If you’ve been to SHOT Show at the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, you know that navigating the vast multi-level hall can be challenging to say the least. The lower-level booths are packed tightly together, and the numbering system in the upper halls is confusing. To make the SHOT experience less frustrating, we suggest planning ahead with the Online Show Planner. This provides searchable floor layouts with booth names and numbers. You can search for your favorite companies, then “connect the dots” to move efficiently from one location to another.
Begin mapping out your SHOT Show visit on the main Show Planner Page on your browser. This allows you to search exhibitors by company names and to create a personalized list of booths you want to visit (you must set up an account to save search results). There is even an integrated event calendar that helps you keep track of meetings, demos, and special appearances.
You can also move directly to the SHOT Show Floorplan and search for booth locations. This can help you visualized the placements of exhibits on different levels. Note locations of stairwells and escalators so you won’t have to cross an entire floor just to change levels. We suggest keeping a note pad as you jot down booth numbers. Then plot an “itinerary” one level at a time. We generally start on the ground floor and work upwards. That’s because many of the smaller, precision-focused companies traditionally exhibit on the ground floor. You’ll find the mega-sized booths for Leupold, Mossberg, Smith & Wesson etc. on the upper floors.
One last tip — some of the most accurate match and hunting rifles will be found in the clustered “co-op” booths for particular European countries. The interactive Show Planner may not necessarily list ALL the individual exhibitors from a particular nation. So if you’re looking for a small company from a particular region (e.g. Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland), you can often navigate to the host country’s central “encampment” and find what you seek.
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Here’s a notable product for the truly hard-core gun guys out there. Bushnell Outdoor Products markets an Air Freshener with the classic scent of Hoppe’s No. 9 bore-cleaner. Brett and Kate McKay, authors of the book “The Art of Manliness” list Hoppe’s No. 9 as one of the top 15 manly smells. We kid you not…
Bushnell’s product Press Release declared: “In 1903, when Frank Hoppe developed a mix of 9 different ingredients to create the original Hoppe’s No. 9 gun solvent, he had no idea that history was being made. Over the last 107 years the smell of Hoppe’s No. 9 has evoked fond memories of fathers, grandfathers, memorable hunts and great days in the field.
In response to consumer requests, Hoppe’s now has an air freshener with the unique No. 9 smell. The freshener has a string for hanging it in your gun room, car, garage, or anywhere you want the nostalgic smell of Hoppe’s No. 9. The Hoppe’s No. 9 Air Freshener will be available at your favorite sporting goods and/or hunting store and will sell for a suggested retail price of $3.99.”
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New Nosler Competition Bullets in 6.5mm, 7mm, and .308
For 2012, Nosler® is adding three (3) new projectile designs to its Custom Competition™ line of bullets: 6.5mm – 123gr, 7mm – 168gr and .308 – 140gr bullets. All three new bullet types will be offered in both 100- and 250-count boxes.
Nosler® has blended the accuracy of its Custom Competition™ bullet jackets with its own ultra-precise lead-alloy cores to create a match bullet design that should rival other premium bullets. These new Custom Comp bullets have a very small meplat for increased aerodynamic efficiency and a long boat tail for good BC and reduced drag.
Nosler Match Grade™ Ammunition
Nosler offer some new varieties of match ammo for 2012, and Nosler has re-packaged its Match Grade™ ammunition for 2012. All Nosler® Match Grade™ ammunition will now be sold in a black box. Here are the new-for-2012 cartridge/bullet combinations:
.223 Rem Match 60gr Ballistic Tip®
.223 Rem Match 69gr Custom Comp
.223 Rem Match 77gr Custom Comp
.308 Win Match 155gr Custom Comp
.308 Win Match 175gr Custom Comp
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Realtree offers an iPhone application (“App”) designed for hunters that displays up-to-date radar images, current conditions, wind speed and direction on an interactive Google map. The Realtree Weather App for iPhone is now available on the iTunes store for $3.99.
Realtree Weather automatically detects users’ current locations with a blue pin. Browsers can also simply type in the name of a location of interest and the application drops a pin on the map, marking that location and providing current weather conditions, temperatures, forecasts and highs and lows.
The iMap-enabled Realtree Weather application, developed by weather leader Weather Decision Technologies, Inc., (WDT) detects the user’s location and provides local radar data, as well as current conditions, a 7-day forecast, humidity, wind direction and dew-point data. The Realtree application delivers severe weather information, including the latest US radar, IR satellite and lightning strikes. The Realtree App also provides direct access to national conservation and hunting news.
Radar Weather Data Updated every Five Minutes
Using the “pinch zoom” method to zoom in and out of the map, users can access detailed radar information, all the way down to street level. The radar can animate a continuous loop, allowing hunters to better predict storm paths. The radar data is updated every five minutes.
“Weather is a high priority for any hunter or outdoor sportsman,” said Mike Gauthier, vice president of sales for WDT. “With Realtree’s mobile application, we are bringing the most powerful, innovative and accurate weather, radar and satellite data available in the United States, transforming any iPhone into a reliable decision-making tool for the nation’s 23 million hunters.”
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Bushnell Outdoor Products has expanded its “Bulletproof Guarantee” to include several lines of binoculars, riflescopes and spotting scopes and its entire line of hunting laser rangefinders. This now provides a “no-risk”, one-year, money-back guarantee for these Bushnell products.
Originally introduced with the Legend Ultra HD binocular product line in 2011, Bushnell’s “Bulletproof Guarantee” provides that if customers were not completely satisfied with the product, the company would buy it back, no questions asked, for up to one year from the original date of purchase.
For 2012, Bushnell’s Bulletproof Guarantee now covers the Elite, Excursion EX, Legacy WP, Legend Ultra HD and Trophy XLT families of binoculars; Elite, Legend Ultra HD and Trophy XLT families of riflescopes and spotting scopes; and all hunting laser rangefinders.
Additional Limited Lifetime Warranty on Many Products
In addition to the “Bulletproof Guarantee”, the majority of Bushnell sports optics products are covered by a Limited Lifetime Warranty. Bushnell guarantees those products to be free of defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the original owner. Exceptions to this Limited Lifetime Warranty, mostly electronic products and red-dot type optics, are listed on the Bushnell Warranty Page.
To learn more about Bushnell Outdoor Products and its complete line of sports optics and outdoor technology, visit www.Bushnell.com or call 1-800-423-3537.
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Magnum Research has released a new semi-auto .22LR rifle, the MLR22AT, that should be good for plinking, walk-around varminting, and rimfire gun games. MSRP for the MLR22AT will be $562. The rifles will start shipping in spring 2012.
The MLR22AT features a .22LR Benz target chamber optimized for semi-automatics. The black anodized receiver is CNC-machined from a 6061-T6 aluminum forging. The MLR22AT has an approximate weight of 4 ¼ lbs, barrel length of 17 inches, and OAL of 35.5 inches. This rifle utilizes the 10/22 trigger group and Ruger 10/22 rotary magazines — that means you have a wide choice of aftermarket upgrades.
The MLR22AT features a lightweight, ambidextrous thumbhole tupperware (polypropylene) stock. The stock material incorporates fiber stiffeners, but we still bet this stock is too flexy. Magnum Research claims the comb is high enough to shoot with optics. We just wish the fore-end was stiffer and came with a sling swivel stud for mounting a Harris bipod. Then this compact rifle would be good for rimfire tactical matches as well.
Graphite-Sleeved Barrel is Light, Stiff, and Runs Cool
The most trick feature on this rifle is the graphite-sleeved bull barrel, a Magnum Research exclusive. The barrel’s patented uni-directional graphite fibers, parallel to the bore axis, produce a lightweight barrel with exceptional stiffness. (Magnum Research claims the barrel has six times the stiffness of steel.) The graphite construction definitely saves weight — this barrel tips the scales at just 13-16 ounces, depending on barrel length. Magnum Research also claims the composite barrel dissipates heat up to 43% faster than steel. Sounds good, but heat isn’t as much of an issue with rimfire barrels, as compared to centerfire tubes.
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Ruger is introducing a new USA-made bolt action rifle, the Ruger American Rifle (“RAR”). By external appearances, it looks like a Tikka T3 with a Savage Accutrigger. It even has a barrel nut just like a Savage! With a polymer-type synthetic stock, the RAR is light-weight — just 6.25 lbs. with a free-floated, hammer-forged 22-inch barrel (no optics). The RAR will be very affordable — MSRP is just $449.00. Obviously, Ruger hopes to compete with the Savage and Stevens lines of hunting rifles.
Three-Lug bolt, Barrel Nut, and Rotary Magazine
The RAR has some interesting design features. The bolt has three lugs (like a SAKO) with a 70° bolt lift. The action features a full-diameter bolt body and dual cocking cams for easy cycling (watch video below). And yes the RAR uses a barrel nut (like Savage) to secure the barrel to the action (and set headspace). Notably, the RAR comes standard with a rotary 4-round detachable magazine. The receiver comes drilled and tapped from the factory, and scope bases are supplied (but not pre-installed).
Built-in V-Blocks and Adjustable “Lawyer Trigger”
One notable feature of the RAR is a built-in bedding system with twin V-blocks. Ruger’s new patent-pending Power Bedding™ system employs stainless-steel bedding blocks fitted into the stock to positively locate the receiver. You’ll also notice that Ruger has adopted a new Savage-style trigger with a blocking tab on the trigger shoe. This new “Marksman Adjustable Trigger” is user-adjustable between three and five pounds. A tang safety, which can be placed “on safe” while the bolt is cycled, is complemented by a passive, trigger-mounted safety (similar to Savage’s Accutrigger).
It appears that, like the Tikka T3, the RAR has a single action length, designed to handle both medium- and long-length cartridges. Chamberings available initially are: .243 Win (1:9″ tw); .308 Win (1:10″ tw); .270 Win (1:10″ tw); 30-06 Springfield (1:10″ tw). Capacity is four rounds for all chamberings.
In this video, Ruger President/CEO Mike Fifer previews the new Ruger American Rifle…
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Manners Composite Stocks has released a new series of folding tactical stocks, the MCS-TF (Tactical Folder) series. There are four TF versions: TF1 through TF4. These offer different fore-end and buttstock options, but share the same folding mechanism and hardware.
Tom Manners explains the new folding design: “The goal of this project was to create a lightweight, super strong folder stock, with a rock-solid hinge lock-up. We feel that we have got pretty close to that. The weights of the completed stocks are running from 4.5 to 4.8 pounds. If you run a mini chassis this will bring them up to about 4.9 to 5.3 pounds.”
Much work went in to the hinge design, which has been in development for more than a year: “We have created a simpler, lighter weight hinge, with … rock solid lock-up. The hinge is a combination of high strength chrome-moly steel and aluminum, which has been parkerized or hardcoated. It is manufactured by Badger Ordnance exclusively for us. The hinge itself is molded and cast into the stock shell. This means the shell wraps around the hinge, with no screws or attachment systems to become loose. The hinge design itself is very simple and basic; once closed, the back portion of the hinge wraps around and locks-up the front portion of the hinge to create a very solid system. To open [the hinge] all that is needed is a push on the checkered button on the left side of the stock.”
The Manners TF Series also locks back in the folded position, using a positive-locking steel pin. Tom explains: “In the butt, there is a push button on the right side behind the cheek, when it is depressed; it extends the locking mechanism out the left side of the stock. It is just a simple push of the button to close the system. Once closed, the button sits about .250” below the surface of the stock so that it can not be accidentally depressed. To open all you need to do is give it another push.”
Stock Specs and Options
All Manners TF-Series stocks will come standard with an adjustable cheek, full inlet, 1” Pachmayer Decelerator pad, and action pillars. These stocks will be offered with molded-in camo finishes or molded-in solid colors, with a textured surface in key areas. Available inlets include: All Rem-based actions, Winchester Model 70, Savage (and a few others — check website for details). These new TF series stocks will be on display at SHOT Show 2012 in Las Vegas. For more info, visit MannersStocks.com or call Tom Manners at (816) 283-3334.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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New from Howa, is the Howa Actuator Controlled Trigger (HACT). This two-stage-style trigger system lightens the trigger pull weight, and reduces the amount of trigger creep. HACT trigger units will fit all Howa M-1500 rifles that were previously equipped with a three-position safety. The HACT trigger assembly is a completely redesigned trigger and sear unit with a lighter, two-stage-style trigger pull. HACT pull-weight range is 2.5 to 3.8 pounds; the factory default setting is 3 pounds.
Writing for the Western Outdoor News, WONews.com, Steve Comus has field-tested the new HACT Trigger. Steve writes: “I always liked two-stage triggers, because of the way I could take-up the slack and then actually know when the rifle was going to go off. The take-up on the [HACT] trigger was fast and easy. The crisp, positive release when pressure was put on during the second stage [reminded me] of some of the target rifles I shot through the years.”
HACT Retrofit Kit Coming in Mid-2012
The HACT trigger will eventually be available as a retrofit for existing Howa 1500 and Weatherby Vanguard Rifles. According to Legacy Sports Int’l Marketing VP Andy McCormick, the retrofit kits “should cost under $100.00 MSRP and should fit all Howa and Weatherby Vanguard short-action rifle with the current three-position safety… and that includes most of these rifles sold in the last 5 or 6 years”. Trigger Kits will be packaged with instructions. McCormick expects much interest in the HACT retrofit kit: “It’s a great two-stage trigger. I would say the HACT trigger kit will be available as a single accessory item by mid-summer 2012. Stay tuned to LegacySports.com for updates.”
Howa Detachable Magazine Kit, Just $98.00 Complete
The recently-introduced Detachable Box Magazine (DBM) Conversion Kit for Howa and Weatherby Vanguard rifles has proven extremely popular. This $98.00 kit includes new plastic floorplate and trigger housing plus either a 5-round or 10-round polymer magazine (as the customer prefers). The DBM Kit saves 1/4 lb. of weight as compared to hinged bottom metal. Made for target shooters and varmint hunters, these POLYMER BODY magazines allow you to turn your 4-round box magazine into a high-capacity DBM system. Conversion kits are currently available for .204, .223, 22-250, .243, 7mm-08, and .308 Win short action Howa rifles. These kits will also fit most late-model, short action Weatherby Vanguard Rifles.
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You may not know it, but Whidden Composites, run by two-time National Long-Range Champion John Whidden, produces a nice series of hunting, F-TR, match, tactical, and general purpose gunstocks. These high-grade stocks all feature advanced composite construction, Whidden Gunwork’s signature V-blocks, three installed sling swivels, and a Pachmayr® Decelerator pad. Epoxy construction ensures that these stocks are stiff AND light. John explains: “All of our stocks are crafted with epoxy from core to finish. The core is an expanded epoxy blended to a density that perfectly balances weight, strength, and rigidity. The outer shell is an epoxy coating that is incredibly durable — but light enough to carry all day. The textured epoxy external coating forms a handsome, tactile finish that is great to hold.”
Built-in V-Block Standard, with Many Options Available
The latest stock design from Whidden Composite Works is the model 175 Tactical/F-TR stock. This unit offers a long, rigid fore-end, with a straight comb and straight buttstock toe. This makes it very well-suited for prone shooting with a rear sand-bag and front bipod. The design is ambidextrous so it can be used by either right- or left-handed shooters (with appropriate inlet). Five color choices are offered: black, silver, reddish brown, tan, and green. Base price, inletted for Rem 700 long- or short-action, is a reasonable $549.00 — remember that includes deluxe buttpad and the versatile V-block which allows one stock to be used with multiple barreled actions.
For the model 175, Whidden offers a number of options: $100 Fore-end Rail, $125 Adjustable Cheek piece, $135 Rear Monopod, and $75 Picatinny Bipod Rail. The sling attachments can also be flush-mounted for $10.00 per slot. For just $30.00 over the base price, Southpaws can order a left-hand version of the model 175 stock. Whidden Composites can also inlet for detachable bottom metal and for non-Rem actions (Tikka, Winchester, Sako, etc.), but it does cost more for these non-standard inlets.
Product Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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How would you like to be able to shoot a rimfire rifle or pistol that only makes 25% as much noise as a standard .22 LR gun? And no, we’re not talking about a suppressor-equipped firearm. CCI claims that its new Quiet-22 rimfire ammo “generates one-quarter the perceived noise level of standard velocity .22 LR rounds.” So this stuff is very quiet indeed, and it’s also affordable — a 50-round box sells for under $4.00 at major online vendors.
CCI’S 710 fps Quiet-22 Ammo only produces 68 Decibels (dB) of sound at the shooter’s ear (compared to 132-139 dB for a standard .22LR). How do we put that in perspective? Consider this: 68-70 dB is the noise level inside a typical family sedan cruising at 70 mph. For additional comparisons, a typical alarm clock ringer produces 80 dB of noise, while a hair dryer can deliver 90 dB. The sound levels at rock concerts can top 115 dB, and a chain saw can hit 125 dB.
To achieve its low sound levels, CCI’s Quiet-22 ammo sacrifices both speed and energy. Rated velocity is just 710 fps, and the 40gr LRN bullet only has about 36 ft-lbs of energy at 100 yards. So this ammo may not be a great choice for varminting, except for very small prey. On the other hand the ammo could be ideal for short-range plinking and fun shooting. For paper punching, CCI notes that Quiet-22 ammo offers better performance than an air rifle with similar noise levels. CCI’s Quiet-22 Ammo may also be perfect for areas where shooting is allowed, but noise pollution is a concern.
Do You Need To Wear Muffs?
CCI says you can shoot this ammo without hearing protection. The 68 dB report of this ammo is well below the 85 dB(A) noise level at which OSHA requires hearing protection in the workplace. However, remember that, when you’re at a range with other shooters, you must shield your ears from the noise produced by other firearms. So even if you use Quiet-22 ammo, you’ll need muffs/plugs if other shooters nearby are using conventional rimfire and centerfire ammo.
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Rade Tecnologías SL, through its USA subsidiary Radetec, has developed a fired-shot counting system for pistols and long guns that offers immediate benefits for soldiers and LEO personnel. Down the road, we envision how an automatic shot-counting system could benefit Multi-Gun and High Power competitors. Firing one shot too few in a course of fire can lose a match, and firing one too many can have the same result — or worse yet, a DSQ.
Two Display Options for Pistols
Radetec’s SpeedShot shot-count system employs a sensor in a special, dedicated magazine which outputs to either a digital or LED light display. Both the numeric display and color-changing LED light indicate rounds left in the magazine. For pistols, Radetec will market custom grips which incorporate the shot-counter display modules. Currently, Radetec systems are available for Beretta, Glock, Smith & Wesson M & P, and 1911-platform pistols. The digital-numeric display on these grips indicates the actual number of rounds left in the magazine. The total number of rounds fired can also be accessed.
The SpeedShot counting system is powered by a 5-year lithium battery. Pistol systems feature special Radetec grips with embedded electronics for each make/model of firearm, one magazine, and a user’s manual. MSRP is $160 for either the digital-numeric model or the LED display version.
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For 2012, Pierce Engineering Ltd. plans to offer Titanium (Ti) versions of its popular Remington-footprint custom actions. Just 42% the weight of steel, Titanium is light yet very strong, with a strength to weight ratio of 1.5+. By producing action bodies from Titanium, Pierce Engineering is able to shave eight ounces (8 oz.) off the weight of a long action (compared to 4140 steel). What’s more, Pierce is now working on Titanium internals and Titanium bolt handles. This could bring the total weight savings to nearly one pound (16 ounces).
John Pierce tells us: “To add to weight reduction we will offer a Titanium recoil lug and install a Titanium handle to the bolt, and possibly a lightened firing pin assembly. I really want to get close to a one-pound reduction overall.”
The new Pierce Titanium actions were inspired by customer requests. One domestic customer wanted an ultra-light action for a sheep rifle, while an Aussie buyer requested a Ti XP action for a silhouette pistol build. John Pierce reports: “After many requests and having a bar of Titanium lying on the shelf for more than three years, [I decided] well ‘Why not have a go?'”
Price and Ordering Info
What will the new Titanium actions cost? Expect to pay an extra $350.00 or so above the cost of Pierce’s stainless and chrome-moly actions. John Pierce explains: “Titanium does cost a lot more and Titanium offers challenges in machining and special tooling. We are estimating that a Ti action will sell in the range of $350.00 more than the steel counterpart.” For more info, visit PierceEngineeringLtd.com, email jpierceltd [at] tds.net or call (517) 321-5051. You can also write to the address below:
Here’s a sneak preview of the new March FX 5-40x56mm tactical scope from Kelbly.com. This FFP scope features a 34mm main tube, side focus adjustment (10 yards to infinity), and 24 milrads elevation travel (about 94 inches at 100m), with 0.05-milrad click values. The March FX will be offered in both a non-illuminated basic version (weight: 860gm or 30.3 oz.), and a higher-priced illuminated version (weight: 890gm or 31.4 oz.), with four brightness levels. So how much will these babies cost? MSRP for new March FX has not yet been announced, but we expect to get pricing info at SHOT Show in January.
First Focal Plane Reticle and Huge Magnification Range
Yes the FX features a First Focal Plane (FFP) milrad-type Reticle. This means that the ranging stadia (hash marks) remain constant relative to the target at all magnifications. So, you can range your targets using the milrad system at any power settings. That’s a big deal for tactical shooters. This new FX scope also offers an 8 times power range — the highest magnification ratio in any FFP rifle scope made to date. Is that valuable? Our tactical shooting buddies say yes.
On some tactical courses of fire, you can definitely use the full 40X magnification on precision targets at 800-1000m. However, for target spotting and close-range multiple target courses of fire, the 5X magnification, with its wide field of view, definitely comes in handy. AccurateShooter.com’s “Master Fabricator” Mark LaFevers currently uses a 12-42X Nightforce NXS in tactical matches. He likes the Nightforce but he tells us that: “The NXS I’m using with its minimum 12X does not open up enough for some of the close, multiple-target stations.” Overall, Mark was very intrigued by the new March FX: “I like the March’s 34mm tube and first focal plane design which allows ranging at all magnifications. Depending on the price, this scope would be a contender for the kinds of unknown distance, tactical competitions I’ve been doing. For benchrest, on the other hand, you really need a more finely-graded MOA-based adjustment system, in my opinion.”
Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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21st Century Shooting’s all-new Concentricity Gauge looks like a winner. The cartridge case rides on four spinning rollers that allow smooth turning movement with low drag. These rollers are far superior to a set of V-Block supports, or even some ball-type supports.
The amount of eccentricity (run-out) is measured with a high-quality horizontal dial test indicator. In this application, a horizontal indicator works better than the typical vertical dial indicator with spring-loaded shaft used in most other concentricity gauges. We think that, with 21st Century’s new Concentricity Gauge, you can measure cases faster, with less effort, and greater repeatability. In addition, this device can measure the INSIDE of the case neck, not just the OUTSIDE.
Overall, this is a very impressive new tool that is unquestionably superior to many other Concentricity Gauges on the market. Given the capabilities of this device, the price is reasonable: $169.00 including Horizontal Indicator. The Gauge by itself costs $125.00, while the Indicator alone sells for $59.00.
Click Photos below to view larger Images
Why the New 21st Century Concentricity Gauge Works So Well
21st Century explains the advantages of its new design: “At 21st Century Shooting, our goal to modernize an industry that has seen little change over the years. The new concentricity gauge is a perfect example. Most conventional concentricity gauges use what is called a height indicator gauge (Dial Indicator with vertical shaft). Although economical, this type of gauge was not intended for the purpose of measuring rotating diameters. The vertical-style indicator can produce inaccuracies due to indicator rod flex and bounce.
Our new Concentricity Gauge uses a horizontal dial test indicator. This type of gauge was designed specifically for checking rotating diameters and in fact is exactly the type of gauge used in the machining industry for decades to measure run out — the very thing that we as hand loaders are striving to minimize or eliminate.
Additionally, our new gauge uses Stainless Steel turning rollers as opposed to fixed bearings or V-block style case supports. You will especially appreciate the roller supports that glide on linear guide-ways. Plus, with a simple push of a button you can adjust the case support base width. No tools are needed to move the base on the built-in guide-ways.”
Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Planning 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.
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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Following 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™
6mm .243 58gr Z-MAX™
7.62 Cal .310 123gr Z-MAX™
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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.
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.
17 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.”
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.”
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If 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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