Here’s something truly innovative — a 3D-printed metal rimfire receiver!
Forum member Marcos G. (aka MFP_BOP) has designed and created his own rimfire action. But it’s not machined or forged. This new action was created with a 3D sintered metal printer. A 3D modeler by profession, Marcos has the requisite skill set and access to a very high-tech (and expensive) metal printer. As printed, the actual receiver is shown below. It has just been sent out to be age-hardened to 40 HRC, after which final finish work (e.g. cleaning up tenon threads) will be done. To learn more about this 3D-printing project, read this FORUM Thread.
When most of us think of 3D printing, we think of small plastic parts — nothing as strong as steel. But there are 3D printers that employ sintered metal to build complex metal components. Marcus says the receiver he’s created should have “stated yield and tensile strength similar to investment casting.” The material used for the action is 15-5 PH® Stainless Steel (in sintered form).
The action was designed to use a PT&G 40X rimfire bolt. Marcos notes that “There is an extraction cam inside of the action, something that would be very hard or impossible to do by regular machining and/or EDM.”
Born in Brazil, Marcos now lives in New Zealand. He tell us that: “New Zealand is a very gun-friendly country. I just need my A-CAT license to make [a receiver.]” So there are no special legal restrictions (as might apply in the USA). The printer is EOS270 laser metal sintering machine. Marcos says: “The current price for one of those machines is in five figures, but I am 99.99% sure that in 5-7 years this technology will be readily available to anyone.”
As designed, the receiver was 1.4″ in diameter. Marcos reports it came out of the printer at 1.403″. The designed boltway is .690″ and it came out .687″. Marcos notes: “I haven’t noticed any warping. The threads are rough, really! Interior and exterior finishes are really good though, probably because of the way it’s been printed: upside down (must have gone through tumbling afterwards). I will have to run some taps and single-point-cut the tenon threads to clean them up.”
Marcos says the actual printing process took a lot of time: “I should have asked how long it took to be printed!” But consider this, the 7″-long receiver is created in layers only 20 microns thick, so you can understand why the process took so long.
Reasons to Print a Rimfire Receiver
Marcos 3D-printed his own action basically to save money: “Some may be asking why I printed this receiver. Here’s a little history… I tried different ways to bring a Stiller 2500X action into New Zealand. The final price to my door was NZ $3000.00 (about $2195.00 USD). Designing and making one would be way cheaper, but I felt nobody here could machine the internal abutments with precision. Also printing was still a little cheaper and printing offered the chance to put in it all details I wanted — such as M4 threads, internal cam, and fillets.”
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Doug Koenig proved two things this past weekend at the 2016 NRA World Shooting Championship. First, he showed that he is one hell of a shooter, maybe the best action shooter ever. Second he proved that trick, custom race-guns WILL out-perform off-the-shelf firearms. As originally conceived, the WSC has been a multi-discipline match in which competitors shoot an assortment of manufacturer-supplied firearms. But this year, a rule change allowed “BYO” firearms and ammunition in the new Professional Open Division (Pro Open). Koenig’s choice to run in Open Class proved to be a good one — he walked away with a check for $25,000 and the title of 2016 “World Shooting Champion”.
Competing in the Pro Open Division (using his own guns for most stages), Koenig dominated, winning all 12 stages while racking up 3000 points, effectively a “perfect” score. Only a couple shooters competed in Pro Open using their own guns and ammo. Though some say he made it look easy, Koenig, a 17-time Bianchi Cup Champion, insisted this was a tough match. After the awards ceremony, Koenig told Shooting Sports USA: “This was a really great match — and a fun test of all the different shooting disciplines. [The WSC] is without a doubt one of the most difficult matches that I have ever shot. I have a lot of respect for the other disciplines that I have never done before.”
Curiously, only a couple competitors competed in Pro Open, while there were 67 shooters in the regular Pro Class, and 131 Amateurs. Given Koenig’s thorough trouncing of the Pro Stock competitors, one wonders what will happen to the WSC event next year. Will more shooters join the Pro Open ranks? Will there even be a Pro Open Division next year? Koenig served notice that if you want to win the overall title, you better bring your own guns. But that would seem to change the signature theme of the WSC — shooting “normal”, box-stock firearms. One wonders how the other competitors felt about Koenig capturing $25K and the title of “World Champion”, while they shot off-the-shelf hardware.
Nonetheless, Koenig deserves full credit for his superb, 3000-point “perfect” performance. In winning all twelve stages (including some disciplines he had never shot before), Koenig’s 2016 WSC performance was truly one for the ages.
Greg Jordan won the Professional (Stock) Division with a score of 2934. Jordan had a very strong performance with class wins in the 2-Gun, 3-Gun, and America’s Rifle Challenge stages. Pro Stock runner-up, 41 points back, was Mark Yackley with a 2893 score.
Brilliant Performance by Amateur Competitor Nate Dudley
The Top Amateur at the 2016 WSC was Nate Dudley with 2879 points. Dudley’s strong showing would have placed him ahead of all but four of the Pro Stock shooters*. That’s remarkable. Nate beat 63 Pros, including last year’s WSC Champion Bruce Piatt who finished 8th in the Pro (Stock) division.
The Miculeks — America’s First Family of Shooting
Lena Miculek won the Ladies Championship with a score of 2816, and Lena’s mom, Kay Miculek was the second-place lady. Lena’s father, the legendary Jerry Miculek, finished 9th in the Pro Stock Division.
*Fourth-place Pro Ryan Muller scored 2881 points, while fifth-place Pro Nick Atkinson had 2878 points.
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We like Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects. It takes initiative, creativity, and dedication to make your own hardware, and that’s worth acknowledging. With the U.S. F-Class Nationals kicking off later this week, we thought it timely to feature a DIY F-Open rig, complete with home-built, belt-drive front rest.
Some of our mechanically-skilled readers chamber their own barrels or bed their own stocks. But these are relatively simple tasks compared to the jobs of constructing an entire rifle plus building an advanced front rest from scratch. Well that’s exactly what Forum member Steve B. (aka Essexboy) did a couple seasons back. He built his own rifle and an impressive twin-belt-drive pedestal rest. (Click photo below for large version). And get this, Steve’s home-made rifle was victorious in its first-ever match. Steve reports: “I shot my first Comp with the rifle … and managed to win with a score of 239-21!” (The match was shot at 300/500/600/1000/1100 with English scoring of 5 points for center bullseye).
Do-It-Yourself F-Open Rig from England
Steve, who hails from Essex in the UK, constructed virtually every component of his skeleton-style rifle except the 28″ HV Bartlein barrel (chambered as a 6mm Dasher) and the Tikka 590 donor action. Steve also did all the design and fabrication work on his one-of-a-kind front rest. Steve tells us: “Over the last year or so, I made this rifle stock and rest. I managed to make it all on a little Myford Lathe, as you can tell I’m no machinist but it saved me a load of money — so far I’ve got about $200 invested plus the barrelled action. The stock is aluminum except for the stainless steel bag runner. The rifle came in at one ounce under weight limit for F-Class Open division.” Steve did get help with the chambering and barrel-fitting, but he hopes to do all the barrel work himself on his next project.
The gun is very accurate. Steve notes: “I have shot the rifle to 1100 yards and it shoots well. Last time out the rifle dropped just one point at 1000 yards and 5 points at 1100 yards [English scoring system]. I know it’s not pretty, but it got me shooting long range F-Class for peanuts.” Message to Steve: Don’t worry how it looks. As another Forum member observed: “Any rifle that shoots well at 1100 yards is beautiful….”
Steve started with a Tikka 590 action: “The whole stock was made on a small (6.5×13) lathe and a vertical slide. This caused a few head scratching moments, figuring out how to hold the T6/HE30 alloy for the milling/turning operations, but it did teach me a few things. The hardest parts were clamping the longer sections (such as the fore-end) and keeping it all square. Due to the short cross-slide travel I had to keep re-setting the parts. I managed to keep all measurements to 0.001″ (one thousandth). I’m most proud of the trigger guard (photo below). This took a full day but came out really well, even if I say so myself.”
Belt-Driven Front Rest
We’re impressed with Steve’s ingenious front rest. Steve explains: “The rest is belt-driven and still in the experimental stage — hence no powder coating or polishing yet. I may have gone over the top as the key moving parts (the pulleys) run on three (3) types of bearings: radial; reamed bush; and a ball race. The main post runs on a radial bearing and the feet even have bearings in them, so when I raise the main body up (for rough height adjustment) the foot stays static.”
Will Steve build another rifle? Steve says he will, and he’s upgraded his tools: “Since building the rifle I have acquired a bigger lathe (Harrison m250) and a milling machine. For the next project I hope to be able to do the barrel work (threading, chambering, crowning) as well.” The next gun might be another Dasher. Steve explains: “After extensive reading on AccurateShooter.com, I chose the 6mm Dasher chambering, as I have a shoulder problem and can’t shoot a rifle with a lot of recoil.”
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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. Cabela’s — Rem 700 ADL Varmint, $309.99 with 10% Off Coupon and Remington $50.00 Rebate
OK, here’s the deal of the year for hunters. You can get a complete Remington 700 ADL Varmint Rifle in 22-250 or .308 Win for $309.99. That’s less than you might pay for a used Rem 700 action by itself. Here’s how it works. The current Cabela’s Sale Price is $399.99. Use online discount code STOCKUP16 to knock 10% off the price. That brings it down to $359.99. OK, there’s more — now through September 30, 2016, Remington is offering a $50 Mail-in Rebate on Rem 700 ADLs. When you get the $50.00 back from Remington, your net cost for this rifle is $309.99. CLICK HERE for Remington Rebate INFO.
IMPORTANT: Remington $50.00 Rebate valid on purchases made from 8/1/16 through 9/30/16. All Rebate requests must be postmarked by 10/29/16.
2. Midsouth — Alamosa Gun Case for 50″ Scoped Rifle
We’ve been looking for a jumbo, well-padded soft case like this for a long time. Something big enough to hold long-barreled match guns, with enough padding to protect nice finishes and enough room for tall scopes. We are impressed with the new Alamosa Gun Case from Allen Company, which holds guns up to 50″ in length. We measured a 28″-barreled bench gun and this case was just big enough. If you have an adjustable buttplate, muzzle brake, or tuner, you might need a longer case (measure your rifle before ordering the Alamosa case). There’s a lot to like with the Alamosa case. The pockets are large and the shape provides plenty of room for big optics. You can purchase this case from Midsouth for $43.05, or from Amazon.com for $48.46 with free PRIME shipping.
— Extra-wide design to accommodate bi-pods and large scopes
— Multiple External Pockets
— Rugged Endura fabric with soft-knit lining
— Lockable zippers, padded handle
3. Cabela’s — 10% Off Guns & Ammo + Free Shipping ($99 Min)
Cabela’s is having a big Sale on Firearms now, in advance of hunting season. You’ll find very competitive prices on rimfire and centerfire rifles. To make things even better, with a $99 minimum order you can get 10% Off plus FREE shipping with CODE STOCKUP16. This promo applies to ammunition as well (minimum order $99.00). If you need rifle, pistol, or shotgun ammo, the FREE Shipping offer can save you quite a lot. NOTE: This offer expires 10/2/16 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT), so place your orders soon.
4. CDNN Sports — HK 416 .22LR Rimfire Rifle, $379.99
If you are looking for an AR-type .22 LR rifle for cross-training and rimfire tactical matches, the HK 416 is a fine choice. Made by Walther under license, these HK 416 D145RS rimfire rifles are accurate and reliable. This is a good deal at $379.99! The HK 416 normally sells for $550.00 to $600.00. One purchaser writes: “Great .22. I have had this gun a couple of months and have put about 500 rounds of 5 different brands of ammo through it. Not one FTE. I have shot other brands that can’t get through one 30-round mag without a failure.” CLICK HERE for Product Details.
Need quality .22 LR rimfire ammo at an affordable price? Consider Norma. Most folks think Norma only produces centerfire ammo and cartridge brass. As a result, people haven’t been looking for Norma rimfire ammo. Their loss is your gain. Accurate, reliable Norma .22 LR ammunition is in-stock right now at leading online vendors. This is good quality ammo, made in Europe. Bullets.com has Norma Tac-22 ammo in stock at $5.25 per 50-rd box (SKU: BL7819). In addition, Bullets.com offers Norma Match-22 ammunition at $7.50 per 50-rd box (SKU: BL11887).
6. Amazon — RAVPower 22000 mAh Battery Bank, $39.99
This is one of the most powerful, fast-charging USB-type power banks you can buy. Rated at 22000 mAh, it has 50% more “juice” than many units selling for around $35.00. This RAV Power machine charges up quickly and boasts three “intelligent” ports for optimal charging of smartphones, iPads, tablets, and other devices. After looking at a number of competitive battery banks, your Editor bought this RAVPower 22000 mAh unit to charge his own phone and iPad. It can deliver a total current output of 5.8A (2.4A max per port), allowing it to charge two iPads and one iPhone 6s at optimal charging speeds. This unit can also power a LabRadar Chronograph for a full weekend of shooting (6-7 hours per day).
Here is a very good deal on a decent 55-inch-high Stack-On Safe that offers a lot of capacity for the money. The claimed capacity is 24 long guns, that might work for smaller, unscoped rifles or shotguns. For scoped rifles, you might fit a dozen comfortably. There are convertible shelves that can hold handguns, optics, or other valuables. This safe will be delivered to your location — it is not available for in-store pick-up. Shipping surcharge applies. External Safe Dimensions are 55.00″ High x 29.25″ Wide x 20.25″ Deep. Shipping weight is 436 pounds.
For pure plinking fun, it’s hard to beat rimfire shooting at reactive targets. We’ve used this inexpensive Rimfire Spinner target, and it has proven easy to set up and durable. We like the fact that there are three target diameters (3 5/8″, 2 1/4″, 1 5/8″) — that let’s new shooters get their confidence. You can set this spinner target close for pistols or at 50 yards with .22 LR rifles. This Birchwood Casey Target is also offered by Amazon.com for $19.99 with FREE Prime Shipping.
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Sightron 10X-50x60mm Riflescope Field Test Review by James Mock
Mr. Allen Orr of Sightron was kind enough to loan me one of their fine SIII riflescopes for testing. Since I shoot 600-yard score matches more than anything else, I requested the 10-50x60mm model with MOA-2 reticle. This is a premium scope in every way and it may be the very best buy for a long range scope today. Real world price for this scope is around $950-$1000 ($977.61 on Amazon.com). This represents a good value considering the scope’s build quality and features: 50X max magnification, 1/4-MOA adjustments with 10 MOA per revolution, ExactTrack windage and elevation system, Zack-7 lens coating, 60mm objective lens, target knobs with zero stop, and lifetime warranty. The MOA-2 reticle’s hash marks span 2 MOA at 24X and 1 MOA at 48X. Eye Relief is ample: 4.5″ at 10X and 3.8″ at 50X. Field of view at 100 yards is 9.6′ at 10X, 2.2′ at 50X.
NOTE: Sightron also offers this scope with 1/8-MOA clicks with a Fine Cross-Hair Reticle, Target Dot Reticle, and Mil-Dot Reticle. There are also multiple Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm models with illuminated reticles.
Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm Shows Excellent Repeatability
After receiving the scope, I mounted it on my BAT 6mm Dasher and did my “standard tests”. I shot the “square” and the adjustments were spot on and the repeatability was faultless. I also shot a group at two powers (24X and 50X) and the point of impact was the same.
In our August 600-yard match, I used the scope and was favorably impressed. I did not have the opportunity to shoot 600 yards prior to the match but I do have a 100-meter range at my house. From past experience, after zeroing my Dasher at 100 I simply dial up 11 MOA to shoot at 600 yards. The weather in Louisiana has been something that I have never seen before and the August 20th match was moved to August 27th, but there was still standing water in front of the targets. Also, the fog was so heavy that the start of the match was delayed for 45 minutes.
Sightron Nails a 50 Score on First-ever Match Target
When the match started, the Sightron with 11 MOA dialed in was perfect for elevation and a little right. After a couple of clicks I was ready to shoot. My first target was a pleasant surprise — scoring a 50-1X. I was very impressed with this scope and I shot it at 48X all day in the heavy mirage. I ended up finishing third, two points behind the winner.
With its 60mm objective lens, this is a large scope. It is 16.9″ long and weighs 30.1 ounces. If you can tolerate that weight in the discipline you shoot this scope represents a great value for the long-range shooter. I am favorably impressed with it. For you varmint shooters, this scope with its wide range of power would make a superb addition to you favorite prairie dog rig. Do note, as we explained above, there are other versions of this scope with 1/8-MOA clicks if that is your preference. Good shooting — James Mock
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Here’s a simple solution for lumpy front sandbags. Cut a small block the width of your fore-end and place that in the front bag between matches. You can tap it down firmly with a rubber mallet. This will keep the front bag nice and square, without bunching up in the center. That will help your rifle track straight and true. Rick Beginski uses wood (see photo), while our friend John Southwick uses a small block of metal. The metal block might work a little better, but the wood version is easier to make with simple tools. John Loh of JJ Industries offers a slick Delrin block with a built-in bubble level. Loh’s block helps ensure that the actual top surface of your front bag is level, as distinct from the front rest assembly.
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Why You CANNOT Rely on the MV Printed on the Ammo Box!
When figuring out your come-ups with a ballistics solver or drop chart it’s “mission critical” to have an accurate muzzle velocity (MV). When shooting factory ammo, it’s tempting to use the manufacturer-provided MV which may be printed on the package. That’s not such a great idea says Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics. Don’t rely on the MV on the box, Bryan advises — you should take out your chrono and run your own velocity tests. There are a number of reasons why the MV values on ammo packaging may be inaccurate. Below is a discussion of factory ammo MV from the Applied Ballistics Facebook Page.
Five Reasons You Cannot Trust the Velocity on a Box of Ammo:
1. You have no idea about the rifle used for the MV test.
2. You have no idea what atmospheric conditions were during testing, and yes it matters a lot.
3. You have no idea of the SD for the factory ammo, and how the manufacturer derived the MV from that SD. (Marketing plays a role here).
4. You have no idea of the precision and quality of chronograph(s) used for velocity testing.
5. You have no idea if the manufacturer used the raw velocity, or back-calculated the MV. The BC used to back track that data is also unknown.
1. The factory test rifle and your rifle are not the same. Aside from having a different chamber, and possibly barrel length some other things are important too like the barrel twist rate, and how much wear was in the barrel. Was it just recently cleaned, has it ever been cleaned? You simply don’t know anything about the rifle used in testing.
2. Temperature and Humidity conditions may be quite different (than during testing). Temperature has a physical effect on powder, which changes how it burns. Couple this with the fact that different powders can vary in temp-stability quite a bit. You just don’t know what the conditions at the time of testing were. Also a lot of factory ammunition is loaded with powder that is meter friendly. Meter friendly can often times be ball powder, which is less temperature stable than stick powder often times.
3. The ammo’s Standard Deviation (SD) is unknown. You will often notice that while MV is often listed on ammo packages, Standard Deviation (normally) is not. It is not uncommon for factory ammunition to have an SD of 18 or higher. Sometimes as high as 40+. As such is the nature of metering powder. With marketing in mind, did they pick the high, low, or average end of the SD? We really don’t know. You won’t either until you test it for yourself. For hand-loaded ammo, to be considered around 10 fps or less. Having a high SD is often the nature of metered powder and factory loads. The image below is from Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting: Volume II.
4. You don’t know how MV was measured. What chronograph system did the manufacturer use, and how did they back track to a muzzle velocity? A chronograph does not measure true velocity at the muzzle; it simply measures velocity at the location it is sitting. So you need to back-calculate the distance from the chrono to the end of the barrel. This calculation requires a semi-accurate BC. So whose BC was used to back track to the muzzle or did the manufacturer even do that? Did they simply print the numbers displayed by the chronograph? What kind of chronograph setup did they use? We know from our Lab Testing that not all chronographs are created equal. Without knowing what chronograph was used, you have no idea the quality of the measurement. See: Applied Ballistics Chronograph Chapter Excerpt.
5. The MV data may not be current. Does the manufacturer update that data for every lot? Or is it the same data from years ago? Some manufacturers rarely if ever re-test and update information. Some update it every lot (ABM Ammo is actually tested every single lot for 1% consistency). Without knowing this information, you could be using data for years ago.
CONCLUSION: Never use the printed MV off a box of ammo as anything more than a starting point, there are too many factors to account for. You must always either test for the MV with a chronograph, or use carefully obtained, live fire data. When you are using a Ballistic Solver such as the AB Apps or Devices integrated with AB, you need to know the MV to an accuracy down to 5 fps. The more reliable the MV number, the better your ballistics solutions.
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Do you know which one of your eyes is dominant? It’s easy to determine eye dominance with a simple exercise. Pick an object about 6-10 feet away (a light switch or door knob works well). Make an “OK” sign with your right hand (see photo) and hold that about 18″ from your face. Now, with both eyes open, look through the circle formed by your thumb and index finger. Center the circle on the object, so you can see the object in the middle.
Now, here’s the important part — while still holding your hand up, centered on the object, first close your right eye. If you don’t see the object anymore, then your right eye is dominant. If you still see the object, then repeat the procedure with the left eye shut and right eye open. If you don’t see the object when your left eye (only) is closed, then you are left-eye dominant.
The digital archives of Shooting Sports USA contain many interesting articles. A while back, Shooting Sports USA featured a “must-read” expert Symposium on Eye Dominance, as it affects both rifle and pistol shooting. No matter whether you have normal dominance (i.e. your dominant eye is on the same side as your dominant hand), or if you have cross-dominance, you’ll benefit by reading this excellent article. The physiology and science of eye dominance is explained by Dr. Norman Wong, a noted optometrist. In addition, expert advice is provided by champion shooters such as David Tubb, Lones Wigger, Dennis DeMille, Julie Golob, Jessie Harrison, and Phil Hemphill.
Top Rifle Champions Talk About Eye Dominance:
David Tubb — 11-Time National High Power Champion
I keep both eyes open, always. Some use an opaque blinder in rifle or shotgun shooting. If you close your non-dominant eye, you will not get as good a sight picture. If your aiming eye is not your dominant eye, you have even more of a problem to overcome.
Lones Wigger — World, National and Olympic Champion Rifleman
Shooters should try to use the dominant eye unless the vision is impaired and the non-dominant eye has better vision. You should always shoot with both eyes open since this will allow the shooting eye to function properly.
Dennis DeMille — National Service Rifle Champion
I close my non-shooting eye initially. Once I pick up my sight picture, it’s not something I focus on. For those that use a patch, I recommend that they use something white to block their view, rather than cover the eye.
Bruce Piatt — 2015 World Shooting Championship Winner
Some shooters, especially those with nearly equal or cross-dominance, will naturally find themselves squinting one eye. When anyone does this, you are also closing your dominant eye to some extent and adding stress to your face.
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Here’s a very cool 3D Animation showing pistol rounds being fired. Computer-generated graphics provide a look inside the cartridge at the moment of ignition as the primer fires and the flame front moves through the ignited powder. It’s really kind of mesmerizing. If you’ve every wondered just what happens inside your cartridges the moment that firing pin strikes, then watch this video…
Watch Video to See Handgun Ammo Being Chambered and Fired:
This animated video from German ammo-maker GECO (part of the Swiss RUAG group of companies) reveals the inside of a pistol cartridge, showing jacket, lead core, case, powder and primer. Employing advanced 3D rendering and computer graphics, the video shows an X-ray view of ammo being loaded in a handgun, feeding from a magazine.
Then it really gets interesting. At 1:32 – 1:50 you’ll see the firing pin strike the primer cup, the primer’s hot jet streaming through the flash-hole, and the powder igniting. Finally you can see the bullet as it moves down the barrel and spins its way to a target. This is a very nicely-produced video. If you’ve ever wondered what happens inside a cartridge when you pull the trigger, this video shows all. They say “a picture’s worth a thousand words”… well a 3D video is even better.
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On our main Accurateshooter.com website, you’ll find a comprehensive review of the STM system for cleaning cartridge brass with stainless media. To clean brass with stainless media, start with five pounds of small stainless pins sold by StainlessTumblingMedia.com. Place these along with a gallon of water, a little liquid cleaner, and two pounds of cartridge brass in a rotary tumbler, and run the machine for one to four hours.
Forum Member Tests STM System
Our reviewer, Forum member Jason Koplin, purchased the STM media and a new Thumler’s Tumbler. He then tested the STM cleaning procedure on his own brass, including some extremely dirty and tarnished “range pick-up” brass. Jason was thoroughly impressed with how well the STM process worked — as you can see from the “before and after” photos below. Brass which looked like it was ready for the scrap heap was restored to “like-new” appearance. The process works equally well on both rifle brass and pistol brass. Jason observed that one surprise benefit of the STM cleaning procedure is a big reduction in noise. Jason said the water-filled rotary tumbler was much quieter than his vibratory tumblers.
You’ll want to read Jason’s full review which shows more before and after images. The full article features a “how-to” video created by Forum member Cory Dickerson, the young man who pioneered the stainless tumbling process and founded STM. The video shows how to load brass, media, and cleaner solutions into the tumbler, and how to separate media from brass once the tumbling is done.
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As part of the NRA’s Tips & Tactics video series, Kristy Titus explains how to prepare for a hunt. Titus, co-host of the Team Elk TV show, is a certified instructor has hunted around the globe. She grew up in the outdoors, running pack mules in Oregon with her father. In this video, Kristy discusses fitness training and demonstrates field positions that can be employed during a hunt.
Kristy explains: “Hunting can lead you into some steep, rough country. It’s really important that you train both your body and your mind to handle the elements and the rigors of hunting. With no two hunting situations being the same, we must train to be adaptable and make the most of every opportunity. The most important aspect of hunting success, ultimately, is the person behind the rifle. So, if you plan on going on a mountain hunt, get out and train your body. Train with your firearm. Get off the bench and have some fun with this. Do some positional shooting or, if you want to add a stress dynamic… have someone put you under a time parameter.”
Many of our readers have never had a chance to shoot much past 600 yards. How far away does a 1000-yard+ target really seem to the naked eye? Well this short video answers that question. Gorilla Ammo, the video’s producers, used a camera-carrying aerial drone to fly downrange from the firing line all the way out to 1122 yards (and back again). Watch the drone footage at 0:00-0:07 and especially 0:48-1:03. The “bird’s-eye view” really gives you a sense of the distance. The “fly-back” at 0:48-1:03 time-mark is what makes this video worth watching.
The video features prone shooting at steel targets placed at 750 and 1122 yards. We do apologize for the lame, “oh so serious” voice-over which attempts to make this rather ordinary range session seem like some kind of life-changing experience. (Frankly, you may just want to turn the sound off — it’s that annoying.) It’s really not that big a deal to hit steel at 750 yards with a quality AR-15, chambered in .223 Rem, shooting Sierra 77 grain MatchKings.
Hitting Steel at 1122 Yards with 2540 FPS Ammo Can Be Challenging
The 1122-yard hits are a bit more impressive. Gorilla Ammo lists a relatively sedate 2540 fps Muzzle Velocity for its .223 Rem 77gr SMK ammunition. According to JBM Ballistics, at 1125 yards, that 2540 fps load has 68.3 MOA of drop from a 100-yard zero (firing at sea level and 80° F ambient). Morever the bullet goes trans-sonic around 750 yards (losing stability) and is traveling just 933 fps at impact. And the wind’s the killer — at 1125 yards, with this bullet/load, a mere 2 mph, full-value wind change can move the Point of Impact over three feet!
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There’s a new long-range precision tactical rifle from Ritter & Stark (R&S) of Austria. The new SX-1 Modular Tactical Rifle (MTR) is designed to allow rapid barrel changes for three chamberings: .308 Winchester, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum.
Notably, the scope rail is mounted on the barrel itself, and the bolt locks directly into the barrel. This patented system allows scope, rail, and barrel to be swapped out as one integrated assembly, which should definitely help maintain zero when barrels are exchanged.
Ritter & Stark explains: “The MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny rail is installed directly on the barrel, allowing barrel interchangeability with pre-set scopes for no shift of impact when changing calibers. Easily and quickly done in the field, the patented caliber conversion system allows the barrel to be precisely positioned in the machined aluminum receiver with a greater area of contact allowing for more stability. The bolt is locked directly into the barrel breech[.]”
Video Shows Barrel Swap System, and Bolt Locking in Barrel Breech:
CNC-Controlled Rifling Process
Ritter & Stark states: “The rifling is processed in a CNC-controlled electrochemical machine. This avoids the transmission of thermal effects and mechanical stress to the material. Furthermore, this process allows us to produce barrels with unique uniformity and within tolerance zones that were not possible in a serial production before.” This is very interesting technology, and we’d like to learn more about it.
Accuracy Guarantee and Barrel Life Guarantee
Apparently the CNC-controlled rifling process works well as Ritter & Stark guarantees that its barrels maintain accuracy for a long time. The Austrian company states: “Our barrels are guaranteed to at least 5,000 rounds for .308 Win and .338 LM, and 2,000 rounds for .300 WM before noticing any degradation in accuracy.” That kind of claim certainly invites a long-term test. Who’s got enough ammo? Ritter & Stark also claims that “every rifle we manufacture can achieve 0.5 MOA 3-round groups or better with factory match-grade ammunition.”
The Ritter & Stark SX-1 MTR is designed for adaptability. It will accept third-party Rem 700-compatible triggers as well as a variety of AR-type grips. In addition, the SX-1, in standard configuration, will accept other manufacturers’ AI, SR25, or AR10 magazines. The rifle can also accept other buttstock assemblies compatible with Ritter & Stark’s folding mechanism which, interestingly, can be set to fold to either side.
Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Vihtavuori’s Rifle Reloading Database is now very comprehensive. Many of the popular modern match cartridges such as the 6.5×47 Lapua and 6.5 Creedmoor are now included, and of course you’ll find the 6mm PPC, 6mmBR, and 6XC. (There is no .284 Win or 7mm RSAUM data unfortunately.) You will find recommended load recipes for all the following cartridges:
.221 Remington Fireball
.240 Weatherby Magnum
6.5 x 47 Lapua
6,5 x 55 Swedish Mauser
6,5 x 55 Swedish Mauser/ SKAN
.270 Weatherby Magnum
7 mm-08 Remington
7 x 57
7 x 64
7 mm Remington Magnum
7 mm WSM
7 mm RUM
7 x 57R
7 mm Weatherby Magnum
7,5 x 55 Swiss GP31
.300 AAC Blackout
7,62 x 39
7,62 x 53R (7,62 Russian)
.300 Lapua Magnum
.300 Remington Ultra Magnum
.300 Winchester Magnum
.300 Weatherby Magnum
.30-.378 Weatherby Magnum
.300 H&H Magnum
8 x 57 IRS
8 x 57 IS (8 mm Mauser)
.338 Winchester Magnum
.338 Lapua Magnum
9,3 x 62
9,3 x 66 Sako
9,3 x 74R
.375 H&H Magnum
.458 Winchester Magnum
Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks in Pennsylvania is widely considered one of the finest rifle-stock craftsmen in the country, if not the world. Alex’s workmanship and dedication to excellence is top-of-the-line. Alex normally custom-fits each stock to his customer precisely. Many hours are dedicated to stock prep and inletting, and his bedding jobs are flawless. Each stock is exactingly hand-crafted with great attention to detail, and then the stock is “dressed” in the customer’s choice of finishes.
Doing all that takes time — a lot of time. That’s why Master Class Stocks has a long waiting list, and it can take months before a big job is completed. But when Alex is involved, you can count on the final product being a work of stock-making art. Here’s an example. Alex recently stocked an F-Class rifle using eye-popping, exhibition-grade Bastogne walnut. The wood was sourced from Cecil Fredi of GunstockBlanks.com. Alex says: “Cecil’s wood is some of the best I’ve ever used. This blank cost over $1000.00, but it was truly spectacular.” Since the blank was less than 3″ wide, Alex (with assistance from 8-time NRA High Power Champion Carl Bernosky) laminated on the 3″-wide forearm “wings” using spare wood left after the blank was cut. See how Alex and Carl carefully matched the grain of the wood on the forearm. And note how perfectly the adjustable cheek-piece is fitted. If you want a stock like this on your next rifle, contact Alex Sitman at Master Class Stocks, (814) 742-7868.
The Bastogne Beauty — More Construction Details
Eric Kennard tells us: “This rifle was built for Mike Dana in Florida. Kelbly’s did the metal work. [The action is a Stolle Panda F-Class.] Barrel by Brux. Chambering? 6mmBR of course! Mike added a March 10 x 60 scope. Let me tell you this is beyond a work of art! The fit is absolutely perfect! There is not one flaw in the wood-work. The pillar bedding is also perfect! Did you notice the ebony inserts? Or Alex’s custom trigger guard? Alex out did-himself this time. Most of us would not dare to shoot [this gun]!”
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This summer, our friend Dennis Santiago made his first-ever pilgrimage to Camp Perry, Ohio to compete in the National Matches. He recounts his experience in a fascinating, informative, and often humorous story on his Dennis Talks Guns Blog. When you have a few moments to spare, you should definitely read Santiago’s account of his First Time at Camp Perry. This is much, much more than a match report. Dennis gives insights into the human side of the experience — and the little things that make Camp Perry so special. CLICK HERE to Read Full Camp Perry Story.
Dennis competed in a number of events during his two-week stay. Shooting “classic” service rifle and his new scoped, “modern AR” service rifle Dennis competed solo (in Presidents 100 and NTI matches among others) and also as a member of the California Adult Team in the 4-man NTT match.
Santiago’s First Time at Camp Perry report is a “must-read” for anyone contemplating a Camp Perry visit. Here are some highlights — but honestly folks, do read the entire story — it’s well worth it.
First Time at Camp Perry, by Dennis Santiago
Perry Ain’t Like Home
Iron Sights and “Perry-Vision”
This range is kicking me hard. I tell people about how hard I was pushing my eye into my aperture. They smile that “welcome to Camp Perry” smile again. They ask what sights I’m shooting on my A2 and I tell them I’ve got an 0.050″ front and 0.038″ rear to maximize depth of field. They smile more broadly and tell me my problem is that I’m from the Western provinces where the sun is bright and the ground is devoid of flora. Lots of light. It’s green here and we have clouds I’m told. Not nearly the same ambient lighting. You have the wrong sights my son. Where the green grass grows you want a big fat 0.072″ front the size of an aircraft carrier deck and a huge 0.046″ hole in the morning and maybe close it down to an 0.042″ rear aperture later if the sun comes out. But that desert glare sight system of yours will lose you about 5-8 points in these parts. Well there you go. Learn something every day.
Baptism at Camp Perry
One’s first visit to Camp Perry is a series of baptismal rites. I shall now enumerate them…
Walk the Base. Do not drive around. Get used to walking. Walk from your hut to everything. Walk to the administration buildings. Walk to the ranges. Walk to commercial row. Walk to the CMP North Store. Walk to the CMP or Army trailer to have the triggers of your rifles(s) weighed. Walk. This is your primary mode of transportation while on base for the next couple of weeks.
Go Shopping. It’s called Commercial Row. It is the best shopping mall for competitive shooters ever. The sale prices here are Black Friday quality. You stock up on supplies. You can buy elusive powders in quantity with the same lot number. Same with bullets and primers. Everything you need to keep making your pet loads. Oddly, not cases. This is a service rifle tournament. Pretty much everyone is using LC or WCC cases. I stocked up. Then I began politely watching my expected cubic feet and gross weight capacity for the drive home as other people asked if I could take stuff back for them instead of shipping their loot.
Learn about the Perils of Perry. One, evacuate the range. It rains at Camp Perry. Sometimes that rain comes with lightning. When that happens range controls issues an evacuation order. Depending on where you are and how much time you have, you either grab your stuff and make for a sheltered structure or leave your stuff under whatever rain cover you have and leave it there until the storm cell passes. This happened on squadded practice day. There was no squadded practice. There was learning to make a better rain cover for the next two weeks because it’d probably happened again. I was particularly proud of my final design which involved a very large tarp and many bungee cords. Modern art to be sure. I received many compliments.
Peril Two — Cease fire, boat in the impact area. One has not truly been to Camp Perry until your shooting string is put on hold while range control sends someone out to tell an errant yacht or jet ski that it’s not a good idea to go into that area with all the buoys with the signs on them that say, Danger. Live Fire. Keep Out.
I brought two rifles with me to Camp Perry. The first was my iron sights-configured AR-15. Being my very first trip to the Nationals, I wanted to check off a bucket list item to shoot irons at a National Match. The gun has a Geiselle trigger and an upper I assembled from White Oak Armament parts. The barrel is a Krieger that had 3,800 rounds arriving at Perry. The sights are pinned 1/4×1/4s. I run Sierra 77gr SMKs short line and 80gr SMKs seated .015″ off the lands Long Line with it.
The other rifle I brought was for NRA week. It’s a 2016 Rule Service Rifle, Optic. It has a collapsible UBR stock and a Geiselle Mk VII quad rail. The barrel is an older DPMS .223 that was cryo-treated back in the day. Round count on arrival at Nationals was around 1,800. Same ammunition combination [as the iron sights rifle]. The chamber on this barrel has a shorter throat so I brought a Lee Hand Press with an RCBS competition seater die to set the 80gr SMKs back to proper jump for NRA week. The sighting system for this gun was one of the very new Nightforce 4.5X Competition SR’s with the CMP R223 reticle. Parallax is set to 200 yards. It’s mounted using Nightforce’s superbly engineered AR-15 service rifle Unimount.
Members of the State of California Teams at Camp Perry. Dennis is front row left.
Coaching — When It All Comes Together, at Last
I coached one of the California teams in the NTIT Rattle Battle match. This was the day I finally began to be comfortable at Camp Perry. Walking up and down the field, first as a verifier and then as a coach, I felt back in the game. At team matches you get to confer with your teammates comparing wind calls and observing the effects of their calls as the shooting members of their squads send rounds downrange. You watch the traces of bullets arcing in the air going left or right of the bull’s center depending whether or not the call was right. This process was cathartic. I began to remember that I really can read a range once I get the hang of it.
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Here is a great deal on a great little rifle. Right now at Cabela’s you can get the Howa 1500 Mini-Action in .223 Rem for just $314.99 with Coupon Code 16STALKUP. The rifle (with black synthetic stock) is already on sale, marked down to $349.99. That discount code gives you another 10% off. That’s a bargain — other vendors are charging $515.00 or more for this rifle. We actually “walked through” the online ordering process ourselves to confirm that the discount code works (see below). Note, you order online, but the rifles must be picked up in a Cabela’s store.
The Howa 1500 Mini Action is nearly an inch shorter than a Rem 700 short action, making for a nice, compact carry-around varminter (OAL length is just 41.5″). Your Editor checked out the Howa Mini Action Rifle at SHOT Show. The bolt opens and closes VERY smoothly (way better than most mass-produced bolt guns). The two-stage HACT trigger is excellent — it’s plenty light, with a crisp release and no annoying spring-loaded blade in the middle. I like it MUCH better than standard Remington, Ruger, or Savage triggers.
The standard Howa Mini Action rifle weighs 6 pounds without scope. This particular model comes with a 22″ barrel, black synthetic stock, and 10-round detachable box magazine. The Howa Mini on sale at Cabelas.com is a .223 Remington, but other chamberings are available at a higher price if you shop around. Howa offers Mini Action rifles in .204 Ruger, .222 Rem, .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, and 7.62x39mm.
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“[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.
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The 2016 NRA World Shooting Championship (WSC) takes place September 15th through 17th, 2016 at the Peacemaker National Training Center in Glengary, West Virginia. The richest multi-gun event in North America, boasting $250,000 in cash and prizes, the WSC attracts the world’s best multi-gun shooters. This unique 3-day multi-gun match tests competitors’ skills across twelve stages sampling nearly every major shooting discipline (rifle, shotgun, and pistol). To be honest, the WSC is mostly a “run and gun” speed game, but competitors still must engage small targets at long range, so genuine marksmanship skills are required.
This year there will be three divisions: Open Professional, Stock Professional, and Amateur. Stock Professionals and Amateurs will use provided guns and ammo. But a 2016 WSC Rule change allows Open Pro competitors to bring their own firearms and ammunition for the match. Allowing the top Pros to shoot their own, optimized match guns should produce faster times and higher scores (plus fewer complaints about off-the-shelf guns that aren’t zeroed or don’t run right).
How to Win the World Shooting Championship
As first published in the NRA Blog, here are competition tips from reigning overall NRA World Shooting Champion Bruce Piatt, and Dianna Muller, the top female competitor at the 2016 WSC:
“The format at the NRA World Shooting Championship is unique in that you don’t know what you have to shoot until you show up, so training for the event is a little difficult. My advice is to pack some good eye and ear protection, bring an open mind, be prepared to listen to the stage descriptions, figure out the best way you can take the guns they provide, and post the best score you can. When the match supplies all the guns and ammo, all you have to do is deal with ‘the performance’. This is the most level playing field in the shooting sports — anyone from around the world can come and play.” — Bruce Piatt
“The NRA World Shooting Championship match is such a different breed — it’s really a difficult match for which to prepare! Over the past two years, I’ve learned to relax. I focus on relaxing in my own sport, because when you focus on the expectations over the procedure, it usually never works out in the shooter’s favor. The same goes for this match. You are tackling disciplines outside your expertise and using guns you aren’t familiar with, and that can really rattle your nerves if you don’t prepare for that mental challenge. But you can use this match design to your advantage. Remove all expectations, because, who is great at ALL the disciplines (besides Jerry Miculek)?! Give yourself some room to be ‘not so great’, focus on the fundamentals and try to enjoy the match. It is kind of liberating throwing everything to the wind and seeing how you stack up against all kinds of shooters! Coming from such a gear intensive sport as 3-Gun, I really enjoy walking up to 12 different stages and shooting guns and ammo that are provided. Although there may be issues with that format, it’s a great way to level the playing field, get down to brass tacks and see who is the most well rounded world champion shooter!” — Dianna Muller
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Even with high-quality brass from Lapua, Norma, and RWS, occasionally you may find one or two cases per box which have a small flake or obstruction in the flash-hole. This will appear like a thin crescent on one side of the flash hole (see photo). You should inspect ALL new brass before loading to identify any pieces with a partially-obstructed flash hole. It’s a good idea to remove any flake or thin crescent left as an artifact of the flash-hole forming process. Because the flash-hole itself is normally centered and of the correct diameter, it is not necessary to ream the flash-hole to a larger diameter. All you really need to do is remove the small obstruction(s). This can be done quickly with inexpensive tools.
Use a Small Pin Vise to Remove Flash-Hole Obstructions
Folks have asked if there is a tool that can remove obstructions from a Lapua small, BR-sized flash hole without opening the hole size. The Lapua PPC/BR flash hole is spec’d at 1.5mm, which works out to 0.059055″. Most of the PPC/BR flash-hole uniforming tools on the market use a 1/16″ bit which is nominally 0.0625″, but these often run oversize — up to 0.066″.
If you want to just clear out any obstructions in the flash hole, without increasing the flash hole diameter, you can use an inexpensive “pin vise” with an appropriate drill bit. For $1.00, eHobbyTools.com sells a 1.5mm drill bit, item 79186, that matches the Lapua flash hole exactly. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise drill bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). An 0.0595″ bit is close enough. You can find pin vises and these small-diameter drill bits at hobby stores.
For quite some time, Sinclair Int’l has sold a similar device for small (PPC and BR-size) flash holes. Like the 07-3081 unit for large flash holes, the 073000 Reamer for small flash holes works from the outside, so it can index off the primer pocket. It reams to .0625″, and also costs $39.99. The standard dimension for Lapua 220 Russian and 6mmBR flash holes is 1.5mm or .0590″. This tool will permit standard-size decapping rods with .0625″ tips to work without binding. However, note that both Forster and Redding normally supply .057″ decapping pins with their PPC and BR dies. So, it is NOT necessary to ream your Lapua BR/PPC flashholes, unless you prefer to do so for uniformity. It IS, however, a good idea to check BR/PPC flash holes for burrs before loading the first time.
NOTE: If you purchase either the 073081 or 073000 Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer tools, we recommend you mic the cutter tip before you process a bunch of cases. Sometimes a tip comes through that is oversize. This will ream the flash holes larger than you may intend.
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