March 3rd, 2013

MidwayUSA Pro Series Competition Shooting Mat for $49.99

The MidwayUSA Pro Series Competition Shooting Mat is now on sale for just $49.99, through the end of March, 2013. That’s 51% off the regular $102.99 price. This mat is bigger and better than MidwayUSA’s original shooting mat, with many enhancements. The Pro Series mat measures a full 73.5″ x 35.5″ and the padding is thicker. There is a zippered pocket on the front extension flap to hold ammo or log book. The rubberized contact areas are tan now (rather than black) so they don’t get so hot in the sun. And the designers added webbing “pockets” for bipod feet so you can pre-load the ‘pod with forward pressure. MidwayUSA has done a good job improving a mat that was already a good deal for the money. At $49.99 on sale (through 3/31/2013), this Pro Series mat is a great deal.

MidwayUSA pro series shooting mat

MidwayUSA pro series shooting mat

MidwayUSA Buyer Reviews:

Five Stars: Great upgrades to the original. It’s bigger in every direction, and the padding is twice as thick. The new knee and elbow pads won’t get as hot as the black material on the old one did, and the new material is “grippier” than the old stuff too. The bi-pod stop is a nice touch if you shoot F-T/R. — Bob M., Missouri, 10/6/2010.

Five Stars: As a competitive shooter my mat is important. The mat I replaced had been with me for about twenty years. It had been with me through the famous weather at Camp Perry, the winds and sand of Grayling 1000 yard matches. My Midway mat arrived shiny and new, full of stuffing, stiff and green. At my next match I found I liked the feel of the mat, it has handles! The rocks and sand on the firing line were not as sharp. The rubber is well-placed. It has proven to be rugged and quite up to the task. I am seeing more Midway mats at matches. A good thing. — Tom, Michigan, 12/26/2012.

Four Stars: I purchased this mat for a 2-day Appleseed event this fall. Good overall quality and more than wide and long enough for my frame. The only drawback and reason for me giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is that the padding is insufficient when placed on top of a rocky surface. I wasn’t looking for a sleeping mat mind you, but you feel every single rock underneath the mat when shooting prone (especially on the elbows), kneeling and when transitioning between positions. Best to use another pad underneath if you are using it on a rocky surface. Most of the other mats out there have the same drawbacks so this is still a great choice at a very decent price. — Chris S., Illinois, 1/6/2013.

Five Stars: This is a great mat for the money. It’s larger, thicker, and stickier than my old one. I could use larger knee area friction pads, but that’s the only complaint. The elbow area is huge and that’s what’s best. Much cooler in the sun, too. Rolls up and rolls out easy. The double-adjustable carry strap has built in loops I use for carrying a rolled up foul weather cover. The fold-out front fly is large and useful. This is a good looking, hard working mat. — Steve R., Illinois, 10/11/2010

This product has 4.3 star average with 53 user reviews.

Permalink Hot Deals, New Product 1 Comment »
February 28th, 2013

PennDOT Now Offers Customized NRA-Themed License Plates

In California, you can get a “Save the Whales” custom license plate. Meanwhile in the great state of Pennsylvania, you can now get a handsome, custom plate that helps raise money for the shooting sports. Thanks to Friends of NRA committees throughout Pennsylvania, PennDOT now offers NRA-specialized license plates. The Keystone State joins a growing list of states with NRA-themed plates. Revenues from the plates (after PennDOT takes its share) will help fund NRA Foundation programs.

NRA license plate Pennsylvania

Proceeds go to the NRA Foundation, the country’s leading charitable organization in support of the shooting sports. Since its inception in 1990, the NRA Foundation has awarded more than $140 million in grants. Grants awarded by the foundation provide essential program funding for youth education, law enforcement training, hunter education, conservation, firearms and marksmanship training and safety, and much more.

NRA license plate Pennsylvania

Permalink New Product, News 2 Comments »
February 24th, 2013

Coonan Semi-Auto Pistol Shoots .357 Magnum Cartridge

Coonan Inc. offers an interesting new handgun, a single-stack semi-auto that fires the .357 Magnum rimmed cartridge. Though the Coonan pistol is similar in appearance to a m1911, it has a linkless barrel, and a pivoting trigger. To feed the rimmed cartridges smoothly, Coonin employs a proprietary magazine with an “articulated follower”. This gun is available in both standard and compensated versions. With these Coonan pistols you can shoot a very powerful defensive round that has a much higher velocity and up to 80% more energy than a .45 ACP. You can also shoot .38 Specials (with a different spring).

Coonan .357 mag pistol

The .357 Magnum is a very effective self-defense round, offering much higher velocity and energy than the .45 ACP. Consider this, the Coonan can launch 180gr Corbon .357 Mag ammo at 1288 FPS. At that MV, the 180gr bullet delivers 663 ft-lbs of energy. By comparison, a .45 ACP round with a 230gr FMJ running 850 FPS delivers just 359 ft-lbs of energy (at the muzzle). That’s a huge difference — the .357 Magnum delivers nearly 80% more energy (calculated at the muzzle).

Coonan .357 mag pistol

The “Coonan Classic” .357 Magnum with 5″ uncompensated barrel starts at $1375.00. For $99.99 more you can get a 5.7″ threaded barrel. For $249.99 more you can get the compensated version. Many other options are offered, such as Black Duracote finish with laser-etched black aluminum grips ($299.99 extra). The gun in the video below features the Digital Camo Duracoat package with milled black aluminum grips ($549.99 extra).

American Rifleman Reviews Coonan .357 Magnum Pistol

READ Full Review of Coonan Classic .357 Magnum in American Rifleman

“The .357 Magnum cartridge was developed for a revolver where it could headspace off the rim. Traditionally, feeding of rimmed center-fire cartridges is problematic in box-magazine-fed firearms. That problem, however, has been addressed well with the Coonan. The cartridges are staggered, with the rim of each cartridge in front of the one below it in the magazine.”

“Although the Coonan’s gripframe is larger than that of a standard M1911 … even those with average-size hands had no trouble reaching the trigger.”

“We function-tested the pistol with several different .357 Mag loads, with bullet weights from 125 grains to 180 grains. It ran well with most, but did not function properly with reduced-power ‘personal defense’ ammunition. When the gun was fed full-power .357 Mag ammunition designed for handguns, it ran fine.”

Coonan .357 mag pistol

Coonan Pistol Shoots .38 Special Also
While the Coonan pistol is designed to run with .357 Magnum ammo, the manufacturer says the guns will also shoot .38 Special and .38 +P ammunition, provided a different spring is used. Coonan provides a 10-lb spring for use with .38 Spl ammo. This is used in place of the 22-lb standard spring. (Spring exchange procedure is shown in Video above.) Coonan cautions: “A 10-pound spring is supplied with the firearm for use with .38 Special ammunition. We recommend using .38 +P or .38 Special ammunition. The firearm may not cycle with .38 Special ammunition until broken in (approximately 200 rounds).”

Permalink - Videos, New Product 3 Comments »
February 24th, 2013

Innovative Borka Torque Setting Driver Belongs in Your Toolkit

Borka Torque DriverPh.D Engineer Boris Teper has invented a remarkably compact yet effective torque-setting tool that is ideal for tensioning scope ring fasteners and action screws on rifles. The Torque Settings Driver from Borka Tools is brilliant in its simplicity. The lightweight tool is basically a lever, with a series of hex slots through which a spindle is fitted. The slot position sets the effective lever arm length. How does the tool prevent over-torquing? That’s the magic of Teper’s invention. On one end of the tool is a handle with a spring-loaded ball detent. Once desired torque is reached, the handle overrides the detent, snapping forward so you can’t crank too hard (figure 2 below).

Borka Torque Driver

Borka Torque Driver

The Borka Driver is very easy to use, and despite its simplicity, it is very precise. Lab testing of the Borka driver show that the tool yields the correct torque setting within 4-6% of the true nominal torque measured with a calibration device. That means, for example, if you set the driver for 40 inch-lbs. it will torque the fastener within ± 2.5 lbs of your target setting. That’s as good as some full-size torque wrenches — pretty impressive for a tool that weighs only 4 ounces complete with spindle. And every Borka driver is calibrated to ensure accuracy before it ships.

Borka DriverBorka offers many versions of its tool, with torque ranges from 10 inch-lbs. up to 72 inch-pounds. The basic Borka driver, priced at $55.00, offers six (6) preset torque values. For $15.00 more Borka sells a driver that offers twelve (12) preset torque values. This 12-setting tool, which is not any bigger or heavier than the 6-setting model, is cleverly designed — you simply flip it over to switch from the first six torque settings to the second six. This works because the handle has variable “break” resistance depending on direction of travel. Smart.

Borka’s most popular torque tool is the 12-setting $75.00 “Military Grade” MG driver, model ATD-15×72-12FS-MG. This offers a dozen torque settings from 15- to 72-inch-pounds. We recommend the “Military Grade” model because it has torque settings laser-etched on the surface of the driver arm (see video). That way you’ll always know your torque values. The “Military Grade” model also comes with 1/4″ hex to 1/4″ square (M) and 1/4″ square (F) to 3/8″ square (M) adapters. The Military Grade Model, intended for use in the field by both DOD and LE personel, has already proved popular with “civilian” tactical shooters. You can store the tool in the supplied fabric carry pouch, or stash it (with needed bits) in your range kit.

Video Shows How to Use Borka Driver When Mounting Scope
We suspect many readers are still a bit confused as to how the Borka driver actually works. We could explain in greater detail but a video is worth a thousand words. In the YouTube video below, Frank Galli (aka “LowLight”) from Snipers’ Hide explains how to use the Borka torque driver. Frank demonstrates the $75.00 “Military Grade” Model, but all the Borka lever arm drivers share the same basic operation. Frank shows how to set the spindle position to your desired torque setting and hold to hold the unit properly. Watch carefully and you’ll see how the cylindrical handle at the end of the tool snaps forward or “breaks” when the desired torque setting is reached. Frank notes that: “there is no backlash when torquing. This is an excellent feature as it breaks clean at the desired weight.”

YouTube Preview Image

Where can you get a Borka torque setting driver? All models can be purchased directly from Borka Enterprises by emailing info@borkatools.com. You can also purchase through Manson Precision Reamers, (810) 953-0732. (Dave Manson worked with Boris Teper to get this product to market.) In addition, four models are available from Brownells: ATD-20X4006FS (Brownells item #080-000-734), ATD25X5006FS (Brownells item #080-000-735), ATD-36X7206FS (Brownells item #080-000-736), and ATD-15X7212FS (Brownells item #080-000-737).

DOWNLOAD: Intro to Torque Setting Driver | Borka Torque Driver Users’ Manual | Tool Calibration

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product 4 Comments »
February 24th, 2013

New Thunder Ranch Version of Mossberg MVP Mag-Fed Rifle

Mossberg has added a new Thunder Ranch Special Edition to the MVP (Mossberg Varmint Predator) line of AR-mag-fed bolt-action rifles. The Thunder Ranch MVP features an 18.5″ fluted barrel, and Picatinny scope rail. The stock is finished in Olive Drab (OD) with the Thunder Ranch logo. The rifle is chambered in 5.56×45 NATO (.223 Rem) and the barrel twist is 1:9″ so you can shoot a wide variety of ammo.

Mossberg MVP thunder ranch rifle AR

Like Mossberg’s other MVP rifles, the Thunder Ranch rifle has a unique, patent-pending bolt design which lets it reliably feed from AR15 magazines. The Thunder Ranch rifle ships with a 10-round Mossberg magazine, but any milspec box-type AR-platform magazine should fit and function in the gun.

mossberg MVP varmint predator rifle
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Other MVP versions should be popular with our readers. We like the MVP Varmint model (shown above) which offers a gray/brown laminated stock suitable for shooting from the bench. The MVP Varmint is offered either without sights (product 27700), or with in a combo package (product 27710) which includes 4-16x50mm scope, and factory-supplied bipod. Both MVP Varmint versions have medium-contour barrels, with 1:9″ twist rates. Without scope, the MVP varminter weighs roughly 7.75 pounds. With scope and bipod the MVP Varmint is 9.25 pounds. MVP rifles will ship from the factory with sling swivel studs and either 5- or 10-round magazine.

mossbergMVP Rifles Feature Adjustable Triggers
MVP rifles are fitted with Mossberg’s LBA “Lightning” Adjustable Trigger System, which adjusts from 2 to 7 lbs. pull weight. The LBA trigger, like the Savage Accutrigger, features a central blade that blocks sear movement unless fully depressed.

Nice Laminated Stock with Wide Fore-End
One of the best features of the MVP rifles is the stock, which comes with factory-fitted pillars. Mossberg fitted the MVP Varmint (shown above) with a nice, laminated stock that should work well either on sandbags or when shot from bipod. To ride the bags better, the fore-end is wider than typical hunting stocks, with a flat bottom. Stippling on the fore-end and pistol grip provide for positive hand placement. We think this stock is a pretty good design for the rifle’s intended uses. The lighter-weight MVP Predator design has a conventional fore-end, with a shorter 18.5″ barrel.

mossberg MVP varmint predator rifle
Mossberg MVP Series Varmint Rifle Specifications:

ITEM: 27700
CALIBER: 5.56mm NATO (.223 Rem)
TOTAL CAP: 10+1
BARREL: 24.0″, Med Bull Fluted Matte Blue
TWIST RATE: 1:9″ Twist
SIGHTS: None (no Scope)
STOCK: Benchrest-Style Grey Laminate
WEIGHT: 7.5 lbs.
MSRP: $702
ITEM: 27710
CALIBER: 5.56mm NATO (.223 Rem)
TOTAL CAP: 10+1
BARREL: 24.0″, Med Bull Fluted Matte Blue
TWIST RATE: 1:9″ Twist
SIGHTS: 4-15x50mm Scope, Weaver-type bases
STOCK: Benchrest-Style Grey Laminate with Bipod
WEIGHT: 10 lbs.
MSRP: $861
Story tip from Edlongrange. We welcome submissions from our readers.
Permalink New Product 2 Comments »
February 20th, 2013

F-Class Team Tests New Nightforce 15-55x52mm Comp Scope

Nightforce 15-55x competition scope test gear review

New Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition ScopeField Report by Darrell Buell
A few weeks ago at SHOT Show, Nightforce Optics introduced a new Competition Scope. When Nightforce heard about the upcoming U.S. Team practice session in Phoenix, the optics-maker overnighted us two prototype Comp Scopes to wring out under match conditions.

From the start, we were impressed by these new 15-55X Competition Scopes. Darrell mounted one on his personal competition rifle, and the other on a mocked-up action, so people could hold it up safely in a steady fashion behind the firing line. The new scopes acted like magnets, drawing people from all over the Berger SW Long Range Nationals to check them out.

Nightforce 15-55x competition scope test gear reviewThe new Competition Scope is a 15-55x52mm. The new scope’s ED (extra-low dispersion) glass yields outstanding resolution. Remarkably, the resolution in the Competition scopes is even slightly better than the Nightforce 12-42x56mm NXS, with its larger 56mm objective lens. The color is definitely ‘crisper’ as well. Not surprisingly, the image quality is what most people noted first (see through-the-lens photo at right). The glass is great, and Nightforce included other thoughtful features as well. First is the side parallax adjustment that competitors have been wanting for years (this is one of the draws for the NXS scope in competition). The higher zoom range (with 55X power on tap), and the 60 MOA of vertical travel is also a much-asked-for (and useful) feature.

In competition, the high-quality glass in the new Comp Scopes proved very beneficial. The Berger SW LR Nationals took place in Phoenix, in February, so conditions ranged from cold and windy, to warmer with moderate mirage. In some of the heavier mirage conditions (not massive mirage, by any means, but enough that the magnification on a 12-42X NXS would probably have been turned down to 32-35 power), the Competition Nightforce stayed at 45 power and above. The turrets were the usual Nightforce precision, good defined, tactile adjustment clicks (5 MOA per revolution). The only improvement there would be to have the windage turrets adjust in ¼ MOA clicks (yielding 10 MOA per revolution), which Nightforce assures us that will be done for the Team scopes. [Current production 15-55X Competition Scopes have 1/8 MOA windage clicks.]

The Team’s response to the prototype scopes was overwhelmingly positive. Nightforce has generously agreed to provide 10 new Competition scopes for the USA F-Class Team competing in South Africa next month. The Bloemfontein Range will be an excellent test of the new 15-55X scope’s capabilities!

Nightforce 15-55x competition scope test gear review

Nightforce 15-55x competition scope test gear review

Visit to Nightforce Production Center in Idaho
The prototype scopes had to be returned to Nightforce, and as it wasn’t much of a detour, Team Captain Darrell Buell paid a visit to Nightforce’s Orofino, Idaho production facility. Nightforce rolled out the welcome mat, providing not only a highly detailed tour of the location, but also the opportunity to say a few words in front of a meeting of all of the day shift and evening shift staff. It was good fun for everyone, the staff seemed genuinely fascinated by what the Team was doing with their scopes all over the world, and Darrell was equally interested in the attention and quality that was invested by the staff there in each scope produced.

During the tour Nightforce provided a convincing demonstration of the rugged durability of NF optics. Each assembly station had a steel pillar fixture near the bench; the pillars were covered in a thin layer of rubber padding. As a scope was completed, the technician would grasp it by the ocular end, and strike the objective end (quite sharply) on the rubber-coated pillar three times. The scope would then be placed back on a optical test stand, and the image checked for shifting. This ‘strike test’ was then repeated three additional times (with associated checks), so that the top, bottom, left side, and right side were all tested and checked.


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Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics 8 Comments »
February 17th, 2013

New Jumbo-Sized, Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine from Lyman

Lyman has introduced a number of new products for 2013 for gunsmiths and hand-loaders. An impressive new offering is the new, large-capacity Turbo® Sonic Power Pro Ultrasonic Cleaning machine. This new unit, one of the largest and most powerful on the market, can ultrasonically clean items up to 34″ in length. The Lyman Power Pro’s large, stainless-steel heated tank and ten transducers allow gunsmiths, armorers, and gun-owners to quickly clean a wide variety of metal items. Designed for high-volume cleaning or for larger-than-normal items, the new Turbo Sonic Power Pro’s 34.75″-long* heated stainless steel tank can easily handle most barreled actions, upper receivers, as well as multiple handguns. The Power Pro includes both a timer and adjustable heat control (you can select temps up to 175° F).

lyman turbo sonic power pro ultrasonic

With an MSRP of $1395.00 and a 70-lb shipping weight, this is a big, heavy, and costly unit. But if you need a hard-working machine for big jobs, this may be worth the investment.

lyman turbo sonic power pro ultrasonicTen Transducers Do the Job Fast
The Power Pro’s TEN high-output transducers aggressively clean and degrease items, both inside and out. In fact, the Power Pro is such an effective cleaner that Lyman recommends that cleaned parts immediately be treated with Lyman’s Turbo Sonic Gun Lube. Changing from cleaning to lubrication is easy with the built-in drain system. Lyman now offers both cleaning concentrate and parts lubricant in gallon containers.

(*Note: the tank is listed as 35.75″ in product photo, but Lyman’s spec sheet states 34.75″.)

How-To Video: Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning (Click Arrow in lower left to start video)
Video playback requires HTML5. This may not work with older browser versions.

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
February 16th, 2013

Gear Review: ‘World’s Finest Trimmer’ from Little Crow Gunworks

We had a chance to try out the new power case trimmer head from Little Crow Gunworks. Dubbed the “World’s Finest Trimmer” (WFT) by its inventor, Dale Hegstrom, this device proved fast, precise, and easy to use. When compared to a Hornady Lock ‘N Load hand-crank trimmer, the WFT processed cases twice as fast, and delivered a more uniform cut length with our test brass.

The WFT features a steel shell-holder, aluminum body, and steel drive shank. You can chuck it into any electric drill or power device that can handle the 3/8″ shank. Unlike most case trimming tools, the WFT indexes off the shoulder datum. This permits you to trim cases very quickly, without fiddling around with rim-grabbing collets, or shell-holders. Watch the videos to see the WFT in action.

World's Finest Trimmer

WFT is Fast and User-Friendly
Mark LaFevers, our tester, was easily able to trim five (5) cases in under 30 seconds. It took quite a bit longer to trim five cases with the Hornady trimmer he used for comparison. Mark noted that, after just a 20 or so manually-trimmed cases, his arm would start to fatigue. By contrast, he could effortlessly trim 100 or more cases with the WFT. For older folks with a bit of arthritis, the WFT makes life easier. Mark observed that the WFT produces a “nice, square, clean cut”, while offering a “very fast cycle rate”. He tells us, “once you get the hang of it, you probably can trim your brass two, if not three times as fast.”

Mark really liked the WFT tool, and a WFT will be replacing his hand trimmer for big jobs. One downside is that, currently, the WFT is cartridge specific — you normally need to have a different tool for each cartridge type you trim. And there are no swappable inserts allowing you to trim different cartridge types with the same tool. However some WFT versions WILL trim different cartridge types within the same “family”, such as .270 Win and .30-06.*

Hi-Rez Video Shows “Trim-Off” Challenge between WFT and Hornady Trimmer
You should definitely watch the five-minute video below. Mark trims five cases with the WFT, and then five more with the Hornady tool. He times the operation of each device and then measures the trimmed cases. The total variation (in length) of the WFT-trimmed cases was .001. With the Hornady tool, there was a much larger spread: .007″ (seven thousandths). Mark cautioned: “Normally the Hornady tool does a bit better than this — the variance won’t be so large. But getting better results (with the Hornady) might require trimming, measuring, then trimming again. In the video I was trying to move pretty quickly and the measurements were all taken after the initial trim. Possibly, if I slowed down when using the Hornady trimmer, the OAL measurements would have been more consistent. But that just further reinforces the point that the WFT is faster.”


NOTE: If you have a fast connection, we suggest you select 720p (HiRez) and expand to full screen.

In the video below, WFT creator Dale Hegstrom demos his device and shows how quickly it can trim a large quantity of brass. Note how the WFT is attached to a common rechargeable power drill.

“World’s Finest Trimmer” Costs $69.95
The Little Crow Gunworks “World’s Finest Trimmer is available for $69.95 from various vendors including Creedmoor Sports. WFTs index off the shoulder, not the base. The case fits tightly into a steel bearing which has been machined to a specific caliber. This decouples the stationary case from the spinning cutting blade and body, giving you a smooth, exact cut each time. While the WFT makes a nice, square cut, we do recommend chamfering inside and outside after the brass is trimmed to length.

*Most WFTs are cartridge specific. Available sizes include: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, 22-250, 6mmBR, 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5-284 (and 6mm-284), 6.8 SPC, 270 WSM, 7mm Rem Mag (and 300 Win Mag), .308 Win, 300 WSM, .338 Lapua Magnum. There is a ‘5 in 1′ WFT unit that will handle .17 Rem, .221 Fireball, .222, .223 Rem, and .222 Mag. The 6mmRem unit also works with .257 Roberts and 7×57 Mauser. The .30-06 WFT will trim .270 Win, .280 Rem, and .25-06 as well. And the WFT for Ultramags works with 7mm, 300, and .338 Ultramags.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, New Product 9 Comments »
February 9th, 2013

Find Shooting Ranges with FREE Where2Shoot iPhone App

The National Shooting Sport Foundation (NSSF) has released its new Where2Shoot app for the Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch. The App — available for free in the iTunes App Store — puts North America’s most comprehensive directory of shooting ranges in the palm of your hand.

This free App provides the functionality of NSSF’s WhereToShoot.org website in a smartphone-friendly format. You’ll find listings of literally thousands of ranges and shooting clubs, in locations across the country. Listings are updated frequently with range information in every U.S. state and Canadian province. Click a button to find ranges near you or you can search by state, by zip code, or by keyword. You can also limit your search to specific types of facilities (such as indoor pistol ranges). The App provides specifics about each range, including shooting activities offered and contact information.

The Where2Shoot App also includes news, safety procedures, and firearms tips. New tips for hunters and shooters are also added regularly. Visit the App store to learn more about the Where2Shoot App or download it for free. You can also scan the QR code above with your device to download the free App.

Permalink New Product, Tech Tip No Comments »
February 8th, 2013

New FLEX F-TR Bipod from Dan Pohlabel

Report by Monte Milanuk
With the proliferation of wide bipods for competitive F-TR shooting, we’ve seen a lot of cool gear hitting the market. Whatever you can imagine, someone is either building now, or working on prototype plans. One new design that seems to have stayed under the radar thus far is the FLEX bipod by Dan Pohlabel.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

The FLEX bipod’s designer, Dan Pohlabel, offers these instructions:

The bipod feet are shipped loose. Note there is a left foot and a right foot. Mount them as shown in the diagram above. Determine the balance point of your rifle and mount the bipod approximately two inches forward of that point. You may want to move it further forward after shooting. Experiment with its placement to minimize movement of the bipod. When setting up, first grab each foot and ‘dig’ them in to the shooting surface, dirt, gravel, grass, carpet — it doesn’t matter. After making sure each foot has a hold, raise or lower the bipod to your target and use the cant adjustment to level your rifle. Loading the bipod with your shoulder is the preferred method of position. Contact me with any FLEX bipod questions you may have: danielp123 [at] earthlink.net.

The FLEX bipod is a very simple design — no Mariner’s wheel for vertical adjustment, no joystick head, no changing width as it goes up and down. And the FLEX bipod is very light (as are most, these days), but also very durable. I haven’t actively tried to destructively test it, but so far it’s held up to being tossed in the back of the truck, hauled around to the range and everywhere else in between. It definitely has not been ‘babied’ in any way, and it’s not noticeably any worse for wear. An added bonus is that it breaks down very flat for airline travel. Once I take the feet off, remove the ratchet lever (with screw), the whole bipod nestles very nicely in the bottom layer of foam in my gun case (with cuts for the head etc. in the foam). I’m definitely not worried about it in there. If someone bashes the case hard enough to damage what is essentially a plate of spring steel, then I’ve got bigger worries.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

This view (below) shows a bit of the adjustment controls. Each leg has independent control for height, and there is a ratcheting locking lever that controls the cant. Instead of being directly centered like most other designs I’ve seen, this one is off-set a little, allowing a fair amount of movement without allowing it to completely ‘flop’ over to one side. (By contrast, using other bipod designs, I’ve had guns literally flip over as they tipped over too far.) Also having the tilt control relatively close/tight to the bore of the gun helps with the stability as well.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

Inventor Dan Pohlebel developed the FLEX bipod for use in his native Ohio, where apparently grassy firing lines are the norm. Here in the Pacific Northwest, I seem to encounter concrete or gravel more often, which is why I usually place a mat under the bipod to keep it from sinking in too far. On Dan’s newest models, the “feet” have teeth to give better traction on hard surfaces such as the hard-pack clay/dirt (beneath a skim layer of gravel) that you’ll find at Raton, NM.

Why would you want more traction? Well, not everyone wants a bipod that slides around like a hog on ice. Some people manage to get things tracking straight back and forth, almost like it was constrained by a front rest. Personally, I have a hard time doing that in a repeatable fashion. While the FLEX Bipod shoots quite well with a [loose] hold, it was designed for those of us who like to ‘lean’ into the gun a bit. Quite literally, the idea is that you get the feet to dig in slightly, and push against the rifle butt with your shoulder and the bipod will ‘flex’ or bow forward slightly. It is one of those things that sounds wonky until you try it. It may take a few times to get a feel for it, but once you do, it is surprisingly repeatable.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

The system does have a few quirks to it. Personally, I wish the rail attachment had a ratchet lever like the pivot control. Currently you need a separate tool to take the bipod on/off the gun. Also, the FLEX bipod seems to work better mounted somewhat further back than other designs. Some experimenting may be necessary to find what works best. Then again, we all need more trigger time….

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 3 Comments »
February 5th, 2013

Handy Charts Identify Correct Ammo Boxes for your Cartridge

MTM Ammo BoxesMost of our readers know that MTM Case-Gard offers a vast selection of ammo boxes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. However, with such a wide inventory of box styles and sizes, it can be difficult, at first, to select the right box for your particular cartridge and carrying needs. MTM has now simplified that task by publishing comprehensive Ammo Box Charts on its website. Just log on to the Box Charts Page, and select Rifle, Handgun, or Shotshell boxes. That will open a large chart listing cartridge types, small to large, in the left column. Pick your cartridge and you will see all the storage options. MTM even codes the entries so you can see if a box allows Tip Up AND Tip Down storage, Tip Down only, or Tip Up only. For most popular rifle cartridges, there are 20-round, 50-round, and 100-round cases. Below is the first part of the Rifle Ammo Box Chart. The entire chart is four pages long.

MTM Ammo Boxes

Rifle Ammo Box Chart (All) PDF | Handgun Ammo Box Chart (All) PDF | Shotshell Box Chart (All)

New MTM Ammo Belt Pouch
MTM has also introduced a handy product that should work great for rimfire shooters. The new MTM Ammo Belt Pouch conveniently holds 100 rounds (two boxes) of .22LR rimfire ammo. With a sturdy snap latch and heavy-duty belt clip, all you have to do is pour out the ammo, then clip the pouch on your belt or jeans pocket. The Belt Pouch is also handy for saving fired centerfire brass.

Suggested retail for MTM’s Ammo Belt Pouch is a modest $4.95. However, Grafs.com currently sells the item for $3.59 (Prod. #MTMABP). Designed to hold a 100 rounds of 22 long rifles. Holds: .22 Long rifle, 22 Magnum, 22 Short, 17 Win Super Mag, 17 HMR, 17 Mach 2, Pellets, and BBs.

mtm belt pouch

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February 4th, 2013

New Prone and Long Range Rifle Shooting Book Available Now

Nancy’s book is finally shipping! The updated Second Edition of Nancy Tompkins’ book, Prone and Long Range Rifle Shooting, is now in stock and can be ordered from RifleShootingbyNancy.com. Price is $45.00 including shipping in USA, or $59.00 with shipping in Canada (overseas price is $68.00).

The Second Edition is bigger and better than ever. The new, 382-page Second Edition features color photos, and the book is now a hardback for greater durability. The Second Edition contains a new section on F-Class shooting and you’ll find new and updated information throughout the book. Nancy, the first woman to win the NRA National High Power Championship, is one of the greatest competitive rifle shooters in history. In her book she shares insights that can assist rifle shooters of all levels, in a wide range of disciplines. You’ll learn about shooting fundamentals, wind/mirage reading, body positioning, sling use, gear selection, match preparation, visualization techniques, and much, much more. The book also includes sections by Middleton Tompkins on reloading, equipment, and building a Palma rifle.
CLICK HERE for Complete Topic List by Chapter.

Nancy Tompkins long range rifle shooting book

Nancy Tompkins — A Truly Legendary Rifle Shoter
Nancy Tompkins has been shooting competitively for over 38 years. She has won the National Long Range Championships 4 times (1986, 1997, 1999 and 2003), the across-the-course National High Power Championships (1998), the Metric Smallbore Nationals (2012) and the Fullbore Nationals (2012).

Nancy has also been the Wimbledon Cup winner (1993) and a 7-time Leech Cup winner (1995, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2011 and 2012). She has won both team and individual medals in the World Championships and has been on seven Palma Teams (as both a shooter and a coach).

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February 3rd, 2013

Recommended Bullet Casting Book from Cast Bullet Association

Forum member Roy Bertalotto has found a great print resource for cast bullet shooters. Roy, who runs the RVB Precision website, has started casting his own bullets. Roy tells us: “I recently joined the Cast Bullet Association (CBA) as I’ve discovered the great hobby of casting my own bullets for long range ‘Buffalo Shoots’ and Cowboy Action Shooting.” Roy says he found the information he needed in the CBA’s own guide to bullet casting: “The CBA offers a fantastic 496-page book, mostly prepared by members, on absolutely everything you’d ever want to know and more about bullet casting.”

Cast Bullet Association Book

Cast Bullets For Beginner and Expert (Second Edition) is a collection of articles from serious cast bullet shooters, covering every subject imaginable. Compiled by Joe Brennan, this new edition has updated information. This Second Edition is now available for $29.95 with free shipping in the USA.

You can order this book online, or send a $29.95 check to:
Eunice Birmley, CBA Director of Services, 47 Pinon, Cimarron, NM 87714

Cast Bullet Association Book

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 1 Comment »
February 2nd, 2013

Gear Review: Bald Eagle (Grizzly) 20″ Range Bag

Bald Eagle Range BagI have been looking for a bag that can securely carry a large spotting scope as well as chronograph hardware, wind meter, and camera gear — all the extra stuff I typically take to the range in addition to the essential cleaning and shooting products that go in my regular range kit. The folks at Grizzly Industrial told me to check out their new 20″ Range Bag by Bald Eagle. These 20″ Range Bags, are very versatile and well-made. With eyepiece removed, my jumbo-sized Pentax PF-100ED spotting scope fit perfectly inside the padded central compartment. At the same time I could haul ALL the peripherals for my PVM-21 chronograph, plus a camera, wind meter, spare Pentax eyepiece, AND a netbook computer. Without the netbook, there is room for four pistols along the side channels. If you don’t need to pack a large spotting scope, the main compartment could easily hold 3 more pistols in Bore-Store socks, plus holsters, ammo boxes, and earmuffs.

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this VideoPress video.

Good Gear AccurateShooter.comWatch the video to see how much stuff will fit in this bag. NOTE: If you carry a tripod or windflag stand using the straps under the case lid, be sure to position the foam padding carefully to prevent any direct contact with a spotting scope in the main compartment. Overall, the 20″ Range Bag is a remarkably capable gear-hauler. With the nicely-padded interior it will safely carry expensive items such as laser rangefinders, and binoculars. There is also a slash pocket on the rear side (not shown in video) that will hold thin items such as target stickers and shooting log-books. The 20″ Range Bag is offered in four (4) different colors: Red, Black, Green, and Camo. Price is $59.95 for solid colors and $61.95 for camo.

Grizzly Bald Eagle 20

Smaller, 15″ Range Bag Offered Also
Grizzly also sells more compact, 15″-wide Bald Eagle Range Bags. There are six (6) color choices for the 15″ Range Bag: Red, Black, Navy Blue, Green, Hot Pink (for ladies), and Camo. Solid colors cost $45.00, while the Camo Bag costs a couple dollars more ($46.95). If you don’t need to haul a spotting scope, you may prefer the smaller version. The 15″ version still offers lot of carrying capacity — it’s big enough to hold ammo, muffs, target stickers, and much more.

Grizzly Range Bag 15" Camo

REVIEW Disclosure: Grizzly Industrial provided the 20″ Range Bag for testing and evaluation.

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February 1st, 2013

NEW Sizing Dies and Micrometer Seaters from Whidden Gunworks

There is a new player in the field of elite die-makers: Whidden Gunworks. John Whidden’s Georgia-based company is producing outstanding full-length sizing dies and micrometer-top seater dies for 7/8-14 thread presses. The dies look great, work great, and produce very straight and accurate ammo. The Whidden dies are finished beautifully inside and out. They are priced competitively and they are available for popular “extreme accuracy” cartridges such as the 6PPC, 6mmBR, 6mmBRX, 6 Dasher, 6XC, 6.5×47, .260 Rem, .284 Win, and .308 Win (and more). If you are looking for a die set for your new precision rifle, you should definitely check out the Whidden dies. Two-die set, FL Sizer and Micrometer-top Seater, costs $184.99. Sizer die alone is $74.99, while Seater die alone is $109.99.

Many of our Forum members have started using Whidden dies — and they are reporting very positive results. I personally own and use a set of Whidden dies, and I am very, very impressed with them. Here’s my report:


Editor’s Report on Whidden Dies
AccurateShooter.com good gearI have a set of Whidden Gunworks dies for my personal 6BRDX (a chambering similar to 6 Dasher but with longer neck). The dies are excellent and they produce very straight ammo. My loaded rounds (made with a Whidden bushing-type FL sizer and Whidden micrometer-top seater) are showing less than .0015″ run-out measured on the bullet, with the majority closer to .001″ run-out. (This is with Lapua Scenar L bullets, which have great jacket uniformity and concentricity.)

One thing I immediately noticed about the Whidden seater die is that there is a very close correspondence between the seater “hash marks” and true changes in seating depth. By this I mean when you dial a value change of 10 on the micrometer scale, you get very close to a .010″ change in seating depth. It is not perfect, but it is definitely more precise than most other micrometer-top seater dies I’ve used (both hand dies and 7/8-14 thread screw-in types).

Whidden diesCartridges loaded with my Whidden sizer and seater dies have proved very accurate. My 6BRDX is shooting in the mid-ones for five shots at 100 yards. I also have a micrometer-top Wilson inline seater die that was custom-bored with my chamber reamer. As far as I can tell, the ammo loaded with the screw-in Whidden seater is every bit as accurate as rounds loaded with the Wilson die using an arbor press. Additionally, with the Whidden micrometer die, I can hold extremely tight tolerances on base-to-bullet-ogive lengths.

In the past, with my 6mmBR, I favored an inline die because I thought it offered better control over seating depth. But given how well the Whidden seater works, I’m not sure I’d gain anything with my Wilson hand die. At least when used with a quality Harrell’s benchrest press, the Whidden seater gives up little or nothing to the hand die, and that’s big news in my experience.

Whidden Gunworks die

You will like the look and feel of these Whidden dies. The finish inside and out is very, very good — the dies have a quality feel and run very smoothly. Both the sizer and seater have a fluted section — this offers a better “grip” when you’re screwing in the dies. The outside of the seater has a smooth, gloss-anodized finish — it exudes quality. The markings on the seater’s micrometer ring are crisp and very legible, with large, high-contrast white-on-black lines and numbers.

One other very cool feature of the Whidden sizing dies is that custom-sized tapered expanders will soon be offered. Whidden plans to offer expanders in .0005″ (one-half thousandth) increments. This is great if you have, say, a .265 bushing and a .266 bushing but you want just a little less neck tension than the .265 offers. With the tapered expander, I can use a 0.265 bushing followed by an 0.2655 expander — allowing more precise control of neck “grip”.


Whidden Gunworks Sizing Die Seater

Whidden Die Features

  • Die Dimensions well-matched to PT&G reamers used for match chambers.
  • Sizing dies spec’d for easy chambering and extraction without overworking brass.
  • All sizers include shoulder datum collar to measure shoulder “bump” and headspace.
  • Neck bushing or no-neck bushing configurations.
  • Bushing dies use standard Redding/Wilson type bushings.
  • Neck diameter of non-bushing FL sizers can be set to customer specification.
  • Extended threads on short cartridge sizer dies such as BRs.
  • Coming soon: custom expander balls (in half-thousandth increments) to adjust neck tension and provide minimum working of the case neck.
  • Seater: Floating sleeve on micrometer seater enhances concentricity of loaded rounds.
  • Seater: Large, high-contrast markings for easy adjustment.

Custom Dies for Wildcats or Your Cartridge

  • Custom-made for your wildcat or standard cartridge.
  • Can work from fired brass or a chamber drawing to match your chamber exactly.
  • Neck-bushing die, or no-bushing die with neck diameter bored to customer specification.

Whidden Gunworks Sizing Die SeaterAvailable Die Sets
Here is the current caliber list. Micrometer seaters are available in all calibers listed below except 22BR and 22 BRX.

Full-Length Sizer with Bushings
22 BR (No Seater Die)
22 BRX (No Seater Die)
6mm PPC
6mm BR
6mm BRDX
6mm BRX
6mm Dasher
6mm SLR
6mm XC
6×47 Lapua
.243 Win
6.5×47 Lapua
.260 Rem
6.5-284
.284 Win
7mm Shehane
.308 Win
.338 Edge

Full-Length Sizer (Non-Bushing)
22 BR
6MM BR
.243 Win
6×47 Lapua
.260 Rem
6.5 Creedmoor
6.5×47 Lapua
.308 Win

Whidden Gunworks Sizing Die Seater

John Whidden Talks about Sizers, Seaters, and Expanders

Whidden Gunworks Sizing Die SeaterThere are two sides to our die business. First we are stocking dies in many calibers that are of interest to those who visit this website (such as the 6PPC, 6mm Dasher, 6.5×47 Lapua, .260 Rem, 7mm Shehane, .308 Winchester). These dies are a good fit to the “match chamber” reamers and very few people with these calibers should have to have “Pure Custom” dies made. We have both sizers and micrometer-top seaters ready to go for the many cartridge types listed above. The sizer dies will include a shoulder datum collar that makes it easy to measure shoulder “bump” during the full-length sizing process. This is important to control headspace precisely.

On the “Pure Custom” side, we have a huge amount of flexibility. We can make one-of-a-kind sizers and seaters for wildcats in a short period of time and at an excellent price. We can work with the customer to make full-length sizers, neck sizers, shoulder bump dies, small base dies, or most anything else they can need. We can of course provide micrometer-top seaters for these cartridges as well. We can make non-bushing sizers with specific neck inside diameters tailored to customer specifications.

We will also be offering custom-sized expanders. These expanders will fit our dies as well as Redding dies. Our tapered expanders will be available in .0005” (one-half thousandth) increments for the common calibers. In our shop we have had excellent results using expanders in the dies as long as the expanders provided the correct amount of neck tension and didn’t overwork the brass. Expanders have gotten a bad reputation in recent years but we find them to be excellent tools when the same precision is applied to their use that careful handloaders apply to the rest of their process. Expanders can be most valuable for those who choose not to neck-turn their brass (because the expander pushes neckwall variations to the outside).

One last thing — many gunsmiths with their own wildcats (or “specialty” chambers) have asked us to provide dies for their customers. We gladly do batches of custom dies and encourage gunsmiths to contact us. — John Whidden

For more information visit WhiddenGunworks.com or call (229) 686-1911.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 7 Comments »
January 30th, 2013

New Loaded Ammunition from McMillan Group Int’l

McMillan Group International (McMillan) has added three new lines of ammunition: Extreme Velocity ammo (optimized for long range), McMillan Precision ammo (match quality for hunting), and McMillan Tactical ammo. All three new types of ammo are loaded with premium bullets. McMillan claims that its precision cartridge-loading methods ensure: “better concentricity, better uniformity of velocity, [and] better uniformity of pressure”. Along with these three NEW ammo types, McMillan already offers African Dangerous Game ammunition (ADG).

McMillan Ammunition Extreme Tactical Hunting

McMillan Extreme Velocity Ammunition — Long Range
McMillan’s Extreme Velocity (ExVel) ammunition utilizes high-BC Berger Bullets exclusively. Powders are selected for High FPS and low ES to minimize vertical spread at long range. ExVel ammo was designed with input from Bob Beck of Extreme Outer Limits TV.

Cartridge List: 22-250, 243 Win, 6.5×284 Norma, 7mm EOL Ultra Mag, 7mm Rem Mag, 7mm Rem Ultra Mag, .300 EOL Ultra Mag,.300 Win Mag, 300 Rem Ultra Mag, .338 Lapua Magnum.

McMillan Precision Ammunition — Hunting
In its new Precision line, McMillan offers traditional hunting cartridge types. Barnes LRX, TSX, and TTSX bullets with excellent accuracy AND strong terminal performance are used. All critical cartridge measurements are held to precision tolerances and Powders are selected for consistent velocity. Each round is hand inspected.

Cartridge List: .243 Win, 270 WSM, 7mm Rem Mag, .308 Win, 30-378, .300 RUM, .300 WSM, .30-06, .300 Win Mag, .338 Win Mag.

McMillan Tactical Ammunition
McMillan’s Tactical ammunition offers .308, .300 WM, .338 LM, and 50 BMG cartridges loaded to “match-quality standards”. Bullets are carefully selected for mission-specific applications and powders are selected for low ES to minimize vertical spread at extreme long ranges. Each round is hand inspected.

Cartridge List: .308 Subsonic, .308 Win, .300 Win Mag, .338 Lapua Magnum, 50 BMG.

For more information on McMillan ammunition, visit www.McMillanusa.com. To order, call McMillan toll-free at 877-365-6148.

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January 29th, 2013

First Look: NEW Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition Scope

Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition Scope 2013 Shot Show

Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition Scope 2013 Shot ShowAt SHOT Show we checked out the all-new, side-focus 15-55x52mm Competition™ Scope from Nightforce Optics. This comes in both Silver finish and Matte Black. The black version looks like an NXS. The silver looks good but the finish is pretty shiny and contrasts with the black controls (some folks will like that, others won’t). We worked the knobs and side-parallax controls. The clicks are positive and the dial resistance seems just about right (very similar to an NXS). The ED (low-dispersion) glass in the new 15-55X provides high contrast, low chromatic aberration, and 92% light transmission. And this scope is a LOT lighter than the current 12-42x56mm — nearly half a pound less! The new 15-55x52mm sells for $2231.00.

Watch Video to See NF 15-55x52mm Competition Scope (and B.E.A.S.T. sneak preview.)

Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition Scope 2013 Shot Show

The big news is that, with a weight of just 27.8 ounces, the new 15-55X Nightforce Competition Scope is 24% lighter than the NF 12-42×56 Benchrest model, and 20% lighter than the NF 12-42×56 NXS. Like the NXS series, the new Competition scope offers side parallax adjustment; and, it will focus from 25 yards to infinity, making it suitable for rimfire and airgun shooting as well as centerfire competition. The turrets provide positive and repeatable .125 MOA (eighth-minute-of-angle) clicks. Each rotation provides 5 MOA of adjustment. And we’re pleased to see that the Competition Scope offers a full 60 MOA of travel — for both windage and elevation. That’s impressive. We’re pleased to see the new scope offers a fast-focus, European-style diopter eyepiece (photo below right). Two reticles will be offered initially: the CTR-1 (fine crosshair with target dot) and DDR (double dot with hold markers). You can see the reticles in the video above.

Thankfully, you won’t have to wait long to get a 15-55x52mm Comp Scope. Nightforce says it will start shipping in mid-February. CLICK HERE for more information.

Nightforce Competition 15-55x52mm scope Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition Scope 2013 Shot Show
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January 28th, 2013

Rear Sandbag Transport Caddy from Italy’s Varide Cicognani

Portacuscino modello TFC-P Sandbag Tote

Portacuscino modello TFC-P Sandbag ToteDoes your rear sand-bag get lumpy or lose its shape during transport? Are your bag ears starting to sag or get mis-aligned? Well the clever Italians have a solution for you.

Varide Cicognani, an Italian webstore specializing in competition shooting accessories, offers a cleverly-designed bag transport/storage caddy for rear sand-bags. Cicognani’s Portacuscino Model TFC-P is designed to keep your rear bag “in shape” during transport and storage. The TFC-P features aluminum top and bottom brackets, connected with threaded rods. A wedge under the top bracket fits between the bag ears. The top bracket has a convenient carry handle. The whole unit (not including bag) weighs just 13.4 ounces (680 grams). The price is € 49, or $65.99 at current exchange rates. For more information, visit www.VarideCicongnani.it.

Portacuscino modello TFC-P Sandbag Tote

Product Tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gear Review, New Product 4 Comments »
January 26th, 2013

New Eliseo Tubegun Chassis Kit for Tikka T3 Actions

Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine is now offering a tube-gun chassis kit for the Tikka T3 action. This T3 Chassis Kit is the latest design in Gary’s Light Weight Hunter Series. The T3 kit will initially be right-hand only, and will fit AICS short action magazines. This is a “no gunsmithing” installation — no modifications to the action are required and the chassis kit works with the factory T3 trigger and safety.

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3Tikka’s T3 action is rigid and robust. It cycles smoothly and has a short 75° bolt lift. The T3 features a Sako-style extractor, with angled-leading-edge bolt lugs for smooth lock-up. The T3 action can be installed in Gary’s Chassis Kit with either a recoil disc (and bolts) or glue-in action mounting. The Chassis Kit is designed to accept AR15 buttstocks.

Eliseo’s current T3 Chassis Kit handles short-action cartridges only — for now. Gary is considering bringing out a version with a long-action-length magwell if there is sufficient demand.

Price is $685.00. This includes a rugged Cerakote finish. Tikka T3 action and AICS 5-round or 10-round magazines sold separately. For more info, visit GotXRing.com, call 714-630-5734, or send email to: spraynandprayn [at] gmail.com . CLICK HERE for order page.

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 7 Comments »
January 25th, 2013

MEDIA Day Shoot: New MR762A1 LRP .308 from Heckler & Koch

HK Heckler Kock MR762A1 LRP

There were many semi-auto “tactical” rifles on display at MEDIA Day 2013, but one that caught our eye was the new MR762A1 LRP from Heckler & Koch (HK). The HK MR762A1 LRP (“Long Range Package”) looks similar to the H&K G28 rifle, Germany’s new Designated Marksman Rifle. But the G28 has a steel upper receiver, unlike the MR762A1, which evolved from the HK 417.

HK Heckler Kock MR762A1 LRP

Bedecked with quad rails up front, this black and tan rifle screams “tactical”, yet it is surprisingly comfortable to shoot. The grip is comfortable in the hand and the thick rubber buttpad on the adjustable buttstock did a good job of mitigating recoil. Jason said the trigger was crisp and the gun was very accurate. With a gas-piston system (rather than direct gas impingement), this rifle runs very clean. The proprietary, polymer HK magazine worked perfectly with zero feeding issues. We liked these better than the metal mags we’ve tried on other makers’ AR10-type systems.

HK Heckler Kock MR762A1 LRP

The MR762A1 is a direct descendent of the HK416/417 series, only in a semi-automatic rifle configuration developed for civilian users. The MR762A1 LRP employs the same HK proprietary gas piston operating system found on current HK rifles and carbines, using a “pusher” rod in place of the gas tube in the original M16/AR15/AR10 design. According to HK, the op-rod design “virtually eliminates malfunctions common to direct impingement gas systems since hot carbon fouling and waste gases do not enter the receiver area. The MR762A1 stays cleaner, reducing heat transfer to the bolt and bolt carrier, and drastically reducing wear and tear on other critical components.”

HK Heckler Kock MR762A1 LRP

The MR762A1 uses the same 10- and 20-round translucent polymer box magazines made for the HK417; a 5-round magazine is also under development. Additional accessories and add-ons for the LRP variant of the MR762A1 include an ERGO Pistol Grip from Falcon Industries, the same Blue Force Gear sling used on the HK M27 IAR supplied to the USMC, and an OTIS cleaning kit. The rifle package, complete with one 20-rd mag and one 10-rd mag, is shipped ready to use with the scope attached in a 42″-long Model 1720 Pelican case.

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