Halloween is just ten days away. Talented trick-shot artist Kirsten Joy Weiss, did something special in prep for the gouls/goblins holiday, “carving” a pumpkin using her semi-auto Volquartsen .22 LR rifle. Kirsten had to send a lot of rimfire rounds into her orange friend. It turns out the little .22-caliber bullets worked better on exit than entry — Mr. Pumpkin’s posterior side was more impressive than his front. But overall, the effort turned out very well indeed, as you can see. Nice job, Kirsten.
On inspection, Kirsten found that the most impressive Jack ‘O Lantern face appeared on the reverse side of her pumpkin. The “exit wounds” were better than the entry holes.
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If you want to see the world’s best multi-gun shooters in action, head to Henderson, Nevada this weekend. Henderson’s Pro Gun Club hosts the 2016 SureFire World Multi-Gun Championships, a challenging day + night, high-round-count match with 16 fast and furious stages. Earlier this week fun matches were held at Henderson, but the main event kicks off Friday, October 21st and runs through Sunday, October 23rd. The main match, with 16 grueling stages, is a real test of shooter and equipment. This unique match combines various Multi-Gun and 3-Gun competition shooting styles, with stages influenced by USPSA Nationals stages, speed stages, outlaw stages, large Ironman-style stages, open-terrain stages, and even low-light night stages (as shown below).
With an extensive prize table and some of the top competitors in the world, this will be one of the most important multi-gun matches of the year. For more match information, visit www.Surefirewmg.com. Match photos and results will be posted on the Surefire Multi-Gun Championship Facebook Page.
While this is an impressive photo of Matt Loganbill shooting last year’s night stage, Surefire lights might actually do a better job illuminating the stage.
Here are two stage maps for this year. Note the number and variety of targets! CLICK to ZOOM.
Ammo A-Plenty — 780 Rounds To Be Fired By Each Competitor Over Course of 16 Stages
The 2016 course of fire includes sixteen (16) stages. All three guns will be used on almost all the stages, except for the night stages. There will be plenty of ammo sent down range this year. Each competitor will be shooting roughly 780 rounds of rifle, pistol, and shotgun ammo:
Rifle: 260 rifle rounds, some 50-yard shots and a spinner. In addition there will be 20 rounds of rifle over the berms with two shots past 350 yards. Pistol: 280 pistol rounds, but there will be many paper and steel options. Shotgun: 200 normal shotgun rounds, plus 15-20 slugs.
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We first saw Lyman’s new automated target system at SHOT Show in January and we liked it. This new Target System from Lyman has a motor-driven roll of targets that can be “refreshed” with a radio remote-control. Here’s how it works — a 50-foot-long target roll is mounted in the top on the target stand. When you’re ready for a new target, push a button and a fresh target rolls into place. The radio remote-control activates a battery-powered electric motor that conveniently rolls a new target into place after the current target is shot out. The remote-control works at distances up to 200 yards. NOTE: This target system is rated for rimfire and air rifle use only — no centerfire.
There are currently four (4) target roll options: Five Bullseye Target, 11-Bull Smallbore Target, Silhouette Target, and Varmint Target. MSRP is $229.95; street price is around $200.00 on Amazon.
Lyman states: “The new Lyman Auto-Advance Target System offers shooters the ability to change targets at up to 200 yards with the press of a button! No more walking downrange to replace targets, or waiting for cease-fires! The Auto-Advance Target System is battery-operated, so there is no need for wires and power outlets, plus it disassembles easily for transportation back and forth to the range. The Auto-Advance Target System has steel protection plates that are rated for use with all rimfire calibers. The Auto-Advance Target System comes with a roll of standard bullseye targets. Additional 50-foot target rolls are available with bullseye, animal and silhouette designs.”
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Lapua, maker of premium brass, bullets, and loaded ammo, has released a new, state-of-the-art Ballistics program that runs on smartphones and mobile devices. The all-new Lapua Ballistics Mobile App is the first mobile ballistics app utilizing the 6DOF calculation model. 6DOF refers to “Six Degrees of Freedom”, referring to the multiple variables the software calculates. As explained below, a 6DOF solver can account for 3 components of movement PLUS 3 components of rotation. Of course, as with other ballistics software, the Lapua Mobile App looks at Bullet BC, velocity, and cross-wind effects. This software can also account for subtle, extreme long range factors such as the Coriolis Effect.
Notably, the new Lapua Ballistics App includes a library of up-to-date bullet profiles based on extensive field tests with Doppler Radar. Having an ultra-sophisticated 6DOF solver combined with Doppler Radar data makes the Lapua Mobile App one of the most accurate ballistics Apps on the market. Lapua Ballistics offers the latest, Doppler-proven Lapua cartridge and bullet data for you to combine with your firearm and local weather information. The App also includes the option to define custom bullets.
The Lapua Ballistics App is available for Android and iOS smart phones and mobile devices free of charge. For more info, visit www.lapua.com/lapuaballisticsapp.
6DOF, the most accurate calculation method. Lapua cartridge / bullet information. Distance, wind speed and angle. outputs numerical, reticle, table and graph views, metric and imperial values. Set Point Blank-range to different sight-in distances and impact windows. Define custom bullets ( BC G1 or G7 and Siacci method), Pre-set max 4 powder temperature.Sight-in-POI, Coriolis calculation
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There is a new tactical action from Canada with some very interesting features. The innovative U300 Bolt Action from Ultimatum Precision features a Rem 700 footprint and three-lug bolt with 60° bolt lift (like a Barnard). The floating bolt head is quickly removable, so you can swap to a different rim size in a few minutes. Another interesting feature is a special “Battery Safety”. The firing pin can only protrude from the bolt face if the lugs are locked and in battery. This ensures that if the bolt head is not properly installed, the rifle does not fire.
The black Cerakoted U300 action is strong and tough — the 4340 steel is hard-nitrided for surface durability. The action-maker says the hard nitride and Cerakote coatings improve wear resistance, corrosion resistance, chemical resistance, and hardness. The U300 action fits AICS-compatible detachable box magazines.
Designed for Savage-type Barrel Nuts
The Ultimatum U300 system was design to accept a barrel nut so “pre-fit” barrels (configured for the U300 bolt) can be easily installed (or swapped) by the owner with no gunsmithing required. The U300 uses standard 1-1/16″ x 16 Remington 700 tenon threads, so it can fit pre-chambered barrels with Remington-style threading. NOTE: Barrels headspaced properly by a smith can also be mounted conventionally without a nut. The user can choose the system he prefers.
Ultimatum U300 Action features:
· Removable Floating 3-Lug Bolt Head
· 5/16″ Integrated Recoil Lug
· Battery Safety
· 20 MOA Picatinny rail, secured with six #8-40 bolts and two pins
· 4340 Steel with Hard Nitride Finish and Cerakote.
· Compatible with AICS-style magazines
Ultimatum Precision has started shipping the first U300 short actions. Suggested MSRP starts at $998.00 U.S. Dollars. The action-maker plans to release both a long action model and a .338-specific model later this year. Ultimatum Precision is located in Abbotsford, BC, Canada, with a subsidiary in Washington state, USA. For more info, visit www.UltimatumPrecision.com.
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Forum member Danny Reever and this Editor recently discussed how novice reloaders can struggle with the fine points of reloading, making errors in seating depth, bushing choice, or sizing their cases. We agreed that a good resource covering more than “Reloading Basics” is sorely needed. Danny reminded me that Glen Zediker’s excellent Handloading for Competition book has been available since 2002. Danny says this may still be the best guide in print for those getting started in precision reloading, though the book is not without flaws.
Danny observed: “I consider this still the best book out there on the subject. I’ve bought a lot of other books only to be sorely disappointed after spending $30-$40 of my hard-earned cash. This book is not one of those! I’ve read and re-read Zediker’s treatise at least four times and refer to it often for advice while reloading. My number one suggestion for those who buy the book is to sit down with a highlighter and read it cover to cover. It’s well-written with a bit of humor and it is not boring.”
Extremely comprehensive, Zediker’s book covers nearly all of the key factors involved in accurate reloading: case sorting, brass prep, load development, neck-sizing, full-length sizing, bushing selection/use, tool selection, priming, powder measurement, and bullet seating. The book also explains how to test and evaluate your ammo, and how to monitor and interpret pressure signs.
There are many “must-read” sections in Zediker’s book, according to Danny: “The section beginning on page 161 dealing with concentricity (and how to achieve it) is excellent. Likewise the Load Limits section discussing pressures offers very valuable advice and info. You should also read Zediker’s commentaries about load testing, powders (burn characterics etc.), and the effects of temperature.”
Zediker has conveniently provided a detailed summary of his book on the web, complete with table of contents, sample pages (PDF format), and dozens of illustrations. Shown above is just one small section that covers ejectors.
Here’s an example of world-class benchrest shooting. Charles Huckeba of Texas was the top individual shooter at the 2013 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) held near Sydney Australia in October 2013. In this video, 2013 WBC Two-Gun Overall winner Charles shoots a 1/8th MOA group at 200 yards — “a little bitty dot” as a fellow Team USA shooter observes. That’s impressive. If you can describe Huckeba’s style in a nutshell it would be “smooth, consistent, and rapid but not hurried”.
Charles also employed some unusual hardware. In the video, take a close look at the joystick on the Farley Coaxial front rest. There’s no knob at the end. In its place is a small, wood ammo caddy. Charles removed the standard knob from the handle of his Farley rest and replaced it with a home-made wood block that holds cartridges for the record target. The 10.5-lb Light Varmint rifle is chambered in 6PPC with a BAT Machine Action and a composite wood and carbon-fiber stock.
Watch Charles Huckeba Shoot 1/8 MOA, 200-yard group at World Benchrest Championships
Here is the actual 200-yard, 5-shot group Charles shot in the video. Photo (by Stuart Elliot) taken through the lens of Huckeba’s 50X March scope (reticle has 1/16th MOA Dot).
Analyzing the Fine Points — What Makes Huckeba So Good
Short-range benchrest shooter Boyd Allen saw some interesting things in Huckeba’s WBC performance, as captured on video. Boyd noticed Huckeba’s smooth gun-handling and efficient loading. But Boyd also spied some interesting equipment, including an innovative joystick “handle-caddy”.
1. Low Friction Bags — When Huckeba slid his rifle, there was very little apparent friction. The front bag features the new 3M material (ScotchLite) on the sliding surfaces. The rear Protektor bag has ears of the same low-friction material.
2. Pause Before Chambering — While he was watching the flags and deciding when to start firing, Charles kept his first round in the action, but out of the barrel’s chamber, probably so as not to heat the cartridge and change the round’s point of impact.
3. Ammo Caddy on Joystick Arm – Charles shoots a Right Bolt/Left Port action, so he pulls his rounds with his left hand. Note that Huckeba’s record rounds rest in a small, wood ammo caddy attached to the end of the joystick shaft. Look carefully, you’ll see the wood ammo block in place of the normal black ball at the end of the joystick. That allows Charles to pull shots with the absolute minimum of hand movement. Ingenious! Huckeba is very fast, with a great economy of motion. I believe that because his ammo was literally at hand, Charles was better able to keep his focus on aiming and the flags.
4. Smooth-Cycling BAT Action — Note how smoothly Huckeba’s action operates. When Charles lifts the bolt handle (to extract a round and cock the firing pin), this does not disturb the rifle. Likewise, as he closes the bolt, the gun doesn’t wobble. The smooth action allows Charles to hold point of aim even when shooting relatively quickly. Huckeba’s BAT action is chrome-moly steel. Some shooters believe this metal makes for a smoother action than stainless steel or aluminum.
5. Long-Wheelbase Stock — The wood and carbon fiber stock is light, long, and stiff. Yet, importantly, the stock is also well-damped. The longer-than-average stock length (with extended forearm) seems to help the gun track well without jumping or rocking. The longer forearm allows a longer “wheelbase”, effectively shifting the weight distribution rearward (less weight on the front, more weight on the rear). This places a greater share of the gun’s weight on the rear bag, as compared to a more conventional benchrest stock. Huckeba’s stock, built by Bob Scoville, is at the cutting edge of short-range benchrest design. Its light-weight balsa wood and carbon fiber construction provides a combination of stiffness and vibration damping that allows its relatively long fore-end to be fully utilized to increase the weight on the rear bag (always an issue with 10.5-pound rifles).
To learn more about this benchrest stock design, read the comments by stock-builder Bob Scoville in our PPC with Pedigree story in our Gun of the Week Archives. Bob observed:
“There is a lot more to the structure of the stocks than meets the eye. The carbon fiber skin with which I cover the stocks creates a light, tough exterior surface. However, this contributes very little to the overall performance of the stocks. The real strength and stiffness is the result of an internal beam utilizing balsa core/carbon fiber technology.
This type construction can be found in aircraft, race cars, powerboats, and sailboats. It is interesting to note, balsa has the highest strength to weight ratio of all woods and carbon fiber is one of the lowest stretch (modulus of elasticity) relative to weight of all materials. The marriage of these two materials is common in the high-performance world. Additionally, balsa is used commercially for vibration dampening and sound reduction.”
Ever wonder how shotshells are manufactured? Here’s a step-by-step trip through the shotshell production process, courtesy Federal Premium. Hulls are created from plastic pellets, of various colors, depending on shotshell type and gauge. Starting with pellets, here’s how shotshells are made:
Step 1: Plastic pellets are melted down into a plastic tube.
Step 2: In the extruding process the tube is heated, stretched, and cooled to form the hull. The machine that does this is called the “Riefenhauser” after the German engineer who built the first model.
Step 3: Hulls are cut to length as they come off the Riefenhauser. They then move along to the next stage in the process.
Step 4: The case head is stamped out of sheets of metal (brass or steel depending on shell type). A series of strikes of the stamp produces a fully-formed case head with flash-hole.
Step 5: The hulls move to the primer insert and heading machine to get primers and case heads.
Step 6: Still untouched by human hands, the shell moves on to the loader where it gets its powder charge, shot wad, and pellets.
Step 7: The hulls are then crimped, labeled, and readied for inspection and packing.
Story tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Be prepared to have your mind blown by Max Michel. This guy is FAST. In this video he puts 18 shots on three targets with two (2) reloads, in a total of 4.79 seconds. That’s right, drawing from holster, he sends 18 rounds in under five seconds, with two mag changes in the process. That works out to a rate of fire of 225 rounds per minute. Consider this — Max shoots faster than a 19th-century Gatling Gun (which had a rate of fire of roughly 200 rounds per minute). And Max is accurate as well as speedy — 16 of Max’s 18 shots were in the targets’ A-Zones, with the other two just barely outside.
At age 30, Max Michel is a legend within the world of competitive shooting. A four-time World Speed Shooting Champion, six-time USPSA National Champion, and three-time US National Steel Champion, Max is a dominant force in pistol shooting sports. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Max began shooting when he was just 5 years old. In 1999 Max joined the USAMU’s Action Pistol Team and served in the U.S. Army for 10 years as an Army shooter and trainer. Today, Max is recognized worldwide as a top-tier athlete and instructor.
At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our 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. CDNN Sports — Ruger American .270 Win, $289.99
If you’re looking for a good deer-hunting rifle at a super-affordable price, check out this .270 Winchester Ruger American. It comes with a gray-blue digital camo finish that actually suits gray fall days pretty well. The long action sits in a integral bedding block, and features a three-lug bolt with 70° bolt lift. The 22″ hammer-forged barrel has a 1:10″-twist, so it’s capable of shooting the most popular .270-caliber hunting bullets. Ammo is held in a flush-fit rotary magazine. The Ruger American is a good, solid rifle — and this is a steal at $289.99. If you don’t like the finish, buy a $5.00 can of spray paint.
2. Grafs.com — SK Standard Plus at $5.99 per Box
This is very good European-made rimfire ammo at an affordable price. SK Standard Plus is much better than most low-priced rimfire ammo. This is a good choice for cross-training, fun plinking, or rimfire tactical matches. When we don’t need ultra-high-quality Eley or Lapua match .22 LR ammo, we’re happy to shoot SK Standard Plus. The Grafs.com priceincludes shipping (after one flat $7.95 fee).
3. Midsouth — FREE Hat with Lee Pistol Die Sets
Lee pistol dies are not expensive, but they work perfectly well for most handgun cartridges. We like the fact that Lee’s three-die sets come complete with a shell-holder and dipper. We use Lee dies ourselves for 9mm Luger and .380 ACP reloading. Right now Midsouth has a special offer — buy any pistol die set (starting at $30.56), and you get a FREE Midsouth hat (green or khaki). We recommend the 3-die carbide die sets. These include Carbide Full Length Sizing Die, Bullet Seating Die, Powder-Thru Expanding Die, Universal Shell Holder, and Powder Dipper. All the elements (dies, shell-holder, dipper) fit inside a convenient see-through plastic storage case.
The RCBS Rock Chucker remains a classic — a big, strong, versatile press that can handle most reloading chores with ease. And now you can get a genuine Rock Chucker Supreme for $126.99 — a very good deal. The Rock Chucker offers plenty of leverage for case-sizing and the “O” is tall enough for long cartridges. The Rock Chucker has a very strong base and should last a lifetime. We’re not fans of the Rock Chucker’s priming system but most serious reloaders use a separate priming tool.
This is a very good spotting scope for the price. Yes it gives up some low-light performance to a spotter with an 80mm objective, but otherwise it is a good performer, and we can’t think of much that will touch this Vortex Diamondback spotting scope for anywhere near the $399.99 sale price. Choose from angled or straight version for the same $399.99 price, which includes the 20-60X zoom eyepiece.
6. Natchez — RCBS ChargeMaster Dispenser, $279.99
Here’s a very good deal on the popular RCBS ChargeMaster combo scale/powder dispenser. This unit sells elsewhere for up to $389.00. You may want to act quickly as sale pricing changes frequently and many other vendors have recently raised their prices. Grafs.com sells this for $369.99 now while the current Amazon.com price is $296.99. You can save a lot through Natchez right now. NOTE: There is an RCBS Rebate Program in effect now — if you spend at least $300.00 on “RCBS tools and accessories” you can get $75.00 back.
7. Home Depot — 72″ Wood Workbench for $75.36
This patented Home Depot workbench assembles in a few minutes. Simply unfold the legs, pop in the shelf, and you are ready to start your project. Made from Premium 2×4 Hemlock fastened with glue and screws, this workbench is a great value. The bench (72″ wide x 35″ high x 22″ deep) can easily be stored when not in use. NOTE: The wood is unfinished (can be painted or stained).
This is a pretty darn good folding knife, and a killer deal at under $20.00 from Amazon.com. Yes your Editor bought one. The semi-serrated stainless steel blade is sharp and holds its edge surprisingly well. The knife comes with a nylon sheath and a Bear Grylls survival guide. Despite its low cost, Gerber offers a lifetime warranty on this knife.
Here is a verified owner’s review: “Most retailers sell it for 30 bucks. This knife is…very sturdy with no blade play and has a good solid feel. The handle is very grippy… [and] fits VERY nicely in the hand. Love Gerber’s serrations… great for cutting rope, cordage and strapping.” Note — this price has been fluctuating. There was one Amazon seller at $19.85 with Free shipping, Click link at right to see multiple price options.
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4140, 4150, 316, 17-4, 6061, 7075-T6 — What is the significance of these numbers? No, they’re not winning lottery numbers. These are all designations for metals commonly used in firearm and barrel construction. 4140 and 4150 are carbon steels, with 4150 often used in mil-spec AR15 barrels. 316 and 17-4 are grades of stainless steel. 316 is “marine grade” stainless, while 17-4 has 17% chromium and 4% nickel. 17-4 is a harder steel used in barrels and receivers. 6061 and 7075-T6 are aluminum alloys. 6061 is “aircraft grade” aluminum, often used for rings and trigger guards, while 7075-T6 is a much stronger, heat-treated aluminum commonly used in AR15 uppers.
You can learn about all these metals (and more) in the online archives of RifleShooter magazine.
Written by Patrick Sweeney, RifleShooter’s Guide to Gun Metal summarizes the primary types of steel and aluminum used in gun and barrel construction. Sweeney explains the nomenclature used to define metal types, and he outlines the salient properties of various steel and aluminum alloys. This is a useful resource for anyone selecting components or building rifles. We recommend you print out the page, or at least bookmark it.
Metals by the Number
The number system for steel classification came from the auto industry. Sweeney explains: “The Society of Automotive Engineers uses a simple designating system, the four numbers you see bandied about in gun articles. Numbers such as 1060, 4140 or 5150 all designate how much of what [elements are] in them. The first number is what class—carbon, nickel, chromium, and so forth. The next three numbers [list other elements in the alloy]. 4140, also known as ordnance steel, was one of the early high-alloy steels. It has about 1 percent chromium, 0.25 percent molybdenum, 0.4 percent carbon, 1 percent manganese, around 0.2 percent silicon and no more than 0.035 percent phosphorus and no more than 0.04 percent sulphur. That leaves most of it, 94.25 percent, iron.”
Numbers are also used to differentiate different types of aluminum alloys. Sweeny writes: “Aluminum is used in firearms in two alloys: 7075 and 6061. 6061 is commonly referred to as ‘aircraft aluminum’ and has trace amounts of silicon, copper, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. 7075 is a much stronger alloy and has markedly larger amounts of copper, manganese, chromium and zinc.” 7075 Aluminum has significantly better corrosion resistance, and that’s why it is used for AR receivers. The “T6″ you often see appended to 7075 refers to a heat-treating process.
Aluminum (or “Aluminium” in the UK) is a chemical element in the boron group with symbol Al and atomic number 13. It is a silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic, ductile metal. Aluminum is the third most abundant element, and the most abundant metal, in the Earth’s crust. (Wikipedia)
To learn more about the metals used in your firearms’ barrels, rings, receivers, and internal parts, read Sweeney’s article in RifleShooterMag.com. Taking the time to read the article from start to finish will expand your knowledge of metal properties and how metals are chosen by manufacturers and gunsmiths. CLICK to Read Guide to Gun Metal.
Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions. Aluminum Alloy chart courtesy AluminiumDesign.net.
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The folks at PMA Tool, makers of arbor presses, neck-turning tools, and other case-prep tools, offered some good advice about case trimming on the PMA Tool Website. Here we reprint a PMA article that explains case trimming basics and helps you choose the right case-trimming tool for your needs.
Case Trimming Basics
Trimming the cartridge case to the proper length is a crucial step in case preparation that should not be overlooked or underestimated. The cartridge case or the rifle can be damaged, or even worse you get badly injured. In most instances cases should be trimmed after firing and sizing. Trimming new brass is necessary for a lot of wildcats and can be beneficial in some instances, but by and large, trimming new brass is not necessary for most situations (unless you are neck-turning). Cases should be trimmed after you have sized the case, because the expander ball on the decapping pin can (and will) stretch the neck. Those of us who neck size should get into the habit of trimming after sizing as well. This is a good rule of thumb to go by, and hopefully it will keep you safe during the reloading and shooting process.
There are so many case trimmers out there that work, deciding which one is right for you can be confusing. Even though I have trimmed thousands of cases, using about every method possible, I can’t answer the question of what case trimmer is right for you because of all the variables that may be involved. I can, however shed some light on the subject.
The two most popular designs of trimmers either index (1) off the base or the head of the case, (2) off the shoulder or datum line of the case. There are pros and cons to each and it all depends on what you are willing to live with.
Indexing off the Base (Case Head)
Let’s talk about the first one I have listed, indexing off the base, or the head of the case. The pros to this method are that you can achieve a very accurate over all length and that is after all, what it is all about. The cons to this method are that you can get some variation doing it this way. Let me explain, the base is not always square to the body or can be damaged during firing especially if it is fired through a military style rifle with a very aggressive ejector. These cases should be discarded, but sometimes they can be overlooked. This condition can lead to an over all length that is incorrect. The case head being out of square will be corrected upon firing, however that case will wind up being shorter than the rest of your cases, possibly creating a difference in the neck tension on the bullet. The more you can do to eliminate variables in your reloads the better off you are going to be. This method can also be very slow, and if the user gets careless the result will be a inconsistent over all length.
Indexing off the Shoulder (Datum Line)
The second method I mentioned, trimming off the shoulder or the datum line of the case, has its pros as well. I have found this to be the quickest of the methods and very accurate as well. After the case has been sized through the die the dimensions (particularly the headspace) of the cases are usually very uniform and exact, this allows the case to be trimmed by indexing off the shoulder. This method can be done very quickly, by hand, or by powering either the case, or the trimmer. You also don’t have to worry about the case heads being out of square with the body using this method. Generally the trimming time is cut in half, and this leads to greater focus on the job, without becoming careless. [Editor’s Note: The World’s Finest Trimmer (WFT) is one power device that indexes off the shoulder datum. It works fast and is very precise. The new WFT 2 Model with interchangeable trim chambers works with multiple cartridge types.]
The choice is yours to make. I hope that this was some help to you, whether you are looking for your first trimmer or looking to replace the trimmer you have. Just remember to always put safety first and accuracy second, and you will start making little bug holes in no time.
Story Tip by EdLongrange. User Submissions are welcome.
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The Lee Classic Cast “O”-style press has always been an excellent value — it works as well as some other presses costing twice as much. And now Lee has improved on its Classic Cast Press design by adding a breech-lock fitting in the top. This allows you to swap dies in and out in seconds, once your dies are equipped with breech-lock quick-change bushings. The Lee Classic Cast Breech Lock press is available for under $120.00. That makes it a bargain compared to other heavy-duty single-stage presses. Midsouth Shooters Supply offers this press (item #006-90999) for $114.49, while Natchez Shooters Supplies sells the press (item #LEE90999) for $117.49.
Breech-Lock System Allows Fast Die Exchanges
With the Lee Breech-Lock Press system, the die drops straight in from the top. Then, with a quick 1/6th (60°) turn, the die locks firmly in place (like the breech on an artillery canon). The interrupted three-start thread assures dies return and lock into the exact same position each time. Bushings cost $7.43 each at Midsouth. If you prefer, you can leave a bushing in the press, and screw your dies in normally. But consider that it normally takes a dozen or more turns to screw in a normally threaded die. The Breech-lock system is way faster.
The Lee Classic Cast press features a strong, cast-iron frame and all-steel linkage. The large 1 1/8″-diameter ram is guided by over twelve square inches of ram bearing surface. We like the fact that you can mount the handle on either side, and adjust handle angle and length. As Lee explains: “The start and stop position is adjustable with a 48-tooth, ratchet-type handle clamp. In addition, the handle length is completely adjustable. Shorten [it] when you’re loading handgun and short rifle cases.”
Lock-Ring Eliminator Quick-Change Bushings
With Lee’s basic quick-lock bushings, you control vertical die position with the normal locking ring that seats against the top of the bushing. That works fine, but Lee also offers a handy Lock-Ring Eliminator Bushing (Lee SKU 90063). This clever design combines bushing and lock-ring into a single part. The Eliminator is turned from a solid piece of steel and the lock ring is integrated into the design of the part. With the Eliminator you’ll get the most repeatable and precise die positioning because lock ring and bushing are all one piece. Moreover, some guys say the Eliminator Bushings are easier to grab and remove than the standard Lee Breech-Lock Bushings.
Press owners have praised their Lee Classic Cast Breech-Lock units. Here are reports from two MidwayUSA customers:
Five Stars: Perfect single stage press. Loads accurately 6mm BR and 308 Win for competition. Large clearance is also great for my 460 Wby and 30-378 Wby. Pistol rounds in 44 mag and 45 ACP also load easy. The press has a lot of leverage for full-length rifle case sizing. Nice primer disposal system. Lowest price for its class. This unit beats my Lyman press by several miles…. ” — J. Davidson, California
Five Stars: This thing is outstanding and better than my old RCBS partner press. Once you get the sweet setting of the die, lock it in place and next time you load, you need not fumble to find the best setting. Breech lock is the key. I load a lot of .308 Win and .223 Rem for my ARs and this requires full-length sizing. Lee meets the challenge with no flex and excellent ram/die fit and alignment. Another nice feature is that the breech-lock inserts have a lock preventing [them] from unlocking. [T]he spent primer disposal is perfect vs. RCBS where primers can miss the primer catcher. The handle can also be placed left or right as needed and shortened for small cases or pistol to reduce the handle travel.” — E. Stanley, Rockford, IL
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When we first ran this story a couple years ago, it proved immensely popular with our readers. In case you missed it the first time around, check out what can be done with a factory Savage 110 BA at extreme long range — 1760 yards (one mile). Shooter Mark Dalzell did a great job with the video, which features multiple camera views so you can see the shooter and the target at the same time. Enjoy!
This video by Mark Dalzell demonstrates the long-range capabilities of the Savage 110 BA chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. Mark took his “BadAss” rig out to the southwest Nevada desert just north of Jean Dry Lakes. He placed a 2’x3′ target way, way out there — a full mile (1760 yards) away. At that range, flight time to target was 3.75 seconds! Sighting with a Nightforce 5-22x50mm NXS scope, Mark needed a few shots to get on target, but eventually made multiple hits, using 67 MOA of elevation and 2.25 MOA left windage. You can view the hits starting at 1:56 time-mark on the video. (Mark had a second camera set up closer to the target — this displays frame in frame in the video, and if you watch carefully you can see the strikes.) The ammo was HSM 250gr HPBT match with a 3.600″ COAL. The shooting was done at 8:13 in the morning, with clear conditions, very light winds. Temp was 57°, humidity 24.5, Density Altitude 3666. Video soundtrack is La Grange by ZZ Top.
LISTEN TO MARK TALK about One Mile Shooting:
CLICK Play Button to hear Mark Dalzell TALK about his .338 LM Savage 110 BA and how he scored hits at 1760 yards.
Good Shooting Mark. That’s darn good for a factory rifle. You also had the elevation dialed in real close before the firing started! That shows a good knowledge of your ammo’s long-range ballistics. We also noticed how effective that muzzle brake was. Recoil looked about the same as an un-braked .308 Win.
If you thought Mark’s 1760-yard shooting was impressive, Mark has produced another video that shows a session at even greater distances — out to 2300 yards. Watch Mark Dalzell Shoot at 2300 Yards.
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Jeffrey Block has created a great FREE software program, OnTarget, that measures shot groups quickly and precisely. All you need is a photo or scan of your target. The program allows you to set your target distance, and provides caliber-specific tools to precisely mark the center of each shot. Once you’ve marked each bullet hole, Jeff’s OnTarget program automatically calculates group center, maximum group spread (CTC), average distance to center, group width and height, and group offset from point of aim. The program will even measure multiple groups on the same target.
Video Tutorial Shows How OnTarget Software Works
Jeff created an excellent Animated Tutorial demonstrating OnTarget’s functions. It shows how to import a target image or scan, how to set target distance and scale, how to set bullet size, how to circle each bullet hole, and how to save the marked and measured target. VIEW OnTarget TUTORIAL.
After just a few minutes spent learning the program’s tool buttons, we were able to plot shot groups on a variety of targets with ease. Once you select the target distance and bullet diameter, figuring group size is a simple matter of centering a circle tool over each bullet hole. Then the program “connects the dots” and provides all the info you could want automatically.
The program worked with bullet holes as small as 17 caliber and as large as 50 caliber. It is very precise, but remember that if your target photo was taken at an angle, distorted perspective can cause slight errors in measurement. Therefore, for the ultimate precision, you want to start with a flat scan of the target.
OnTarget Compared to Measuring Manually
We found OnTarget to be especially useful for groups with widely dispersed bullet holes, or very small bullet holes, such as 17 caliber holes. We’ve found that it’s difficult to measure 17-cal group sizes with a standard caliper, because the tool itself obscures the tiny holes. With OnTarget, the program can zoom up your target view, making it much easier to plot the center of each shot. And with a widely dispersed group of shots, the program automatically finds the two most distant shots. You can’t mistakenly pick the wrong pair of shots to measure.
MEASURING REAL TARGETS — Actual Examples
Here are examples we created with OnTarget. The first photo shows a 17 Mach 2 target. These tiny 17-cal holes are notoriously hard to measure. With OnTarget, it’s a snap. You just load the target image into the program, zoom in with the controls, and then click on the center of the holes. The program automatically calculates group size, displaying measurements in both inches and minutes of angle (MOA)
Original Target (with ruler for scale)
Target Captured and Displayed in Program
Detail of Group, Enlarged by Program
10-shot Groups? — No Problem
Here’s another target, showing 6mm bullet holes at 600 yards. The first image shows the target image loaded into the program with the ten holes circled in red.
Target Displayed in Program
For this target we have used the Aiming Point option. The Aim Point was set at the center of the “X” and the program calculates average distance from the Aim Point. Very cool.
Detail of 10-Shot Group, Enlarged by Program
No Scanner Needed
The OnTarget program grabs target scans directly from a flatbed scanner using Microsoft’s Windows Image Acquisition system. But don’t worry if you don’t have a scanner. You can just take a digital photo of your target and OnTarget will import it quickly and easily. To set target scale, a simple tool allows you to mark a known length on the target (such as the diameter of the “X” Ring), and the program will then size the target accordingly. Is OnTarget precise and accurate? Here’s what Forum Member Steve W. says: “I used the extreme spread measurement of a group on one of my 600-yard match targets… as it was officially scored at the match. By clicking the +—+ icon, then clicked the cursor in the centers of the two extreme spread holes, I then entered that value in the reference window. After that it was simple because the bullet placement cursor’s circle was the same size as the black outline of the actual bullet holes on the picture of the target. OnTarget’s measurement came up within .006″ of the official 2.772 inch measurement of the group. That’s pretty darned close; well inside the human judgment of aligning the tips of a micrometer on the bullet holes.”
Bottom Line — Great Program — Download It Today
Jeffrey Block has done a great service for shooters by creating the FREE OnTarget program. It is easy to learn, it functions great, and it can save you time and effort measuring targets. It also lets you easily archive and compare multiple targets produced during load development or rifle testing. You can record ammo type, date, location, weather etc. in note fields accessed by “Group Info” and “Target Info” tabs.
Keep in mind that OnTarget was NOT created to replace existing methods for scoring competition targets. But for all other target measuring purposes it does a great job. Visit Jeff’s website, OnTargetShooting.com, view the tutorial, and check out OnTarget for yourselves.
To learn more about OnTarget, see more measuring samples, and read advanced Power-User Tips, visit our full OnTarget Product Review.
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We know many of you guys have a Forster case trimmer (hand lathe) sitting on your reloading bench. This tool does a good job of trimming cases to length. But did you know that an inexpensive accessory will allow your Forster case trimmer to chamfer while it cuts? Here’s the skinny on the 3-way head for the Forster case trimmer.
Tool Cuts Brass to Length, and Chamfers Inside and Outside
Forster’s 3-in-1 Carbide Case Mouth Cutter works with all existing Forster case trimmers. This unit does three jobs at the same time. It trims the case to length, it puts a 14-degree chamfer on the INSIDE of the neck, AND (last but not least), it cuts a 30-degree chamfer on the OUTSIDE of the neck. It does this all quickly and efficiently — in a matter of a few seconds. We tested the new tool ourselves on a few cases. The tool is solid and well made. The carbide cutting tips do perform a very clean cut. Be aware, however, if you have turned your necks already, you may have to reset the blade positions before you start trimming your brass.
Forster’s CFO, Robert Ruch, demonstrates the 3-in-1 case trimming/chamfering tool in the video above. As you can see, the tool turns very smoothly (no chatter). The actual cutting time, per case, is just a few seconds. The tool has an MSRP of $88.00, but it sells for around $65.00 to $70.00 at major vendors. Forster’s 3-in-1 Carbide cutting tool works with all existing Forster case trimmers and other hand lathes with a .490″ shaft diameter. The unit fits over the cutter shaft and secures with one set screw. The 3-in-1 cutter is available for five (5) calibers: .224, .243 (6mm), .264 (6.5mm), .284 (7mm), and .308.
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Here is a very interesting rifle, a true metal/wood hybrid that combines an aluminum front section with figured walnut in the rear half. As you can see, this unique rifle also features a barrel block that allows the Savage action to float. You may be wondering “how is the metal section connected to the wood?” The gun’s owner/builder epoxied a stainless steel tube in the wood and that tube is secured in the aluminum fore-end with set screws.
Forum member Justin V. reports: “Sometime last fall my buddy wanted to build barrel-blocked Bavage. He is a machinist by trade so he was able to build all of the custom components himself. I know he put a ton of time into this thing over the winter, taking his time to get it done right. If you shoot in Cadillac or Midland, Michigan you will probably see him around. He tried to shoot a match this past weekend but was rained out. Hopefully it will stop raining in Michigan so he can see what it can do at 600 yards. Here are the results….” Learn more about this gun in this FORUM Thread.
PrecisionRifleBlog.com recently reviewed several video-based rifle training DVD sets. While instructional DVDs will never replace live “hands-on” training, they can be cost-effective ways to sharpen your skills. Watched periodically, these training DVDs can help reinforce the fundamentals.
PRB’s Editor Cal Zant has purchased several rifle training DVDs over the years. His recent Precision Rifle Blog DVD review looks at four different options:
Long Range Made Easy, Two-Volume Set, from Accuracy 1st The Art Of The Precision Rifle, with Todd Hodnett (Magpul Dynamics) Putting Rounds On Target, with Bryan Litz (Applied Ballistics) Rifles Only — Precision Rifle Instructional DVDs, with Jacob Bynum
Cal reports that each of these four titles offers a slightly different approach, with each instructor displaying his own focus, based on his background and expertise.
Accuracy 1st’s Long Range Made Easy Two-Volume Set seemed to win PRB’s Editor’s Choice Award. The tagline on the DVD is: “Go from basic to advanced with the guy that has trained our best military snipers for the past 10 years.” That’s a pretty good description. Todd Hodnett is the primary instructor, and Bryan Litz joins him in several segments.
It’s the best of both worlds. Todd Hodnett’s pragmatic “the-bullet-cannot-lie” approach (field-proven by hundreds of the world’s best snipers), is combined with Bryan Litz’s engineering approach and vast knowledge of external ballistics verified with carefully recorded live-fire experiments. The two styles complement each other well, and provide an extremely well-rounded and comprehensive overview.
The DVD set is split into two volumes, each of which includes two discs. All together there are almost four hours of instruction from the most respected guys in the industry. And they cover a lot of ground — you’d never be able to cover this much in a one- or two-day live class. Plus with the DVD you can easily repeat an important point, and watch the whole program more than once.
Cal paid $76.95 out-of-pocket for the Long Range Made Easy, Vol. 1 & 2 Bundle, so his review wasn’t a paid advertisement. He thought this set provides a ton of value, and could help a lot of shooters. Here are key topics covered in Long Range Made Easy:
■ Advice for Gear Purchases
■ Optimal Gun Setup
■ Technique for Position
■ Simple & Quick Wind Formula
■ Using the Applied Ballistics Kestrel
■ Truing Ballistic Algorithms, Drag Scale Factoring, and Custom Drag Models
■ WEZ Analysis
■ Wind Course
If you’re new to the long range game, or you’ve been doing it for a few years and want to learn directly from some of the most sought-after instructors in the world, then check out Cal’s write-up over at PrecisionRifleBlog.com. CLICK HERE for PRB Review of Training DVDs.
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It’s hunting season, and we know many readers will be pursuing a prize buck this fall. But how will your hunting load perform? That depends on shot placement, energy, and terminal ballistics.
You’ve probably heard the term “Terminal Ballistics”. But do you really know what this refers to? Fundamentally, “Terminal Ballistics” describes the behavior of a projectile as it strikes, enters, and penetrates a target. Terminal Ballistics, then, can be said to describe projectile behavior in a target including the transfer of kinetic energy. Contrast this with “External Ballistics” which, generally speaking, describes and predicts how projectiles travel in flight. One way to look at this is that External Ballistics covers bullet behavior before impact, while terminal ballistics covers bullet behavior after impact.
The study of Terminal Ballistics is important for hunters, because it can predict how pellets, bullets, and slugs can perform on game. This NRA Firearm Science video illustrates Terminal Ballistics basics, defining key terms such as Impact Crater, Temporary Cavity, and Primary Cavity.
External Ballistics, also called “exterior ballistics”, is the part of ballistics that deals with the behavior of a non-powered projectile in flight.
Terminal Ballistics, a sub-field of ballistics, is the study of the behavior and effects of a projectile when it hits its target.
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Think Vegas in January, baby — yes, we’re talkin’ about SHOT Show (Jan. 17-20, 2017). Registration for the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s 2015 SHOT Show is now open for all Attendees and Media. Register online now at Shotshow.org. The SHOT Show hotel booking system is also active. It’s a good idea to reserve rooms early to get the best rates. SHOT Show organizers have negotiated deeply discounted rates at dozens of Las Vegas hotels, with prices as low as $56 per night.
Scheduled for January 17-20 in Las Vegas, the big gun industry convention is just three months away. While registering, attendees can add Industry Dinner tickets, enroll in SHOT Show University, and/or sign up for other educational offerings.
SHOT Show tip from EdLongrange. We welcome user submissions.
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