January 22nd, 2013

SHOT Show Report: New RCBS Summit Single-Stage Press

The new RCBS Summit Press attracted a lot of attention when we first revealed it in the Daily Bulletin earlier this month. Readers wanted to know how well this radical new design really worked. To answer that question, we headed to the RCBS booth at SHOT Show 2013. There our buddy Kent Sakamoto gave us complete run-down on the new Summit. With the Summit, unlike other presses, the case does not move. As you can see in the video, the reloading die comes DOWN to the case.

The Summit’s open-front design is definitely a plus, and we really like the fact that all press operations take place ABOVE the benchtop. There are no linkages running below the bench, which lets you use the Summit on a bench with cabinet-style drawers. The Summit press is definitely beefy. With its massive center column, the design operates smoothly with no flexing issues. RCBS says the Summit has no more head flex than the classic “O”-design RockChucker.

The new Summit Press features a rugged cast-iron frame with all-steel linkages. The handle can be switched from right to left side (good for southpaws), and the open-front design provides good access, facilitating quick die changes. The 4.5-inch opening allows you to work with tall cases. Beneath the shell-holder is a spent primer catcher. The press will accept larger bushings for oversize 1-inch dies. Street Price in the new Summit Press is about $220.00 (optional Short Handle is another $19.95).


RCBS Summit Reloading PressRCBS Summit Press Features:

• Bench-top operation
• Massive 2-inch diameter ram
• Ambidextrous handle
• Compound leverage
• 4.50-inch operating window
• Spent primer catcher
• Full frontal access
• Accepts bushings for 1″ die bodies
• Press adapter bushing
• Zerk lubrication fitting
• Made in USA


RCBS Summit Press

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
January 21st, 2013

SHOT Show Report: Accuracy International PSR Rifle System

Accuracy International PSR sniper system

How would you like a modular precision rifle that can shoot .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Win Mag, and .308 Win rounds — all from the same action and chassis? And how would you like to be able to swap calibers in the field (with barrel and bolt change-outs) with just a couple simple hand tools? This kind of rifle system is not just a pipe-dream. Accuracy International’s PSR Rifle system is truly three guns in one, and it’s now in production. Watch the video to see the features of this advanced modular rifle.

Scott Seigmund, V.P. of Accuracy International (North America), gave us a run-down on the features of AI’s new PSR (Precision Sniper Rifle) modular system. By changing barrels, bolts, and magazines, the gun can shoot three different cartridge types. All the equipment (including bipod, optics, extra bolts, barrels, and mags) are carried in AI’s fitted “deployment” box.


If the full $17,200 three-barrel system is not enough for you, and you need something even more exotic — AI offers a special take-down version of the PSR rifle. Scott showed us a complete .338 LM rifle (with 20″ barrel) stowed in a transport box smaller than a typical carry-on case. Scott said the price on the take-down system has not yet been set.

Accuracy International PSR sniper system

Permalink - Videos, New Product 13 Comments »
January 20th, 2013

Kelbly’s Unveils KTS Stock, 1-8x24mm March, and GRS Stocks

Kelbly.com .338 Lapua Magnum

New Jumbo .338 LM-sized Action and New KTS “Tactical” Stock
At SHOT Show 2013, Kelbly’s showcased a pair of impressive .338 Lapua Magnum rifles. One of these guns featured the beefy new .338 LM repeater action, fitted into Kelbly’s new KTS stock (top rifle in photo above). The KTS stock shares the long wheelbase of Kelbly’s popular 1000-yard benchrest stock. The particular KTS in the above photo features a 2.5″ rounded forearm, adjustable cheekpiece, and butthook cut-away on the bottom of the buttstock. Kelbly’s website states: “The Kelbly KTS stock is designed for long-range competition and tactical shooting. The KTS stock is based off of our 1M stock. It is available in right- or left-handed models. The KTS is extremely adaptable — we can install an adjustable cheek piece, a 3-way butt pad, a butt hook, or a beaver tail front end (2.5″ wide). The standard configuration is just like the 1M stock, the previously listed options must be requested.”

Kelbly KTS

Personally, I found the wrist/grip shape on the KTS stock much more comfortable than the very fat, blocky grips found on some “tactical” stocks. If you are thinking about buying a McMillan or a Manners “tactical” stock, you should give this new Kelbly KTS consideration as well.

New 1-8x24mm FFP from March
What’s new from March this year? We didn’t see any new high-magnification scopes, but Kelbly’s rolled out an all-new March 1-8x24mm tactical scope. This First Focal Plane scope should be ideal for three-gun competition. The new March 1-8x24mm should also appeal to hunters who want a bright, compact scope with a true 1-power viewing option plus ranging capability.

March 1-8x24mm FFP scope

Kelbly’s is now importing the beautifully-crafted GRS laminated stocks from Norway. Featuring an ergonomic grip, these GRS stocks come complete with adjustable cheekpiece and adjustable buttplate. For decades, Kelbly’s has been a respected source for quality fiberglass stocks. Now, as the GRS importer, Kelbly’s will offer some of the nicest laminated wood stocks on the market. Although final pricing has yet to be set, Kelbly’s expects GRS stocks to cost $600.00 to $700.00. We think this is competitive price range when you consider that GRS stocks come standard with adjustable hardware and no final clear-coating is needed.

March 1-8x24mm FFP scope

March 1-8x24mm FFP scope

Permalink New Product, Optics 2 Comments »
January 20th, 2013

Vortex Optics Spotting Scopes and New FFP 2.5-10X for 2013

Having heard many good things about Vortex spotting scopes from our readers and Forum members, on Day 1 of SHOT Show we headed over to the Vortex Optics booth. On display was the entire line-up of Vortex Viper and Razor spotting scopes (both HD and non-HD), with objective diameters ranging from 50mm to 85mm. We know that the 85mm Razor HD has been very popular with our readers, as it offers excellent “bang for the buck”. This spotter runs $1599.00 complete with 20-60 power eyepiece. That’s about half the cost of the big name Euro-brand spotting scopes with comparable objectives. Making the Razor HD even more attractive this year is the availability of a new 18X/23X long-eye-relief eyepiece for Vortex’s flagship spotting scope.

Vortex PSD Viper FFP 2.5-10 scope

For 2013, Vortex has added much-requested 65mm and 50mm models to its Razor HD line of spotting scopes. This is good news for guys who prefer a lighter, more compact spotting scope, or who don’t need the extra light-gathering power of a big 85mm objective. The 65mm and 50mm Vortex Razor HD models should be available by mid-spring 2013, and they will be priced quite a bit lower than their 85mm big brother shown above.

Watch Video to See Vortex Spotting Scopes and NEW 2.5-10X FFP Tactical Scope

Watch Factory Video on Vortex Razor 85mm HD Spotting Scope


After reviewing Vortex’s spotting scopes, we checked out an all-new, compact first focal plane scope from Vortex that we predict will be very popular with three-gun and tactical shooters. The New Vortex Viper PSD 2.5-10x32mm tactical scope features an FFP design. This enables rapid ranging with the provided reticles at all magnification levels. This scope with be offered with mil-based clicks and EBR-1 milrad reticle, or with MOA-based clicks and a EBR-1 reticle with MOA-based subtensions. We were also pleased to learn that Vortex will add a 6-24x50mm model to its Viper HS riflescope line.

Vortex PSD Viper FFP 2.5-10 scope

Permalink New Product, Optics No Comments »
January 19th, 2013

17 Win Super Mag Rimfire from Winchester — Field Report

17 Winchester Super Magnum Win Super Mag Rimfire

At Media Day we test-fired the new 3000 FPS rimfire ammunition from Winchester. Shooting the new 17 Win Super Mag ammo from a pre-production Savage B.MAG rifle (more on that later) and a Browning m1885 falling block, we were able to shoot sub-minute-of-angle groups with a pretty primitive front rest and lumpy rear bag. So far, then, it appears the ammo is pretty darn accurate for a mass-produced rimfire cartridge. Savage has promised to send us a B.MAG rifle for further testing. Watch the video below for more details on this new cartridge.

.17 Winchester Super Magnum RimfireNew 3000 FPS Rimfire Round
Winchester has announced a new, high-velocity 17-caliber rimfire cartridge, the .17 Winchester Super Magnum (aka .17 Win Super Mag). The .17 Win Super Mag will initially be offered in three bullet types: 20gr plastic tip (Varmint HV), 25gr plastic tip (Varmint HE), and a 20gr JHP (Super-X). The 20-grain varieties boast a 3000 FPS muzzle velocity, earning honors as the fastest Rimfire ammo ever made.

.17 Winchester Super Mag Specifications Symbol Sub Brand Bullet Weight Muzzle Velocity
S17W20 Varmint HV 20-gr Plastic Tip 3,000 fps
S17W25 Varmint HE 25-gr Plastic Tip 2,600 fps
X17W20 Super-X 20-gr JHP 3,000 fps

Winchester claims that all .17 Win Super Mag ammo types shoot much flatter than the .22 Win Mag and .17 HMR, while delivering more than 150 percent more energy than both. In addition, the .17 Win Super Mag “bucks the wind” better than any other rimfire ammo — exhibiting significant less horizontal drift at extended ranges. The ammunition should be available at Winchester dealers by April 2013.

17 Winchester Super Magnum Win Super Mag Rimfire

.17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire

Click Boxes to View Larger Charts
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Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 3 Comments »
January 19th, 2013

Leupold adds 3-18X and 4-24X to VX-6 Riflescope Line

Leupold VX-6 scope

Leupold VX-6 scopeAt SHOT Show, Leupold displayed its latest VX-6 scope, a 3-18x50mm. The new 3-18x50mm scope comes in both illuminated and non-illuminated versions. Leupold also confirmed that a 4-24 power VX-6 will be introduced in mid-year 2013. The new 4-24X will have side-parallax, with Varmint Hunters’ and Fine Duplex reticle options. Also new for 2013, Leupold is adding an illuminated version of its 2-12x42mm VX-6.

The new 3-18x50mm VX-6 scope from Leupold comes with all the features you could want. It offers side parallax adjustment, pop-up resettable dials, “diamond-coat” scratch-resistant lenses, a European-style true diopter eyepiece, and illumination control via gold push-button in the center of the left-side turret. There are 11 different illumination settings, so you can adjust the brightness to the conditions. Additionally, when you purchase a 3-18x50mm VX-6 you get one free tuned BDC dial from the Leupold Custom Shop. Reticle choices for 3-18x50mm include: Duplex, Boone & Crockett, Fire-Dot Illuminated Duplex, and illuminated Boone & Crockett.

Watch Video to See Features of New VX-6 Scopes

Permalink New Product, Optics 1 Comment »
January 17th, 2013

SHOT Show Sampler — Interesting Products for 2013

SHOT Show 2013 has been underway since Monday. This show seems bigger than ever, and the sheer number of noteworthy products on display is mind-boggling. We’ve seen some remarkable new scopes from Nightforce, Kahles, and IOR-Valdada. Dave Kiff at PT&G has some “game-changing” new products. Winchester’s new 17 Win Super Mag rimfire cartridge has generated lots of interest, and Savage showed off its new B.MAG bolt action chambered for the new cartridge.

Here’s a quick sample of some cool or interesting products we saw in action on Media Day or on display inside the Sands Convention Center. We’ll do more complete write-ups/reviews once we “back to the office” and have a change to digest spec sheets and edit video. But please enjoy this photo “sampler” from SHOT Show 2013.

New Kahles 10-50X Competition Scope, with Central (big wheel) Parallax Adjustment

New Savage B.MAG Rifle Chambered in 17 Win Super Mag Rimfire

Prototype “Tinkertoy” Benchrest Rifle from McMillan Built on “Alias” Action

New Datum Dial Ammunition Measurement System from Forster Products

New .338 Lapua Magnum Action and Complete .338 LM Rifles from Kelbly’s

Kelbly's Lapua .338 Panda Action Magnum

New Savage Bolt from PT&G with User-Adjustable Spring Tension

Kelbly's Lapua .338 Panda Action Magnum

Futuristic $22K Tracking-Point Rifle System with Automatic Ranging, Ballistic Calculation, and Aiming Solution

Trackingpoint Target Rifle

New .375 Caliber, 350 grain, ultra-high-BC Match-King Bullet from Sierra

Sierra .375 Bullet

Vectronix Laser Rangefinder Units ($1995.00 – $8510.00)

Vectronix LRF

Air Arms S400 Multi-Purpose Rifles (Regular and Biathlon Models)

Air Arms Air Rifles

Accuracy Int’l PSR Multi-Caliber Rifle System — ‘Takedown Edition’ in .338 LM

Accuracy International  PSR

Permalink New Product, News 1 Comment »
January 15th, 2013

New Anschutz 17 HMR Hunter with Straight-Pull Fortner Action

After shooting the new Anschutz model 1727 hunter, three simple words came to mind: “I want one”. This slick little rifle was this editor’s favorite new firearm at the 2013 Media Day at the range. At first glance, it’s just a simple hunting rifle with a European-style walnut stock. But a close look reveals something very special. This little sporting rifle, chambered in 17 HMR, features an advanced, straight-pull Fortner action. This is the same action design found on Anschutz’s top of the line $5000+ Biathlon Rifles. This new model 1727 was revealed for the first time in the world at Media Day.

The nickel-plated action is very smooth and easy to operate. You can flick the action open and closed with a quick movement of thumb and fore-finger (or you can use index finger alone). The adjustable trigger is light and smooth — as you would expect on an Anschutz. This trigger is light years ahead of what you’ll find on a typical factory varmint rifle — it’s that good.

While visiting the Anschutz booth at Media Day, we got to meet young Max Anschutz, who represents the sixth generation of rifle makers in the Anschutz family. Max demo’d the new model 1727 for us and then gave a “shout-out” (in both English and German) to fans of his family’s rifles on both sides of the Atlantic. For this editor, it was interesting to meet this young man as I have now interviewed Dieter Anschutz, his son Jochen, and now Dieter’s grandson, Max.

Watch Straight-Pull Anschutz 17HMR Rifle in Video

The new model 1727 should be available in the USA by mid-April. In the video, the Anschutz rep says the rifle would cost “around $2,000.00″. However, it appears he didn’t convert to U.S. currency correctly. Expect the actual price in the USA to be $3800.00 or higher. Initially, the model 1727 will be released in 17 HMR only. However, Anschutz reps stated that, sometime down the road, Anschutz might produce versions of this gun chambered for the 17 Hornet or new 17 Win Super Mag.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 12 Comments »
January 15th, 2013

Kestrel Shooter’s Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics Software

Shooter's Weather Meter Bryan LitzBryan Litz, author of Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting, told us that Kestrel will unveil a new “Shooter’s Weather Meter” this week at SHOT Show. The brand-new Kestrel Shooter’s Weather Meter will feature Bryan’s sophisticated Applied Ballistics software inside. This allows shooters to calculate very accurate trajectories while measuring up to 15 environmental parameters. This is a big step forward, according to Bryan.

When can you get your hands on one? The new Shooter’s Weather Meter will be available for pre-order for spring 2013 production. [Bryan hosted a demonstration at the Kestrel SHOT Show Booth Thursday at 2:00 pm.]

With integrated Applied Ballistics software, Kestrel users are now able to select from either G1 or G7 ballistic coefficients (BC) when calculating a trajectory. The new Ballistics Kestrel also offers the very extensive “Litz”-measured BC library of over 225 bullets. In addition to these features, users can “train” the software to match a specific rifle based on observed impacts at long range with the ballistics calibration feature. With more accurate BC data, shooters are empowered to make more precise trajectory calculations.

Watch Video about Kestrel Shooters’ Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics Software

New Kestrel Can Communicate with Remote Wind Sensors
The new Kestrel Shooter’s Weather Meter can receive data from wind sensor arrays designed and sold by Applied Ballistics. The use of remote sensors allows actual wind data from various distances down-range to be factored into the ballistics solution. Kestrel says that no other handheld weather meter has offered this kid of multi-array “remote sensing” capability before. Like all Kestrels, the Shooter’s Weather Meter is IP67 waterproof and ruggedized to MIL-STD-810F standards.

Kestrel Weather & Environmental Meters are manufactured by Nielsen-Kellerman, which has produced advanced environmental instruments for more than 15 years. Every Kestrel meter is pocket-sized, rugged, accurate, waterproof, easy-to-use, and backed by an industry-leading five-year warranty.

Permalink New Product No Comments »
January 14th, 2013

High-Quality NRA Targets Now Available from Kruger

Kruger NRA TargetsKruger of Germany produces match targets for the ISSF and major World Championships. Kruger’s quality control is second to none. Now officially-licensed NRA targets are available from Kruger Premium Targets in the USA. With elite competitions being decided by thousandths of an inch in shot placement, shouldn’t your club use the best-quality targets available? Kruger targets are made from premium-grade paper to permit precise, reliable measurements. For example, to ensure that target holes do not have irregular edges, Kruger’s NRA Air Rifle and Air Pistol targets are printed on machine-smoothed 210 gram board made from short-fiber materials. Mike Krei, Director of the NRA’s Competitive Shooting Division, has stated: “It is generally accepted that Kruger has the best heavy pulp target paper in the world and that directly relates to the excellent clean bullet holes which are essential for precise scoring.”

Kruger NRA Targets

Kruger offers the full array of official NRA air rifle, air pistol, international pistol, and smallbore targets. In addition, Kruger sells photo-realistic Animal Targets, plus a cool series of Fun Targets for plinking and informal practice. Kruger targets can be ordered online through www.Kruger-US-Targets.com or you can call Kruger’s USA distributor, MK Tactical, at (503) 746-6816. MK Tactical is located in Hillsborough, OR.

Permalink Competition, New Product No Comments »
January 12th, 2013

Zeiss Offers New Conquest HD5 Scopes with 5X Zoom Ratio

Zeiss Conquest HD5 rifle scopeCarl Zeiss Sports Optics has rolled out its new Conquest HD5 riflescope line. These new HD5 scopes feature five-times (5X) magnification range, 1/4-MOA clicks, lockable turret options, and improved (optional) RAPID-Z® ballistic reticles. Made in Germany, these compact, 1-inch-tube scopes are available in three models: 2-10x42mm, 3-15x42mm, and 5-25x50mm.

Compared to previous Zeiss Conquests, the new HD5 scopes feature more ergonomic turrets, improved magnification rings with finer adjustment, and a lower profile. These scopes all have an adjustable -3 to +2 diopter eyepiece. (We’d like to see all premium scopes offer diopters). All HD5 scopes are covered by the US Lifetime Warranty and 5-Year No-Fault Policy.

Zeiss Conquest HD5 Scope 5-25x50

Improved, more ergonomic turret design (lockable option). Enhanced RAPID-Z or Z-Plex ballistic reticles. Improved rubberized, fine-adjusting power ring.

Conquest HD5 2-10x42mm:
Features: Compact with extremely wide field-of-view in 2-power. The Conquest HD5 2-10×42 is parallax free to 500 yards and is available with either a Z-Plex (#20) reticle (MSRP $889.00) or RAPID-Z 600 (MSRP $972.00) or standard hunting turrets.

Conquest HD5 3-15x42mm:
Features: Trim, low-profile hunting scope with side parallax adjustment. The 3-15×42 weighs just 18.8 ounces, and is 13.8 inches long. Z-Plex reticle is available in either hunting turret or lockable target turret. MSRPs are: $999.00 with Z-Plex hunting turret, $1083.00 with RAPID-Z 600/800, $1,110.0 with Z-Plex and Lockable Target Turret.

Conquest HD5 5-25x50mm:
Features: One of the most compact 5-25X side-parallax scopes on the market. The 5-25×50 is 14 inches long and weighs just 26.6 ounces. Zeiss claims roughly 62 MOA of vertical adjustment and roughly 38 MOA of horizontal travel. Offered with Z-Plex reticle and lockable target turret, RAPID-Z® 800 with hunting turret, Rapid-Z® 1000 with lockable target turret or with a RAPID-Z® Varmint reticle and hunting turret. MSRP is $1111.00 with target turrets, or $1194.00 with RAPID-Z variants.

Mike Jensen, President of Carl Zeiss Sports Optics says the new HD5 scopes offer very high quality at affordable prices: “We are listening to what hunters want and delivering the very best to them at incredibly competitive price points. This new series of 1-inch hunting riflescope will be what all others are measured against.”

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, Optics 3 Comments »
January 12th, 2013

Impact Data Books — Tough, Versatile, User-Configurable

Impact Data log BooksBy Danny Reever
Shooters’ notebooks (aka “data books” or “log books”) allow the shooter to record critical shot data and general information. To log data, I’ve seen everything used from simple note cards to huge ledger books and everything in between. I’ve tried many of the commercial logbook offerings as well as some of the military-type sniper data books. Invariably they lack some “mission critical” information pages, while being stuffed with pages that aren’t useful at all. One ends up discarding non-useful pages only to be left with a shortage of really functional pages.

Given the shortcomings of most commercial data books, I resorted to making my own logs using simple spiral notebooks. That was until I discovered Impact Data Books, created by Tony Gimmellie, a competitive shooter and USMC vet who served seven years as a Marine Scout Sniper. While in the military, Tony made his data books for himself and for other Marines because commercial offerings lacked important (and even essential) features.

After Tony left the Marines in 2001 he set out to create modular data books with removable, replaceable pages. Some years later, Tony met Tom Challey who brought much-needed design and layout skills to the project. Starting in 2009, Tony and Tom began selling Impact Data Books. Customized Impact Data Books are now used by the U.S. military, federal and state law enforcement agencies, gun manufacturers, and by well-known shooting schools. Standardized, pre-made Impact Data Books are sold by MidwayUSA and other vendors. Two sizes are offered: the standard 9 1/8″ by 6.5″ book or a 5.5″ x 4 1/4″ pocket-sized version.

Impact Data log Books
TAB GEAR Cordura covers for large or small Impact Data Books are $42.00 from Riflesonly.com.

Review of Impact Data Books
The first thing that you will notice about an Impact Data Book is the durable Poly-carbonate three ring binder. The tough plastic covers have been scored so that the book lays open flat and won’t accidently close. Covers come in two colors: tan with the Impact Data Book logo in black, or black with logo in red. The standard page material is heavy, 80-weight executive stock, or, for a slight additional charge, you can get “Rite in the Rain” water-resistant stock.

Each Impact Data Book comes with a set of standard pages that include: wind observation, general ballistic tables, range estimation, size of objects reference, yards to meters conversion tables, common conversion formulas, leads for moving targets, angle fire information, mil-value adjustments, and MOA-adjustment values. You then can choose among eight (8) sets of ten double-sided pages to augment the basic reference pages.

Impact Data log Books

Impact Data Books offer many alternative page formats. Drawing from over 250 different page designs, you can optimize a modular book for your individual needs. If you shoot short range benchrest, 600- or 1000-yard benchrest, F-class, NRA Service rifle there are pages for you. Want blank pages, grids, circles, animal silhouettes, drills, special shapes, even Shoot-N-C targets? Impact Data Books offers those pages too. And if you still can’t find what you need, Tony and Tom can customize a page for you or your organization, optimized for your discipline(s).

The complete modular book will have 100 double-sided sheets providing the shooter with 160 data collection pages, 20 pages of reference material, plus 3 round-count pages, 3 note pages, 2 sniper range cards, and two field sketch pages. Over all, you’ll have 200 pages optimized for your needs. In the real world, that’s far more useful than any “off-the-shelf” data book filled with many pages you don’t need or want.

What Do They Cost?
A pre-made Impact Data Book, such as the F-Class book, costs $32.00. You’ll pay $42.00 for a fully-customized 200-page (100 sheets) modular data book. Additional page sets can be added for just $3.99 per set of ten double-sided pages.

Danny’s Custom GroundHog Match Data Book
I shoot a lot of GroundHog/Varmint Matches. For these competitions, I wanted a book that would work at many different club matches yet adapt to each club’s particular yardages and course of fire. I worked with Tony to come up with a GroundHog Match book that contains: one set of index pages with wind charts etc.; 40 double-sided GroundHog Match sheets; one shooters info/rifle info page; 10 load development sheets; 10 round-count sheets; 10 blank end-of-fire data sheets; 5 note pages; and 5 come-up sheets.

Impact Data log Books

I think any shooter involved in groundhog shoots or fun varmint matches can benefit from this GroundHog Match Data book, priced at $32.00. You can order from me, we3reevers [at] embarqmail.com, or order directly from Impact Data Books, P.O. Box 223, King George, VA 22485.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 2 Comments »
January 8th, 2013

Centerfire Benchrest Shooters Explore Benefits of Tuners

Barrel tuners have been used successfully in rimfire benchrest for many years (see photo below). While there are competing theories as to how and why barrel tuners work on rimfire rifles, there is no question that the accuracy of some rimfire barrels can be improved with the addition of a tuner. By changing the position of weights at the end of the barrel, we’ve seen shooters shrink their average group size as well as adjust the “sweet spot” for different lots of rimfire ammo. On the other hand, tuners can be the source of great frustration; some installations may yield little or no benefit. A shooter may have to experiment with a variety of different tuner designs (and weights) to find the optimal configuration.

Anschutz Tuner

Gene Bukys Barrel Tuner 333smittyCenterfire Tuners–Still a Work in Progress
In centerfire benchrest competition, the vast majority of competitors do not use tuners, though a few short-range shooters such as Gene Bukys and Jackie Schmidt have enjoyed considerable success. Gene has won major championships with tuned rifles. In 2011 Gene won both the Super Shoot and World Benchrest Championship (WBC), and Gene recently set a new NBRSA Sporter Class Grand Agg Record.

Centerfire benchrest guns typically employ shorter barrels with a much fatter contour (larger diameter) than rimfire rifles. Because centerfire rounds produce much higher pressures and velocities that a 22LR, a centerfire barrel also exhibits much different vibration characteristics than a typical rimfire barrel. Nonetheless, there are pioneers working with centerfire tuners who believe that tuning may be the “next leap forward” in centerfire accuracy.

Shown below is a switch-barrel benchrest rifle built by Forum member Eddie W. of Texas. It features a dual-port Hall “M” action with a ShadeTree Engineering Tuner crafted by Butch Lambert. The gun is designed to take both a 6PPC barrel for group shooting and a 30BR barrel for score shooting. The gun was barreled by Wayne Shaw, and Eddie did the stock work himself. Eddie reports: “It is a very accurate rifle.”

Lambert Tuner

Will we see more tuners on centerfire rifles? Only time will tell. Some folks believe that, since one can easily adjust the loads shot by centerfire guns (by tinkering with the powder charge and seating depth), tuners have limited utility. On the other hand, tuner advocates such as Gene Beggs believe tuners can help keep your group sizes small even as conditions (temperature, humidity) change. Gene believes that, with an appropriate tuner, you can spend less time fiddling with the load specs (changing your powder charge) and instead “dial in” your sweet spot using the tuner.

Lambert Tuner

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 5 Comments »
January 8th, 2013

Outstanding Primer Seating Tool from 21st Century Shooting

The tool-makers at 21st Century Shooting have come up with a very slick new Precision Hand-Priming Tool. This extremely well-made, benchrest-grade unit raises the bar among single-primer seating tools. Feel is great, changing shell-holders is simple, and nothing else on the market offers better control over primer seating depth. The tool’s precision-adjusting head provides clicks in .0025″ increments for precise seating depth. The tool’s body, internals, and shell-holders are stainless, while the handle is anodized aluminum. Price is $118.00 for the tool itself. Shell-holders (sizes from 17 Remington up to .338 Lapua Magnum) cost $7.99 each.

21st Century Priming Tool Review
By Boyd Allen
I have been priming cases, with various hand-priming tools, for about three decades, and in the process have pretty much tried them all, from least to most expensive. When I found out that this new 21st Century tool was adjustable for seating depth, I wondered about that. After all, what do I, who believes in seating by feel, need with adjustable seating depth? Well…..I was wrong. Let me explain.

Why Adjustment for Primer Seating Depth Is Important
Most hand-seating tools do not have an adjustment for how far up the priming punch comes up into the shell holder. As a result, when priming a case with a deep pocket, especially if there has been some wear of the tool’s linkage, the finger/thumb lever may contact the tool’s body before the primer is fully seated. Having a primer seated too high can cause a myriad of problems. Prior to this, the only seater that I had used that had an adjustable linkage was the Sinclair tool, and adjusting its linkage requires disassembly — regular disassembly if you want to keep it perfect. That’s not convenient. The Sinclair is good tool, but a pain in the neck to adjust.

Precision Control Over Seating Depth — With Click Adjustment
The 21st Century Priming Tool offers quick and easy depth adjustment (unlike its rival from Sinclair). The 21st Century unit can be adjusted in precise increments (.0025”) more quickly than you can read this sentence. The knurled head of the tool is threaded onto the body, which has a very sturdy ball and spring detent indexing system that is easy to adjust and precise. Clicks are secure and positive. With this feature, you can set the tool so that the handle is in any position (distance from the tool body) that you find convenient, when the primer is fully seated. Additionally, since leverage increases as the handle approaches the tool body, different stopping points afford differing mechanical advantages (more or less effort required) and sensitivity. By doing a little experimenting, I have found a point of adjustment that give me better feel for when the primer hits the bottom of the pocket, without overshooting the mark, while keeping the force requirement within a range that is comfortable when priming a large number of cases.

Quick and Easy Shell-Holder Changing
Changing shell holders is easily accomplished. No extra hex-wrenches or tools are needed, and there are no tiny set screws to roll of the desk, to be lost forever in the carpet, never to be heard from again until you hear them rattling up the vacuum cleaner hose. To swap shell-holders, simply screw the head off of the body, lift off the one that you one that you are replacing, set the one that you intend to use in place (assuming that it used the same size primer) and screw the head back down to the setting that you want. Changing primer sizes is equally easy. NOTE: The tool requires 21st Century-made shell holders. These may be turned (relative to the handle) so that the loading slot opening faces whatever direction you prefer.

Fit, Finish, and Feel
The body and head of the tool, as well as the internal linkages, are all made from stainless steel. These closely-fitted parts are precisely machined, with an smooth, attractive finish. The handle is black anodized aluminum. Overall, the tool is well-shaped, and built like a stainless/aluminum brick.

Bottom Line: Great Tool That Works Exceptionally Well
I can’t imagine anyone, who uses a single-primer tool of this type, not liking this tool. When it comes to hand reloading tools, I can afford to have pretty much whatever I want (within reason). After testing and using this tool, I pulled my Sinclair tool from its case, and replaced it with this one. That should say it all. After using this tool, I will have to give serious consideration to other 21st Century reloading products the next time I need a new tool. One thing is for sure — we have an important new player in the design and manufacture of top end of reloading equipment. 21st Century’s Precision Priming Tool “raises the bar” among single-primer seating tools.

Tool Size Considerations
I wrote the review and then took the pictures, which, upon reflection, make the tool look smaller than it is, because of the size of my hands. I thought about putting a ruler in the pictures, but rejected that as visual clutter, so I will simply tell you that from tip of thumb to that of my little finger, my right hand measures a little over 10 inches, and the palm is 4 inches wide. The size of the tool is just right.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 14 Comments »
January 7th, 2013

New RCBS Summit Single-Stage Press

RCBS Summit Reloading PressRCBS has a new made-in-USA single-stage reloading press. With its innovative “moving die/static cartridge” design, the new RCBS Summit Press definitely demonstrates “out of the box” thinking. Unlike other presses, the case does not move. Rather, the reloading die comes down to the case. With the press bolted on your reloading bench, all operations of the Summit take place ABOVE the bench-top.

The new Summit Press features a rugged cast-iron frame with all-steel linkages. The press is very strong with minimal flex and slop in use. This allows you to “bump” your case shoulders and seat bullets with great precision and repeatability. The handle can be switched from right to left side (good for southpaws), and the open-front design provides good access, facilitating quick die changes. The 4.5-inch opening allows you to work with tall cases. Beneath the shell-holder is a spent primer catcher.

The new Summit press has a beefy 2-inch diameter ram, with compound linkages for plenty of leverage. A zerk fitting is included for easy lubrication. The press will accept larger bushings for oversize 1-inch dies.

Summit Press for $207.94
The new Summit Press (RCBS item #09290) lists for $269.95. However, Midsouth Shooters Supply offers the Summit Press for $207.94. An optional short handle costs $15.27 at Midsouth ($19.95 MSRP).


RCBS Summit Reloading PressRCBS Summit Press Features:

• Bench-top operation
• Massive 2-inch diameter ram
• Ambidextrous handle
• Compound leverage
• 4.50-inch operating window
• Spent primer catcher
• Full frontal access
• Accepts bushings for 1″ die bodies
• Press adapter bushing
• Zerk lubrication fitting
• Made in USA


Product tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, Reloading 10 Comments »
January 6th, 2013

New Nightforce 5-25x56mm FFP Scope with 120 MOA Elevation

Nightforce 5-25x56mm BEAST Scope

Nightforce Optics has created quite a stir in the tactical shooting community with the announcement of its new 5-25x56mm First Focal Plane scope, which it calls the “B.E.A.S.T.”. The news is in the numbers — this new scope offers a whopping 120 MOA of elevation travel, and you get a full 60 MOA travel with each rotation of the turret. That’s right — 60 MOA with one turn. With many modern cartridges you can get to 1200 yards (and maybe farther*) with a single revolution — that eliminates all sorts of user-error issues when dialing back-and-forth between yardages.

Nightforce 5-25x56mm BEAST Scope

This is a first-focal-plane design, so the reticle stays constant relative to the target, allowing ranging at any magnification. The scope is offered with four (4) click-value choices: 1/4 MOA, 1/2 MOA, 0.1 Mil, and 0.2 Mil. Whether you chose MOA clicks or Mil-based clicks, you can get an appropriate reticle because Nightforce offers both the MOAR ranging reticle and the Mil-R ranging reticle. The three other reticle options are: MD2.0, TReMoR, and H59.

Nightforce 5-25x56mm BEAST Scope

Nightforce 5-25x56mm BEAST Scope

The new B.E.A.S.T. 5-25x56mm Nightforce has a mounting length of 5.92″ and weighs just 39 ounces. If you need illumination for low-light work, you’ll like the new B.E.A.S.T. scope. It offers external-control digital illumination with Unique i4F™ four-function brightness control. Other features are listed below.

Nightforce 5-25x56mm BEAST Scope

DOWNLOAD Nightforce PDF Spec Sheet for 5-25x56mm B.E.A.S.T. Scope.

Nice Scope with a Beastly Price
Nightforce says that “B.E.A.S.T.” stands for “Best Example of Advance Scope Technology” — some marketing guy’s bright idea we suppose. Perhaps “B.E.A.S.T.” better signifies “BEAST of a price”. This scope, with either MIL-R or MOAR reticles, costs an astounding $3,298.00! You can build a pretty darn good custom rifle, all premium components, for less than that!

*We used JBM Ballistics to plot the trajectory of a .308-caliber 168gr Berger Match Target BT launched with a 2800 fps muzzle velocity (sea level with 59° temp). Starting with a 100-yard zero, JBM calculates 52.5 MOA drop at 1200 yards and 62.6 MOA drop at 1300 yards.
Permalink New Product, Optics 6 Comments »
January 6th, 2013

Gear Review: Paul Becigneul Case Turning Motor and Collet

On his Rifleman’s Journal website, German Salazar has done a nice review of Forum member Paul Becigneul’s Case Turning Motor. READ Full Review on RiflemansJournal.com

Becigneul Case Turning Motor, by German Salazar
Although there have been a variety of similar devices and ‘case lathes’ offered for sale in the past, they’ve been priced fairly high. Paul’s unit is reasonably priced ($220.00) and built like a tank. The motor turns at about 180 rpm which is just right for neck turning. What’s really nice is that the motor has enough torque to hold its speed throughout the whole operation and a/c power to run all day long!

paul Becigneul Rotary Power supply

The unit’s design is fairly straight-forward: a surplus electric motor turns a Forster case-holding collet. Paul makes a nice knurled collar to open and close the collet.Power is controlled by a household type wall switch attached to a long cabe. The whole assembly is mounted on a nice hardwood base.

Video of Paul Becigneul’s Case Turning Motor in Use

In operation, it works very well. The collet has enough clamping power to hold the case after a quick hand-tightening, no wrench is needed (although you can use one if you are so inclined). A quarter turn of the collar opens the collet and a quick turn of the wrist tightens it back up. As with any powered case neck turning device, the case wobbles a bit as it turns. This doesn’t matter a bit as the turning cutter is held in your hand (which is free to move) and the cutter’s arbor is the actual alignment device. The wobble is the same or less than what I had using a power screwdriver with a K&M holder.

For more information, email Paul Becigneul via: pbike4466 [at] directv.net. In 2012, the basic unit cost $220.00 each collet was $10 and shipping is $20 to most U.S. locations.

Editor’s Comment: In the video, Paul uniforms case flash-holes with a Lyman tool (from the inside) and then uniforms primer pockets (from the outside) with a K&M tool. While we do believe that flash-holes should be inspected to ensure there are no obstructions or flakes blocking the hole, we have not found that flash-hole or primer-pocket uniforming produced measurable improvements in accuracy with Lapua 6mmBR brass. In fact, in our tests using a manual K&M flash-hole uniformer, ES/SD actually got worse after the flash-holes were “uniformed”.

Keep in mind also that many deburring tools for 0.059 (PPC-size) flash-holes actually over-cut substantially, reaming the holes to as wide as 0.068″. The Lapua PPC/BR flash hole is spec’d at 1.5mm, which works out to 0.059055″. Most of the PPC/BR flash-hole uniforming tools on the market use a 1/16″ bit which is nominally 0.0625″, but these often run oversize — up to 0.067″. If you like to uniform your primer pockets, be our guest (this can be useful with lesser-quality brass). But before pocket-uniforming dozens of cases, you might do a comparison test (by shooting uniformed vs. un-uniformed ammo) to see whether this operation actually improves accuracy with the brass you are using.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 4 Comments »
January 5th, 2013

Winchester’s New 3000 FPS .17 Win Super Mag Rimfire

.17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire

.17 Winchester Super Magnum RimfireNew 3000 FPS Rimfire Round
Winchester has announced a new, high-velocity 17-caliber rimfire cartridge, the .17 Winchester Super Magnum (aka .17 Win Super Mag). The .17 Win Super Mag will initially be offered in three bullet types: 20gr plastic tip (Varmint HV), 25gr plastic tip (Varmint HE), and a 20gr JHP (Super-X). The 20-grain varieties boast a 3000 FPS muzzle velocity, earning honors as the fastest Rimfire ammo ever made.

.17 Winchester Super Mag Specifications Symbol Sub Brand Bullet Weight Muzzle Velocity
S17W20 Varmint HV 20-gr Plastic Tip 3,000 fps
S17W25 Varmint HE 25-gr Plastic Tip 2,600 fps
X17W20 Super-X 20-gr JHP 3,000 fps

Winchester claims that all .17 Win Super Mag ammo types shoot much flatter than the .22 Win Mag and .17 HMR, while delivering more than 150 percent more energy than both. In addition, the .17 Win Super Mag “bucks the wind” better than any other rimfire ammo — exhibiting significant less horizontal drift at extended ranges. The ammunition should be available at Winchester dealers by April 2013.

Savage Will Release a .17 Win Super Mag Rifle
According to Outdoor Life’s John Snow, Savage will be the first gun-maker to produce rifles chambered in .17 Win Super Mag. Snow says Savage “hopes to have rifles shipping by mid-April”. Winchester states that, later in 2013, two other manufacturers will introduce .17 Win Super Mag rifles.

.17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire

.17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire

Ron Spooner writes: “For perspective, contrast the 17 Win Super Mag (no relation to the WSM centerfire cartridges) against the former rimfire velocity champ, the popular .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire. While the 17 HMR shoots delightfully flat, the 17 Win Super Mag shoots two times flatter and drifts only half as far in the wind. Its 20-grain bullets retain more than twice as much downrange energy, and its 25-grain projectiles nearly triple the energy of the 17-grain V-Max in the HMR load”. Read Ron Spooner Review.

[nggallery id=”23″]

Watch Video Trailer for .17 Win Super Mag Rimfire Ammo

The .17 Win Super Mag offers higher velocities and more downrange energy than ever before. “Our engineers have been developing the top-secret .17 Win Super Mag [cartridge] for more than three years,” said Brett Flaugher, Winchester Ammunition vice president of sales, marketing and strategy. “At 3,000 feet per second it’s the fastest modern rimfire cartridge on the planet. The downrange energy deposited by the .17 Win Super Mag will be a game-changer for varmint and predator hunters everywhere. Now hunters will get the downrange performance of a centerfire cartridge at the more affordable price point of traditional rimfire ammunition. It’s the best of both worlds[.]”

.17 Winchester Super Magnum RimfireSpawn of a .27-Caliber Nail-Gun
Believe it or not, Winchester’s new .17 Win Super Mag evolved from a “parent case” originally developed for .27-caliber powder-actuated concrete nail guns. Winchester has produced millions of nail gun blanks in .22, .25, and .27 calibers. This new .17 Win Super Mag is derived from Winchester’s .27-cal nail gun blank, necked down to .17-caliber and strengthened with a thicker head and stronger case-walls. With case-walls that are 50% thicker than those on 17 HMR cartridges, the .17 Win Super Mag can operate at 33,000 psi. By contrast, the 17 HMR maxes out at 26,000 psi.

FIELD TESTS

Read HuntingClub.com Test (Jeff Spooner) | Read Peterson’s Hunting Test (Mike Schoby).

Comment: Will the .17 Win Super Mag Rimfire Round Be a Hit or a Miss?
Initial tests of the .17 Win Super Mag show good ballistic performance compared to the 17 HMR. On the other hand, early accuracy reports have been mediocre, but keep in mind that the gun magazine tests were performed with prototype rifles, on make-shift, wobbly rests (that’s typical). It will be interesting to see how the round can really perform in a good barrel when shot from a stable rest by a skilled trigger-puller.

Economics may dictate whether the .17 Win Super Mag catches on. We’re told this new cartridge will sell for $17.99 per 50-round box. That works out to $0.36 per round, making it about 40-50% more costly than the popular 17 HMR which now sells for $11.50 to $14.00 per 50-round box. At $0.36 per round, the .17 Win Super Mag may exceed the cost of 17-cal centerfire reloads, but then you have the convenience of pre-made ammo. We think that, if the cartridge proves accurate, varmint hunters will pay the extra money (over the 17 HMR) for the added performance, which is pretty significant at 150 yards and beyond. For a squirrel shooter or prairie dog hunter, the .17 Win Super Mag is still much less expensive than the cheapest US-made .223 Rem ammo, which sold for about $10 – $12 per 20-round box (i.e. $0.50 – $0.60 per round) before the current buying frenzy.

Story tip by EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 12 Comments »
January 4th, 2013

NEW Nightforce 15-55x52mm Side-Focus Competition Scope

Nightforce Competition 15-55x52mm scope

Nightforce Optics has just announced an all-new, side-focus 15-55x52mm Competition™ Scope. It looks very impressive. 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 — that will help guys make weight. We’re pleased to see the new scope offers a fast-focus, European-style eyepiece. Two reticles will be offered initially: the CTR-1 and DDR (shown below). The big question is “how much will it cost?”. A Nightforce dealer told us that Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) will be $2231.00. We’ll run a full report on this scope when we get our hands on it at SHOT Show.

Nightforce Competition 15-55x52mm scope

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. CLICK HERE for more information.

Nightforce Competition 15-55x52mm scope

Permalink New Product, News, Optics 9 Comments »
January 3rd, 2013

Remington Introduces Affordable Model 783 Bolt Gun

Remington will introduce a new bolt-action rifle at SHOT Show, the Model 783. Remington positions the new model 783 as a mid-level offering between the Model 770 and Model 700 SPS, according to John Fink, Freedom Group Rifle Product Manager. This new rifle was first revealed in an American Rifleman article by Richard Mann, who tested an early production version in September 2012. Mann reports: “The ‘7’ in the model designation comes from the 700 line of rifles, the ‘8’ is kind of a throwback to the affordable but reliable model 788, which was discontinued 20 years ago, and the ‘3’ is for the three in 2013. The suggested retail price is $451, but you can expect street prices to be closer to $400.”

Remington Model 783

Remington is claiming sub-MOA accuracy for the Model 783, as demonstrated by the “teaser” photo sent out to Remington customers earlier this week:

Remington Model 783

Remington Model 783

Remington Model 783Adjustable Trigger with Insert
The rifle features a polymer stock, cylindrical action, and an adjustable trigger with a control insert (as used on the Savage AccuTrigger and Marlin Pro-Fire trigger). Remington’s “CrossFire Trigger System” is pre-set at 3.5 lbs pull weight. According to the reviewer, Remington’s CrossFire Trigger is “similar in appearance to the Savage AccuTrigger and the Marlin Pro-Fire Trigger; it has a center lever that locks the trigger until it is fully depressed.” (We think selecting “CrossFire” as a product title was a dumb move by Rem’s marketing guys.)

Model 783 Has Barrel Nut System
Remington has borrowed a trick from Savage, employing a barrel nut system for fitting barrels to model 783 actions. The model 783’s two-lug bolt features a Sako-style sliding-plate extractor — this is a departure from the system on a Rem 700. Scopes can be mounted with two Model 700-spec front scope bases. However, Remington plans to offer integral scope mounts in the near future.

CLICK for Model 783 Review in American Rifleman | CLICK for Model 783 Photo Gallery

Designed for game hunters, the model 783 will initially be offered in four chamberings: .308 Winchester (short action), .270 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and 7mm Rem. Magnum. Remington says it will roll out more chamberings by the middle of 2013. In addition a compact-stock version with a shorter length of pull will be offered. Barrels are 22″ or 24″ with a “magnum contour”. Model 783 rifles will be produced in the Freedom Group’s Mayfield, Kentucky manufacturing plant.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 23 Comments »