We like AR-style .22LR rigs for Rimfire Tactical Matches and 3-Gun cross-training. With an AR-style rimfire rifle you can train with low-cost ammunition while enjoying the same ergonomics, controls, and sighting systems found on your centerfire ARs.
Smith & Wesson has upgraded its M&P 15-22, a fun rifle that we’ve praised in the past. The new M&P 15-22 Sport MOE SL model (Magpul Original Equipment Slim Line) features a more comfortable handguard, an improved grip, and an adjustable Magpul buttstock. The dedicated .22 LR M&P rifle retains the look and features of the company’s popular M&P rifle line, with the enhanced ergonomics of Magpul furniture. Click HERE for Spec Sheet.
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. Cabelas.com — Nikon Scope, Rings and Wind Meter, $249.99
Here’s a great deal if you have a hunting rifle chambered in .308 Win or .223 Rem. Right now, for under $250.00, you can get a Nikon scope, a set of cantilevered rings, plus a Wind Meter that plugs into your smart-phone. The $249.99 P-308 Package features a 4-12x40mm Nikon Scope with BDC reticle calibrated for.308 Win. Likewise the $199.99 P-223 Package offers a 3-9x40mm Nikon Scope with BDC reticle calibrated for the .223 Remington. These cantilevered rings work well with AR-platform rifles.
If you are serious about your precision firearms, you need one of these. We use the Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge to test the triggers on all our match and varmint rifles. The unit is precise and repeatable. Once you try one of these you won’t want to go back to crude spring trigger gauges. Amazon.com offers this unit for $51.87 with free shipping for Prime members. Walmart also has it for $51.87 with free shipping or free in-store pickup.
3. Natchez — Dewey Cleaning Rods 36″ or 44″, $19.99
Natchez is running a great special right now on quality Dewey Cleaning Rods. These bearing-equipped rods are very well made and can last for many seasons. This editor has a couple Dewey rods that are still going strong after 12 years. For just $19.99, you can get either a 36″ or 44″ coated Dewey rod. NOTE: Select “.22-.26 cal” from the pull-down menu (the other options are for short pistol rods). It’s hard to beat a quality cleaning rod for under twenty bucks. Credit Boyd Allen for finding this bargain.
This 10-50X Sightron isn’t as good as a Nightforce 15-55X Competition scope, but it is definitely good enough to win long-range benchrest and F-Class matches. At $965.69, the Sightron is nearly $1400 cheaper than the 15-55X Nightforce. It is even $450 cheaper than the old 12-42x56mm NF Benchrest scope. On a value-for-money basis, then, the Sightron 10-50x60mm makes sense for competitors on a budget. The money you save (compared to a 15-55X NF) will pay for a BAT or Kelbly action, with money left over.
5. Cabela’s — Lyman Turbo Sonic 1200, $69.99
Looking for a reliable ultrasonic cleaning unit at a rock-bottom price? Here’s a very good deal — this new Lyman 1200 sells elsewhere for up to $110.00. This machine will hold up to 350 9mm cases, and clean them in 10-15 minutes. The see-through cover lets you view the progress in the 6.5″L x 5.4″W x 2.6″D heated tank. Select four different dwell times with handy touch controls.
6. Southern Shooters — 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire
With ballistics far superior to a .22 LR, the 17 HMR is ideal for Prairie Dogs and small varmints out to 180 yards or so. Now you can get a reliable, name brand 17 HMR rifle for a very attractive price. That’s right, Southern Shooters is selling the 17 HMR Ruger American Rimfire, with 22″ barrel, for just $252.63. FFL required. For other vendors with this rifle, CLICK HERE.
7. Brownells — Ten Magpul 30-Round PMags for $99.99
Need high-capacity magazines for 3-Gun competition or a tactical match? Then check out this great Magpul deal from Brownells.com. Right now you can get TEN (10) high-quality Magpul PMags for $99.99. These GEN M2 MOE PMags are excellent .223/5.56 AR15 magazines that set the industry standard for functionality, reliability, and durability.
8. NRA — Free Duffle Bag with $25.00 NRA Membership
The NRA Convention runs this week in Louisville, KY — so there’s no better time to become an NRA member. Plus, if you join right now you can get a free duffle bag, in either black or camo fabric. In addition, the regular NRA Membership is discounted from $40.00 to $25.00. With your NRA Annual membership you also get your choice of four (4) print magazines: American Rifleman, American Hunter, Shooting Illustrated, or America’s 1st Freedom.
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We know many of our readers aren’t 100% clear on the difference between a secant ogive bullet and a tangent ogive bullet. Add the “blended” or “hybrid” ogive into the design equation and you add to the confusion. In this article, Berger Ballistician Bryan Litz, explains the characteristics of the three popular ogive types: tangent, secant, and hybrid.
In discussions of ballistics, you’ll see references to “tangent” and “secant” bullet shapes. For many readers, these terms can be confusing. To add to the confusion, bullet makers don’t always identify their projectiles as secant or tangent designs. This article provides a basic explanation of tangent and secant designs, to help you understand the characteristics of both bullet shapes.
Tangent vs. Secant vs. Hybrid
Most match bullets produced today use a tangent ogive profile, but the modern VLD-style bullets employ a secant profile. To further complicate matters, the latest generation of “Hybrid” projectiles from Berger Bullets feature a blended secant + tangent profile to combine the best qualities of both nose shapes. The secant section provides reduced drag, while the tangent section makes the bullet easier to tune, i.e. less sensitive to bullet seating depth position.
Berger Bullets ballistician Bryan Litz explains tangent and secant bullet ogive designs in a glossary section of his Applied Ballistics website, which we reprint below. Bryan then explains how tangent and secant profiles can be combined in a “hybrid” design.
How Bullet Ogive Curves are Defined
While the term “ogive” is often used to describe the particular point on the bullet where the curve reaches full bullet diameter, in fact the “ogive” properly refers to the entire curve of the bullet from the tip to the full-diameter straight section — the shank. Understanding then, that the ogive is a curve, how is that curve described?
LITZ: The ogive of a bullet is usually characterized by the length of its radius. This radius is often given in calibers instead of inches. For example, an 8 ogive 6mm bullet has an ogive that is a segment of a circular arc with a radius of 8*.243 = 1.952”. A .30-caliber bullet with an 8 ogive will be proportionally the same as the 8 ogive 6mm bullet, but the actual radius will be 2.464” for the .30 caliber bullet.
For a given nose length, if an ogive is perfectly tangent, it will have a very specific radius. Any radius longer than that will cause the ogive to be secant. Secant ogives can range from very mild (short radius) to very aggressive (long radius). The drag of a secant ogive is minimized when its radius is twice as long as a tangent ogive radius. In other words, if a tangent ogive has an 8 caliber radius, then the longest practical secant ogive radius is 16 calibers long for a given nose length.”
Ogive Metrics and Rt/R Ratio
LITZ: There is a number that’s used to quantify how secant an ogive is. The metric is known as the Rt/R ratio and it’s the ratio of the tangent ogive radius to the actual ogive radius for a given bullet. In the above example, the 16 caliber ogive would have an Rt/R ratio of 0.5. The number 0.5 is therefore the lowest practical value for the Rt/R ratio, and represents the minimum drag ogive for a given length. An ogive that’s perfectly tangent will have an Rt/R ratio of 1.0. Most ogives are in between an Rt/R of 1.0 and 0.5. The dimensioned drawings at the end of my Applied Ballistics book provide the bullets ogive radius in calibers, as well as the Rt/R ratio. In short, the Rt/R ratio is simply a measure of how secant an ogive is. 1.0 is not secant at all, 0.5 is as secant as it gets.
Hybrid Bullet Design — Best of Both Worlds?
Bryan Litz has developed a number of modern “Hybrid” design bullets for Berger. The objective of Bryan’s design work has been to achieve a very low drag design that is also “not finicky”. Normal (non-hybrid) secant designs, such as the Berger 105gr VLD, deliver very impressive BC values, but the bullets can be sensitive to seating depth. Montana’s Tom Mousel has set world records with the Berger 105gr VLD in his 6mm Dasher, but he tells us “seating depth is critical to the best accuracy”. Tom says a mere .003″ seating depth change “makes a difference”. In an effort to produce more forgiving high-BC bullets, Bryan Litz developed the hybrid tangent/secant bullet shape.
Bryan Litz Explains Hybrid Design and Optimal Hybrid Seating Depths
Story sourced by Edlongrange.
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In Tennessee, when you order a take-out pizza, you get a cardboard shooting target at no extra charge. Nashville, Tennessee-based Hunt Brothers Pizza has come up with a clever idea to promote pizza consumption among the hunting and shooting fraternity. They’ve put targets on the boxes — what a cool idea.
Hunt Brothers offers cardboard pizza boxes with five red and black bullseyes printed on the back. Now your used empty pizza boxes can do more than just take up space in the trash can. This is a pretty smart idea we think — it’s a great example of clever “dual-use” packaging. Hopefully pizza parlors in other locations nationwide will follow suit someday….
The 6.5 Guys, a dedicated duo of Pacific NW rifle shooters, have created an interesting series of shooting-related videos on their 6.5 Guys YouTube Channel. In a pair of YouTube videos, The 6.5 Guys set up and demonstrate the Bench-Source cartridge brass annealing machine. The videos offer valuable tips on setting up the machine, attaching and adjusting the torches, and fine tuning the flame and dwell time to achieve best results.
To complement their videos, the 6.5 Guys (aka Ed and Steve) have published an Annealing Tech Talk article on 65guys.com. If you own an annealing machine, or are getting started with cartridge annealing, you should read that article. It covers basic annealing principles, and gives useful tips on temp control, dwell time, and frequency of annealing. After the video, we feature highlights from this article.
We use 750° Tempilaq applied inside the case neck to indicate that the proper temperature has been achieved. If you turn off the lights, you will notice that the brass just barely starts to turn color. As you go beyond the 750° mark we observed that the case mouth will start to flare orange — you can see this with the lights on. From our research, we understand that this is the result of zinc burning off. We adjust the time on our machine between the point that the Tempilaq turns liquid and the flame starts to turn orange. In other words, if the flame is starting to turn orange reduce the time. We let the cases air cool — we don’t quench them in water.
The case starts to flare orange here, during a set-up test. Dwell time was then reduced slightly.
We aim the flame at the neck-shoulder junction. Some folks like to aim it at the neck and others the shoulder. When you see how the two flames meet and spread out vertically, it probably doesn’t make that much of a difference.
Here you can see the flame points aimed at the neck-shoulder junction.
Cases will turn color after annealing, but the degree of color change is not a reliable indicator. We have noticed that the appearance of cases will vary depending on brass manufacturer, brass lot, light source, and how long ago the case was annealed.
How Often Should You Anneal?
Some shooters anneal every time while others choose a specific interval. We noticed work hardening around five firings that resulted in inconsistency in shoulder setback and neck tension, so we choose to anneal every three firings. Your mileage will vary depending on how hot your loads are and how aggressively you resize.
Who are the 6.5 Guys? They are Ed (right) and Steve (left), a pair of avid shooters based in the Pacific Northwest. They have released 22 Videos on the 6.5 Guys YouTube Channel.
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The NRA has released new, updated versions of Competition Rules, with changes that have been adopted for 2016. There are quite a few minor changes affecting rifle competitors in High Power, Service Rifle, Prone AR Platform Rifle, F-Class, and Smallbore Disciplines. There are also new rules for matches with Electronic Targets.
Do you have a concealed carry permit, or do you plan to carry a concealed handgun in the future? Then you can benefit from Beretta’s FREE 15-page e-book, Ten Essential Tips for CCW Holders. This eBook, in handy PDF format, helps gun owners select an appropriate handgun (and holster), understand legal obligations and responsibilities, and train effectively with the firearm. This short eBook offers many useful tips to consider, in particular for gunowners who are contemplating the pros and cons of everyday carry for themselves.
As the Beretta CCW booklet says, “Carrying a concealed handgun requires a certain amount of confidence. You need to be confident in your knowledge of laws and regulations. You have to have confidence in your accuracy, and you need to trust that you can carry a gun effectively, securely and comfortably. If a gun is a burden for you to carry, you probably won’t.”
Surprising Facts About Actual Defensive Handgun Use
You may be surprised to learn when and how handguns are actually used for self-defense. Most defensive uses are at very short range and the incident only lasts a matter of seconds. You need to be prepared, and train to be proficient drawing and aiming your weapon. And remember, shooting is a last resort, when a safe retreat is not available.
55% of gunfights take place in 0-5 feet.
20% of gunfights take place in 5-10 feet.
20% of gunfights take place in 10-21 feet.
95% of gunfights take place in 0-21 feet. (Source: FBI)
The average man can cover 21 feet of ground in 1.5 seconds.
The average gunfight is over in 3-5 seconds.
3 to 4 shots are usually fired.
Most gunfights take place in low-light conditions.
On average, one shot in four strikes someone.
Here are two (2) sample pages from Beretta’s CCW eBook.
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Shiny brass — it may not shoot more accurately, but it does make you feel better about your hand-loaded ammo. While it’s not necessary to get brass “bright and shiny” after every firing, it is a good idea to clean powder residue, grime, and grit off your brass before you run cases into sizing dies. There are many ways to clean cartridge cases. A quick wipe with solvent on a patch may suffice for recently-shot cases. Older brass with baked-on carbon may require lengthy tumbling. Ultrasonic cleaning is another popular option that gets your brass clean inside and out.
Sinclair International has a series of helpful videos on brass cleaning. These short “how-to” videos, hosted by Bill Gravatt, Sinclair’s past President, cover the various processes you can use — tumbling, ultrasonic cleaning, chemical cleaning, and cleaning by hand.
Video ONE — Cleaning Brass in Vibratory or Rotary Tumbler
TIP: Brass that has recently been shot will clean more easily than brass that has been sitting many days or weeks. If your tumbling media is fresh the job should be done in an hour or less. It’s your choice whether to tumble with primers removed or with primers still in the cases. If you choose to tumble with primers out, we suggest you deprime with a depriming die, rather that put dirty brass into your sizing die. Some people like to add a teaspoon of liquid polish to the media. This does work, cutting tumble time, and making your brass more shiny. However, if you add liquid polish, do that BEFORE you add the brass and let the tumbler run for a 15 minutes to get the polish completely mixed into the media. Otherwise you can else up with gooey gunk inside your cases — a very bad thing.
Video TWO — Ulstrasonic Case Cleaning
TIP: There are many different types of solutions you can use. Soapy water suffices for some folks, particularly if you add a little Lemi-Shine. The Hornady and Lyman solutions work well, and can be used multiple times, provided you strain the solution to remove dirt and grit after cleaning sessions. Many ultrasonic cleaning machines have timers. Experiment with dwell time to see how long you need to immerse your brass. A very small amount of Ballistol in the solution will help lubricate your necks on the inside. This can make bullet seating go more smoothly, with more consistent neck tension.
Video THREE — Chemical Cleaners (Soaking without Ultrasound)
TIP: After using chemical cleaners, such as the Iosso solution, you need to water-rinse your brass thoroughly. A kitchen strainer helps with this (see video at 0:20). Also, don’t forget your brass in the chemical solution — follow the manufacturers recommendations and don’t exceed the recommended dwell time. Chemical cleaners work surprisingly well to remove grease and grime, and the solution can be re-used multiple times. However, if you want your cases to look bright and shiny (like new brass), you will probably have to tumble. [Editor: A very effective new chemical cleaner is the Brass Monkey product from the makers of Wipe-Out and Carb-Out. Add a teaspoon to a gallon of water then soak your brass for 20-30 minutes. It really works — the cases clean up dramatically].
Video FOUR — Manual Cleaning (By Hand)
TIP: Keep some oversize patches in your range kit. At the end of your shooting sessions, wipe off your fired brass with a patch dampened with a mild, non-corrosive solvent (once again Ballistol works well). Before the carbon sets up on your brass it is very easy to remove. For tougher jobs, you can use 0000 Steel Wool (as Bill recommends in the video). You may find that timely hand-cleaning lets you avoid tumbling altogether — or you may choose to tumble (or ultra-sound) your brass only after a half-dozen or so firings.
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There are just five more days until the NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits kicks off in Louisville, Kentucky. If you can make it to the big event, you should go. After SHOT Show, this is the biggest event of the year for firearms fans — thousands of products will be showcased by 750+ exhibitors in a 500,000 square-foot facility. You can meet celebrities, and have fun at an on-site airgun range. The Exhibit Hall opens at 9:00 am on May 20th (Friday Morning). The Meeting kicks off with the Nat’l NRA Foundation Banquet on Thursday evening, the 19th.
This year’s NRA convention will feature a variety of special events. The ever-popular NRA Country Jam kicks off at 6:00 pm on Friday, May 20th at Louisville’s Belvedere at Waterfront Park.
The official NRA Members Meeting will be held Saturday morning at 10:00 in Freedom Hall at the Exposition Center. NRA leaders Wayne LaPierre, Chris W. Cox, and Allan Cors with address the membership. Many other seminars will be hosted over the weekend. Purchase Event Tickets.
Admission Free for NRA Members
Entry to the exhibit hall is free for NRA members and their immediate family. Members of nationally recognized youth organizations (Scouts, 4-H, etc.) in uniform or otherwise properly identified will also be admitted free as well. Non-members may register by joining NRA on-site.
NOTE: Pre-registration has closed. You may register on-site by visiting the registration counters located in the Kentucky Exposition Center Lobby.
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Guys — take heed — NRA firearms insurance requires activation!! Coverage is not automatic. If you do not activate your insurance, you can’t claim coverage. Activate Now. The article below explains how….
Are you an NRA member? Think you have $2500 ArmsCare insurance coverage for your firearms, as a benefit of membership? Well there’s a catch. If you fail to ACTIVATE your NRA insurance, your claim will almost certainly be rejected if you suffer a loss. The NRA insurance webpage states:
“One of the benefits of NRA membership is your eligibility for $2,500 in ArmsCare Firearms Insurance. There’s no cost to you for this insurance, but you do have to activate it.”
Many NRA members are not aware of the activation requirement. That’s not surprising, as there’s no mention of this in many NRA membership solicitations. While the activation clause is disclosed in printed materials mailed to members, we bet that a large percentage of NRA members are not aware that their NRA insurance is essentially useless until “activated”. Just signing up for an NRA membership (and paying the dues) is not enough. You must activate the insurance or your claims can be rejected. Even if you have been a dues-paying NRA member for decades, you need to activate your insurance.
This is the real deal. Forum members (with current, active NRA memberships) have had recent gun loss claims rejected because they had not “activated” their NRA insurance. Don’t suffer the same fate. If you are an NRA member, you should activate your ArmsCare insurance right now. Don’t delay. Your NRA ArmsCare insurance won’t become effective until you activate it!
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Ever wondered about the stability of the propellants in your reloading room? There are some important things you should know about powder storage, to ensure consistent powder performance and safety. On its website, Western Powders (vendors of Accurate, Norma, and Ramshot powders) published an informative Q & A series entitled Dear Labby: Questions for our Ballistics Lab. Here are some excerpts that pertain to powder storage and shelf life. Worried that your powder may be too old? Western’s experts explain how to check your propellants for warning signs.
Proper Powder Storage
Q: I live in southern Arizona where it is very hot. I am told powders will become unstable if stored in an area not air-conditioned. My wife says no powder or primers in the house. Can powder be stored in a refrigerator? What about using a fireproof safe? I would appreciate your ideas. — M.C.
Lab Answer: SAAMI guidelines are pretty clear on issues of storage. They recommend storing smokeless powder in containers that will not allow pressure to build if the powder is ignited — ruling out gun safes and refrigerators.
In their original containers smokeless powder’s lifespan is quite long, even in your hot, arid climate, typically longer than the average handloader would need to store them. Stored safely in a garage or outbuilding, your powder should last years. If you see the powder developing a reddish tint, or giving off a foul odor, it is time to discard it.
Clumps in Powder Container
Q: I ordered some of your Accurate 1680 powder back about in December. I just now opened it … and it is full of clumps. My knowledge tells me that means moisture. Am I wrong? I just now broke the seal and it has been stored in a ammo can with desiccant packs around it and a dehumidifier running 14-16 hours a day. I can’t imagine this being my fault, if this does indicate moisture. I don’t know if the pink part on the label is suppose to be red or not, but it is definitely pink, so if it was red I am wondering if I was shipped an old container? I hope that this isn’t bad and I am stuck with it…
Lab Answer: All powder contains a certain amount of moisture. When the powder is stored or during shipping, it can go through temperature cycles. During the cycling, the moisture can be pulled to the surface and cause clumping. Clumping can also be caused by static electricity if too dry or the powder has limited graphite content. You can break up the clumps before metering and they shouldn’t be a problem. This will not affect the powder performance, so your product is fine. Accurate 1680 labels are designed in Pink. As a side note, specification for testing powder is at 70° F and 60% humidity.
Shelf Life and Packaging Dates
Q: Does powder ever get to old to use and what identifying marks does your company put on the canister for when it is made, You have helped me out a while ago when I asked about keeping my cowboy shooting under 950 fps and it works great less stress on the hand and the recoil is very minimum. — R.B.
Lab Answer: On one pound bottles, the number is on the corner in a silver box. If the powder was poured today, it would read 012815 followed by a lot number. The whole number would look something like 012815749. Eight pound bottles have a sticker on the bottom with an obvious date code. The lot number appears above the date.
SUMMARY: Powder can have a very long shelf life. You need to watch for changes in smell and color. A reddish tinge, almost like rust on the powder, is a bad sign, as is a foul odor, not to be confused with a normal chemical smell. Either of these signs indicate it is time to dispose of your powder by means other than shooting.
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Who wouldn’t like a look inside the Accuracy International (AI) factory in England? Thanks to The Telegraph, a British media outlet, you can do just that. The Telegraph got its cameras inside AI’s production facility “at a discreet location on the outskirts of Portsmouth”.
Accuracy International has introduced a number of new models in the past couple of years, including the modular, multi-caliber AXMC Rifle System, and the ATAICS Chassis for the Remington M700. Like the AI PSR system, the AXMC can be user-configured to shoot three different calibers: .308/7.62 NATO, .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum.
Watch the video below. NOTE — because this video is hosted in the UK, it may take a while to load while the digital packets swim across the Atlantic ocean.
The wait is over… Creedmoor Sports is now producing some of the best .223 Rem target ammo you can buy. Three “match-grade” types are offered with Sierra bullets and NEW Lake City cartridge brass. If you shoot Service Rifle, you may find that this new Creedmoor ammo rivals good handloads — and that’s quite an achievement. Creedmoor General Manager Dennis DeMille, a past National Service Rifle Champion, states: “As a National Rifle Champion and having fired probably a Gazillion rounds down range (mostly hand loads), I would not hesitate to compete with this ammunition on a National Level!”
Creedmoor currently offers .223 Rem competition ammo loaded with three of the most popular projectiles: 69 grain Sierra TMK (Tipped MatchKing), the 77 grain Sierra TMK, and the 77 grain Sierra BTHP. All three ammo types are loaded in Creedmoor’s new production facility using brand new Lake City Brass. As with all Creedmoor Ammo, each lot is pressure tested and velocity tested prior to every round being hand-inspected and packaged. That gives you confidence that this ammo is consistent lot to lot. Given the quality of this ammo, it is VERY affordable, starting at $34.75 per 50-round box. That works out to $0.69 per round. At that price, when you consider hand-loading, you have to ask yourself “what’s your time worth”? Would that time be better spend practicing?
Quantity Discounts and FREE Shipping on Large Orders
Creedmoor offers quantity discounts on the .223 Rem ammo: “Order Five (5) or more boxes of any one round to get your first price break. Order Ten (10) boxes of ANY combination of Creedmoor Ammo (Rifle or Pistol, Mix and Match) you get free shipping.”
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This old lever gun is something special — the most expensive firearm ever sold at auction, according to the Rock Island Auction Company (RIAC), the world’s leading firearms auction house. This rifle recently sold for $1,265,000.00 — the highest auction price ever recorded for a firearm (and twice what RIAC expected). The rifle went for such a high price because it was Serial Number 1 and because of its special connection to the Wild West and Indian Wars.
This historic Winchester Model 1886, Serial Number 1, was given to then Captain Henry W. Lawton as a gift to honor Lawton’s successful raid to capture the renegade Apache leader Geronimo. The rifle was gifted by his friend, Lt. George E. Albee, who worked with Winchester. Both Army officers were Medal of Honor winners. This rifle “represents the 25 years of bloodshed between the U.S. Army and the Apache Indians in the Southwest, and the end of the Indian Wars. Being serial number one and possessing such outstanding condition would alone be enough to draw six figures at auction. When you add one of the most famous names in the history of the Old West you have a huge crossover appeal”, said RIAC President Kevin Hogan.
Lawton was a “soldier’s soldier” who fought in the Civil War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, and Philippine-American War, finishing his career with the rank of Major General. He lead an Army contingent that traveled 1300 miles to capture Geronimo in the summer of 1886. He was killed in combat in 1899 at the battle of San Mateo, in the Philippines. Ironically, the leader of the Philippine Revolutionary troops he faced was named Gen. Licerio Geronimo. Strange but true.
Rock Island sells over 23,000 firearms every year, but “never before had Rock Island offered Serial Number 1 of a production grade, investment-quality firearm” said RIAC. Given the rifle’s unique history and well-established provenance, “this truly is a prized national treasure”. This is the first production Winchester model 1886, with the single digit ONE stamped on the lower tang. The barrel is also inscribed “Albee to Lawton 45-70″. The gun is in 95% condition.
“The rifle’s story begins with two brothers-in-arms during the Civil War who went their different ways after that conflict, one electing to continue a lifelong military career while the other pursued firearms and their development,” stated RIAC. “When the former, Captain Henry Ware Lawton, captured Geronimo in 1886, the latter, Lieutenant George E. Albee, was working for Winchester and able to secure serial number one of their newest rifle design. He presented it to his old war buddy and lifelong friend to commemorate Lawton’s remarkable achievement.”
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If your local shooting club wants to attract new members, and provide a new form of competition, consider starting a series of groundhog (varmint) matches. These can employ paper targets, metal silhouette-style targets, or both. Groundhog matches are fun events with straight-forward rules and simple scoring. You don’t need to bring windflags or load at the range, so a Groundhog match is more “laid back” than a registered Benchrest match. Normally there will be three or four rifle classes, so you can compete with a “box-stock” factory gun, or a fancy custom, as you prefer. Many clubs limit the caliber or cartridge size allowed in varmint matches, but that’s just to protect reactive targets and keep ammo costs down. In this article, Gene F. (aka “TenRing” in our Forum), provides a basic intro to Groundhog matches, East-Coast style.
Groundhog Matches Are Growing in Popularity
Though Groundhog matches are very popular in many parts of the country, particularly on the east coast, I’ve found that many otherwise knowledgeable “gun guys” don’t know much about this form of competition. A while back, I ordered custom bullets from a small Midwest bullet-maker. He asked what type of competition the bullets would be used for, and I told him “groundhog shoots”. He had not heard of these. It occurs to me that perhaps many others are unfamiliar with this discipline.
Groundhog matches have grown rapidly in popularity. There are numerous clubs hosting them in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, as well as other venues. They are usually open to the public. Most Eastern clubs have five to twenty cement benches, and overhead roofs. At this time, there is no central source for match schedules. If you’re interested in going to a groundhog match, post a query in the AccurateShooter Forum Competition Section, and you should get some info on nearby opportunities.
How Matches Are Run — Course of Fire and Scoring
Unlike NRA High Power Matches, there is no nationwide set of standard rules for Groundhog matches. Each club has their own rules, but the basics are pretty similar from club to club. Paper groundhog targets are set at multiple distances. There are normally three yardages in the match. Some clubs place targets at 100, 200, and 300 yards. Other clubs set them at 200, 300, or 400 yards. At my club in Shippensburg, PA, our targets are placed at 200, 300 and 500 meters.
The goal is to score the highest total. The paper targets have concentric scoring rings. The smallest ring is normally worth ten points while the large ring is worth five points. The course of fire varies among the various clubs. Most clubs allow unlimited sighters and five shots on the record target in a given time period. Only those five shots on the scoring rings are counted, so that with three yardages, a perfect score would be 150 points. Tie breakers may be determined by total number of dead center or “X” strikes; or, by smallest group at the farthest distance.
Types of Rifles Used at Groundhog Matches
The same benchrest rigs found at IBS and NBRSA matches can be utilized (though these will typically be put in a ‘custom’ class). Though equipment classes vary from club to club, it is common to separate the hardware into four or five classes. Typical firearm classes can include: factory rifle; deer hunter; light varmint custom (usually a limit of 17 lbs.with scope); and heavy varmint custom (weight unlimited). Some clubs allow barrel tuners, others do not. Scope selection is usually unlimited; however, some restrict hunter class rifle scopes to 20 power. Factory rifles usually cannot be altered in any way.
Good, Simple Fun Shooting — Why Groundhog Shoots Are Popular
Forum member Danny Reever explains the appeal of groundhog matches: “We don’t have a governing organization, or have to pay $50 a year membership just to compete in matches. Sure the rules vary from club to club, but you adapt. If you don’t like one club’s rules, you just don’t shoot there. It’s no big deal.
There are no National records, or Hall of Fame points — just individual range records. If you want to shoot in BIG matches (with big prizes), there is the Hickory Ground Hog Shoot among others. If competition isn’t your bag, many clubs offer mid-week fun matches that you can shoot just for fun. You shoot the same targets but with a more relaxed atmosphere with no time limits.
The best part is you don’t have to shoot perfect at every yardage. You always have a chance because in this sport it really isn’t over until the last shot is fired. Typically ALL the entry money goes to the host club, with much of the cash returned back to the shooters via prizes. Junior shooters often shoot for free, or at a reduced rate. The low entry cost also encourages young guys to get involved who don’t have $4000 custom rifles or the money to buy them.
There isn’t a sea of wind flags to shoot over or to put up and take down. If the range has a couple of flags so much the better, but after all it is a varmint match. No pits to spot shots and slow things down either. If you can’t see your hits through your rifle scope or spotting scope well you are in the same boat as everybody else. That’s what makes it interesting/ sometimes frustrating!
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Camp Perry is moving into the future. The first fifteen (15) electronic targets are being installed right now at Camp Perry’s Petrarca Range. This is the beginning of a process to supply many ranges at Camp Perry with state-of-the-art Kongsberg (KTS) electronic targets similar to those installed at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park. NOTE — the CMP is not planning a whole-scale replacement of all of Camp Perry’s old-fashioned targets. However the CMP hopes to modernize the Camp Perry facility, by installing some electronic targets on all Camp Perry ranges by summer 2018.
Camp Perry’s new Kongsberg electronic targets will be similar to the targets installed at the Talledega facility (shown above). Image courtesy CMP and www.AL.com.
New Kongsberg Electronic Targets for Camp Perry
On the Camp Perry Petrarca Range in Ohio, KTS targets for rifle, pistol and smallbore are currently being installed. The CMP states: “The project is going according to plan and is within budget, with completion expected by the end of June for CMP use and those attending the National Matches.”
When the new target systems are installed, the Petrarca Range will offer 10 KTS targets for rifle and five KTS targets for pistol and smallbore. Though the rifle targets will be located at the 200-yard line, the changing of the target faces and the use of reduced target definitions will allow shooters to practice for longer distances as well. Pistol targets will be mounted in portable carriers that will allow them to be set up at 25 or 50 yards.
More Electronic Targets at Camp Perry by 2018
It is hoped that some KTS rifle targets will be available on ALL of the Camp Perry ranges by summer of 2018. (These will supplement the conventional target frames, not replace them altogether). 2016 National Match competitors will be able to try out the new KT targets when they visit the Camp Perry training site in July. In the future, the Petrarca Range will be open for public use.
Monitors Display Score and Shot Location Instantly
Each Kongsberg target connects to a monitor that displays the hit locations to the shooter. Easy push-button controls allow the shooter to cycle through hits and options without having to change positions. The monitors employ non-glare glass protected by an aluminum frame that acts as a shade. This ensures good visibility for the shooter.
Engineered in Norway, Kongsberg target systems do more than just display shot locations to competitors. The system automatically calculate scores, and every target is networked to a central, “command” computer. This can provide updated competitor rankings, and can even display the results to event spectators on large view screens. See how it works in this video from Kongsberg:
Video Demonstrates Kongsberg Target System
Mobile Electronic Targets Will Be Moved Around the Country
The CMP now has set of mobile electronic Kongsberg High Power targets. The CMP plans to shuttle these transportable targets to a variety of ranges in the north, south, east, and west, allowing shooters around the country to experience the benefits of electronic target systems. The CMP has found that shooters love the fact that matches run much more quickly and efficiently with electronic targets, as shooters do not have to be shuttled to the pits between relays. In addition, each shooter has a monitor providing instant feedback of his shot locations and scores.
In April, 15 mobile electronic targets were temporarily installed and fired upon from 200, 300 and 600 yards at the Oklahoma City Gun Club during the Oklahoma CMP Games Matches. The mobile targets were transported from Talladega and mounted by the CMP and volunteers for use during the event. The targets were removed at the conclusion of the event for future use at other High Power ranges.
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Here’s a helpful hint for hand-loaders from Sierra Bullets. While this article focuses on Sierra’s new Tipped Match-King bullets, the recommended solutions apply to other bullet types as well. The article explains how sharp edges on a seating stem can cause a ring to be pressed into the bullet jacket — especially with compressed loads that resist downward bullet movement. Here Sierra technician Rich Machholz diagnoses the problem and provides a solution.
Solutions for Ring Marks Caused by Seating Stems
by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz
Now that the new Tipped MatchKing® (TMK) bullets are being shipped and shooters are putting them to use I have received several calls regarding marking on the bullet ogive from the seating stem.
The cause can be traced to one of several things.
In the .223 and especially with the long, 77 grain TMK seated at 2.250” or even 2.260” most loads of Varget® and Reloder® 15 are compressed loads, sometimes heavily compressed. This puts a great deal of pressure on the bullet through the seating stem. The result of all this pressure is a mark of varying depth and appearance on the ogive of the bullet. [Editor: We have seen this issue with a variety of other bullet types/shapes as well, including non-tipped VLDs. The solution is profiling the internal cone of the seating stem to match your bullet shape.]
Some older seating stems might even bear against the tip of the bullet which can make a slight bulge in the jacket just below the junction of the resin tip and the copper jacket in a compressed load. If this is the case there is not a ready fix other than calling the die manufacturer and requesting a new deeper seating stem.
Polish Your Seating Stem to Remove Sharp Internal Edges
If the seating stem is of proper depth the culprit most generally is a thin sharp edge on the inside taper of the seating stem. This is an easy fix that can be accomplished by chucking a spare 77 grain bullet in your drill, coating it with valve grinding compound or even rubbing compound or in a pinch even tooth paste.* Remove the seating stem assembly from the seating die. Turn the drill on and put the seating stem recess over the spinning bullet with the polishing compound to break or smooth the sharp edge that is making the offending mark. This might take more than one application to get the proper polish depending upon what you use, but the more you polish the better the blend of angles which will [ensure the stem matches the bullet contours, not leaving a sharp ring].
If the above is a little more than you care to tackle you might try very fine emery cloth twisted to a point that can be inserted into the mouth to the seating stem and rotated to polish the inside to eliminate any sharp edges that might be present.
Load Advice for 77gr TMKs in the .223 Rem
And last but certainly not least. Actually, even though we don’t say you need additional data for the TMKs, remember you are dealing with heavily-compressed loads in some cases because of the additional bullet length. Due to the additional length of these new bullets and in the interest of gaining some room in the case you might consider trying a slightly faster extruded powder like BenchMark or the 4895s or an even more dense powder like the spherical H335®, CFE223 or TAC. The extra room will allow for trouble free bullet seating also.
Good luck and remember we are no further away than your telephone: 1-800-223-8799.
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The NRA will debut a new long range training program this summer at the Peacemaker National Training Center in West Virginia. Registration is now open for the National Rifle Association’s Precision Long Range School. Three summer sessions will be offered: July 2-3, August 13-14, and September 3-4, 2016. Price is a painful $1900.00 per two-day session. That does include guns, ammo and instruction, but NOT lodging. (Think about that — for $1900.00 you can buy a pretty nice rifle and practice on your own. Likewise that $1900.00 will buy a very high-quality scope.)
The NRA Precision Long Range School is designed to teach students how to hit very small targets out to (and beyond) 1,100 yards, and how to make hits on the first shot. Sessions will be lead by some of the nation’s best long range instructors and students will be provided with top-of-the-line guns, ammo, optics, and all necessary gear.
This unique school covers a spectrum of long range shooting disciplines. Students will learn long-range competition “best practices”, tactical long-range methods, and long-range hunting techniques. This school will be taught in MILS. Specific techniques covered will include: Dialing, Holding Off, Target Transition, Advanced Long Range Marksmanship, Suppressor Usage, and Long Range Speed Shooting.
The school will also cover Advanced External Ballistics, Advanced Wind Reading, and Applied Ballistics Software Usage. For these subjects, seminar-style instruction will be combined with range practice to put learned skills into practice at long range.
The NRA Precision Long Range School will provide top-quality hardware to participants: Surgeon rifles built on Modular chassis systems, chambered for the .260 Remington cartridge. These rifles will be fitted with Nightforce ATACR MIL-R optics and AWC Silencers suppressors. The Top-of-the line Swarovski spotting scopes and range-finding binoculars will be employed, along with Kestrel wind meters with Applied Ballistics software. Nexus-brand .260 Rem ammo completes the package available to Long Range School attendees.
To register, or obtain more information about the NRA Precision Long Range School, visit the Long Range School Webpage or call (844) 672-6883.
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Here’s a useful, cost-efficient product if you have a rifle with a 3/8″ dovetail on top of the action and you want to use a scope with Weaver-style rings. Kwik-Site offers three grooved receiver adapter products. The first is a two-piece set of short rails that clamp to a 3/8″-wide dovetail. Priced at just $13.50, this two-piece rail set, item KS-W22, is available in gloss black, matte black, and a stainless finish. If you prefer a one-piece rail, Kwik-Site offers the KS-W23 ($29.95) and KS-W24 ($30.95). Both are offered in matte black or silver (stainless-look) finishes. The KS-W24 will work with Romanian rifles.
These Kwik-Site products provide a low-cost solution if you want to take a scope from a rifle with a Weaver Rail and place the optic on a dove-tailed action without removing the scope from the ring set. Please note however, you’ll still need to re-zero the scope when you move it from one rifle to another. To order online, visit www.KwikSitecorp.com.
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The Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) has been a huge sales success. Nearly a year after its introduction, the RPR remains in very high demand. The first production run by Ruger essentially sold out, so it is very hard to find one for sale, in any caliber.
Though it has a big winner on its hands, Ruger has made some upgrades to its popular RPR. An “enhanced” RPR will be offered with a new handguard, bolt shroud, and muzzle brake. Two new models have been added to the RPR line-up, the model 18004 in .308 Win, and the model 18008 in 6.5 Creedmoor. These models, priced at $1599.00 MSRP, feature a new, low-profile handguard, a new aluminum bolt shroud, and a muzzle brake. The new handguard will work better for scopes with large front objectives. The muzzle brake should reduce felt recoil, but we do wonder whether accuracy might suffer. The brakeless, first-generation RPRs exhibited very good accuracy most of the time.
For the time being, the original model RPRs will be offered along with the new enhanced RPRs: “Both the original and enhanced configurations will be available from Ruger for a time, with the initial pattern being phased out as supplies are depleted.” (Source: American Rifleman). But there is a catch. The new models cost $200.00 more than Gen 1 RPRs. Ruger lists a $1599.00 MSRP for the enhanced RPRs versus $1399.00 for Gen 1 models.
To See NEW FEATURES, click the image below, then SCROLL down the page on the Ruger web page that loads. Yes, the VIDEO is there — you just have to scroll down.
According to American Rifleman, the new handguard has multiple benefits: “Still free-floating and KeyMod-compatible, the new design omits the original’s top-mounted Picatinny rail in order to increase scope clearance. Given the larger objective lenses utilized by long-range optics, this enhancement makes a lot of sense. The bottom surface of the new handguard is also contoured with a flatter surface, providing for a more stable foundation for the mounting of bipods than the original model.” Current RPR owners can purchase the new-style 15″ aluminum handguard for $249.95 from ShopRuger.com.
Ruger RPR Hybrid Muzzle Brake
The original, Gen 1 Ruger Precision Rifle had a threaded muzzle covered by a thread cap. The new “enhanced model” features a factory-installed “hybrid” brake fitted to the barrel. This brake combines radial holes in the rear half with large, angled side ports in the front. Ruger claims the brake reduces recoil almost 40% on a 6.5 Creedmoor. This brake can be purchased separately for $99.95 from ShopRuger.com.
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