March 14th, 2012

Ultimate Ballistic Bling — Silver Bullet Cufflinks from Sweden

Long Ranger Silver BulletForum member Marcus Åström from Sweden has come up with a perfect luxury item for style-conscious shooters: bullet-shaped silver cufflinks. Just the thing to impress the guys at your next range session (or corporate board meeting). Who wouldn’t like silver bullets on their cuffs? Silver bullets did the job for the Lone Ranger didn’t they?

Cast from a mold taken from your sample bullet, the silver bullet cufflinks can exactly replicate your favorite projectile, right down to the ballistic tip. For considerably less money, the Swedish jeweler can create a set of cufflinks from an all-copper bullet you supply. A silver T-bar is attached, giving you a two-tone cufflink (see lower photo).

Silver Cufflinks

Silver CufflinksMarcus reports: “Check out these amazing cufflinks I have had made by Sofia Winberg, a jewelery smith in Stockholm. The silver links in the photo above are based on a Hornady 7mm Interbond 139gr bullet. I choose this bullet since it was the one with which I shot my first deer. Here’s how these are made. When Sophia receives your sample bullet, she makes a mold from it and then casts the silver bullet body. If the bullet has a tip, she attaches a small silver cap and shapes it to match the original tip. She can also make links from copper bullets or finish the metal so the bullet-cufflinks appear moly-coated. Sophia can also make cufflinks from cartridge cases. She replaces the primer with one in silver, with or without the firing pin mark.”

Price depends on the design and material options selected by the customer:

  • Silver Bullet Cufflinks, with or without silver tip, molded from bullet sample: $475 USD
  • Copper Bullet Cufflinks, with silver tip, molded from tipped bullet sample: $350 USD
  • Copper Bullet Cufflinks molded from Hollow-point or FMJ bullet sample: $300 USD
  • Solid Copper Bullet Cufflinks, no molding, with silver T-Bar attached: $140 USD
  • Cartridge Case Cufflinks: $350 USD
  • Special materials, jewels, etc.: Request Pricing

Turn-around is roughly four (4) weeks from the time when Sofia (the jeweler) receives the bullet. No payment in advance is needed — the customer gets to approve the product via pictures before making payment. Once payment is received, the item ships. If you are interested, contact: Sofia Winberg Jewellery Design, sofia [at] sofiawinberg.com .

Permalink New Product, News No Comments »
March 13th, 2012

New Leica CRF 1600-B Shows Hold-Overs and Elevation Clicks

Leica just introduced its latest pocket-sized laser rangefinder, the CRF 1600-B Rangemaster. This unit features built-in angle compensation plus a ballistics solver that can give you either hold-over (in inches or cm) or clicks (from your zero) to put the shot on target at the ranged distance. At the heart of the CRF 1600-B is Leica’s Advanced Ballistic Compensation(ABC™) system, a precision integrated ballistics calculator that combines stored data with analysis of current ballistics parameters. To calculate projectile trajectory, the ABC™ system processes multiple ballistics variables, including measured distance, angle of incline, temperature, and absolute air pressure. The new 1600-B should be available in June, 2012. The “street price” should be the same as the current CRF 1600, $799.00.

Leica 1600-B Rangemaster

There’s a lot of marketing mumbo-jumbo in the product release info, but what you need to know is that the new CRF 1600-B offers three important functions, in addition to ranging distance to target. These functions are: Angle Compensation, Display of Hold-Over, and Click-Value Display.

Leica 1600-B Rangemaster1. Built-in Angle Compensation
If you are taking an angled shot (whether up-hill or downhill), the 1600-B tells you the true horizontal component distance to the target. Use this number (as opposed to the line-of-sight distance to the target) to set your elevation. The 1600-B figures out the angle through a built-in inclinometer. This is a handy feature for hunters and tactical shooters, but it’s not really that innovative — other rangefinders have have offered angle compensation for quite some time. Still this is a nice feature that allows hunters to dispense with an angle indicator on their rifles, and you won’t have to work out math equations in the field.

Leica 1600-B Rangemaster2. Hold-Over Values (Inches or CM)
When you range a target, the 1600-B can display the actual hold-over you need (at the ranged distance), either in inches or centimeters. Then you simply place your cross-hairs higher on the target, according to the hold-over value displayed in cm or inches. This works well — so long as you have some idea of the actual size of the target. If you don’t know if your prey is 4-feet tall or 6-feet tall then you can make mistakes. The hold-over display can read in either inches or cm. Holdover values, based on 12 pre-programmed ballistics curves, are given from 100 yards to 880 yards (compared to only 500 yards on the CRF 1600).

Leica 1600-B Rangemaster3. Elevation Click Values to Correct POI
One very handy feature of the new Leica 1600-B is that it automatically calculates the elevation clicks you need to correct your point of impact (POI) for the target range. First, you must select a matching ballistics curve (based on your muzzle velocity, bullet BC etc.). Then the 1600-B uses its built-in ballistics solver to calculate drop at the target distance, figuring in temperature and barometric pressure automatically. With a click of a button the 1600-B will displays the number of up-clicks you need to have the correct POI at the ranged distance. Available click values are: 1 MOA, 1/3 MOA, 1/4 MOA, 10 mm/100 m, 5 mm/100 m.

CRF 1600-B Rangemaster Specs (and Real-World Ranging Performance)
The new Leica 1600-B features a 7X monocular optic with 24mm objective and 3.4mm exit pupil. The external lenses have AquaDura® coatings. Though it’s packed with computing power, the 1600-B weighs just 8.1 ounces and, measuring 3″ x 1.63″ x 1.25″, it really does fit in a shirt pocket. Along with target distance, hold-over, and calculated clicks, the auto-adjusting red LED display can show Angle of Incline, Temperature, and Air Pressure.

Leica claims the 1600-B will range out to “approximately 1,600 yards”. Yes, in ideal conditions, the unit can nail a large, reflective object (such as a barn) at that distance, but you’ll find real-world performance on deer-sized targets to be quite different.

It is hard to hand-hold the tiny CRF 1600-B with sufficient stability to range small objects at extreme long distance. When testing the current CRF 1600 model we’ve found the practical max range for hand-holding on a deer to be about 800 yards, and even to do that you need very steady hands and a bit of practice. For long-distance ranging, we actually prefer a larger, flat-body design, such as the Zeiss Victory PRF, which can be rested more easily on a pack or sandbag. For the new 1600-B model, Leica claims measuring accuracy of +/- 1.1 yards to 400 yards, +/- 2.2 yards to 800 yards, and +/- 0.5% over 800 yards.

Permalink New Product, Optics 3 Comments »
March 12th, 2012

MGM Targets Awards Prizes Each Month to Lucky Customers

MGM Targets ContestMGM Targets is now the nation’s #1 portable steel target manufacturer. To reward MGM’s customers, MGM is running a year-long “12-for-12″ contest though the end of 2012. Each month a dozen lucky winners are selected among those who have purchased one of the MGM product specials. Prizes worth up to $425 are supplied by a variety of respected manufacturers, such as FNH, DPMS, and Benchmade. MGM has already announced winners for January and February, but you can still get involved for drawings in March and future months. (Purchase of target required for prize eligibility.)

MGM’s monthly prizes include: gift certificates, rail systems, .22LR uppers, gunstocks, safety eyewear, gunstocks, shooting mats, slings, data books, knives, and flash suppressors. Prizes are supplied by well-known manufacturers: Benchmade, DPMS, ESS Eye Pro, FNH, Predator Tactical, Primary Weapons, Safariland, and Seekins Precision. MGM’s Jim Potter noted: “This will be one of the biggest giveaways in the industry in 2012 [with prizes] given away every single month.”

March Specials from MGM
This month MGM features the MGM Flash Target for long-range shooting. The March Special price is $350.00 — $77 off the regular $427.38 price. Along with the Flash Target, for March, MGM is featuring the IPSC Half Size Target for $119.00, marked down from $179.36.

MGM Targets Contest

New Remote-Control Running Man Target
Experienced shooters know that moving targets are much harder to hit than static targets. To provide realistic challenges for hunters, tactical shooters, and 3-Gun competitors, MGM has introduced a very cool (and speedy) portable “Running Man Target”. This motorized, cable-drive system boasts adjustable targets speeds from 3 to 22 feet per second, with quick-stop and instant reverse capability. Speed and direction are modulated with a handheld, wireless (radio) remote control effective out to 100 yards. For more info, visit MGMTargets.com or contact Mike Gibson Manufacturing, (888) 767-7371.

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March 2nd, 2012

New Nikon 3-9x40mm EFR Scope for Rimfire and Airgun Rifles

If you’re an airgun or rimfire shooter, you need a scope with the ability to focus at short distances, since you’ll typically be shooting at targets from 10 yards to 55 yards (50m). Scopes used for centerfire shooting may not be able to focus sharply at these close ranges. That’s why various manufacturers have developed EFR (Extended Focus Range) scopes.

Add Nikon to the list of EFR scope-makers. Nikon just introduced the ProStaff Target EFR 3-9x40mm riflescope featuring an adjustable objective lens that can focus from 10 meters to infinity. That’s right, Nikon’s affordable ($189.95) new 3-9X EFR scope goes all the way down to ten meters (about 33′). That makes it very useful for Airgun and BB gun shooters.

The waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof EFR boasts Zero-Reset turrets with 1/4-inch adjustments at 50 yards (i.e. 1/2″ at 100 yards). Make note of that — if you are shooting mostly at 100 yards and beyond, you don’t want this scope — it really has been set-up for the short stuff. Total adjustment at 100 yards is 80 MOA; that give you an adjustment range of about 40″ at 50 yards. Nikon’s new ProStaff 3-9x40mm Target EFR scope comes with a matte finish, and retails for just $189.95.

Nikon EFR 3-9x40 rifle scope

Like all Nikon riflescopes, the Target EFR is optimized for use with Nikon’s Spot On™ Ballistics program. The Spot On program can be purchased for iPhone, iPad and Android or utilized for free at nikonhunting.com/spoton.
Permalink New Product, Optics No Comments »
March 1st, 2012

New Orion Scanning System Approved for NRA Airgun Comps

Orion Scoring SystemLooks like the days of manual target scoring are numbered — at least for airgun shooters. Effective April 23, 2012 (after this year’s Sectionals) the NRA will accept targets digitally scanned and scored with the new Orion Scoring System. Produced by Shooter’s Technology in Virginia, the Orion System exceeds the accuracy standards set by the ISSF, and routinely scores shots within .04mm. Currently the Orion scoring system can work with 5m BB gun targets, 10m Air Rifle Targets, 10m Air Pistol Targets, and 50-foot smallbore (.22LR Rimfire) targets.

50m Smallbore Capability in Development
Orion is working hard on more powerful software that will be able to score 50m smallbore targets — but that’s still many months away.

The makers of the Orion Scoring System claim it can score targets faster, more accurately, and more reliably than scoring by hand using calipers and target plugs. Orion 2.0 will score a 12-bull air rifle target in about 5 seconds — that’s up to five times faster than manual methods. Single-shot accuracy is consistently between .04mm and .10mm, even for low velocity sporter air rifles. Multiple-shot accuracy (when two or more shots overlap on a target) is between .10mm and .25mm.

Orion Scoring System

The Orion Scoring System is a new technology that automates the scoring process. Shooters fire at specially-designed paper targets sourced from Orion. Once each stage of the match is completed, targets are collected and then digitized using commercial scanners. The Orion software reads the target image files, and scores each shot using an image processing algorithm.

Orion’s Dr. Erik Anderson explains how the system works: “Orion’s scoring process uses a computer vision algorithm known formally as ‘Visual Image Scoring’ (VIS). VIS works in a three-step process. First, VIS calculates the precise center of the aiming bull by extrapolating and using the edge of the aiming bull. Second, VIS locates the center of each shot using a similar process using data from the shot hole edge. Finally, the distance between these two locations, called the radial distance, is used to determine the score value. A key to Orion’s accuracy is using the complete shot hole edge. In comparison, manual methods of scoring only look at the inner most edge point and thus have a limited amount of data to determine the shot value.” Anderson says the Orion Scoring System can be as accurate as very expensive electronic targets, though the Orion requires a much smaller investment in hardware. The only special equipment a shooting club needs is a decent flatbed scanner for the targets. Orion says: “most flat-bed scanners manufactured in the last five years are likely to work with Orion.” Another advantage of the Orion System over electronic targets is that a physical copy of the target exists. The match results won’t disappear if someone fries a computer hard-drive.

Orion Scoring System

Orion Match Management and Score Publishing Functions
The Orion Scoring System can generate ranked results and instantly post them online. Once a shooting facility links up to Orion’s Online Results Center, match results (and target scores) can be uploaded for later viewing on the web. If the range lacks a web connection, the Orion score data can be captured on a thumb drive and moved to a computer hooked up to the web.

How Accurate is Orion?
Orion is designed to meet or exceed the accuracy requirements set by the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF):

Air Rifle: 0.125mm radial error
Air Pistol: 0.40mm radial error
50ft Rifle: 0.122mm radial error

How Fast is Orion?
The time it takes to score a set of targets depends on scanner speed and computer processing power. On a dual-core 2.6GHz machine, with Canon DR-6010C scanner, Orion will score:

An air rifle 3×20 set of targets in 1 minute 25 seconds
A smallbore 3×40 set of targets in 1 minutes 55 seconds
A 60 shot air pistol course in 2 minutes 30 seconds

Orion is available from three sources: Shooter’s Technology, the makers of the Orion Scoring System, Gold Medal Shooting, and 10.9.com. Orion is licensed on an annual basis. The first year license fee is $398. The fee for the second year (and each subsequent year) is $78. Separate licenses are required for air rifle, air pistol and 50-foot pistol. Both the National Three Position Air Rifle Council and USA Shooting have approved Orion-based scoring for airgun matches.

Story based on report by Kyle Jillson in The NRA Blog.
Permalink Competition, New Product No Comments »
February 29th, 2012

Vast Encylopedia of Guns Offered on DVD

How’d you like to own the most comprehensive resource on guns ever created, an interactive database with information on over 50,000 firearms? If that sounds intriguing, check out the $39.95 Firearms Guide on DVD (2d Edition) from Impressum Media.

Think of this as a digital encyclopedia of guns — the mother of all gun reference guides. The sheer amount of information is mind-boggling. The Firearms Guide covers over 50,000 models of firearms, airguns, and ammo from 425 manufacturers. Products are illustrated with 27,000 high-res color photos, plus 1,550+ schematics with parts lists for 130 gun-makers. If you’re a gunsmith or armorer, you’ll want to buy this DVD, just to have the searchable schematics with part numbers handy.

If you are a gun collector, or just an information junkie, you’ll find this DVD to be an invaluable resource. The DVD’s scope is truly worldwide, with coverage of gun makers in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, South America, South Africa and Asia as well as North America. With the DVD’s search capability you can search by gun caliber, manufacturer, and key features (e.g. “.223 Rem, Colt, folding stock”). There are 14 different search criteria — this allows you to “drill down” precisely to find the gun you want in seconds. Shown below are typical profiles of listed products:

There are some cool bonus features that significantly enhance the $39.95 DVD:

  • 500 Printable Targets: game animals, silhouettes, crosshairs, sight-ins, fun targets.
  • FFL Locator – Searchable database of over 60,000 gun dealers in the USA with contact info.
  • US-EU Ammo Caliber Chart: Cartridge equivalency charts identify the correct domestic equivalent of European ammo.

Editors’ Comment: We were amazed with the sheer volume of data on this disk. It’s nice to be able to view the entire line of guns from major manufacturers (such as Ruger, Sako, Savage, and Sauer), along with products from “boutique” arms-makers. On the other hand, the vast majority of entries are mass production items. You won’t find many of the custom-built precision rifles that readers of this site prefer to own and shoot. Nonetheless, we enjoy being able to quickly see an entire product line, search a particular gun, and then access parts lists for repairs. I’ve got a .22LR Marlin Model 39A with a busted buckhorn rear sight, and I was able to find a replacement sight fixture in a matter of seconds. The FFL directory is handy and, as Gun Blast said in its review of this product: “The DVD is worth the price for the target images alone”.

Disclosure: Impressum Media provided a review copy of the DVD at no charge.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
February 28th, 2012

Berger’s New 6mm "Column" Bullet for Short-Range Benchrest

Berger Bullets has released a new 6mm (.243 caliber) bullet for short-range (100-300 yards) benchrest applications. The new bullet (shown below right), is called the “6mm BR Column”. This name does not mean the bullet is designed just for the 6mm BR cartridge. Rather it is designed for all 6mm short-range benchrest (BR) rifles, most of which are 6 PPCs (for group shooting at least). The “Column” in the name comes from the fact that Berger has optimized the height of the lead core column inside the bullet. Testing revealed that bullets which had very uniform core column heights shot more accurately and were also easier to tune. Does the new “Column” bullet work? Well, noted benchrest shooter Lou Murdica has already used them to win a Two Gun Agg in Florida against “big name” competition. Thankfully, you won’t have to wait long to try these bullets out — Berger says the new 6mm BR ‘Column’ projectiles will be available in mid-March, 2012. Call Berger at (714) 447-5422 to order.

Berger 6mm BR column bullet

Bullet Characteristics — Accurate and Easy to Tune
Berger’s Ballistician and lead bullet designer Bryan Litz says this new ‘Column’ bullet should be less sensitive to seating depth: “We worked very hard to produce a bullet that has a wider ‘tuning window’ for peak accuracy. This means there may be several seating depths where it shoots well. We also expect that it can shoot well at different speed nodes, but this will be dependent on your barrel.” The estimated G1 BC for these bullets is 0.277. The meplat is 0.062″, typical of benchrest bullets in this weight class. There is a small pressure ring in the bullet. Recommended twist rate is 1:13.5″ but the bullet should stabilize in a 1:14″ twist-rate barrel.

Berger’s Eric Stecker tells us: “There have been benchrest bullets in the past which were well-known for achieving consistently small groups over a wide tune range in many rifles and loads. One example of this was the Euber bullet. The seemingly ‘magical’ performance of these bullets has been attributed to special dies, stars aligning, owl feathers, or some other unknown influence. However, Bryan Litz has found that there are specific mass balance and aerodynamic properties which allow a bullet to mitigate dispersion and shoot precisely over a wide range of imperfect launch dynamics.”

Dispersion Mitigation in Bullet Design — Bryan Litz Explains
Bryan LitzThe science of dispersion-mitigating bullets is understood, but until now, no one has ever deliberately designed a bullet that has these specific attributes. There have been other bullets which have accidentally achieved the partial effect and the resulting bullets became very well known. Three key things are required to develop an effective dispersion-mitigating bullet:

1. The knowledge required to design a dispersion mitigating bullet.  
2. A bullet-maker with the ability to fabricate the design precisely.
3. The means by which to test the bullets extensively to determine optimal configuration.

Berger’s 6mm ‘Column’ bullet is specifically designed to mitigate the component of dispersion related to alignment. Variables related to bullet/bore axis alignment include tight necks, turning necks, bullet jump, chamber concentricity, powder charge, and so on. These are all variables which will be less critical for the new Berger 6mm ‘Column’ bullet.

To be realistic, these new bullets only mitigate dispersion effects related to axis alignment, NOT aiming error, wind deflection, or poor shooting.

Four Years of Prototype Testing
Yields Superior Bullet Design

Using his knowledge of design factors that mitigate (reduce) dispersion, Berger’s bullet designer Bryan Litz went to work creating a bullet design that had a wide, forgiving tune range. This means that the bullet shoots well with a wide variety of loads and seating depths. Bryan came up with three different shapes. Then for each of these three bullet profiles, Berger tested three different core column heights to identify the truly optimal design. Over the next four years, Lou Murdica shot thousands of test rounds in the data capture phase of the project. When testing concluded, one bullet proved to be head and shoulders above the others in its ability to shoot well at the widest variety of loads and seating depths.

The prototype bullet design that shot best in Berger’s tests has entered production as the new Berger 6mm BR ‘Column’. You’ll notice that there is no listed weight. Berger doesn’t list weight because Berger learned that the bullet’s mass is not as important as the overall balance of the bullet, which is achieved with a specific internal lead column height. Due to slight variations in copper and lead material batches, one lot may weigh 64.8 gr while another lot might weigh 65.1 grains or 64.6 grains. Berger says: “So long as the column of lead is the correct height to achieve the desired balance” the bullets should perform, no matter what the average weight of a given lot of ‘Column’ bullets may be. That said, when loading for a match, you’ll want to load all your ammo with bullets from the same lot.

Berger is now accepting orders for the new 6mm BR ‘Column’ bullets. The first lots should be available around March 16, 2012. Call Berger at (714) 447-5422 for pricing info or to place an order.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 4 Comments »
February 28th, 2012

Affordable Choate Tactical Stocks for Remingtons and Savages

Choate Machine & Tool, www.riflestock.com, offers an affordable tactical stock design for Remington ADL/BDL long and short actions, and Savage 10,11,12,16 (short) and 110,111,112,116 (long) actions. Choate’s ADL/BDL and Savage tactical stocks sport an 80/20 blend of polypropylene and fiberglass, wrapped around a full-length aluminum bedding block. These stocks come with an adjustable spacer system allowing for .75″ of adjustment in length of pull, a rail integrated into the bottom of the fore-end to mount a bipod, and four swivel studs for customized carry options. The stocks have a wide barrel channel allowing most barrel contours to free-float.

Russell Simmonds F-TR F-class

The Choat ADL/BDL tactical stocks have some very nice features. We like the fact that the toe (underside) of the buttstock is relatively straight, and long enough to work well in a rear sandbag. The built-in rail on the fore-arm’s underside allows you to move your bipod fore and aft, plus you can easily mount other accessories. The spacer system is a nice feature in an “economy” stock, which retails for just $221.99 at MidwayUSA.com. The stock is sufficiently well-built and rigid. However, it does have a very thick (wide) pistol grip section, which may be a negative for persons with small hands.

Very Positive Review from Stock Owner
CLICK HERE for an an honest, thorough owner’s assessment of the Choate tactical stock for the Rem BDL. Posting on SnipersHide.com, the reviewer, MAX100, provides good photos, including side-by-side comparisons with a $400 HS Precision tactical stock. Max 100 concludes the Choate stock is an excellent performer for the price. Max100 writes: “The New Choate Tactical stock is well-made and offers a lot for the money. It is made of virtually indestructible Rynite polymer. This stock is … built like a tank. I gave the butt of the stock a few good whacks with a hammer with no damage whatsoever. Try that with a fiberglass stock. The lower cost of the stock will offer a good alternative for those on a budget. I feel for the most part Choate did a very good job on this stock.”

Stock Sizing: Choate’s Rem tactical stocks fit Remington short action receivers with 6.50-inch action screw spacing, or Rem long actions with 7.35-inch action screw spacing. The Savage Model 10 version fits the Savage factory detachable magazine actions with 4.4″ action screw spacing, while the Model 110 Choate stock fits Savage actions with 5.062″ action screw spacing.

Choate-Stocked F-TR Rifle Wins World & Euro Championships
We know that some folks scoff at the Choate product line, assuming that a lower price means that Choate stocks can’t perform as well as all-fiberglass stocks that may cost two or even three times as much. Well, to those “sticker-price snobs”, consider this. Britain’s Russell Simmonds won the 2009 F-TR World Championship (at Bisley, England) shooting a .308 with a Choate stock. Russell then went on to win the British League Championship (the second time in a row) AND the European Championship. Russell’s gun features a Barnard action, True-flite barrel, Choate “Ultimate Sniper” stock and 8.5-25×50 Leupold scope.

Russell Simmonds F-TR F-class

Permalink Competition, New Product 2 Comments »
February 24th, 2012

New .204 Ruger, .300 Whisper, & .223 Rem Ammo from Black Hills

Black Hills has announced three new types of loaded ammunition for 2012. (This is all-new factory ammo, not commercial reloads.) The first caliber is the .204 Ruger. The new round uses the 32gr Hornady V-Max™ projectile that has proven to be one of the most accurate and effective bullets available for use on varmints.

Black Hills 2012 Ammunition

125gr and 220gr (subsonic) Options in .300 Whisper
The second is the .300 Whisper. This cartridge is the brainchild of JD Jones of SSK and has been around a long time as a proven wildcat cartridge. This versatile 30-caliber cartridge is designed primarily for use in M4/M16/AR-15 family of rifles and allows for use of a wide weight range of projectiles. Initial Black Hills loads for this cartridge are a 125 grain load that essentially duplicates 7.62×39 ballistics, but with far superior accuracy, plus a 220 grain Sierra MatchKing at subsonic velocity.

New 69gr SMK load in .223 Rem for AR15s
For use in AR15s with 1:9″ twist barrels, Black Hills’s customers have asked Black Hills to provide factory ammo loaded Sierra’s highly accurate 69gr MatchKing. In response to customer demand, for 2012 Black Hills will be offering the 69gr SMK loaded to 5.56mm pressures and velocities in military specification brass. In this new ammo, Black Hills has utilized modern temperature-stable, flash-suppressed propellant.

New Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 4 Comments »
February 15th, 2012

Merkel RX Helix Straight-Pull Rifle — Teutonic Tour De Force

One of the most innovative rifles we tried at Media Day in January was the Merkel RX Helix, a very impressive piece of rifle engineering. Merkel claims the RX Helix is the fastest-cycling centerfire bolt action in the world. We can’t confirm that claim, but the Helix certainly cycles faster than any other centerfire bolt-gun this Editor has ever tried. (Yes, a Fortner biathlon action can be worked more rapidly, but that’s a rimfire). Both Jason and I really liked Merkel’s RX Helix. It balances well, the action is smooth, the wood is gorgeous, and the overall design thinking that went into this $3795.00 (MSRP) take-down rifle is very impressive. The Helix’s universal-sized action lets you shoot anything from a .222 Rem to a .300 Win Mag with the same gun. And — get this — you can really swap barrels (and change bolt heads) in under one minute with no tools, employing a dead-simple bolt-release lever concealed under the push-button-released removable forearm.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifleRotary 7-Lug Bolt
While the RX Helix is a straight-pull rifle, it retains the strength and safety of a rotary bolt head with seven locking lugs that seat in a barrel extension. Unlike a Blaser, the RX Helix has a fully-enclosed action housing. That’s an important safety feature. Moreover, since the RX Helix employs a closed action, the bolt body doesn’t travel outside that action. This means the shooter can maintain his cheekweld with an eye on the target as he cycles the bolt.

The RX Helix’s linear (back and forth) bolt-handle motion is transmitted to the bolt head through a 1:2 ratio “transmission” gearing system. This allows smooth and fast cycling without the rotational or tipping movement found on other straight-pull, bolt-action rifles, such as the Blaser.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The Merkel linear-movement action cycles exceptionally fast, which allows for faster follow-up shots — a good thing if you’re hunting dangerous game. The RX Helix features a manual cocking lever on the tang and a direct trigger system. And here’s good news for southpaws — though Merkel does not make a dedicated left-hand version, lefties can very easily use their right hand to work the bolt while maintaining cheekweld. That may sound awkward, but with practice, it’s actually pretty efficient.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Fast, Easy Disassembly and Barrel Exchanges
The video below shows how the Helix can be disassembled (for cleaning or transport) in a matter of seconds WITHOUT TOOLS. The forearm slips off with the push of a button. A short lever on the left side of the action holds the barrel. Simply rotate the lever and the barrel (with bolt head) slips off. That’s it — in 30 seconds the rifle is apart, and you don’t even need an allen wrench as with a Blaser.

The RX Helix has a universal action length that covers calibers from .222 Rem to .300 Win Mag. Changing calibers (or chamberings) takes less than a minute with the appropriate barrel, bolt-head and magazine. Weaver rails are integrated into the action, and iron sights with three-dot rear and one-dot front fiber-optic inserts are standard.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The RX Helix is available with a standard black finish as well as four levels of design—Arabesque, Wild Boar, Spirit, and Deluxe. An all-carbon-fiber version is also available either with or without a carbon-wrapped barrel. The RX Helix comes in a wide range of popular calibers including .222 Rem, .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5×55 SE, .270 Win, 7×64, .308 Win, .30-06 Sprg., 8×57 IS, 9.3×62, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag. Barrel lengths vary according to caliber, and barrels, bolt-heads and magazines are available for caliber changes. MSRP for the standard black rifle with Grade 2 wood is $3,795.00.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 18 Comments »
February 13th, 2012

Compact Video Cam Records What You See Through Scope

Idaho-based Hooker Tactical Safety & Defense has introduced an interesting new product that records images and video directly from your scope’s eyepiece, while still allowing the shooter to look through the scope. This system, dubbed the Third-Eye Sharp Shooter Eye-Cam (“Eye-Cam”), fits a small (8 oz.) video camera directly to the eyepiece of a riflescope. The Eye-Cam outputs live video to an iPhone, lap-top computer, or DVR. One can easily imagine the benefits of such a system for tactical and law enforcement marksmen, as well as game hunters. The key elements of a tactical engagement can be recorded, in real time, for later review and analysis. Or a hunter can record the results of his shot at a “once-in-a-lifetime” bull elk.

Hooker Tactical Sharp Shooter Eye-Cam

No Scope Modifications Required
The water-, shock-, and dust-resistant Eye-Cam is easily installed, with no modifications to your scope. Your scope’s zoom, elevation, and windage controls are not altered, and there are no changes to point of aim or point of impact. Unlike most other video adapters for scopes, the compact Eye-Cam does NOT block off the shooter’s view through the eye-piece. You can continue to use the scope normally. Hooker Tactical claims that the Eye-Cam does not distort or change the image viewed through the scope: “The clarity of the image… is as accurate and dependable as if the [Eye-Cam] was not there.”

Comment: Despite Hooker’s claims, we do suspect that the shooter would notice a slight reduction in brightness, and possible softening of focus at the edges — simply as the result of having another piece of glass placed between his eye and the scope’s actual eyepiece.

Hooker Tactical Sharp Shooter Eye-CamSharp Shooter Eye-Cam Costs $2370.00
The Hooker Tactical Eye-Cam retails for $2370.00. It weighs just 8 ounces. Hooker offers a variety of flexible collars that fit over scope eyepieces, allowing the Eye-Cam to be adapted to most popular scopes. Eye-Cams ship with collar of choice, video cables, power cable, 9-volt power supply, and a handy storage pouch. Hooker Tactical stands behind its product with a 2-year unconditional warranty for repair and replacement “with proper usage”. For more info, visit www.HookerTactical.com, or call Hooker Tactical at (208) 527-3395.

Click Here for Sharp Shooter Brochure PDF | Click Here for Sharp Shooter Spec Sheet PDF

Editor’s Comment: This is an intriguing product. While the Eye-Cam’s utility for hunters and law enforcement marksmen is obvious, we think the Eye-Cam could benefit competition shooters as well. The Eye-Cam could be particularly effective in shooter training, allowing a coach to see how well his student actually responds to hold-off calls and wind reads. The recorded video could also allow a shooter to review the effects of mirage as he proceeded through a course of fire. Video would also help a shooter develop techniques to hold the gun more steady and have a better follow-through.

While the Hooker Tactical Eye-Cam is very expensive ($2370.00), we think this is the predecessor of future products that will provide a variety of digital viewing/recording options for rifle shooters. As such products evolve (and become more affordable), we predict digital viewing technology will benefit precision shooters in many ways.

Low-Cost Alternative
MeoPix iPhone Adapter for Spotting Scopes
The Third-Eye Sharp Shooter Eye-Cam costs a whopping $2370.00. For a tiny fraction of that price (about $70), Meopta’s MeoPix digi-scoping adapter lets you record stills and movies directly to an iPhone from a spotting scope.

Though you won’t be able to record what you actually see through your riflescope, the Meopta adapter will perform many of the functions of the Eye-Cam, such as recording the results of hunting shots — so long as you’ve got your spotter aimed at the target. Meopta’s simple but cleverly-designed MeoPix lets you easily record photos and videos from your range and hunting sessions. Anything you can see through the spotting scope can be captured by an iPhone. Hunters can capture images of distant prey, and record successful shots on game.

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 (fitted cup required). When mated 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 adapter attaches securely to the iPhone. Meopta claims the MeoPix bracket ensures precise alignment and excellent image quality.

Eye-Cam Tip by EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 8 Comments »
February 13th, 2012

New Rapid-Access Under-Desk Handgun Safe from GunVault

Here’s smart new product for someone who wants to keep a handgun safely secured, but quickly accessible under a desk at home or at a business. The new SpeedVault (from GunVault) is a drop-down safe that can be mounted under a desk or in various concealed locations. The handgun is cradled in a a holster-like protective foam lined interior. The SpeedVault offers a combination of covert placement and fast, reliable access.

The SpeedVault is constructed of tamper-proof, 18-gauge steel and available in digital lock or biometric finger print scanner. An activation button triggers a spring-loaded door that not only has a high-strength lock mechanism, but also performs reliably, time after time. Foolproof security is ensured with an audio and LED low battery indicator to help guard against direct tampering and unexpected power loss. Mounting hardware is included. The SpeedVault comes in two models, the SV 500 (with standard lock) for $199.99, and the SVB 500 (with fingerprint lock system) for $319.99. Dimensions are the same for both units: Width: 3.5″ W x 6.5″ front to back x 13″ top to bottom.

Fingerprint-Reading Biometrics (SVB Model Only)
The higher-priced SpeedVault Bio handgun safe uses biometrics, specifically fingerprint recognition, to access the safe contents rapidly. A high-performance algorithm is used to achieve speedy identification of enrolled fingerprints and at the same time has a very low False Reject Rate (FRR). The self-learning algorithm adds new details to the fingerprint templates each time a user touches the fingerprint sensor, reducing the chance of FRR. The system can handle up to 120 fingerprint templates.

Permalink New Product, News 1 Comment »
February 12th, 2012

Commercial Sign Stands Make Great Target Holders

Need a portable, light-weight target stand? Here’s a clever, minimalist alternative to large wood-framed or PVC pipe target stands. Those will work, but they take up lots of space in ones vehicle and, unless you build a very solid base, they tend to rock back and forth, or even blow over in high winds.

For under $20.00 you can get a metal sign frame that can be staked directly in the ground. These sign frames, commonly used for real estate signs, are secure in high winds, and they are just about ideal if you need a simple target for zeroing during a varmint hunt. With most of these frames you can secure a cardboard target backer with zip ties or threaded fasteners. With some frames you just slide the cardboard backer into slots, so no fasteners are required. The most common “Empire-style” sign frame has a rectangular section at the top with two pointed ends about 10″ apart at the bottom. Put your foot on the crossbar to drive the frame into the ground. An angle-iron, Empire-style frame (no fasteners required) is offered by the fastrealestatesigns.com for $19.99.

target frame

target frameInexpensive Reinforced-Plastic Sign Frames
Shown at right is a plastic sign frame that requires no fasteners. Simply cut your cardboard target backer to 24″ (w) x 18″ (h) and slide it in from the top. Then stick the frame into the ground using the foot-slot near the bottom. These fiberglass-reinforced plastic sign frames are light yet surprisingly strong. They cost just $11.95 from Yardsigns.org. There is also an open top model ($10.95), and a larger, rectangular version ($15.95) with the legs placed 19″ apart.

Staked Frames Not For All Terrain
If you shoot where the ground is very hard or rocky, these stake-in-the-ground frames may not work so well. They need to be seated firmly in the soil. But if you shoot in an area with soft soil or grassy turf, these frames can be a handy solution. Simple, light-weight and easy to set-up, they make a nice “field expedient” target holder.

Permalink New Product 3 Comments »
February 11th, 2012

Valentine’s Day Gifts for the Lady Shooter in Your Life

Valentines DayValentine’s Day is just three days away, so you better start planning how you’ll show some appreciation for the lady in your life. Of course there are the old reliables: flowers, chocolates, and dinner at a fancy restaurant. But if you want to do something really different this year, how about giving your special lady some “pretty in pink” shooting gear. (Don’t forget the flowers though… if you value your life.)

Natchez Shooters Supplies offers a variety of pink products for ladies. How about a set of pink electronic ear muffs from Champion Shooters? A portion of the proceeds from sales of these muffs goes to fighting breast cancer. These muffs only have a 21 NRR (not so great), but they do collapse for easy storage. The Champion Ladies Target Muffs, item CM40975, sell for just $34.95.

Pink Ear Muffs Champion

Natchez also offers pink cases for both pistols and rifles. The Bulldog-brand 52″ Pink Rifle/Shotgun Case will hold most rifles or shotguns without optics. This would be a great gift for a young girl who shoots trap or who uses an iron-sighted rimfire rifle (such as a CMP H&R M12). The case features a water-resistant outer shell with a soft, scratch-resistant, tricot inner lining. The pink long-gun case costs just $14.75 at Natchez, item JZBD254.

Pink bulldog Rifle Case

For the Pistol-Packin’ Mama in the family, the Outdoor Connection makes a hot pink, range case. This tough, leather-bottomed bag features padded central compartments for pistols, with accessory pockets on all four exterior sides. There is plenty of room to stow ammo boxes, muffs, trigger locks, and other shooting gear. The great thing about this bag is that it can do double-duty as a general travel case when it’s not being used to haul pistols to the range. Made from heavy 600-denier nylon, the pink Range Bag is On Sale for $21.95 at Natchez.

Pink bulldog Rifle Case

Last but not least, MizMac.com offers a Pink, Limited Edition 4-Gun Range Cart, that’s perfect for a gal who shots service rifle, High Power, or multi-gun matches. The cart features a steel frame, run-flat tires on chrome spoke rims, and it even has dual rear parking brakes. The Cart can hold four, full-size long guns in a vertical position. It’s also a great cart for shotgunners, as it has a lower storage compartment that will hold 18 boxes of 12ga shells. Just as important as its ammo carrying capacity, the Rugged Gear Cart has a built-in Six-pack Cooler, for those vital liquid refreshments. As sold by MizMac.com, the Rugged Gear Pink Range Cart retails for $389.99.

Pink Pistol Case

Permalink New Product, News 4 Comments »
February 10th, 2012

Leight Quiet Band — Comfortable Alternative to Plugs and Muffs

Effective hearing protection is a must whenever you are shooting firearms or when you are in the vicinity of gun-shots. For ultimate protection, we recommend a good set of tapered foam earplugs, topped by ear-muffs. However, there are situations when you may prefer lighter-weight hearing protection that can be quickly removed. For example, if you are standing well behind the firing line as an observer, or if you are working as a rangemaster or waddie some distance away from the shooters.

In addition to traditional ear plugs and ear-muffs, new band-style protectors provide a third sound-blocking option. Howard Leight, a top name in the sound-protection business, now offers the “Quiet Band”, a device with soft foam plugs attached to a plastic band worn around the neck. This “Quiet Band” product is comfortable, easy to deploy, and surprisingly effective.

Howard Leight Quiet Band qb2

Howard Leight Quiet Band qb2Three Quiet Band Models
There are three (3) types of Leight Quiet Band® sound protectors. We prefer the QB2 Supra-aural model (item QB2HYG, NRR 25). As shown in the photos, the NRR 25-rated QB2 positions cone-shaped foam pads next to the ear openings and holds them there with light pressure from the orange-colored band. There is also an Inner-aural version (item QB1HYG, yellow band, NRR 27), and a Semi-aural model (item QB3HYG, red band, NRR 21). Our preferred QB2 Supra-aural (orange band) model is just as comfortable as the QB3 (red band) version, and offers much better protection. The QB1 Inner-aural (yellow band) model requires that you place the ear buds in the ear canal, so it’s not really any easier to use than conventional earplugs. That’s why we like the QB2 Supra-aural model best of all. Other users agree. Here’s what two QB2 owners had to say:

Hickok45 leight qb2“I first saw these used by Hickok45 on Youtube and he talked positively about them. I got two and gave them a try. At first, I didn’t think they were going to work very well. After some fiddling, I found they work pretty darn good. With my ears, they fit the best if the band starts on top of my head, I insert the plugs then rotate the band behind my head. PRESTO, perfect fit. Shooting the 9mm and 12 gauge out back was comfortable with no ringing afterward. [They are] small and easy to transport — just throw in the range bag. Yet, they are big enough to keep around your neck out of the way[.] I can sit these Howard Leights down on the shooting bench without worrying about them getting dirty since the band is curved, placing the plugs in the air. I highly recommend them to anybody needing banded hearing protection.” — Tom W.

“Great for woodworkers — These are lightweight AND very effective at reducing noise. When not in use the band hangs loosely around your neck, out of your way completely. Very cost effective for a great product!” — Sheri D.

Quiet Band® sound protectors can be purchased from many online vendors for under $5.00 per set, which includes a spare pair of ear buds. Amazon.com has the Leight QB2 (by Sperian) for just $2.50 per set, while Enviro Safety Products currently sells the QB2 for $3.87 per set. Replacement ear buds are available and sold by the pair. Ten-unit Bulk packs are also available for $35.00 with free shipping.

Permalink New Product, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
February 9th, 2012

New Long-Range Shooting DVD Featuring Darrell Holland

Holland AGI long range DVDThe American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) has released a new Precision Long Range Shooting DVD. For what it’s worth, AGI guarantees this DVD can increase the hunter or tactical shooter’s accuracy by 37%. We’re skeptical of course, but that’s AGI’s claim. The DVD features gunsmith and long-range shooting expert Darrell Holland who narrates a multi-step course of instruction.

The DVD starts off with hardware — rifle, cartridges, and bullets. Next, ranging and equipment calibration are covered, followed by a discussion of optics and range finders. Shooting techniques are covered from the point of view of both the hunter and tactical shooter. Holland gives tips for bench and field shooting positions. Darrell also demonstrates field-expedient shooting techniques and accessories for optimum accuracy.

The DVD includes filmed demonstrations of precision shooting out to 600 yards. Developed exclusively for AGI customers, this DVD includes a set of tables for calculating aiming points for long-range shots. The AGI Secrets of Precision Long Range Shooting DVD is available at www.americangunsmith.com for $39.95 (Product ID# 322DVD).

Editor: This video is brand new, so we haven’t had a chance to preview it yet. Honestly, we don’t know whether it is worth the money. You probably can learn more in our own Shooters’ Forum for FREE. But there are few video/DVD resources for precision long-range shooting, so we thought this release was worth mentioning. Darrell Holland, the DVD’s featured expert, is a talented gunsmith, who runs highly regarded shooting clinics for long-range hunters. Darrell’s advice is probably going to be sensible and useful. Whether his coaching can actually increase a shooter’s accuracy 37% is for viewers to decide for themselves.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 1 Comment »
February 8th, 2012

The $49.99 DIY Range Cart — Courtesy Harbor Freight

Creedmoor Sports Range Cart CRC-1Some High Power shooters on the Forum asked about carts for carrying their gear to the range. You can certainly purchase a factory-made, purpose-built cart that folds up and has all the bells and whistles. The Creedmoor Sports CRC-1 (photo right) is a proven, quality product that works great. You’ll find these used by top shooters at Camp Perry. But the Creedmoor CRC-1 cart costs $499.95.

For a tenth that price ($49.99), plus a few dollars more for do-it-yourself enhancements, you can have a heavy-duty cart that will haul all your gear just fine, though it doesn’t fold up.

Check out the Harbor Freight Welding Cart, item #65939. This cart is ON SALE right now for just $49.99. Overall size is 29-1/2″ L x 20″ W x 49″ H, and width between side rails is 18″. The wheels (with tires) are 20 3/4″ in diameter for smooth rolling. Consider that, if you made your own cart from scratch you could easily pay $30.00 or more just for the large-diameter wheels and axle. Do note — this cart has air-filled tires. Be sure to inflate before you go to the Range!

As sold, the Harbor Freight Welding Cart isn’t quite ready for range use. But it’s easy to add plastic side-panels on the bottom unit, and fit a barrel-holding system on the cross-tube. I also suggest bolting/welding on extra spacers on the most forward underside edge of the bottom so that, at rest, the cart tilts slightly back. This ensures rifles and gear won’t flop forward. (A bit of extra lift also keeps the bottom plate out of the dirt and gravel.)

How to Upgrade Welding Cart for Range Use
Get a block of hard foam rubber. Cut keyhole slots in the rubber to grip the barrel and umbrella/scope stands. Mount the rubber block to the cross piece with self-tapping screws, or drill a horizontal channel in the rubber so the whole block fits over the cross-tube. On the lowest leading edge of the welding cart box (at ground level, front), fit a block of wood 2″ high (you can also fabricate metal extensions). This will make the cart lean back a little more, which helps stabilize the contents on sloping terrain.

You’ll want to enclose the sides of the bottom box area so small items don’t fall out. You can tack-weld aluminum side-plates if you want a fancy appearance. I prefer to just cut sheet plastic from a home improvement store. These plastic panels can be attached with screws or even zip-ties around tubing.

Run the plastic side panels up high enough that stuff like hats and muffs don’t fall out. After transport you can transfer ammo boxes and small items to the upper box (attached to the back side of the cross-tube).

The hardest component to find may be the hard rubber blocks for the barrel keeper, but you can also make a barrel-holding block out of wood, with some carpet to protect the barrels. The nice thing about the rubber is that it can be cut to snap over the barrels so you don’t need straps. Likewise, you can drill a hole transversely through the rubber, then slot it from the bottom and it will slide over the horizontal tubing with no fasteners needed.

Comment: This cart is heavy and it takes up a lot of space. You’ll need a station wagon, SUV or pickup truck to haul it around. But it’s cheap. The money you save on a range cart could pay for a new Krieger or Bartlein barrel, AND some new brass. Those things (new barrel and brass) will likely improve your scores more than having a fancy $500.00 range cart.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals, New Product 9 Comments »
February 8th, 2012

Hornady 6.5 Grendel Brass — Whitley Reports

Robert Whitley of AR-X Enterprises, LLC builds match-grade uppers for AR-platform rifles. Many of Robert’s favorite chamberings are based on the 6.5 Grendel case necked-down to 6mm. Until 2011, Lapua was the only source for 6.5 Grendel brass. As you’d expect, Lapua’s Grendel brass is truly excellent, but it is also pricey, and sometimes hard to find. Now Hornady is producing USA-made 6.5 Grendel brass. Robert Whitley has worked with the Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass for over a year now and he is able to assess its performance compared to the original Lapua version. Writing in our Shooters’ Forum, Robert reveals: “It’s decent brass but hot loads will loosen the primer pockets fast. With moderate loads you will get good case life and service from the brass and it can deliver excellent accuracy as well. Not Lapua but not bad either.”

Robert reports: “I was able to get my hands on some of Hornady’s 6.5 Grendel brass. My big question was how it would measure up, particularly the loaded necks, and whether it would be compatible with our existing 6mmAR and Turbo 40 die sets. As it turns out, this brass looks like a perfect fit for our existing die sets (and obviously 6.5 Grendel die sets too). Accordingly, folks with existing die sets will be able to use the Hornady brass without any issues.” However, as the loaded neck on the Hornady brass is .001″ (one-thousandth) slimmer than Lapua brass, you may want to try a smaller bushing when sizing Hornady Grendel brass.

Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass

The Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass has a LARGE Flash Hole, about .078″ versus .0591″ for Lapua brass. Dimensionally, the biggest difference is the shoulder diameter, with the Hornady brass measuring 0.428″ vs. 0.424″ for the Lapua brass. The Hornady is actually a better fit for 6mmAR chambers which are about 0.432″ at the shoulder. Interestingly, case H20 capacity is virtually identical. Water capacity of new, unfired Hornady 6.5 Grendel brass is 35.1 grains, while new, unfired Lapua Grendel brass holds 35.0 grains of H20. Both brands of Grendel brass increase to about 36.0 grains H20 capacity after firing and full-length sizing.

Here are some of the particulars of the Hornady cases:

Hornady 6.5 Grendel Brass Lapua 6.5 Grendel Brass
Flash hole diameter: ~ .078″
OAL of brass: Average 1.515″
Weight of cases: 111.7 to 113.0 grains
Web diameter, unfired: 0.4375″
Shoulder diameter, unfired: 0.428″
Loaded neck diameter: 0.2895″
6mmAR loaded neck: 0.270″
Flash hole diameter: 1.5mm (0.0591″)
OAL of brass: Average 1.515″
Weight of cases: 111.0 to 112.5 grains
Web diameter, unfired: 0.4385″
Shoulder diameter, unfired: 0.424″
Loaded neck diameter: 0.290″
6mmAR loaded neck: 0.271″
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 12 Comments »
February 6th, 2012

Neck-Turning Lathe from 21st Century Shooting

if you turn your case-necks, here’s a tool from 21st Century Shooting that can can save time, and help you produce better, more consistent turned necks. 21st Century’s Neck-Turning Lathe system, introduced last spring, may revolutionize the way reloaders turn their case necks. Watch the video and you’ll see why. If you’re never turned cases before, you may become a convert after seeing how quickly and easily the new 21st Century Neck-Turning Lathe does the job.

The mini-lathe has unique fittings on the left and right sides that allow both the case-holder and the neck-turning tool to float. As a result this tool maintains near-perfect concentricity during the cut. 21st Century’s John Perkins explains: “The floating design of the neck turner and the case driver allows the case mouth (bore) to run on the arbor absolutely concentric, therefore allowing O.D. to be turned concentric with I.D. The tailstock creates a horizontal inline support for the base of the case. This also allows the operator to keep both hands on the power screw driver or drill, making it very easy to control the feed rate and to produce a very fine, turned finish.” Having the system float at both ends was key, according to John: “By allowing both the turner and the case to float, everything self-aligns. This maintains concentricity and allows the unit to work with very low torque.”

21st Century neck-turner lathe

Neck-Turning Lathe is Fast Yet Precise
Using power from a drill or electric screwdriver, this tool will turn necks fast — in a matter of a few seconds. And it produces beautiful, smooth necks that are extremely uniform. Tests show that the lathe, used with the 21st Century Neck-Turning Tool, will hold 0.0002 (two ten-thousandths) neck wall tolerances. And it will do that time after time.

21st Century neck-turner latheTurn Necks in a Single Pass
Using traditional hand-methods, turning case necks can be time-consuming and fatiguing. Many folks will experience hand pain or cramping after just a dozen cases. Watch the video, you’ll see how fast and easy neck-turning can be with the new mini-lathe. You get an exceptionally good cut in seconds. Very importantly, with this system, you may be able to switch from a double-pass cut, to a single-pass cut. Yes, even if you’re making a deep cut, we think there is a good chance you can turn all your necks in a single pass. That can cut your labor time in half!

21st Centure neck-turner lathe

21st Centure neck-turner latheWhy does the 21st Century Neck-Turning Tool cut so well? First, the Neck-Turning Tool employs ultra-sharp carbide cutters that are custom-ground to fit the shoulder angle of your cartridge. This allows you to make a perfect cut extending down the shoulder 1/32 of an inch. Second, the system aligns the case neck on the arbor (mandrel) so well, and the cutter is so sharp, that very little torque is required. This allows the cutting process to go very smoothly. The case-holder is also unique — it features a O-ring so it holds the case firmly in place without marring or bending the case head. The tailstock case-holder adjusts to accommodate cases from 17 Fireball to a .416 Rigby.

More Case Prep Tools for Lathe in Future
In the near future 21st Century will offer additional case prep attachments for the new mini-lathe. 21st Century plans to provide bullet-pointing system and other options. These will all work with the same lathe “chassis”, and will run with power. John states: “This is a modular system, all parts interchange. So if you have an existing 21st Century Shooting Neck Turning Tool or Bracket, everything will fit.”

The 21st Century Neck-Turning Lathe costs $245.00, complete with Neck-Turning Tool ($85.00 value) and one case-holder driver. The Neck-Turning Tool comes with a carbide cutter with user choice of shoulder angle (Arbors and Mandrels are sold separately). Perkins recommends using the Neck-Turning Lathe with power, but it will also work with an optional hand crank. NOTE: Currently the Neck-Turning Lathe works ONLY with the 21st Century Neck-Turner. It will not work with K&M, Sinclair, or Forster tools. But that’s not a real drawback because the 21st Century tool is certainly one of the best on the market today. You can purchase the Neck-Turning Lathe (complete with Neck-Turner and Case-Holder) through the 21st Century website, or call (260) 273-9909.

Disclosure: 21st Century Shooting advertises with AccurateShooter.com.
Permalink - Videos, New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »
February 6th, 2012

Patent Awarded for Overmolding on Patterned Gunstocks

Polymer Injection Molding (PIM) of Monson, MA has been awarded U.S. Patent 68,062,736 for overmolding gunstocks coated with a decorative or protective substrate. Overmolding typically is used to enhance synthetic stocks by molding a soft, rubber-like material to gripped areas of a gunstock (fore-end and pistol grip). Sometimes overmolding is applied to the entire stock. Overmolding also is used to decorate stocks with contrasting colors and textures.

OvermoldingApplying overmolding to a decorated gunstock (camo, wood grain, etc.) has proven to be extremely difficult and costly and has not been practiced widely. As a result, overmolded stocks typically have a black, grey, tan or other basic, out-of-the-mold colors. See, e.g. the Hogue Over-Molded stocks. PIM’s patented technology changes all that. Now overmolding can be applied over camo-dipped and other patterned stocks. This is typically done in key contact areas on the fore-arm and on the pistol grip section.

According to PIM President Jim Ryan, “We did our first overmolded stock for a gun manufacturer over ten years ago. It wasn’t long before everybody wanted to camo and overmold the same stock. That proved to be easier said than done. Masking the overmolded part makes a horrible mess and overmolding directly over camo (without our process) has big adhesion problems. We experimented for a long time before coming up with a process that worked. We overmold over camo day-in and day-out without any problem. It looks great and holds up as well as direct overmolding applications”.

Craig Dougherty, PIM’s Marketing Director, echoed Ryan’s comments. “The ultimate added value is to decorate with camo and overmold the grip areas with a complementary color. We’ve done a lot of basic black over camo but overmolded tan, grey and green grips really punch it up. Now that our technology is protected, we expect to be doing more variations”. For more info, visit the PIM website at www.gunvalleymolders.com.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting, New Product No Comments »