After our recent post on ammo boxes for benchrest-sized cartridges, Forum Member Dave Berg let us know that MTM Case-Gard has introduced a new series of R-50 Ammo Boxes with mechanical hinges. The new mechanical hinge on the improved MTM R-50 series box allows the box lid to open fully and lay flat, providing unimpeded access to your rounds. This is smart — no longer will shooters have to struggle with a box lid that wants to spring back over your ammo.
For some guys this makes the MTM R-50-series ammo boxes easier to use both on the bench and at the range. Dave notes: “The new and improved MTM RS-S-50… has a real mechanical hinge that just flops the lid back out of the way. The dimensions are virtually identical to the 512. [The RS-S-50 box is] tall enough that long-seated 6mm 108gr bullets will just fit and the walls between the compartments are high enough the empties can’t jump out.” The new MTM R-50 series are made from tough UV-resistant polypropylene that won’t crack. The mechanical hinge is warranteed for 25 years. The MTM CaseGuard R-50 series is offered in eight (8) sizes to fit everything from 17 Hornet all the way up to .375 Rem Ultra-Mag. For .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, and .223 Rem shooters, get the RS-50 box. For 22-250, 22BR, 6PPC, 6mmBR, 30BR, and 7.62×39, you should order the RS-S-50 box, shown below. For other rifle cartridge types, CLICK HERE for Chart showing the right-size MTM box.
Consumer NOTE: Some online vendors still may still have older-inventory MTM R-50 series Ammo Boxes with the older-style lid attachment. The newer, hinged version shares the same product names, for example RS-50 and RS-S-50, so you’ll need to ask for the newer versions when ordering. (NOTE: The two-tone boxes all have the new hinges.) When shopping online, you may see extended product codes, such as “RS50-24″, and “RS50-16T”. The suffixes are box color codes, “-24″ referring to blue, and “-16T” referring to green/black, with “T” for two-tone. The RS-50 series comes in four (4) color options, each with its own suffix.
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Do you have important documents and data on your computer — items such as tax returns, home inventories, and your precious reloading logs? Well, if you haven’t backed up these critical files, you should do so right away. Computer hard drives in your computer can fail at any time — often without warning. If you want to back up your most important data files, you can “burn” them to CD, but that can be somewhat time-consuming, and if you have very large files, they may not fit easily on a conventional CD.
Small, Portable, Affordable USB Flash Drives
One quick and easy form of back-up is to use a flash memory stick. These small USB devices, about the size of a pack of gum, are easy to use and cost less than ever. Just plug the drive into a USB port and copy your files to it (drag and drop or copy and paste). A 4 gigabyte flash drive can be purchased for around $5.00 while an 8-gig drive is less than $7. You can get a full 16 gigs of storage for under $10.00 these days.
Above are some good options from Amazon. We’ve selected SanDisk and Transcend flash drives. We have found both these brands to be very reliable. (We use Transcend Flash Cards in all our digital cameras). One word of caution — be sure to test the integrity of your files after you have copied them to a flash drive. Also store the drives in a cool, safe place, away from powerful electrical sources or magnetic fields. It is a good idea to update your backups every month or so, on a regular schedule.
Disclosure: A small percentage of Amazon sales helps fund our IT support program.
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Berger Bullets just announced the completion of the first-ever Berger Bullets Reloading Manual (1st Ed.). This $29.00, 829-page manual will be available to the public starting in October, 2012. Eric Stecker notes: “Our team worked very hard to create a thorough manual which gives the shooter everything they come to expect from a reloading manual, along with several extra items we hope the shooters will find interesting and useful. We spent a considerable amount of time putting together loads for seventy-one different cartridges. The majority of powders used to develop the loads for each cartridge were selected due to the fact that they result in 90% or higher fill ratio. It is generally believed that powders which have a fill ratio over 90% will perform best in a given case, since the powder will not be moving around as much in the case.”
The new Berger Manual includes many informative technical articles. Noted Editor John Barsness tackles the subject of Lot to Lot Powder Variations with skill and experience. He provides the shooter with a much greater understanding of why loading manuals do not list the same loads from manual to manual, yet are more consistent than shooters might think. Other technical sections written by Ballistician Bryan Litz include: G1 vs. G7 Ballistic Coefficients, Form Factor: A Useful Analysis Tool, and The Effects of Cartridge Overall Length (COAL) and Cartridge Base to Ogive (CBTO).
With new rifle shooters in mind, the manual also spotlights ten different types of rifle-shooting activities, each explained by an expert in that discipline/activity. Among these ten activity-focus segments, Short Range Benchrest is covered by Walt Berger, High Power and Across the Course Competition is explained by Sherri Jo Gallagher, while Nancy Tompkins wrote the Palma, Long Range & Fullbore segment. Precision Hunting is covered by John Burns.
There are several other informational sections that will enhance readers’ understanding of reloading techniques and the shooting sports. This includes everything from Handloading Basics for new and novice shooters, to an article on Statistics for Handloading for more advanced shooters looking to better understand their work processes and thereby improve their results on the target.
Another interesting feature in the Manual is a profile of company founder Walt Berger. This segment, tracking back to 1920s and 1930s, explains how Walt overcame great odds and built a successful enterprise when almost everyone around him was convinced he would fail.
Overall, this book represents a massive amount of work by numerous individuals over many years. Eric Stecker explains: “One of the reasons it took so long to complete this manual is because we wanted to include as much good information as we could provide. It is my opinion that we have succeeded in this effort and I am proud that we are ready to provide a quality loading manual which will help rifle shooters at all levels.”
Collector-Edition Signed Copies Available for Pre-Order
The retail price is $29.00. Berger is accepting pre-orders for the Reloading Manuals, which will begin shipping in October. The first 3,000 manuals have been signed by Walt Berger, Eric Stecker, Bryan Litz and Michelle Gallagher. Bryan Litz tells us: “Walt, Eric, Michelle and I spent many hours last week signing 3,000 copies of the book. We went through many boxes of Sharpies… it was quite the task!” To place an advance book order, call 714-447-5422 or CLICK HERE for Berger’s Online Shopping Cart.
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John Whidden, multi-time NRA Long-Range Champion, runs a stock-building enterprise, Whidden Composite Works. This is a sister operation to Whidden Gunworks, which crafts V-Blocks and other specialized gun components and reloading tools. John Whidden’s stock-making business, the Composite Works, is producing a series of high-quality, V-Block-equipped stocks using state-of-the-art composite construction. The first two stock designs, the models 105 and 140, are general-purpose stocks that will work for everything from Elk hunting to tactical comps. Both models are currently available in multiple color choices: Desert Sand, Forest Green, Flecked Black, Silver, and Custom Mix. Other colors may be offered in the future.
The Whidden Composites model 105 has a familiar hunting rifle profile. The model 140 is designed as a hunting stock incorporating tactical features for shooters who prefer a more vertical strong-hand grip. Both include the Whidden V-Block (in configurations for right-handed short and long actions based on the Rem 700 bolt pattern), three installed sling studs, and a Pachmayr® Decelerator pad.
Model 105 Offers Hunters a Familiar Design with Enhanced Rigidity and V-Block
The Whidden 105, priced at $360.00, is shaped along the lines of a classic North American hunting rifle. But under the skin it is a greatly enhanced platform. Solid-core construction gives a solid feel that is often absent on lesser synthetic/plastic stocks. The V-Block system is integrated, the composites used increase stiffness, and the material is impervious to weather. The V-Block system allows the owner to easily use multiple barreled actions in the same stock.
Model 140 Provides Improved Ergonomics for Prone and Tactical Shooters
The Whidden 140 offers the ergonomic advantages of a vertical grip and raised comb for eye-scope-target (EST) alignment. For many shooters, the vertical grip feels more natural in prone position, and allows a very solid “hard hold” for a heavier-recoiling caliber. The semi-beavertail fore-end will rest solidly on sandbags, while the radiused edges still allow for comfortable grip and carrying. Whidden model 140 stocks are available for $400 in Desert Sand, Forest Green, and Flecked Black.
Model 175 Whidden Stock Design
In addition to the models 105 and 140, John produces a model 175 stock featuring an (optional) adjustable cheekpiece and other enhancements favored by tactical, prone, and F-Class competitors. The basic model 175 stock includes the V-Block, three sling studs, and a Pachmayr® Decelerator pad. Options include Foreend Rail, Adjustable Cheek Piece, and Butt Spacers. Model 175 stocks start at $549.00 plus shipping. For more information on the Whidden models 105, 140, and 175, visit Whidden Composite Works or call (229) 686-1860.
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The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has developed a handy iPhone App to be used for scoring CMP Matches. The CMP’s program for Apple smart phones and iPads is called, appropriately, iPhone App – CMP. This new App’s easy to use interface allows quick recording of a shooter’s score after each string. The CMP App also calculates your shooting percentages automatically throughout the event. In addition, the shooter can enter notes or record wind, temp and other conditions in a notes field.
This application is sponsored and endorsed by the Civilian Marksmanship Program and is now the official mobile App for keeping score at CMP-sponsored shooting events. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the iPhone App – CMP are donated to the CMP. This application is sponsored and endorsed by the Civilian Marksmanship Program and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this software are donated to the CMP.
Sebastian (“Seb”) Lambang of SEB Coaxial is donating the first-of-its-kind production MAX rest as a prize for the IBS 1000-yard Nationals. This is a very generous donation, as the standard MAX front rest will retail for over $1000, and this special prize edition features a special “high-bling” fully polished base. The match directors will determine whether the rest will be awarded to the overall Two-Gun champion or whether, instead, the rest is offered as a door prize, giving all match attendees a chance at winnning.
The SEB MAX rest employs a counter-balancer design with tuned weights on a forward facing shaft. This allows the MAX to work smoothly with guns up to 110 pounds overall. Seb notes: “I will send the rest with a set of counterweights (with various slip-on ‘rings’, to accept gun weights ranging from 40 to 110 pounds). I will also include an ammo-holder set and clock-holder as well.” The complete MAX rest weighs about 44 pounds.
Seb hopes to get feedback on the MAX rest from shooters attending the IBS 1000-yard Nationals: “Any shooters [at the 1K IBS Nationals] can try the rest and I would love to hear how it works and what you think. Or just put your gun on the rest top/front bag, ‘play’ the joystick, adjust the slip-on rings back & forth, use the appropriate ring(s). You will easily determine the correct weight/ring positions once you try the rest. With the correct ‘tuned’ counterweight, the force required to push the joystick upward is the same as the force needed to push downward. And no matter how heavy your gun, with the correct counter-balance weight, the force needed to move the joystick should be the same …effortless.”
The highly-polished prize-model MAX rest in the top photos is a one-of-a-kind, the first to be delivered to North America. Regular production starts soon. Seb tells us: “I will start to build the production MAX rests on first week of September, to be finished around late November-mid Dec 2012. I’m preparing 75 units on this run. About 40 units will be going to the USA, about 20 or more will be going to Australia.” Contact your SEB dealer for pricing and information.
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If you live out in the country, far away from a major safe manufacturer or distributor, you know that shipping fees can significantly increase the complete, installed cost of a large gun safe. Here’s an offer that could save you hundreds of dollars on a large, high-capacity safe.
Now through October 15, 2012, Pendleton Safes (of of Loganville, GA) is offering FREE Shipping on all safe orders shipped to the lower 48 United States. This offer is available on any size safe, and is available directly to the public. For complete details, visit www.pendletonsafes.com, email info [at] pendletonsafes.com, or call 770-466-6181.
About Pendleton Safes
Pendleton Safes is an American manufacture of custom-built gun safes. Pendleton has pioneered some noteworthy design features. Pendleton specializes in cylindrical safes with curved walls. This design resists attacks, and it also allows the safe to be fitted with a permanent carousel-style gun storage system (see photo on right). The carousel provides fast access to your firearms — up to 40 long guns and 54 pistols in the largest Pendleton safes. Pendleton can even equip safes with motor-driven carousels. Built-in LED lighting is also available. We strongly recommend equipping any safe you own with interior lighting.
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Rangemaster Precision Arms (RPA), based in the UK, has released a new round-bodied action that employs the proven engineering of the four-lug RPA Quadlock Action. The new RPA Round Action works just like the original multi-flat Quadlock, but the round body design is more versatile. RPA explains: “By popular demand, we developed and released the new RPA “Round” Quadlock action. After consulting our target user group, it was decided that we should design a Quadlock with the ability to be ‘V-bedded’ into the stock for ease of maintanence and change.” The RPA round action is offered for both standard and magnum cartridges. Price (in the UK) is £864.00, including trigger set to 0.5kg or 1.5kg. That’s $1364.00 USD at current exchange rates. CLICK HERE for more information.
We’ve done some bullet casting in the past, both for handgun bullets, and the large, heavy (400gr+) projectiles used with Black Powder Cartridge Rifles. We can say, unequivocally, that newbies should seek out the assistance of a skilled, experienced mentor, who is familiar with the important safety procedures that must be employed. Working with molten lead can be dangerous. And it also takes some skill to get good results (without visible casting flaws), particularly with very large bullets.
That said, there are valuable resources that can help you get started with the casting process. Wolfe Publishing offers two DVDs that cover the bullet casting process from start to finish. Bullet Casting 101 takes you through the basics: showing you how to choose the correct alloy for your application, prep molds, maintain the optimal temperatures, and lube and size bullets. The important steps are laid out clearly. In addition, Bullet Casting 101 helps you select the right equipment and preferred molds for your particular application. (To create uniform rifle bullets that shoot accurately, you really do need high-quality molds.)
Wolfe Publishing offers a companion DVD, Casting Premium Bullets for Handguns, that covers more advanced techniques for high-volume pistol bullet production. This DVD covers both single cavity molds and multiple-cavity “gang” molds. (Gang molds can be frustrating at first; it is harder to maintain perfect temp control and mold separation is more complex). The DVD also reveals the sources of most common casting flaws, and explains how to detect cracks, voids and other problems.
You’ll save considerable time and effort if you really understand how to avoid common mistakes before you start pouring lead. And you’ll get the best results if you learn how to “blend” the optimal alloy for the job. Maintaining the right mold temperature is also critical for good results. These topics and more are covered in these two DVDs, priced at $16.99 each from Sinclair International.
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A unique, comprehensive Cartridge Comparison Guide is now available as both a spiral-bound book and as an online database. The Cartridge Comparision Guide is the product of many years of labor by Andrew Chamberlain, a Utah-based hunter. Andrew says his Guide “compares every factory available cartridge from the 17 calibers up to the 50 caliber cartridges”. (Sorry, most wildcat cartridges are not covered.) Chamberlain’s Guide also compiles cartridge data from major ammunition manufacturers such as Barnes, Federal, Hornady, Norma, Nosler, Remington, Sierra, Swift, Weatherby, and Winchester. It shows the optimal velocity achieved for each bullet weight and calculates bullet energy, recoil, and powder efficiency.
Both print and web versions of the Cartridge Comparison Guide provide data for thousands of cartridge/bullet/velocity combos. Charts provide cartridge ballistics including downrange energy. The Cartridge Comparison Guide offers a firearms lexicon, plus Appendices covering Cartridge Selection for Game Animals, Bullet Selection/Design, Bullet Expansion, Wound Channel Characteristics and more.
Book Costs $24.99 — Online Access is $10.00 with FREE Trial
The Cartridge Comparison Guide book version costs $23.99 plus shipping and tax. Accessing the web-based version requires a $10.00 subscription, but Chamberlain offers a 2-Day free online trial membership. A portion of the proceeds of book purchases go to support Paralyzed Veterans of America. CLICK HERE to order the book, subscribe to the online service, or sign up for the free trial.
Great Resource for Hunters
One of Chamberlain’s main goals in creating the Cartridge Comparison Guide was to help hunters select the “right cartridge for the job.” According to Chamberlain: “This started as a personal project to gather information on the more popular cartridges commonly used for hunting. I began comparing cartridge performance, versatility, bullet selection, powder efficiency, recoil generation vs. energy produced, standing ballistic data for different environments, etc.” Chamberlain adds: “I wanted to find the best all-around performing cartridge and rifle that a guy on a budget could shoot.”
Giant Cartridge Poster for Computer Wallpaper (1665×1080 pixels)
Here’s a great illustration of hundreds of cartridges and shotshell types. For dedicated reloaders, this would work great as desktop “wallpaper” for your computer. CLICK HERE for full-size image.
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Bullet Proof Samples now offers 12-count packs of big-name bullets. This lets you try out many different bullet types without forking out big bucks for larger 50-ct or 100-ct boxes. Currently, Bullet Proof Samples offers projectiles from Barnes, Berger Bullets, and Nosler. The sample packs range in price from $5.49 (for 22-cal varmint bullets) to $15.99 (for a .30-Cal Barnes LRX). The Berger Bullets sample packs run $6.49 to $10.49, with the larger 7mm and 30-cal bullets at the upper end of the range. On a per-bullet cost basis, it’s still much cheaper to purchase a “normal” 100-ct box, but the sample packs let you “test before you invest.”
Berger’s Michelle Gallagher tells us: “We receive frequent feedback from shooters who are looking for bullets in small pack quantities so that they can test different bullets without the expense of buying full boxes. We’re pleased to be associated with the launch of Bullet Proof Samples. This is a new company who has done an exceptional job of addressing that concern. Bullets are packaged in blister packs, so they can be clearly seen. Each pack contains 12 bullets. They will be offering Nosler, Barnes and Berger in a variety of weights and calibers.
This effort will be featured in an upcoming issue of American Rifleman and will launch officially this week. Bullet Proof Samples is not a Berger Bullets LLC company, but we are supportive of their efforts and believe that they will be addressing a need in the shooting community that is presently unavailable.”
Story idea by EdLongrange.
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When Hornady (and CCI) developed the 17 HMR cartridge, they really hit a homerun. And the rifle manufacturers quickly marketed some nice rifles to chamber this 17-cal rimfire round. But unlike .22 LR rifles which, typically, require very little cleaning, 17 HMRs demand frequent bore cleaning to maintain good accuracy. That’s because 17 HMRs shoot copper-jacketed bullets at 2550 fps velocities.
17-Cal Bore Guides — The Challenge
The problem is, it’s hard to find a well-designed, quality bore guide for 17-caliber rimfire rifles. With many 17 HMR (and 17 Mach 2) rifles, you encounter mechanical interference when you try to use a standard bore guide to protect the delicate chamber edge and the bottle neck area of the chamber. A fixed ejector is in the way. On many 17 HMR rifles, this little “shark fin” ejector is right in line with the chamber and is fixed — it doesn’t retract. Therefore the kind of bore guide you might use for centerfire rifles won’t work in 17 HMRs — it will hang up on the ejector.
Polymer bore guides exist for this type of action, but they are typically open-bottom designs that do not enter and seal the chamber. These open-bottom designs don’t protect the delicate chamber edge or the bottleneck area of the chamber, and they also allow some seepage of solvents out of the chamber. That’s why Roy Bertalotto created his RVB Precision Bore Guide for 17 HMR rifles. The 7075 aluminum tube on his Bore Guide is thin enough to pass by the ejector, yet it is extremely rigid. (Photos below.)
Roy explains: “My bore guide is made of 7075 anodized aluminum tubing, which is totally unaffected by any type of cleaning solution. One end is swagged down to fit completely into the chamber of a 17 HMR rifle. This guides your cleaning rod perfectly to the bore without touching the chamber walls or front edge of the chamber. The tight fit of the bore guide in the chamber also stops cleaning solvents from getting into the action, magazine, and trigger housing.” (Editor: Solvent seepage can do damage. We had a 17 Mach 2 rifle that rusted internally because solvents leaked past an open-bottom bore guide.)
Using the RVB 17 HMR Guide – Once the bore guide is in place, slide the supplied aluminum bushing over the tube, and gently push the bushing into the rear of the action. This centers the guide rod in the action to keep the guide rod tube aligned. Once the guide rod and bushing are in place, you can use a 17-caliber cleaning rod* with patches and/or brushes to clean the barrel. Use the rod normally, but make sure your patches are quite small and don’t apply too much pressure as these small-diameter rods can kink if you try to force over-size patches down the bore.
The RVB Precision 17 HMR Bore Guide costs $19.95 plus $5.00 shipping. To order, email Roy Bertalotto via rvb100 [at] comcast.net. Roy will then send you shipping/payment details.
* NOTE: You really do need a dedicated .17-cal cleaning rod for this job. Most other rods are too fat to pass through the barrel. Dewey Mfg. makes a decent 17-caliber cleaning rod that is reasonably stiff and doesn’t kink too readily. It is available sizes from 7″ to 36″, either bare stainless or with a nylon coating. We prefer the nylon-coated version, in either 26″ or 36″ lengths, depending on barrel length.
If you have a high comb on your rifle, you may need extra length to avoid interference with the rod handle. Use this formula to determine correct rod length: Length of barrel + action or breech rod guide length + 2-3″ clearance + high comb if applicable = total rod length needed.
There are other quality 17-cal cleaning rods, but we’ve used the Dewey and it functioned well. The nylon coating cleaned easily and was gentle on the throat and crown. You should clean the coating before and after each use to ensure it does not embed grit or other contaminants.
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