March 26th, 2015

If You Could Hunt Anything, Anywhere…. Where Would You Go?

This article originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog
Get the Sierra Bullets tech staff together and you have an impressive brain trust, with a vast amount of knowledge about all things shooting- and hunting-related. We asked a variety of Sierra Bullets staffers, all avid hunters, about their favorite hunting venues. Here are their answers to the question: “If you could hunt anything, anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you hunt?”

Photo courtesy Kirabo Safaris, South Africa.
Namibia Hunting safari

Africa topped the list of “dream hunting locations” by a landslide. Canada and Alaska were both picked twice, with other destinations each favored by one staffer:

Africa 6 votes (Kudu, Eland, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, Lion, Plains Game)
Canada 2 votes (Moose, Black Bear)
Alaska 2 votes (Dall Sheep)
Wyoming 1 vote (Antelope)
US Rocky Mountains 1 vote (Elk)
Argentina 1 votes (Doves)
Australia 1 vote (Non-specific)

Carroll Pilant (Ballistics Technician): “Back to Africa for kudu and eland.”

Rich Machholz (Ballistic Technician): “African Cape Buffalo with my longtime friend Lloyd in Zimbabwee.”

Tommy Todd (Chief Ballistician): “Free Range African plains game”

Matt Reams (VP Sales & Marketing): “Probably a leopard. Africa is cool to see and that is a pretty scary/dangerous hunt that would be very thrilling.”

Photo courtesy Namibia Hunting Safaris.
Namibia Hunting safari

Dan Mahnken (Production Resource Mgr.): “Africa and the African lion. More exciting that way it’s a 50/50 chance for both of us.”

Brad Vansell (Toolsetter): “Anything in Africa, or Australia.”

Philip Mahin (Ballistic Technician): “Canadian Moose”

Duane Siercks (Ballistic Technician): “What? I can’t make a list! My next hunt that I dream about would be to go to Canada for a very large black bear.”

Photo courtesy Alaska Dall Sheep Guides.
Namibia Hunting safari

Paul Box (Ballistic Technician): “Alaska – Dall Sheep.”

Craig Westermier (Machine Shop Lead): “Dall Sheep in Alaska.”

David Palm (Process Engineer): “Elk anywhere in the Rockies.”

Gary Prisendorf (Ballistician): “Doves in Argentina.”

Chris Hatfield (Production Manager): “Anything in Australia would be cool.”

Darren Leskiw (Plant Engineer): “I’ve been hunting one time near Douglas, Wyoming and it was beautiful country. I’d love to go back and spend more time there and tag another antelope.”

Hunting in Wyoming

SNS Outfitters & Guides is the largest pronghorn antelope outfitter in North America with over 750,000 acres of leased land. SNS boats a 96% success rate on antelope hunts.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting 9 Comments »
March 26th, 2015

Skockey (Skeet Plus Hockey) — Canadian Style

Skeet Trap Canada Shooting Ice Hockey YouTube Video

You’ve got to hand it to those crazy Canucks — they’ve managed to combine the quintessential Canadian sport, Ice Hockey, with skeet/trap shooting. This is just the thing to do with a good friend on a sunny winter’s day with snow still on the ground.

Watch Video — See Girl Shoot Clay Flung with Hockey Stick

Here’s how it works. A launcher is set up with a sheet of cardboard on a snow ramp. A clay pigeon is placed at the base of the ramp. Then the “flinger”, armed with a regulation hockey stick, sends the clay pigeon up the snow ramp and into the air. (Follow-through is important.) Then it’s just like regular skeet shooting. The shooter brings scattergun to bear and tries to hit the clay on the fly. With a good hit, it disintegrates in a black puff.

Skeet Trap Canada Shooting Ice Hockey YouTube Video

Kudos to Canada’s Danielle Bergen and her sharp-shooting friend for producing a great video. Overhead views were filmed with a camera-equipped flying drone.

Skockey in the Winter Olympics?
We wonder how this combo-sport was invented (large quantities of Molson Beer may have been involved we suppose). This new hybrid sport doesn’t have an official name yet. We suggest “Skockey” (“skeet” + “hockey”). Whatever you call it, we like this new sport. Who knows, maybe we’ll see Skockey in the Winter Olympics some day.

Permalink - Videos, News 4 Comments »
March 26th, 2015

Shooting Science: Monitoring Brain Waves and Muscle Activity

“[Elite] shooters have this specific thing that happens in their brain when they are shooting well. Maybe you’d call it a ‘quiet time’. One interpretation is that it is a lack of self-instruction or analysis. Once you are an expert you really shouldn’t be [thinking] ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’.”

In this video from USA Shooting, a scientist uses brain wave (EEG) and muscle activity monitors to study the biomechanics and cognitive functions involved in competitive shooting. The study explores how elite shooters control their muscles and mind before executing a perfect shot.

In the video, USOC Sports Psychologist Lindsay Thornton works with pistol shooter Teresa Chambers to evaluate (and optimize) Teresa muscle and brain wave activity during shooting. One purpose of the study is to see how a shooter’s muscles function before, during and after a firing sequence. The goal is to use the muscles in the most efficient manner. This reduces fatigue and improves shot-to-shot consistency. Thorton says: “We are trying to define [muscle activity] efficiency with numbers so we can replicate that.”

Thorton is also exploring how a top shooter’s brain functions when he or she is “dialed in” and shooting most accurately. Thornton explains: “We are looking at EEG activity, which is brain wave activity. Research studies show that shooters have this specific thing that happens in their brain when they are shooting well. Maybe you’d call it a ‘quiet time’. One interpretation is that it is a lack of self-instruction or analysis. Once you are an expert you really shouldn’t be [thinking] ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’ — everything should be pretty automatic.” Interestingly, the test showed a specific pattern of Alpha band brain waves right before a trained shooter breaks the shot.

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills Post comment »
March 25th, 2015

When the Worst Happens — Responding to Gunshot Injuries

We recently showed a video of an incident at a pistol match that easily could have resulted in the death of a range worker. If you watched that video (it’s all over the web this web), you’ll understand that one momentary oversight is all it takes to put someone in the hospital (or the morgue). That’s why shooters should be prepared for the worst. Get first-aid training, and carry a basic first-aid kit whenever you go to the range.

Carry a Basic First-Aid Kit
Shinnosuke Tanaka, reporter for RECOIL Magazine, offers some good advice: “OK, most of us have seen the [pistol match incident] video. YES, it is RSO’s fault not checking down range enough. BUT it’s your bullet that could hurt someone when it happen. So don’t let someone take care of safety for you, look around one more time after the command ‘Make ready’.”

Four basic firearms safety rules always apply. The Fourth Rule is: “Always be sure of your target and what is beyond it”. Shinnosuke adds: “My own fifth rule is ‘If there is doubt, don’t pull the trigger’.”

First Aid Kit Tannaka EMT

Shinnosuke cautions: “If you play with firearms you should know how to deal with gunshot wounds… Carry a simple medical kit. Here is my first aid kid, always carried on top of my shooting pack. Seek professional training and know how to use it. It’s your responsibility to stop the loss of your blood when an accident happens.”

Watch Gun Shot First Aid Video

If someone at a range is seriously injured by a gunshot, you should immediately summon emergency medical professionals. In addition, basic first aid can help stabilize the injured individual. This 55-minute video explains Basic First Aid for Gunshot Wounds:

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
March 25th, 2015

1500+ Cartridge Types in Cartridges of the World

Cartridge of World Guide bookThe 14th Edition of Cartridges of the World is a handy reference that contains illustrations and basic load data for over 1500 cartridges. If you load for a wide variety of cartridges, or are a cartridge collector, this book is a “must-have” resource. The latest edition (released in December 2014) includes 50 new cartridges. This important reference guide can be ordered through Amazon.com for $28.42 (or just $20.99 for a Kindle eBook version).

Cartridges of the World, the most widely-read cartridge reference book, has been totally updated, with a newly expanded, full-color 64-page color section featuring essays from some of today’s most prominent gun writers. The 14th Edition of Cartridges of the World (ISBN: 9781440242656) includes updated cartridge specs, plus essays by leading writers on the topics of SAAMI guidelines, wildcatting, and new cartridge design trends. Cartridges of the World is the most authoritative cartridge reference guide in print.

Cartridges of World Barnces 13th Edition

Cartridges of the World by author Frank C. Barnes was first published in 1965. The 14th Edition is edited by W. Todd Woodard, Editor of Gun Tests magazine and author of several firearms reference books. Frank Barnes (1918-1992) began collecting information on handgun cartridges at the early age of 12, thanks to his father, a police officer. Frank Barnes was an innovative cartridge designer, who invented the original 308 x 1.5″ Barnes, predecessor of the 30BR case.

Before Frank began a law enforcement career, he was a college professor. Frank was also a pilot, and a race-car driver. Learn more about Cartridges of the World (14th Ed.) at www.gundigest.com.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo 1 Comment »
March 24th, 2015

Shocking Video — Fatality Barely Averted

RSO Range Safety violation

This video will give you chills (starting at about the 0:25 mark). We need to remember to follow all the firearms safety rules, and apply them all the time. At the range, all it takes is one brief moment of inattention to create a life-threatening situation. Never assume the downrange area is safe. Use your own eyes and ears.

This video shows a competitor shooting a stage at an action pistol match. He starts when instructed by the Range Safety Officer (RSO). But unbeknownst to both RS0 and competitor, a volunteer is downrange working on targets. Watch carefully. At 0:27 the shooter sweeps left to right, engaging a paper silhouette target to his right. Then, at 0:30, as he begins a mag change, his head turns downrange. A few yards away is a white-shirted range worker! The shooter yells “Hey what’s going on?!”

What’s going on indeed… The RSO should have ensured that nobody was downrange before the shooter even stepped up to the firing line. If other competitors standing to the side had been alert, they might have seen the worker changing targets and called for a halt. And the target-worker himself — even if he was wearing earmuffs, he should have noticed that live fire had commenced just yards away…

We also have to wonder about the stage design. This set-up made it very difficult to see downrange. The white panels (see 0:10-0:20) definitely hid the target worker from view. In hindsight, given the way the stage was laid out, this was truly an “accident waiting to happen”. It’s fortunate that no one got injured in this incident. But this chilling video provides a lesson to all shooters — “Safety First”.

How could this “near-fatality” have been averted? Post your comments below.

Permalink - Videos, Handguns 14 Comments »
March 24th, 2015

Cool Rig Combines Spotter, LRF, Kestrel, and Ballistics Computer

Here’s an impressive hardware package for long-range shooting. This set-up combines a folded-path spotting scope with a Laser Rangefinder (LRF) and a Kestrel Wind Meter. The LRF is mounted directly to the Hensoldt-Zeiss spotting scope ($4330.00 retail) so the two units stay aligned at all times. That makes it easy to spot and range your target quickly. LRF and weather data is piped into a PDA which automatically generates a firing solution (providing windage and elevation adjustments). That’s slick.

Ashbury Precison Ordnance sent us these photos, noting: “The ingenuity of APO customers never ceases to impress us! This rig has a co-located LRF adjustable for azimuth and elevation, a Kestrel weather station (Bluetooth?) and Trimble NOMAD RPDA. Firing solutions are updated as data is transmitted to the PDA from the LRF and weather station. That Hensoldt Spotter 60 is a nice piece of glass for shooting at extremely long distances.” The spotting scope is mounted on a Manfrotto 410 3-axis geared head.

Click Image to View Full-Screen Version
Ashbury Hensolt Zeiss Spotting Scope LRF Laser Kestrel Trimble Nomad

Click Image to View Full-Screen Version
Ashbury Hensolt Zeiss Spotting Scope LRF Laser Kestrel Trimble Nomad

Permalink New Product, Optics 3 Comments »
March 23rd, 2015

New Glock 43 — Single-Stack 9x19mm Carry Gun

Glock 43 pistol 9mm 9x19mm single-stack magazine G42 G43

Glock just released a new single-stack 9mm pistol, the Glock 43 (G43). Why did it take Glock so long to bring a single-stack 9x19mm handgun to market? Better late than never we suppose. Given the large market for concealable handguns, this IS an important product introduction. In fact, Glock says: “The G43 is the most highly desired and anticipated release in Glock’s history”.

The key question for potential buyers is “How thin is it?” If this pistol is not significantly thinner or lighter than a double-stack 9mm handgun, then there really isn’t much reason for it to exist. Here are some dimensional comparisons. We included the G43, the double-stack 9mm Glock 19, along with single-stack 9mm carry pistols from Smith & Wesson, Ruger, and Kahr:

Glock 43 pistol 9mm 9x19mm single-stack magazine G42 G43

You can see that the G43 is about 1/10″ thicker than some of its rivals, but it is 0.16″ thinner (and 7.46 oz. lighter) than its bigger brother, the G19. That’s significant. On the other hand, at 26mm, the G43 is 2mm thicker than Glock’s .380 ACP G42 compact pistol. That gun was a big hit — Glock sold nearly 200,000 G42s last year. Will the G43 be as popular even though it is slightly thicker? Probably. All the pundits predict the G43 will be a big seller for Glock.

6+1 Capacity Now with 7+1 in Future
The G43 comes with a six-shot magazine. According to the CTD Shooter’s Log: “Glock has promised to deliver a magazine in the near future that will bump the capacity by one additional round and add a pinky extension.”

Glock 43 pistol 9mm 9x19mm single-stack magazine G42 G43

G43 Shines in Reliability Testing
Absolute reliability is ultra-important in a carry pistol. We don’t particularly like Glock ergonomics, Glock sights, or the Glock trigger, but Glock pistols have proven to be very reliable. It looks like the G43 lives up to the Glock reputation for reliability. During intial media testing, the G43 was tested with CCI Blazer and Winchester white box FMJ. The only failure to fire was a bad round. The G43s performed flawlessly with low-dollar ammo. Source: Shooter’s Log.

Permalink Handguns, New Product 1 Comment »
March 23rd, 2015

Norma Debuts New Lead-Free “Ecostrike” Bullet

Silver Bullet Ecostrike Bullion NormaThe Lone Ranger used silver bullets… now you can too. Well, they’re not really silver, but they look like silver and they are lead-free. Norma’s new ECOSTRIKE™ bullet features a copper core with a proprietary silver-color plating to reduce fouling. Why is Norma offering a lead-free bullet? Well, in some locations, such as California, the use of traditional, lead-core bullets has been highly restricted. The Ecostrike give hunters the opportunity to shot hard-hitting, deep-penetrating projectiles, even where lead-cored bullets are banned. Norma explains: “The Ecostrike is designed to give… penetration deep enough to reach the vital organs even on large animals. The controlled expansion and a very high retained weight guarantee a consistent behavior and deep penetration.”

Being totally lead-free, Ecostrike bullets are California-compliant, and they can be used in other regions where lead ammo is restricted. Currently, Norma plans to offer Ecostrike bullets in four popular calibers: 7mm (.284), .308 (7.62 mm), 8mm, and 9.3 mm. Spanning the range from 7mm up to 9.3 mm, Ecostrike bullets will be available for the most popular big game cartridge types. Norma also plans to produce loaded ammunition featuring the new Ecostrike bullet.

Silver Bullet Ecostrike hunting projectile lead-free ecology Norma

Silver Bullet Ecostrike Bullion Norma
“Silver Bullet” Bullion cartridges are produced by the NW Territorial Mint. The Norma Ecostrike bullets contain no silver, just copper and a proprietary plating. But they do look like silver bullets.

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo 2 Comments »
March 23rd, 2015

Goin’ Mobile — Reloading Set-Up for Toy-Hauler RV

It’s summer time. That means many of our readers will be hitting the road (for matches at Camp Perry or summer vacations). How do you do your reloading chores while living like a Gypsy for a few weeks? Here’s a solution from Forum member Dave Gray (U.S. Army Retired).

Dave is a self-declared “full-time RVer” who spends most of his time on the road. Behind his Ram 3500 pickup, Dave tows a huge 41-foot Heartland Cyclone toy hauler featuring a 12X8 foot garage in the rear. In the rear garage area, which holds a Smart Car, Dave has set up a removable reloading bench complete with RCBS Rockchucker single stage press and Dillon progressive press.

Smart Car Toy Hauler
Smart Car Toy Hauler
Smart Car Toy Hauler

Smart Car Toy HaulerReloading Bench Mounts to RV Wall with Brackets
Dave explains: “I used a 2″X6″X5′ board for the bench. It’s perfect for my needs, and is easy to disassemble. I made it this small so that I can park my Smart Car in the garage during travel to my destinations. The bench, attached to the wall frames, is very solid. The presses’ centers are 3″ and 6.5″ from the brackets. [There are] four bolts on the wall into aluminum wall frame and 3 bolts in the bench. If I ever have to replace the current board, I’ll do so with oak or birch or hickory. When I’m not reloading, I remove the presses and store them in a protected space. I can easily attach other equipment to the bench by using C-Clamps.” Dave’s “rolling reloading room” looks very well thought-out. We commend Dave for his inventiveness.

Smart Car Toy Hauler

Permalink New Product, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
March 22nd, 2015

Build Portable Loading Bench on B&D Workmate Platform

portable reloading benchA while back, we featured a portable reloading bench built on a Black & Decker Workmate. That proved a VERY popular do-it-yourself project so we’re showing it again, in case you missed it the first time.

Texan Robert Lewis made himself a great portable reloading bench from plywood mounted to a Black & Decker Workmate. The bench, roughly 22″ x 19″ on top, folds up to fit easily in your car’s trunk or behind the seats in a pick-up truck cab. Four recessed bolts hold the wood top section to the collapsible B&D Workmate.The sides and back of the unit are attached to the base with small nails. There is a small shelf (also nailed in place) which can be used to clamp a powder measure or hold a scale. Shown in the photo is a Harrell’s Benchrest measure and Harrell’s single-stage “C” press.

Click for Detail of Top.
portable shooting bench

The whole unit can be built for about $65.00 with pine, or $80.00 with oak (as shown). Robert explained: “The Workmate was $40. If someone bought a 2’x4′ sheet of 3/4″ oak plywood, I think it is around $30. Using pine plywood would be about half that. Fasteners were $3. Spar Urethane would be $5.”

Robert told us: “I used a couple ideas I found on the web. The Larry Willis website gave me the idea to use the Black and Decker Workmate as a base. I found the Workmate on sale for $40 and the top is made from oak plywood I had in my shop. I sealed the wood with three coats of Spar Urethane. The whole thing folds into a nice package for transportation to and from the range.”

Editor’s NOTE: In the time that’s transpired since we first ran this story, the price of a Black & Decker workmate has gone up. However you can still pick a WM225 Workmate for under $60.00. Target is currently selling WM225 Workmates for $59.99.

Click HERE for FREE WORKBENCH PLANS.

Permalink Reloading 3 Comments »
March 22nd, 2015

Norma .284 Winchester Brass In Production

In January, during SHOT Show, Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia inked a contract with Norma to produce ultra-high-quality .284 Winchester and 6mm Dasher brass. This was great news for competitive shooters. The .284 Win is the caliber to beat in F-0pen competition and the 6mm Dasher holds most of the records in the 600-yard benchrest game.

We’ve just learned that the new Norma .284 Win brass is in production and should be available in five to six weeks. Shiraz tells us: “Production is in full swing in Sweden and the picture below shows the very first .284 Win case that came off the line. They [.284 Win cases] are in testing and we expect to have them here in USA by the end of April.”

Norma .284 Win Winchester Bullets.com brass casing case

Bullets.com should start taking pre-orders in the near future. Shiraz explained: “As far as pre-orders for the Norma .284 Win brass go, we are waiting for final pricing. When we have that, we will make the .284 Win brass active on our Bullets.com website and will take orders. Those orders will be shipped in the order they were received.”

Norma .284 Win Winchester Bullets.com brass casing case
NOTE: This is just a QuickDESIGN drawing, NOT the Norma brass blueprint. Dimensions may vary slightly, so do not use this to spec reamers or other tools. Wait until you can measure the actual brass.

What about 6mm Dasher Brass from Norma?
Dasher fans will have to wait a little longer. Shiraz Balolia says: “It may be months for the Dasher brass. We will keep on them, but if I were to guess, it will be late summer 2015″.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo 3 Comments »