Summer is officially here! This year’s Solstice, considered the official start of summer, was marked at 6:34 pm EDT on June 20, 2016. We hope you have fun this summer with your friends and family. To help ensure those summer adventures remain safe and trouble-free, the CTD Shooters’ Log has prepared a helpful Essential Summer Survival Guide. This is worth reading before you venture away from civilization.
Here are some highlights of the article with links for MORE INFO:
First Aid Kits for Campers
You should never venture outside without a first aid kit close at hand. While exploring the outdoors, all types of accidents can occur—from cuts, scrapes, and burns to broken limbs and severe allergic reactions.
Basic Survival Skills
Basic survival skills are a necessity if you plan to spend any amount of time outdoors. These five tips, plus a how-to on what to pack in a lightweight, basic survival kit will help if you are ever stuck, lost, stranded or injured in the field.
How to Treat Burns
Fireworks, barbeques and campfires — in the summer we are frequently around fire, which increases our chance of getting burned. A first-degree burn is most likely home treatable, while a third degree burn requires immediate medical attention. Learn how to spot the differences between minor and severe burns.
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Nightforce has released an all-new 4.5x24mm scope for Service Rifle Competition. Nightforce’s new Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm riflescope is purpose-built for the CMP’s new Service Rifle rules that allow scopes with max 4.5X magnification, and max objective lens diameter of 34mm. Nightforce made this new scope quite light in weight (just 15.4 ounces), recognizing that Service Rifles will now be limited to 11.5 pounds for optic and gun combined. MSRP is $1950.00.
FIELD TEST COMING — Accurateshooter.com will get one of these new 4.5x24mm Nightforce scopes for evaluation soon. We will provide a complete field test, and our tester Dennis Santiago will use the new scope in actual Service Rifle competition.
The new NF Competition SR 4.5x24mm scope provides 100 MOA of both elevation and windage adjustment, with .25 MOA clicks and 20 MOA per revolution. Parallax is fixed at 200 yards. The main tube is 30mm. This scope features a handy ZeroStop on the elevation knob that allows instant, positive return to the shooter’s chosen zero setting.
Photo shows Nightforce’s new, lightweight Unimount. Half the weight of a similar steel unit, this alloy mount offers +20 MOA taper.
The new non-illuminated SR-1 reticle features heavy posts at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions, and a 10 MOA center circle with 8 MOA crosshair. The Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm will retail at $1950.00 and the UnimountTM SR will retail at $260.00.
Product tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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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. Monmouth Reloading — Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 LRF $499.00
This excellent laser rangefinder rivals other premium LRFs selling for hundreds more. Head-to-head field tests with Leica, Zeiss, and Swarovski LRFs proved that the new Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 can play in that league, but at a much more affordable price point. Sig accomplishes that with tight beam divergence and state-of-the-art DSP technology which allows the Kilo 2000 to range faster (and more reliably) at longer distances. Optic magnification is 7X. The Kilo 2000 weighs 7.5 oz and measures 3″ x 4.2″ x 1.3″.
— Lumatic OLED Display™ monitors ambient light and adjusts display brightness.
— AMR™ (Angle Modified Range) built-in angle compensation.
— 4X per second refresh rate in scan mode.
— Dependable waterproof (IP X-4) and fog-proof performance.
— Lightweight magnesium body and compact form.
2. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99
This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, which is on sale for $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supply. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you many want to add an additional large heavy press, but this will get the job done. This kit includes an RCBS Powder Measure, Digital Scale, Powder Trickler, Hand Priming Tool, Load Manual, Loading Tray, and more. It’s hard to beat this combination of tools for under $200.00.
3. NRA Life Membership $500 — Offer Ends 7/31/2016
If you are considering getting an NRA Life membership, now is the time to buy. You can get a Life Membership for $500.00. That’s $1000.00 off the regular $1500.00 price. You heard us right — save a thousand bucks on an NRA Life Membership. This offer is good through July 31, 2016. And with each lifetime membership, you get your choice of one of four print magazines: American Hunter, American Rifleman, Shooting Illustrated, or America’s First Freedom.
4. Midsouth — Lyman 50th Edition Reloading Manual
Here’s a good deal on the new Lyman 50th Ed. Reloading Manual. Our Forum members have rated this as the best Loading Manual for starting hand-loaders. This 50th Anniversary Edition, the first to be produced in full color, includes more load data, and covers more cartridge and bullet types than ever before. This handbook has a strong heritage, starting with the Ideal/Lyman reloading manuals from the early 20th Century. (In 1925, Lyman purchased Ideal Reloading Products, which produced the Ideal reloading handbooks.)
Bullet-maker Bart Sauter used this RAVpower portable charging unit to power his LabRadar chronograph at a short-range shooting match. He reports: “I bought a RAVPower pack from Amazon. It was the most powerful cell phone charger they had and it was reduced to $31. It was able to run the LabRadar for two full days without recharging and still had juice.” This unit has impressive specs: “4.5A Output: Highest output in the market, featuring a 4.5A total output capable of simultaneously charging two tablets, making it faster and more powerful than the rest. Exclusive iSmart Technology… ensures fastest and most efficient charge.”
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).
7. Cabela’s — Lyman Turbo Sonic 1200, $59.99
Looking for a reliable ultrasonic cleaning unit at a rock-bottom, $59.99 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.
8. Amazon — 34 NRR Top-Selling Ear Muffs
If you want serious hearing protection, and can tolerate large muffs, these Clear Armor earmuffs are hard to beat for the price. They seal very well and carry an unsurpassed 34db Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). These are the #1 Best Selling Safety Muffs on Amazon. Yes they are big and bulky — but you only have one set of ears. These are a good choice for loud magnum rifles and noisy indoor ranges.
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Building your own portable shooting bench is a great do-it-yourself project. You can build a sturdy bench for well under $100 in materials. Compare that to some deluxe factory-built benches which may cost $600.00 or more.
FREE Bench Plans on the Web
You’ll find a wide assortment of home-built shooting bench designs (both portable and fixed) on the internet. Renovation Headquarters has links to FREE Plans and building instructions for fourteen (14) different shooting benches. There are all-wood shooting bench designs as well as benches that combine a wood top with a metal sub-frame or legs.
Heavy Wood Bench That Converts to Three Sections for Transport
In addition to the fourteen benches mentioned above, here is an interesting break-down bench design. Call it a “semi-portable” bench. The legs and frame are made from stout 4×4 post segments so the bench is fairly heavy. However, this bench can break down into three (3) sections for easier transport to and from the range. Dado-cut channels assure proper top alignment. This might be a good choice if you plan a multi-day excursion to a location without fixed benches. This three-leg bench design can be made from easy-to-locate materials. Note: The dimensions of this bench are are larger than typical fixed benches to accommodate 50 BMGs and other big rifles. CLICK HERE for more details.
When a rifle isn’t shooting up to it’s potential, we need to ask: “Is it the gun or the shooter?” Having multiple shooters test the same rifle in the same conditions with the same load can be very revealing…
When developing a load for a new rifle, one can easily get consumed by all the potential variables — charge weight, seating depth, neck tension, primer options, neck lube, and so on. When you’re fully focused on loading variables, and the results on the target are disappointing, you may quickly assume you need to change your load. But we learned that sometimes the load is just fine — the problem is the trigger puller, or the set-up on the bench.
Here’s an example. A while back we tested two new Savage F-Class rifles, both chambered in 6mmBR. Initial results were promising, but not great — one gun’s owner was getting round groups with shots distributed at 10 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 5 o’clock, 8 o’clock, and none were touching. We could have concluded that the load was no good. But then another shooter sat down behind the rifle and put the next two shots, identical load, through the same hole. Shooter #2 eventually produced a 6-shot group that was a vertical line, with 2 shots in each hole but at three different points of impact. OK, now we can conclude the load needs to be tuned to get rid of the vertical. Right? Wrong. Shooter #3 sat down behind the gun and produced a group that strung horizontally but had almost no vertical.
Hmmm… what gives?
Shooting Styles Created Vertical or Horizontal Dispersion
What was the problem? Well, each of the three shooters had a different way of holding the gun and adjusting the rear bag. Shooter #1, the gun’s owner, used a wrap-around hold with hand and cheek pressure, and he was squeezing the bag. All that contact was moving the shot up, down, left and right. The wrap-around hold produced erratic results.
Shooter #2 was using no cheek pressure, and very slight thumb pressure behind the tang, but he was experimenting with different amounts of bag “squeeze”. His hold eliminated the side push, but variances in squeeze technique and down pressure caused the vertical string. When he kept things constant, the gun put successive shots through the same hole.
Shooter #3 was using heavy cheek pressure. This settled the gun down vertically, but it also side-loaded the rifle. The result was almost no vertical, but this shooting style produced too much horizontal.
A “Second Opinion” Is Always Useful
Conclusion? Before you spend all day fiddling with a load, you might want to adjust your shooting style and see if that affects the group size and shape on the target. Additionally, it is nearly always useful to have another experienced shooter try your rifle. In our test session, each time we changed “drivers”, the way the shots grouped on the target changed significantly. We went from a big round group, to vertical string, to horizontal string.
Interestingly, all three shooters were able to diagnose problems in their shooting styles, and then refine their gun-handling. As a result, in a second session, we all shot that gun better, and the average group size dropped from 0.5-0.6 inches into the threes — with NO changes to the load.
That’s right, we cut group size in half, and we didn’t alter the load one bit. Switching shooters demonstrated that the load was good and the gun was good. The skill of the trigger-puller(s) proved to be the limiting factor in terms of group size.
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On Father’s Day, time spent together is more important than any gift that comes in a box…
Today is Father’s Day, a special Sunday when we acknowledge our patriarchs and show our gratitude for all their hard work and sacrifice on our behalf, and the love they have shown us over the years. If you’re lucky, you’re reading this after having spent a day at the shooting range (or the local fishing hole, or golf course) with your Dad. The important thing is to be together with “Pops” and do something you both enjoy together. If you haven’t finalized your Father’s Day planning, here are some suggestions:
1. Hand-wash and wax your father’s truck or car.
2. Clean your dad’s rifles, or help him put together some handloads.
3. Take your dad out to a live music concert, go to a ball game, or maybe head down to the local fishin’ hole.
4. Go for a hike together or just a drive in the country.
5. Head down to Sears or the local hardware store and let you Dad pick out some new tools.
6. Sit down with your dad, bring a note pad, and ask him to tell you some stories about his youth, or his military experience. Your Editor learned some amazing things about my own father this way.
Whatever you choose to do with your father, use your time wisely. Turn off your computer, and go be with your father today. Do something with him that makes him smile. The time spent together is more important than any gift that comes in a box. And, if he lives far from you, give him a call and let him know how important he is to your life. Remind him of the old adage: “Good fathers make good sons”.
When my father, a disabled WW2 Army vet, passed away I received the flag that was draped on his coffin. On most days I fly one of those nylon flags that you can pick up at hardware or department stores. But on holidays, like today, and his birthday, Dad’s flag is out there snapping in the breeze on top of the pole. I find myself talking to him as it gets put up in the morning and comes down at sunset. Hope when the time comes one of my boys will fly my flag. — Bill Slattery Jr.
My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass”! “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply, “We’re raising boys”. — Harmon Killebrew.
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Old “Number 2″ belonging to Ray Gross. Click Photo for full-screen Image.
Ray Gross is captain of the United States F-TR Team. While he’s mostly involved in F-Class shooting these days, that wasn’t always the case. Ray is an experienced service rifle shooter, who secured his Distinguished Rifleman Badge 21 years ago. Ray has shot many different rifles during his competitive shooting career, but the rifle above has a special place in Ray’s heart. This old semi-auto earned Ray his Distinguished Badge, and he’ll never forget that…
“I said goodbye to an old friend last week…
Affectionately known as ‘Number 2′, she is the rifle that I earned my Distinguished Rifleman Badge with in 1995 (#1159).
That rifle was also responsible for a fair amount of Venison in the ’90s, as well. But since then, she has spent a lot of time in the closet. Last time I got her out was to destroy a bunch of hard drives containing evidence collected during my Computer Forensics days. She deserved better than that.
I will miss the beautiful sound of all that American steel slamming into battery when I tripped her bolt.” – Ray Gross
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Larry Scott, who runs GreatScottShooters.com, has a friend, Ray Mabry, who is a very talented wood-worker and carver. Ray does master-grade decorative work and checkering on gunstocks, and he also carves realistic nature subjects from wood. Larry says: “If you need stock checkering/carving or any wildlife creation, check out a friend of mine, Ray Mabry. His finished products are superb.”
Ray Mabry is a member of our AccurateShooter Forum, and you can see many fine examples of his work in this FORUM Thread. Ray tells us: “I do this work as a hobby. I do checkering and relief-carving on rifles. I also carve out of solid tupelo and bass blocks of wood. Along with rifle stock work, I carve wildlife subjects — I’ve carved eagles, owls, quail, ducks, and even prairie dogs. If you have a project in mind, call me at 270-885-6066 or send email to: rayzr [at] twc.com.”
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Since Sierra introduced the Tipped MatchKing® (TMK®) line of bullets in 2015, we have had a few questions from customers regarding the two lines of bullets (MK vs TMK). Some shooters are concerned that the tried-and-true MatchKing® bullets will be replaced with the Tipped MatchKing® bullets. For those of you worried, relax, the old standby MatchKings® that you have shot for years are here to stay, and we will happily continue to make them for you.
For those that like to try new products, we are planning on both continuing and expanding the Tipped MatchKing® line. Even where there are two bullets within these two lines that have matching weights (pictured above), 22 caliber 69 and 77 grain, 6mm 95 gr, 30 caliber 125, 155, 168 and 175 grains, we are not going to replace the MatchKings® with the Tipped MatchKing®. We are, however, going to continue to offer both lines of bullets for your use and enjoyment. Keep an eye out for new additions to our product line!
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Social Media fans take note — Lapua is now on Facebook. Lapua recently launched its official Facebook page focusing on Lapua sport shooting components and ammunition. The page will feature shooting news, match results, product info, shooter profiles, videos, tech tips, and other Lapua-related material. You can follow Lapua on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/LapuaAmmunition.
Lapua Products and Company History
Lapua (officially Nammo Lapua Oy), is part of the large Nordic Nammo Group. Lapua’s main products include premium cartridge brass, bullets, small caliber cartridges, rimfire cartridges, and reloading components for civilian and professional use. The Lapua cartridge factory was established in 1923. From a modest and practical beginning, Lapua has grown into one of the most respected brands in the industry. The best shooters in the world choose Lapua cartridges and components. In 2014, Nammo acquired the Vihtavuori smokeless powder factory.
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How fast can you shoot a bolt-action rifle? We doubt you can out-pace the ace “Stangskyting” shooters from Scandinavia. Some of these guys can run more than two rounds per second, including mag changes! That’s impressive. Bulletin reader C. Lemmermann from Denmark told us: “In Scandinavia we have this competition called ‘Stangskyting’. It’s similar to the ‘Mad Minute’ but we only have 25 seconds to hit the target [at] 200-300m distance with a 6.5×55 [target rifle].” In the Stangskyting video below a shooter named Børklop puts 16 rounds on target in just 25 seconds. (He starts with a round in the chamber and cycles through three, 5-round magazines). Børklop’s performance, with just a sling and iron sights, is impressive. He’s shooting a Sauer 200 STR target rifle with 5-round magazine. Note that Børklop manipulates the Sauer’s bolt with his thumb and index finger, while pulling the trigger with his middle finger. As good as Børklop is, some Stangskyting competitors are even better. Roy Arne Syversrud from Oslo, Norway tells us: “The best shooters in Norway can do 21 shots in 25 seconds, changing the mag three times.”
This Guy Could Break the “Mad Minute” Record
Børklop’s rate of fire, 16 rounds in 25 seconds, is the equivalent of 38.4 rounds in 60 seconds. That’s a notable number because the record for the “Mad Minute”, a British Army marksmanship drill, is 38 rounds in one minute. That record was set in 1914 by Sergeant Instructor Alfred Snoxall, and still stands. So as you watch Børklop, keep in mind that Snoxall shot that fast for a full minute with a Lee-Enfield nearly 100 years ago!
Børklop has an average cycling time of 1.56 seconds per shot, starting with a round in the chamber. To beat the record of 38 rounds, he would need to make seven mag changes in sixty seconds. All those mag swaps could reduce his average time per shot, making it difficult to achieve 38 hits in a minute. But, if Børklop could use 10-round mags with his Sauer STR, this guy has the skills to break the record.
To emphasize the capabilities of the WWI-era British shooter who set the record, Snoxall shot as fast as Børklop does, but Snoxall reloaded with stripper clips. Snoxall’s SMLE (Lee-Enfield) rifle also had relatively crude open sights and the stock was far less ergonomic than Børklop’s Sauer STR stock.
Here’s another Stanskyting video showing John O. Ågotnes shooting rapidfire with his Sauer 200 STR (Scandinavian Target Rifle) chambered in 6.5×55. By our count, Ågotnes manages 17 shots within the 25-second time period. That rate of fire (17 in 25 seconds) equates to 40.8 rounds in one minute!
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Save 20% on NRA Gear and get $500 Life Memberships — those are great offers. Here are the specifics. First, the NRA is running a big sale in its online store — get 20% off ALL items now through the end of the month (6/30/2016). Here are four products we like from the NRA Store. There are many other items you may want to consider. To take advantage of the 20% OFF pricing on ALL merchandise, use Promo Code “16SUMMER” during online check-out.
NRA Tactical Handgunner Backpack — $119.95
Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the 50 States — $14.95
NRA Tactical Tri-Fold Gun Cleaning Mats — $19.95
NRA Performance Hoodie — $29.95 (Sale)
NRA Life Membership $500 — Offer Ends 7/31/2016
In addition, if you are considering getting an NRA Life membership, now is the time to buy. You can get a Life Membership for $500.00. That’s $1000.00 off the regular $1500.00 price. You heard us right — save a thousand bucks on an NRA Life Membership. This offer is good through July 31, 2016. And with each lifetime membership, you get your choice of one of four print magazines: American Hunter, American Rifleman, Shooting Illustrated, or America’s First Freedom.
Sale TIP from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Here’s a smart invention — a foldable cardboard cone. With this innovative Target Cone you can easily carry a target-holder wherever you go. The Target Cone from Re-Nine Safety transports flat so it can be easily stowed in the trunk of your car (or even under a seat). When you’re ready to use it, simply fold the flaps to create a self-supporting cone with pre-printed targets on one side. Place a rock on the base to hold it steady. The Target Cone can be used by itself or, as shown below, you can attach other targets, such as Re-Nine’s new Silhouette Target (below right).
We think this is a great innovation. Keep a couple Target Cone flats in the back of your car or truck and you’ll always have a target support. For spur-of-the-moment range sessions, this is much easier than toting around a big target frame. The Re-Nine Safety Target Cones retail for about $5.00.
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by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box
One thing that plays a major role in building an accuracy load is neck tension. I think a lot of reloaders pretty much take this for granted and don’t give that enough thought.
So, how much neck tension is enough?
Thru the years and shooting both a wide variety of calibers and burn rates of powder, I’ve had the best accuracy overall with .002″ of neck tension. Naturally you will run into a rifle now and then that will do its best with something different like .001″ or even .003″, but .002″ has worked very well for me. So how do we control the neck tension? Let’s take a look at that.
First of all, if you’re running a standard sizing die with an expander ball, just pull your decapping rod assembly out of your die and measure the expander ball. What I prefer is to have an expander ball that is .003″ smaller than bullet diameter. So for example in a .224 caliber, run an expander ball of .221″. This allows for .001″ spring back in in your brass after sizing, and still gives you .002″ in neck tension. If you want to take the expander ball down in diameter, just chuck up your decapping rod assembly in a drill and turn it down with some emery cloth. When you have the diameter you need, polish it with three ought or four ought steel wool. This will give it a mirror finish and less drag coming through your case neck after sizing.
Tips for Dies With Interchangeable Neck Bushings
If you’re using a bushing die, I measure across the neck of eight or ten loaded rounds, then take an average on these and go .003″ under that measurement. There are other methods to determine bushing size, but this system has worked well for me.
Proper Annealing Can Deliver More Uniform Neck Tension
Another thing I want to mention is annealing. When brass is the correct softness, it will take a “set” coming out of the sizing die far better than brass that has become to hard. When brass has been work hardened to a point, it will be more springy when it comes out of a sizing die and neck tension will vary. Have you ever noticed how some bullets seated harder than others? That is why.
Paying closer attention to neck tension will give you both better accuracy and more consistent groups.
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Many Remington 700 rifle owners swap out the factory trigger. This is not a difficult task, but you need to follow the proper procedure so you don’t damage any important parts during installation, and so that you don’t interfere with the operation of the bolt and safety. This Do-It-Yourself video from Brownells leads you through step by step how to safely and correctly replace your Remington 700 trigger. This installation video covers the common methods used to install most of the popular after-market Rem 700 triggers. Importantly, the video also shows how to function test after installation, and how to make sure your safety is working properly.
Many Rem 700 owners fit Timney triggers to their rifles.
Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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The 20th Annual MGM Ironman Match was held in Parma, Idaho earlier this month. Over 250 shooters vied for honors at this ultra-challenging event. The “OLHOT” (Open, Limited, Heavy Optics, and Trooper) classes competed June 5-7, while a Scoped Tactical Match followed June 9-11. Present were top pros, privateers, juniors, ladies, plus elite military and LEO teams. This very demanding 3-Gun event features ten tough, high-round count stages, including a signature zip-line descent from a tower. Without question, the MGM Ironman is one of the toughest shooting matches on the planet.
Watch POV view of the Zipline Stage at 2016 MGM Ironman:
Father and Son Duo Dominates 2016 Event
This year’s OLHOT match was definitely a “family affair” for the Gibson clan. In the Trooper Division, 17-year-old Wyatt Gibson won convincingly, finishing 138 points ahead of the next-best shooter. Meanwhile Wyatt’s father Travis Gibson won the Open Division. In true ‘Like father, like son’ fashion, Travis dominated the Open field, finishing 121 points ahead of his closest Open-class competitor.
This year’s aptly-named Ironman was particularly tough with triple-digit temps and strong winds. Over the course of three grueling days, competitors completed ten tough stages, shooting in excess of 1100 rounds per shooter over the course of the match. EVERY stage required the use of ALL three guns with 100 or more rounds. The average time spent shooting on each stage was about seven minutes. The Ironman is long, intense, and you shoot till you drop! Mike Gibson, the founder of MGM Targets, and the “inventor” of the Ironman, has said: “This match isn’t for weenies or crybabies”.
The week-long Ironman event is broken into two, 3-day sessions, with five different divisions. The OLHOT (Open, Limited, Heavy Optics, and Trooper) sessions ran June 5-7. During the second segment, held June 9-11, 120 Scoped Tactical shooters took on the same demanding course.
MGM Ironman Has Unique Stage Designs
The MGM Ironman is an intense test of both shooter and equipment. Participants shoot a variety of classes and various scenarios including shooting from the back of a moving vehicle, from a 20-foot tower, while driving a golf cart, and while carrying a dummy.
Of course there are plenty of MGM-made reactive targets (photo right). The MGM Ironman regularly offers unique and demanding stages including firing a pistol from a zip line, and plunging down a steep slide from a 30 foot tower, rifle in hand. One stage involves carrying an 80-lb dummy over 100 feet and lifting it to the top of a six-foot platform before climbing it to engage rifle targets at distance. With creative and challenging stage designs and high round counts, he Ironman is truly a unique match.
Here is a video from the 2010 MGM Ironman. It shows many of the multi-gun stages, including the Zipline stage, filmed from multiple camera angles.
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Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. Recently the USAMU’s reloading gurus looked at the subject of case lubrication. Tasked with producing thousands of rounds of ammo for team members, the USAMU’s reloading staff has developed very efficient procedures for lubricating large quantities of cases. This article reveals the USAMU’s clever “big-batch” lube methods. For other hand-loading tips, visit the USAMU Facebook page next Wednesday for the next installment.
Rapid, High-Volume Case Lubrication
Today’s topic covers methods for quickly applying spray lube to cartridge cases prior to sizing. A typical order for this shop may be 25,000 rounds, so [speeding up] the lubrication process can be a real time-saver. While your ammunition lots probably aren’t this large, the efficient methods discussed here may help save a considerable amount of time over your handloading career. Our case lubrication rates range from 1500-1600 cases per hour, to 2400-2500 cases per hour, depending on caliber.
This shop uses virgin brass, whereas most home handloaders use fired brass, which necessitates some small changes at times. These will be discussed as they arise. Begin with fired brass that has been tumbled clean.
Ensure as much tumbling media as possible is removed from the brass, as when it gets into a size die, it can dent cases significantly. This is a good time to round out dents in the case mouths using a tapered tool to prevent damage from the decapping stem.
First, dump the clean cases into a large box or reloading bin. Shake the bin back and forth so that many cases are oriented with the mouths up. Next, pick up as many cases as is convenient with the mouths “up”, from natural clusters of correctly-oriented cases. With 7.62mm-size cases, this is usually 3-4, and with 5.56mm cases, this can be up to 8-10. Place the cases into the rack slots, mouth-up. Doing this in groups rather than singly saves considerable time. Once these clusters have been depleted, it will be time to re-shake the bin to orient more cases “up.”.
This photo shows a case lubrication rack made by a USAMU staffer.
Naturally, adjust the spacing to best fit the calibers you reload. We have found this size … convenient for handling through the various phases of case lubrication/transfer to progressive case feeders for processing. Note that the 1/2-inch angle does not cover much of the critical case area at the base, just forward of the extractor groove, where most re-sizing force will be exerted. As the USAMU uses virgin brass, less lubrication is required for our brass than would be needed for Full Length (FL) sizing of previously-fired brass.
NOTE: The amount applied using our rack is easily enough for our purpose. If using fired brass, be sure to adequately lube this base area to avoid having cases stick in the full-length sizing die.
Using a spray lube, coat the cases adequately, but not excessively, from all sides. Be sure to get some lube into the case mouths/necks, in order to reduce expander ball drag and case stretching/headspace changes. The spray lube this shop uses does not harm primers or powder, and does not require tumbling to remove after lubing.*
Take a close look at the photo above. The USAMU shop uses a common kitchen turntable, which allows the rack to be rotated easily. We place this in a custom-made box which prevents over-spray on to floors and walls.
Angled Box Method for Smaller Cases to be Neck-Sized
A refinement of the above method which especially speeds processing of 5.56x45mm cases is as follows. A small cardboard box which holds about 100 cases is fitted with an angled “floor” secured by tape. With the smaller 5.56mm cases, usually about 8-10 cases per handful can be picked up, already correctly-oriented, and placed into the box together. This prevents having to place them into the rack slots, saving time.
HOWEVER, note that this does not allow nearly as much lube access to the case bodies as does the rack. For our purposes — neck-sizing and setting neck tension on new brass, this works well. If using this procedure with fired brass, take steps to ensure adequate lube to prevent stuck cases.
As always, we hope this will help our fellow handloaders. Good luck, and good shooting!
*A two-part test performed here involved spraying primed cases heavily, while getting more lube into the case mouth/body than even a careless handloader would likely apply. The second part of the test involved literally spraying considerable quantities of the lube directly into the cases, drenching the primers. After a several-day wait to allow the lube to penetrate the primers, they were then fired in a test barrel. All fired normally; no unusual reports were noted. This bolstered confidence that normal amounts of the lube would not adversely affect our ammunition, and we have been pleased with the results over several years.
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A Kestrel Wind Meter will record wind speed with its impeller wheel. However, to get the most accurate wind velocity reading, you need to have your Kestrel properly aligned with the wind direction. To find wind direction, first orient the Kestrel so that the impeller runs at minimal speed (or stops), and only then turn the BACK of the Kestrel into the wind direction. Do NOT simply rotate the Kestrel’s back panel looking for the highest wind speed reading — that’s not the correct method for finding wind direction. Rotate the side of the Kestrel into the wind first, aiming for minimal impeller movement. The correct procedure is explained below by the experts at Applied Ballistics.
How to Find the Wind Direction with a Kestrel Wind Meter
Here is the correct way to determine wind direction with a Kestrel wind meter when you have no environmental aids — no other tools than a Kestrel. (NOTE: To determine wind direction, a mounted Wind Vane is the most effective tool, but you can also look at flags, blowing grass, or even the lanyard on your Kestrel).
Step 1: Find the wind’s general direction.
Step 2: Rotate the Wind Meter 90 degrees, so that the wind is impacting the side (and not the back) of the wind meter, while still being able to see the impeller.
Step 3: Fine-tune the direction until the impeller drastically slows, or comes to a complete stop (a complete stop is preferred). If the impeller won’t come to a complete stop, find the direction which has the lowest impact on the impeller.
Step 4: Turn the BACK of the Kestrel towards the direction from which the wind is blowing. Then press the capture button, and record your wind speed.
Do NOT simply point the Kestrel’s back into the wind until you get the highest wind speed — that’s not the correct method.
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For a few years now, Lyman has offered the Case Prep Xpress, an all-in-one case prep center that chamfers necks (inside and out), cleans and uniforms primer pockets, brushes the inside of case-necks, and uniforms flash holes. The unit can also ream out the crimps on military brass. However, the Lyman Case Prep Xpress does NOT trim cases.
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress comes with all the necessary tools (listed above), so you don’t have to purchase extra accessories. The five (5) gear-driven heads on the unit are powered by a high torque, low-speed motor ideal for case prep operations. Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress features handy storage areas for accessories, a removable brass shavings dump pan, and a handy clean-up brush.
Sinclair Int’l video clearly illustrates all case prep functions. Worth watching.
In the 3.5 years that this product has been on the market it has been a strong seller. If you’re prepping hundreds of cases, this unit will save considerable time and reduce hand/finger fatigue. While the Case Prep Xpress is not as sturdy as the metal-bodied Hornady prep center, the Lyman unit offers a lot of functionality for the money ($115-$125 normal price, and sometimes around $100 on sale).
Lyman Case Prep Xpress Pros and Cons
Quite Affordable (under $120)
Compatible with RCBS and Redding Tool-heads
Removable Bin for Shavings
Four Brush Sizes: .25, .30, .38, .45
Tool-heads Not Particularly Sharp
No Case Trim Function
No Flash-hole Uniformer
No Top Dust-Cover
Only 1-Year Warranty
Reviews by Verified Purchasers
“Case prep is the most tedious and boring aspect for hand loading in my opinion. The process center makes all the steps in prepping the case very quick and with consistent results. It has reduced the time required to do these steps with separate tools by easily 50% if not more. Highly recommended.” — Brandon G.
“Quiet and capable. Worth every penny. I adapted a Lee Cutter and Lock Stud, to cut case lengths, and I can fly through my brass. I can do so much more brass without getting the sore, cramped-up hands.” — Dean Ellis
“This unit has plenty of torque, and my unit is very quiet. This unit will also work with tools made by RCBS and Hornady, or anything else with 8-32 threads. My Redding tools (specifically, my primer pocket uniformers) do in fact fit on this machine. This unit is certainly worth the money, and will revolutionize the way you reload by saving you massive amounts of time and wear on your hands/fingers.” — Mule
“A simple machine to perform complex solutions. I was up and running in about 10 minutes flat. This thing has made my life of reloading so much easier. I do wish there was a trimmer included, but I have a manual one from L.E. Wilson.” — Richard Niles
You can find Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress for under $120.00 at Brownells and Midsouth, making it much less expensive than the larger Hornady Case Prep Center, which runs about $365.00. The Hornady unit is beefier, and will trim cases. However, we think the compact Lyman unit makes sense for guys who already have a good case trimmer, such as a Forster or Wilson. The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is hundreds of dollars less than the Hornady prep center. The money you save will buy lots of bullets and brass.
Case Prep Xpress $115.45 at Midsouth
The Lyman Case Prep Xpress is sold by most of the big vendors. The best current price we found was at Midsouth Shooters Supply, which sells the Lyman unit for $115.45.
Gear Review Tip from Edlongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Want to see new-born Pandas? No, not the furry kind — rather Stolle Panda actions produced with state-of-the-art CNC machinery. If you’ve ever wondered how precision benchrest, long-range, and tactical rifles are built, check out video from Kelbly’s. You’ll see actions finished, barrels chambered and crowned, pillars installed in stocks, barreled actions bedded, plus a host of other services performed by Kelbly’s gunsmiths and machinists.
CLICK Triangle to Launch Kelbly’s Video
If you’re a fan of fine machine-work, this video should be both informative and entertaining. You can see how precision gun work is done with 21st-Century technology. Tip of the hat to Ian Kelbly and crew for producing this excellent video visit to the Kelbly’s production center.
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