January 10th, 2019

Savage Will Launch 40 New Products at 2019 SHOT Show

Savage Arms 2019 new rifles Axis II MSR AR15 PRS hunting rifles

Savage will launch 40 new products at the 2019 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. This will be a big year for Savage as 2019 marks Savage’s 125th Anniversary. The brand is celebrating the historic event by offering limited-edition rifles as well as many new offerings in bolt-action rifles, AR-platform rifles, and shotguns. “Whether you are looking for a training rifle, a competition-grade modern sporting rifle, a reliable shotgun for hunting or personal defense, or a lightweight hunting rifle packaged with a scope, Savage has those needs covered, plus more”, said Savage’s Marketing Director, Beth Shimanski.

New 2019 Product Launch Highlights

The company is expanding and improving its popular XP scoped rifle lines. New models include the 110 Apex XP series, featuring Vortex scopes, and a pint-sized Rascal Target XP. Plus, the existing AXIS XP series has been upgraded with a new modernized stock. The AccuFit system lets shooters quickly adjust comb height and length-of-pull. The feature is an integral part of a new long-range rifle with a superior finish, the 110 High Country, featured below:

Savage Arms 2019 new rifles Axis II MSR AR15 PRS hunting rifles
Savage Arms 2019 new rifles Axis II MSR AR15 PRS hunting rifles

Savage is expanding the popular XP scoped rifle lines. New models include the 110 Apex XP series, featuring Vortex scopes, and a pint-sized Rascal Target XP. Plus, the existing AXIS XP series has been upgraded with a new modernized stock.

Savage Arms 2019 new rifles Axis II MSR AR15 PRS hunting rifles

Savage’s MSR 15 and MSR 10 AR-platform rifle series will include new options for long range, precision and competition shooting. These rifles are not cookie-cutter AR clones. The MSR Savages have some interesting upgrades, such as side-charging handles (on MSR 10), Magpul PRS stocks, adjustable gas blocks, and tunable muzzle brakes. The MSRs also enjoy a good reputation for build quality and reliability.

Savage Arms 2019 new rifles MSR AR15 PRS hunting rifles

Savage Arms 2019 new rifles Axis II MSR AR15 PRS hunting rifles

All of these new rifles, as well as more bolt-action and semi-automatic centerfire and rimfire rifles, will be on display at SHOT Show Booth No. 14551 January 22-25, 2019 at the Sands Expo Center.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 1 Comment »
January 10th, 2019

Bullet Bell Curve — Sorting by OAL vs. Base-to-Ogive vs. Weight

Bullet, Sort, Jacket, Sierra, USAMU, Sort, Bell Curve, Distribution, OAL

The USAMU has published a “how-to” article about bullet sorting. While many of us may sort bullets by base-to-ogive length (and/or weight), the USAMU story explores the “how and why” of sorting bullets by Overall Length (OAL). Read the article highlights below, and make your own decision as to whether OAL sorting is worth the time and effort. Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics says that sorting by OAL is not a bad idea, but base-to-ogive bullet sorting probably represents a better investment of your time.

USAMU

Bullet Sorting by Overall Length

We’d like to share a specialized handloading technique which we’ve long found beneficial to our long-range (600 yards and beyond) accuracy. Sorting of bullets for extreme long range (LR) accuracy is not difficult to do, but some background in theory is needed.

Here at USAMU’s Handloading Shop, we only sort individual bullets for the most demanding Long-Range applications and important competitions. Only the most accurate rifles and shooters can fully exploit the benefits of this technique. The basic sorting process involves measuring the Overall Length (OAL) of the bullets, and grouping them in 0.001″ increments. It’s not unusual to find lots of match bullets that vary as much as 0.015″-0.020″ in length throughout the lot, although lots with much less variation are seen as well. Even in bullet lots with 0.015″ OAL variation, the bullet base-to-ogive length will show much less variation. Hence, our basic sort is by bullet OAL. One obvious benefit of sorting is easily seen in the attached photo. The few bullets that are VERY different from the average are culled out, reducing probable fliers.

How does one know what OAL increments to use when sorting? The answer is simple. As each lot of bullets is unique in its OAL distribution, it’s best to sample your bullet lot and see how they are distributed. In the attached photo, you will see a set of loading trays with a strip of masking tape running along the bottom. Each vertical row of holes is numbered in 0.001″ increments corresponding to the bullets’ OAL. A digital caliper makes this task much easier. As each bullet is measured, it is placed in the line of holes for its’ OAL, and gradually, a roughly bell-shaped curve begins to form.

Note that near the center, bullets are much more plentiful than near the edges. At the extreme edges, there are a few that differ markedly from the average, and these make great chronograph or sighting-in fodder. We recommend using a sample of 200 bullets from your lot, and 300 is even better. Some bullet lots are very consistent, with a tall, narrow band of highly-uniform bullets clustered together over just a few thousandths spread. Other lots will show a long, relatively flat curve (less uniform), and you may also see curves with 2 or more “spikes” separated by several 0.001″ OAL increments.

Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Bullet Sorting AccurateShooter.com

Bullet Sorting (OAL vs. Base-to-Ogive vs. Weight) — Litz Talks

I’m often asked what is a the best measure to sort bullets by, and the answer (to this and many other questions in ballistics) is: it depends.

Choosing to sort by overall length (OAL), base to ogive (BTO), bearing surface, weight, etc. can get overwhelming. Shooters typically look for something they can measure, which shows a variation and sort by that. It’s common for dimensional variations to correlate. For example, bullets which are longer in OAL are typically also shorter in BTO, and have longer noses. All these are symptoms of a bullet that was pushed a little further into the pointing die, or possibly had more than average lube while being swaged. So in essence, if you sort by BTO, you’re measuring one symptom which can indicate a pattern in the bullets shape.

So, the question still stands — what should you measure? You’ll always see more variation in OAL than BTO, so it’s easier to sort by OAL. But sometimes the bullet tips can be jagged and have small burrs which can be misleading. Measuring BTO will result in a lower spread, but is a more direct measure of bullet uniformity.

Then there’s the question of; how much variation is too much, or, how many bins should you sort into? Shooters who see 0.025” variation in BTO may choose to sort into 5 bins of 0.005”. But if you have only 0.005” variation in the box, you’ll still sort into 5 bins of 0.001”. What’s correct? You have to shoot to know. Live fire testing will answer more questions, and answer them more decisively than any amount of discussion on the subject. The test I recommend is to identify bullets on the extreme short end of the spectrum, and some on the extreme long end. Load at least 10 rounds of each, and take turns shooting 5-shot groups with them. If there is a difference, it will be evident. The results of the testing will answer your question of: should I sort based on X, Y, or Z?”

You can read more discussion on this and other similar subjects in the new Ballistics & Bullets board in the Accurateshooter.com forum. Here’s a link to the thread which is discussing bullet sorting: Bullet Sorting Thread

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading Post comment »
January 10th, 2019

Dennis DeMille Becomes General Manager at Tactical Walls

Creedmoor sports Tactical Walls Dennis Demille GM General Manager concealment

If you’ve ever attended one of the major CMP games, you’ve probably seen Dennis DeMille, former General Manager of Creedmoor Sports. A two-time National Rifle Champion, Dennis helped teach High Power Clinics and he has shared his marksmanship knowledge in many ways. Now Dennis is undertaking a fresh challenge — as the new General Manager of Virginia-based Tactical Walls, a leader in specialized USA-made gun storage/concealment systems. As the Tactical Walls GM, Dennis will oversee operations and new product development. Dennis brings with him more than 20 years of active duty Marine Corps service and nearly 14 years of experience managing Creedmoor Sports.

Dennis is pleased to be working with Tactical Walls: “Tactical Walls was the pioneer in concealing firearms in plain sight. Working with people who are passionate about what they produce, who possess that level of creativity, and at a company with limitless manufacturing ability, makes me very excited about the future of Tactical Walls. It’s a real honor and my sincere privilege to now be part of this team. Please feel free to contact me directly at dennis [at] tacticalwalls.com”.

Creedmoor sports Tactical Walls Dennis Demille GM General Manager concealment

Tim Matter, founder and President of Tactical Walls states: “Dennis’ manufacturing and operations experience will help [extend] the tremendous growth and product development we experienced in 2018. We are proud and excited to have him on our team. Stop by and visit us at our booth at SHOT Show later this month or check us out at www.tacticalwalls.com”.

Shooting Tips with Dennis DeMille

Dennis DeMille Creedmoor Sports Rifle Sling video training set-up

Sling Shooting Tip — The Benefits of Leather
Above, Dennis shows a young competitor at the CMP Western Games how to adjust his leather sling. “Many shooters shy away from using a leather sling because they have never been taught how to use one. That’s unfortunate. A leather sling offers more support than a web sling, which is important when competing with the heavier than normal rifles.” — Dennis DeMille

Dennis DeMille High PowerThe Benefits of Dry-Fire Training
Once you set up your sling properly, you’ll need practice. Dennis DeMille stresses the importance of dry-fire practice with sling and shooting coat. Dry-Fire training is essential to the sling disciplines. DeMille, a past National Service Rifle Champion, told us that, for every minute he spent in actual competition, he would spend hours practicing without ammunition. While in the USMC, Dennis would practice in the barracks, working on his hold and dry-firing:

“The most important thing is to spend time off the range practicing. Most of what I learned as a High Power shooter I learned without ammunition — just spending time dry firing and doing holding exercises. Holding exercises will really identify the weak parts of your position. The primary purpose of dry firing is to get you used to shooting an empty rifle. If you can shoot a loaded rifle the same way you shoot an empty rifle then eventually you will become a High Master.”

Permalink New Product, News Post comment »
January 9th, 2019

Protect Your Eyesight — Smart Advice about Safety Eyewear

Safety Eyewear 6.5 Guys 65guys.com

Proper eye protection is ‘must-have’ gear for shooting sports. In addition to providing reliable impact protection, good shooting glasses should be comfortable, fog-free, and not interfere with your preferred hearing protection. Those who require corrective lenses also need to consider the various options available. In a past episode of their Weekly Gear Review, the 6.5 Guys discuss a variety of shooting glasses they have tried, including examples from DeCot, Oakley, and Wiley-X. Ed and Steve outline the key considerations when choosing eye protection, and then review practical aspects of eyewear design and construction that enhance comfort and functionality in the field.

READ FULL ARTICLE ON 65Guys.com »

The 6.5 Guys (Ed and Steve) offer a number of smart tips consider safety eyewear, helping you select the most effective safety glasses at an affordable price. Here are the 6.5 Guys’ KEY Take-aways when choosing shooting glasses, including prescription eyewear:

Key Things To Consider When Choosing Eye Protection

1. Avoid polarized lenses or lenses that reduce light transmission significantly (except for action shooting in very bright conditions with large, close targets).

2. Avoid frame designs that interfere with prone shooting.

3. Avoid designs that easily fog.

4. Avoid frame designs with thicker temples that are uncomfortable to wear underneath hearing protection.

5. Select lenses with an appropriate degree of ballistic protection. CLICK HERE to learn more about eyewear safety standards.

6. When you get your prescription, be sure your ophthalmologist includes the interpupillary distance. This is a critical measurement particularly for heavier prescriptions.

7. If you have a complicated prescription select a vendor who will actually spend time with you to address any concerns.

Safety First — Your Eyes Are Irreplaceable
Safety Eyewear 6.5 Guys 65guys.comAccurate shooting begins and ends with the human eye. Your career as a marksman could be cut short if you don’t use good eye protection every time you go to the range and/or handle a firearm.

Every year, 1,000,000 people suffer serious eye injuries. Shooting is hazardous; it is estimated that there are 30,000 firearms-related eye injuries each year (if you include paintball sports.) After paintball, general hunting accidents comprise most firearms-related eye injuries.

Quality eye protection need not be expensive. You can find comfortable, ANSI Z87.1-certified shooting glasses for under $10.00.

If you select shooting glasses carefully, and ensure that your eyewear is safety-certified, inexpensive shooting glasses can perform very well. But you need to avoid cheap, soft-plastic lenses that claim “impact resistance” without satisfying a testing standard.

For more comprehensive information on safety eyewear, read the AccurateShooter’s Guide to Eye Protection for Shooters.

Permalink Gear Review, Optics, Tech Tip Post comment »
January 9th, 2019

Shooting USA TV — GAP Grind PRS and Zombies in the Heartland

GAP Grind G.A. Precision Precision PRS CMP Western Games

Shooting USA will broadcast a great episode today, January 9, 20198. There are three segments worth watching. First the TV show spotlights the popular GAP Grind, a Pro-Am PRS event at the K&M Precision complex in Tennessee. Then this episode covers Hornady’s Zombies in the Heartland multi-gun match. This popular event, hosted in Nebraska every year, is one of the biggest three-gun shoots in the nation. Finally there is a historical feature on the 7-barrel Nock Volley gun from the late 1700s.

This Shooting USA Episode airs January 9, 2019 (Wednesday) at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific; 8:00 Central.

PART ONE: GAP Grind Feature on Shooting USA

Lots of Action, with 20+ Stages
The GAP Grind is a notoriously challenging, “high tempo” match with minimal down-time between stages. Over the course of 20+ stages, competitors will fire 200+ shots at a variety of steel, paper, moving, and reactive targets out to 1,200 yards. Targets vary in size/difficulty based on the shooter’s position, distance, and time allotted. Most stages include “stressors” — i.e. time limits or required movement(s).

The GAP Grind is held at the impressive K&M Shooting Complex:

Lots of Action, with 20+ Stages
The GAP Grind is a notoriously challenging, “high tempo” match with minimal down-time between stages. Over the course of 20+ stages, competitors will fire 200+ shots at a variety of steel, paper, moving, and reactive targets out to 1,200 yards. Targets vary in size/difficulty based on the shooter’s position, distance, and time allotted. Most stages include “stressors” — i.e. time limits or required movement(s).

Shooting USA TV gap grind
Josh Temnnen Facebook photo.

GAP Grind Hardware
You’ll find the latest and greatest PRS hardware at the GAP grind. Notable this year was the fact that many top competitors “stepped down” from the 6.5/6mm Creedmoor to the smaller, more efficient 6mm Dasher (and other 6BR Improved) cartridges. The Dasher offers excellent accuracy with less recoil than the 6.5 Creedmoor. Also, many top shooters are now running Kahles optics. Photo by Shelley Giddings.

Giddings GAP Grind

PART TWO: Zombies in the Heartland

Pandemic 3-Gun Match Zombies in the Heartland Nebraska Hornady

Pandemic 3-Gun Match Zombies in the Heartland Nebraska HornadyPandemic: Zombies in the Heartland
Every year Hornady hosts the very popular Zombies in the Heartland event. This “Pandemic” 3-Gun fun match, one of the biggest three-gun shoots in the nation, was hosted by Hornady this past summer, June 1-3, 2018 at the Heartland Public Shooting Park in Grand Island, Nebraska. The Pandemic featured a rich prize table worth over $150,000. Prizes include pistols, rifles, shotguns, scopes, AR uppers, gun parts, and gear of all kinds.

The Pandemic is a veritable theme park for shootists, with many fun stages and innovative targets. Many unique, reactive zombie targets have been developed specifically for this match. The use of paper targets has been minimized — so it’s mostly “bang and clang”.

There were ten multi-gun stages this past year. Rifles, pistols and shotguns are used on most stages. There were also fun side-matches. We highly recommend you watch the video below to see highlights from a past Pandemic.

2017 Zombies in the Heartland Highlights Video. Guys, this well-made video is WORTH WATCHING! This video offers Shooter’s POV views of many stages including full auto:

Zombie Hornady Heartland Pandemic

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Tactical Post comment »
January 9th, 2019

Loading Accurate Pistol Ammo for Competition — USAMU Tips

Accurate Reloading hand loading handgun pistol progressive 9mm .45 ACP
Photo courtesy UltimateReloader.com.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) regularly publishes a weekly reloading article on its Facebook Page. In this article, the second in a 3-part series, the USAMU covers the process of loading competition pistol ammunition. The authors focus on two key elements — the taper crimp and the quality/uniformity of the original brass. If you shoot pistol competitively, or just want to maximize the accuracy of your handguns, read this article. The taper crimp tips are very important.

Pistol Reloading USAMU taper crimp Brass

Loading Accurate Competition Pistol Ammunition — Part 2 of 3

Today, we resume our series on factors affecting accuracy in pistol handloads. Readers who missed Part One can visit our USAMU Facebook Page. Scroll down to March 28, 2018 to find that first installment which is worth reading.

One often-overlooked aspect of handloading highly-accurate pistol ammunition is the amount of taper crimp used, and its effect on accuracy. (NOTE: this article pertains to loading for semi-autos – revolver crimp techniques involve some quite different issues.) Briefly, different amounts of taper crimp are used with various handloads to obtain best accuracy. The amount is based on bullet weight, powder burn rate and charge, plus other factors such as case neck tension. During machine-rest testing of experimental Service Pistol ammunition, many variables are examined. Among these, our Shop often varies a load’s crimp in degrees of 0.001″ when re-testing for finest accuracy.

How to Measure Taper Crimp on Pistol Cartridges
One question that often arises is, “How do I measure the taper crimp I’m putting on my cartridges?” Using the narrow part of one’s dial caliper jaws, carefully measure the case diameter at the exact edge of the case mouth on a loaded cartridge. It’s important to take several measurements to ensure consistency. Also, be sure to measure at several places around the case mouth, as case wall thickness can vary. After measuring 2-3 cartridges with a given crimp setting, one can be confident of the true dimension and that it can be repeated later, if needed.

Accurate Reloading hand loading handgun pistol progressive 9mm .45 ACP

However, for good results, one must use brass from one maker due to variances in case wall thickness. For example, the same degree of crimp that imparts a measurement of 0.471″ with Brand X brass may result in 0.469″ with Brand Y. Thus, for best accuracy, using brass from the same manufacturer is important — particularly for 50-yard Slow Fire. In a perfect world, it is better still to use brass from one lot number if possible. With the popularity of progressive presses using interchangeable tool heads, keeping separate tool heads adjusted for each load helps maximize uniformity between ammunition lots.

Brass Uniformity and Accuracy
Brass is important to pistol accuracy. While accurate ammunition can be loaded using brass of mixed parentage, that is not conducive to finest results, particularly at 50 yards. It is important for the serious competitor to pay attention to his brass – even if only for the 50-yard “Slow Fire” portions of “Bullseye” matches and practice. By segregating brass as described above, and additionally keeping track of the number of times a given batch of cases has been fired, one can ensure case neck tension and case length are at their most uniform.

Accurate Reloading hand loading handgun pistol progressive 9mm .45 ACP

Given the large volumes of ammunition consumed by active pistol competitors, using inexpensive, mixed surplus brass for practice, particularly at the “short line” (25 yards), is understandable. In NRA Outdoor Pistol (“Bullseye”), the 10-ring is relatively generous — especially for a well-trained shooter with an accurate pistol and load. However, for the “long line” (50 yards), purchasing and segregating a lot of high-quality brass to be used strictly for slow-fire is a wise idea. To keep track of your brass on the line, use a unique headstamp marking with 1 or 2 colors of marking pen ink.

Uniform Cartridge Overall Length is Important
Cartridge case Overall Length (OAL) uniformity as it comes from the factory is important to achieving utmost accuracy. More uniform case lengths (best measured after sizing) contribute to greater consistency of crimp, neck tension, ignition/burn of powder charge, headspace (rimless cartridges), etc. Cartridge case-length consistency varies noticeably by maker and, with lesser manufacturers, also from lot to lot. Some manufacturers are more consistent in their dimensions than others, and also in the hardness/ductility of their brass. Similarly, pay attention to primer brands, powder lot numbers, etc.

This concludes Part 2 of our series – Part 3 will be upcoming soon. Stay safe, and good shooting!

Permalink News Post comment »
January 8th, 2019

NEW Products + SHOT Show Coverage in Shooting Industry Mag

SHOT Show Exhibitor List Map 2019 Guide New Product

You’ll find lots of notable new products in Shooting Industry’s January 2019 issue. This 108-page issue is filled with timely articles ranging from marketing insights and SHOT Show 2019 coverage to tips for success in the new year. The January issue also includes Part II of the 2019 New Product Showcase. January’s 30-page New Product Showcase features over 150 products from 115 brands. Here are some highlights from the Product Showcase:

Steyr’s Monobloc — Barrel and Action are one piece of steel. Impressive engineering, but what happens when your barrel wears out?

SHOT Show Exhibitor List Map 2019 Guide New Product

Berger has new 6mm Creedmoor Ammo plus new .375-Caliber bullets for ELR shooters:

SHOT Show Exhibitor List Map 2019 Guide New Product

Lyman has a great new Case Trimmer with speed control and carbide cutter:

SHOT Show Exhibitor List Map 2019 Guide New Product

New Brass from Jagemann and BOG “DeathGrip” Clamping Tactical Tripod:

SHOT Show Exhibitor List Map 2019 Guide New Product

New Generation Mantis — Accelerometer and software tracks your muzzle movement:

SHOT Show Exhibitor List Map 2019 Guide New Product

Have a LONG F-Class Rifle or a PRS rig with suppressor? This nice case will hold your rig:

SHOT Show Exhibitor List Map 2019 Guide New Product

MORE SHOT Show Coverage

Shooting Industry’s January Issue has extensive SHOT Show coverage, including the comprehensive Exhibitors Guide, SHOT Show Auction info, plus a sizable pullout map in the printed editions.

SHOT Show Exhibitor List Map 2019 Guide New Product

READ MORE — All recent issues of Shooting Industry magazine can be accessed for free at www.shootingindustry.com/digital-version. Have a comment after reading the issue? Send the SI team an email at comments [at] shootingindustry.com.

Feature story tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink News 3 Comments »
January 8th, 2019

Reloading Rescue — How to Remove a Case Stuck in a Die

stuck72

Western powders, ramshot, norma, accurate

To err is human… Sooner or later you’ll probably get a case stuck in a die. This “fix-it” article, which originally appeared in the Western Powders Blog, explains the procedure for removing a firmly stuck cartridge case using an RCBS kit. This isn’t rocket science, but you do want to follow the directions carefully, step-by-step. Visit the Western Powders Blog for other helpful Tech Tips.

Curing the Stuck Case Blues

decapstem72Sticking a case in the sizer die is a rite of passage for the beginning handloader. If you haven’t done it yet, that’s great, but it probably will eventually happen. When it does, fixing the problem requires a bit of ingenuity or a nice little kit like the one we got from RCBS.

The first step is to clear the de-capping pin from the flash hole. Just unscrew the de-capping assembly to move it as far as possible from the primer pocket and flash hole (photo at right). Don’t try to pull it all the way out. It won’t come. Just unscrew it and open as much space as possible inside the case.

Place the die upside down in the padded jaws of a vise and clamp it firmly into place. Using the supplied #7 bit, drill through the primer pocket. Be careful not to go too deeply inside the cartridge once the hole has opened up. It is important to be aware that the de-capping pin and expander ball are still in there and can be damaged by the bit.

Drill and Tap the Stuck Case
taping72drilling72

Once the cartridge head has been drilled, a ¼ – 20 is tap is used to cut threads into the pocket. Brass is relatively soft compared to a hardened tap, so no lube is needed for the tapping process. RCBS says that a drill can be used for this step, but it seems like a bit of overkill in a project of this nature. A wrench (photo above right) makes short work of the project.

RCBS supplies a part they call the “Stuck Case Remover Body” for the next step. If you are a do-it-yourselfer and have the bit and tap, this piece is easily replicated by a length of electrical conduit of the proper diameter and some washers. In either case, this tool provides a standoff for the screw that will do the actual pulling.

pulling72fingers72

With an Allen Wrench, Finish the Job
Run the screw through the standoff and into the tapped case head. With a wrench, tighten the screw which hopefully pulls the case free. Once the case is free, clamp the case in a vice and pull it free of the de-capping pin. There is tension here because the sizing ball is oversized to the neck dimension as part of the sizing process. It doesn’t take much force, but be aware there is still this last little hurdle to clear before you get back to loading. Don’t feel bad, everyone does this. Just use more lube next time!

wholekit72unstuck72

Article find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip Post comment »
January 8th, 2019

6.5×47 Tactical Tack-Driver — The Non-Creedmoor ‘Six-Five’

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

A couple seasons back we published our comprehensive 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide, researched by the 6.5 Guys. In case you’ve been wondering what kind of accuracy is possible for a tactical-type rifle chambered for this mid-sized cartridge, check out this tack-driver built by gunsmith Ryan Pierce. That’s a mighty impressive 0.206″ five-shot group fired with Berger 140gr Hybrids using a Brux cut-rifled barrel. The powder was Hodgdon H4350, a very good choice for this cartridge.

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Ryan reports: “Here is a 6.5×47 I built for a customer. It features a trued Rem 700 action, Brux 1:8″ Rem varmint-contour barrel, Mcmillan thumbhole stock, Surgeon bottom metal, and 3-port muzzle brake. The customer’s preferred load is the same that has worked in the last couple dozen 6.5x47s I’ve built: 41.1-41.3 grains of H4350 with 140 hybrids .050″ off the lands. This should run about 2810-2815 fps from a 26″ barrel. The 3.128″ refers to length of a loaded round from the base to ogive including the Hornady ogive comparator tool.”

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Yep, It Measures Up…
Lest anyone dispute Ryan’s measurement of this group (the internet is full of nay-sayers), 0.206″ is EXACTLY what we got when we measured this group using OnTarget software. See for yourself:

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tactical 5 Comments »
January 7th, 2019

Bargain Finder 172: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every 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 — Marlin 336Y .30-30 Lever Gun, $389.99 with Code

Lyman C-Frame Ideal compact press cast iron

We think everyone should have a lever gun in their collection, and here’s an exceptional value — Marlin’s model 336Y for just $389.99. The 336Y (for “youth”) has a shorter stock that makes it suitable for younger hunters. The .30-30 Winchester chambering may seem dated, but plenty of bucks have been taken with the venerable .30-30 round. This lever-action rifle features 5-shot tubular magazine, side ejection, and Buckhorn sights. Just 34″ overall, with 16.25″ barrel and weighing only 6 pounds, Marlin’s 336Y can also be a very effective home defense arm. This gun lists for $399.99 with a $10.00 FFL handling fee. Use CODE M8Y to save $20 with FREE shipping, reducing your net cost to $389.99 delivered. NOTE: Brownells has other discount codes: Code LAV ($10 off $100 + free S/H) and Code NCS ($15 off $150 plus free S/H).

2. Al’s — Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85mm Spotting Scope, $809.99

Vortex Razor 20-60x85mm 20x60 Spotter Sale Discount Spotting Scope

AMAZING DEAL — save $390.00! Other vendors sell this very same Razor HD spotter for $1199.
Here’s a great deal on a high-quality spotting scope from a top optics maker. AL’s Sporting Goods has last year’s model Vortex Razor 20-60x85mm spotter for only $899.99, including eyepiece. This impressive HD-glass spotter sells elsewhere for $1200.00. But it gets better — use Code ALS10 for another 10% Off, bringing the final price down to $809.99. This is a very good spotter for the money and as Vortex will tell you, “buy a Razor now and we’ll always replace it with a Razor in the future”.

3. CCI and Federal .22 LR Rimfire Rebate — Save up to 20%

cci federal ammunition ammo .22 lr rimfire rebate

Get Federal Rebate Form HERE | Get CCI Rebate Form HERE

Get paid back when you buy Federal or CCI .22 LR rimfire ammunition. For every 5 boxes of Federal or CCI Rimfire Ammunition you buy, you will receive a rebate of the cost of one (1) box. The rebate amount will equal the purchase price of the LOWEST-cost box of the five. This rebate program is offered for most Federal and CCI .22 LR ammo. The maximum rebate is $200 per household. Print off your redemption form from links below. NOTE: This deal is good through the end of March, 3/31/2019. Purchase qualifying ammo from vendors including Bruno’s, Graf’s, Midsouth, Powder Valley, and Precision Reloading.

4. CDNN — .22 Rimfire Popper Target (Auto-Reset), $19.88

Shooting Mat

Everyone loves reactive targets, and hitting steel is particularly fun with a .22 LR rimfire — you can plink safely at relatively close range. Here is a nicely-designed, self-resetting target at a remarkably low price — just $19.88. Heck you could pay that much for a couple packs of paper targets, and this Range Ready .22 Popper target should last for years (just don’t shoot centerfire ammo at it!). These resetting popper targets are just plain fun to shoot. Plus they are cheap enough that your club could buy a half-dozen or more for use in rimfire tactical matches.

5. CDNN — Kryptek Sound Soldier 27 db NRR EarMuffs, $8.88

ear muff earmuff 27 nrr db kryptek highlander passive deal $8.88
Note: You get one set of muffs (either gray or camo, NOT both) for $8.88 plus S/H.

Good muffs that offer 27 db Noise Reduction and won’t spoil your cheekweld — for under ten bucks? Can’t argue with that. Right now CDNN is offering a killer deal on Kryptek Sound Soldier 27 NRR muffs that sell elsewhere for around $24.00. Get these in either Highlander Camo or Typhon Grey for just $8.88. These passive muffs have low profile shells engineered to stay out of the way when shouldering your weapon. The ergonomic headband keeps the muffs aligned, in their proper position. Purchasers report the soft leatherette ear seals are surprisingly comfortable. These muffs provide a pretty high NRR considering the low profile design. And the price, just $8.88 on sale, is hard to beat! NOTE: Other vendors have a more conservative 25 NRR for these type of muffs. That’s still quite good.

6. Midsouth — Lyman Brass Smith Ideal Press, $69.99

Lyman C-Frame Ideal compact press cast iron

Lyman’s new Ideal compact press works great as a second, lighter-duty press. It also is a good choice for loading at the range. It can easily be mounted to a range bench with C-clamps. With its cast-iron body, this C-Frame press is stronger than other presses in its price class. If you are looking for a secondary press for de-capping, bullet-seating and other tasks not requiring heavy leverage, this is an excellent choice. The Lyman Ideal costs just $69.99 at Midsouth Shooters Supply.

7. Optics Planet — NcStar Vism Shooting Mat, $24.99

Shooting Mat

Still laying on the ground or using your wife’s yoga mat for shooting? For $24.99 now you can grab this NcStar Vism shooting mat and give your knees, belly, and elbows a break from the ground below. It opens wide and even has straps for pre-loading your bipod. This is a quality pad that helps put some space between you and your rocky position. When you’re done simply fold in the edges, roll it up and it takes up the same or less space as a sleeping bag. This is a good product tested and used by our staff.

8. Walmart — 46″ Workbench with LED light, $49.00

46

Are you looking for a solid workstation to reload or gunsmith on? This Walmart 46″ Workbench is solid, easy to assemble, and comes with an LED light, peg hooks, plus drawer liner. That’s a lot of bench for $49.00 especially considering how much you can store under it or in the drawer. The advantage of the LED light is that it won’t affect delicate electronic scales.

9. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $17.85

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With over 3800 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $17.85, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hot Deals, Optics Post comment »
January 7th, 2019

Mossberg Celebrates 100 Years in Business

Mossberg 100 years 1919 2019 MC1sc pistol

Mossberg has reached a major milestone. 2019 marks the 100th year in business for this leading USA gun-maker. The Mossberg story began in 1919 with a dream to manufacture durable and reliable firearms that the working class could afford. As simple as that dream was, it was fairly ambitious. After all, Oscar Frederick Mossberg, a Swedish immigrant, was 53 years old. But he was talented and determined. So armed with experience, and keen knowledge of the industry, he and his two sons, Harold and Iver, began O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc. A lot has happened in Mossberg’s first 100 years. Yet through it all, the company has proudly remained family owned and operated.

Oscar knew the gun industry from being a product engineer at various New England companies including Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works, J. Stevens Arms & Tool Co., and Marlin-Rockwell. In 1919, when Marlin-Rockwell went out of business, O.F. Mossberg and his two sons, Iver and Harold, started a new firearms company of their own, O.F. Mossberg & Sons.

Mossberg 100 years 1919 2019 MC1sc pistolThe company’s first gun was the Brownie, a four-shot, 22-caliber pistol that was durable and reliable. This pocket pistol cemented Mossberg’s reputation as a manufacturer of firearms that performed well, and were built to last.

Mossberg grew quickly, adding over two dozen firearms while developing and improving bolt-action rifles and shotguns. As it developed new models, the company launched a variety of innovations, including the first range-finding telescopic sight.

Oscar Mossberg passed away in 1937. However, his sons continued their father’s legacy. And in 1941, they started manufacturing training rifles for the U.S. military. That contract established a strong connection with the U.S. armed forces.

In 1961 Mossberg introduced the Model 500 pump-action shotgun. It proved to be the company’s most successful firearm, reaching the 10 million mark faster than any other, making it one of the world’s most-produced firearms. The Mossberg 500 is still one of the most popular shotguns in the world.

Mossberg’s innovations continued through the 1970s and ’80s. The 500 led the way to Mossberg’s military 500, 590, and 590A1, the only pump-action shotguns ever to meet all U.S. Military MIL-SPEC 3443 requirements. In 1988, Mossberg introduced the powerful 835 Ulti-Mag pump-action shotgun, the first-ever firearm chambered for 3.5″ shells.

Another Mossberg innovation was the MVP, the first bolt-action rifle to reliably feed from standard AR/M14 magazines. Mossberg also developed the innovative Model 590M shotgun, which added a double-stack detachable magazine to the battle-proven 590 shotgun platform.

NEW Mossberg MC1sc Subcompact 9mm Pistol

For 2019, Mossberg is introducing the all-new MC1sc, a slim 9mm single-stack compact designed to compete with the Glock 43, Ruger American Compact, and Taurus PT111 G2. The innovative MC1sc was designed to outperform industry-leading 9mm subcompacts while continuing the Mossberg tradition of durability and dependability.

Mossberg 100 years 1919 2019 MC1sc pistol

Similar in size and shape to the Taurus PT111 G2, this new Mossberg pistol follows a familiar formula: soft-edged polymer frame, single-stack 6-rd magazine (with 7-rd extended option), drift adjustable sights, and an Glock-type trigger-shoe-insert safety. The barrel is 3.4″ while the MC1sc is 1.03″ thick and 6.25″ long (nearly identical to a Glock 43). The backstrap profile and grip angle is sort of a blend between a Glock and the Walther PPS.

Why choose the mini-Mossie when so many other proven 9mm carry guns are available? Well, it will definitely cost less than a Glock 43. MSRP for the Mossberg is $421.00 but we expect “street price” to be about $380.00, making the MC1sc $90 cheaper than the Glock 43, which retails for around $470.00 (with standard sights). The MC1sc also has two interesting (and innovative) design features: 1) see-through magazines; and 2) quick-removable striker assembly.

Mossberg 100 years 1919 2019 MC1sc pistolInnovative See-through Magazines
Mossberg ships the gun with see-through Clear-Count™ magazines made from a transparent polymer. This lets you quickly see the number of rounds remaining in your mags. Smart idea. That’s a good thing. Plus, this pistol will also take Glock-compatible mags, so you have a choice.

The second feature will annoy some gun owners. You must REMOVE the striker assembly in order to take-down the pistol. GunsAmerica explains: “The MC1sc…requires the user to remove the striker assembly before disassembling the handgun for cleaning. While this sounds more like an impediment than a feature, it ensures safe takedown and doesn’t require users to pull the trigger before disassembly.”

SEE Take-down Procedure HERE.

Credit EdLongRange for Mossberg Anniversary Link.

Permalink Handguns, New Product, News Post comment »
January 7th, 2019

Bargain Basement Brass Tumbling System — Under $60 Invested

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

Super Clean Brass Without Breaking The Bank

Posted on June 21, 2017 by Sierra Bullets
Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf

I recently purchased 1,000 rounds of once-fired 5.56 LC brass that was fully processed and ready to load. The brass had been wet tumbled, using stainless steel pins and looked great inside and out, including the primer pockets.

I had always used a vibrating tumbler with either corn cob or walnut media and I always thought my brass looked pretty good until I saw what the wet tumbling and pin combination did.

Being the budget minded reloader that I am, I started looking for a cheap way to wet tumble my brass using stainless steel pins. Harbor Freight had recently opened a store nearby and I had received coupons in the mail, one of the coupons was 20% off any one item.

So I headed for the Harbor Freight store and after roaming around for 20 minutes or so I found a dual drum rotary rock tumbler for $55.00 and thought it would do just fine for what I was planning. The drums are rather small and only have a 3 pound maximum load limit each, but I figured that was big enough for around 150 .223 cases or maybe 300 9MM cases at a time.

I pulled the wrinkled up coupon out of my pocket, paid, and walked out with my new $47.00 brass cleaning machine. I didn’t have any stainless steel pins and couldn’t find any locally. At our local hardware store I picked up some brass plated ½” finishing brads that I thought might work until I could get some pins ordered.

I bought two small packages of the finishing brads (1.75 oz.), for $1.69 each then headed to my local Walmart to pick up some Dawn dish soap (.99 cents) and a bottle of Lemi Shine ($3.27). I had read online that is what a lot of people use for cleaning their brass.

I bought two small packages of the finishing brads (1.75 oz.), for $1.69 each then headed to my local Walmart to pick up some Dawn dish soap (.99 cents) and a bottle of Lemi Shine ($3.27). I had read online that is what a lot of people use for cleaning their brass.

When I got home, I started depriming .223 brass for my new toy, I mean brass tumbler. I deprimed 100 cases, put 50 in each drum, dropped a package of brads in each one, filled them ¾ of the way with water, gave each drum a small squirt of Dawn dish soap and a tablespoon of Lemi Shine. I sealed up the drums and fired up the tumbler.

After an hour and a half, I just couldn’t stand it any longer and had to see the results. The water was filthy but the cases were super clean, I couldn’t be happier. For a total investment of around $55.00, I can now get my cases looking almost new.

Here are the before and after pictures of my first run of brass:

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

I have since ordered two pounds of stainless steel pins, I put one pound in each drum. To be honest the brass really doesn’t look any better, but the pins don’t seem to get stuck inside of the cases near as bad as the brass-plated brads did.

Tip: Make sure to inspect your cases and look inside each case to ensure all of the brads/pins are removed.

Just lay the brass and brads/pins out on a towel and let them dry. Mine were dry after about 12 hours.

If you want your cases to look like new without breaking the bank, give it a try. You can’t clean 1000 at a time like the $200.00 tumbling machines that are made for specifically for brass, but this is a much cheaper alternative and the results speak for themselves. — Gary Prisendorf, Sierra Bullets

EDITOR: Actually you can get a machine for a whole lot less than $200.00! See the next paragraph.

Lyman Cylone Rotary Tumbler with Factory Rebate
Sierra’s Technician got his rotary tumbler and brass media for $55.00. For eighty bucks more that you can get a much better, higher-capacity system from Lyman. The Lyman Cyclone Rotary Tumbler features a large, polymer drum that holds up to 1000 .223 Rem cases. The kit includes media separation trays, plus five pounds of correct STAINLESS media. The Lyman Cyclone system costs $139.39 delivered from Amazon.

Yep you can get a complete Lyman Cyclone system WITH stainless media for under $140.00. To be honest we think that’s money well spent, compared to the “El Cheapo” Harbor Freight unit. The Lyman will run six times as many .223 Rem cases, be easier to operate, AND get the job done faster. We suspect long-term durability will be better with the Lyman tumbler as well.

Brass Tumbling stainless media cheap Harbor Freight Brass plated cartridge brass

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 6th, 2019

Flip Your Target Colors for Better Long-Range Viewing

Negative target center reverse color image

At long range, small bullet holes are much easier to see “in the white” than in the black center of the normal High Power target. When you’re practicing at long range using a scoped rifle, one way to enhance your ability to see your bullet holes is to print a “negative” version of the regulation bullseye target so that your black center is now white.

How do you create a “negative” of a target image? Many image programs, including the FREE Irfanview software, have a “Negative” function in the pull-down menu. If you don’t see a “Negative” menu option in your program, look for a “substitute colors” option. Many printers also have a “reverse colors” function. If you can’t find a solution with your computer or printer, just take a normal bullseye target to a copy shop, and the staff can easily print you a set of targets with white centers in black fields.

Pentax PF-80 ED scopeForum member Watercam has a Pentax PF-80ED spotting scope that allows him to see 6mm bullet holes in the white at 600 yards. However, 6mm holes in the black are only visible out to 400 yards or so. Accordingly, Watercam uses a modified “reversed” black-to-white target for 600-yard practice. Watercam explains: “[Using the Pentax] With my 6mm and limited mirage I see defined, 6mm holes in the white out to 600. In the black, however, I can see bullets holes at about 400. I now use reverse-color targets for training without a pit partner at the 600-yard line.”

The Hi-Viz Solution — Day-Glo Pasters
If you’re not concerned with official scoring rings, you can use an all-white target with a bright, fluorescent target dot in the middle. A 2″- or 3″-diameter stick-on target dot is highly visible at 600 yards. Birchwood Casey Target Spots® assortment #33928-TSA offers neon orange target dots in 1″, 2″, and 3″ diameters.

Easel Pad flip chart target paper

TARGET TIP — Use Chart Paper
For practice backers for the Day-GLo pasters at long distance, use Flip Chart Paper (aka Easel Pads) marked with graph lines at 1″ intervals. Available either regular or self-stick, one sheet can hold 4-8 pasters and the white paper allows for easy spotting of the holes and quick estimation of group size. Get Flip Chart Paper at Amazon.com, Staples, or Office Depot.

Brits Use White-Field Target for F-Class
In the UK, some ranges are now using a “reverse-style” target with a mostly white area. Laurie Holland says this allows shooters to see shots much more easily. Laurie reports: “Here’s a photo of the 500/600 yard F-Class match target we use in PSSA comps at Diggle Ranges with club members Chris Hull (L) and Terry Mann (R). We now use this target form at all ranges up to 1K for F-Class, and, yes you can often see your hits at 600 yards on the target before the markers pull it. Regards from England — Laurie”.

Permalink Competition, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
January 6th, 2019

Firearms Guide Covers 73,000 Types of Guns and Ammo

firearms guide 2016 Database 9th Edition Gun Values

The 9th Edition of the Firearms Guide has just been released. This is the MOTHER LODE of GUN INFO. If you’d like to have instant access to 8,000 gun schematics and descriptions of 73,000 types of guns and ammo from 1,110 manufacturers, then check this out. The Firearms Guide is a humongous online database that is regularly updated. You can access all this info for pennies a day. The basic annual subscription is on sale right now for just $29.95. If you only need the info for a month or two, get a monthly membership at $6.50 per month, and cancel any time.

firearms guide 2016 Database 9th Edition Gun ValuesYou can also get a DVD or Flash Drive add-on that lets you access the database even without a web connection. A 1-year Online Edition PLUS Firearms Guide 8th Ed. DVD for Mac & Windows is $34.95, including shipping. Alternatively, the 1-year Online Edition PLUS Firearms Guide 8th Ed. Flash Drive for Mac & Windows is $44.95. This lets you access the data from laptops and most tablets with a USB port.

You may be familiar with the Firearms Guide when it was distributed as a DVD. Now the 9th Edition is a fully interactive, subscription-based online database of firearms and ammo, which is also the most complete guide to global gun values on the web. The amount of imagery is amazing — there are tens of thousands of photos and over 8000 schematics, which help you work on a firearm or identify key components/parts. The Firearms Guide permits detailed searches of antique and modern guns and side by side comparisons of search results. Guns are cross-referenced with the ammunition database.

firearms guide 2016 Database 9th Edition Gun Values

Database Includes Printable Targets: This resource even includes printable targets. You’ll find practice targets, sight-in targets, silhouette targets, special shapes and, yes, even Zombie targets.

Guns and ammo are presented with prices, specifications, features, ballistics, and up to 12 high-rez color pictures. NOTE: The Ammo information includes bullet BCs and velocities. GUN VALUES are provided for dealers and gun collectors. You can access thousands of printable and zoom-able GUN SCHEMATICS (diagrams or exploded views) with parts lists and blueprints for professional gunsmiths. Here’s an example of the schematicsL

firearms guide 2016 Database 9th Edition Gun Values

The online database’s search capability lets you 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:

Firearms GuideFirearms Guide

If you are a gun collector, or just an information junkie, you’ll find the Firearms Guide to be an invaluable resource. The 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.

About the Firearms Guide Database
Firearms Guide has been published from 2009 to 2015 on DVDs and sold through Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, the NRA and other vendors. In 2016 Firearms Guide was transformed into a subscription-based, online searchable guns and ammo reference and gun value guide for industry professionals and enthusiasts. Along with the web subscription, you can purchase a supplemental DVD or Flash Drive which contains the same information for off-line access.

Permalink News Post comment »
January 5th, 2019

Tack-Drivin’ Wildcat — 6.5 Grendel Necked UP to .30 Caliber

30 Major 6.5 Grendel 30 caliber PPC

Sometimes everything comes together — a great barrel, the right load, good bullets, and, of course, a gifted trigger-puller. Check out this target from Forum member Mike Ezell. That’s five (5) shots at 100 yards from Mike’s 30 Major benchrest rifle. When this group was shot a while back, Mike reported: “I fired a few groups in the great weather. No surprises — it did VERY well! My little wildcat, the 30 Major, has always been a shooter. That target was not a fluke — I shot a few groups today and Agg’d a high One.” Mike is a Kentucky gunsmith who builds his own rifles.

30 Major is Based on 6.5 Grendel
What’s a “30 Major” you ask? This is Mike’s own wildcat, a 6.5 Grendel necked up to .30 caliber. Mike writes: “The 30 Major is essentially a .070″-long 30 PPC. With the great 6.5 Grendel brass available from Lapua, all you need to do is neck-up and turn the necks to prep the brass.” Mike says it is very much like a 30 BR, but you just start with 6.5 Grendel brass instead of 6mmBR brass.

The cartridge has one major benefit — it utilizes a PPC-diameter bolt face. That makes it easy to convert your group-shooting 6 PPC to shoot score with .30-cal bullets. Mike explains: “If you have a PPC, to shoot score, all you have to do is chamber up a [.30 caliber] barrel and screw it on your PPC.”

From 7.62×39 Russian to 30 Major — Full Circle

Arms expert Neil Gibson has an interesting perspective on the lineage of the 30 Major. He reminds us that this wildcat has returned to its roots: “Start off with the 7.62×39 Russian [cartridge]. The Russians then modify it, necking it down to .223 for deer hunting. The U.S. benchrest guys then modify that, necking it up to 6mm and blowing the case out making the 6mm PPC. Someone takes that case, necks it out to 6.5 mm, making the 6.5 PPC. Alexander Arms takes that and makes the 6.5 Grendel. Then finally Mike Ezell takes the Grendel and necks it up to 30 caliber, making the 30 Major. From 30 caliber, back to 30 caliber. OK, the original uses .31 caliber bullets, but the bore is still .300. Talk about almost coming round full circle!”

7.62×39 Russian
v
.220 Russian
v
6mm PPC
v
6.5 PPC
v
6.5 Grendel
v
30 Major

The 7.62×39 Russian was the Grand-Daddy of the 30 Major…
7.62x39 Russian Kalashnikov 30 Major 6.5 Grendel

Great Accuracy Restored after Solving Mystery Problem
To get his 30 Major rig shooting this well, Mike had to solve a mysterious problem that cropped up last year. Mike explains: “Two years running, I have finished in the top 15 in IBS points shooting [the 30 Major], but last year’s benchrest season was tough.” Mike was having some accuracy issues that defied explanation. But he figured it out: “The front action screw was bottoming out against the barrel extension – just barely. A simple fix brought the gun back to life. It’s a Stiller Viper Drop Port. The action is screwed and glued into the stock, so I was a bit surprised … especially after having checked for [that issue] while looking for the problem. I’m just glad to have found the trouble so I can begin to re-instill some confidence in the gun and myself, after last year.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 6 Comments »
January 5th, 2019

Get a Handle on Your Swivel Bipod — KMW Pod-Loc

KMW pod-lok lock bipod handle swivel

KMW Pod-Loc BipodIf you’ve ever used a Harris Swivel Bipod, you know that, without tools, it is difficult to put enough tension on the swivel locking knob to really lock the unit solid. And, if you do manage to get the knob really tight (perhaps by using pliers), it is difficult to loosen with fingers alone.

That was why Terry Cross and the folks at KMW Long Range Solutions invented the Pod-Loc™. This system replaces the knurled swivel tension knob with a push-button adjustable handle. Using the handle you can easily set the swivel tension at any level from loose to “rock solid”. And you can release tension to adjust the bipod to different terrain just as easily. The genuine KMW Pod-Loc™ retails for $26.99 at Brownells.com.

KMW Podlock Pod-loc bipod swivel locking handle accessory

How to Build Your Own Bipod Swivel Locking System
While we use genuine KMW Pod-Locs on our rifles, readers on a tight budget, or who have a large collection of bipod-equipped rifles, can economize by putting together their own swivel locking systems from off-the-shelf components. You can buy suitable levers from www.T-Nuts.com. This vendor offers a variety of appropriate handles, ranging in price from $7.00 to $10.00. So, by sourcing the parts, you can outfit three bipods with swivel adjusters for the cost of one Pod-Loc.

T-Nuts Bipod Handle lock

We recommend the Nylon/Stainless BPL/NS model ($7.70), but you may prefer the all-metal BPL-ZS ($8.50), or the shorter BPL-Micro model ($8.25). The compact Micro lock does not protrude past the body of the bipod, yet is still easily grasped. T-Nuts supplies one 3/16″ spacer with most of its bipod handles. T-Nuts handles are also available with a metric M6x1.0 thread for use with imported bipods such as Outers and Rockport.

Installation is Easy — With the Right Socket
To install a swivel locking system, first you’ll need a 1/4″ socket to remove the keeper nut from the threaded pivot rod. (During this process, you’ll need to keep pressure on the pivot rod retaining pin on the opposite side of the bipod.) Don’t try to remove the keeper nut with pliers or an open-end wrench. You really need the correct socket. Once that keeper nut is removed, then unscrew the knurled tension knob/ring. This is attached to the same threaded shaft as the keeper nut but you should be able to remove it without tools.

After the knurled tension ring is off, it is easy to put your handle on the bipod. First slip the 3/16″ spacer over the threaded pivot rod. Keeping finger pressure on the pivot rod retaining pin (on reverse side), then spin on the T-Nuts handle. Rotate the handle inwards until it firmly locks the bipod swivel mechanism. By pushing the button in the head of the handle, you can swing the handle left or right to set its position without altering the swivel tension.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Tactical 1 Comment »
January 5th, 2019

New Steel-Frame Walther PPQ Q5 Match SF Pistol

Walther PPQ Q5 match steel frame SF pistol handgun optics ready

What was old is new again — metal pistol frames. Walther, which has focused on polymer-framed pistols in recent decades, has come out with a metal-framed version of its flagship Q5 model, chambered in 9x19mm (9mm Luger). We like this pistol, official called the Walther PPQ Q5 Match Steel Frame (SF). The metal frame adds mass to the gun, and lowers the center of gravity. That reduces muzzle flip somewhat, as you can see in the comparison video below. Ergonomics are very good, reports early tester Graham Baates, who tested the “optics ready” Q5 SF pistol with red dot sights.

It’s puzzling though — we wonder why Walther didn’t increase the slide weight too, by simply doing away with all the superfluous ports in the slide. That would increase gun weight, reduce muzzle flip (and perceived recoil) even more, and presumably the gun would be cheaper to produce. But maybe Walther thinks the slide cuts are a defining Q5 styling feature that needs to remain, like the Q5’s distinctive Blue Trigger. We guess styling trumps logic…

The Q5 Match SF features an optics ready slide that comes with a Trijicon RMR, Leupold Delta Point, and Docter Optics compatible mounting plate in addition to the standard competition iron sights. Along with a ported slide and the Carl Walther signature ergonomics, and a blue quick defense trigger, the Q5 SF is the flattest shooting model to date.

Walther PPQ Q5 match steel frame SF pistol handgun optics ready

TECHNICAL DATA Walther PPQ Q5 Steel Frame Mod. 283001
All Steel Construction
Optics Mounting Plate
Extended Frame Rails
Ported Slide
Model: 2830001
Caliber: 9x19mm
Finish: Tenifer
Magazines Included: 3
Barrel: 5″ long, 1:10″ twist
Trigger Pull: 5.6 lbs
Capacity: 15 rds (or 17 rds mod. 2830418)
Overall Length: 8.7″
Height: 5.4″
Width: 1.3″
Sight Radius: 7.2″
Weight (empty mag): 41.6 oz
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, New Product 4 Comments »
January 4th, 2019

Single-Stage Reloading Presses — Product Video Showcase

RCBS Rock Chucker MEC Marksman Lyman Brass smith ideal Frankford co-ax forster Hornady iron Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Press

Hand-loaders have never had so many great choices in single-stage presses, with many different configurations and features. There are classic O-Frame presses, Coax-style presses, Open-front presses, Pyramid presses, and compact C-Frame presses. Here is our 2019 Single Stage Press Showcase with products from Forster, Frankford Arsenal, Hornady, Lee, Lyman, MEC, and RCBS. We’ve included short videos showing the features of these reloading presses.

If you are shopping for a new press you should look at the various features of each. You may prefer something classic like a Rock Chucker, or the innovative open-front MEC. If you are looking for a compact press to use at the range, the new Lyman C-Frame is very impressive for the price. And the Forster Co-Ax remains a great addition to any loading room.

MEC Marksman Single-Stage Press

If you are looking for a new, full-size single-stage reloading press, definitely consider the MEC Marksman. Created by the makers of the popular MEC shotshell reloading systems, the MEC Marksman combines a sturdy cast-iron frame with a modern open-front design. With a $189.99 street price the Marksman press cost roughly $20 more than an RCBS Rock Chucker, but the MEC offers some distinct advantages — such as an open front plus a floating shell-holder system.

MEC Marksman Press Gavin Gear single stage open front press die caddy accessories

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com got his hands on a MEC Marksman press and put it through its paces. He came away impressed with the product, saying it delivers excellent performance, and has many impressive features. Gavin tells us: “Cast iron tools and machines are a lifetime investment. The made-in-USA MEC Marksman features ductile cast-iron construction, an open-front frame design for easy cartridge access, a new floating shell-holder design with a unique retention system, and ambidextrous handle setup.” MEC also offers a wide selection of accessories for the Marksman press, including a press riser/mount, shell-holder caddy, and die trays.

Frankford Arsenal M-Press Coaxial Reloading Press

Frankford Arsenal M-Press co-ax coaxial new reloading press die caddy accessories

Sorry, this new Frankford Arsenal coaxial M-Press has not started shipping yet so we don’t have a video. But MidwayUSA says it should arrive by mid-February 2019. We think this new M-Press should interest Forster Co-Ax fans. While the operation is similar to the Forster Co-Ax, there are some important differences. The new M-Press mounts on a flat surface, with nothing protruding below. That is significantly different than the Forster Co-Ax. The die block is different. It also appears that the shell-holder system is different. But this still self-aligns like a Forster Co-Ax. “A free-floating design allows the die and shellplate to move on two axis, so the case is always perfectly centered in the die, minimizing bullet runout.” The way the arms move is also different. In the Forster Co-Ax, the rods slide within the press frame and the part that holds the shell is fixed to them. In this design the rods are stationary and the part that holds the shell slides on them. However, the overhead handle certainly does copy the distinctive Forster design. NOTE: According to MidwayUSA, this M-Press does NOT have priming capability, unlike the Forster Co-Ax. Credit Boyd Allen for design analysis.

Forster Co-Ax Press

co-ax forster Hornady reloading single-stage  PressIf you are not yet familiar with the many unique features of the Forster Co-Ax, we recommend you watch the video above, a very thorough video review by Rex Roach. This shows how the press operates and highlights the design elements which set the Co-Ax apart from every other reloading press on the market. This 14-minute video shows the key Co-Ax features, explaining how the floating case-holder jaws work (3:30 time-mark), how the dies are held in place (4:40 time-mark), how spent primers are captured (6:10 time-mark), and how to set the primer seating depth (10:00 time-mark). We’ve used a Co-Ax for years and we still learned a few new things by watching this detailed video. If you are considering purchasing a Co-Ax, definitely watch this video start to finish.

In recent years, Forster Co-Ax® presses have been somewhat hard to find, as demand has out-stripped supply. The Co-Ax has many dedicated fans, given its unique features, such as the floating case-holder jaws, and easy, rapid slide-in/slide-out die placement. We’ve also found that Co-Ax presses load very straight ammo and we like the ability to switch between short handle (good for bullet seating) and long handle (ideal for heavy case-sizing tasks). We also think the Forster Co-Ax has one of the best spent primer capture systems on the market — a straight drop into a removable plastic cup. Simple and it works.

Lyman Brass Smith Victory Single-Stage Press

Lyman Brass Smith Victory Single stage press video

Lyman’s New Victory Single-stage Press competes with the RCBS Rock Chucker Press. With beefy cast iron construction, the Victory’s strength and leverage rivals the Rock Chucker. If you like to prime on a press, this Victory has a priming system that’s much easier to use than the Rock Chucker system. The priming tube is right up front. Simply push the shuttle at the button of the tube to advance the primer into place. The entire primer-loading system can also be removed so it doesn’t interfere with case and bullet-handling operations. We generally prefer to prime cases separately using a dedicated hand- or bench-mounted tool, but the Victory press does the job nicely. Overall, the Victory is a great value in a full-size “O-Frame” press. It’s on sale now for $154.99 at Midsouth.

RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Single-Stage Press

RCBS Rockchucker Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage reloading press Bruno Shooters Nearly every serious hand-loader has owned or used the RCBS Rock Chucker press. This Editor still uses a Rock Chucker passed down by his brother 20 years ago. And yes, it is still going strong. The latest Rock Chucker Supreme single-stage press features an improved “upside-down Y-path” dual-bin spent primer catcher. Otherwise the Rock Chucker Supreme remains big, strong, versatile and sturdy. It has very strong linkages, with a compound leverage system providing plenty of power — FL-sizing is a breeze even with large, magnum cases. The 1″-diameter ram has 12.5 sq. inches of ram-bearing surface.

Some people may not know that the Rock Chucker offers a secondary 1 1/4″ x 12 thread for shotshell reloading dies and Piggyback 3 upgrade. The Rock Chucker Supreme retails for under $180.00 ($167.50 now at Bruno’s). The RCBS Rock Chucker is definitely a quality product that can last a lifetime. For heavy-duty sizing chores this remains one of the best choices in single-stage presses. We do recommend shopping around. You can sometimes get a pretty big discount on Rock Chuckers and RCBS has regular rebate programs.

Lyman Brass Smith Ideal C-Frame Compact Press

The Lyman Brass Smith Ideal Press is a very affordable, cast iron C-Frame reloading press. We think it is the new “class leader” in compact presses. This works great as a secondary press for your reloading room or a small press you can take to the range. The large front opening allows you to access the shell holder without hitting the support bar on other types of presses. Unlike other compact presses made from aluminum, Lyman’s Ideal press is cast iron so it is rigid and strong. The high-quality steel ram is one inch in diameter. The Brass Smith is a true ambidextrous press that can be accessed from either side and mounted the same. This is a great choice for a second, auxiliary press for depriming and bullet seating.

Lyman Ideal C frame iron press midsouth shooters

Hornady Iron Single Stage (Open-front) Press

In this “Reloading with Rosie” video, the attractive female host loads some ammo using the Hornady Iron Press. With a beefy, pyramid-style cast-iron frame with an open front, this press offers some advantages over a traditional “O-Frame” type press. Access is considerably easier, for one thing. And the top of the press includes slots to hold dies and tools — that’s really a very nice feature that saves time. Also an optional “automatic” priming system shuttles primers from a vertical tube in the back to the shell-holder in the front. That’s clever. Over all the Iron Press is a nice piece of engineering — good job Hornady.

Hornady Iron Press video

Lee Classic Cast (Iron) Breech Lock Press

Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock PressThe Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock Press offers excellent value for the money ($112.00 at Midsouth). Based on the proven design of the Classic Cast press, the updated Breech Lock series adds the quick-change die bushing and an improved primer drop system. This press is strong, with cast iron frame, all-steel linkage, and 12 square inches of ram bearing surface.

Lee says this press has the “largest opening and the longest stroke in the industry” among O-frame type presses. The handle can be mounted on either side. We love the fact that the handle angle can be adjusted, as well as the lever arm length — that allows you to adjust travel and leverage to suit your preference. Smart engineering.

The new spent primer drop features a large-diameter hollow ram with clear hose that drops primers straight to a bin — that’s simple and effective. The press is very rigid and the base is wide enough for good stability. We have one of these Classic Cast Breech Lock Presses in our reloading room and it works well.

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January 4th, 2019

Seeing Bullet Holes at 1000 Yards? Yes It IS Possible…

Pentax PF 100ED
Coalinga Range in California. At dawn we could clearly see 7mm and .30 Cal bullet holes at 1000 yards.

Pentax smc-xw 10mmWhile attending the CA Long Range Championship a few seasons back, we had the opportunity to test the performance of a high-magnification (63X) spotting scope in near-ideal conditions (maybe the best I’ve ever witnessed). On the event’s last day we arrived at 5:45 am, literally as the sun was cresting the horizon. I quickly deployed our Pentax PF-100ED spotting scope, fitted with a Pentax SMC-XW 10mm fixed-power eyepiece. When used with the 100mm Pentax scope, this 10mm eyepiece yields 63X magnification. Befitting its $359.00 price, this eyepiece is extremely clear and sharp.

At the crack of dawn, viewing conditions were ideal. No mist, no mirage, no wind. The first thing this Editor noticed was that I could see metal nail heads on the target boards. That was astonishing. As soon as the first practice targets went up, to my surprise, I could see 6.5mm, 7mm, and 30-caliber bullet holes in the white at 1000 yards. No lie…

That’s right, I could see bullet holes at 1000. I know many of you folks may not believe that, but there was no mistaking when I saw a 7mm bullet cut the white line separating the Nine Ring and Eight Ring on the target in view. (I was watching that target as the shot was fired and saw the shot-hole form). And when I looked at the 30-cal targets, the bullet holes in the white were quite visible. In these perfect conditions I could also make out 3/8″ bolt heads on the target frames.

The Human Factor
When viewing the bullet holes, I was using my left naked eye (no safety glasses or magnification). I also had a contact lens in my right eye (needed for distance vision). To my surprise, while I could see the bullet holes without much difficulty with my left eye, things were fuzzier and slightly more blurry with the right eye, even when I re-focused the scope.

Pentax smc-xw 10mmThen I invited 3 or 4 shooters to look through the scope. One younger guy, with good eyes, said immediately: “Yeah, I can see the holes — right there at 4 o’clock and seven o’clock. Wow.” Some older guys, who were wearing glasses, could not see the holes at all, no matter what we did to the scope’s main focus and diopter adjustment.

The lesson here — if you have to wear glasses or corrective contact lenses, just that extra bit of optical interference may make a difference in what you can see through the scope. Basically anything that goes between the scope eyepiece and your eyeball can degrade the image somewhat. So… you may be better off removing your glasses if you can still obtain good focus sharpness using the diopter adjustment and focus ring. I did the left vs. right eye test a half dozen times, and I could definitely see small features at 1000 yards with my naked eye that I could not see with my right eye fitted with a contact lens. (I did have to re-focus the scope for each eye, since one had a corrective lens while the other did not.)

Mirage Degrades Image Sharpness and Resolution
The “magic light” prevailed for only an hour or so, and then we started to get some mirage. As soon as the mirage appeared I was no longer able to see raw bullet holes, though I could still easily see black pasters on the black bulls. When the mirage started, the sharpness of the visible image degraded a huge amount. Where I could see bullet holes at dawn, by mid-morning I could barely read the numbers on the scoring rings. Lesson: If you want to test the ulimate resolution of your optics, you need perfect conditions.

Chromatic AberrationChromatic Aberration Revealed
As the light got brighter and the mirage increased I started to see blue and red fringing at the edges of the spotting disk and the large numerals. This was quite noticeable. On one side of the bright, white spotting disc you could see a dark red edge, while on the other side there was a blue edge (harder to see but still present).

The photo below was taken through the Pentax spotter lens using a point and shoot camera held up to the eyepiece. The sharpness of the Pentax was actually much better than this photo shows, but the through-the-lens image does clearly reveal the red and blue fringing. This fringing is caused by chromatic aberration — the failure of a lens to focus all colors to the same point. Chromatic aberration, most visible at high magnification, causes different wavelengths of light to have differing focal lengths (see diagram). Chromatic aberration manifests itself as “fringes” of color along boundaries that separate dark and bright parts of the image, because each color in the optical spectrum cannot be focused at a single common point on the optical axis. Keep in mind that the Pentax does have “ED” or low-dispersion glass, so the effect would be even more dramatic with a cheaper spotting scope.


CLICK HERE to view LARGE PHOTO that shows aberration more clearly.

If you wonder why top-of-the-line spotting scopes (such as the $2980 Swarovski ATS-80 ) cost so much, the answer is that they will deliver even LESS chromatic aberration at long range and high magnification. With their exotic apochromatic (APO), ultra-low-dispersion glass, a few ultra-high-end spotting scopes can deliver an image without the color edging you see in the photo above.

The Pentax PF-100ED is a heck of a spotting scope. Any scope that can resolve bullet holes at 1000 yards is impressive. But if you want the ultimate in optical performance, with minimal chromatic aberration, you may need to step up to something like the 88mm Kowa Prominar TSN-884 with Flourite Crystal lenses ($2450.00 body only), or the 82mm Leica APO ($3899.00 with 25-50X eyepiece).

EDITOR’s NOTE: The purpose of this report is to show what is possible… in IDEAL conditions. With this Pentax 100mm, as well as a Swarovski 80mm, we have often been able to resolve 6mm bullet holes at 600 yards. But again, that performance requires really good viewing conditions. By 10:00 am at my range, even with the 100mm Pentax at 75 power, seeing 6mm bullet holes is “iffy” at best. So don’t go out and mortgage the house to buy a $4000 optic with the hope that you’ll be able to spot your shots at 1000 yards. If conditions are anything less than perfect, you’ll be lucky to see bullet holes at 500 yards. The real solution for very long-range spotting is to set up a remote target cam that broadcasts a video picture to a screen at your shooting station.

Permalink - Articles, Optics, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 4th, 2019

10 BEST Bolt-Action Rifles of All Time — What Do YOU Think?

Ten 10 best bolt action rifles shooter

A while back, RifleShooter online magazine published a list of the purported Ten Best Bolt-Action Rifles of All Time. Ten classic rifle designs (including the Remington 700 and Winchester Model 70) were featured with a paragraph or two explaining their notable features.

“Best” Lists Stir Controversy…
These Top 10 lists are always controversial. While most readers might approve of half the entries, there are always some items on the Top 10 list that some readers would challenge. Here is RifleShooter’s Top 10 list. What do you think? Are there some other bolt-actions that are more deserving?

1. Springfield M1903
2. Mauser 98
3. Winchester Model 70
4. Remington Model 700
5. Weatherby V

6. Sako L61/AV
7. Savage Model 110
8. Ruger M77
9. Tikka T3
10. Mannlicher-Schonauer

10bolt1402.

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