May 29th, 2012

Wind-Reading LaserScope Patented by Israeli Nuke Lab

Imagine a “smart scope” that can range your target AND calculate windage correction. Such technology may appear in riflescopes fairly soon. The Israeli Government’s Soreq Nuclear Research Center has received a U.S. patent for a new laser-based technology that can gauge wind vectors as well as target distance, using a laser rangefinder coupled to a rifle-scope. The Israeli system is called LIDAR, an acronym for Laser Identification Detection And Ranging. This new technology could, potentially, be a major boon for long-range shooters, both military and civilian. Ironically LIDAR was first developed for environmental monitoring (not for use with weapons). A LIDAR system was used for 3-D mapping and modeling of wind-driven plumes from the Israel Electric Company’s Rabin power plant.

Credit The Firearm Blog for breaking this story on the new Israeli LIDAR technology for sniper scopes. Below you’ll find the LIDAR Patent Application Abstract, which has a good summary of how LIDAR reads the wind.

The new Israeli LIDAR unit gauges wind speed by detecting fluctations in laser signals sent out from the integrated scope/LRF, reflected back from the target, and then received by photodiodes in the scope/LRF. Other scopes have used built-in LRFs to measure distance-to-target, but Israel’s patented LIDAR goes one step further, using the laser to gauge BOTH target distance AND wind vectors (i.e. velocity + direction). This information is entered automatically into software. The software then calculates a ballistic solution compensating for distance, wind angle, and wind velocity. If it really works, LIDAR represents a remarkable technological achievement. The Israelis claim LIDAR works for targets at distances of 500m or greater. Why won’t it work at closer ranges? Presumably the wind-induced laser fluctuations are too small to register at closer distances.

Current Integrated LaserScopes for Hunters
While the Israeli LIDAR system may seem like science fiction, it’s not that far removed from the lastest commercial optics. Engineers on both sides of the Atlantic have already integrated laser rangefinders (LRFs) into rifle-mounted “consumer” optics. Just this year, Burris introduced an affordable “consumer” scope, the Eliminator, that ranges the distance to target and then displays the ballistically correct aiming point on the vertical crosshair. The amount of hold-over is automatically calculated with reference to ballistics formulas. At right is a view through the Burris Eliminator; the illuminated dot shows the calculated aiming point.

While such technology can help a shooter compensate for bullet drop, windage compensation is another matter. A shooter must still gauge crosswind angle and velocity, and then hold left or right accordingly. If the LIDAR system can perform this task reliably, that is a major advancement.

DARPA “One Shot” System to Have Wind-Reading Capability
Meanwhile, in the United States, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is proceeding forward with a One-Shot Sniper System, another “Super-Scope” that will have day/night capability, and calculate both elevation AND windage correction automatically. Prototypes have already been tested, demonstrating that a laser beam can be used to “measure the average down-range crosswind profile”. The wind data is combined with readings of temperature, humidity, and target range to provide a very sophisticated ballistic solution. DARPA’s Spec for the One Shot program calls for a 12-42X Direct View Optic (DVO), a Riflescope Display Assembly (RDA), and an Integrated Spotting Scope (ISS) with rangefinder that ranges to 2 km, and provides “crosswind measurements”. The system will be “menu-selectable” for .308 Win, .338 Lapua, and .300 Win Mag. DARPA has budgeted big bucks for the One Shot system. The ISS, by itself, is expected to cost $85,000 per unit (for the first 15 units).

These systems will never replace the utility of an experienced shooter who possesses the skills of wind reading, but it is a real boon for less experienced shooters. In terms of military utility, it is a game changer. I’ve seen and used a prototype of the One Shot, and it does perform as advertised. — SFC Emil Praslick III, USAMU Coach

Can Wind-Reading Systems Work in the Real World?
From what we can tell, the LIDAR system, and America’s competing One Shot System, are both designed to measure crosswind speed and angle AT THE TARGET primarily. But as any experienced long-range shooter knows, wind is rarely constant along the entire path of the bullet. There can be a 10 mph left wind near the firing point, a 5 mph tailwind in mid-trajectory, and a 20 mph right wind 1000 yards away. Importantly, wind close to the shooter has more effect on the bullet’s path than wind far downrange — that’s a matter of simple geometry. Therefore, any wind-reading system could provide incorrect solutions if it is not able to read and calculate different wind vectors along the full bullet flight path. Presumably LIDAR and One Shot systems will attempt some kind of crosswind averaging, but that will be a very challenging task, without multiple wind sensors downrange.

Permalink New Product, Optics 6 Comments »
May 24th, 2012

New to North America — GRS Laminated Stocks from Norway

Tikkashooters.com is now importing ergonomic field and tactical stocks crafted by GRS Rifle Stocks of Norway. These “Stratabond” Laminate wood stocks come in many colors — all with a gorgeous oiled finish. The GRS stocks come in three styles, plus a biathalon model, with an F-Class and Safari model to come. All styles are all drop-in inletted for most popular actions — not just Tikkas! GRS stocks feature Speedlock push-button adjustment for recoil pad position and comb height. All stocks come with a one-inch thick Limbsaver recoil pad.

GRS Stocks Norway Hunting

GRS Stocks Norway Hunting

Shown above is the Sporter/Varmint model, which comes in six colors. This design has a butt hook and the 6° grip angle for more comfortable hand positioning. As with other GRS stocks, the Sporter/Varmint model features quick, no-tools adjustability using a Speedlock system. Inlets are offered for Howa (SA, LA), Rem 700 (SA, LA), Sako (models 75, 85, L-579), and Tikka (models 55, 65, 595, 695, all T3 versions, including T3 RH, T3 LH, Varmint, Tactical).

GRS Stocks Norway Hunting

Next, shown above, is the GRS Adjustable Hunting model which comes in four colors: Black, Brown, Green Mountain Camo, and Royal Jacaranda. The fore-end is comfortable when shooting without a rest and the grip angle is canted 6° to provide a more ergonomic hold. Inlets are offered for Howa 1500 (SA, LA), Rem 700 (SA, LA), Sako (models 75, 85, L-579), and Tikka (models 55, 65, 595, 695, all T3 versions, including T3 RH, T3 LH, Varmint, Tactical).

GRS Stocks Norway Hunting

Last, but not least, is the GRS Long-Range Model, offered in six colors. This design is inspired by military sniper-type rifles. This stock is similar to the sporter/varmint model, but has a more pronounced butt hook with an integrated monopod with quick release and micro adjustment. The longer fore-end provides a better bipod platform and aids in balancing long, heavy barrels. Inlets are offered for Rem 700 (SA, LA, left/right), Rem 40X (single shot), Sako 75 (IV, V), Tikka T3 (Std, Varmint, Tactical).

Save $100 with Introductory Pricing This Month
For more information visit the GRS Stocks page on the TikkaShooters.com webstore. NOTE: Introductory pricing is available through May 31, 2012. The GRS Hunter and Sporter/Varmint stocks are currently priced at $697.00 fully inletted, including adjustable hardware. The Long-Range Model is currently priced at $897.00 fully inletted with adjustable hardware. Unless the intro pricing deal is extended, expect prices to increase $100.00 per model starting June 1, 2012.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 10 Comments »
May 22nd, 2012

Potential 600-Yard IBS LG Aggregate Score Record Set in Memphis

Jerry Hurt IBS Light Gun RecordJerry Hurt set a pending new IBS 600-yard Light Gun Score Aggregate Record of 198 this weekend at the MSSA range in Memphis, Tennessee. If certified, this would beat the previous LG Record of 197 set by Sam Hall in 2011. The 198 score Four-Target Agg was well-centered with a 2.256″ Group Agg. One shot on Jerry’s third target appears to have just clipped the line for the 10. (See Target 3 Close-up Photo).

Forum member Tim Claunch reports: “Mr. Jerry Hurt had an exceptional Light Gun match and indeed scored a 198. I drew next bench to Jerry and was there watching him. You won’t find a nicer gentleman in our sport — congratulations Jerry Hurt!”. Match conditions were very good with partly sunny skies and 75° early temps with a light SW Tailwind.

Jerry was shooting a 16.86-lb, 6mm Dasher with a BAT two-lug Action and Shehane MBR stock in Obeche wood laminate. The 1.25″-straight contour 5C Broughton barrel is chambered with a 0.267″ neck for neck-turned brass with 0.265″ loaded necks. This barrel was purchased about a year ago, but only had about 150 rounds on it when Jerry shot the 198 score. Measuring 27.5″ long, this Broughton has proven exceptionally fast. Jerry’s chronographed velocities are significantly faster than other Dasher shooters — too fast to print. Let’s just say Jerry is running a very high speed node.

Jerry Hurt IBS Light Gun Record

Jerry Hurt IBS Light Gun RecordBerger 105gr Hybrids .030″ Off Lands
Jerry’s load consisted of Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets, seated 0.030″ off the lands and pushed by 33.0 grains of “Long-Range Match” pull-down (surplus) powder. This powder, which is very similar to Reloder 15, has produced some great results recently. Ron Boyd used it in his Dasher to shoot a 1.462″ 1000-yard group last month.

Notably, Jerry shot his Berger 105 hybrids “right out of the box… with no sorting, no pointing.” Jerry did tell us that: “this is a new lot of 105 Hybrids… obviously they are very, very good.”

Jerry praised his equipment. Along with his very fast Broughton barrel, Jerry gave credit to his Shehane MBR. “It’s a looker, that’s for sure. Because the 1.25″ straight barrel is heavy, I haven’t added weight to the stock but it still tracks really well.” Jerry also said that his Sure Feed Vertical Ammo Caddy helps him get rounds downrange quickly: “These work really well with the 6BR, Dasher, BRX. And I also have a second Sure Feed for my .300 Ackley 1000-yard gun. These are custom-made by Tim Sellars in Texas. They are set up for a particular cartridge type, and Tim customizes the Caddy to fit the height of your rifle on the rest. You want the bottom round in the stack — the one you grab — to be real close to the loading port.”

Sure Feed Ammo Caddies
Tim Sellars – Sure Feed
4704 Redondo Street
North Richland Hills, TX 76180
(817) 581-7665.

Permalink Competition, New Product 2 Comments »
May 22nd, 2012

New PD Cartridge Caddy with Integrated Countdown Timer

F-Classer Kenny Adams was spotted at the recent Tennessee NRA Regional using the new patent-pending PD Products LLC On-Time Cartridge Caddy. This $95.00 gadget is the creation of ace pistolsmith and “casual” High Power competitor, Paul Liebenberg of Pistol Dynamics. The On-Time Caddy combines 25 cartridge slots with a countdown timer so the shooter can keep track of time while accessing his ammo. No one knows if the new Caddy had anything to do with Kenny’s one-point win over Danny Biggs at the Tennessee match, but Paul figures it has to be worth at least one point per match, so the inventor is shamelessly taking credit for Kenny’s win.

PD On-Time Cartridge Caddy Integrated timer

PD On-Time Cartridge Caddy Integrated timerThe PD On-Time Cartridge Caddy is entirely CNC-machined from aluminum and acrylic (clear or colored) and is available for all cartridges commonly used by High Power and F-Class shooters. The angled-face integrated timer lets you manage time and handle ammo without shifting from the shooting position.

The PD Cartridge Caddy is not a one-size-fits-all product. With its smaller rim diameter, the.223 Rem requires a dedicated tray. However certain trays can hold multiple cartridge types (with common case diameters). For example the .308 Caddy also works with .243 Win, 6.5X47 Lapua, .260 Rem. There is a special tray designed for the 6mmBR, 30BR, and Dasher. And there is tray for the larger-diameter 7mm WSM and RSAUM. The top photo above shows Kenny with 7mm RSAUM rounds in his PD Caddy.

PD On-Time Cartridge Caddy Integrated timer

PD Cartridge Caddies are available now at an introductory price of $95.00. To order, send email to info@pistoldynamics.com, or call Pistol Dynamics at 321-733-1266. There is a lifetime guarantee on the machined part and a one-year warrantee on the timer.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
May 19th, 2012

Gear Review: Action Cleaning Tool Kit from PMA Tool

PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit Review by Danny Reever
I’ve been playing with the PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit for about a month now. Previously, I used one of the old style (round knob) Sinclair action-cleaning tools with cylindrical cotton rolls. With the Sinclair tool, I was pretty satisfied that I was getting my actions reasonably clean. But, as I explain below, I think the newer PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit is easier to use, and possibly achieves better results.

PMA Tool Kit Extensively Tested with Many Action Types
PMA tried a variety of options before finalizing the PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit. PMA explains that several shooters did a lot of testing “with various sizes of die-cut foam, patches, felts and cotton rolls with various bolt action types (BAT two- and three-Lug, Kelblys, Halls, Remingtons, Winchesters and Savages). [Testers all agreed] that the foam disc is far superior to felts and cotton rolls [and] we decided to include two different sizes of foam discs.”

PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit

The PMA Action-Cleaning Tool uses round foam discs in two included sizes: 1″ diameter and 1.25″ diameter. Both size discs can be used alone, or with a 3″ patch wrapped around them. The handles of the tools are CNC-machined blue-anodized aluminum with a silicone sleeve for grip. The PMA tool handles are a bit longer than those of my old Sinclair action-cleaning tool. I like the added handle length, and I find the design of the handle easier to use compared to the old-style round knobs.

The PMA tools are quality items. They are an improvement over my older Sinclair action-cleaning set-up. But do the PMA tools they actually clean the action better or easier than the old style cotton rolls? Well, based on my experience, the answer is a definite “maybe”.

Comparison Testing — Cotton Rolls vs. PMA Foam Discs (with and without patches)
Starting with the old-style cotton roll system, I cleaned my actions to a level I considered “clean” in the past. I then tried the included PMA foam discs. I found that, for my Remington-style actions, the larger 1.25″-diameter disc seemed to work better than the smaller 1″-diameter disc. Wrapping the larger disc with a 3″ patch definitely brought out more crud from my previously cleaned actions than the old style cotton rolls. Well, you might ask, what if you wrap the old-style cotton roll with a patch? Yes that will remove more crud too, but perhaps not as much as the PMA system. Moreover you would have to buy both cotton rolls AND 3″ patches. Not many places sell the cotton rolls.

Is it worth plunking down the $45.95 for the complete PMA system? Well, if you want to upgrade to a quality-made tool with better handles the answer is yes. Is getting that last bit of crud out of your action every time you clean it that important to you? You have to decide that for yourself. From my own perspective, I was due for an upgrade so the answer was easy. I like the PMA system, especially the new improved handles. Also, with the PMA system I don’t have to fool around with a tiny Allen screw to secure the cotton rolls — that was annoying. So my final take on the PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit is that it is a good product with some real advantages over other action-cleaning systems.

PMA Action Cleaning Tool Kit

PMA Tool charges $45.95 for the complete Action Cleaning Tool Kit that includes a chamber cleaning handle and cotton swab. PMA offers the lug recess action cleaning tool by itself with four foam cleaning discs and five 3″ patches. Cleaning discs are also available separately in your choice of 1″- and 1.25″-diameter in a five pack.

Action Cleaning Tool Kit (complete): $45.95
Lug Recess Tool Only (includes 4 Cleaning Discs): $35.95
Chamber Swab Tool (includes Cotton Chamber Swab): $14.95
Additional 1″ Cleaning Discs: $4.95
Additional 1.25″ Cleaning Discs: $4.95

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
May 18th, 2012

Portable Electronic Targets at Peacemaker Training Center

NRA Electronic Target ShotResponseTomorrow, May 19, you can try out the electronic targets used in the Olympics at the Peacemaker National Training Center in Gerrardstown, WV. The event is a part of the NRA’s effort to increase awareness of Electronic Target Systems and their use for recreational shooting. Provided by ShotResponse (a dealer for the Swiss SIUS AG company), the electronic targets instantly record and score every shot fired down-range. The new NRA Portable Box Target provides a 4′ x 4′ scoring zone (with multiple target options) and remote display at the shooter’s location. The wireless version works out to 1,000 yards without a signal repeater.

Next Target Demo in Williamsport, PA
The next demonstration of the SIUS electronic targets will be September 8, 2012 at the Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Benchrest Club, in Williamsport, PA. CLICK HERE to learn more about the Williamsport event this fall. If your club is interested in hosting an electronic target event in the future, contact NRA Range Services at (877) NRA-RANGE or email range@nrahq.org.

NRA Electronic Target ShotResponse

About the Equipment
The SIUS Portable Bullet Sensor (PBS) is a Portable Single Lane RF (wireless) automatic electronic precision target scoring system. SIUS PBS employs Acoustical Projectile Locating (detection). Accuracy is 1 – 2mm at the target center and 5 – 7mm at outer scoring zones. Any small arms firearms from .22-caliber to .308 caliber can be used with the system. It works with both subsonic and supersonic projectiles. The ShotResponse NRA Box targets with multiple target “skins”, including standard bullseye targets along with deer and boar hunting targets. There are 12 different Target Facings with Firing Exercise Software plus the Rifle Grouping/Zeroing Exercise.

The PBS system consists of a collapsible Precision Target with an RF (wireless) Battery Pack, a Target carrying/shipping case and a Shooter’s RF Wireless Control Unit/Monitor with Keypad, Battery Pack, Carrying/Shipping Case and a Laptop computer for downloading and printing of firing data. This portable system employs technology developed by SIUS, the official supplier of electronic targets for the Olympic Games and ISSF competition. CLICK HERE for SIUS video.

The video below shows a variety of SIUS/ShotResponse indoor and outdoor electronic targets in use. There are systems for airguns and pistols as well as rimfire and centerfire rifles.

Photos courtesy ShotResponse and The NRA Blog.
Permalink - Videos, Competition, New Product 7 Comments »
May 16th, 2012

New Ballistics App from Bryan Litz for Android Devices

Applied Ballistics App AndroidBryan Litz has just released AB Mobile, a new, state-of-the-art Ballistics App for Android OS devices. (An iOS version for iPhones/iPads is in the works, but ETA is not yet set.) For those familiar with the Shooter App for Android and iOS, the $29.95 AB Mobile App is basically an extended/advanced version of Shooter. AB Mobile was coded by the same programmer, and uses the same solver, but this new AB App has an enhanced interface, plus many additional features that extend capabilities beyond any ballistics App currently on the market. In the video below, Bryan explains the features of the AB Mobile App and shows how to navigate through the various function screens.

Applied Ballistics App Android Applied Ballistics App Android

READ AB App Users Manual | Preview and Purchase App in Google Marketplace

Applied Ballistics Mobile App Features:

  • Accounts for all major and minor trajectory variables
  • Built-in library of Litz-measured G1 and G7 Ballistic Coefficients for popular bullets.
  • Access weather data and latitude from GPS or Kestrel via blue-tooth link.
  • Web-sync feature stores rifle/ammo libraries online for quick retrieval.
  • Features custom drag curves for specific bullets as in-app purchases ($1.99).
  • Displays single shot solution in HUD view or Reticle view.
  • Displays multi-shot solution in Reticle view, table, and graph.
Applied Ballistics App Android Applied Ballistics App Android

Custom Ballistic Calibration Based on Observed Drops
In addition, Applied Ballistics’ AB Mobile App offers Ballistic Calibration, so you can enter your observed drop at range and the program will calibrate your muzzle velocity, projectile drag (BC), and drop scaling over various segments of the trajectory. This is great for tactical shooters who need highly accurate drop tables for unknown distance matches. For those without access to chronographs, Ballistic Calibration also give you a fairly reliable MV baseline.

Permalink - Videos, New Product, Shooting Skills 13 Comments »
May 16th, 2012

New Starlight Rifle Case Fits Long-Barreled Scoped Match Rifles

Starlight Cases has introduced a new SC-081454 Double Rifle Case featuring a deeper, 3″ lid. We’re very pleased with this upgraded, thicker design. The increased clearance provided by the deeper lid provides additional protection, without creating side loads on your scope that can cause reliability issues. What’s more, making the lid taller allows the hard case to better fit wide-forearm rifles and rifles with attached bipods.

Starlight double rifle case

Internal dimensions of the SC-081454 Double Rifle Case are 8″ Deep X 14″ Wide X 54″ Long. That’s long enough to hold rifles with barrels up to 32″ — so this case can hold Palma, Long-Range Benchrest, and F-Class rifles. Case weight, unladen, is 26 pounds and the price is a hefty $320.00. But when you’re hauling up to $7000.00 worth of rifle and optics, that’s money well spent for the added protection it provides, particularly during airline transport. You can custom-fit Starlight’s foam lining by cutting the layered foam with a hot knife. The SC-081454 hard-case also includes a molded-in recessed wheel kit for ease of transport. These cases are offered in black, Olive Drab, and “flat dark earth” colors.

Why the Deep Lid is a Good Thing: We’ve seen issues with bulky rifles (with large scopes) jammed into cases with insufficient clearance from top to bottom. This can put side-loads on your scope turrets that can lead to problems down the road. While you don’t want your rifle to shift during transport, at the same time you don’t want the case lid and bottom pressing on the rifle optics. We do recommend cutting the foam to create a fitted recess for your rifle.

Starlight double rifle case

The patented Latch-Lock™ System (with O-ring seal) on Starlight Cases ensures an airtight, watertight, chemical resistant protective case. Fitted with a pressure equalizer valve, Starlight cases are tested watertight and airtight to 400′ pressures. These durable hard cases are temp-tested from -65° to 200°. ATA-approved Starlights exceed the stringent Military MIL-C 4150J testing standards. All Starlight cases are backed by an Unconditional Lifetime Warranty and Made in USA. In addition, If for any reason you are not satisfied with your case when it is delivered, you have 7 days to return the case to the manufacturer for a full refund.

Permalink New Product No Comments »
May 16th, 2012

Holy Smoke LLC Loads Ashes for Final Send-Offs

Here’s an oddball item cited on The Firearm Blog. There’s a new service that loads a decedent’s ashes into shootable ammunition. This story will shock some readers, amuse others, and have some saying, “Well why not?” Thanks to Holy Smoke LLC, when a person passes away, and is cremated, his ashes can now be loaded up into commemorative ammo, and fired off in tribute… or used on one “final hunt”.

Choose Shotshells, Rifle Rounds, or Pistol Cartridges for Your Decedent
We kid you not… Holy Smoke LLC is offering a service by which a loved one’s ashes can be placed in shotshells, rifle cartridges, or pistol cases. Holy Smoke says: “One pound of ash is enough to produce 250 shotshells (one case).” If the decedent is not a shotgunner, you can also chose either 100 rifle cartridges or 100 pistol cartridges. We’re told that “Wildcat cartridges” are no problem (for a slight extra fee). So, if you want to make your “final flight” propelled by a Dasher or 300 Boo-Boo, that’s possible.

Could “one final trip downrange” be the perfect send-off for the avid rifleman, shotgunner or hunter? Perhaps. This option could appeal to some folks. And if you really don’t feel too good about blasting old grand-dad’s ashes into the air, Holy Smoke LLC also offer “mantle-worthy wooden carriers with engraved name plates”.

Having attend some ceremonies where ashes were distributed at sea, or cast to the winds, I think a “final salute” with shotshells could be handled with dignity. But 250 shotshells or 100 rifle cartridges is a lot to shoot on one occasion. Maybe the better idea would be to have all the ashes fired off in a cannon in one big bang. Now that would be impressive! As for you 3-gunners, Holy Smoke doesn’t list a “mix and match” option with shotgun, rifle, and pistol rounds, but that might be a future option. Heck, you could even have a memorial 3-gun match — with ammo supplied.

How did Holy Smoke LLC get started? Well the company’s founders are both game wardens who love shooting and hunting. One day the subject of burials came up:

“We were discussing the passing of one of our relatives and the topic of conversation turned to our own demise and whether we preferred burial or cremation. I told my friend that I had some cost, waste of space and ecological issues with burials and that I thought I wanted to be cremated and in some fashion, have my ashes tossed into a river or spread through the woods.

My friend smiled and said ‘You know I’ve thought about this for some time and I want to be cremated. Then I want my ashes put into some turkey load shotgun shells and have someone that knows how to turkey hunt use the shotgun shells with my ashes to shoot a turkey. That way I will rest in peace knowing that the last thing that one turkey will see is me, screaming at him at about 900 feet per second‘.”

What does it cost? The price for either 250 shotshells or 100 cartridges (rifle or pistol) is $850.00 (this does not include cremation costs). Could you load a decedent’s ashes yourself for less? Yes, of course, but there may be legal issues involved with the disposition of cremated remains. Even the $850.00 price is a fraction of what typical funeral burial services cost. If you’re interested in Holy Smoke’s unique services, visit www.myholysmoke.com or call (251) 232-4414 or (251) 213-1211.

Permalink New Product, News 6 Comments »
May 15th, 2012

Ceramic Transparent Armor May Replace “Bullet-Proof Glass”

“Better living through chemistry”? How about better ballistic protection through a new ceramic-based “Spinel” bullet-proof transparent material. Spinel Ceramic Armor, though transparent like glass, is a completely new compound that starts as a powder. Produced by ArmorLine, the amazing new “Spinel Transparent Ceramic Armor” is HALF the thickness and HALF the weight of conventional, laminated “bullet-proof glass” with similar ballistic protection. Being much lighter than “bullet-proof glass”, the Spinel Transparent Armor is ideal for use in vehicles and aircraft where weight is an important factor. By replacing laminated glass with Spinel Transparent Armor plates, hundreds of pounds could be shaved from the weight of a troop transport vehicle without sacrificing any ballistic protection.

YouTube Preview Image

As shown in the above video, a “Spinel” ceramic plate can survive a direct hit from a .50 BMG round fired at close range. By all indications, this is an important new technology that should find its way into military vehicles in the near future. ArmorLine’s manufacturing facility, scheduled to come on-line in the first quarter of 2011, will supply transparent Spinel ceramic plates to window, lens, and optical system suppliers and end-users.

Spinel Ceramic Armor

Permalink - Videos, New Product 8 Comments »
May 12th, 2012

New Ultra-Wide SEB MAX Front Joystick Rest Revealed

Sebastian Lambang, creator of the original SEB Coaxial Rest and the SEB NEO Rest, has a new product in the works. Seb has modified and upgraded his superb NEO rest, so that it can handle heavy, long-range benchrest rifles with ultra-wide forearms. Seb calls his super-sized front rest the SEB “MAX”. As you can see in the photo below, the MAX looks like a NEO but with a wider stance and more substantial rest top. Spring rates are optimized to handle rifle weights up to 45kg (99 pounds), using appropriate counterweights. Seb hopes to complete production of fifty (50) SEB MAX rests by late August 2012.

SEB Max front rest

MAX Rests Use Counter-Weights to Handle Very Heavy Rifles
When configured for use with true Heavy Guns, SEB MAX rests will be supplied with adjustable counter-balance weights in load-specific sizes. For example, a 1.8-lb counter-weight is used for a 40-lb gun, a 2.3-lb counter-weight is used for a a 60-lb gun, while a 2.6-lb counter-weight is fitted for a 70-lb gun. The basic counter-weight can be augmented with additional steel sections. Seb tells us: “The basic ‘default’ counter-weight is a 1″-diameter shaft, about 7″ long. Additional 2.5″-diameter SS ‘rings’ can be fitted on the main shaft to balance the action. When people order the MAX, they must provide the weight of their gun. I will then craft the appropriate ‘rings’ in various sizes to properly balance the weight of the customer’s particular gun and thereby make the action smooth to operate.”

Watch SEB MAX Prototype Used by Stuart Elliot
In this video, Aussie Stuart Elliot uses a prototype SEB MAX with his .300 Win Mag Heavy Gun at a 1K benchrest match in Brisbane, Australia. Stuart, who runs BRT Shooters Supply, recently won the Australian 500m Fly Shoot Nationals shooting a .300 Win Mag.

New SEB MAX Rest Based on Successful NEO Rest Design
Below is the standard SEB NEO rest. The MAX is wider and will hold a rig up to 45kg. The MAX represents an evolution of the original NEO design. As anyone who has had the pleasure of using one knows, the NEO is very smooth to operate and has a huge range of vertical and horizontal travel. In addition, the NEO can be quickly dis-assembled to store flat. The new SEB MAX can likewise be dis-assembled for easier storage and transport. Photo by R.J.Hamilton.

SEB NEO front joystick rest

Sebastian Lambang has a website at www.SebCoax.com, but you won’t find info on the SEB MAX there yet. If you have specific questions, send email to: sebastianlambang [at] yahoo.com.
For USA price list and to place orders, please contact:

Ernie Bishop
306 West Flying Circle Drive
Gillette, WY 82716
ernieemily [at] yahoo.com
Phone: (307) 257-7431

Permalink Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
May 12th, 2012

Danny’s ‘Donut-Hole’ Modified Shooting Mat for F-Class

Danny Biggs is one of the nation’s most successful F-Class shooters. A two-time (back to back) National Champion in F-TR Class, Danny also finished third in Open Class at the 2010 National Championships. Notably, Danny’s X-count of 67Xs, the highest of all competitors, was 10 Xs higher than 2010 F-Open winner Derek Rogers.

Danny Biggs F-Class

Mat with ‘Donut-Hole’ Cut-Out for Rear Bag
Danny is a very savvy competitor, to say the least, and he brought some innovative gear with him to the Nationals. Along with his height-adjustable Sinclair wide-base bipod, Danny used a cleverly modified shooting pad and Edgewood rear sandbag. Danny’s “donut-hole” mat featured a cut-out in the middle, allowing him to place his rear sandbag directly on the ground. This helps stabilize the bag no matter what the ground surface or slope. With the bag sitting directly on the ground, it’s less likely to slide or rotate.

In addition, Danny’s rear bag is raised up via a thick rubber base or “foot”. The fat base, which appeared to be hard rubber, is secured via metal tabs that clamp on to the hard leather bottom of Danny’s Edgewood rear bag. The Edgewood bag has a lip around the bottom that provides a natural attachment point for the metal tabs.

Inexpensive MidwayUSA Shooting Mat
Danny uses an affordable shooting mat — the basic 67″ L x 26.75″ W MidwayUSA shooting pad that retails for $49.99. FYI, MidwayUSA’s larger Pro Series Competition Shooting Mat is on sale right now for the same $49.99 (sale price through May 31, 2012). Sized 73.5″ long x 35.5″ wide, this deluxe, khaki-colored mat rolls up into an 8.5″ Diameter “sausage” for transport or storage. The mat has rubberized elbow and knee pads; the mat is about .535″ thick at the knee and elbow pads. By comparison, the standard MidwayUSA Shooting Mat is only 0.335″ thick on the pads. Both standard and Pro Series mats have corner grommets allowing the mat to be staked down in high winds. These mats both have a carry handle and a shoulder strap.

MidwayUSA Shooting Pad

Permalink Competition, New Product No Comments »
May 12th, 2012

New ZCORR Anti-Corrosion Softcase

ZCORR Products has introduced a new Anti-Corrosion Softcase with a built-in, vacuum-sealable VCI corrosion-barrier bag providing airtight and waterproof protection for firearms. The 42″-long main gun compartment houses a VCI storage bag that clips into the softcase. ZCORR’s clip-in system lets you secure a second long-gun bag when two-gun transport is needed. Double-gun capacity is a plus because these cases are expensive — MSRP is $249.00. That’s ten times the cost of some basic soft-skin (fabric and foam) rifle carriers.

Zcorr Rifle Softcase VPI

Zcorr Rifle Softcase VPIZCORR’s reinforced VCI bags are sturdy, being made from the same tough VCI material used in the popular ZCORR long-term storage bags. The clip-in VIC bags are designed to withstand frequent inserting/removing of firearms. ZCORR claims: “With repeated use, such as one to two shooting sessions per week, the VCI vacuum bag will last at least five years and longer with less use. After five to ten years of use customers can simply replace the VCI bag by unclipping it from the softcase and installing a replacement.”

While we like the idea of a soft guncase with serious built-in corrosion protection, it’s too bad that the case is only 42″ long. That size will hold ARs, and some short tactical bolt-guns, but it’s way too short for typical precision match rifles. At least the ZCORR Softcase offers additional compartments for handguns and accessories. There is an 11”x35” front compartment for handguns and magazines. Other shooting accessories can be stowed in two extra pockets measuring 9″×12” and 9″×9″ respectively.

Zcorr Rifle Softcase VPI

COMMENT: For $249.00 one can get a quality, full-length hard-case and three or four 54″-long vacuum-sealable Vapor Phase Corrosion Inhibitor (VpCI) bags, big enough to hold a long match rifle with room to spare. A hard case with 54″ bags woud be a better solution for most precision rifle shooters than this first-generation ZCORR Softcase. Hopefully ZCORR will get the message that its current Anti-Corrosion Softcase is undersized (for bolt guns) and over-priced.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
May 7th, 2012

New Blaser R8 Rifle with Thumbhole Stock

The unique Blaser rifle design features a straight-pull bolt with “patented Radial Locking System” of outward-expanding lugs that lock directly into the barrel. Their modular design permits Blaser rifles to be dis-assembled (with barrels exchanged) in less than one minute, using a single hex wrench. The straight-pull action allows Blasers to be cycled very rapidly by the shooter.

Until lately, if you wanted a Blaser, you had to settle for a conventional-style, solid-wrist stock. Now Blaser has introduced an ergonomic thumbhole stock with a more vertical-style pistol grip. This new stock will be offered on the Blaser R8 “Professional Success” (R8 PS) hunting rifle. Blaser claims the new stock provides a comfortable, stable hold in all shooting positions — prone, sitting, kneeling, or standing.

Blaser R8 Professional Success

The R8 PS is available in green/gray, or black/brown colors. The standard R8 PS features elastomer inlays on the forearm, pistol grip and cheek-piece. MSRP is $4,356.00. Toss in another $1100 or so, and you can upgrade the black/brown version with fitted leather inlays on forearm, pistol grip and cheek-piece. That’s a hefty surcharge for about $15.00 worth of animal hide, but Blasers were never for bargain-hunters.

Watch Blaser R8 in Action
In the video below, filmed on safari in Africa, hunter/writer Ron Spomer reviews the Blaser R8 with standard stock (not the new thumbhole). Starting at the 0:52 mark you can see how the rifle is assembled and how the straight-pull action works. Spomer’s rifle review begins as the 1:10 mark. Spomer explains that a single rifle can be fitted with multiple barrels in an assortment of chamberings/calibers.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 1 Comment »
May 5th, 2012

Lyman Releases New Large and Small Ultrasonic Cleaning Units

Lyman Ultrasonic Turbo®Sonic Cleaning machineLyman has introduced two new Turbo®Sonic Ultrasonic Cleaning units, a large 6.3-quart model TS-6000 and a smaller 23.6 oz. model TS-700. Along with the original mid-sized TS-2500 model introduced in 2011, Lyman now offers a full line-up of three (3) ultrasonic cleaning units: large, medium, and small. By most reports the TS-2500 worked well, so we expect the new TS-6000 and TS-700 will also handle ultrasonic cleaning duties well.

TS-6000
The large Model TS-6000 processes up to 1300 9mm cases or four handgun frames in less than 15 minutes (when the built-in heater is used). This workhorse is powered by two industrial-grade transducers and has an integral drain and hose for easy solution changes. The unit’s two-color LED display panel controls five different timed cleaning cycles.

TS-700
The small-footprint Model TS-700 fits in tight spaces. This unheated model handles up to 100 9mm cartridge cases. The compact TS-700 can also clean parts such as dies, muzzle brakes, and mould blocks. Note: Lyman recommends using its Steel & Stainless Steel Solution for dies and other steel components. The TS-700 features oscillation circuitry and five (5) timed cleaning cycles.

TS-2500
The mid-sized TS-2500 model, with heated tank, shown below, process up to 900 9mm cases per cleaning cycle. Introduced in 2011, this product has been widely adopted by hand-loaders. The TS-2500 will clean cases inside and out, including primer pockets, in less than 15 minutes.

Lyman Ultrasonic Turbo®Sonic Cleaning machine

Lyman TS-6000 and TS-2500 Units Can Heat Solution for Faster Cleaning
Ultrasonic cleaning machines employ ultrasonic cavitation to gently lift and dissolve carbon, dirt, lubricants, and other residues left on fired cases and small metal parts. Lyman’s TS-6000 and TS-2500 TurboSonic cleaning units feature tank heaters to warm the cleaning solution. Because ultrasonic cavitation works faster and better with a warm solution, Lyman claims its machines’ built-in heaters will speed up your cleaning job, by cutting processing time.

Lyman Cleaning Solutions (Three Types) — Lyman now offers its Brass Cleaning Solution and Steel & Stainless Steel Cleaning Solutions in 4 oz., 16 oz. and 32 oz. sized bottles. For even more versatility a new 16 oz. Jewelry Solution is available. For more information visit www.lymanproducts.com.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 1 Comment »
May 4th, 2012

New 250gr Berger .338-Caliber OTM ‘Tactical’ Hybrid Bullets

Berger OTM tactical 338 caliber 250 grain bulletBerger Bullets has released a new, 250-grain .338 caliber Hybrid OTM Tactical bullet. This is a slippery projectile, with an impressive .349 G7-model Ballistic Coefficient (.682 G1 BC). This new bullet gives Berger TWO heavyweight .338-cal bullets in its line-up — Berger already offered a 300gr OTM Tactical Hybrid with a .419 G7 BC, and a whopping .818 G1 BC. Berger tells us: “The .338-Cal 250gr and 300gr Hybrid OTM Tactical bullets were optimized for use in the .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge, but will work great in other cartridges as well.”

The new .338 cal, 250gr Hybrid was designed by Bryan Litz. The new 250-grainer’s Hybrid design blends a tangent ogive with a secant ogive. These blended shapes yield outstanding ballistic performance, yet the blended Hybrid design is normally less “finicky” about seating depth position than are secant-ogive, VLD-style bullets. Hence less load tuning should be required with the Hybrids compared to VLD designs. According to Bryan, these thick-jacket OTM Tactical bullets have been optimized for specific cartridges. They should be successful at either magazine-feedable lengths or loaded long for single-shot firing situations, which can allow for more powder capacity and higher velocities.

Berger OTM tactical 338 caliber 250 grain bullet.338 Cal Hybrids for Long-Range Hunting?
While Berger officially says that the new 250gr Hybrid and its larger 300gr cousin are “not recommended for hunting”, large .338-caliber bullets with similar construction, such as the Sierra 300gr Match King, have been used successfully by long-range hunters for many years. One experienced hunting guide told us: “This combination of bullet diameter and bullet weight has proven to be a very effective on elk and other large game.” Berger’s 250gr and 300gr OTM Hybrids offer a higher BC option than other bullets in this caliber and weight ranges. Berger does plan, in the future, to offer .338 caliber 250-grain and 300-grain Hybrid Hunting bullets.

Loaded Ammo with new .338 Hybrids Available from Bryan Litz
Bryan Litz’s ammunition business, Applied Ballistics Munitions, now offers loaded .338-caliber ammo for two cartridges: .338 Edge and .338 Lapua Magnum. This ammo (for both cartridge types) is offered with your choice of either the 300gr OTM Hybrid or the new 250gr and 300gr OTM hybrid. If you’re not familiar with the .338 Edge, this is a 300 Remington Ultra Magnum necked-up for the .338 bullet. The .338 Edge has become popular with long-range hunters.

Story tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 5 Comments »
May 3rd, 2012

New Wide-Base Trakker Bipod Systems from the UK

Dolphin trakker F-TR bipod UKThe Dolphin Gun Company, based in the United Kingdom, has developed a very stable, yet lightweight wide-base bipod, ideal for F-TR shooters. We expect Dolphin’s new Trakker bipod will also be popular with varmint hunters and some tactical shooters.

Trakker bipods are available in two confirgurations, “Standard” and “Long”. Perhaps they would be better named “Wide” and “Extra-Wide” — the “Long” version has extended legs which can provide a wider base and/or extra elevation. Both versions provide a very stable platform for prone shooting, and both versions are available with either Sling-swivel or rail attachments (see photos below).

Dolphin trakker F-TR bipod UK

Here’s the great news — these Trakker bipods are very light, yet sturdy. The standard version weighs just 21.2 ounces (600 grams), while the long version tips the scales at 24.7 ounces (700 grams). This will help shooters “make weight” in F-TR class even if they have a very long barrel, or jumbo-sized scope. Trakker bipods are offered with multiple color choices: natural (silver) alloy, matte black powder coat, or other powder coat color of the customers’ choice (extra charge may apply for custom colors).

Dolphin trakker F-TR bipod UK

Dolphin’s Trakker bipods have been extensively tested by top F-TR shooters in Europe and we have heard that these bipods work extremely well. They are stable yet easy to adjust, and they are quite a bit lighter than most wide-base bipods on the market. Retail price in the UK is £165.00, which translates to $267.00 US Dollars, but this does not include overseas shipping or possible customs charges. Americans can order direct from Dolphin at this time and Dolphin will ship to the states. (Dolphin is currently in discussions with a US-based company that would produce the Trakker bipod for the North American market, under license). For more information, visit DolphinGunCompany.co.uk or email mik [at] mikdolphin.demon.co.uk. NOTE: The Dolphin Gun Company website is pretty slow. You may have to try multiple times to load the pages.

Dolphin trakker F-TR bipod UK

About Dolphin Gun Company
Dolphin Gun Company was formed several years ago by Mik Maksimovic and Pete Hobson, two active, competitive F-Class shooters. Both Mik and Peter come from engineering backgrounds. They first set up Dolphin Gun Company to build their own competitive shooting gear. From hobby gunsmithing and preparing their own rifles and equipment, Mik and Pete quickly progressed to building rifles for other shooters and creating top-of-the-line shooting accessories such as the Trakker bipod.

Product Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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May 2nd, 2012

Gongzilla: All-Steel 72″x72″ Long-Range Target with Center Bulls

Rick Mulhern GongzillaForum member Rick from Louisiana (aka RMulhern) has rigged up a fantastic target for long-range shooting. Rick, a long-time competitive Palma shooter, had a large 72″x72″ steel target fabricated with two separate center rings that are equivalent to the official paper Palma/Creedmoor target. He says he’s “shot a lot of Palma on that target, as well as lots of Black Powder Cartridge (BPCR) rounds”. The big steel target works great when Rick shoots his Sharps 45/110 BPCR at 800 to 1000 yards. The large steel background (painted white) helps Rick see and hear his hits. If you understand the high-arching trajectory of 500+ grain projectiles shot from a 45/110, you know it can take a few rounds to get Point of Impact dialed in.

Rick reports: “These are two of my favorite rifles to shoot: a M1874 Shiloh Sharps in caliber 45/110 (2 7/8) made in Big Timber, Montana by Kirk Bryan and family. The other is a 6.5×47 Lapua on a blue-printed M700 action with 1:8.5″-twist Krieger barrel and F5 McMillan Tactical stock. Many of the shooters that take up BPCR have a tendency to get away from their smokeless powder rifles in favor of the blackpowder game. Frankly I have the best of both worlds as I enjoy shooting both (smokeless and BPCR), although I must admit that I probably spend the majority of my time on the range with the Sharps rifles these days.” (Rick’s pretty good with his Sharps by the way — he recently shot a 95, 96, and 100 (clean) for 3×10 shots at 800 yards.)

1000 yard steel bullseye target

Gongzilla: $1000 Worth of Steel with Three Plate Layers
Rick tells us: “Here’s the deal — everything is steel! The large plate is 72″x72″ and the black bull is 44″ diameter. The 20″-diameter central white bull is made from 1/2″-thick AR400 bull-dozer plating. That’s the same size as the regulation Palma/Creedmoor paper target. The white square and black bull are 3/8″-thick mild steel. Plates are off-set 2″ from each other. I welded a 2″ length of square tubing to the back of both plates and the bolt slides through and is attached to the large plate. I used 2 3/8″ upset tubing (oil field pipe) for the holder framing.” Rick says he invested about $1000.00 in metal for the target, but that was 15 years ago. Today the steel would be much more expensive.

1000 yard steel bullseye target

Rick says the AR400 armor plate in the center bull is very strong: “You can shoot a .338 Lapua Magnum at 200 yards and it won’t damage the center bull”. The mild steel works well for the cast bullets Rick uses with his Sharps 45/110. Also, Rick says the mild steel is rugged enough for 6.5mm and .308 hollowpoint match bullets, if you’re at least 500 yards away. However, Rick told us, “If I would make [the target] again, I would make the black bull AR400 as well. [That way] you would never have to worry about big dents or beating the plate up at any distance. The AR400 is very tough steel. You can shoot a Sierra or Lapua HP bullet and they will just splatter.”

Rick told us: “I built this target with off-set clanger plates. The white clanger is AR400. Bullets just splatter!” Does he worry about hitting the bolt head? Not at all. Rick says: “When I hit the bolt head, I break my arm patting myself on the back!”.

For more information about Rick’s all-steel 1000-yard target, read this AccurateShooter Forum Thread. Registered Forum Members can also send private messages to “RMulhern”.

Permalink New Product 3 Comments »
May 1st, 2012

Coming in June — Second Edition of Nancy Tompkins Rifle Book

Nancy Tompkins Rifle Shooting BookNancy Tompkins will be bringing out a new Second Edition of her popular book: Prone and Long-Range Rifle Shooting. Nancy hopes to have Second Edition books available by mid-June, 2012. The enhanced Second Edition will feature updates to the current chapters, more photos, plus an entirely new chapter on F-Class Shooting. The Second Edition will be issued as a hardback only, for increased durability. Price isn’t set yet, but Nancy hopes to keep the price “under $40.00″. The book will be available from Sinclair Int’l and direct from Nancy who plans to have a new website for the book running by the end of May.

While visiting the new Lapua Rimfire Test Center in Mesa, Arizona, we had a chance to chat with Nancy, and learn about the Second Edition of Prone and Long-Range Rifle Shooting. Watch the video to hear Nancy talk about her plans for the updated version of her book.

Nancy Tompkins rifle shooting bookTompkins Book a Must-Read for Long-Range Shooters
Nancy’s updated treatise is a must-read for serious Palma, F-Class, and High Power shooters. The sections covering Mental & Physical training and Reading Wind & Mirage will benefit all precision shooters, regardless of discipline. Other topics include Shooting Fundamentals, International Competition, and Loading for Long Range. Nancy Tompkins has won the National Long Range Championships four times, and is the first woman ever to win the National High Power Championship. (The second was Nancy’s daughter SGT Sherri Gallagher.) Nancy has also won the prestigious Wimbledon Cup, and is a 5-time Leech Cup winner. Nancy has been on six Palma Teams (as both a shooter and a coach). (Note: photo shows First Edition of book.)

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May 1st, 2012

Redding Offers Retro-Fit Micrometer Stems for Standard Seaters

Redding Seating Stem MicrometerThey have been on the market for nearly a year, but you may not know that Redding sells a line of Micrometer Seater assemblies, which can be used to upgrade Redding’s standard ½-20 thread seater dies. These replacements allow you to enjoy the ease-of-use and precision of a micrometer seater, without buying a whole new die. Redding states that “the new Bullet Seating Micrometers are a direct [retro-fit] replacement for the original seating plugs and can easily be changed from one die to another.” Unfortunately, these add-on micrometer stems haven’t started shipping yet, and Redding has not provided a firm delivery date (or price). We are hoping the products will start arriving by mid-summer.

Redding Seating Stem Micrometer

NOTE: the seater assemblies are a component of the bullet seating die. These are not the dies themselves. It is the top portion of the die that contains the plunger, which pushes the bullet into the case. And here is something important: these new Bullet Seating Micrometers are available for both traditional tangent ogive bullet shapes as well as for VLD (secant ogive) bullets.

Redding Seating Stem MicrometerThat’s right, Redding now offers micrometer seater assemblies made specifically for Berger VLD bullets. These Seating Micrometers allow you to convert a standard seater to a Micrometer seater optimized for VLDs. That’s great news for VLD fans. Eric Stecker of Berger Bullets tells us: “We have confirmed with Redding that each of the new micrometer plugs in the VLD group were designed based on Berger VLD bullets. We provided all of our VLD bullets to Redding, from which they took deliberate measurements and made these new plugs.”

New VLD-specific Seater Stems Improve Bullet Seating Depth Consistency
Stecker explains how the new VLD-specific seater assemblies produce better, more accurate ammo: “Many shooters have problems getting the VLD bullets to shoot because of the bullet seater die they are using. VLD bullet noses are so long and sharp that, in many dies, the bullet tip bottoms out in the bullet seater stem instead of touching on the side of the ogive like it should. Seating depth inconsistencies up to .025″ can occur if the seater stem bottoms out on the bullet tip. The worst part is that many shooters have no idea that this is the root cause of their poor performance. This new product can help turn a frustrating shooting experience into an enjoyable one.”

Story tip from Edlongrange. We welcome submissions from our readers.
Permalink New Product, Reloading 4 Comments »