January 15th, 2017

New Fury HD Laser Rangefinding Binoculars from Vortex

Vortex Fury HD Laser Rangefinder Rangefinding Binoculars Leica Zeiss Swarovkski

We like binoculars with built-in Laser Rangefinding capability. With rangefinding binoculars, you can carry one less piece of gear, and a binocular optic is much more effective in the field than the monocular on a typical dedicated laser rangefinder (LRF). The stereo view gives better definition and depth perception, and the larger, binocular lenses give better low-light performance than the smaller-diameter monocular optic found in a conventional LRF.

Leica and Swarovski make excellent rangefinding binoculars, with great glass and impressive laser performance. But these European LRF Binoculars are very expensive — the latest Leica 10×42 Geovid is $2600.00 and the Swarovski 10×42 EL hits the three grand ($3000.00) mark. Frankly, that’s just too expensive for the vast majority of consumers.

New Vortex Rangefinding Binoculars at $1199.00 Street Price
Enter Vortex into the HD rangefinding binoculars marketplace with a quality, life-time “unconditional” guaranteed product at less than HALF the price of the Leica Geovid. MSRP of the Vortex’s new Fury HD Laser Rangefinder Binoculars is $1599.00, but “street price” will be hundreds less. Vortex says “expect to pay about $1199.00 at dealers for the Fury HD”. A lot more guys can afford $1200.00 than $2600.00, that’s for sure.

Vortex Fury HD Laser Rangefinder Rangefinding Binoculars Leica Zeiss Swarovkski

The Vortex Fury has some very cool features. It offers angle compensation as well as line-of-site modes. Scan mode gives readings as you pan or track a moving animal. You can set the distance output to yards or meters. All the controls are on the right side so you can operate the Fury HD easily with one hand. Check out the Fury’s features in the promo video below:

The Fury HD has good glass — fully multicoated HD lenses with good lowlight performance. The armored housing seems pretty tough. We like the fact that Vortex has provided a left eye diopter adjustment so users can fine-tune image focus for their vision.

Vortex Fury HD laser rangefinder rangefinder binculars

Vortex says the Fury HD will range “reflective targets to 1600 yards with an ultra-fast readout”. That may be a bit generous. In the real world, we expect the hand-held Fury HD to range deer-sized objects out to 800 yards or so, and larger objects (such as vehicles) out to 1200. This is based on our testing of other similar rangefinding binoculars.

Permalink New Product, Optics Post comment »
January 15th, 2017

The Whims of the Wind — Slow-Motion Windflag Video


Photo of Aussie Wind Flags courtesy BRT Shooters Supply.

A while back our Aussie friend Stuart Elliot of BRT Shooters Supply recently filmed some interesting videos at the QTS range in Brisbane, Australia. Stuart told us: “I was shooting in an Air Gun Benchrest match here in Brisbane, Australia. I finished my target early and was awaiting the cease fire and took a short, slow-motion video of windflag behavior.” You may be surprised by the velocity changes and angle swings that occur, even over a relatively short distance (just 25 meters from bench to target).

Here are windflags in slow motion:

The flags show in the videos are “Aussie Wind Flags”, developed by Stuart Elliot. These are sold in the USA by Butch Lambert, through Shadetree Engineering.

Here is a video in real time:

Stuart says this video may surprise some shooters who don’t use windflags: “Many people say the wind doesn’t matter. Well it sure does — whether for an airgun at 25 meters or a long range centerfire at 1,000.” This video illustrates how much the wind can change direction and velocity even in a small area.

Permalink - Videos, Competition Post comment »
January 14th, 2017

New BAT Tactical Action Debuts at SHOT Show

Bullet Central BAT Machine Bruce Thom tactical action rem clone remington AI magazine

A beefy, new BAT action will debut at SHOT Show 2017. The new BAT TR Tactical action will be showcased by BulletCentral.com at Booth #2963. Notably, Bruce Thom, founder of BAT Machine, will be at the booth on Wednesday, January 18, 2017. Stop by to meet Bruce and learn more about this action.

Designed from the ground up for tactical and PRS shooters, the new TR action features a very stiff, robust body that still fits a Remington 700 inlet. The TR’s bolt is different than on BAT’s benchrest actions, so the TR runs better in dusty conditions and with extended strings of fire. This new action is fully compatible with Accuracy International double-stack magazines.

Bullet Central BAT Machine Bruce Thom tactical action rem clone remington AI magazine

Story idea from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, Tactical 2 Comments »
January 14th, 2017

AR, Garand, M1A — Six Rules for Gas Gun Reloading

Reloading for Service Rifles
SFC Lance Dement as featured in CMP’s First Shot Online.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has published a great series of reloading “how-to” articles on its Facebook Page. This post covers key factors to consider when loading ammunition for Match Rifles and Service Rifles, with a particular focus on self-loading “gas guns”. Visit the USAMU Facebook Page each Wednesday for other, helpful “Handloading Hump-Day” tips.

We offer some “cardinal rules” to help new gas-gun handloaders with safety and efficiency. These address both Match Rifle and Service Rifle versions of the AR15, M1 Garand, M1A, and M110. However, they can also improve safe reloading for many other auto-loaders such as M1 Carbines, FALs, SIGs, etc. The author distilled these principles many years ago to help focus on the essential aspects of these rifles.

RULE ONE: Service Rifles Are Not Benchrest Rifles
Gas-guns require a relatively loose fit between ammunition and chamber (vs. bolt actions) for safe, smooth operation. Many techniques, such as neck sizing and keeping cartridge headspace quite tight, are popular in the extreme bolt gun accuracy realm. However, they are of little value with Service Rifles, and some could even be hazardous. Before adopting a specialized technique, seriously consider whether it is appropriate and beneficial in a gas-gun.

RULE TWO: Never Compromise Safety to Obtain Accuracy
Example: If choosing a brand of great, but ultra-sensitive match primers offers possibly better accuracy at the risk of slam-fires in your design of rifle, don’t do it! You are issued exactly two eyes and ten fingers (best-case scenario). Risking them trying to squeeze 0.25 MOA better accuracy out of an M1A, etc. simply isn’t worth it.

Reloading for Service Rifles

RULE THREE: Tailor the Precision to Your Individual Skill and Your Rifle’s Potential
This has been addressed here before, but bears repeating for newcomers. If you are struggling to break out of the Marksman Class, or using a CMP M1 “As-Issued,” then laboriously turning the necks of your 600-yard brass is a waste of time. Your scores will improve much faster by practicing or dry-firing. On the other hand, if the reigning champions anxiously check your scores each time you fire an event, a little neck-turning might not be so far-fetched.

Verifying Load Improvements — Accuracy hand-loading involves a wide variety of techniques, ranging from basic to rather precise. Carefully select those which offer a good return on investment for your time and labor. In doubt? Do a classic pilot study. Prepare ammo for at least three or four ten-shot groups with your new technique, vs. the same with your standard ammo. Then, pick a calm day and test the ammo as carefully as possible at its full distance (e.g. 200, 300, or 600 yards) to verify a significant improvement. A little testing can save much labor!

RULE FOUR: Be Your Own Efficiency Expert
Serious Service Rifle shooters generally think of ammunition in terms of thousands of rounds, not “boxes”, or even “hundreds”. Analyze, and WRITE DOWN each step in your reloading process. Count the number of times each case is handled. Then, see if any operations can be dropped or changed without reducing safety or accuracy. Eliminating just two operations saves 2000 steps per 1000 rounds loaded. Conversely, carefully consider any measurable benefits before adding a step to your routine.

RULE FIVE: In Searching for Greater Accuracy with Efficiency, Look for System Changes
For example, instead of marking your 300-yard rounds individually to differentiate them from your 200-yard ammo, would a simple change in primers work? If accuracy is maintained, using brass-colored primers for 200 and silver for 300 provides an indelible indicator and eliminates a step! Similarly, rather than spending hours selecting GI surplus brass for weight and neck uniformity, consider splurging on some known, high-quality imported match brass for your 600-yard loads. Results should be excellent, time is saved, and given limited shooting at 600 yards, brass life should be long.

RULE SIX: Check All Your Primers Before Packaging Your Loaded Ammo
This seems simple and even intuitive. However, many slam-fires (which were much more common when M1s and M1As were the standard) are due, at least in part, to “high” primers. Primers should be seated below flush with the case head. The USAMU has addressed this at length in a previous column, but each round should be checked for properly-seated primers before they are packaged for use.

Reloading for Service Rifles

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January 14th, 2017

TECH TIP: How To Cast Chambers Using Cerrosafe

Cerrosafe Chamber casting bismuth

There are many reasons you might want to make a chamber cast. You may have acquired an older rifle and need to verify the chamber dimensions. Or, if you have a new reamer, you may want to check the exact “cut” dimensions against the blueprint specs. A chamber casting is also valuable if you run across a firearm that you believe has a custom barrel on it and you want to find out the dimensions of the chamber. Lastly, you may want to prepare a chamber casting to be used in the making of custom dies. (Most reloading die makers know how to work from Cerrosafe chamber casts.)

Cerrosafe Chamber CastingCerrosafe is a metal alloy that has some unique properties which make it ideal for chamber casting. First, it has a relatively low melting point of 158 to 190° Fahrenheit. This makes it easy for the handloader to melt the Cerrosafe in his home shop. Second, it shrinks slightly during cooling which allows it to be extracted from the chamber easily. It then re-expands to the chamber’s original size after about one hour at room temperature. After cooling for about 200 hours, the chamber cast will expand to about .0025″ larger than the actual chamber size.

One of our Forum members has done many Cerrosafe castings and he offers this smart advice:

1. Remove the barrel from the action to make the pour much easier. If you don’t remove the barrel, it can be hard to pour through the action (even with a funnel) and can make a mess if you’re not careful.
2. Pre-heat the barrel for 5-10 minutes in the oven on the very lowest setting (170° F in my oven). (DON’T overdo it!). Allow to cool for a couple minutes so you can pick it up and it is under 120° F. Pre-heating the barrel helps the Cerrosafe stay liquid as you pour the casting. This helps ensure a good, complete fit to the chamber.

Brownells has an article about Cerrosafe chamber casting that explains how to use this unique material:

How to Use Cerrosafe for Chamber Casting
The basic ingredient of Cerrosafe is bismuth. Bismuth is a heavy, coarse, crystalline metal which expands when it solidifies, up to 3.3% of its volume. When bismuth is alloyed with other metals, such as lead, tin, cadmium and indium, this expansion is modified according to the relative percentages of bismuth and other components present. As a general rule, bismuth alloys of approximately 50% bismuth exhibit little change of volume during solidification. Alloys containing more than this tend to expand during solidification and those containing less tend to shrink during solidification.

What all this means for the gunsmith is that you can make chamber castings using only Cerrosafe and a few, simple hand tools. To make a chamber casting, first clean and degrease the chamber. Use a tight-fitting, cotton patch that’s wrapped around a bore mop or brush to plug the bore just ahead of the throat. I usually leave the cleaning rod attached to the plug until it’s time to remove the plug. Melt the entire bar of Cerrosafe in a heatproof container that you can easily pour the hot Cerrosafe out of. You can use a propane torch or heat over a hot plate or the burner of a stove. Cerrosafe melts easily at 158°-195° F. While the casting metal is still liquid, stir very well, skim off the dross, and pour your chamber. The real trick with Cerrosafe is not to overheat it. If you heat the solid slowly, and keep it within the required temperature range, you shouldn’t get any dross.

Note the time the casting was poured. The casting will take only a very short time to solidify, usually within a minute. Wait 30 minutes and then remove the plug from the bore. Turn the muzzle upward and the casting will fall from the chamber. At 30 minutes after initial solidification, Cerrosafe shrinks slightly, so removal is very easy. Allow the new casting to cool thoroughly then measure the casting exactly one hour from the time it was cast. The casting will give you an exact measurement of the chamber. Cerrosafe casting metal can be used over and over. Remelt the entire amount back together and pour the Cerrosafe into a small mold of the appropriate size. Always melt the entire Cerrosafe ingot to make a chamber casting. For best results, never cut off, or use, just a part of the ingot.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
January 13th, 2017

March Unveils Impressive New High Master Series of Scopes

March High Master Benchrest Longrange scope optic zoom ED glass Super-ED

At SHOT Show in Las Vegas, March Optics will unveil its new “High Master” series scopes. These top-of-the line optics are designed for Benchrest and Long-Range Competition. We’ve always been impressed with the clarity and sharpness of March optics, and now they are even better. The High Master line of scopes boast class-leading, state-of-the-art ED glass that delivers outstanding sharpness with near-zero chromatic aberration.

The March engineers tell us: “We’ve found a way to improve upon perfection with our new High Master™ line. Meticulously designed and individually hand-assembled by the expert engineers at March, these scopes feature our new Super-ED, high-refractive glass for unparalleled quality and exceptional clarity. This high-tech glass greatly reduces chromatic aberration for a previously unheard-of level of sharpness and brilliance.”

New March High Master Scopes

March 10-60x56mm Zoom Scopes for Ultimate Long Range
(Five Versions: MAR1078 3⁄32 MOA DOT Reticle, MAR1079 1⁄8 MOA DOT Reticle, MAR1080 MTR-1 Reticle, MAR1081 MTR-3 Reticle, MAR1082 MTR-4 Reticle)

March High Master Benchrest Longrange scope optic zoom ED glass Super-ED

NOTE: The new 10-60x56mm scope features the same mechanical precision and user-friendly design as March’s match-winning 10-60x52mm zoom scope, but with a larger 56mm objective lens and enhanced glass.

March 40–60x52mm EP Zoom Scopes for Benchrest Competition
(Three Versions: MAR1083 CH Reticle, MAR1084 3⁄32 MOA DOT Reticle, MAR1085 1⁄8 MOA DOT Reticle)

March High Master Benchrest Longrange scope optic zoom ED glass Super-ED

NOTE: For shooters seeking “one-hole” accuracy in the Benchrest game, this is the scope. The new High Master 40-60x52mm EP Zoom scope gives serious Benchrest shooters an ultra-sharp, high-magnification variable scope with zero POI shift when changing magnification.

March 48 x 52mm Fixed Power Scopes for Benchrest Competition
(Three versions: MAR1075 Cross-Hair Reticle, MAR1076 3⁄32 MOA DOT Reticle, MAR1075 1⁄8 MOA DOT Reticle)

March High Master Benchrest Longrange scope optic zoom ED glass Super-ED

NOTE: These new March 48-power scopes look to set new quality standards among high-magnification, fixed power scopes for benchrest competition. Fixed-power scopes are lighter and simpler than variable scopes of equal magnification. In weight-limited Benchrest classes this fixed 48X will be a top choice.

Permalink New Product, Optics 8 Comments »
January 13th, 2017

Perfection at the Core — Bullet Making Tips from BIB Bullets

Randy Robinett, founder of BIB Bullets, is a highly respected custom bullet-maker. In recent years, Randy’s 30-caliber projectiles have won countless benchrest-for-score matches, and captured many National titles. If you want to “run with the big dogs” in score competition, campaigning a 30BR with BIB bullets is a very smart way to go. In this article, Randy talks about the process of creating highly uniform cores for benchrest bullets.

This article originally started as an exchange of posts in Stan Ware’s Bench-Talk Forum. Stan, a gifted gunsmith, converted the Forum posts into an article, which first appeared on Stan’s Bench-Talk.com Website.

How to Make Benchrest-Quality Bullet Cores
by Randy Robinett, BIB Bullets

OK, Stan “made me do it”! A while back, Stan Ware asked if I’d submit a ditty on bullet-making. Here is the “picture is worth a few words” version. Below is a photo of a spool of lead wire. This is the first step in making benchrest-quality bullets. This spool of .250″ diameter lead wire will be cut into approximately 130 pieces, each about thirty inches long.

Robinett benchrest bullet spool lead BIB score 30 caliber

The Core Cutter
Here’s a really neat machine built by my Uncle and BIG MIKE. This is the core cutter. We made it using scrap steel and borrowed the crank shaft out of a 1966 Yamaha motorcycle to get the desired reciprocating-motion slide. When properly “juiced”, this machine can cut more than 3000 cores per hour.

As you doubtless deduced, the “sticks” are inserted, then fed via gravity — straightness is a virtue here! The crank, for now, is powered by the human hand. The bucket contents are the result of loading the cutter and turning the crank wheel. This photo shows cores for 112 grain, .30-caliber bullets. There are about 2500 cores to the bucket.

Robinett benchrest bullet spool lead BIB score 30 caliber

Here’s a close-up of the business end of the core cutter. Using recorded micrometer settings, this clever design allows us to get very repeatable length when changing through the length/weight cycle.

Robinett benchrest bullet spool lead BIB score 30 caliber

The photo below provides a closer look at the just-cut cores. Note the relatively clean shanks and square, unflared ends. This bucket contains roughly 2500 cores. By contrast, a tour of the Hornady plant will reveal cores being cut and squirted via a single operation, and deposited into 50-100 gallon livestock watering tanks!

Robinett benchrest bullet spool lead BIB score 30 caliber

Upon my first tour of a commercial plant, I lost all feelings of guilt about the cost of custom, hand-made bullets. When one totals the amount of labor, “feel” and “culling” that goes into them, custom hand-made bullets represent one of the best bargains on the planet!

At Hornady, each press produces 50-55,000 finished bullets per 10-hour shift. By contrast, a maker of hand-crafted bullets, at best, may make 3% of that number during a 10-hour span! Yep, hand-made benchrest-quality bullets are a labor of love and should be purchased with these criteria in mind: 1) QUALITY; 2) availability; 3) price. There is no reason for a maker of hand-made benchrest-quality bullets to negotiate on price. His time is worth what one receives from the bargain!

Core-Making Q & A
Randy’s original Bench-Talk Forum posts inspired some questions by Forum members. Here are Randy’s answers to spedific questions about core-making.

Question by Stan Ware: Randy, a post or two back you said the cores were cut into 30″ lengths first and straightened. Why do you cut to 30″ lengths? What is the reason for this?

Answer by Randy: Stan, the wire is cut into 30″ lengths (sticks) and then straightened, following which it is fed into the core cutter and cut into the individual individual “cores”. If you look at the core cutter photo above, you’ll see a stick of lead wire sticking up -it’s toward the right hand end of the contraption. The cut cores are also “ejected” by gravity — the white “tickler” brushes the cores as the slide moves forward and dislodges the core from the cutter bushing.

Q by GregP: Randy, How do you straighten the 30″ sticks? Roll them between metal plates?

Answer by Randy: Greg, BIG MIKE may kill me for letting out the secret. WE “roll” the wire between an aluminum plate, which is equipped with handles, and the “plate” which you can see in the pic of cutting the wire. The straightening is really a drag. Eventually, we will have the new cutter hooked up to a “feeder/straightener” and the wire will be cut into core slugs right off the roll! Well, that’s the Dream….

Question by Jim Saubier: How much of a nub do you use at the end of the 30″ section? I imagine that every section you will lose a little from the feed end. Your cutter looks real slick, we are using the manual deal and it isn’t quick by any means.

Answer by Randy: Jim, Since I cut all of the sticks using diagonal-cutting pliers, the ends are, indeed, waste. However, only about 1/8th inch on the beginning end — the final core may be too short. I have attached a pic of my old reliable CH cutter. I still use this cutter for .22-cal and 6mm cores and, occasionally, an odd lot of thirties. The CH cuts very square ends which are free of bulges and/or flaring.

Robinett benchrest bullet spool lead BIB score 30 caliber

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 1 Comment »
January 13th, 2017

How to Use Mil-Dot Scope Reticles to Estimate Range

NRA Video Milrad MIL mil-dot range reticle

MIL-system scopes are popular with tactical shooters. One advantage of MIL scopes is that the mil-dot divisions in the reticle can be used to estimate range to a target. If you know the actual size of a target, you can calculate the distance to the target relatively easily with a mil-based ranging reticle. Watch this helpful NRA video to see how this is done:

Read the rest of this entry »

Permalink - Videos, Optics 5 Comments »
January 12th, 2017

Smart Reloading Tips — How to Avoid Common Problems

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Here’a useful article by Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager Carroll Pilant. This story, which originally appeared in the Sierra Blog, covers some of the more common ammo problems that afflict hand-loaders. Some of those issues are: excessive OAL, high primers, and improperly sized cases. Here Mr. Pilant explains how to avoid these common problems that lead to “headaches at the range.

I had some gentlemen at my house last fall getting rifle zeros for an upcoming elk hunt. One was using one of the .300 short mags and every 3rd or 4th round would not chamber. Examination of the case showed a bulge right at the body/shoulder junction. These were new cases he had loaded for this trip. The seating die had been screwed down until it just touched the shoulder and then backed up just slightly. Some of the cases were apparently slightly longer from the base to the datum line and the shoulder was hitting inside the seating die and putting the bulge on the shoulder. I got to thinking about all the gun malfunctions that I see each week at matches and the biggest percentage stem from improper handloading techniques.

One: Utilize a Chamber Gage

Since I shoot a lot of 3-gun matches, I see a lot of AR problems which result in the shooter banging the butt stock on the ground or nearest solid object while pulling on the charging handle at the same time. I like my rifles too well to treat them that way (I cringe every time I see someone doing that). When I ask them if they ran the ammo through a chamber gage, I usually get the answer, “No, but I need to get one” or “I didn’t have time to do it” or other excuses. The few minutes it takes to check your ammo can mean the difference between a nightmare and a smooth running firearm.

A Chamber Gauge Quickly Reveals Long or Short Cases
Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Size Your Cases Properly
Another problem is caused sizing the case itself. If you will lube the inside of the neck, the expander ball will come out a lot easier. If you hear a squeak as the expander ball comes out of a case neck, that expander ball is trying to pull the case neck/shoulder up (sometimes several thousandths). That is enough that if you don’t put a bulge on the shoulder when seating the bullet, like we talked about above, it can still jam into the chamber like a big cork. If the rifle is set up correctly, the gun will not go into battery and won’t fire but the round is jammed into the chamber where it won’t extract and they are back to banging it on the ground again (with a loaded round stuck in the chamber). A chamber gage would have caught this also.

Bad_Primer_WallsOversizing cases also causes problems because the firing pin doesn’t have the length to reach the primer solid enough to ignite it 100% of the time. When you have one that is oversized, you usually have a bunch, since you usually do several cases at a time on that die setting. If the die isn’t readjusted, the problem will continue on the next batch of cases also. They will either not fire at all or you will have a lot of misfires. In a bolt action, a lot of time the extractor will hold the case against the face of the breech enough that it will fire. The case gets driven forward and the thinner part of the brass expands, holding to the chamber wall and the thicker part of the case doesn’t expand as much and stretches back to the bolt face. If it doesn’t separate that time, it will the next time. When it does separate, it leaves the front portion of the case in the chamber and pulls the case head off. Then when it tries to chamber the next round, you have a nasty jam. Quite often range brass is the culprit of this because you never know how many times it has been fired/sized and in what firearm.’Back to beating it on the ground again till you figure out that you have to get the forward part of the case out.

Just a quick tip — To extract the partial case, an oversized brush on a cleaning rod [inserted] and then pulled backward will often remove the case. The bristles when pushed forward and then pulled back act like barbs inside the case. If you have a bunch of oversized case that have been fired, I would dispose of them to keep from having future problems. There are a few tricks you can use to salvage them if they haven’t been fired though. Once again, a case gage would have helped.

Two: Double Check Your Primers

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Another thing I see fairly often is a high primer, backwards primer, or no primer at all. The high primers are bad because you can have either a slam fire or a misfire from the firing pin seating the primer but using up its energy doing so. So, as a precaution to make sure my rifle ammo will work 100% of the time, I check it in a case gage, then put it in an ammo box with the primer up and when the box is full, I run my finger across all the primers to make sure they are all seated to the correct depth and you can visually check to make sure none are in backwards or missing.

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Three: Check Your Overall Cartridge Length

Trying to load the ammo as long as possible can cause problems also. Be sure to leave yourself enough clearance between the tip of the bullet and the front of the magazine where the rounds will feed up 100%. Several times over the years, I have heard of hunters getting their rifle ready for a hunt. When they would go to the range to sight in, they loaded each round single shot without putting any ammo in the magazine. On getting to elk or deer camp, they find out the ammo is to long to fit in the magazine. At least they have a single shot, it could be worse. I have had hunters that their buddies loaded the ammo for them and then met them in hunting camp only to find out the ammo wouldn’t chamber from either the bullet seated to long or the case sized improperly, then they just have a club.

Four: Confirm All Cases Contain Powder

No powder in the case doesn’t seem to happen as much in rifle cartridges as in handgun cartridges. This is probably due to more handgun ammo being loaded on progressive presses and usually in larger quantities. There are probably more rifle cartridges that don’t have powder in them than you realize though. Since the pistol case is so much smaller internal capacity, when you try to fire it without powder, it usually dislodges the bullet just enough to stick in the barrel. On a rifle, you have more internal capacity and usually a better grip on the bullet, since it is smaller diameter and longer bearing surface. Like on a .223, often a case without powder won’t dislodge the bullet out of the case and just gets ejected from the rifle, thinking it was a bad primer or some little quirk. For rifle cases loaded on a single stage press, I put them in a reloading block and always dump my powder in a certain order. Then I do a visual inspection and any case that the powder doesn’t look the same level as the rest, I pull it and the one I charged before and the one I charged after it. I inspect the one case to see if there is anything visual inside. Then I recharge all 3 cases. That way if a case had powder hang up and dump in the next case, you have corrected the problem.

On progressive presses, I try to use a powder that fills the case up to about the base of the bullet. That way you can usually see the powder as the shell rotates and if you might have dumped a partial or double charge, you will notice as you start to seat the bullet if not before. On a progressive, if I don’t load a cartridge in one smooth stroke (say a bullet tipped over sideways and I raised the ram slightly to reset it) Some presses actually back the charge back adding more powder if it has already dumped some so you have a full charge plus a partial charge. When I don’t complete the procedure with one stroke, I pull the case that just had powder dumped into it and check the powder charge or just dump the powder back into the measure and run the case thru later.

I could go on and on but hopefully this will help some of you that are having these problems cure them. A case gage really can do wonders. Stay tuned for Easy Easy Ways to Save Yourself Headaches at the Range Part 2!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
January 12th, 2017

Rimfire Barrel Cleaning — ELEY’s Recommended Methods


Here’s a record-setting rimfire benchrest rifle owned by our friend Joe Friedrich.

Eley rimfire barrel cleaning with felt oilThe experts at ELEY Limited, top rimfire ammo-maker, have posted a helpful guide to cleaning rimfire barrels. We reprint highlights of the article below, but we suggest you read the full article on the Eley website: How to Clean Your Rifle the ELEY Way.

Editor’s Comment: This is not the only way to clean a rimfire barrel. There are other procedures. This is the method recommended by ELEY based on decades of experience with the top smallbore shooters in the world, including many Olympic Gold Medalists. Some shooters have been very successful cleaning less frequently, or using different types of solvents. The ELEY method is a good starting point.

Rimfire Barrel Cleaning

1. Clean the extension tube with a 12 gauge brush and felt or tissue moistened with solvent.

ELEY-how-to-clean-your-rifle-cleaning-step-1

2. Smoothly insert a cleaning rod guide into the receiver.

ELEY-how-to-clean-your-rifle-cleaning-step-2-cleaning-rod-guide

3. Apply a dry felt to the cleaning rod adapter and push it through the barrel to the muzzle in one slow steady movement. As the felt is dry it may feel stiff.

ELEY-how-to-clean-your-rifle-cleaning-step-3-apply-dry-felt ELEY-how-to-clean-your-rifle-cleaning-step-3-apply-dry-felt-through-the-barrel

4. Remove the soiled felt and pull back the cleaning rod.

ELEY-how-to-clean-your-rifle-cleaning-step-4-remove-felt

Read the rest of this entry »

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January 12th, 2017

Try Barnes, Berger, and Nosler Bullets with Sample Packs

Bullet Proof Samples

Bullet Proof SamplesBullet Proof Samples offers 12-count packs of big-name bullets. This lets you try out many different bullet types without forking out big bucks for larger 50-ct or 100-ct boxes. Currently, Bullet Proof Samples offers projectiles from Barnes, Berger Bullets, and Nosler. The sample packs range in price from $5.99 (for 22-cal varmint bullets) to $17.49 (for a .30-Cal Barnes LRX). The Berger Bullets sample packs run $6.99 to $10.49, with the larger 7mm and 30-cal bullets at the upper end of the range. On a per-bullet cost basis, it’s still much cheaper to purchase a “normal” 100-ct box, but the sample packs let you “test before you invest.”

Berger’s Michelle Gallagher tells us: “We receive frequent feedback from shooters who are looking for bullets in small pack quantities so that they can test different bullets without the expense of buying full boxes. Bullet Proof Samples… has done an exceptional job of addressing that concern. Bullets are packaged in blister packs, so they can be clearly seen. Each pack contains 12 bullets. They offer Nosler, Barnes and Berger in a variety of weights and calibers. Bullet Proof Samples is not a Berger Bullets LLC company, but we are supportive of their efforts[.]”

Story idea by EdLongrange.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading Post comment »
January 11th, 2017

Leupold Offers VX-3i “Long Range Precision” Optics

Leupold Scope VX-3i LRP Precision PRS Vortex

Leupold has released three new VX-3i scopes for precision shooters. The new VX-3i LRP (“Long Range Precision”) series of scopes offer impressive features at affordable price points. There are three new LRP models: 4.5-14x50mm, 6.5-20x50mm, and 8.5-25x50mm. The “3i” in the model names indicates a three-times zoom ratio.

Both front focal plane (FFP) and rear focal plane VX-3i LRP models will be offered. All VX-3i LRP scopes come with a removable throw lever on the zoom ring. The big, knurled turrets are easy to manipulate and feature an elevation zero stop. You can choose either quarter-MOA or 1/10th MIL clicks, and the reticles are matched to the click values — MOA/MOA or mil/mil.

Leupold Scope VX-3i LRP Precision PRS Vortex

Several popular reticle options are available, including MOA-based Impact-29 MOA, Impact-32 MOA and T-MOA®; or the mil-based TMR® and the new Leupold CCH (Combat Competition Hunter) reticle. The Leupold CCH is a grid-based reticle providing holdovers and wind holds in mils. That should prove popular with tactical marksmen and PRS competitors.

For target work at 400+ yards we like the 8.5-25x50mm LRP:
Leupold Scope VX-3i LRP Precision PRS Vortex

Competing with Vortex and Bushnell for the Tactical Market
We see these VX-3i scopes as direct competition for the Vortex and Bushnell scopes now favored by many tactical and PRS shooters. Leupold’s goal was to build a scope with the features customers want at affordable prices. Tim Lesser, Leupold’s VP of product development, explains: “The VX-3i LRP [optics line] is a high-end, long-range riflescope that’s within most people’s budget, be it for PRS, long-range target shooting or even hunting.”

Permalink New Product, Optics 1 Comment »
January 11th, 2017

Shotgun vs. Pistol for Home Defense

Home defense shotgun NSSF Clint Thunder Ranch
Shotgun Photo from Superior Security Concepts.

Shotgun vs. Handgun — which is better for home defense? That’s a question that inspires strong opinions on both sides. We think the best answer may be “both”. There are some situations where a pistol is most handy, while there are other situations where the power (and lethality) of the shotgun clearly wins out. Some would argue that the shotgun offers an “intimidation” factor that may better resolve a threat without a shot being fired.

The NSSF, in cooperation with Thunder Ranch Training Center, has created an interesting video that examines the Shotgun vs. Handgun debate. As the Cheaper Than Dirt Blog notes: “The primary argument against the shotgun is a longer length leading to less maneuverability. On the other hand, the pistol offers better maneuverability, but lacks the stopping power of a shotgun”. Moreover, the pistol may be less accurate, according to some critics. This NSSF video looks at the question from a logical standpoint — making some surprising points.

As you can see in this still frame from the video, the shooting stance of the pistol shooter (Clint) is NOT much more compact than that of the two shotgunners (compare actual muzzle positions). So a shotgun may actually be more handy inside a home than some people realize. Clint concludes that the gun selection debate “is all very easily solved by only one question: ‘If someone was going to run across a bedroom at you and they had a big knife, would you rather shoot him one time with a pistol or one time with a shotgun?’ When you answer the question you figure out why this [shotgun length] doesn’t really bother us. We simply take these [shotguns] and use them in a slightly different manner…”

Home defense shotgun NSSF Clint Thunder Ranch

In this video, Thunder Ranch Director Clint Smith explains why the overall length of a shotgun, as held in firing position against the shoulder, is not really that much greater than the “shooting stance length” of a handgun held in a proper firing position (with arms extended). Accordingly gun length/size should not be the deciding factor when choosing a firearm for home defense.

Whatever Weapon You Choose — Train with It
Fundamentally, you should use the firearm that is 100% reliable, and with which you have trained regularly. Mastery of a defensive firearm — whether shotgun or handgun — needs to be second-nature. You should be able to operate all the controls (safety, pump, decocker, slide, bolt handle etc.) by “instinct” based on hours of training. Likewise you should know how to operate the light/laser if your defensive firearm is so equipped. Importantly, you should be able to reload in darkness, and clear malfunctions without panicking.

Permalink Handguns, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
January 10th, 2017

New SEB Mini Joystick Tripod Rest Reviewed

Sebastian Lambang SEB Mini coax coaxial pedestal rest F-Open Vince Bottomley
SEB Mini Photo by Dan Bramley.

SEB Rests, producers of the SEB NEO rest and innovative JoyPod bipod, have released an all-new, portable tripod-base Co-Axial rest, the SEB Mini. This is a very impressive bit of engineering by Sebastian Lambang. Weighing about 12 pounds, the SEB Mini is easy to transport yet stable and versatile in the field. A joystick lever-arm allows the shooter to move the front head (with sandbag) in any direction with a smooth continuous motion. The Mini delivers about 30 MOA vertical travel by 45 MOA horizontal travel with the same smooth, fluid feel as the NEO rest.

The Mini is now in full production and testers in the USA and UK have returned very positive test results. The Mini combines the smooth controls of a full-size Co-Axial front rest, yet is much easier to transport. Based on reports from testers Dan Bramley and Vince Bottomley, we predict the Mini will become extremely popular with F-Open competitors as well as all shooters currently using pedestal-style front rests for recreational shooting or load testing. Price for the complete unit (with front bag) is $675.00 shipped in the lower 48 states.

Inventor Seb Lambang told us his design goals in creating the Mini, which was named after “Mini” his pet Chihuahua: “The Mini rest is designed to be simple, compact, and light. It has has equal smoothness and MOA travel as the larger NEO rest.”

Sebastian Lambang SEB Mini coax coaxial pedestal rest F-Open Vince Bottomley

The new SEB Mini is a joystick (coaxial) rest with a height-adjustable single center column fitted on a base with three foldable legs. The top can be rotated 360 degrees and locked securely by the two adjustable locking levers. The lowest setting is about 6.25″, the highest is just over 10″. The SEB Mini can be used for F-Class shooting, bench rest shooting, varmint shooting, or load development. The joystick handle is compatible with the SEB NEOs and MAX co-axial rests. The Mini ships complete with a one-piece front sandbag in the buyer’s choice of width.

Key Features:
12-lb carry weight
Large Footprint, yet very portable
Legs adjust with individual thumbwheels
Mariner Wheel offers 40mm of Vertical Adjustment
Measures 5″ x 7″ x 16.25″ when folded
Lowest height approx 6.25″, highest 10″ or more
Head can be rotated independent of base assembly (to assist alignment)
Head unit can be purchased separately and fitted to different tripod base.

SEB Mini REVIEW by Dan Bramley:

Sebastian Lambang, the creator of the ever-popular SEB NEO and SEB MAX co-axial front rest, was kind enough to send me a SEB Mini for review. The point of this review is to give a shooter’s perspective. I will just say that the adjustments and movements are plenty sufficient to shoot in F-Class in High Power and rimfire.

Sebastian Lambang SEB Mini coax coaxial pedestal rest F-Open Vince Bottomley

Positives: The SEB Mini has all of the fine craftsmanship of the NEO. The fit and finish is excellent. This thing is SOLID! When the screws are all locked down it does not budge. The engineering is excellent and well thought-out. It comes in at 12.0 lbs with sand in bag and ready to shoot. To me this weight appears to be optimal, light enough to travel with but heavy enough to be stable.

Shootability: For me shooting off the SEB Mini was no different than shooting off the SEB NEO. The fluid motion of the coaxial top and stability were consistant with the NEO. Set-up was quick and the ability to set it down in reasonably close alignment and release the clamps on the Acme screw to allow perfect rest alignment was a nice feature. Course adjustment was quick with the large mariner wheel and the joystick has the same size collet as the NEO for those who may have made custom joysticks.

I shot my rimfire off of it at first, on concrete, and it didn’t move at all. No surprise there. So I figured I would shoot my biggest rifle off of it in an attempt to punish this little “Mini”.

Conclusion: This thing is just awesome! It folds up quite compact and would likely fit in a bag, instead of a pelican case, for travel. I have often thought of shooting my open rifle off of a JoyPod when traveling by air but that requires a rail etc. for mounting. I would not hesitate to shoot off this Mini in competition.

Sebastian Lambang SEB Mini coax coaxial pedestal rest F-Open Vince Bottomley

Vince Bottomley Tests the New Seb Mini

Our friend Vince Bottomley acquired a Seb Mini and had a chance to test it out in competition at the Diggle Range in the UK. Vince was very impressed with the Mini, which he says is very solid and smooth running, yet easy to set up. Vince used his new Mini to win a match, proving the unit is “competition-ready”: “When you do a range test like this, it’s always great if you can post a decent result and I’m pleased to be able to report that I won Open Class….”

Vince liked the smooth operation and broad windage/elevation adjustment range offered by the Mini:

Sebastian Lambang SEB Mini coax coaxial pedestal rest F-Open Vince Bottomley“The joystick offers plenty of movement at 600 yards so staying on target throughout the shoot was no problem and, more importantly, I could swing onto my competitors’ targets as a final wind-check. Each of the three legs has its own ‘angle’ adjustment — enabling you to obtain a steady, level set-up on the most uneven of firing-points. The center pedestal can be raised and lowered using a mariner wheel and of course, there is the familiar joystick adjustment.”

Vince said it was easy to level the Mini and align the head with his rear bag: “Drop it on the point, then level the bubble using the leg-adjuster thumb-screws (photo right). Because the screws are at the pivot point they move the legs very quickly — as opposed to screwing the feet to level a NEO. Wind up the mariner wheel to get on target, nip up the locking levers and the rest is perfectly aligned, thanks to the swiveling head.”

READ FULL SEB Mini Review in Target Shooter Magazine

Vince also liked the fact that the Mini is significantly lighter than a SEB NEO rest, but still stable because it has a wide footprint. See the comparison photo below.

Sebastian Lambang SEB Mini coax coaxial pedestal rest F-Open Vince Bottomley

Vince tells us that the Mini is truly easy to transport: “I’ve fixed a strap to my Mini so, by slinging it over my shoulder, I can carry rifle, mat and back-bag with ease — so that’s a big ‘plus’ right off.”

Conclusion: “The SEB Mini lived up to expectations and ticked all the boxes –lighter to carry, easy to set up, plenty of adjustment, very stable. Thank you Seb… You have a winner here!” — Vince Bottomley

Product Information from SEB Rests:
The complete SEB Mini includes Head unit, foldable legs, fore-end stop, aluminum bag bracket (with bubble level), joystick, leveling screws, and front bag. The base features three foldable legs, each of which can be adjusted/tilted for elevation via a thumb screw. We recommend setting the base/legs in the highest position initially, then lowering each leg via the thumb screws.

Sebastian Lambang SEB Mini coax coaxial pedestal rest F-Open Vince Bottomley

The Mini is offered in three (3) configurations. The complete Mini with base and foldable legs is $675.00. Option 2 is the Mini without the foldable legs for $550.00. This could work for customers who may wish to fit the top to a solid base plate. Option 3, at $500.00, includes just the head unit with center post, mariner wheel and needle thrust bearing. Option 3 could suit customers who already have a Bald Eagle or Caldwell base with 1″ diameter center hole/post. However some machining may be required.

Net weight approx. 5.5 kilograms (12 lbs)
Top can be rotated 360° and locked securely in any position
Measures 5″ x 7″ x 16.25″ when folded
Joystick is compatible with SEB NEO, MAX and JoyPod
Lowest height approx 6.25″, highest 10″ or more
Foldable legs can be individually adjusted up/down with thumb screws
Extra wide footprint, leveling screws are about 17 inches apart
Ambidextrous, and can be used either “Up for Up” or “Up for Down”
Made from 6061 and 7075 aircraft grade aluminum
Head has removable fore-end stop
Standard fold-able base for traveling with tiltable legs
Comes with standard one-piece 3″-wide front bag 3″ wide (Optional bags*: 2-1/4″, wide sporter (for 1.5″-2″ stock), narrow sporter (for 1″-1.5″ stock)

For more information, visit SEBRests.com. The USA dealer is Ernie Bishop:

Ernie Bishop
Gillete, WY 82716
ernieemily@yahoo.com
307-257-7431

Permalink News Post comment »
January 10th, 2017

Hearing Protection Act (H.R. 367) Introduced in Congress

hearing protection act Congress Duncan Carter

We may see a big change in how sound suppressors are regulated in the future, if new legislation from the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) becomes law. On January 10, 2017, Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC) and Rep. John “Judge” Carter (TX) introduced H.R. 367, the Hearing Protection Act (HPA). This law would remove suppressors (aka “moderators”) from National Firearms Act (NFA) control, eliminating requirements of extensive paperwork, and purchase of a tax stamp. If the Hearing Protection Act becomes law, suppressors could be purchased through an FFL (after a NICS background check), just like a normal, non-NFA firearm. This would make suppressors more affordable in the 42 states where suppressors are legal to own. What’s more, the new legislation includes a provision to refund the $200 transfer tax to applicants who purchased a suppressor after Oct. 22, 2015.

Suppressors function by trapping the expanding gasses at the muzzle, allowing them to slowly cool in a baffled chamber. On average, suppressors reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20-35 decibels (dB), roughly the same sound reduction as earplugs or earmuffs. In addition to hearing protection, suppressors also mitigate noise complaints from those who live near shooting ranges.

“Many gun owners and sportsmen suffer severe hearing loss after years of shooting, and yet the tool necessary to reduce such loss is onerously regulated and taxed. It doesn’t make any sense,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA. “The Duncan-Carter Hearing Protection Act would allow people easier access to suppressors, which would help them to better protect their hearing.”

Guns.com explained how the Hearing Protection Act will change current law: “Since 1934, the federal government has treated devices designed to muffle or suppress the report of firearms as Title II devices that required registration under the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record and mandated transfers that included a $200 tax stamp. The Duncan-Carter bill would repeal this requirement and treat suppressors as firearms — which would allow them to be transferred through any regular federal firearms license holders to anyone not prohibited from possessing them after the buyer passes an FBI instant background check.”

This video discusses an earlier version of the Hearing Protection Act, H.R. 3799:

“For the past five years, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has worked alongside the state legislative sportsmen’s caucuses in the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses, the American Suppressor Association, and many other partners at the state level to normalize the use of suppressors throughout the nation,” said CSF President Jeff Crane. A similar bill was introduced last year by Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ) but that legislation never made it out of committee.

If you have purchased a suppressor in the last year, the HPA could put money back in your pocket. As drafted, the HPA also includes a provision to refund the $200 transfer tax to applicants who purchased a suppressor after October 22, 2015.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News 5 Comments »
January 10th, 2017

New SEND iT Electronic Level Device

Send it level leveling

Here’s the latest leveling technology for shooters. The innovative “SEND iT” device is an electronic level featuring five colored LEDs along with a conventional bubble level. When the rifle is level, a single green LED lights in the middle. If you are off-kilter, blue or red warning LEDs alert you. There are five sensitivity levels (from 0.2° to 1.0° between lights). The Send iT level can be mounted vertically as well as horizontally and the electronics will auto-sense the correct position.

Send it level leveling

The makers of the SEND iT claim it is the “most accurate and fastest shooting level made”. The system mounts to a Picatinny-style scope rail, extending out to the left side. There are multiple modes, including leveling, battery check, and sleep mode. The LEDs can be dimmed for night use.

This Video Shows the SEND iT Level Sensitivity Settings:

Send it level leveling

The SEND iT level, offered by Long Range Arms (LRA), will debut at SHOT Show 2017. Price and Pre-Order info will be available in late January on the Long Range Arms Facebook Page.

Permalink - Videos, New Product 4 Comments »
January 9th, 2017

Bargain Finder 69: 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, 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. Precision Reloading — Sierra Bullets Sale, Big Discounts

Precision Reloading Sierra Matchking Tipped TMK SMK bullets sale

Right now Precision Reloading is running a BIG SALE on Sierra MatchKing (MK) and Tipped MatchKing (TMK) bullets. These projecticle are being offered at deep discounts, with very low prices (some close to wholesale). Here are a few examples of the dozens of types of Sierra Bullets on sale. In most cases you can choose either 100-ct or 500-ct packages.

Sierra 30 Cal, 195gr Tipped MK, 100 for $36.02 (marked down from $41.79)
Sierra 30 Cal, 155gr HPBT MK, 100 for $31.21 (marked down from $35.29)
Sierra 7mm, 183gr HPBT MK, 100 for $38.37 (marked down from $43.39) (Great new bullet)
Sierra 6.5mm, 142gr HPBT MK, 100 for $34.21 (marked down from $187.69)
Sierra 6.5mm, 130gr Tipped MK, 100 for $30.58 (marked down from $38.69)
Sierra 6mm, 107gr HPBT MK, 100 for $27.68 (marked down from $31.29)
Sierra 6mm, 95gr Tipped MK, 100 for $28.25 (marked down from $31.99)
Sierra 22 Cal, 80gr HPBT MK, 500 for $117.08 (marked down from $132.39)
Sierra 22 Cal 77gr TMK, 100 for $26.19 (marked down from $29.69)

NOTE: This Sierra Bullets Sale runs through January 11, 2017, so order soon!

2. EuroOptic — Vortex Viper PST 4-16×50 EBR-1 Scope, $499.99

Eurooptic.com Eurooptics Vortex PST 4-16x50mm scope Tactical Second Focal Place

Here’s an awesome deal from EuroOptic.com. Save $200 on a very popular Vortex Precision Shooting Tactical (PST) optic. On sale for just $499.99, this 4-16x50mm EBR-1 Scope offers tactical turrets with Milradian adjustments, an illuminated second focal plane EBR-1 reticle, 30mm main tube, side-focus parallax, plus a large, bright objective. What’s more, this scope weighs just 22 ounces — making it an ideal optic for a tactical or precision rifle, varmint blaster, or hunting rifle.

3. Amazon — Plano Double Rifle Case with Wheels, $106.37

Plano double scoped rifle case with wheels

This Plano Double Scoped Rifle Case is an Amazon Best Seller for good reason. It offers the functionality and durability of an SKB-type hard case for HALF the money. This is under $110.00, while the equivalent SKB is around $240.00, so you can buy two Planos for the price of one SKB. The 51.5″ interior will fit most scoped competition rifles up to about 29″ barrels (measure your own rifle to make sure). The handles are convenient and beefy and the wheels make this case easy to move through airports and parking lots. This is a very tough, roomy case for the money.

4. Grafs.com — Hornady Reloading Kit with Sonic Cleaner, $299.99

Hornady Reloading Kit Press Sonic Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine

This Hornady Reloading Kit is a great deal at $299.99 (30% off Graf’s regular price). This kit comes with everything you need: Lock-N-Load single stage press, L-N-L Powder Measure, Digital Scale, Powder Trickler, Funnel, 9th Ed. Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, 3 L-N-L die bushings, handheld priming tool, universal reloading block, chamfering and deburring tool, primer turning plate and One Shot Case Lube. Plus this Kit includes a bonus FREE Lock-N-Load Sonic Case Cleaner, a $90.00 value. NOTE: This reloading Kit also qualifies for Hornady’s Get Loaded Free Bullets promotion.

5. Amazon — Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, $7.45 for 50 Pairs.

Max NRR 33 db ear plugs

These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. They seal out noise better than any others I’ve tried. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 2-3 days a week. This is a very good price for a bulk pack of 50 pairs (100 plugs). And if you act soon, you can get free shipping to boot.

6. Amazon — MTM Shooting Range Box, $32.99 Shipped

MTM shooting range box gear hauler

The versatile MTM Shooting Range Box includes cradles so you can do gun maintenance while at the range. A lift-out tray holds small items such as patches and jags. This durable, Made-in-USA product can hold ammo, windmeter, LRF, cleaning supplies, and other gear. The $32.99 Sale Price includes free shipping for Prime members.

7. Amazon — Tipton 12-pc Ultra-Jag Set, $16.99

Tipton Nickel jag Set plated 12-piece sale

Brass jags work well — with one hitch. Strong copper solvents can leech metal from the jag itself, leaving a tell-tale blue tint on your patches. This “false positive” can lead shooters to over-clean their barrels. No such problem with these nickel-plated Ultra Jags. For just $16.99 you can get 12 jags in a handy, clear-top fitted caddy. All Tipton nickel-plated jags have 8-32 thread, except for the .17 caliber jag which has a 5-40 thread.

8. Midsouth — 17 HMR V-Max Ammo, $10.45 for 50 rounds

17 HMR Hornady Midsouth V-Max Vmax Sale

Need 17 HMR ammo for your planned 2017 varmint safaris? Then grab this Hornady V-Max ammo while you can at $10.45 for a 50-round box. This is a great price. Other vendors are selling the same Hornady ammo for as much as $15.00 per box. We’ve used this ammo and it was very accurate out of both semi-auto (Savage A17) and bolt-action (CZ 455) 17 HMR rifles.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Reloading Post comment »
January 9th, 2017

How to Use a Collet-Type Bullet Puller

Hornady cam-lock bullet puller ammunition UlimateReloader

When you make a reloading mistake, you may need to “pull down” assembled ammo. The embedded UltimateReloader.com video demonstrates how to use the Hornady Cam-Lock bullet pulling system.

When Reloading Goes Bad — The Danger of Over-Charging
Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com was recently reloading some 9mm pistol ammo with his Hornady progressive press. As part of his reloading procedure, he visually checks the cases — and he noticed that the charges seemed high. Sure enough, his most recently-produced rounds were about two grains over spec. He diagnosed the issue: “I was using a powder measure without a baffle. What happened was, over the course of the loading session, things settled in, and the charge level increased.”

Not knowing just when his powder measure started delivering too much powder, Gavin decided, for safety’s sake, to pull down all the ammo he had just reloaded. Yes that’s time-consuming, but it’s better than the alternative — having a dangerous Kaboom while shooting. With fast-burning pistol powders, a two-grain over-charge could cause a blown case, damaged firearm, and/or serious injury.

Watch Cam-Lock Bullet Puller Used to Remove Bullets from Loaded Ammo:

Use of Bullet Puller starts 4:00 minutes into video.

Gavin says it is vitally important to perform safety checks during the reloading process: “You’ve got to do it — check every single round to make sure there IS powder, and that there’s not too MUCH powder. Double, Triple, Quadruple check your components… and your powder charges. You can’t be too careful.”

To pull down a loaded round, first place the cartridge in the shellholder on your press ram. Then raise the round up into the bullet puller device installed where a die would go. The Hornady Cam-lock bullet puller works by clamping the bullet in a collet when you flip down the red-coated lever. Then, with the case held by the rim in the shell-holder, the bullet exits the cartridge as the press ram is lowered. It takes time, but it’s pretty fool-proof once you get the hang of it. This entire process is illustrated in Gavin’s video, starting near the four-minute mark.

Hornady Cam-Lock Bullet puller Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloder.com

The Hornady Cam Lock Bullet Puller has four (4) key components: 1. Cam-Lock die body; 2. Cam-Lock lever; 3. Stem; and 4. Collet (Caliber-specific).

NOTE: In order to use this tool, you’ll need the appropriate collet for each diameter range of bullets you intend to pull. For example use collet #3 for 6mm, collect #6 for 7mm, and collet #7 for .308 Caliber.

Hornady cam-lock bullet puller ammunition UlimateReloader

RCBS Lockout Lock Out die Dillon HornadyRCBS Lock-Out Die
A good safety option for users with progressive presses is the RCBS Lock-Out Die. This has a charge detection rod that dips into each case after powder has dropped. You adjust the die to the proper charge height for your desired load. If the actual dispensed charge is too high or too low, the Lock-Out Die senses the problem and stops the press from advancing to the next case (it does this by preventing the ram/shellplate from fully elevating). We’ve used the Lock-out die with great success for both pistol and rifle cartridges. It’s sensitive to about one-half grain with pistol powders. This Lock-Out Die can work with Hornady and Dillon progressives as well as with RCBS progressives. However, it does take up one die station on the press.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo Post comment »
January 9th, 2017

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 2 Comments »
January 8th, 2017

Inside Chamfer Tools — Sorting Through the Options

Neck case chamfer tools Redding Forster Rocket model 15-p
Shown is the Redding Model 15-P Competition Piloted Inside Chamfering Tool with pilot rod that centers in the case flash hole. Also shown is a Forster 45° Rocket Tool.

There are a wide variety of reloading tools designed to cut a slight chamfer in case necks and deburr the edge of the case mouth. You don’t need to spend a lot of money for an effective tool. A basic “rocket-style” 45° chamfering tool, such as the Forster, actually does a pretty good job taking the sharp edge off case mouths, particularly if you use a little scotch-pad (or steel wool) to smooth the edge of the cut. The Forster chamfer tool, shown below, is a nicely-made product, with sharper cutting blades than you’ll find on most other 45° chamferers. It costs $17.99 at Brownells.com.

forster rocket 45 degree neck chamferer chamfer tool

Redding sells a handy piloted chamfering tool with a 15° inside cutting angle and removable accessory handle. This Redding Model 15-P chamferer works really well, so long as you have consistent case OALs. The pilot rod (which indexes in the flash hole) is adjustable for different cartridge types (from very short to very long). This ensures the concentricity of the inside neck chamfer to the case mouth. This quality tool works with cases from .22 to .45 Caliber.

Neck case chamfer tools Redding Forster Rocket model 15-p

Sinclair International offers a 28° carbide chamferer with many handy features (and sharp blades). The $29.99 Sinclair Carbide VLD Case Mouth Chamfering Tool will chamfer cases from .14 through .45 caliber. This tool features a removable 28° carbide cutter mounted in the green plastic Sinclair handle. NOTE: A hex-shaft cutter head power adapter can be purchased separately for $14.99 (Sinclair item 749-002-488WS). This can be chucked in a power screwdriver or used with the Sinclair Case Prep Power Center when doing large volumes of cases.

Neck inside chamfer chamferer case neck tool

Many folks feel they can get smoother bullet seating by using a tool that cuts at a steeper angle. We like the 22° cutter sold by Lyman. It has a comfortable handle, and costs just $10.75 at MidsouthShooterssupply.com. The Lyman tool is an excellent value, though we’ve seen examples that needed sharpening even when new. Blade-sharpening is easily done, however.

K&M makes a depth-adjustable, inside-neck chamferer (“Controlled Depth Tapered Reaper”) with ultra-sharp cutting flutes. The latest version, which costs $47.00 at KMShooting.com, features a central pin that indexes via the flash hole to keep the cutter centered. In addition, the tool has a newly-designed handle, improved depth-stop fingers, plus a new set-screw adjustment for precise cutter depth control. We caution, even with all the depth-control features, if you are not careful, it is easy to over-cut, slicing away too much brass and basically ruining your neck. We think that most reloaders will get better results using a more conventional chamfer tool, such as the Forster or Redding 15-P.

K & M K&M neck chamferer reamer controlled depth

One last thing to note — tools like the K&M and the Sinclair chamferer are often described as VLD chamferers. That is really a misnomer, as bullets with long boat-tails actually seat easily with very minimal chamfering. In reality, these high-angle chamferers may be most valuable when preparing brass for flat-base bullets and bullets with pressure rings. Using a 22° or 28° chamferer can reduce the risk of cutting a jacket when using VLD bullets though — so long as you make a smooth cut.

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