December 25th, 2011

Caliber Cookie Cutter Sales Support Junior Shooters

Caliber Cookie CuttersPlanning a holiday get-together? Want to impress your gun-owning friends and relatives? Here is a perfect “politically incorrect” baking accessory: a 5-piece set of gun-shaped cookie cutters. The “Caliber Cookie Cutters” create cookies in five gun shapes: Deringer, Snubnose, Magnum Revolver, Model 1911, and Walther PPK. If you purchase the Caliber Cookie Cutters, your money will go to a good cause. Proceeds from cookie-cutter sales help support the Massachusetts Rifle Association (MRA) Junior 3-Position Shooting Team.

Coached by Maureen Tricket (with help from husband Charlie), the MRA Junior Team has been very successful. Maureen declares: “We compete in Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Alabama, Georgia, everywhere. We won the gold last year at Camp Perry for the Open Class.” Some of the young shooters have even earned shooting scholarships.

Caliber Cookie Cutters

To order a set of gun-shaped cookie cutters, visit www.CaliberCutters.com. Priced at $19.95 per set, these cookie cutters are sure to put smiles on many faces (with the exception of knee-jerk liberals). And since the proceeds help a Junior Shooting Program, you get plenty of bang for your buck!

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December 23rd, 2011

More Zombie Marketing — Z-Max Varmint Bullets from Hornady

Hornady Varmint Bullet Z-MaxFollowing up on the success of its Zombie-Max ammunition, Hornady has introduced a new line of Z-Max Varmint Bullets fitted with “slime green”-colored plastic tips. What can we say — it’s a gimmick but it sells. P.T. Barnum would be proud. Hornady will initially offer seven (7) types of Z-Max bullets, in calibers .172 through 7.62 (.310), with weights from 20 grains to 123 grains.

17 Cal .172 20gr Z-MAX™

20 Cal .204 32gr Z-MAX™

22 Cal .224 40gr Z-MAX™

22 Cal .224 50gr Z-MAX™

22 Cal .224 55gr Z-MAX™
with cannelure

6mm .243 58gr Z-MAX™

7.62 Cal .310 123gr Z-MAX™

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 3 Comments »
December 17th, 2011

Alexander Arms Introduces AR15 Rifles Chambered in 17 HMR

Alexander Arms is now shipping production 17 HMR AR15 rifles and 17 HMR upper receiver kits. The complete rifles are the only semi-auto rifles specifically designed to reliably shoot the 17 HMR cartridge. Alexander Arm’s 17 HMR rifle does not employ a reworked .22LR rimfire action. Instead the gun features a new bolt assembly design purpose-built built to work with the 17 HMR cartridge. This is good news for varmint hunters who want semi-auto capability for fast follow-up shots in the varmint fields.

Alexander Arms 17hmr AR15

Alexander Arms 17 HMR AR Tech Specifications | 17 HMR AR Frequently Asked Questions

The complete rifle comes standard with a straight fluted 18″ stainless barrel, A1 flash-hider, free-floating composite hand guard and two molded-plastic 10-round magazines. Options include a spiral-fluted barrel and MK3 railed upper receiver. Alexander Arms’ 17 HMR ARs will be offered in both fixed stock and collapsible-stock versions. The upper receiver kit includes all the ancillary items needed to convert existing AR15 lowers to work with the 17 HMR cartridge.

Alexander Arms 17hmr AR1517 HMR Basics
If you are not familiar with the 17 HMR, it is a popular varmint cartridge effective out to 200 yards or so. With typical muzzle velocities of 2550-2650 fps, the little 17 HMR packs much more punch than a .22LR, while bucking the wind much better. CLICK HERE for Varmint Al’s 17 HMR webpage, which provides a comprehensive analysis of 17 HMR ballistics, kinetic enegy, and effectiveness on small varmints.

Video Showing Alexander Arms 17HMR Bolt Cycling in Slo-Mo

On its website, Alexander Arms reports: “Our initial production run will be 500 units. We are extremely pleased with this [17 HMR] caliber. With help from Hornady, this unit has been extensively tested and has proven itself to be very capable in the field. At the recent Big 3 Event, we ran two rifles out to ranges of 400 yards and despite windy conditions… the guns performed well. While running guns at the Big 3 we had an opportunity to run one of the rifles with the excellent magnum rimfire silencer from Thunderbeast Arms Corp. The rifle exhibited a slight shift in zero and ran without a hitch for the two days of the event. This unscheduled test provided a quick insight into the flexibility of the rifle and everyone agreed that this combination would serve well for any varminting purposes.”

For more info contact visit AlexanderArms.com or call at (540) 639-8356. You can also download the Alexander Arms’ 17 HMR Rifle Owners Manual as a PDF file.

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December 15th, 2011

From Italy, with Holes — The Radical Ported CompBullet

An Italian company, CompBullet, has produced a radical new line of CNC-machined projectiles with a cavity in the bullet base connected to ports (holes) placed radially around the bullet’s circumference. Currently CompBullet offers six bullet types: 9mm (100 gr), .40 cal (155 gr), .44 Cal (200 gr), .45 Cal (200 gr), and .30 Caliber Rifle (125 gr). CompBullet’s pistol projectiles have one row of radial ports, while the longer rifle bullets have two rows, resembling the porting on a muzzle brake.

CompBullet Ported Bullets

Italy’s CompBullet makes many claims about its new, patented ported bullets. Supposedly the ported, cavity-base bullets go faster than conventional bullets, yet generate less recoil. CompBullet also claims that its radical projectiles produce less smoke and reduced flash on exiting the muzzle. We are skeptical of many of CompBullet’s claims. We also have some concerns about bullet integrity and potential safety issues — at least when used in high-velocity applications.

Velocity
Compbullet claims that gases exiting the radial ports “lubricate” the bullet as it travels down the bore, yielding enhanced velocity. However, if any gas is actually able to exit the holes while the bullet is in the rifling (it’s not clear that in-barrel venting really occurs), then this will simply serve to REDUCE the gas pressure pushing on the base of the bullet. If anything, the bullet should go slower than a conventional projectile, not faster.

CompBullet Ported Bullets

Jet Effect
CompBullet projectiles have a cylindrical cavity in the base. CompBullet claims that hot gases will shoot out the bottom of the bullet (like a rocket) and this increases velocity. But this runs contrary to the bullet-maker’s claim that the hot combustion gas moves forward and out the vents. But what, you might ask, if there are powder kernels that have migrated into the cavity and ignite inside the bullet? That might indeed cause gas to move both forward and rearward. However, the force of any rearward gas jet would be minimal compared to the main pressure flow pushing from behind, at least while the bullet is in the barrel.

Reader’s Comment: Hope the holes are small enough so the powder doesn’t fall out if the round is tipped over or something. It’s a good idea for custom salt and pepper shakers though!” –Josh

Recoil Reduction
Muzzle brakes reduce felt recoil and muzzle lift, on both pistols and rifles. However, they are attached to the gun. We’re not sure how gas blowing out the sides of a bullet is going to have any effect on recoil, because that action occurs after the bullet has left the muzzle. It IS possible that some in-barrel venting from the bullet’s ports may occur (if the ports aren’t blocked by the rifling), but that, as explained above, will only serve to reduce pressure pushing on the base of the bullet and hence reduce velocity. To the extent CompBullet projectiles deliver less felt recoil (if they do), it’s probably because they have lower velocity. If CompBullet projectiles actually fly faster (than do conventional bullets), that would be easy to demonstrate with chronograph tests. However, CompBullet provides NO CHRONOGRAPH DATA on its website. Without such data, we remain unconvinced.

Safety Issues
With a CompBullet projectile, there is the potential for powder to shift from the cartridge case into the bullet’s central cavity, prior to ignition. If this occurs, and the kernels inside the bullet do not fire off prior to the bullet leaving the barrel, there is the possibility of an explosive fragmentation of the bullet once it leaves the muzzle. We don’t know if this could actually happen, but there’s a word for a small, metal container filled with gunpowder — a grenade.

Bullet Integrity
A conventional jacketed bullet can fly apart when the combination of heat, friction, and spinning force stresses the bullet’s construction. With the CompBullet projectile, you have a bullet that is heated from the inside out, with numerous weakening holes drilled in the structure.

Accuracy
We discussed the effect of radial ports on a bullet with Bryan Litz, chief Ballistician for Berger Bullets. He said: “this ported bullet design is interesting, but I can’t see how it would have any usefulness for precision shooting. If flaming gas really jets out the ports, and the outflow of every port is not perfectly uniform, then this will quickly cause a reduction of bullet stability, which won’t help accuracy at all.” Bryan also wondered if drag from the gas out-flowing from the ports might slow down bullet spin-rate. With less rpm, spin-stabilization would be reduced. “Unstable bullets are not accurate”, Bryan added.

Flash Signature
There does appear to be some evidence of a smaller smoke “cloud” on bullet exit and a reduced flash signature, if the photos on the CompBullet website can be believed. We would like to see an actual comparison between conventional ammo and CompBullet ammo, using identical powder charges. CompBullet’s photos do not provide a comparison with ammo loaded with non-ported bullets. We cannot confirm that flash is reduced unless we can see photos of both ported and non-ported bullets, shot with the same powder loads, in the same lighting conditions. See sequence below with 9x21mm pistols:

CompBullet Ported Bullets

The inventor of the CompBullet ported projectile is Alain Della Savia, a IPSC Grand Master and 6-time Italian National Revolver Champion. He was inspired by the recoil reduction offered by ported handguns. He hoped to develop a new kind of ammo that had reduced recoil, while still satisfying the IPSC “power factor” requirements. His solution was to build ports in the bullets themselves, using CNC-machining methods: “After a year of experiences, [Alain] found the right balance between materials and internal compensation system inside the bullet.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 25 Comments »
December 15th, 2011

New 2012 Guns & Gear in December Shooting Industry Magazine

Shooting Industry Magazine DecemberIf you can’t wait for SHOT Show in January to see new-for-2012 shooting products, then check out the latest FREE digital edition of Shooting Industry Magazine. Shooting Industry’s jumbo, 156-page December issue is the first of two expanded editions that highlight new products for 2012.

In this month’s digital magazine, you’ll find Part I of the 2012 New Product Showcase. This has hundreds of new product offerings including new firearms, ammunition, optics and accessories.

The special December edition also has a comprehensive SHOT Show Planning Guide which lists SHOT Show activities and seminars, and explains new technologies (such as smart-phone apps) that will help SHOT Show visitors. NOTE: The December Edition does NOT include SHOT Show Floor Layouts with exhibitor lists. You’ll have to wait ’til next month. The layouts and exhibitor directory will be published in the January digital edition of Shooting Industry Magazine.

Another handy resource in the December Edition is the Buyers’ Guide a comprehensive industry-wide directory of manufacturers, distributors, and and retailers. The December Edition also includes 2012 firearms industry projections. In this section, representatives from Crimson Trace, Hornady, Mossberg and Taurus share their insights about the future trends.

IMPORTANT: When opening the December Digital Edition, you’ll be prompted to provide your name and eMail address. STOP! This is NOT Required! Simply click one of the right arrows (at top center) or the “Continue” button and you can access the e-magazine without divulging your name or email account.

“We have assembled a wealth of information in our December issue to help businesses throughout industry maximize the opportunities of 2012. Forecasts for the new year, new products, SHOT Show planning, our highly regarded Buyer’s Guide and more are included in this valuable business edition,” said Russ Thurman, Shooting Industry’s publisher and editor.

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December 14th, 2011

Colt Opens New Factory in Florida and Sells ARs in California

Colt’s Manufacturing Company LLC (“Colt”) announced that it will open a new firearms production facility in Kissimmee, Florida. Colt’s announcement did not discuss plant closures elsewhere, but we expect that some of Colt’s production (and jobs) will be moved from New England to Florida. Colt’s press release states: “The new 16,000-square foot facility will allow Colt’s Manufacturing Company to expand into new markets and business lines in parallel with the company’s existing 100,000-square-foot facility in Connecticut. Specific information on facility renovations and employee requirements will be determined over the course of the next several months.”

Colt Florida

Colt Introduces New California-Compliant ARs
In related news, Colt has introduced a series of California-compliant AR15s. This is good for “black rifle” fans in the Golden State. Colt’s CA-legal ARs include: a 16″ barrel M4 Clone (LE6920CA) with adjustable stock; an Accurized rifle with 24″, 1:8″ twist heavy barrel (CR6724CA), and a “Patrol Rifle” that features Magpul furniture (6920CMP-B). All of Colt’s new California-compliant rifles are test-fired at the factory, and they all have mil-spec barrel, chamber, and bolt carrier group. In addition, Colt’s ARs receive special metal testing. Steve Comus, who reviewed Colt’s new ARs for Western Outdoor News, explains: “There is a magnetic particle inspection test done on all Colt rifles. After a rifle passes the MP (Magnetic Particle) test, MP is stamped on the bolt and barrel, as is C for Colt and MP on barrel. To pass, every single barrel and bolt goes through an over pressure test of 70,000 psi to make sure it can handle high pressure. Colt then takes rifle barrel and bolt and does a magnetic particle test on them. Barrels on mil spec barrels are chrome-lined. Accurized barrels are not chrome-lined.”

CLICK HERE for Full Field-Test of Colt California ARs (12/7/2011). Article from WONews.com.

Colt California compliant AR15

Permalink New Product, News 3 Comments »
December 13th, 2011

.50 BMG Bottle Opener — Proceeds Benefit Wounded Warriors

Here’s a fun gift item from Vat19.com — a bottle opener made from de-milled .50 BMG cartridges. These .50 Caliber Bottle Openers are made by hand in the USA by a group that donates at least 15% of its profits to helping wounded soldiers via the Travis Manion Foundation.

50 cal bottle opener .50 bmg

The price is $14.99. Considering the simple design, we bet many of our readers could make their own bottle opener using an old cartridge, a Dremel tool, and a file. If that’s too much work, you can order the .50 Cal bottle opener from Vat19.com. This item has been so popular that it is currently sold out, but Vat19.com is expecting to receive more inventory on December 19th — right before Christmas.

50 cal bottle opener .50 bmg

Credit TheFirearmBlog.com for finding this item
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December 9th, 2011

NEW Caliber-Specific Laser Trainer Cartridges from LaserLyte

Here’s a clever product that provides visual feedback of your aim on the target while you dry-fire. LaserLyte, makers of laser pistol sights and bore-sighting tools, has come up with a smart new application of a miniature laser system. The new caliber-specific Laser Trainer Cartridge fits inside the pistol chamber and features a firing-pin activated switch that indicates bullet impact with a bright red laser dot. To practice, simply cock the hammer or striker, and pull the trigger as you would normally. When the firing pin hits the Laser Trainer Cartridge, a bright red laser displays on your target for 100 milliseconds. Available for 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP, the $99.95 (MSRP) Laser Training Cartridges are rimless so you can work the slide without ejecting the Laser Cartridges.

Laser Training Cartridge

With a Laser Trainer Cartridge in the chamber of your 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP pistol, you can practice your trigger pull and sight acquisition. But unlike traditional dry-firing, you can see your point of aim when you “break the shot”. This modified cartridge is rimless, so the Laser Trainer Cartridge is not expelled during dry fire, which allows for tap, rack, bang or malfunction training drills. A hardened rubber plunger on the laser also acts as a built-in snap cap to protect the firing pin. The Laser Trainer Cartridge requires three #377 batteries, good for approximately 3,000 shots. For more info on Laser Training Cartridges visit LaserLyte.com.

YouTube Preview Image
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December 8th, 2011

Miculek Stars in Practical Rifle Instructional DVDs

Legendary pistol and 3-Gun shooter Jerry Miculek stars in a great instructional DVD set from Brownell’s. The 3-Disc DVD set, “Jerry Miculek Practical Rifle”, shows Jerry working his magic with AR-platform carbines. This DVD set is available from Brownells.com (item 100-004-974) and from Jerry’s website.

The Jerry Miculek Practical Rifle DVDs cover every aspect of shooting the AR-15 in multi-gun matches — from the basics of stance, grip, trigger control, all the way to advanced shooting techniques. Specific topics covered include: 1) Setting up your rifle; 2) Stance grip and trigger technique; 3) Acquiring targets more quickly; 4) Shooting on the move; 5) Shooting multiple and moving targets; 6) Shooting behind cover; 7) Reloads and malfunction drills. Along with the instructional demos, the DVD provides basic and advanced drills that viewers can use to improve their shooting speed and accuracy.

The Miculek Practical Rifle DVD comes in a 3-Disc set. Disc One covers gun set-up and hardware selection (trigger, barrel, optics). Disc Two covers shooting technique — stance, position, weight distribution, target acquisition and other gun-handling skills. Disc Three is the “Application” — Jerry shoots typical courses of fire, showing how to engage various types and locations of targets with maximum efficiency.

Jerry Miculek Multi-Gun DVD
Photo courtesy ShootingUSA, which offers Jerry Miculek’s Pro Tips as streaming videos.

We predict serious multi-gun shooters will add this DVD set to their libraries. Produced entirely at Brownell’s studios in partnership with Jerry Miculek’s Bang Inc., the complete 3-Disc set runs 2 hours and 17 minutes. Each Disc features multiple camera angles (including “shooters’ eye view” through the optic), slow motion footage, and animated illustrations.

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December 7th, 2011

New Tactical Advantage Cleaner from the Makers of Wipe-Out

Tactical Advantage bore and gun cleaning semi-autosSharp Shoot R™ Precision Products, the makers of Wipe-Out foam bore cleaner, has a new cleaning product designed for ARs and other semi-autos that tend to run dirty and accumulate carbon. Sharp Shoot R’s new Tactical Advantage™ is a very carbon-aggressive bore cleaner that will remove copper fouling as well as powder fouling with a minimum of effort. Run it on a patch (or nylon brush) to dissolve carbon and copper fouling in the bore. Mix it 50/50 with water and spray it on the bolt, muzzle brake, and other parts which accumulate soot and carbon in regular use.

When sprayed on bolt carriers, bolts, and brakes, Tactical Advantage will dissolve carbon on contact — without ammonia or acids in the formula. In fact the chemistry in Tactical Advantage actually protects metal from corrosion after it cleans.

Terry Paul, Sharp Shoot R’s owner and chemistry wizard, says that: “Tactical Advantage has been designed to be a maximum-strength product. In our testing we found that Tactical Advantage was capable of dissolving more fouling faster than any product currently on the market. We developed this product with the aid and consultation of competitive shooters, gunsmiths, barrel makers, and tactical firearms manufacturers. The R&D team produced a revolutionary new type catalyst that provides exceptional cleaning power.” We’ve heard similar claims about many other gun cleaners, but Tactical Advantage has some interesting properties:

Tactical Advantage bore and gun cleaning semi-autos

  • Tactical Advantage is odorless, and contains NO ACID and NO AMMONIA.
  • Tactical Advantage is safe for all steels (both stainless and carbon) and all metal plating (including chrome-lined barrels).
  • Tactical Advantage is harmless to modern gunstock finishes on wood, carbon fiber, or fiberglass. (However, it is not for use on shellac, varnish, or oil finishes.)
  • Tactical Advantage cannot gum or leave behind solids that render the firearm useless.
  • Tactical Advantage is effective on copper fouling, and it aggressively dissolves carbon fouling on contact.

Tactical Advantage — Suggested Cleaning Procedures

Bore Cleaning — With the breach open, apply into the barrel with a patch or nylon brush which has been wetted with the solution. Place the firearm down horizontally on the bench. Wait for 15 to 20 minutes. Put a clean cotton patch on a good jag and push through the bore. Or run two strokes through the bore with a nylon brush and Tactical Advantage will produce a thick lather. Allow it to set as per original instructions for faster results.

Bore Swabbing During Matches — You can use Tactical Advantage as a barrel swab in between relays or between shot strings to remove powder fouling and begin the job of dissolving carbon and copper. This method is a quick solution that works for High Power shooters who have limited time to clean their firearms between relays.

Parts Cleaning — Mix Tactical Advantage 50/50 with water in a spray bottle. Spray dirty parts fouled with powder residue or carbon. Use same method for muzzle brakes and suppressors.

Tactical Advantage costs $15.99 (MSRP) for a 8 oz. plastic bottle that will clean as many guns as two cans of Wipe-Out foam. Get Tactical Advantage from major vendors, or order direct from:

Sharp Shoot R Precision Products®
P.O. Box 171
Paola, Kansas
email: getinfo [at] sharpshootr.com
phone: 785-883-4444

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome readers submissions.
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December 6th, 2011

See-Through Expander Riser and Ergo Holder from K&M

K&M PrecisionK&M Precision Shooting Products has two very handy products you may not know about yet. The first, a brilliantly simple device that lets you see your case necks as you expand them, can be used by anyone who necks-up brass (with a compatible expander die body). The second new product is a specialized “fat grip” holder that will make neck-turning easier for those of you out there who use K&M neck-turners.

K&M Expand Mandrel Window Riser
This is a simple threaded extension placed between your expander die body (K&M Expand Iron) and the top of your press. It carries the expander mandrel higher, above the press, and has a cut-out view port so you can see the mandrel as it passes through the neck. Smart, eh? This provides visual feedback during the process of expanding your brass. The patent-pending view riser costs $20.00. Will it expand necks faster, or reduce run-out? We doubt it, but we still would like to have one, if only to eyeball the mandrel to control the neck-entry rate more consistently from case to case.

K&M Expander Riser

Installation: Thread the Expand Mandrel Window Riser into the top of your loading press, then thread the K&M Expand-Iron (Expander Die Body) fully into the top of the window riser and adjust each so you can stroke out the press completely without driving the case mouth into the press adapter. This allows you to view the expanding operation which is typically blind under the press. The riser also eliminates the need for the stop screw in the expander mandrel. LINK: Expand Window Riser Instructions (PDF).


Ergo Holder K&MErgo Holder for K&M Neck-Turning Tool
K&M’s rounded, oversized Ergo Holder lets you hold the K&M neck-turning body more securely (and with less hand cramping). Priced at $35.00, it is an expensive accessory, but we suspect many guys with K&M neck-turners will spring for an Ergo holder just because it gives you a more secure and comfortable grip on the small, square-edged K&M neck-turner.

Customer Feedback Inspired K&M’s Ergo Holder
The folks at K&M told us that their new Ergo Holder was produced in response to customer requests: “[Customers reported that] the neck turner can be hard to hold due to its compact size, especially in high-volume use. The Ergo Holder is machined from aluminum, providing a fatigue-proof grasp of the neck turner. Its mass works like a heat sink to help dissipate heat from the pilot during the turning process. The neck-turner body easily assembles into the Ergo Holder and is held in place with one set screw. The Ergo holder is also designed with the dial indicator in mind and actually makes its use more convenient”.
LINK: Ergo Holder Installation/Use Instructions (PDF).

Credit Forum Member EdLongRange for spotting these new K&M products.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 2 Comments »
December 1st, 2011

Lee Reloading Manual on Sale for Just $12.49

Modern Reloading Manual Second Edition LeeIt’s great to be able to access load data on the internet. But we still recommend keeping some hard-bound reloading manuals at home for reference. Right now MidwayUSA has a great deal on the Modern Reloading, Second Edition, Revised by Richard Lee. Now through the end of the year, you can buy the latest LEE reloading manual for just $12.49. This book was recently revised, so it has more reloading data than the previous release of the 2nd Edition. The load data section now has black tabs on the side of the pages.

Should you buy the book? It’s cheap at $12.49. The load data covers a huge variety of cartridges. But some guys complain that the first section of the book reads like a LEE catalog. Here are book-buyers’ comments:

At twice the size of my old Speer book, the Lee manual covers everything you need from a reloading reference book. The best part is that it is not produced by a powder or bullet maker so the reloading data focuses on the best performing products.” — G. Basley

The reloading data is AMAZING for exotic loads, but pretty basic for popular loads. Also, Lee goes back and forth between Grains and CCs, which can be distracting at best. [Editor: Why CCs? Answer — Lee sells CC-graduated powder scoops]. The loading data is really the most useful aspect of the book because the charts are straight-forward and the diagrams are easy to read.” — D. Hukill

On the one hand, this reloading manual is a great deal for the money. It’s cheapest out of all the reloading manuals, and yet it doesn’t skimp on any of the load data. On the other hand, the writing style in this manual is not professional… [it needs] a competent editor. Many parts of this reloading manual read like pure advertising copy for Lee products.” — C. Weys

Permalink - Articles, New Product 1 Comment »
November 30th, 2011

New Nikon EDG Spotting Scopes with Vibration Reduction

Nikon has raised the bar in Spotting Scope technology. It has introduced the first-ever spotters with built-in Vibration Reduction. This may be a significant breakthrough. Image stabilization has revolutionized hand-held photography, and it could definitely improve the practical functioning of spotting scopes. If you have ever used a big, heavy spotting scope, you know that it is easy to induce vibration and shaking — merely with a heavy hand on the focus knob. And when the wind blows, a big scope acts like a sail, so it can wobble and vibrate in gusts. Just a small amount of shake or vibration can make it difficult to see your target, slowing down your target acquisition time considerably.

Nikon Vibration Reduction EDGE spotting scope

Nikon’s new 85mm EDG Fieldscopes are the first spotting scopes on the planet with lens-adjusting image stabilization. The EDGs employ a lens-shift type VR (Vibration Reduction) system that counters vibration and shaking. According to Nikon, the EDG VR system greatly reduces external vibrations caused by wind and the operational vibrations occurring during focusing, panning and tilting. Nikon claims its VR system reduces vibration to 1/8th the level of a conventional spotting scope.

HOW IT WORKS — This system uses two independent Angular Velocity sensors to detect pitching (vertical movement) and yawing (horizontal movement). Both sensors then detect diagonal movements. Upon the detection of movement, the sensors provide instructions to the two Voice Coil Motors (VCM) that command and control the Vibration Reduction-optical system to eliminate the shake or blurring. These sensors can detect movement every 1/1000 second. The system can effectively reduce vibrations by roughly 88% (compared to a conventional spotting scope), providing the equivalent of a shutter speed approximately two stops faster.

Nikon Vibration Reduction EDGE spotting scope

So how much does this new VR technology cost? Hold on to your hat — MSRP for the 85mm EDG VRs (either body style) is a shocking $5,499.95! At least that includes eyepiece and protective case. We can only hope that, as this technology matures, it will be implemented at much lower cost. Consider that $200.00 point-and-shoot cameras now offer image stabilization. Given time, we can expect the vibration reduction systems to go down in price, and to become commonplace in premium spotting scopes.

Available in a straight or angled body, the all-new EDG VR Fieldscopes come standard with a 20-60x Zoom Eyepiece, ED (Low-Dispersion) glass, and multi-coated lenses. The 85mm EDGs feature a five-meter close focus distance and waterproof, fogproof construction. Weighing in at just over 84 ounces (w/o batteries), the straight-body EDG is 14.9″ long, while the angled version is 15.7″ long. Nikon’s VR system takes four AA batteries which provide roughly 17 hours of battery life with alkaline batteries and up to 32 hours with lithium. While the VR function can be manually activated, an auto power-off function helps conserve battery life. Seven optional EDG eyepieces are available. Three tripod mount screw holes permit flexible mounting.

Nikon Vibration Reduction EDGE spotting scope

Permalink New Product, News, Optics No Comments »
November 30th, 2011

Dan Wesson Clone Revolvers — Now THAT’s a BB Gun

As a fan of the classic big-frame Dan Wesson revolvers, this editor did a double-take when I saw the latest addition to Pyramyd Air’s line of BB guns. Pyramyd Air now sells four very authentic-looking, metal-framed CO2-powered BB Revolvers, marked “Dan Wesson”, with the distinctive “DW” logo on the grip. These BB-shooting revolvers are offered in four different barrel lengths: 2.5″, 4.0″, 6.0″, and 8.0″. The revolvers are loaded by placing .177 BBs in mock cartridge shells, which fit into the chambers of the swing-out cylinder — just like on a real revolver. Max velocity, for the 6″-barrel version, is 426 fps. These BB guns are handsome and they have the feel and heft of the real thing. The 4″ version weighs 1.94 pounds, while the 6″ version weighs 2.21 pounds.

Dan Wesson BB gun revolver

Dan Wesson BB gun revolver$119.99 — Your Choice of Size and Finish
All four sizes (2.5″, 4″, 6″, 8″) cost just $119.99 each. Take your pick — either silver finish or black (but not all sizes available in both colors). The Dan Wesson BB revolvers come with adjustable rear sights. An owner-installable, Weaver-type scope rail is packaged with each revolver to allow use of Red-Dot scopes or other optics. A speedloader and six “cartridges” (shown above) are also included with each revolver. To see how the CO2 cartridge fits in the gun, check out the Airgun Academy Dan Wesson Review.

Dan Wesson BB gun revolver

If you’re interested in the Dan Wesson BB Revolvers, visit PyramydAir.com or call (888) 262-GUNS (4867). Note, quantities are limited. While you’re shopping at Pyramyd Air, you can use Coupon Code AirgunsNov30-2011 to save 10% on purchases. This Code expires 12/6/2011 and cannot be combined with other offers.

Pyramyd Air Discount code

We expect these guns will be popular for indoor training, and for fun plinking outdoors. We also predict Dan Wesson collectors may snap them up to add to their collection. Unfortunately, you need to purchase a different BB revolver for each barrel length. The real centerfire Dan Wesson revolvers featured a unique interchangeable barrel system with barrels threaded on both ends inside metal shrouds. Buyers could order one frame with multiple barrel/shroud assemblies. Dan Wesson even sold multi-barrel “Pistol Packs” in a fitted metal case. These Pistol Packs, if complete with all barrels and accessories, are highly prized by gun collectors today.

Pyramyd Air Discount code

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 2 Comments »
November 28th, 2011

Remington Opens New Online Store for Gifts and Gear

Remington Arms Company, has opened a new online retail store: Remington Country, USA. The new webstore features an expanded line of exclusive Remington products, art work, gifts, outdoor gear, and shooting accessories. The Remington Country webstore officially opens Monday, November 28, 2011 — just in time for the holiday season. At ShopRemingtonCountry.com you’ll find Remington’s “Deal of the Day”, plus select products, and even links to videos.

Remington Country USA webstore

To learn more about Remington rifles and other products, visit www.remington.com.

Permalink New Product, News No Comments »
November 27th, 2011

Hot Deal: Portable Shooting Bench and Digital Muffs for $179.99

Cabelas.com is offering a good deal for shooters looking for a budget-priced rotating shooting bench. The Caldwell® Stable Table, a 60-lb tripod-style bench, offers a 34″L x 23″W top surface with a bench seat that adjusts from 16″ to 22″ in height. The polymer top has two integrated carry handles. These handles double as anchors for two gun-holding forks that can be used when cleaning your rifle. Leg adjustments keep the table and seat parallel even on uneven ground. The overall unit breaks down into seven pieces using a quick-release pin system. Maximum weight capacity is 350 pounds.

Right now, if you purchase the Caldwell® Stable Table (item IK-230810), Cabelas.com will include a FREE set of electronic ear muffs. Rated at 21db NRR, these electronic muffs filter out gunfire sounds and other loud noises while still letting you hear voices and range commands.amplification of low-level sounds while blocking out harmful noise. There are two volume controls — one for each ear. Six AAA batteries will provide roughly 250 hours of run time. Note: Batteries must be purchased separately.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product No Comments »
November 23rd, 2011

"Soft Target" — New Thriller by Stephen Hunter

Stephen Hunter, creator of the Bob Lee Swagger sniper books, has produced a new action thriller, called Soft Target. This time it’s not Bob “The Nailer” Swagger who’s the center of attention. Instead the hero of Soft Target is Ray Cruz, an ex-Marine sniper introduced in Hunter’s last best-seller, Dead Zero.

Stephen Hunter Ray Cruise Soft TargetThe book’s storyline involves an attack by Somali terrorists at a giant shopping mall in Minnesota (based on the Mall of America). On the day after Thanksgiving (“Black Friday”), 12 Somali gunmen open fire in the Mall, causing panic among the crowds of shoppers. Quickly the gunmen herd more than a thousand hostages into a cluster in the center of the Mall.

Ray Cruz, the USMC sniper gone “rogue” in Dead Zero, is trapped in the mall with his fiancée and her family. Cruz, a retired USMC Gunnery Sergeant (and Bob Lee Swagger’s son), develops a plan to challenge the terrorists and free the hostages. But first he needs to find a weapon….

Outside the Mall, FBI Sniper Dave McElroy has a gun. But, as positioned on the Mall roof, he is effectively cut off from his targets. Can Cruz somehow connect with the police and FBI teams? Taking place over a four-hour span, the story follows both hostages and gunmen, detailing the brutal actions of the terrorists, the crazed media coverage, and the struggle for control between the FBI and regional SWAT teams.

QUICK REVIEW: We got hold of an advance copy of Soft Target. Overall, we like it. This is a well-written page-turner, combining action with deft social commentary. The terrorist attack within our borders is plausible. As a fictional hero, Ray Cruz lacks the hard-edged appeal of Hunter’s Bob Lee Swagger character (who was modeled after Carlos Hathcock). But Cruz is much more believable than the typical “action heros” who populate the military-thriller genre. Soft Target does have its shortcomings. The Harvard-educated, African-American Commandant of the Minnesota State Police (Col. Douglas Obobo) is an all-too-predictable Obama caricature. The Somali bad guys are stereotypical, ignorant Islamics. But, the diabolical young American mastermind of the attack is a fresh, clever creation. And, as you’d expect from Stephen Hunter, the gun/shooting elements of the story are delivered with technical proficiency and authenticity. Suspenseful to the end, the book is an entertaining read, with some clever takes on modern American culture/politics. Hunter’s fans won’t be disappointed. All things considered, we’d say this is one of Hunter’s better novels in recent years.

Soft Target is set for mass release on December 6, 2012. You can pre-order hardbacks and Kindle eBook editions from Amazon.com.

Hardcover:

Kindle Edition:
Soft Target eBook

Stephen Hunter is the author of 17 novels. Prior to his retirement from The Baltimore Sun, he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for his work as the Sun’s chief film critic. Hunter’s previous Bob Lee Swagger and Ray Cruz books have been popular best-sellers.

Permalink New Product, News 1 Comment »
November 21st, 2011

Capture Stills and Video from Spotting Scopes with iPhone Adapter

iscoping MeoPix AdapterHere’s a simple but cleverly-designed product that lets you easily record photos and videos from your range and hunting sessions. The new MeoPix iScoping Adapter will connect an Apple iPhone to your spotting scope (or even some binoculars). Anything you can see through the scope can now be captured by an iPhone. Record your shot locations on a distant target. Or record images of mirage you see through the scope for later analysis. Hunters can capture images of distant prey, and record successful shots.

Adapter Works with Many Brands of Optics
The MeoPix bracket is a universal-type device that was developed to allow the iPhone 4 or 4s models to interface with ANY binocular or spotting scope eyepiece. When fitted to a long-range optic, the MeoPix transforms a smart phone into a handy, long-range photo and movie capturing tool. The Apple-approved MeoPix iScoping adapter attaches securely to the iPhone. Meopta claims the MeoPix bracket ensures precise alignment and excellent image quality.

How good are the images and video taken with an iPhone in the MeoPix adapter? According to Meopta USA GM Reinhard Seipp, “When paired with our premium spotting scopes and binoculars, the MeoPix adapter provides extraordinary close-up photos and movies with clarity and resolution that rival traditional photography.” Seipp even thinks his MeoPix adapter will render traditional camera-based Digiscoping “obsolete”, for those who prefer the convenience of the iPhone and its ability to organize and upload images from the field.

iscoping MeoPix Adapter

The MeoPix iScoping adapter will be formally introduced in January, at the 2012 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. For more information, visit MeoptaSportsOptics.com, or call Meopta USA at (800) 828-8928.

Permalink New Product, Optics 4 Comments »
November 20th, 2011

Weatherby’s New-for-2012 Rifles Unveiled

On its website, Weatherby has released info on dozens of new-for-2012 bolt action rifles. You’ll find new carbine-length as well as full-length models in stainless or black matte finish. Weatherby has released some special youth models for 2012, as well as some new “varmint specials”. There are some new rifle packages which include a Simmons scope and Leupold rings. Available calibers now include .338 Lapua (in the Mark V Accumark series). Among the new Vanguard Series 2 rifles, “Range Certified” models ($1099 MSRP) offer a accuracy guarantee. But frankly, we’re not particularly impressed with Weatherby’s 1-MOA for three shots “Range Certified” guarantee. You can find off-the-shelf Savages and Tikkas that can shoot 1 MOA or better, for a lot less money.

Weatherby 2012 Rifles DBM

For existing Weatherby rifle owners, Weatherby now offers a Detachable Box Magazine (DBM) retro-fit kit. This $89.00 kit combines a 3-round DBM with new plastic floorplate and trigger housing. Weatherby says the DBM Kit saves 1/4 lb. of weight as compared to hinged bottom metal. The DBM system will release mags at the push of a button. This kit is currently available for .25-06 Rem., .270 Win. and .30-06 Springfield Weatherby rifles. It also fits many Howa 1500 actions, including S&W and Mossberg Howa 1500 varients.

Weatherby 2012 Rifles DBM

Permalink New Product No Comments »
November 19th, 2011

Applied Ballistics Now Offers Match-Grade .300 Win Mag Ammo

litz 300 win magnum wm ammoApplied Ballistics LLC, Bryan Litz’s company, has started producing new .300 Winchester Magnum loaded ammunition, supplementing the ultra-accurate .308 Winchester ammo that Applied Ballistics rolled out in 2010. The new .300 Win Mag ammo is featured on Bryan’s new dedicated webpage for ammo sales.

The new .300 Win Mag ammo is loaded with Berger’s LRBT 185gr “Juggernaut” bullet. This high-BC bullet, combined with an impressive 3155 fps muzzle velocity (from 28″ barrel), gives the new Applied Ballistics ammo superior performance compared to other commercial .300 WM ammo offerings. Take a look at the chart below:

litz 300 win magnum wm ammo

Exclusive AccurateShooter.com Offer — Get $5.00 Off Each Box of .300 WM Ammo
To promote the new .300 Win Mag ammo, Bryan is offering a special discount to AccurateShooter.com members. When shopping on Bryan’s Ammo website, if you order .300 Win Mag ammo, use Coupon Code ASDC on check-out. That Code will save purchasers $5.00 per box on any quantity of .300 Win Mag ammo. The Coupon Code, valid through November 30, 2011, is good for one purchase per customer.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 3 Comments »