March 6th, 2021

Ten Cool Tips for Winter Shooting and Hunting

Winter hunting Norway Marcus Hom Haugland

Spring is on its way, but there is still plenty of snow on the ground in many parts of the country. 2021 has brought some unusually cold weather to many regions — witness the recent Texas Freeze-out.

If you plan to go shooting or hunting in the weeks ahead, while the weather is below freezing and snow is on the ground, you need to be prepared. You should always have the right equipment and make sure that you can contact help if something goes wrong (such as not being able to start your vehicle).

The folks at the Precision Rifle Network have created a good video on winter shooting and hunting. Host Marcus Hom provides his TOP 10 TIPS for wintertime shooting/hunting adventures. We recommend that any 4-season shooter watch this video.

TOP 10 TIPS for Winter Shooting and Hunting:

1. Wear Good Sunglasses — With snow on the ground, wearing sunglasses is a must because of the extra reflected light. You can get good sunglasses that also have ANSI Z87.1-approved impact protection.

2. Wear Protective, Moisture-Proof Clothing — Wear a set of Bibs and a long jacket. This will prevent you from getting snow inside your clothing when shooting prone.

3. Take Care of Your Hands — Bring good winter gloves, preferably with a waterproof outer layer. Make sure the inner gloves can work with your trigger/trigger guard.

4. Bring a Good Tripod — A tripod keeps you elevated so you can avoid laying down in snow or slush. That, in turn, avoids body heat loss. “Keeping out of the snow and shooting from an elevated position is pretty important in the wintertime.”

5. Protect Optics and Action — Keep your scope lenses and action clear of moisture, snow, and fog. You will want to have good caps on both lenses. Make sure the action remains closed, and consider some kind of wrap over the action until you’re ready to load and shoot.

6. Ranging Challenges — Laser range-finders don’t perform optimally with intense, bright, ambient light. Also, if it’s showing you may get false readings from snow particles. So take multiple readings to ensure you have the right distance. Also, if you have a reticle with MOA or MIL marks, and you know the size of your target, then you can range the target with the scope.

7. Drop and Windage Info (DOPE) Chart — Bring a waterproof, hard copy dope chart. Out in the field on cold days, a phone battery dies fast, and you’ll want to preserve that battery for emergency phone use if needed. So, you should keep a good old-fashioned drop chart in a waterproof laminate.

8. Muzzle Velocity Issues — Cold temperatures can lower muzzle velocity. Before you go, get an idea of how your velocity will change with low temperatures. Some powders are more sensitive to temperature than others, causing a noticeable reduction in muzzle velocity. A load you’ve worked out in summer may shoot LOW in winter because the actual velocity is low. Even with a “temperature stable” powder you may see a 10 fps slow-down. Do some winter velocity testing if you can before you go.

9. Keep Your Ammo Warm — A simple way to avoid muzzle velocity changes with low ambient temperatures is to keep you ammunition ON YOUR BODY. Have a pouch under your layered clothing where the ammo can be kept relatively warm. See video: 07:50

10. Safeguard Keys and Valuables — Keep keys and valuables in a secure, zippered pocket. “There is nothing worse than losing something… keys, phone, wallet. It’s really hard to find something when its buried under [many] inches of snow”. We also recommend keeping a spare vehicle key hidden on your car/truck. There are magnetic holders that can keep that spare key secure but safely hidden from view.

Winter hunting Norway Haugland

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March 4th, 2021

New Vortex Edge Indoor/Outdoor Training Facility in Wisconsin

Vortex Edge Training facility Wisconsin

Good news for folks in the middle of the country — Vortex, the optics-maker, has built a very impressive new training facility in Wisconsin. This new 55,000 square-foot Vortex EDGE facility boasts indoor and outdoor ranges, with shooting outdoors to 1000 yards. The modern EDGE 100-yard range is one of only a few 100-yard indoor ranges in the country, and the only one in the Midwest. The impressive new Vortex EDGE training center is part of the Vortex campus located in Barneveld, Wisconsin. The EDGE buildings are “just across the parking lot from the Vortex HQ” in Barneveld.

VIEW Vortex EDGE Training Facilities | GET Travel Information

Vortex Edge Training facility Wisconsin

Vortex has just released a video “sneak preview” showing the new EDGE facility, with the multiple indoor ranges, “shoot rooms”, and simulator training center. Check it out below:

VIDEO – Behind the Scenes of Vortex EDGE – First Look!

Vortex posted: “If you can’t travel to our campus, you can still experience Vortex EDGE. We’ll be regularly releasing videos and content, and we’ll be active on social media celebrating all things firearms training.”

Vortex Edge Training facility Wisconsin

Vortex Edge Training facility WisconsinVortex Edge Training facility Wisconsin

The 100-yard Indoor Range is ideal for load development and accuracy testing. Three-time F-TR National Champion Ian Klemm, who works for Vortex, told us: “If someone asked me to describe my dream job, I’d probably depict some magical place where I could do serious 100-yard indoor load development and rifle tuning whenever I wanted. Well, for the last three years while the Vortex EDGE facility was being completed, that’s exactly what it’s been like and we’re all excited to finally be able to share it with the rest of the Vortex Nation. I’m extremely grateful to work for the kind of company that would want to build this facility in order to share it with our customers. Come visit us and I bet you’ll at least leave with the best ‘no wind zero’ you’ve ever had on your rifle!”

There is a 1000-yard outdoor range, plus multiple indoor facilities including a 100-yard range, 50-yard indoor “tactical” range, 25-yard tactical range, a LEO/Military “Shoot House”, and even a simulator room with VirTra 300® interactive video.

Vortex Edge Training facility Wisconsin

Along with the training areas, the EDGE center includes a classroom, cleaning/locker area, and a commercial showroom. Go to VortexEdge.com to learn more about the facility and class offerings. On that website, you’ll also find EDGE Instructor Bios.

Vortex Edge Training facility Wisconsin

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March 2nd, 2021

Upgrade Your Tikka T3 with Criterion Pre-Fit Barrel

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

We have always liked Tikka actions, and now there is a great re-barreling option for Tikka T3 owners. Criterion Barrels Inc. (CBI), makers of “pre-fit” barrels for Savage, Remington, and Rem-clone actions, also produces Tikka pre-fits. These pre-chambered barrels for Tikka T3 actions will be headspaced with a barrel nut, just like a Savage.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels
Click image for full-screen version

Criterion’s Tikka T3 pre-fit barrels are currently sold through Solid Accuracy, a respected Texas-based outfit that sells high-end scopes, stocks, barrels and other rifle components. Solid Accuracy states: “Each Solid Accuracy/Criterion pre-fit barrel features a hand-lapped bore and meets extreme quality control standards. Utilizing a proven barrel nut design, these barrels can be swapped in just a few minutes using only a barrel nut wrench and the appropriate headspace gauge set. Solid Accuracy offers finished lengths up to 30″ with multiple contour options.”

These Tikka pre-fits were first introduced in 2017, and the accuracy results were impressive. Solid Accuracy’s initial test rifle featured a Tikka T3 action mounted in a KRG X-Ray chassis, with Criterion barrel chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. The group below was shot with a stout load of H4350 and Sierra 140 grain MatchKings seated .009″ in the lands.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

Criterion is proud of how well the Tikka pre-fit project turned out. These barrels work great in the Tikka platform. One of Criterion’s staffers was so impressed with the initial test results that he is built his own Tikka T3 rifle, with a Criterion pre-fit of course…

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March 2nd, 2021

Never Do This! — Gun Preserving Advice from Jerry Miculek

Jerry Miculek gun video handling safety error garand sks AR15 revolver

Jerry Miculek is the best action revolver shooter who has ever lived. Miculek is also a true master with rifle and shotgun. This guy shoots hundreds of thousands of rounds every year in all types of firearms. Through that process, he has discovered common mistakes many shooters make. Those mistakes can harm the guns, or threaten the safety of the operator. Here Jerry offers some vital gun handling and safety advice in his “Never Do This” video series.

Jerry Miculek has won multiple revolvers championships, and has set amazing records for revolver speed shooting (with reloads). Yes Jerry, “Mr. Revolver”, knows a thing or two about wheelguns. In this video, Jerry explains how you can damage your revolver by using the wrong methods to open and close the cylinder and extract ammo. Jerry shows what NOT to do, and then he very carefully explains the proper procedure to release the cylinder, and swing it out of the frame. In addition, Jerry shows how best to swing a loaded cyclinder back into place. If you own a revolver, ANY revolver, you should definitely watch this video.

In this second video, Jerry explains common mistakes people make when handling and shooting three classic, semi-auto firearm types — the M1 Garand, the SKS carbine, and the M1911 pistol. Jerry shows handling faults that can cause out-of-battery detonation or early primer strikes, or cause jams in the Garand and SKS. Then Jerry explains why you should never release the slide on a M1911 pistol with a round already in the chamber. This is a must-watch video for Garand owners.

Here Jerry demonstrates of the most common jams that can happen with AR-platform rifles. Miculek reveals the cause of the issue and then shows how to prevent it. Jerry notes: “This is one of those malfunctions that you won’t see coming! I’ve seen it … on the range and it can be devastating to your time in a match. All ammo used in the video were dummy rounds and intentionally loaded for training without powder or primers.”

Jerry Miculek gun video handling safety error garand sks AR15 revolver

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March 1st, 2021

Bargain Finder 284: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. MidwayUSA — Crimson Trace 5-Series Tactical Scope Sale

bushnell scope sale
Very good value — superb FFP optics for PRS/NRL applications

Here are great deals on high-quality First Focal Plane MilRad optics, ideal for PRS/NRL tactical applications. These high-tech Crimson Trace scopes are HALF OFF now. Grab the 3-24x56mm for $889.50 (50% OFF) or the 3-18x50mm for $799.48 (49% OFF). Both feature 34mm main tubes, tons of elevation, and advanced MR1-MIL Advanced illuminated reticles. We’ve looked through these optics and they have good glass and nice controls. These scopes feature EZ Mount Leveling Indicators for quick, precise mounting. All Crimson Trace scopes come with FREE Batteries For Life and a Lifetime Protection Warranty.

2. WEN — WEN 56380i Inverter Generator, $649.99 ($95 OFF)

wen inverter generator
Avoid winter outages — high-quality, high-output generator

This year the Pacific NW and Texas were hit with major, once-in-50-year ice storms that caused massive power outages. (In fact the Editor’s brother was without power for 9 straight days in Oregon.) If keeping the lights on, being able to charge devices, and staying warm is important to you then you NEED a generator. Check out the WEN 56380i 3800-Watt RV-Ready Portable Inverter Generator with fuel shut-Off and electric start. Assembled in the USA, WEN generators boast critical shut-off features to prevent damage, along with important fuel/load gauges. Order one before the next storm catches you off-guard.

3. Creedmoor Sports — Lapua Cartridge Brass In Stock

lapua rifle brass
Get top-quality Lapua brass now without back-orders

Quality reloading components continue to be tough to find, especially for popular calibers. But if you need cases, visit Creedmoor Sport for premium Lapua Rifle Brass . Creedmoor Sports currently has a very wide selection of cartridge types in stock and ready to ship. As of 3/1/2021, you’ll find Lapua brass in the popular .223 Rem, 6mmBR, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×284, .260 Rem, .308 Win and more, at reasonable prices.

4. Midsouth — Lock-N-Load Case Prep Duo, $54.14

hornady lock n load prep duo
Very handy, versatile unit performs multiple tasks

This Hornady Lock-N-Load Case Prep Duo lets you accomplish case deburring, chamfering, and primer pocket cleaning all with one affordable power tool. This cordless unit features has a unique twin spindle head that runs the deburrer and chamferer at the same time — that’s handy. And HERE’s a big bonus — you can take off the dual head, swivel the grip, and convert the tool into a handy single-shaft driver you can use for multiple tasks, such as running the 21st Century neck lathe. Check out this review that showcases everything this versatile Hornady Tool can do.

5. EuroOptic — Vortex Spitfire HD Scope Sale, Save up to $200

Vortex spitfire scope sale
Great choice for action shooting and defense rifles — fast reticle design

Vortex spitfire scope saleWish you could have the best of a red dot scope and a magnified optic all in one? Take a look at the Vortex Spitfire HD Red Prism Scopes. These quality scopes feature 3X or 5X magnification, and illuminated reticles with hold-overs. The clutter-free reticle allows FAST target acquisition, making these great for both 3-Gun games and defensive use. And the night illumination is great for hunting use. The 5X model is discounted $200 from $649.99 to $499.00, while the 3X model is $150 off, discounted from $599.99 to $349.99.

NOTE: If you want the widest field of view with no magnification (for short-range disciplines), Vortex also offers the 1X-AR Prism scope for $249.99, $100 off.

6. Sportsmans Warehouse — Savage B22 FV-SR 22LR, $319.99

Savage B22 FV-SR 22LR
Patriotic Stars and Stripes version — nice features for the price

Looking for an accurate .22 LR bolt-action rifle at a good price? Check out the Savage B22 FV-SR 22LR Special Edition a Sportsman’s Warehouse exclusive. The B22 FV-SR has an ergonomically-designed stock, with a high comb more vertical grip. This allows shooters to hold the rifle in a more natural position that puts less pressure on the wrist. The B22 FV-SR features a heavy-contour, suppressor-ready barrel, Picatinny scope rail, and adjustable AccuTrigger.

7. Amazon — Padded 64″x21″ Roll-Up Shooting Mat, $35.99

padded roll up shooting mat
Affordable padded mat rolls up for easy transport

Being comfortable when shooting prone is really important for good results. So you’ll want a good mat that offers some padding along with plenty of room for your gear. If you need an inexpensive mat that checks all the boxes, check out the Redneck Convent Shooters Mat Padded Roll Up Mat . Measuring 64 inches by 21 inches it boasts plenty of room and features 1/2″ padding top to bottom. This mat rolls up for easy storage/transport (Rolled size is 21″x8″) with handy built-in rolling straps. This is also available in Black for $31.99 or Green for $39.99.

8. Amazon — Twod Front and Rear Sandbag Set, $12.99

front rest shooting bags
Very low cost bag set for basic rifle or pistol support

front rest shooting bagsDo you need a simple sandbag support for hunting or sighting-in rifles? Or perhaps you want to try NRL22 but don’t way to spend much on fancy bags. This Twod Shooting Rest Combo offers front and rear bags for just $12.99. These user-fillable bags are made from heavy material. The guns rest on a soft leather top section. There is also a Camo Version of this Twod twin-bag set for $14.99 on Amazon.

9. Amazon — Roxant Viper 10×25 Pocket Scope, $22.95

roxant viper pocket scope
Decent lens, nice molded exterior, weighs just 2.9 ounces

If you want a simple, lightweight easy-to-carry optic, you may want to consider a monocular. This unit will fit in a coat pocket and is very inexpensive. With its compact form factor, 10X magnification, and durable coating, the Roxant Viper 10x25mm Pocket Scope offers good function for the $22.95 price. With minimal 2.9 oz. carry weight and a compact size, this can be a very handy optic for hunters and hikers. This 10X scope has 65% 5-star and 15% 4-star purchaser ratings. However, a few buyers experienced problems with a cloudy lens. If you purchase, inspect the unit carefully during the eligible return period.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, Optics, Tactical 2 Comments »
February 28th, 2021

Wow Factor: Muzzle Brake Blast Patterns Revealed

Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Test Blast Powder

A while back, the Precision Rifle Blog conducted a fascinating study of Muzzle Brakes. PRB figured out a way to show the actual “blast pattern” of gasses ejecting from the ports of muzzle brakes. The result was a fascinating (and eye-catching) series of images revealing the distinctive gas outflows of 20+ different types of muzzle brakes. If you are considering buying and installing a muzzle brake on your rifle, you should definitely review this important PRB Muzzle Brake Test.

GO to PRB Muzzle Brake Blast Pattern TEST PAGE »

For a prone shooter, particularly on dusty, dirty or sandy ground, muzzle blast is a major bummer. Muzzle blast can be very disturbing — not just for the trigger-puller but for persons on either side of the gun as well. Some muzzle brakes send a huge shockwave back towards the shooter, and others send blast towards the ground, kicking dirt and debris into the prone shooter’s face. If there was a way to illustrate those factors — shockwave and debris — that might help shooters select one brake design over another.

Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Test Blast Powder

Cal Zant at PrecisionRifleBlog.com applied a unique blend of creativity and resourcefulness to try to answer that question for 20+ muzzle brakes. Using high-speed photography and household products, he captured the blast pattern of 20+ different brake designs for easy side-by-side comparison. Can you figure out how Cal managed to show muzzle brake blasts so clearly? His “hi-viz” solution, revealed in the article, is very clever. See the eye-opening results for 20+ brakes, with illustrative photos, by visiting the Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Ground Signature Test Page.

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February 27th, 2021

Fundamentals of Marksmanship — Learn from a Champion

USAMU Basic Riflemans Course SFC Brandon Green High Power Shooting Training

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has produced an excellent series of videos covering the Basic Rifleman’s Course. If you are getting started in High Power shooting, or want to improve your position shooting skills, this series is well worth watching. And these videos are not just for service rifle shooters — even bench shooters can benefit from these videos, particularly Part 5, which explains how to estimate wind speed and direction. The lead instructor for these videos is SFC Brandon Green, three-time National High Power Champion, and 2017 Service Rifle Champion. When SFC Green talks, you should listen.

SFC Brandon Green is a shooting superstar. Green won his third NRA National High Power Rifle Championship in 2018 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. He dominated the HP Championship cycle, finishing eight points and ten Xs ahead of his nearest competitor. Brandon also won High Power National Championships in 2015 and 2013. One of the greatest marksmen in the nation’s history, SFC Green excels at all positions, both rapid-fire and slow-fire.

Part 5 — Wind and Weather Estimation (Very Useful for All Shooters)


Note: This video includes a hit location “target analysis” in the first 6 minutes.

Part 4 — Minute of Angle Explained

Part 3 — Ballistics and Zeroing

Part 2 — Positions, Sight Alignment, and Natural Point of Aim (Very Useful)

USAMU Basic Riflemans Course SFC Brandon Green High Power Shooting Training

Part 1 — Aiming and Sight Picture

SFC Brandon Green 2017 CMP Camp Perry USAMU Service Rifle
SFC Brandon Green (left above) has set multiple National Records at Camp Perry.

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February 24th, 2021

MDT Offers New 26-ounce HNT26 Carbon Hunting Chassis

MDT Modular Driven Technologies HNT26 MDT chassis carbon fiber light-weight

Modular Driven Tecnologies (MDT), known for its rifle chassis systems for PRS/NRL disciplines, has a new ultra-lightweight chassis for hunters. The new HNT26 Chassis System is MDT’s first truly purpose-built hunting chassis. The HNT26 weighs a mere 26 ounces for the fixed model, a few ounces more for the folding-stock version. This new hunting chassis includes V-Block bedding, LOP and comb adjustment, and a “snag free design” to help hunters moving through brush. The HNT26 chassis will be offered in a Cerekote finish in either Black Carbon Fiber or Cobalt Green starting at $1299.95. Ini

MDT Modular Driven Technologies HNT26 MDT chassis carbon fiber light-weight

The MDT HNT26 Chassis is constructed with a magnesium alloy base, carbon fiber fore-end, carbon fiber grip, and foam-filled carbon fiber buttstock. The HNT26 chassis will fit: Rem 700 Short Action (and clones), Rem 700 Long Action CIP 3.850 (and clones), Savage Short Action, Savage Long Action CIP 3.850, Tikka T3 Short Action and Tikka T3 Long Action. Initially, these are all right bolt version only.

CLICK photo to see full-screen BIG version.
MDT Modular Driven Technologies HNT26 MDT chassis carbon fiber light-weight

Tripod Compatibility with ARCA rail: “With the increased number of hunters using ARCA tripods, we have included an option to choose a carbon fiber fore-end with an integral ARCA rail, as well as a foldable buttstock version for compact storage.”

MDT Modular Driven Technologies HNT26 MDT chassis carbon fiber light-weight
MDT Modular Driven Technologies HNT26 MDT chassis carbon fiber light-weight

MDT HNT26 Hunting Chassis System SPECIFICATIONS:

Ultralight design weighs between 26 oz. and 31 oz. depending on configuration
V-Block bedding system with free floating barrels up to 1.25″ diameter
Fixed and folding buttstock version available (folding 31 oz.)
Chassis body machined from AZ61A magnesium alloy
Carbon fiber-enclosed fore-end with MLOK, QD mount, Sling Swivel Mount
Foam-filled carbon fiber buttstock deadens sound and vibrations
Low profile mag latch integrates seamlessly into trigger guard
Option for ARCA rail integrated into carbon fiber fore-end
Compatible with AICS-style mags (MDT 3-RD Polymer mag fits flush)
Front and rear sling swivel mounts and front and rear QD
Vertically adjustable cheek riser with soft touch foam pad
Accepts AR Grips and MDT ultra lightweight carbon fiber grip
12.5” minimum LOP with adjustable spacer system
Titanium action / grip screws

MDT Modular Driven Technologies HNT26 MDT chassis carbon fiber light-weight

The MDT HNT26 Chassis System is sold as a complete chassis kit including magnesium alloy base, foam filled carbon fiber buttstock, carbon fiber enclosed fore-end and a carbon fiber grip. Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) is precision rifle chassis manufacturer with offices and production in Chilliwack, BC Canada and Everson, WA USA.

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February 24th, 2021

Precision Rifle Challenge on Shooting USA TV Today

Shooting USA hornady precision rifle challenge Utah 2020 AccurateShooter

Precision Rifle Challenge on Shooting USA This Week
This week, Shooting USA TV features a show that should interest PRS/NRL fans, tactical marksmen, and long range hunters. Run in Utah’s backcountry, the Hornady Precision Rifle Challenge is a unique long range competition with serious wind and elevation changes.

This was a big match with 177 competitors at Hornady’s private 250,000 acre ranch property outside of Evanston, Wyoming, across the state line in Utah.

This isn’t a typical PRS Pro Series match by any means. Participants in this challenging Precision Rifle match encounter tough conditions not typically seen in other tactical matches.

Shooting USA hornady precision rifle challenge Utah 2020 AccurateShooter

This video is great — lots of equipment closeups, stage set-ups, plus drone footage of range.

Shooting USA hornady precision rifle challenge Utah 2020 AccurateShooter

This Shooting USA episode airs Wednesday, February 24, 2021, at 9:00 PM Eastern (8:00 PM Central) on the Outdoor Channel. If you miss that, it runs again on Thursday afternoon. In addition, you can watch all episodes of Shooting USA on the VIMEO channel by subscription. Each episode is just $0.99.

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February 23rd, 2021

Practical Tactical — Training Video Series with Ryan Cleckner

practical PRS NRL shooting tactical rifle videos ryan cleckner

Former Army Ranger sniper instructor Ryan Cleckner is the author of the best-selling Long Range Shooting Handbook. Cleckner hosts a series of videos that cover shooting techniques appropriate for tactical and PRS-type disciplines. Here are five short videos that cover various aspects of shooting techniques and rifle set-up. We think PRS/NRL competitors (and long-range hunters) can benefit from these videos.

“Consistency is the key to accuracy.

You need to think about a system of how you’re going to shoot that is not only comfortable, but [is] repeatable when you’re shooting.” — Ryan Cleckner

In this first video, Cleckner explains proper scope position. Ryan finds that some shooters place the scope too far forward or too far rearward. If the scope is too far back you may have issues with eye relief and stock reach to shoulder. If it is too far forward, you may have cheek-weld problems or get neck strain.

Cleckner offers a simple method to check your scope position: “To see if your scope is set up properly … close your eyes, lay your head on your gun, get completely comfortable, and only when you are set-up, then open your eyes. If you can’t see clearly through your scope, CHANGE something [such as comb height or scope position]”. “When you open your eyes, if you see some scope shadow [i.e. the black ring around the edge of the scope picture], figure out which way you need to move your head to get rid of that shadow, and then make adjustments to either your position, the rifle, or the scope.”

Cleckner prefers shooting off a bag when in the prone position, when that is practical. The bag provides a more stable support than a small Harris-type bipod, doesn’t require pre-loading the rifle, and there is less bounce or hop on recoil.

Former Army Ranger sniper team leader Ryan Cleckner explains how important it is to keep your rifle straight up and down when long-range precision shooting. Cleckner demonstrates with an AR-10 modern sporting rifle how slight cant to your rifle can cause a miss over long distances.

Here Cleckner covers some of the basic points of trigger control on tactical-style rifles. These basic principles apply to both single-stage and two-stage triggers. NOTE: For benchrest rigs, with ultra-light pull weights, more refined techniques may be appropriate.

In tactical events, when you’re shooting on the clock and loading from a detachable magazine, you should manipulate the bolt smoothly but strongly. Here Cleckner demonstrates how to cycle a tactical-type rifle. He says, “You should be running the bolt on your rifle with authority. Run it like you mean it!” NOTE: Completely different techniques are appropriate for custom benchrest rifles that manually feed.

Long Range Shooting Handbook — A Good Resource
Cleckner’s Long Range Shooting Handbook covers a wide range of topics important for precision marksmanship — both shooting skills and technical matters. You can view Sample Chapters from Ryan’s Book on Amazon.com. Cleckner’s book is designed as an intro to key concepts such as MOA vs. Mils, External Ballistics, and Environmental Effects. Included are personal tips and advice based on Cleckner’s years of experience as a sniper instructor and special operations sniper.

The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter.

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February 22nd, 2021

AR-15 Critical Failure — Bolt Breaks into Two Pieces

AR15 AR-15 Bolt failure Broken AR Bolt Police Department

A while back, our friend Dennis Santiago was conducting training for a Southern California Police Department. During a training session one of the unit’s AR15s stopped functioning. The problem — the bolt in the AR rifle broke in half. Dennis states: “They ran the gun dry, broke for lunch, shot it again. They don’t like that. I personally like to flood the bolt wet with lube on training days. It prevents stuff like this. Given that, it’s a simple remove-and-replace fix.”

AR15 AR-15 Bolt failure Broken AR Bolt Police Department

Here are some of the more interesting comments about this parts failure — an AR bolt that literally sheared in half:

“If I was a betting man [the steel] wasn’t made by Carpenter Steel. They are one of the few companies that use the correct [milspec-steel, C-158] called out on the drawing which they coincidentally developed. Most of the other companies that make [AR Bolts] use different steel with the same heat treat specification as what is called out which gives them the potential of being a little on the brittle side at the upper end of the tolerance. When it comes to the AR platform, bolts are probably the only part of the entire gun where I must admit to being a little bit of a brand snob.” David O’N.

[Editor’s Note: Actually Carpenter Steel does not make AR bolts. They are a steel supplier, and yes Carpenter did develop the original C-158 steel for AR bolts. Here is a contrary view, claiming that AISI 9310 Steel is actually stronger than milspec Carpenter C-158: 9310 Steel for AR Bolts.]

“Dry bolt and carrier shouldn’t cause that. Looks like a big pressure spike. What kind of ammo…?” Guy G.
Reply from Dennis: “55gr factory ammo. Piles of it.

“Is that the new two-piece bolt everyone’s been talking about LOL?” — Darren R.

“Let me guess…the PD called you in cause they didn’t know why it stopped going ‘pew pew’?” — Jim O.
Reply from Dennis: “I was there today for qualifications. It broke during the rifle phase. Simple enough to fish the bolt parts out of the action. The training didn’t miss a beat. I have an armory full of the things.”

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February 19th, 2021

Long Range Grad School Podcast with Bryan Litz & Emil Praslick

Long Range Grad School Podcast Guns magazine Bryan Litz Emil Praslick III Wind coaching ballistics

Applied Ballistics Founder Bryan Litz and Former USAMU and Team USA coach Emil Praslick III share their wisdom in an informative Guns Magazine Podcast. Along with being a true ballistics guru, Bryan Litz is an outstanding competitive shooter, having won F-TR National Championships, and both Sling and F-TR divisions at the Berger SW Nationals, along with many other matches. Emil is considered one of the world’s great wind-readers and team coaches, having coached 20+ championship teams.

Guns Magazine podcast host Brent Wheat asks Bryan and Emil about multiple topics including: exterior ballistics, bullet design, wind reading, ballistic solvers, BC myths, and more.

Brent reports: “Together, Bryan and Emil understand what happens from the time a bullet leaves the muzzle until it impacts the target, including the atmospheric affects along the way. Grab a pencil, listen in, and get ready to take notes.”

This Long Range Grad School podcast features Berger’s Chief Ballistician, Bryan Litz, and Berger’s Emil Praslick. Both have extensive long range competitive shooting experience, with championship titles (as shooter and/or coach) in a multitude of long range disciplines. CLICK arrow below to start podcast audio:

Long Range Grad School Podcast Guns magazine Bryan Litz Emil Praslick III Wind coaching ballistics

Emil Praslick (left) confers with Bryan Litz (right) at King of 2 Miles ELR Event.
Bryan Litz KO2M ELR podcast wind reading

In this Video Emil Praslick explains his methods for determining wind direction.

Bryan Litz coaching Team USA in Canada using a WIND PLOT.

Bryan Litz at 2011 World Long Range (Palma) Championships in Brisbane, Australia
Long Range Grad School Podcast Guns magazine Bryan Litz Emil Praslick III Wind coaching ballistics

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February 18th, 2021

Genesis of a Tactical Rifle — The Process of Creation

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

How is a modern, metal-chassis rifle built? This very cool video from Masterpiece Arms answers that question. The nicely-edited video shows the creation of a Masterpiece Arms tactical rifle from start to finish. All aspects of the manufacturing process are illustrated: 3D CAD modeling, CNC milling of the chassis, barrel threading/contouring, chamber-reaming, barrel lapping, laser engraving, and stock coating. If you love to see machines at work, you will enjoy this video…

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

masterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CADmasterpiece arms tactical rifle gunsmithing milling CNC CAD

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February 14th, 2021

Cantastic Video — How a Suppressor is Constructed

SilencerCo suppressor manufacturing production video Assembly

Watch this video to see how a sound suppressor (aka “silencer”, “moderator”, or “can”) is constructed, start to finish. It’s more complicated than you might expect — there are quite a few stages in the process. The video below shows the fabrication of a SilencerCo Octane 45 suppressor:

SilencerCo writes: “What, exactly, goes into making a silencer? It may be more than you’d expect. From cutting metal to chemical baths, to extensive quality control every step of the way, our streamlined process is more than just a few steps. Watch our newest video, HOW IT’S MADE: Octane 45, to catch a glimpse behind SilencerCo’s doors.”

SilencerCo suppressor
Photo courtesy UltimateReloader.com.

suppressor fact and fiction moderator silencer

How Loud Are Unsuppressed Rifles?
Firearms Are Loud — 140 dB to 175 dB. ASHA explains: “Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level. Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB. Firing guns in a place where sounds can reverberate, or bounce off walls and other structures, can make noises louder and increase the risk of hearing loss. Also, adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can make the firearm louder. People who do not wear hearing protection while shooting can suffer a severe hearing loss with as little as one shot[.]” Source: ASHA, Recreational Firearm Noise Exposure.

How Much Does a Good Suppressor Really Reduce Firearm Sound Levels?
That depends on the rifle, the cartridge, and the effectiveness of the suppressor. American Hunter explains: “Suppressors retard the speed of propellant gases from the cartridge that rapidly expand and rush out of the barrel. It’s these gases that produce the loud boom that’s heard for miles. A suppressor’s series of internal baffles slows these gases so they are not all released at once, thereby muffling the sound.” Many good commercial suppressors can achieve 30-35 dB sound suppression. However, Zak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms says: “There are a bunch of manufacturers who publish values that are not reproducible, or use an ad-hoc test instead of a mil-spec test. In many cases we’ve tested the exact same suppressors they’ve advertised with 30-40 dB reductions and found they are actually in the high 20s instead.”

Again, for this reason, we recommend that hunters use ear protection, such as electronic muffs, even when shooting suppressed.

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February 13th, 2021

9mm Carry Pistol Comparison: Glock, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson

Sig P365 Glock 43 Smith Wesson Shield 9mm 9x19mm luger pistol

Over the past year, large-scale social unrest and calls to “defund the police” inspired millions of Americans to buy their very first handguns. Pistol sales set new records. Americans were looking to acquire handguns for personal protection, both in the home and while away from the house. Thus, many folks are looking for slim, relatively lightweight pistols that can be carried comfortably and discretely. There are dozens of carry guns on the market currently. Here are three good choices, as reviewed by our friends at GunsAmerica.com. In this article, we cover three of the best “micro-compact” 9mm pistols: SIG Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson Shield, and the Glock 43.

GunsAmerica Review of SIG P365, S&W Shield, and Glock 43 »

After looking at a variety of factors, including accuracy, reliability, ergonomics, build quality, size/weight, and price, GunsAmerica’s tester Jeff Cramblit concluded that the SIG P365 was the best of the three: “Bottom Line — The SIG P365 wins this shootout in my humble opinion. The MSRP of $599 is a bit higher than the other guns but SIG brings a bit more to the game. The outstanding grip design, higher capacity, great sights, lighter trigger pull, smaller length, light weight and just a great overall feel make it a winning product. The other two guns are great, they have been the cornerstones of concealed carry for many years, and I have personally carried both of them, but SIG has changed the game.”

Choosing a Carry Pistol — Performance, Reliability, Value
This Editor owns two SIG Sauer pistols, a P226 and P232. Both are “old school” metal-framed handguns. I can attest to their quality and reliability over many years. So I’m not surprised to see that SIG’s new P365 took top honors in this recent test. But I also think the Smith & Wesson Shield also offers excellent value for the dollar. The S&W 9mm Shield is ON SALE now for $289.99 at Palmetto State Armory.

This YouTube Video Compares the SIG P365 and the S&W Shield

Accuracy with Various Ammo
In the GunsAmerica Test, the SIG P365 had the best accuracy, based on five (5) different types of 9x19mm ammo shot off-hand at 25 yards. The SIG’s average 5-shot, 25-yard group size was 1.45″, vs. 1.7″ for the Glock 43, and 2.1″ for the S&W Shield. The P365’s accuracy edge may be due in part to its lighter, 5.1-lb trigger pull compared to 6 lbs. for the S&W Shield, and 6.25 lbs. for the Glock 43.

Sig P365 Glock 43 Smith Wesson Shield 9mm 9x19mm luger pistolDimensions — Width and Weights
Size matters — particularly when it comes to a carry pistol. The S&W Shield is the narrowest of the three guns at 1.03″ wide vs. 1.11″ for the P365 and 1.36″ for the Glock 43. Though it has the highest round capacity, the SIG P365 actually has the smallest grip circumference and grip depth. Weight-wise, the Glock 43, at 18 oz. unloaded, is the lightest. The SIG P365 is 18.8 oz., while S&W Shield is the heaviest at 20.5 oz. weight.

Capacity — SIG P365 Has the Edge
The SIG P365, holding 10+1 rounds, has the highest ammo capacity. This is remarkable as the P365 has the smallest grip circumference of the three pistols. Kudos to SIG for clever design. The S&W Shield has an 8+1 capacity, while the Glock 43 only holds 6+1. Advantage SIG.

Sig P365 Glock 43 Smith Wesson Shield 9mm 9x19mm luger pisto

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February 13th, 2021

Triggers for AR Platform Rifles — Single-Stage and Two-Stage

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

AR-platform rifles are fun and versatile, but the standard, mil-spec triggers leave much to be desired. They tend to be gritty, with creep and heavy pull weight. One of the easiest, most effective AR upgrades is a trigger group swap. An improved fire control group makes a huge difference. There are many aftermarket trigger options for the AR platform rifles. Choose single-stage or two-stage, either standard trigger assembly or unitized “drop-in” trigger, such as those made by Timney or Triggertech.

Read Full AR Trigger Article in NRA Blog HERE »

AR15 Space Gun trigger
When upgraded with a precision trigger and match barrel, AR-platform rigs work great in NRA High Power competitions (Photo from NRA Blog, at Camp Perry).

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stageTwo-Stage vs. Single-Stage Triggers
Two-stage triggers have two separate movements. The first stage offers a light, spring-loaded pressure that works against the shooter’s pull until stopping at the second stage – this is called “take-up”. If there is no spring pressure, it is known as “slack”. Should the shooter continue to pull the trigger once he’s arrived at the second stage, the mechanism will operate like a single-stage trigger from there until engaging the sear and firing the gun. Some shooters prefer a two-stage trigger because it allows a mental preparation (first stage) before the final decision to “break the shot”.

Single-stage triggers feature no take-up or slack, as they begin engaging the sear as soon as the shooter begins pulling the trigger. Some competitive shooters prefer the two-stage trigger because of the feedback it provides during its first stage, while other shooters, including those using their rifle in tactical scenarios, may want the surety of a single-stage trigger, ready to engage and fire once their finger is inside the trigger guard. Regardless of preference, a good trigger will feature minimal creep and should be free of grittiness, providing a smooth, even break.

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

Drop-In Trigger Assembly vs. Standard Trigger Group
Once you decide between a single-stage or two-stage trigger, you can choose between standard and drop-in trigger groups. Standard trigger groups feature all the fire control group parts separated, and need to be pieced together and installed much like a mil-spec trigger, while drop-in trigger are pre-assembled and contained within a casing that simply drops in to the receiver and accepts the pins, hence the name.

After-Market Trigger Comparison

Some shooters prefer drop-in triggers due to the ease of installation, while others opt for standard groups so they can access the components individually for cleaning adjustment or replacement. If one piece of a drop-in trigger fails, you’ll need to either replace the entire unit or send it to the manufacturer for repair, whereas you may be able to simply replace the broken component of a standard trigger without needing a whole new trigger set.

Trigger Terminology — “Creep”, “Stacking”, “Overtravel”
“Creep” or “travel” is the distance the trigger moves between the end of take-up and when the trigger breaks to fire the fun. Too much creep can affect accuracy, but no creep can be unsafe, as the shooter may not be prepared to fire. “Stacking” occurs when the trigger weight actually increases during travel — this shouldn’t happen. Lastly, “overtravel” is the distance the trigger continues moving back after the gun fires.

This article is based on a longer story in the NRA Blog.

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February 12th, 2021

.223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm NATO — What You Need to Know

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

Probably the most popular centerfire rifle round in the Western Hemisphere is the .223 Remington and its metric match, the 5.56x45mm. Though many folks use “.223 Rem” and “5.56×45″ interchangeably, there are some meaningful differences in specifications for the original .223 Rem and the 5.56x45mm cartridge, as adopted by the U.S. military and NATO armies. The default chamber throats are slightly different and the .223 Rem is rated at 55,000 PSI vs. 62,366 PSI for the 5.56x45mm.*

.223 Rem vs 5.56x45mm — Key Differences
There is a truly outstanding, very thorough article on the subject, published by LuckyGunner.com.** This involved extensive testing, with pressure monitors, of 5.56x45mm ammo in .223 Rem chambers. Those tests revealed the peak pressures. Here is one of the ammo test charts:

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

NOTE: “The observed chamber pressure for Federal XM855 5.56mm ammunition in a .223 Rem chamber exceeded .223 maximum pressures, but not by a massive amount. The ninth shot (the red line) was an underpowered cartridge which exhibited significantly lower velocity and pressure than the other rounds, so it was excluded from the average velocity and pressure numbers for this chamber.”

And if you’re curious, LuckyGunner also fired .223 Rem ammo in a 5.56x45mm NATO-chambered AR15 rifle. As you would expect, the peak pressures were significantly lower, but the .223 Rem ammo still cycled the semi-auto AR-platform rifle perfectly well:

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

READ FULL LuckyGunner .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm ARTICLE »

UltimateReloader.com Explains .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm
To explain the key differences between the .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm cartridges our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has created a very thorough 12-minute video. This covers the cartridge specifications and explains key considerations for hand-loaders. Gavin also addresses the oft-asked question “Can I shoot 5.56x45mm ammo in my .223 Rem chamber?” Gavin’s video is definitely worth watching. In fact, this is one of the most popular videos Gavin has ever created — it has been watched nearly 4.5 million times on YouTube.

What Exactly Is the 5.56x45mm NATO Cartridge?
The 5.56×45mm NATO is a rimless bottle-necked intermediate cartridge family standardized by NATO with development work by FN Herstal. It consists of the SS109, SS110, and SS111 cartridges. Under STANAG 4172, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.

Bullet diameter: 5.70 mm (0.224 in)
Maximum pressure (EPVAT): 430.00 MPa (62,366 psi)
Maximum pressure (SCATP 5.56): 380.00 MPa (55,114 psi)
Case length: 44.70 mm (1.760 in)
Rifling twist: 178 mm or 229 mm (1 in 7 in)
Parent case: .223 Remington (M193)

Ammo-Maker Federal Premium Compares .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm
Here is a video from ammo-maker Federal Premium explaining the difference between .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm NATO. Federal states that you may experience excessive pressures when firing a 5.56x45mm in a standard .223 Remington chamber:

One leading gunwriter has addressed the question of shooting 5.56x45mm ammo in .223 Rem chambers. He advocates caution (for more info, SEE pressure tests by LuckyGunner.com):

“I have received a slew of questions — many from first time AR-type rifle buyers — about the .223 Rem and the 5.56×45 mm NATO cartridges. Can I shoot 5.56×45 mm NATO in my .223 and vice-versa? Are these the same cartridge?

Externally, the two cartridge cases are identical. The main differences are that 5.56×45 mm NATO operates at a higher chamber pressure (about 60,000 PSI versus 55,000 PSI on the .223 Rem.) and the 5.56’s chamber is slightly larger than that of the .223 Rem. Also, the throat or leade is longer in the 5.56×45 mm chamber. What does this mean? You should not shoot 5.56×45 mm NATO out of a rifle that is chambered in .223 Rem [with a standard short throat]. And be aware that some .223 Rem ammunition will not reliably cycle through some AR-style .223 Rem rifles, but it usually does. As a matter of fact, I have not encountered any difficulty with current .223 Rem. loads cycling through a 5.56 mm AR-style rifle.” — Mark Keefe, Editor, American Rifleman


* According to the official NATO proofing guidelines, the 5.56×45mm NATO case can handle up to 430.0 MPa (62,366 psi) piezo service pressure. The U.S. SAAMI lists Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) for the .223 Remington cartridge as 55,000 psi (379.2 MPa) piezo pressure with deviation of up to 58,000 psi (399.9 MPa). The chamber for military 5.56×45mm NATO has a longer throat prior to the bullet contacting the rifling which results in lower pressures when firing 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition. If 5.56×45mm NATO is used in rifles chambered for .223 Remington the bullet will be engraving the rifling when chambered. which can increase pressures past SAAMI Max levels. NOTE: The C.I.P. standards for the C.I.P. civilian .223 Remington chamber are much closer to the military 5.56×45mm NATO chamber.

** The full-length LuckyGunner article is well worth reading. It even provides specifications for a number of .223 Rem reamer types, and compares the original .223 Rem, the 5.56x45mm NATO, and the modern .223 Wylde chamberings.

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February 8th, 2021

Bargain Finder 281: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Brownells — Radical Firearms AR-15 with 16″ Barrel, $669.99

radical firearms brownells AR AR-15 AR15 SOCOM .223 Rem 5.56
Good AR value given current market, very trustworthy seller

We know many readers are looking to add a basic .223/5.56 AR to their collection. Many vendors are pretty much sold out of complete rifles, but we found a good deal at Brownells. The Radical Firearms 16″ SOCOM 5.56mm AR-15 rifle uses MIL-STD Upper and lower receivers. The metal free-float handguard offers a 12″ RPR top rail providing plenty of options for optics and accessories. The MFT Grip and MFT Stock provide a comfortable hold on the rifle. Complete price is $669.99. Sights and/or optics sold separately.

2. Grafs.com — Redding Dies in Stock!

sig sauer scope sale
Very large selection of Redding Dies — your search ends here

Graf & Sons just received a large shipment of Redding Reloading Dies — both sizing and seating dies. You’ll find a large selection of types, basic sets as well as micrometer seaters and bushing FL dies. Graf’s has Redding dies in a myriad of sizes from .17 Fireball up to .338 Lapua Magnum. You’ll find dozens of popular type including: .204 Ruger, .22 PPC, .22 BR, .223 Rem, .224 Valkyrie, .22-250 Rem, 6PPC, 6BR, 6XC, .243 Win, .260 Rem, .284 Win, 7mm WSM, .308 Win, .30-06, 300 Win Mag, and countless more. Prices vary considerably based on cartridge choice. The selection is very good (except for 6mm and 6.5 Creedmoor).

3. Natchez Shooters Supplies — Sig Sauer Whiskey 5 Scope Sale

sig sauer scope sale
Best Sale in many months on quality Sig Sauer riflescopes

This week Sig Sauer Whiskey 5 riflescopes are on sale at Natchez. Rugged and reliable, these Whiskey 5 scopes are justifiably popular with tactical shooters and hunters. Right now you can get huge savings — $300, $400, even $500. For example, the 5-25x52mm Whiskey 5 is now $889.99, marked down from $1399.98 — a $509.99 savings! Use the money saved for a spotting scope, Kestrel, or other gear.

4. KyGunCo — Canik TP9SFx Tungsten 9mm Pistol, $499.99

Canik 9mm match pistol
Owners praise this pistol for accuracy, ergos, trigger

Do you shoot IDPA or 3-gun matches? Then take a good look at this 9mm Canik. Shooters report exceptional accuracy. We shot this at Media Range Day in 2020 and can confirm the ergonomics, balance, and trigger are good (much better than a typical stock Glock). Right now the 9mm Canik TP9SFX is just $499.99 at KyGunCo, including TWO 20-rd mags plus a polymer holster. This pistol features a grey cerakote finish and 4 Red Dot interface plates. TP9SFx Owner Reviews: “For the money [it] absolutely can’t be beat. The Canik is on par with $1500 setups!”; “Trigger is extremely light and crisp with hardly any reset.”

5. Midsouth — Caldwell AR500 Steel Targets, starting $14.79

Caldwell AR500 steel yellow target gong
Great deals for AR500 steel targets — watch video above right

On sale now at Midsouth Caldwell’s new bright, easy-to-see targets come in all shapes and sizes for competition, training, and recreational use. Made of AR500 hardened steel, these targets can withstand thousands of rounds. Rated up to a 3000 fps impact velocity and a 3500 ft-lb impact energy, these targets come in seven various sizes with three hanging solutions. These bright yellow AR500 targets are On Sale now at Midsouth, starting at just $14.79 for 5″ Gong Target.

6. Creedmoor Sports — .308 Win Ammo Lapua Brass & Bullets

Caldwell AR500 steel yellow target gong
Match-grade ammo for less than cost of just the Lapua Brass and Bullets

If you shoot a .308 Win, check out this deal on ammo loaded with premium Lapua cartridge brass and true match-grade Lapua Scenar bullets. You could pay $90/100 for Lapua .308 Win brass and $67/100 for the Scenar bullets (if you could find them in stock). That would be $157 per hundred, or $1.57 for just a case and a bullet. Here you are getting a fully loaded round (with primer and powder) for $1.50 — less money! Choose 155gr .308 Win, 167gr .308 Win, or 175gr .308 Win — all top-quality stuff.

7. Frankford Vibratory Tumbler ($48.99) or Wet Tumbler ($99.95)

Frankford Arsenal Vibratory Rotary Wet Tumbler
Wet Tumble or Dry Tumble — you choose and save either way

Do you prefer vibratory tumbling with dry media, or wet tumbling with a rotary system? Either way, Frankford Arsenal has you covered. And right now you can enjoy big savings on either Tumbler system. The Quick-N-EZ Vibratory Case Tumbler is just $48.99 (or $58.94 with media separator). Or choose the excellent Platinum Series Rotary Tumbler Lite for $99.95.

8. Sportsman’s WHSE — 12-gun Steel Security Cabinet, $189.99

tactical safe cabinet
Great Value on versatile security cabinet — good secondary safe

In addition to a heavy, primary gunsafe, many gun-owners can use a smaller security cabinet for another area of the house, for the garage, or even for an RV. If you’re looking for a good basic gun locker, check out the SnapSafe Premium 12-Gun Tactical Cabinet. It has a simple key-lock system and can fit in most closets. Purchasers praised this unit given the low cost: “For a gun case below $200 you can’t get much better than this” and “More of a light-weight gun locker … it is well made and sturdy though, and is much better than I expected for the price.”

9. Amazon — Caldwell NRR 23 Muffs + Shooting Glasses, $32.79

Caldwell electronic E-Max ear muffs low profile shooting Glasses NRR 23
Sweet deal on Ear and Eye Protection — good spare set for friends

Every shooter needs good eye and ear protection. Get BOTH the E-Max Muffs and Shooting glasses for just $32.79 on Amazon with free shipping. This combo can be an affordable spare set for yourself or to have on hand for your guests. The E-Max earmuffs offer a 23 dB Noise Reduction Rating while allowing you to hear range commands.

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February 3rd, 2021

SIG Sauer’s Next Generation Squad Weapons Systems (NGSW)

Sig Sauer NGSW Weapons 277 Fury 6.8x51 hybrid system

The U.S. Military has a new machine gun and a new rifle in a new caliber. SIG Sauer has confirmed the final delivery of the Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) systems to the U.S. Army, consisting of new 6.8x51mm Hybrid ammunition, the NGSW-AR lightweight belt-fed machine gun, the SIG NGSW-R rifle, and SIG suppressors. Ron Cohen, SIG Sauer President/CEO stated that work with U.S. soldiers has “led to rapid advancements over the current weapons systems and resulted in our delivery of the most innovative Next Generation Squad Weapons system to the U.S. Army.”

Sig Sauer NGSW Weapons 277 Fury 6.8x51 hybrid system

The new systems will shoot 6.8×51 Hybrid ammunition — a lightweight cartridge designed to handle higher pressures resulting in increased velocity and terminal performance. In civilian form, SIG Sauer calls this cartridge the 277 SIG FURY. The 277 SIG Fury and the military 6.8x51mm cartridges feature a conventional brass upper case body with a steel alloy bottom, case-head section. The hybrid design allows the ammo to run at significantly higher pressures than conventional ammunition. SIG Sauer states that “despite its revolutionary design, [this] hybrid ammunition can be manufactured on a widespread basis immediately.”

Sig Sauer NGSW Weapons 277 Fury 6.8x51 hybrid system

The SIG Sauer 6.8mm hybrid ammunition is designed for increased penetration at greater distances. Cohen continued, “using patent-pending technology the SIG Sauer Ammunition Division has engineered a completely new cartridge resulting in a more compact round, with increased velocity and accuracy, while delivering a substantial reduction in the weight of the ammunition.”

This video shows gun features and includes firing sequences with thermal cameras (1:50 time).

The new 6.8x51mm Hybrid ammo gives the new guns significant advantages: “The SIG Sauer Lightweight Belt-Fed Machine Gun (NGSW-AR) doubles the effective range and is 40% lighter than the current M249 while maintaining the preferred belt-fed operation, with reduced felt recoil to increase accuracy. The SIG SAUER Rifle (NGSW-R) is built on the foundation of the battle tested MCX platform with the added firepower of the 6.8×51 round; both the NGSW-AR and NGSW-R feature familiar AR-style ambidextrous ergonomics designed for a seamless transition from the legacy weapons to the SIG NGSW system.”

Sig Sauer NGSW Weapons 277 Fury 6.8x51 hybrid system

SIG SAUER Lightweight Machine Gun (NGSW-AR)
The SIG Sauer NGSW-AR is a light-weight (under 15-lb.), medium-caliber machine gun chambered for 6.8x51mm Hybrid ammunition. SIG Sauer designed the NGSW-AR to be 40% lighter than current systems, and dramatically reduce felt recoil while maintaining traditional belt-fed operation to increase downrange capability. This 6.8mm machine gun features ambidextrous AR-style ergonomics, quick detach magazines, increased M1913 rail space for optics, folding buttstock, and quick-detach suppressor. SIG Sauer claim this NGSW-AR “vastly improves upon the operation and function of the legacy M249.”

Sig Sauer NGSW Weapons 277 Fury 6.8x51 hybrid system

Sig Sauer NGSW Weapons 277 Fury 6.8x51 hybrid system

SIG SAUER Rifle (NGSW-R):
The NGSW-R lightweight rifle (aka MCX-Spear) is derived from existing SIG military rifles with the added firepower of the 6.8mm round. Features include a fully collapsible and folding stock, rear and side charging handle, free-floating reinforced M-LOK™ handguard, fully ambidextrous controls, and quick-detach suppressor.

277 SIG FURY (6.8x51mm) from SIG Sauer
The 6.8x51mm cartridge will be offered by SIG Sauer in a civilian version called the 277 SIG FURY. This boasts a SAAMI maximum average pressure of 80,000 psi, driving a 135-grain bullet to 3,000+ fps. That 80K PSI pressure is WAY higher than almost all other cartridge types. To achieve these high pressures, the 277 FURY uses a hybrid case with a brass body and harder alloy metal case head. This design allows the cartridge to run very high pressures. Dan Horner of SIG Sauer told us: “When the handloaders get hold of this brass, it will be a game-changer for sure”. We envision this cartridge could be necked down to 6.5 mm and it would dramatically out-perform the 6.5 Creedmoor. And yes the official name of the cartridge is all caps “277 SIG FURY”.

6.8x51 277 SIG Fury

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January 31st, 2021

Sunday GunDay: 7.5-lb AR for CMP’s Modern Military Matches

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Retro is back — at least in the CMP’s Standard Modern Military Rifle AR class. Though Service Rifle competition has evolved to allow optics and heavy barrel profiles, the Standard Modern Military Rifle (AR category) is truly a “blast from the past”. Overall weight is limited to 7.5 pounds, and the rifle must be equipped with iron sights (Rule 5.2.3). In addition, the rifle “be based on the M-16 rifle or be based on an AR design” with “exterior configuration similar [to] the original military or military-type rifle”. See Rules.

With this in mind our friend Dennis Santiago recently put together his own AR-platform Standard Modern Military Rifle for matches run under CMP Competition Rules. This is not quite a classic AR, as it has a metal free-float handguard (vs. plastic handguards), but it IS light (7.3 pounds), and it does have iron sights — a key requirement for Standard Modern Military class rifles.

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Here is Santiago’s CMP Modern Military Rifle (Standard Class) with an ultralight free float tube that has a titanium barrel nut, and mechanical, center-able front sight. The barrel is an AR-Stoner brand 20″-long 1:7″ Government contour chambered in 5.56×45 NATO. Dennis says: “This makes the 7.5-lb weight limit with a few ounces to spare. We’ll see how well it drives soon enough.”

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Dennis explains: “The Standard Modern Military (AR) is a category of military-style rifle that shoots the 200-yard, 30- or 50-shot courses alongside the M1 Garands, Springfields, Vintage, and M1 Carbines. This one boasts a Midwest Industries (MI) ultralight Free-float Handguard and a Yankee Hill folding front sight. Any Government contour or thinner profile rifle-length gas tube barrel with a 0.750″ gas block will work.” Colt makes a suitable Government Contour 20″-long, 1:7″-twist barrel, sold by MidwayUSA.

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

To test the accuracy of his rifle, Dennis fitted a Mantis-X unit on the top of the float tube. The Mantis-X records the movement of the rifle to interpolate shot placements. Dennis reports: “I spent some extra time at the range grabbing a decent zero for my Modern Military rifle. I stuck a Mantis-X on it to record a few shots shooting offhand at the plates at 200 yards. It drives very easily even with no shooting coat or glove.” The Mantis-X is attached just forward of the carry handle, on top of the MI free-float handguard. The Mantis-X works with live fire as well as dry fire. It communicates via BlueTooth to a smartphone App.

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago
AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Rifle Shoots Well with 77gr Sierra MatchKings
The gun is presently zeroed with 77gr Sierra MatchKing ammunition. Dennis reports his rifle “can easily hold the X-Ring on an SR target for both 100-yard and 200-yard CMP Modern Military Games matches. And it’s fun to shoot!”

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

CMP Standard Modern Military Rifle (AR Class)
This rifle is built from carefully selected and fitted parts to conform to the CMP’s 7.5-pound weight limit iron-sighted rifle rule. Officially, this is a CMP Standard Modern Military Rifle, Class “A” (AR type).

1. S&W M&P lower receiver
2. White Oak Armament match upper receiver with 1/4×1/4-MOA pinned rear sights
3. AR-Stoner 20″ 1:7″-twist 5.56x45mm NATO Government contour barrel from MidwayUSA*
4. MidWest Industries ultralight free-float handguard with a Titanium barrel nut
5. Yankee Hill Machine folding front sight with a 0.072″ square front pin
6. RRA 2-stage trigger
7. A2 length buttstock

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Easy Rifle Build Using Mostly Existing AR Parts, Plus New Barrel and Free-Float Handguard
Dennis was able to put his Modern Military AR together using components he had collected over the years: “Most of these parts were already in my bin of old AR parts available to be recycled. The barrel and free-float handguard were the only new acquisitions.” And with the AR’s modular format, this was an easy build: “Assembly time was about 30 minutes. I’ve done these parts swaps so many times now.”

Key Rules for Standard Modern Military Rifle (AR Type)

Dennis Santiago’s new AR rifle was built as a “Standard U.S. Modern Military Rifle”, Class A (AR Type), as specified in the CMP Competition Rules.

5.2.3 Standard U.S. Modern Military Rifles, Class A
Category A Standard Modern Military Rifles must comply with these requirements:

a) Rifles must be based on the M-16 rifle or be based on an AR design;
b) Rifles must be manufactured by a USA manufacturer;
c) Rifles must be equipped with issue-type metallic front and rear sights; rear sights with adjustments finer than one minute of angle are permitted;
d) Total rifle weight, with sights and without sling, may not exceed 7.5 pounds;
e) Rifles may be fitted with a float tube or free-floating handguard. A nonadjustable sling swivel may be attached to the forward end of the handguard; and…
f) The rifle must be chambered for the 5.56x45mm or .223 Remington cartridge.

Also, from Rule 5.2.2:
a) The exterior configuration of the rifle must be the similar to that of the
original military or military-type rifle;
b) The trigger pull may not be less than 4.5 lbs.;

Comments from other Modern Military Rifle Shooters:

“I built a Modern Military [Standard]. It was tough getting below the 7.5-lb [limit]. I had to carve off a bunch of the 20″ barrel diameter but wanted to stay with it for sight radius (over a 16″). I would just as soon shoot that little iron-sighted rifle at 200 yards as my 15-lb Nightforce-scoped Service Rifle. I love that little rifle.” — Kenneth S.

“I’m building one of these that will make 7.5-lb [Standard Modern Military] weight limit, with the long barrel and long sight radius. This has been on my list this winter.” — Tom K.

“We found that turning down a National Match barrel and taking a few inches off of it made a very accurate rifle.” — Jack A.

“My old (complete) A2 upper has been sitting forlorn on a shelf for a couple of years now. Perhaps I need to do a [Standard Modern Military] build of my own.” — Derek D.

Dennis Santiago replied: “Derek — that’s the reason I was attracted to this. I had bought a brand new WOA A2 pin upper receiver to make a new upper then the scope rule was adopted and it was all flat tops. This gives new purpose to the old parts.”

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Standard vs. Unlimited, Class A vs. Class B

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

There are actually two different classes of Standard Modern Military Rifles, Class A for AR-type rifles and Class B for other military-style rifles, such as the M1A and FN-FAL. Ok, got that? Now, in addition, there is also a second division for UNLIMITED Modern Military Rifles, again with two classes (Class A — AR-type and Class B — other military rifles). These unlimited rifles can have optics, heavier weights, modern-design adjustable-length stocks, and other upgrades. Here is Rule 5.2.2 from the current CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules:

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