August 18th, 2014

NRA Life Memberships On Sale for $495 through August 20th

NRA membership offerHave you considered becoming an NRA Life Member, but couldn’t swing the substantial $1000.00 cost? Well, right now you can get an NRA Life Membership for half price.

Now through August 20, 2014 the NRAstore is offering life memberships for just $495.00. Think about that — for the next three days (through August 20th) you can save $505.00 on an NRA Life Membership, making this more affordable than ever.

Remember, the clock is ticking! This $495.00 NRA LIfe Membership Offer is only good through Wednesday, August 20th, so don’t hesitate if you are interested — you snooze, you loose.

NRA membership offer

Big Savings on 1-Year, 3-Year, or 5-Year Memberships Too
If you are not ready to become an NRA Life Member, you can also get a significant discount on 1-Year, 3-Year, or 5-Year NRA memberships. You can save $10 on a one-year membership, save $15 on a three-year membership, or save $35.00 on a five-year membership. NOTE: This offer runs through 8/20/2014. CLICK HERE for 1-Year, 3-Year, and 5-Year Membership Sale.

Permalink News Post comment »
August 18th, 2014

The Holy Black — BPCR Nat’l Championship is One Month Away

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship Raton NM
NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

On September 13-20, 2014, the NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championship will held at the Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Top Black Powder Cartridge Rifle (BPCR) shooters from around the country will visit Raton to test their skills during a week-long event with targets set from 200 to 1000 yards. The event kicks off with Mid-Range matches at 200 to 600 yards. On the firing line you’ll see many handsome, custom-built BPCRs (Sharps, Ballards, Browning High Walls, Rolling Blocks) with exquisite wood, hand-checkering, and color-case-hardened receivers.

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

The 800-1000 yard Creedmoor matches will be held Friday and Saturday, September 19-20. Interestingly, for safety reasons, there are minimum bullet weight and muzzle velocity requirements for the Creedmoor matches. These BPCR shooters launch some seriously heavy projectiles downrange:

Caliber Minimum Bullet Weight (Grains) Minimum Bullet Velocity (FPS)
.38 Cal 408 (375) 1300 (1375)
.40 Cal 408 1280
.44 Cal 450 1240
.45 Cal 510 1200
.50 Cal 600 1200

NRA Black Powder Target Rifle Championships Raton NM

Permalink Competition, News Post comment »
August 17th, 2014

Watch Stock Duplicator Machine in Action

Production wood rifle stocks, both laminates and hardwoods, are commonly made with stock duplicating machines. Stock duplicators allow a stock-maker to copy a master design faithfully and efficiently. The video below, from Colorado rifle-maker Michael Cuypers, shows a stock duplicator (in automatic mode) cutting a piece of Turkish Walnut, for a mauser 98. This machine rotates the blank while a spinning vertical cutting head shapes and trims the blank. This duplicator manually tracks the shape/profile of the master blank. To make another stock, this process needs to be repeated, with the master in place. For more information about this duplicating machine, visit www.riflebuilders.com.

Watch Stock Duplicator in Progress

Future Technology: We are starting to see stocks made with CNC milling machines that cut stock profiles based on three-dimensional scans of master stock designs. However, the traditional mechanical duplicator process in the video is still most commonly used by most of today’s stock-makers.

Turkish Walnut — Where to Get a Beautiful Blank
The Bijou Creek video above shows a Turkish Walnut stock being roughed out. Turkish Walnut is some of the most beautifully figured wood available — but it can be pricy. If you are looking for this kind of ultra-high-grade wood, it makes sense to shop carefully. You’ll find a wide selection of Turkish Walnut blanks at the HunterBid.com website. Hundreds of selections are available at auction. Prices start as low as $150.00. The finest blanks sell for $1,000 or more. New blank selections are added to the website every other day. HunterBid.com is run by Chiron Inc., which is 100% owned by the Ergin family who are of Turkish origin. Chiron maintains warehouses in Dover, NH and Istanbul, Turkey.

Hunterbid.com walnut blanks

Video find by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing Post comment »
August 17th, 2014

History of Firearms Covered in Online Video Series

Sturm, Ruger & Co. has created a series of 11 short videos that trace the history of firearms, from matchlocks to modern semi-autos. Ruger’s “History of the Gun” video series provides a fascinating look at firearms technology throughout the years. The host is Garry James, Senior Editor of Guns & Ammo magazine. Featured here is Segment 7 on Rifling. Other installments in the series are linked below.

YouTube Preview Image
Flintlock mechanism
Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
August 16th, 2014

American Squad Wins America Match Team Competition

Here’s breaking news from Ottawa, Canada. Team USA has won the America Match, an F-Class International Team competition . Shown below are the victorious U.S. Team members and coaches. The U.S. team was led by Rick Jenson and coached by the first family of long range shooting, Mid Tompkins, Nancy Tompkins, and Michelle Gallagher.

America Match Team USA

The 2014 F-Class America Match
Team Size: Captain, Adjutant, Main Coach, 2 Target Coaches, 8 firers, not more than 4 of whom may be Class F-Open, and 2 Reserves (total team strength 15), from a single country or group of countries approved by the DCRA.
Course of Fire: 2 sighting shots (convertible) and 15 on score at 500, 600, 800 and 900 meters.
Targets: DCRA F-Class targets will be used (these are normal DCRA targets, with an additional central V-bull, half the diameter of the normal V).

In other Team events at the Canadian F-Class Championships, the U.S. 4-man F-Open team proved unbeatable. They had a clean sweep of all three four-person team matches during the past week of competition at the Connaught range near Ottawa, Ontario. Congratulations.

America Match Team USA

Next Sunday, August 24, 2014, the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association (DCRA) will host a similar America Match for Target Rifles (slings and irons).

Permalink Competition Post comment »
August 16th, 2014

Radical Gain-Twist Barrel for AR and High Power Rifles

“Gain-twist” refers to a form of barrel rifling where the twist rate gets tighter over the length of the barrel. For example, a gain twist barrel might start with 1:12″ twist and finish with 1:8″ twist. There is some evidence that gain-twist rifling can deliver more velocity (compared to a conventional barrel) with certain cartridge types. There have also been claims of increased accuracy with some types of bullets, but such claims are more difficult to quantify.

Gain-twist rifling is not new. This form of rifling has been around for a long, long time. The first gain-twist barrels appeared in the late 1800s. However, in the last few years, there has been increased interest in gain-twist barrels for both short-range and long-range competition.

Video Explains Gain Twist Rifling

Radical Extreme Gain Twist Barrel Design
In this video from our friend John M. Buol Jr., gunsmith John Carlos talks about a fairly radical gain-twist barrel design for high power and service rifle shooters. Produced by Bartlein Barrels, this gain-twist barrel starts with a 1:14″ twist and finishes with a 1:6.8″ twist at the muzzle (See 1:50 time-mark). Carlos believes that this type of barrel delivers higher velocities while providing excellent accuracy for a wide range of bullet weights. In .223 caliber, the gain twist works with the 75-77 grain bullets used on the “short course” while also delivering excellent accuracy with the longer 80-90gr bullets used at 600 yards and beyond. Velocity is the important bonus for long-range use. Carlos says the gain twist barrels deliver greater muzzle velocity, allowing a 90 grain bullet to stay well above the transonic zone, even at 1000 yards. (See 4:50 time-mark.)

This 1:14″ to 1:6.8″ gain-twist barrel is the product of much experimentation by Carlos and Bartlein. Carlos states: “We’ve varied all sorts of internal dimensions, such as the land height, and the groove depth. We’ve tried 5R rifling and 4-groove rifling, and we’ve worked with various rates of twist, and I believe we have it down really well right now.”

In this video, John Carlos explains the history of gain-twist rifling, and he explains how modern Bartlein gain twist barrels have been developed in recent years for both benchrest and High Power applications. If you are interested in barrel technology and design, take the time to watch.

Twist Rate

Erik Dahlberg illustration courtesy FireArmsID.com.

Permalink Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
August 16th, 2014

Balolia Wins F-Open and Chou Wins F-TR at Canadian Nationals

The 2014 Canadian F-Class Championship in Ottawa, Ontario proved to be a supreme challenge for shooters. Rain combined with strong and changeable winds to make this one of the toughest Canadian long-range events in years. But two shooters mastered the conditions and earned well-deserved wins. In the F-Open division, Grizzly Industrial President Shiraz Balolia posted an impressive 664-71V score to top the field. Reigning F-Open World Champion Kenny Adams from Florida finished second, two points behind Balolia, with 662-72V. Shiraz was proud to wear the red-ribboned Champion’s medallion. This was a real battle, Shiraz observed, because: “Conditions and the competition were so tough.” As for the infamous Connaught breezes, Shiraz observed: “It’s been a while since I had 5 1/2 minutes of left wind on my .300 WSM and was holding left 3+, then holding right 3 1/2 just two shots later!”

William Chou (F-TR) and Shiraz Balolia (F-Open) overcame tough conditions at Connaught.
Connaught Canadian Championship
Photo courtesy U.S. F-TR Rifle Team

In F-TR division William Chou out-shot a large field of competitors (including his brother Kevin, who finished 7th). Will dominated the bipod F-TR division with an untouchable 655-54V score. This was nine points ahead of the next highest F-TR shooter, fellow Canadian Jonathan Laitre. Congrats to Will for a run-away victory in very challenging conditions. The top American F-TR shooter was Bill Litz, who finished with 642-39V.

F-Open Top Ten

1. Shiraz Balolia, Washington, USA 664-71V
2. Kenny Adams, Florida, USA 662-72V
3. Marius DeChamplain, Quebec, Canada 662-58V
4. Don Nagel, Ohio, USA 660-65V
5. Marc Thibault, BC, Canada 657-53V
6. George Robertson, Ohio, USA 654-56V
7. Gordon Ogg, Ontario, Canada 653-69V
8. Ralph Colgan, Quebec, Canada 652-61V
9. Eric Bisson, Alberta, Canada 648-60V
10. Bruce Condie, Ontario, Canada 646-55V

F-TR Top Ten

1. Williams Chou, Ontario, Canada 655-54V
2. Jonathan Laitre, Quebec, Canada, 646-55V
3. Kenny Proulx, Quebec, Canada 645-51V
4. William Litz, Michigan, USA 642-39V
5. Alan Barnhart, Michigan, USA 639-47V
6. John Pierce, Michigan, USA 639-33V
7. Kevin Chou, Ontario, Canada 638-46V
8. Jim Crofts, Virginia, USA 637-44V
9. Marcel Timmons, Ontario, Canada 636-32V
10. Paul Vanduyse, Ontario, Canada 632-41V

Today the Canadian F-Class Championships conclude with the Americas Match, a Team Match with North American bragging rights at stake. Best wishes to all the team competitors!

Permalink Competition 3 Comments »
August 16th, 2014

Video Shows How to Hydro-Form 6 Dasher Cases

Can you form a wildcat cartridge such as the 6 Dasher without expending primer, powders, and bullets? Absolutely. Using the hydro-forming method you can form improved cases in your workshop with no firing whatsoever, so there is no wear on your precious barrel. Watch this video to see how it’s done:

6 Dasher Case Hydro-Forming Demonstration:

6mm Dasher hydroforming case die hornday

Forum member Wes J. (aka P1ZombieKiller) has produced a helpful video showing how to form Dasher cases use the Hornady Hydraulic forming die kit. This includes a two-part die (body and piston), and a special shell holder. To form the case, you insert a primer in your virgin brass, top the case off with with a fluid (water or alcohol), then run the case up into the Hydro-forming die. A few stout whacks with a hammer and your case is 95% formed.

6mm Dasher hydroforming hydraulic 6mmBR hornadyHydro-Forming Procedure Step-by-Step:
1. Insert spent primer in new 6mmBR brass case.
2. Fill with water or alcohol (Wes prefers alcohol).
3. Wipe excess fluid off case.
4. Place case in special Hornady shell-holder (no primer hole).
5. Run case up into Hydraulic forming die.
6. Smack top piston of forming die 3-4 times with rubber mallet or dead-blow hammer.
7. Inspect case, re-fill and repeat if necessary.
8. Drain alcohol (or water) into container.
9. Remove primer (and save for re-use).
10. Blow-dry formed case. Inspect and measure formed case.

Wes achieves very uniform cartridge OALs with this method. He measured ten (10) hydro-formed 6 Dasher cases and got these results: two @ 1.536″; 2 @ 1.537″; and 6 @ 1.538″.

Three or Four Whacks Produces a 95%-Formed Case
With a Hornady hydro-forming die, hydraulic pressure does the job of blowing out the shoulders of your improved case. The process is relatively simple. Place a spent primer in the bottom of a new piece of brass. Fill the case with water, and then slip it into a special Hornady shell-holder with no hole in the middle. Then you run the case up into the forming die. Now comes the fun part. You gently insert a plunger (hydraulic ram) from the top, and give it three or four stiff whacks with a mallet (or better yet, a dead-blow hammer). Remove the plunger and you have a 95% formed case, ready to load.

Walter Queen Hydraulic Hornady DieHornady supplies a shell holder made specifically for the hydro die; there’s no hole in the bottom of it. Just insert a spent primer into the primer pocket and you’re ready to go. The spent primer combined with the solid shell holder, keeps the water from seeping out of the primer pocket. The primer pushes out a little bit during this process, but it’s impossible for it to come out because of the way the shell holder is designed. The shell holder has a grove which allows the case to slide out of the shell holder even when the primer protrudes a bit.

Story tip from Body Allen. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink - Videos, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
August 15th, 2014

Wet Conditions Challenge Shooters at Canadian F-Class Nationals

This week the Canadian F-Class Championships (and Americas Match) are being held at the Connaught Range outside Ottawa, Ontario. Conditions have been nasty, with rain and blustery winds. This has been a humbling experience for our American shooters, many of whom are experiencing Connaught for the first time.

After the first day, James Crofts, 2012 USA National F-TR Champion, told us: “I was very humbled today at the Connaught ranges. I’m down 19 for the day. Shot a 900 meter match with 9.5 minutes of wind and held another 1.5. Tomorrow is another day.”

American Phil Kelley provides an in-depth report for the first two days:

“Day 2 Canadian Nationals — Humility remains the biggest lesson being learned in Canada. Rain, wind, rain, wind and more rain sums up the day. But there is something about it that is a lot of fun. The Americans overall did much better today versus those of the home country. Jim and I shot fairly well all day although I dropped about four more than I should during a weird portion of the last match. Jim dropped 15 today, I dropped 21. Scores are high given the conditions. This sport has stepped up another notch. [There is an] amazing level of competition at this match.”

“Very different conditions for every relay. So far at 900m you automatically dial in about 6 min to get on paper. Then be ready to add from there. It WILL rain to pour at some point during each relay and don’t even think about them not shooting. Starting to figure things out but too late for this tournament. Great experience for future tournaments though. Final two individual matches tomorrow and a couple of team events. The big Americas Match is Saturday. Can’t wait. Ammo and rifle are outstanding. Just have to educate the shooter a little more.”

Canada Connaught Range Ottawa Ontario F-Class

“Day One Canadian Nationals — Well, new ranges have a way of humbling you. A day full of different conditions. Rain, sun, clouds and wind, wind, major wind! Shot very well in two matches, but the 900m (1000-yard) match was something else. I knew I was experiencing something new with these heavy ‘Bisley’ flags when I started sighters with 4 min left on and shot a 2 right, then 6.5 minutes left to only get a 3 right then 7.5 min left on and hold 2.5 min more left to get a 5 on 1st shot for record. Wow! It took me several shots to get over that thought and unfortunately several 3s followed to drop 12 for the string. Still not bad, dropped 17 for the day. Leader Alan Barnhart dropped 8 (outstanding). Al [and] several Canadians had good days as one would expect. Awesome range. Cool new conditions. I’ve heard of these international ranges shooting no matter the weather, with big numbers dialed in for wind. Awesome to experience it. Always an honor to shoot with the great Mid Tompkins calling the shots.”

Canada Connaught Range Ottawa Ontario F-Class

It looks like the waiting was worth it, Shiraz Balolia (right) and Will Chou (left) were winners…
Canada Connaught Range Ottawa Ontario F-Class

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »
August 15th, 2014

Sierra Acquires Giant Lead Extrusion Press

“Where are the bullets, where is the powder?” (ad infinitum) is what you hear from shooters around the country these days. Well we can’t promise more powder, but Sierra Bullets has invested in machinery that should help increase bullet output. Sierra has acquired a 550-ton rated extrusion press that should pump out lead wire faster (for bullet cores). Sierra tells us: “This is a lead extrusion press we had shipped in from the state of Washington. We are diligently working on getting this thing set up and pumping more lead into our process.”

Sierra Bullets Extrusion Lead Press

If you’re curious how this beast works, Alan Slocum posted an explanation: “It works kinda’ like this”, referring to the photo below. Sierra’s big machine uses a horizontal hydraulic ram instead of the push-down yellow Play-Doh lever, but yes the basic principle is the same.

Sierra Bullets Extrusion Lead Press

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo 1 Comment »
August 15th, 2014

Need Help with Wind Reading? Check Out This Book…

Readers often ask us: “Is there a decent, easy-to-comprehend book that can help my wind-reading?” Many of our Forum members have recommended The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham. This 146-page book, published in 2007, is a very informative resource. But you don’t have to take our word for it. If you click this link, you can read book excerpts and decide for yourself. When the Amazon page opens, click the book cover (labeled “Look Inside”) and another screen will appear. This lets you preview the first few chapters, and see some illustrations.

Other books cover wind reading in a broader discussion of ballistics or long-range shooting, such as Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting by Bryan Litz. But the Miller & Cunningham book is ALL about wind reading from cover to cover, and that is its strength. The book focuses on real world skills that can help you accurately gauge wind angle, wind velocity, and wind cycles.

All other factors being equal, it is your ability to read the wind that will make the most difference in your shooting accuracy. The better you understand the behavior of the wind, the better you will understand the behavior of your bullet. — Wind Book for Rifle Shooters

The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters cover the techniques and tactics used by expert wind-readers. There are numerous charts and illustrations. The authors show you how to put together a simple wind-reading “toolbox” for calculating wind speed, direction, deflection and drift. Then they explain how to use these tools to read flags and mirage, record and interpret your observations, and time your shots to compensate for wind. Here are some reviews from actual book buyers:

I believe this is a must-have book if you are a long-range sport shooter. I compete in F-Class Open and when I first purchased this book and read it from cover to cover, it helped me understand wind reading and making accurate scope corrections. Buy this book, read it, put into practice what it tells you, you will not be disappointed. — P. Janzso

If you have one book for wind reading, this should be it. Whether you’re a novice or experienced wind shooter this book has something for you. It covers how to get wind speed and direction from flags, mirage, and natural phenomenon. In my opinion this is the best book for learning to read wind speed and direction. — Muddler

As far as I know this is the only book of its type. It’s very well written in a way that’s easy to understand for such a complex subject. The charts and graphs are extremely helpful. It’s a bit on the short side at about 146 pages but still packed with knowledge. — R. Johnson

Permalink Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
August 14th, 2014

Thumbhole F-Class Stock by Carl Bernosky

Carl Bernosky Thumbhole Laminate F-Class Barnard Rifle Stock long range adjustable cheekpieceMost of you know Carl Bernosky as a great marksman and 10-time National High Power Champion. But you may not realize that Carl is also a superb stock-maker. A true craftsman, Carl produces outstanding laminated and fancy wood stocks for hunters and competitive shooters. Visit CarlBernosky.com to see a selection of Carl’s competition and hunting stocks.

One of Carl’s latest creations is a thumbhole F-Class stock. Designed for F-Open shooters, this stock features a flat, 3″-wide fore-end, ergonomic grip, and adjustable cheekpiece. The laminated Bernosky stock featured here was crafted for Chesebro Rifles, which offers a turn-key stock package for the Barnard ‘P’ action, one of our favorite custom actions. This particular build features a MT Guns Vee Block Bedding System, MT Guns 3-Way Adjustable Butt Plate, and B&D Precision removable cheek piece.

Click Photo to view full-size image of stock.
Carl Bernosky Thumbhole Laminate F-Class Barnard Rifle Stock long range adjustable cheekpiece

Carl Bernosky Thumbhole Laminate F-Class Barnard Rifle Stock long range adjustable cheekpiece

As you see it, complete with all hardware (including short fore-end rail for bipod) this stock runs $1275.00 ready to ship. Just attach your Barnard barreled action and you’re ready to compete. The stock (by itself) weighs 6.5 pounds. Contact Chesebro Rifles, (661) 557-2442, for more information.

Cheek-piece close-up shows high-quality adjustment hardware.
Carl Bernosky Thumbhole Laminate F-Class Barnard Rifle Stock long range adjustable cheekpiece

Cheek-piece is relieved to allow full bolt travel.
Carl Bernosky Thumbhole Laminate F-Class Barnard Rifle Stock long range adjustable cheekpiece

Short accessory rail on the underside of the fore-end can be used to mount bipod.
Carl Bernosky Thumbhole Laminate F-Class Barnard Rifle Stock long range adjustable cheekpiece

Stock tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 3 Comments »