible. This action also has an Anschutz-style feed ramp to aid feeding of single-shot rounds. Being very complex to manufacture, the Copperhead commands a fairly high pricetag — roughly $1300.00. For those in the highly competitive rimfire benchrest game, who demand the very best rimfire receiver available, the high price is can be justified by the action’s superior performance. Prototypes have already earned top places ijn many notable rimfire BR matches.

Along with the Copperhead, Stiller Precision offers a nicely-detailed, smooth-running 40x clone rimfire action that will fit any stocks inletted for the Remington 40 Rimfire rifles. This 40X Rem clone action is in stock and available know for about $950.00.

Yet another unique action from Stiller Precision is the Tac-30 AW. This is a Rem-footprint action made as a purpose-built tactical rifle foundation. It has beefy #8 screws for scope base attachment along with the ability to add rail pins to a picatinny rail to reduce the possibly of any screw failures. Along with that, it is specifically made to work in concert with Stiller’s detachable magazine bottom metal and Accuracy International AW magazines. The entire action, bottom metal and magazine combination is available for about $1,100.00. The AW magazine is superior to the standard AICS mag; the AW design is easier to load, and it holds ten rounds in a more compact (shorter) box.

Last but not least, Stiller showed us a P1000 action which is becoming more popular in the long range benchrest realm and is available in standard and magnum bolt faces for short and long action calibers. This dual-port action is only available in a right-bolt, left-port, right eject configuration. It is also available in 2 diameters – 1.350” and 1.550” in case weight is an issue. Interestingly, the P1000 is made to work without the standard recoil lug as you can see it has recesses cut in the bottom that will act as a recoil lug surface. Similar to other Stiller’s actions, the P1000 has a small size (0.068″ diameter) firing pin for enchanced accuracy.

Stiller Precision is working hard to catch up on existing orders as well as continuing to develop innovative, state-of-the-art actions for discerning customers. Most of the actions on display at SHOT show are in stock and ready to ship. In addition, Stiller hopes to resume production of his popular Viper and Diamondback actions in just a few months. Jerry cautions “be patient” if you are looking for a drop-port or other classic benchrest not currently in inventory.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 4 Comments »
January 17th, 2012

Media Day Report: New High-End FFP Tactical Optics

While we were somewhat disappointed that we didn’t see many all-new precision rifles at Media Day 2012, there were plenty of new riflescopes on display. Among the most impressive new optics were rugged new high-zoom-range, First Focal Plane (FFP) tactical scopes from Hensoldt (Carl Zeiss), Leupold and Trijicon. These new scopes all featured fat tubes, compact overall length, and abundant elevation travel. These lastest top-end FFP tactical scopes offer as much as 26-power in a form factor not much bigger than a “normal” 4-16X scope.

New 3.5-26x50mm Hensoldt Was Outstanding
Hensoldt showcased a very impressive, prototype 3.5-26x56mm FFP tactical scope. Though this scope offers a whopping 7.4X zoom range and 26-power on top, this new Hensold is relatively compact. The reticle in these prototype versions was a very useful (and simple) milradian-based reticle that we hope Hensoldt retains in the production versions. The Hensoldt boasted an impressive 36 Mils of total elevation travel in two (2) turns of the turret. The new Hensoldt still shares the same superior glass and compact size that puts these scopes at the top of their class. We tested a prototype mounted to an Accuracy International AX 338. Expect the production version to be the same size and cost approximately $4000.00.

As you can see in the video, the new Hensoldt coupled with the new Accuracy Int’l AX in 338 Lapua Magnum worked very effectively at 900 meters in some tricky winds. This combination made it fairly easy to break clay pigeons on the bank at 900 meters. Off camera this combination continued to show great accuracy and very effective design features.

New Leupold MK-8
Leupold showed off a brand new MK-8 3.5-25x56mm with a Horus reticle and a beefy main tube. Again, this featured a lot of elevation in one turn as well as a pinch-and-turn locking turrets. This is a big leap forward for Leupold and we feel this will be well-received in the tactical world. Along with the new MK8, we also sampled Leupold’s new MK6 3-18x50mm. This shared similar features as the 3.5-25, and was incredibly compact as well. We expect the MK8 to sell near $4000 and the MK6 to be substantially less, likely under $3000 according to company reps.

Trijicon made a departure from their standard fare and jumped into the tactical scope world with a beefy Front-Focal Plane 3-15x50mm. This featured a well-executed MOA-based reticle and turrets with 30 MOA per turn (a Milrad version offers 10 Mils per turn). The Trijicon showcased the “short and fat” appearance that seems to be the latest design trend in tactical scopes. But though the Trijicon had a fairly short OAL (for its zoom range), it was still quite heavy at 47 ounces. The glass in this prototype version was disappointing for a scope that will retail in the $4K range. Reps told us the production version glass would be much improved. (It had better be, if Trijicon hopes to play in this stratospheric price range.)

It was apparent at Media Day 2012 that scope companies have worked hard to provide more features and more performance in their high-end tactical scopes. Consequently, the latest generation of scopes offer some very interesting and useful innovations — wider zoom range, more compact size, more elevation travel per rotation, and “goof-proof” turret mechanisms. We can only hope that, with more competition in this market, prices may become more reasonable. $4000 is an awful lot of money to pay for a scope.

Permalink New Product, Optics 3 Comments »
January 17th, 2012

Hands-On Test of New Ruger American Rifle in 30-06

Ruger has introduced a modern bolt-gun, the Ruger American Rifle (RAR), that combines smart featurea of popular rifles made by Tikka, Browning, and Savage. The New Ruger American Rifle features a three-lug bolt with short 70° bolt lift. Dual cocking cams are used to lighten the bolt lifting force so the bolt can be manipulated easily. This rifle uses a barrel nut like a Savage, and it also has a safety trigger similar in appearance to the Savage Accutrigger, though the mechanics of the Ruger trigger are different. Currently the RAR is available in a comfortable yet somewhat flexy synthetic stock, with pillars and a deep channel to free-float the barrel.

ruger american rifle

We liked the beefy action, which has as positive tang safety along with a nice rotary magazine. This gun offers many good features considering the affordable price (under $500.00 without optics). We hope Ruger expands the RAR line-up to include a heavy-barreled varmint version with a longer stiffer stock. The RAR will be offered in both short-action and long-action versions.

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January 15th, 2012

Thrust Bearing-Equipped Cleaning Rods from Montana X-Treme

Montana X-Treme has an impressive line of aluminum-handled, coated cleaning rods. Introduced in 2010, these rods feature twin thrust bearings in hardened stainless steel retainers to ensure the coated, steel shafts spin smoothly even under heavy load. That’s good news for us. This ham-fisted Editor has managed to “stuff up” the bearings on both Dewey and Bore-Stix Cleaning Rods. If the Montana X-Treme thrust bearings are more durable, that’s a huge plus. We also like the fact that the machined aluminum handles have a slim profile for better clearance on the rear of the stock. The handles are long enough to get a good grip while a radiused section in the front allows you to push with your thumb. All rods have female-threaded tips, allowing use of most commercial jags without adaptors. The shafts have a proprietary non-embedding coating. Montana X-Treme claims its shaft coatings should be very long-lasting. Time will tell. These new cleaning rods look very well made — but they are pretty pricey. MidwayUSA is currently selling the new rods for $49.99.

MT X-Treme cleaning rods

Color Coding and Big-Bore Sizes up to 56″ Long
Montana X-Treme cleaning rods come in 12 different, color-coded sizes, with lengths up to 56″. Currently, however, 42″ is the max length for a a 17-20 or 22-264 (6mm) rod. We would like to see at least a 46″ 22-264 rod for use with 30-32″ barrels.

  • 17-20 Caliber (Purple): 30″, 36″, 42″ (.156 rod diameter, 5×40 female thread)
  • 22-264 Caliber (Red): 30″, 36″, 42″ (.1875 rod diameter, 8×32 female thread)
  • 270-50 Caliber (Blue): 30″, 36″, 44″, 52″, 54″ (.250 rod diameter, 8×32 female thread)
  • 338-50 Caliber (Gold): 56″ (.312 rod diameter, 8×32 female thread)

MT X-Treme cleaning rods

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January 12th, 2012

New CZ 455 ‘Varmint Precision Tactical’ Rifle in Manners Stock

CZ (Česká Zbrojovka), the Czech arms-maker, produces some fine, affordable rimfire and centerfire rifles, including the popular CZ 452 (rimfire) and CZ 527 (small centerfire cartridge). CZ-USA now has a new version of its CZ 455 rifle that is ideal for tactical rimfire games and small-bore cross-training. The new-for-2012 CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT) features a CZ 455 action, with .866″ diam. heavy barrel, in a rigid, high-tech Manners Composite stock. Rounds feed through reliable (and affordable) detachable magazines.

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

The 455 VFT’s list price is $899.00 but expect street price to go lower. This rifle is brand new, so you may have to wait a few weeks on delivery. Stock-maker Tom Manners told us: “We just delivered the first production run of stocks, and CZ is putting the guns together right now”.

The 455 VPT offers the same look and feel of a full-size tactical rifle. This 455 uses a Manners MCS-T4 stock assuring a rock solid platform for the 455 barreled action. The outer shell of the MCS-T4 is made with carbon fiber and fiber glass in multiple layers. The stocks can be custom-ordered with a heavy fill to match your current rifle weight to truly duplicate its feel. Only one color, Coyote Tan, is currently available, but we think this will be popular with most shooters.

Manners Rimfire Varmint/Tactical Stock Sold Separately — Special 5% OFF Promo
Tom Manners noted that versions of the CZ 455 VPT stock design can also be purchased separately and used with other barreled actions: “The 455 VPT stock is based on our MCS-T4 design. We offer this, fully inletted with pillars, for a variety of rimfire actions: Sako Quad, Savage Mark II, CZ 452, CZ 453, along with the 455.” Inletting is complete, so this will be a drop-in solution if you already own one of the listed rimfire rifles.

Manners CZ training stock MCS-t4

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

Tom says: “With this stock, some guys will bed the rear area of their action, but that’s not necessary — you can pretty much bolt ‘em in and go”. Regular price for the Manners MCS-T4 rimfire stock is $475.00. However, if you mention AccurateShooter.com, Manners Composite Stocks will take five percent (5%) off that price through the end of January. That reduces your cost to $451.25 before options.

Field-Testing in the Works
We really like the thinking that went into the CZ 455 VPT rifle. We believe there’s a market for a very accurate varminter/tactical trainer in a high-quality modern stock optimized for prone and bipod work. We hope to do a hands-on test of the CZ 455 VPT at SHOT Show Media Day next week.

Permalink New Product, News 5 Comments »
January 11th, 2012

Norma Brass to be Marketed in “Norma USA” 25-ct Boxes

The Swedish company Norma is making a major push to expand sales in the North American market. As part of this effort it is re-packaging Norma cartridge brass in affordable, 25-count boxes labeled “Norma USA”. At the 2012 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Norma USA will introduce a complete line of US, European, and Weatherby cartrige brass for the consumer market. The brass will be sold in 25-count consumer packs with new Norma USA branding and graphics. According to a Norma spokesman, “the idea behind the 25-count pack is to provide an affordable option. Folks can try the brass, see how good it is, and then buy larger quantities as needed.” Later, Norma plans to offer 100- or 250-count “Shooters Packs”.

Here’s the big news folks: Norma is finally getting its USA distribution system in order — at least that’s the plan. Norma USA will warehouse and fulfill all Norma products in all calibers by mid-February of 2012 with distribution through major US retailers. Hopefully this means product will be on the shelves and there won’t be long waits “for the boat to arrive”.

To support the Norma USA product line, a completely new, up-to-date Norma USA website will be launched mid-January 2012. In addition, the Norma USA product launch will be supported by an extensive advertising campaign in NRA publications. Norma reps will also attend the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, April 12 – 15, 2012. New loaded ammo offerings will be announced at the Annual Meeting. (Sorry, Norma won’t release any info on the new ammo at this time.)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 3 Comments »
January 10th, 2012

Get Ready for SHOT Show with Interactive Planning Tool

SHOT Show 2012If you’ve been to SHOT Show at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, you know that navigating the vast multi-level hall can be challenging to say the least. The lower-level booths are packed tightly together, and the numbering system in the upper halls is confusing. To make the SHOT experience less frustrating, we suggest planning ahead with the Online Show Planner. This provides searchable floor layouts with booth names and numbers. You can search for your favorite companies, then “connect the dots” to move efficiently from one location to another.

Shot Show Planner

Begin mapping out your SHOT Show visit on the main Show Planner Page on your browser. This allows you to search exhibitors by company names and to create a personalized list of booths you want to visit (you must set up an account to save search results). There is even an integrated event calendar that helps you keep track of meetings, demos, and special appearances.

CLICK HERE for Interactive Floorplan Map

Shot Show Planner

You can also move directly to the SHOT Show Floorplan and search for booth locations. This can help you visualized the placements of exhibits on different levels. Note locations of stairwells and escalators so you won’t have to cross an entire floor just to change levels. We suggest keeping a note pad as you jot down booth numbers. Then plot an “itinerary” one level at a time. We generally start on the ground floor and work upwards. That’s because many of the smaller, precision-focused companies traditionally exhibit on the ground floor. You’ll find the mega-sized booths for Leupold, Mossberg, Smith & Wesson etc. on the upper floors.

One last tip — some of the most accurate match and hunting rifles will be found in the clustered “co-op” booths for particular European countries. The interactive Show Planner may not necessarily list ALL the individual exhibitors from a particular nation. So if you’re looking for a small company from a particular region (e.g. Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland), you can often navigate to the host country’s central “encampment” and find what you seek.

Permalink New Product, News 2 Comments »
January 8th, 2012

Hoppe’s No. 9 Air Freshener (No Joke)

Hoppes No. 9 Air FreshenerHere’s a notable product for the truly hard-core gun guys out there. Bushnell Outdoor Products markets an Air Freshener with the classic scent of Hoppe’s No. 9 bore-cleaner. Brett and Kate McKay, authors of the book “The Art of Manliness” list Hoppe’s No. 9 as one of the top 15 manly smells. We kid you not…

Bushnell’s product Press Release declared: “In 1903, when Frank Hoppe developed a mix of 9 different ingredients to create the original Hoppe’s No. 9 gun solvent, he had no idea that history was being made. Over the last 107 years the smell of Hoppe’s No. 9 has evoked fond memories of fathers, grandfathers, memorable hunts and great days in the field.

In response to consumer requests, Hoppe’s now has an air freshener with the unique No. 9 smell. The freshener has a string for hanging it in your gun room, car, garage, or anywhere you want the nostalgic smell of Hoppe’s No. 9. The Hoppe’s No. 9 Air Freshener will be available at your favorite sporting goods and/or hunting store and will sell for a suggested retail price of $3.99.”

Permalink New Product, News 9 Comments »
January 7th, 2012

Nosler’s 2012 Offerings for Precision Shooters

Nosler Match Grade AmmoNew Nosler Competition Bullets in 6.5mm, 7mm, and .308
For 2012, Nosler® is adding three (3) new projectile designs to its Custom Competition™ line of bullets: 6.5mm – 123gr, 7mm – 168gr and .308 – 140gr bullets. All three new bullet types will be offered in both 100- and 250-count boxes.

Nosler® has blended the accuracy of its Custom Competition™ bullet jackets with its own ultra-precise lead-alloy cores to create a match bullet design that should rival other premium bullets. These new Custom Comp bullets have a very small meplat for increased aerodynamic efficiency and a long boat tail for good BC and reduced drag.

Nosler Match Grade™ Ammunition
Nosler offer some new varieties of match ammo for 2012, and Nosler has re-packaged its Match Grade™ ammunition for 2012. All Nosler® Match Grade™ ammunition will now be sold in a black box. Here are the new-for-2012 cartridge/bullet combinations:

.223 Rem Match 60gr Ballistic Tip®
.223 Rem Match 69gr Custom Comp
.223 Rem Match 77gr Custom Comp
.308 Win Match 155gr Custom Comp
.308 Win Match 175gr Custom Comp

Nosler Match Grade Ammo

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 2 Comments »
January 7th, 2012

New iPhone Weather App for Hunters from Realtree

Realtree offers an iPhone application (“App”) designed for hunters that displays up-to-date radar images, current conditions, wind speed and direction on an interactive Google map. The Realtree Weather App for iPhone is now available on the iTunes store for $3.99.

Hunter weather radar AppRealtree Weather automatically detects users’ current locations with a blue pin. Browsers can also simply type in the name of a location of interest and the application drops a pin on the map, marking that location and providing current weather conditions, temperatures, forecasts and highs and lows.

The iMap-enabled Realtree Weather application, developed by weather leader Weather Decision Technologies, Inc., (WDT) detects the user’s location and provides local radar data, as well as current conditions, a 7-day forecast, humidity, wind direction and dew-point data. The Realtree application delivers severe weather information, including the latest US radar, IR satellite and lightning strikes. The Realtree App also provides direct access to national conservation and hunting news.

Radar Weather Data Updated every Five Minutes
Using the “pinch zoom” method to zoom in and out of the map, users can access detailed radar information, all the way down to street level. The radar can animate a continuous loop, allowing hunters to better predict storm paths. The radar data is updated every five minutes.

“Weather is a high priority for any hunter or outdoor sportsman,” said Mike Gauthier, vice president of sales for WDT. “With Realtree’s mobile application, we are bringing the most powerful, innovative and accurate weather, radar and satellite data available in the United States, transforming any iPhone into a reliable decision-making tool for the nation’s 23 million hunters.”

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product No Comments »