February 8th, 2020

What’s Hot at SHOT — GetZone Coverage of SHOT Show 2020

GetZone Shot Show 2020 review product handguns rifls video

Couldn’t make it to Las Vegas this year for SHOT Show 2020? Well thankfully there is extensive SHOT Show coverage on the internet — both on websites and on the YouTube platform. GetZone.com, a large gun industry media resource, has provided 24 video reports on new products — rifles, pistols, shotguns, optics, and accessories. The 2-3-minute product showcase videos include both booth coverage from the SHOT Show floor and product-in-action footage from Industry Day at the Range.

GetZone’s What’s Hot at SHOT 2020 features Ruger as title sponsor for the third straight year, in addition to the following sponsors:

ATN | Aero Precision | Crimson Trace | Daniel Defense | DeSantis Gunhide | European American Armory | FN America | Mossberg | Nighthawk Custom | Smith & Wesson | SureFire | Taurus | Thompson/Center

Here are Six Samples from GetZone’s What’s Hot at SHOT Feature. CLICK IMAGES to launch video reviews:

CLICK HERE »

GetZone Shot Show 2020 review product handguns rifle video

CLICK HERE »

GetZone Shot Show 2020 review product handguns rifle video

CLICK HERE »

GetZone Shot Show 2020 review product handguns rifle video

CLICK HERE »

GetZone Shot Show 2020 review product handguns rifle video

CLICK HERE »

GetZone Shot Show 2020 review product handguns rifle video

CLICK HERE »

GetZone Shot Show 2020 review product handguns rifle video

GetZone.com has grown into one of the largest video platforms for hunting, firearms, and shooting sports content. With YouTube and Facebook aggressively censoring Gun-related content, we are pleased to see GetZone.com providing a gun-friendly new media platform serving all shooting disciplines. GetZone.com states that it “promotes safe shooting, encourages responsible firearms ownership, and supports wildlife conservation across the globe.”

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product 2 Comments »
February 7th, 2020

Report from Berger SWN — Wednesday and Thursday Highlights

Berger 2020 SWN Southwest Nationals

Thursday 2/6/2020 was the first Team Day at the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). Dozens of squads competed in F-TR, F-Open, and Sling Divisions. This 4-Man Palma Team Match had 15 shots for record each at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. This is a real test of wind-reading and marksmanship. Phil Kelley reports: “Tricky conditions challenged great teams throughout the day.” We first want to congratulate Team Lapua Brux Borden (LBB), with a convincing Thursday win in the F-Open Division. We were especially proud of this performance because Team LBB member Jay Christopherson serves as AccurateShooter.com’s system administrator. Congrats to Jay (far right below) and his team-mates including David Christian, Tod Hendricks, Pat Scully, Erik Cortina (Captain), and Bob Sebold (Coach).

Team Lapua Brux Borden
Team Lapua Brux Borden Archive Photo from 2019 at last year’s Berger SWN.

Berger SW Nationals team match

F-TR Berger SWN

In the F-TR division, Team USA Independence took top honors with a 1773-83X total for four shooters: Ian Klemm, Wade Fillingame, Fritz Braun, and Luke Ramsey.

Berger SW Nationals team match

Berger SWN Palma Team

In the Sling Division, Team USNRT Milanovic took top honors with 1782-82X, finishing three points ahead of Team USNRT Gill. Captain/Coach Oliver Milanovic lead the team with 449-30X.

Berger SW Nationals team match

CLICK HERE for ALL Available Berger SWN Scores »

In team competition, the shooter relies on his coach and spotter.
Berger SW Nationals team match

Berger SWN 600-Yard Mid-Range Match Results

SWN Berger Southwest Mid-Range 600 yard

In the Mid-Range match, Tod Hendricks topped the F-Open field with 598-37X, a dominant performance. Jim Fowler finished second with 596-20X, and our own Product Tester John Masek was third with 595-33X. John, aka “F-Class John” in our Forum, prepares our Deals of the Week, and does product reviews. Here is his latest Teslong Borescope Review.

In the F-TR Division, the top three shooters all finished with 584 points. However, Mid-Range Champion Scott Harris (584-30X) tallied a huge X-Count advantage over second-place Doug Boyer (584-21X), and third-place Ian Klemm (584-20X). Congrats to all three men.

In the Sling Division, Randy Teissedre won with 597-33X, followed by Mike Kelley with 593-30X, and Larry Sollars with 592-32X.

CLICK HERE for Full 600-Yard Results »

High Winds for Mid-Range Match on Wednesday
It was windy and cold to start the day for the 600-Yard, Mid-Range Match on Wednesday at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix. Capstone’s Adam Braverman posted: “Nice full value wind to start the Mid-Range portion of the SW Nationals sponsored by Capstone Precision Group. 38 degrees felt like 27!”

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February 7th, 2020

What You Need to Know About Primers — Explained by an Expert

Primer Priming Tool Magnum primers foil anvil primer construction reloading powder CCI
Winchester Pistol Primers on bench. Photo courtesy UltimateReloader.com.

There is an excellent article about primers on the Shooting Times website. We strongly recommend you read Mysteries And Misconceptions Of The All-Important Primer, written by Allan Jones. Mr. Jones is a bona fide expert — he served as the manager of technical publications for CCI Ammunition and Speer Bullets and Jones authored three editions of the Speer Reloading Manual.

» READ Full Primer “Mysteries and Misconceptions” Article

This authoritative Shooting Times article explains the fine points of primer design and construction. Jones also reveals some little-known facts about primers and he corrects common misconceptions. Here are some highlights from the article:

Primer Priming Tool Magnum primers foil anvil primer construction reloading powder CCISize Matters
Useful Trivia — even though Small Rifle and Small Pistol primer pockets share the same depth specification, Large Rifle and Large Pistol primers do not. The standard pocket for a Large Pistol primer is somewhat shallower than its Large Rifle counterpart, specifically, 0.008 to 0.009 inch less.

Magnum Primers
There are two ways to make a Magnum primer — either use more of the standard chemical mix to provide a longer-burning flame or change the mix to one with more aggressive burn characteristics. Prior to 1989, CCI used the first option in Magnum Rifle primers. After that, we switched to a mix optimized for spherical propellants that produced a 24% increase in flame temperature and a 16% boost in gas volume.

Foiled Again
Most component primers have a little disk of paper between the anvil and the priming mix. It is called “foil paper” not because it’s made of foil but because it replaces the true metal foil used to seal early percussion caps. The reason this little disk exists is strictly a manufacturing convenience. Wet primer pellets are smaller than the inside diameter of the cup when inserted and must be compacted to achieve their proper diameter and height. Without the foil paper, the wet mix would stick to the compaction pins and jam up the assembly process.

Read Full Primer Story on ShootingTimes.com

VIDEOS about PRIMERS
Here are two videos that offer some good, basic information on primers:

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
February 7th, 2020

Redding Offers New Slant-Bed Concentricity Checker

new 
Redding Reloading slant bed concentricity gauge

Redding has a new tool that can make it easier to measure case neck and bullet run-out. Redding’s new Slant Bed Concentricity Gauge features a tilted, 4-point case support. The “Slant Bed” design moves the bearing surface down and away from the user, making case rotation easier. Redding explains: “Pushing down with the index finger is a natural movement as opposed to rolling on a flat which requires the movement of the entire arm. It improves both the ease of case rotation and the maintenance of proper alignment for reading.”

The orientation of the Dial Indicator also improves ergonomics. The fixed vertical indicator stand places the indicator face at the optimal sight angle of 30°, reducing the possibility of off-center readings. Precision stainless steel bearings provide single-point contact with the cartridge case. Bearing sliders on stainles guideways allow quick and easy linear adjustment for cartridge length.

Redding’s new Slant Bed tool is affordable — $124.19 with 1″ Dial Indicator. The tool ships set-up for right-handers, but quickly converts for left-hand use.

- Ergonomic Design — Ships complete with large 1″x.001″ dial indicator
– Fixed indicator position — Dliminates set-up errors
– Precision stainless steel bearings mounted on linear guideways accept cartridge sizes from .17 Hornet to .408 CheyTac.
– Supplied with non-skid rubber feet or use direct mounting holes
– Easily converted to left-hand arrangement

Redding Product Description:
The new Slant Bed Concentricity Gauge features a large, easy-to-read dial indicator which quickly mounts in a factory aligned base dead-on the centerline of the case. No additional indicator alignment is needed. The uniquely angled design of the slant bed also better positions the dial indicator for easier reading as opposed to older designs. Additionally, the Gauge can be transitioned from right-handed use to left-handed by using a provided set of mounting holes on the base. Simply remove the mount screws and transfer the working sections from one end to the other. Left-handed users no longer need to struggle to get accurate readings.

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February 6th, 2020

Interesting .22 LR Rimfire Handguns — New for 2020

Ruger lite rack LCP-II pistol rimfire .22 LR 22

At SHOT Show and Media Day at the range, hundreds of new pistols were on display. We were pleased to see a variety of new .22 LR rimfire choices. For training, fun plinking, and target work, a .22 LR pistol offers many advantages. First, the ammo is inexpensive — you can get decent ammo for under $3.00 a box these days. In addition, barrel life is excellent with the little .22 LR cartridge. Finally, .22 LR has very low recoil, and less noise than centerfire cartridges — though you should still always wear eye and ear protection when shooting rimfire handguns.

Here are five new-for-2020 .22 LR Handguns from Browning, Ruger, Keltec, and Glock. Though it appears to have some reliability issues, we included the new Glock 44, because many of our Forum members asked about this new handgun.

Browning Buck Mark Limited Edition Buck Mark Plus Vision

Browning Buck Mark Limited Edition Buck Mark Plus Vision .22 LR 22

This is a new Limited Edition of Browning’s classic Buck Mark semi-auto rimfire pistol. This features a ported barrel shroud. Along with the blue version shown, this new pistol is offered with a Red or Black finish. This Editor shot this Buck Mark Plus Vision Ltd. Edition on Range Day and were impressed. It balances well, has a great trigger, and was very accurate. See Full Review on GunsAmerica.com. With lots of close-up photos, the GunsAmerica Digest review provides very complete information on the Limited Edition Series Plus Vision Buck Mark.

Ruger Mark IV .22 LR with 10″ Barrel

Ruger Mk Mark IV 10-inch barrel pistol rimfire .22 LR 22

This new Ruger Mark IV has a serious sight radius — the 10-inch barrel is near twice the length of the Mark IV’s typical 5.5-inch barrel. Even Ruger’s Mark IV Hunter and Competition models only offer a 6.88″ barrel. These new 10″-barrel guns still use the standard Mark IV one-button takedown for quick and easy field-stripping. The upper receiver comes drilled and tapped to mount Weaver- or Picatinny-style rails for optics. These new long-barrel Mark IVs will be available soon from Guns.com.

Ruger Lite Rack LCP II .22 LR Pistol

For SHOT Show 2020, Ruger introduced a new ultra-compact .22 LR pistol, the LCP II “Lite Rack”. This rimfire version of Ruger’s popular .380 ACP pocket pistol gets its name from the easy-to-charge slide. Initial testing shows this little rimfire has a decent trigger and good accuracy. With a 10+1 capacity, the Lite Rack .22 is very reliable, as you can see in this .22 Plinkster video. If you’re interested in a “Deep Cover” .22 LR carry pistol, the Lite Rack LCP II, with its $319.99 street price, may fit the bill.

Keltec P17 — Compact, Budget-Priced .22 LR Pistol

Keltec p17 .22 LR 22LR rimfire pistol handgun

Keltec’s new P17 rimfire pistol is lightweight, easy to handle, and features a fiber optic front sight and an adjustable rear. Priced at just $199.95 MSRP, the .22 LR P17 has 16+1 round capacity and ships with three, 16-round magazines. This is a small pistol — it weight just 14 ounces and OAL is 6.65″. Keltec states: “The new, affordable P17 pistol makes range days a lot less expensive and far more fun.” With low cost .22 LR ammo and a 16+1 capacity, this should be fun to shoot.

Glock 44 — Glock’s First-Ever .22 LR Handgun

Glock surprised the world with its new Glock 44, with a form factor similar to the Glock 19. Glock’s first rimfire handgun has a 4.02″ barrel and 7.28″ OAL so most G19 holsters will work with the G44. There is minimal muzzle flip, accuracy is good, and the trigger is decent. OK, that’s the good stuff. The negatives? There have been reliability issues with bulk-type, inexpensive .22 LR ammunition. Reviewer .22 Plinkster was disappointed with his G44. He had dozens of malfunctions with bulk .22 LR ammo (see 9:00 time-mark) and the gun shot high with normal sight alignment (9:20 time-mark). He says the new G44 needs further development: “I… had high hopes for the Glock 44 when it was released. Hopefully, Glock will remedy some of the issues with this handgun.” And in the Pew-Pew Tactical video below you’ll see a malfunction at 6:50. The reviewer stated: “I struggled with the rounds that were cheaper and lighter, but I didn’t struggle with hot stuff or the good stuff.” Lesson — if you are considering the G44, be sure to use quality, hotter .22 LR ammo such as CCI Mini-Mags.

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February 6th, 2020

Take Notice — Recall of Accurate 2495, 4064, 4350 Powders

Accurate Powder Western 2495 4065 4350 propellant powders recall safety fire hazard

Readers — if you reload with Accurate-brand 2495, 4064, or 4350 powders, check your containers now! Accurate Powder is recalling certain lots of these powders in both 1-lb and 8-lb containers. This is serious. The manufacturer says: “The use or storage of this product may result in combustion, fire damage, and/or possible serious injury or property damage.” The problematic powders being recalled were manufactured for Western Powders Inc. prior to 10/1/2016, but they may have been sold anytime after that.

Check the Lot Number on the back or bottom of the containers. The lot number is the last digit or last two digits (right-most digits). Here are the recalled lots:

Accurate 2495 Lots 2-17 | Accurate 4064 Lots 2-16 | Accurate 4350 Lots 2-22

If you have any of the affected powder you should fill the container immediately with WATER. Then contact Western Powders at 406-234-0422 or customerservice@westernpowders.com .

Accurate Powders Recall Notice for 2495, 4064, 4360 Powders

Accurate Powder Western 2495 4065 4350 propellant powders recall safety fire hazard

Recall tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

You Should Inspect Your Powder Supplies Now
This Powder Recall was first announced in November 2019, but we are repeating it now for our readers who may still be unaware of the issue. Some of our Forum members have observed some powder degradation with affected lots. But they also report that the refunds were handled promptly and fairly.

Member Snert noted: “I went through my inventory and found an 8-pounder and a 1-pounder, 2495 and 4350 respectively. The 4350 was going….changing color and stunk, red mist. The 2495 hadn’t obviously gone, but was part of the recall.

I called and the process is easy. Read the tags and tell em what you have. Write down the info they give you. Take a photo of the product and tag, send your contact info and a claim number. I found that they are sending me back more money than I paid. Very fair refund. I was happy with the customer service. Stand-up guys who were helpful. I’d buy from them again.” READ FORUM Recall thread.

Permalink News, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
February 6th, 2020

Reading the Wind — Good Guidebook from M.Sgt. Jim Owens

Reading the Wind Jim Owens book CD DVD Creedmoor Sports

Readers often ask for a good, authoritative resource on doping the wind and reading mirage. Many of our Forum members recommended M.Sgt. Jim Owens’ Wind-Reading Book. With 22 sets of wind charts, this 166-page resource is offered for $14.95 in print format or $12.95 in CD format.

Owens’ Reading the Wind and Coaching Techniques clearly explains how to gauge wind speeds and angles. Owens, a well-known High Power coach and creator of Jarheadtop.com, offers a simple system for ascertaining wind value based on speed and angle. The CD also explains how to read mirage — a vital skill for long-range shooters. In many situations, reading the mirage may be just as important as watching the wind flags. Owens’ $12.95 CD provides wind-reading strategies that can be applied by coaches as well as individual shooters.

As a separate product, Owens offers a Reading the Wind DVD for $29.95.

NOTE: The Wind DVD product is completely different than Owens’ $12.95 CD. The DVD is like an interactive class, while the CD is basically an eBook.

Played straight through, the DVD offers about 75 minutes of instruction. M.Sgt. Owens says “You will learn more in an hour and fifteen minutes than the host learned in fifteen years in the Marine Corps shooting program. This is a wind class you can attend again and again. [It provides] a simple system for judging the speed, direction and value of the wind.” The DVD also covers mirage reading, wind strategies, bullet BC and more.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
February 5th, 2020

Berger Southwest Nationals Event Commences Today in Phoenix

Berger SW Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery 2020 F-Class F-Open F-TR

The 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals, one of the biggest (and best) rifle competitions of the year, kicks off Wednesday, February 5, 2019 at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, Arizona. The big match continues through Sunday, February 9th. This match attracts the top F-Class and sling shooters in the country, along with many talented foreign competitors. See Desert Sharpshooters SWN Facebook Page.

Here’s a state-of-the-art F-Open rig with sleek, low-profile, Speedy-designed Shurley Brothers stock:
2020 Berger Southwest Nationals SWN

Talk to the competitors and many will tell your that the SWN is their favorite match of the year. For those in Northern states, the chance to enjoy some Arizona sunshine is a big draw, along with the quality of the competition, and the camaraderie.

Berger 2020 SW Nationals

The 2020 Berger SWN event commences today with a Mid-Range, 600-yard Match:

berger southwest nationals F-Class 2020 Ben Avery Mid-Range Berger SWN

Capstone Precision Group Makes This Event Possible
The Berger SW Nationals are made possible through the principal support of Berger Bullets and Lapua, both part of the Capstone Precision Group, which also distributes Vihtavuori powder and SK Ammunition in the USA. Berger and Lapua both generously donate prizes for 2020 SWN competitors.

Berger SW Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery 2020 F-Class F-Open F-TR

Bird’s Eye Ben Avery — A Look at the Range

If you’ve never visited the Ben Avery Facility north of Phoenix, Arizona, here is a video shot in 2016 that shows the 1000-yard range (including drone footage). The desert range at Ben Avery is something special — check out this “birds-eye view”. This video also includes an interview with Derek Rodgers, F-TR World Champion, King of 2 Miles, and the only man who who has earned both F-Open AND F-TR USA National titles.

Event Schedule for 2020 Berger SWN

Wednesday, 5 February 2020, 9:00 AM
Mid-Range Match – Three 20-shot matches at 600 yards. (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)

Thursday, 6 February 2020, 9:00 AM
4-Man Palma Team Match – 15 shots for record at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. (Divisions – Palma, F-Open, F-TR)

Friday, 7 February 2020, 8:30 AM – Start of Grand Agg
Individual Palma Match – 15 shots for record at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. (Divs – Palma, F-Open, F-TR)
Swap Meet at 1000-Yard Line after conclusion of Day’s Match

Saturday, 8 February 2020, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20-shot matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
4 Man Team Match – 20 shots at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Iron Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Iron Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
Banquet Dinner – Approximately 5:00 pm at Indoor Range.

Sunday, 9 February 2020, 8:30 AM
Individual 1000 Yard Matches – Two 20-shot matches at 1000 yards. Any Rifle-Any Sight (Any sight for F-Class shooters). (Divisions – Palma, Any Rifle-Any Sight, F-Open, F-TR)
Awards Ceremony at the Indoor Range.

Sling Shooters in Palma Division
For the Palma division, the cartridge of choice is the .308 Winchester (7.62.x51). This versatile cartridge is still capable of extreme accuracy. Never underestimate a skilled sling shooter with a good Palma rifle. Below is multi-time NRA National Long-Range Champion John Whidden in action. John’s rifle features a centerfire action in an aluminum Anschutz small-bore stock.

John Whidden Berger 2020 SW Nationals

CLICK HERE for Phoenix Travel and Lodging Information.


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February 5th, 2020

Safari Club International Convention February 5-8 in Reno, NV

Safari Club International Convention Reno Nevada NV

Didn’t get enough gun stuff in Sin City during SHOT Show? Then head to Reno, Nevada for the biggest hunting/safari show of the year. The 48th Annual Safari Club International (SCI) Hunters’ Convention kicks off today, Wednesday, February 5, 2018, at the Reno Sparks Convention Center. The big event runs through Saturday, February 8, 2018. Over 20,000 hunters and sportsmen are expected to attend this year. Ask any member who has attended the SCI Convention, and you will likely hear, “You have to go! It is the ultimate hunters’ market/showcase.”

Safari Club International Convention Reno Nevada NV

This year’s convention will have almost 1,100 companies in over 450,000 square feet of exhibit space. Thirty-two countries from six continents are represented under one roof where members come to book hunts, meet outfitters, and shop for guns, hunting equipment, and outdoor gear. There will be dozens of seminars covering hunting techniques, care for gear/equipment, and ways to prepare wild game.

Impressive Selection of Auction Items This Year
The SCI show is famed for its gun, safari, and outdoor art auctions which raise money for the organization. At this year’s Convention, exotic firearms, once-in-a-lifetime hunts, and fine collectibles will be auctioned. Net proceeds from the auctions are used by SCI to promote conservation and game management efforts worldwide. CLICK HERE for Auction Preview Guide.

Here are some of the hunts which will be auctioned:

Safari Club International Convention Reno Nevada NV

And here is one of the most impressive firearms to be auctioned at the 2020 show, a classic “Big Five” Double Rifle from Krieghoff International, valued at $18,690.

Krieghoff double rifle auction Safari Club international SCi

The SCI convention boasts “the largest display of wildlife art at one venue anywhere in the world” according to Ammoland.com. The work of scores of painters, sculptors, and taxidermists will be on display. There will be auctions of wall paintings and sculpture items, such as this Bronze Buck:

Krieghoff double rifle auction Safari Club international SCi

Guided Hunts in Exotic Destinations
At the SCI Convention, hundreds of top guides and outfitter services are showcased in the Outfitters Hall. You will find hunting guides who can literally take you to the ends of the earth to find prize game. From the Arctic to Africa to New Zealand’s Southern Alps, you will find “dream hunts” to pursue.

Namibia Hunting safari
Photo courtesy Namibia Hunting Safaris.

This 6-Day, $54,400 New Zealand Hunt for four persons will be auctioned Saturday 2/8/2020.
Krieghoff double rifle auction Safari Club international SCi

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product, News Post comment »
February 5th, 2020

Wildcatter’s Road Map — Cartridge Conversion Book

handloaders guide cartridge conversion wildcat obsolete cartridges

Are you a confirmed wildcatter? Do you like to experiment with custom cartridge types? Or do you just like the extra performance you can get from a specialty cartridge such as a 20 Vartarg or 22-250 AI? Well, if you love wildcat cartridges, you’ll probably enjoy this book. Now available for the first time since 2003, The Handloader’s Manual of Cartridge Conversions explains the processes and tools needed to convert standardized brass into hundreds of different rifle and pistol cartridge types. A vast variety of case designs are covered — from vintage cartridge types to modern, cutting-edge wildcats.

handloaders guide cartridge conversion wildcat obsolete cartridges

This classic reference guide has been revised with an easy-to-search format, complete with a full index of hundreds of cartridges. This book belongs on the shelf of any hand-loader who enjoys making and shooting wildcat cartridges. However do note that much of the text is unchanged from earlier editions. For some cartridge types, the author recommends “parent” brass brands that are no longer available. In other situations, there may be more convenient conversions now offered. Nonetheless this is an important resource. As one verified purchaser explains: “Great reference for making the cartridges that are hard to get or no longer in production. Offers an alternative to the the time, expense and effort of having to re-chamber a classic. Saves ‘Grandpa’s shooters’ from becoming safe queens.”

wildcat cartridge case forming Killer Bee Hydraulic
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
February 4th, 2020

How to Avoid a Train Wreck at Berger SW Nationals This Week

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

The 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals kicks off 2/5/2020 at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, AZ. The big event starts with a 600-yard Mid-Range Match. Many of the nation’s most talented F-Class and sling shooters will be there. But no matter what your skill level, it is still possible to make major mistakes that can spoil the day and/or put you out of the running for the entire match. This article aims to help competitors avoid the big errors/oversights/failures, aka “train wrecks”, that can ruin a match.

Berger SW Nationals mid-range match
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Berger SW Nationals mid-range match

In any shooting competition, you must try to avoid major screw-ups that can ruin your day (or your match). In this article, past F-TR National Mid-Range and Long Range Champion Bryan Litz talks about “Train Wrecks”, i.e. those big disasters (such as equipment failures) that can ruin a whole match. Bryan illustrates the types of “train wrecks” that commonly befall competitors, and he explains how to avoid these “unmitigated disasters”.

Urban Dictionary “Train Wreck” Definition: “A total @#$&! disaster … the kind that makes you want to shake your head.”

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballisticsTrain Wrecks (and How to Avoid Them)
by Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC

Success in long range competition depends on many things. Those who aspire to be competitive are usually detail-oriented, and focused on all the small things that might give them an edge. Unfortunately it’s common for shooters lose sight of the big picture — missing the forest for the trees, so to speak.

Consistency is one of the universal principles of successful shooting. The tournament champion is the shooter with the highest average performance over several days, often times not winning a single match. While you can win tournaments without an isolated stellar performance, you cannot win tournaments if you have a single train wreck performance. And this is why it’s important for the detail-oriented shooter to keep an eye out for potential “big picture” problems that can derail the train of success!

Train wrecks can be defined differently by shooters of various skill levels and categories. Anything from problems causing a miss, to problems causing a 3/4-MOA shift in wind zero can manifest as a train wreck, depending on the kind of shooting you’re doing.

Berger SW Nationals Train Wreck Bryan Litz

Below is a list of common Shooting Match Train Wrecks, and suggestions for avoiding them.

1. Cross-Firing. The fastest and most common way to destroy your score (and any hopes of winning a tournament) is to cross-fire. The cure is obviously basic awareness of your target number on each shot, but you can stack the odds in your favor if you’re smart. For sling shooters, establish your Natural Point of Aim (NPA) and monitor that it doesn’t shift during your course of fire. If you’re doing this right, you’ll always come back on your target naturally, without deliberately checking each time. You should be doing this anyway, but avoiding cross-fires is another incentive for monitoring this important fundamental. In F-Class shooting, pay attention to how the rifle recoils, and where the crosshairs settle. If the crosshairs always settle to the right, either make an adjustment to your bipod, hold, or simply make sure to move back each shot. Also consider your scope. Running super high magnification can leave the number board out of the scope’s field view. That can really increase the risk of cross-firing.

2. Equipment Failure. There are a wide variety of equipment failures you may encounter at a match, from loose sight fasteners, to broken bipods, to high-round-count barrels that that suddenly “go south” (just to mention a few possibilities). Mechanical components can and do fail. The best policy is to put some thought into what the critical failure points are, monitor wear of these parts, and have spares ready. This is where an ounce of prevention can prevent a ton of train wreck. On this note, if you like running hot loads, consider whether that extra 20 fps is worth blowing up a bullet (10 points), sticking a bolt (DNF), or worse yet, causing injury to yourself or someone nearby.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics

3. Scoring/Pit Malfunction. Although not related to your shooting technique, doing things to insure you get at least fair treatment from your scorer and pit puller is a good idea. Try to meet the others on your target so they can associate a face with the shooter for whom they’re pulling. If you learn your scorer is a Democrat, it’s probably best not to tell Obama jokes before you go for record. If your pit puller is elderly, it may be unwise to shoot very rapidly and risk a shot being missed (by the pit worker), or having to call for a mark. Slowing down a second or two between shots might prevent a 5-minute delay and possibly an undeserved miss.

Berger SW Nationals
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

train wreck Bryan Litz shooting tips ballistics4. Wind Issues. Tricky winds derail many trains. A lot can be written about wind strategies, but here’s a simple tip about how to take the edge off a worse case scenario. You don’t have to start blazing away on the command of “Commence fire”. If the wind is blowing like a bastard when your time starts, just wait! You’re allotted 30 minutes to fire your string in long range slow fire. With average pit service, it might take you 10 minutes if you hustle, less in F-Class. Point being, you have about three times longer than you need. So let everyone else shoot through the storm and look for a window (or windows) of time which are not so adverse. Of course this is a risk, conditions might get worse if you wait. This is where judgment comes in. Just know you have options for managing time and keep an eye on the clock. Saving rounds in a slow fire match is a costly and embarrassing train wreck.

5. Mind Your Physical Health. While traveling for shooting matches, most shooters break their normal patterns of diet, sleep, alcohol consumption, etc. These disruptions to the norm can have detrimental effects on your body and your ability to shoot and even think clearly. If you’re used to an indoor job and eating salads in air-conditioned break rooms and you travel to a week-long rifle match which keeps you on your feet all day in 90-degree heat and high humidity, while eating greasy restaurant food, drinking beer and getting little sleep, then you might as well plan on daily train wrecks. If the match is four hours away, rather than leaving at 3:00 am and drinking five cups of coffee on the morning drive, arrive the night before and get a good night’s sleep.”

Keep focused on the important stuff. You never want to lose sight of the big picture. Keep the important, common sense things in mind as well as the minutia of meplat trimming, weighing powder to the kernel, and cleaning your barrel ’til it’s squeaky clean. Remember, all the little enhancements can’t make up for one big train wreck!

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February 4th, 2020

Can’t Find H4350? Consider Alliant Reloder 16 — It’s Excellent

Hodgdon H4350 Reloader reloder 16 powder sale Varget

Forum members are lamenting that they can’t find Hodgdon H4350 at local gunstores or through major online Vendors. There ARE a few shops that do have H4350 (and Varget) on the shelves. But the nearest H4350 may be in another state, far away. Therefore, you may want to consider using Alliant Reloder 16 (RL16). We highly recommend Reloder 16 for shooters who can’t find H4350. RL16 has a very similar burn rate, excellent accuracy, and is VERY temp stable. Some ace F-Class shooters (among Top 10 at Nationals) tell us that, with hot ambient temps (80-100+° F), RL16 is even more temp stable than H4350.

Powder Availability at Online Vendors — H4350, Reloder 16, Varget
Vendor Hodgdon H4350 Alliant Reloder 16 Hodgdon Varget
Brownells Out of Stock In Stock $207.99 8 lbs. Out of Stock
Bruno Shooters Supply Out of Stock In Stock $28.50 1 lb. Out of Stock
Midsouth Shooters Out of Stock In Stock $221.31 8 lbs. Out of Stock
Sportsman’s Warehouse In store $229.99 8 lb.* In store $31.99 1 lb.* In store $229.99 8 lb.*
Powder Valley Out of Stock In Stock $26.05 1 lb. Out of Stock
Precision Reloading Out of Stock In Stock $26.67 1 lb. Out of Stock

*This is available in-store only at a few locations. You need to search store locations near you for availability. For example, H4350 8-pounders are available in a couple locations including Show Low, AZ and Midvale, UT. Varget 8-pounders are available in AZ, NM, and WY and a couple other states.

Alliant Reloder reloader 16 powder

Do You Like H4350? Then You Should Try Reloder 16 — It Is Accurate and Temp Stable
Alliant Reloder 16 is used now by many top shooters for cartridges that work well with Hodgdon H4350. In fact, we’d say that Reloder 16 is the best substitute for H4350 on the market. Alliant’s RL 16 is very temp stable, offers good velocity, and the accuracy is top tier. Some guys report slightly better accuracy than H4350 in the .284 Win, .260 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6mm Creedmoor, and 6XC cartridges. If you currently use H4350, you should definitely give Alliant Reloder 16 a try. The powder also boasts excellent lot-to-lot consistency and contains a proprietary de-coppering additive.

Alliant powder Reloader Reloder 16 RL16 load data 6.5 Creedmoor .243 Win WinchesterThis is NOT just a slower version of Alliant’s double-based Reloder 15 (which words great in the 6mmBR and Dasher cartridges). Reloder 16 is a completely new formulation, produced in Sweden by Bofors for Alliant. Reloder 16 utilizes TZ technology, which manipulates the response of the propellant and resists the natural tendency to generate more pressure at higher temperatures and less pressure at lower temperatures. As a result, Alliant’s Reloder 16 offers truly outstanding temperature stability.

Reloder 16 Load Recipes »

Reloder 16 Load Data PDF »

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading 1 Comment »
February 4th, 2020

Eliminate Copper “False Positives” with Aluminum Jags

Aluminum jag copper eliminator Dewey

Conventional brass jags work great — except for one thing. They can react to solvents, leaving a blue “false positive” on patches. In recent years, jag-makers have experimented with many different materials in an effort to cure the solvent-reaction problem. Today we have polymer jags, nickel-plated jags, and stainless steel jags. And the latest innovation is the aluminum jag from Dewey.

Aluminum jag DeweyJ. Dewey Mfg. offers a series of “Copper Eliminator” jags and brush adapters made from aircraft-grade aluminum with the same hardness as brass. Dewey claims that its aluminum jags will not become embedded with grit or particles that could harm your bore. At the same time, Dewey’s aluminum jags will not react to ammoniated bore solvents that can turn patches blue green when used with brass jags. Dewey aluminum jags are offered with either male OR female 8/32 threads. The $5.25 aluminum jags and $3.70 brush adapters are offered in a wide variety of calibers. You can order these products from Dewey Mfg. or Brownells.

Story Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome submissions from our readers.
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February 3rd, 2020

Bargain Finder 228: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, 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. MidwayUSA Padded Shooting Mat, $74.99 on Sale

thick deluxe padded shooting mat MidwayUSA form padding

This padded MidwayUSA mat is much more comfortable than typical shooting mats. With 1.5″-thick high-density foam, this is way better for knees and elbows than typical roll-up mats. For your home range, this is a good choice. On sale now for $74.99, this thick mat folds into three sections. It stows flat and fits nicely in the back of a truck or SUV. Actual owner comments: “If you like to be COMFORTABLE … I can highly recommend it! Easy on the elbows. Easy on the knees. Easy on the belly. You can even kneel on it comfortably, even when the surface is rock-hard!”; “I tell you what … Do yourself a favor and spend the few extra dollars on this unit. Highly recommended.” MORE REVIEWS HERE.

2. EuroOptic — Leica 8×42 Geovid LRF Binoculars, $1150 Off

Leica rangefinder binoculars geovid 3000 HD-B 3200.com binoc

If you’re looking for outstanding glass plus great rangefinding capabilities, the Leica Geovids are among the best you can buy — at any price. Right now save over $1000 on the Leica 8×42 HD-B 3000 Geovids at EuroOptic. These are being marked down to $1799.00 because Leica has introduced a new “smart” Geovid 3200.com model that communicates with a Ballistic App. That new 8×42 Geovid 3200.com starts at $2949.00, so you can save big bucks by buying the previous model. Last year’s 10×42 Geovid is also on sale now for $2499.00.

3. Natchez — ChargeMaster Lite Powder Dispenser, $207.99

rcbs chargemaster lite

Precise powder dispensing is critical for accurate loads. Among the many electronic scale/dispensers on the market, RCBS’s ChargeMaster Lite is a very good choice. This week Natchez is selling the ChargeMaster Lite for only $199.99. That’s a great price — almost $40 cheaper than Amazon. Note: Natchez also offers $5 Shipping with $99+ orders through 2/4/2020 with Code FR200201.

4. Multiple Vendors — 20% Rebate on Federal and Speer Bullets

Federal Speer Bullet rebate 20% OFF

Now through the end of April, if you purchase at least $100 worth of Federal and/or Speer bullets you can get 20% of the purchase price back. Minimum purchase is $100.00. Maximum rebate of $100 per person or household. Note: The Rebate amount will be calculated on the product purchase price only — that does NOT include taxes and/or shipping/handling fees. This Federal/Speer Rebate is valid for purchases made 02/01/2020 through 04/30/2020. View REBATE FORM.

5. Midsouth — Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler Lite, $99.99

Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler Lite

Lots of people love wet-tumbling their brass in stainless pins but not everyone want to do it in a giant unit. We found a sweet deal on the Frankford Arsenal Rotary Tumbler Lite. Midsouth has this unit on sale for $99.99. This tumbler is small enough to fit on a counter but still big enough to hold 300 pieces of .223 Rem brass. For folks on a limited budget who want to start wet tumbling, this is a solid choice.

6. CDNN — Ruger American .30-06 Hunting Rifle, $319.99

ruger american rifle
ruger american rifle

Even with so many new cartridge types, the venerable .30-06 Springfield remains a trusted and effective hunting round. Moreover, you can find good .30-06 hunting ammo at most any sporting goods store. Whether you’re looking for an affordable hunting rifle or perhaps a first rifle for a family member, check out this .30-06 Ruger American Rifle with Wolf Camo finish. CDNN’s current sale price is just $319.99 — a great bargain. One recent comparison test declared the Ruger American the best entry-level hunting rifle, and Ruger offers a rock-solid warranty.

7. Sportsman’s Guide — Buck Mark Camper UFX Pistol, $299.99

browning buckmark .22 LR pistol Camper UFX

The Browning Buck Mark is a classic, and for good reason. These pistols are reliable, well-balanced, have a good trigger, and they are very accurate. And now you can get one for under $300.00. Sportsman’s Guide has the Browning Buck Mark Camper UFX with 5.5″ Barrel on sale for $299.99 ($284.99 member price). This Buckmark Camper UFX is a excellent value, especially for Club members who pay just $284.99.

8. MidwayUSA Dogtown Ammo, $21.25 for 50 rounds

midwayusa dogtown nosler .223 Rem ammo varmint ammunition

Dogtown Ammo, made with Nosler tipped FB bullets, offers great “bang for the buck” for .223 Rem shooters, particularly high-volume varminters. Right now get 50 rounds for just $21.24 (43¢/rd). Or order 200 rounds for $86.99 (42¢/rd). Forum member NDAE15MAN states: “This stuff shoots in all of my .223 Rem guns — 7/8″ to 1″ at 100 yards. Best kept secret for ammo. Shoot exact same groups as Black Hills.” NOTE: MidwayUSA also sells .204 Ruger Dogtown Ammo with 32gr tipped flat-base bullets.

9. Midsouth Shooters — 17 HMR V-Max 500 Round Brick, $89.99

17 hmr ammo

Here’s a great deal for varmint shooters with 17 HMR rifles. Midsouth has the Hornady 17 HMR brick of 500 for a low price of $89.99. That works out to just 18 cents per round — cheap enough that you can blast sage rats all days long and never worry about running out of ammo.

10. Amazon — Two Pairs Safety Eyewear, Cords, Covers, $13.50

safety shooting glasses

Eye protection is important! All you need is one case separation or blown primer to cause serious eye injury. Don’t take that risk. Plus the CMP has made Eye Protection mandatory for all CMP Pistol and Centerfire Rifle events. Here’s a great kit with TWO Sets of safety eyewear, each with a neck strap and carry bag. These feature ANSI Z87.1-rated lenses that are anti-fog and scratch-resistant. The lenses also block harmful UV rays. Get the full SuperLite and SuperClear Lens Technology Kit for just $13.50.

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February 3rd, 2020

Rear Sand Bag Tuning — Fill Levels, Sand Types, Bag Designs

With the Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN) taking place this week in Phoenix, we are reprising this discussing of rear bag designs and fill levels. By “tuning” your rear bag you can reduce hop on shot-firing and help your rifle track better. All that can translate to better scores, particularly with large-caliber rifles.

Tuning Your Rear Sand Bags

Over the years, noted gunsmith and a Benchrest Hall-of-Fame inductee Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzalez has learned a few things about “tuning” rear sandbags for best performance. On his Facebook page, Speedy recently discussed how sand bag fill levels (hard vs. soft) can affect accuracy. Speedy says you don’t want to have both your front and rear sandbags filled up ultra-hard. One or the other bag needs to have some “give” to provide a shock-absorbing function (and prevent stock jump). And you want to tune your fill arrangements to match your shooting style. Free recoil shooters may need a different fill levels than bag squeezers (who a softer bag but harder ears).

SAND BAGS & HOW TO FILL THEM by Speedy Gonzalez

I was asked several times by competitors at the S.O.A. Matches and F-Class Nationals as to how I fill my sand bags for benchrest competition. Here is a copy of a reply I gave several years ago:

Back in the old days, Pat McMillan told me: “You can not have two bags filled so hard that you gun bounces on them in the process of firing round at your target, especially if you have a rig with a very flexible stock. The bags must be set up in a manner for them to absorb the initial shock of the firing pin moving forward and igniting the primer.

Then [they must] maintain their shape and absorb the second shock wave as well the rearward thrust and torque of the rifle. What happens to the rifle when this is not done? Well let me tell you. The rifles have a very bad tendency to jump and roll in the bags. This causes many of those wild, lost shots that one can’t explain.”

Here’s some Good General Advice for Bag Set-up:

1. You should not have TWO hard bags [i.e. both front AND rear] in your set-up.

2. Heavy sand magnifies these phenomena.

3. If you are a bag squeezer, pack ears hard and leave bag pliable enough to squeeze for the movement required. You may pack front bag as hard as rules permit.

4. Free recoil shooters pack both bags firm, but not so hard as to allow stock jump. Especially if you have a stock with a very flexible forearm.

5. We use play-ground sand, also know as silica sand. I sift mine to get any large impurities out then mix it with 25% to 50% with Harts parakeet gravel to the desired hardness that I am looking for. The bird gravel keeps the sand from packing itself into that solid as a brick state.

Speaking of bricks — another thing that happens when shooters employ that heavy zircon sand is the ears form a low spot under them from recoil and then tend to rock back and forth with the rifle causing many low shots to crop up. Edgewood makes an Edgewood/Speedy rear bag specially reinforced under the ears to eliminate this scenario.

General Thoughts about Bag Construction and Ear Materials
I do not like the solid double-stitched leather bottoms. While this seems like a good idea, I see more shooters have problems because of them. They tend to slide around the bench and or slide with the rifle on recoil. The standard Protektor with Cordura rabbit ears and an Otto ring bag with a Cordura front would be what I would suggest to the new shooter or one of the Edgewood / Speedy rear bags, these mimic the “Donut” and feature a ring of leather around the bottom circumference that keep the bottom from rocking on the bench or ground[.]

One last note –If you use the Cordura bags, keep them sprayed with a good silicon spray or “Rain-Ex”. This keeps them from getting sticky. — Speedy

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February 3rd, 2020

Video Shows How to Replace Remington 700 Trigger

Remington 700 trigger replacement Timney installation

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.
Remington 700 trigger replacement Timney installation

Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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February 2nd, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Nat’l Champion F-Open Rifle and Cerus Twin

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

With the Berger Southwest Nationals commencing this week, we thought our readers would appreciate a showcase of two impressive, state-of-the-art F-Open match rifles. The first, show above, is the .284 RAHM (40° .284 Win Imp) with which Brian Bowling captured the 2019 F-Class Open Division Long Range National Championship. The second rifle belongs to barrel-maker Bryan Blake. Like Bowling’s rifle, Blake’s rig features a low-profile Cerus stock, but with purple highlights. Both rifles have 6-groove, cut-rifled barrels from Blake Barrel & Rifle and both sport Nightforce scopes.

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

Twin World-Class F-Open Rifles

Report from Bryan Blake of Blake Barrel & Rifle
We had been producing gun barrels for about 1.5 years prior to the 2019 NRA Long Range F-Class Nationals. Brian Bowling started shooting our 7mm barrels in May of 2019. Bowling and I are both on the Rutland team, Team Cerus, which has seven members. Bowling and I received the first Cerus XL stocks from Cerus Rifleworks in August of 2018. The stock was a very straight design.

With our barrels, these F-Open rigs can shoot! In 2018, Brian Bowling and I had the only two clean scores for the first match at the 1000-yard team NRA Nationals. In spring of 2019, I worked with Will of Cerus Rifleworks to see if we could come up with a lower center of gravity design to enhance what was already the straightest stock out there. We developed the Cerus XR stock which features stepped metal rails on the fore-end. I cut my XL Cerus stock and designed the rail system attached to the sides of the fore-end. Bowling’s stock (with black rails) was the second XR in the shooting world. On his very first weekend match at 600 yards he shot a 200-20X with the new XR stock and Blake 7mm 1:8.5″-twist barrel. He was using Berger 184gr 7mm bullets.

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

In 2019, at the NRA F-Class Long-Range Nationals, Brian Bowling won the F-Open National Championsship with a strong performance. He finished with a ton of Xs, three points ahead of the second place competitor. Before Brian’s impressive victory, we were told by many top shooters that a 6-groove barrel has never won any F-Class Mational event, and hypothetically never would. Well with Brian Bowling’s excellent shooting and reloading capabilities, we achieved a feat many said couldn’t be done.

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

Bowling’s Championship-winning rifle features a Bat Model B action in the Cerus XR stock. His Blake barrel is chambered for the .284 RAHM wildcat cartridge. This is a 40-degree (40°) version of the .284 Winchester. The .284 RAHM has a straighter case body compared to the original .284 Win.

We built Bowling’s rifle, doing everything except the final clear finish. We can do that work, but were short on time for the Nationals last year. We are proud of the chambering work we do and the quality of our bedding jobs.

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

Bryan Blake’s F-Open Rifle — the Purple XR

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

The Purple XR-stocked gun I shoot was built in August of 2019, right before the 2019 NRA F-Class Nationals. The natural wood is complimented by highlights finished with a bright purple metallic epoxy resin that Will from Cerus dreamed up. For this rifle we mated a BAT 3LL action with Blake barrels (switch-barrel configuration). Up front the fore-end rails are painted purple “plum crazy” to match the purple resin. The purple XR is finished with automotive “high solids” clear-coat, and block-sanded for a smooth, flawless look.

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

Blake’s Rifle is a Switch Barrel — 7mm and .30 Caliber
This Purple XR was set up to be a switch barrel rig, with both a 7mm BBM and a .30 BBM*. These BBM wildcats are based on shortened and straightened .300 WSM with a 40-degree shoulder. On my purple XR rifle as well as Bowling’s rifle, we employ Nightforce optics and load Berger bullets. These are the only glass and projectiles we use in our rifles.

The Purple XR is extremely accurate. Check out this 2.6″ group, shot at 1000 yards during a club match at the Ben Avery Range in Arizona. Yes, that is 1/4-MOA at 1K! Many folks would be very happy with that group at 600 yards. At 1000 yards it is remarkable. No, the rifle can’t do that every time. But this does demonstrate that the Purple XR is a tack-driver. CLICK HERE to see a 3.9 inch, 15-shot group at 1000 yards on the F-Class target (150-15X).

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

Brian Bowling F-Class F-0pen Open National Champion Brian Blake Barrel Blake Machine .284 Winchester Win RAHM rifle competition

About Blake Barrel and Rifle — History and Barrel-Making Process
Blake Barrel and Rifle was re-launched in 2018. The business was actually started by my grandfather, Robert Blake, in 1966. In 1969 my grandfather stopped doing gunsmithing and making single-point cut-rifled barrels. He transitioned to doing industrial work, and less work for the public. After all those years he and my father, Dave Blake, kept the barrel-making equipment in storage. They kept the gun-drilling machines in the shop as they used them to drill long, deep holes in anything from aircraft parts to electric motor rotors.

In 2012 we got the diamond single-point, sine-bar rifling machine out of storage, along with the Pratt and Whitney double-spindle reaming machine. We then completely rebuilt and updated the equipment. We modified the gun-drill to be a counter-rotating drilling system. What that means is the drill spins at about 20% of the rotational speed, and the barrel at 80%. The counter-rotation keeps the drill on the center axis of the barrel more precisely than just rotating the barrel, or just rotating the drill. We are able to consistently drill holes in our barrel steel (primarily 416R) that at the end of a 33.25″ blank that is only .005″ off of center axis.

We then ream the barrels to be .0004″ below desired finish bore size. After the reaming process we mandrel-hone the bores to be .0001″ below finish bore size. This process eliminates reamer marks in the barrel bore. Therefore very minimal lapping is needed after rifling to remove any tooling marks. We then rifle the barrel to any twist rate we like. With a fine lap after rifling, the barrel has no tooling marks and all surface metal is flowing in the direction of the twist of the rifling.

* 7mm BBM stands for “Blake Bramley Magnum”. Dan Bramley and I developed that cartridge together in October of 2017. The .30 BBM is the “Blake Barrel Magnum”, which I developed in May of 2018.

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February 2nd, 2020

How Powder Moisture Content Affects Pressure and Speed

vihtavuori vv moisture content powder propellent
This Technical Report Comes from the Vihtavuori website.

Powder Moisture Content — Did You Know?
Variations in moisture content change the burning rate of a powder and thereby chamber pressures and muzzle velocity. The moisture content of the Vihtavuori N100 and N300 series powders is usually around 1%, while the N500-series’ normal moisture content is 0.6% because of the added nitroglycerine.

So what difference does moisture content make? Here’s an example. In a test, a [Vihtavuori] powder sample was dried by heating it, losing about 0.5 % of its weight. Cartridges were then loaded with the dried powder and fired using a pressure gun. Chamber pressures and muzzle velocities produced by these special cartridges were compared to those produced by cartridges loaded with untreated powder. (The powder charge and bullet were of course the same in both sets of cartridges.)

After Powder Drying:
Pressure Increased 11% from 320 MPa to 355 MPa
Velocity Increased 2.6% from 2526 to 2592 FPS

Comparing results showed chamber pressures increased from 320 MPa to 355 MPa with the dried powder, and the muzzle velocity increased accordingly from 770 m/s to 790 m/s (2526 to 2592 FPS). And note, this is only one example, of one caliber and loading. The difference might be much higher depending on the cartridge and loading combinations.

Recommendation: Store powder below 68°F in 55-65% humidity.

What does this tell us? Well, it seems we need to forget the old saying “Keep your powder dry”! Instead, focus on proper powder storage, at a temperature below 20°C/68°F and humidity between 55 and 65%. Safe reloading everybody!

vihtavuori vv moisture content powder propellent

Tech Tip sourced by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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February 2nd, 2020

Barrel Twist Rate — How to Determine the True Twist Rate

FirearmsID.com barrel rifling diagram
Erik Dahlberg illustration courtesy FireArmsID.com.

Sometimes you’ll get a barrel that doesn’t stabilize bullets the way you’d anticipate, based on the stated (or presumed) twist rate. A barrel might have 1:10″ stamped on the side but it is, in truth, a 1:10.5″ twist or even a 1:9.5″. Cut-rifled barrels, such as Kriegers and Bartleins, normally hold very true to the specified twist rate. With buttoned barrels, due to the nature of the rifling process, there’s a greater chance of a small variation in twist rate. And yes, factory barrels can be slightly out of spec as well.

After buying a new barrel, you should determine the true twist rate BEFORE you start load development. You don’t want to invest in a large supply of expensive bullets only to find that that won’t stabilize because your “8 twist” barrel is really a 1:8.5″. Sinclair International provides a simple procedure for determining the actual twist rate of your barrel.

Sinclair’s Simple Twist Rate Measurement Method
If are unsure of the twist rate of the barrel, you can measure it yourself in a couple of minutes. You need a good cleaning rod with a rotating handle and a jag with a fairly tight fitting patch. Utilize a rod guide if you are accessing the barrel through the breech or a muzzle guide if you are going to come in from the muzzle end. Make sure the rod rotates freely in the handle under load. Start the patch into the barrel for a few inches and then stop. Put a piece of tape at the back of the rod by the handle (like a flag) or mark the rod in some way. Measure how much of the rod is still protruding from the rod guide. You can either measure from the rod guide or muzzle guide back to the flag or to a spot on the handle. Next, continue to push the rod in until the mark or tape flag has made one complete revolution. Re-measure the amount of rod that is left sticking out of the barrel. Use the same reference marks as you did on the first measurement. Next, subtract this measurement from the first measurement. This number is the twist rate. For example, if the rod has 24 inches remaining at the start and 16 inches remain after making one revolution, you have 8 inches of travel, thus a 1:8 twist barrel.

Determining Barrel Twist Rate Empirically
Twist rate is defined as the distance in inches of barrel that the rifling takes to make one complete revolution. An example would be a 1:10″ twist rate. A 1:10″ barrel has rifling that makes one complete revolution in 10 inches of barrel length. Rifle manufacturers usually publish twist rates for their standard rifle offerings and custom barrels are always ordered by caliber, contour, and twist rate. If you are having a custom barrel chambered you can ask the gunsmith to mark the barrel with the twist rate.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
February 1st, 2020

Aussie Teen Wins Heavy Gun in Big Benchrest Match Down Under

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

It’s great to see young people involved in benchrest competition. Young competitors are truly the future of our sport. While in the USA the average age of 100/200-yard benchrest shooters seems to be getting older every season, down under in Australia, there is a youth movement. A very talented young man, 15-year-old Cameron Bailey, took top Heavy Gun honors in the prestigious 40th Australia Day match in Canberra, Australia. This big 100/200-yard competition is one of the most important matches on the Aussie Benchrest calendar.

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

40th Anniversary Australia Day Match
The Australia Day Benchrest Match is one of Australia’s largest and longest-running Benchrest shooting competitions. The 25th and 26th of January 2020 marked the 40th anniversary of the Australia Day Benchrest Match. This year conditions were extremely challenging. Leading up to the match, Canberra was hit by a number of bushfires, with some competitors struggling to get to the match when Canberra Airport was closed due to nearby fires just days before the 2020 match.

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

Challenging Conditions with Smoke from Bushfires and High Winds
Weather on both days saw temperatures in the low-mid 90s, with wind gusting up to 30 miles per hour. Mirage can often add to the challenge when shooting at the Majura Range in Canberra, but during the Light Gun class held on Saturday, a layer of smoke from the local fires reduced the sunshine enough that visibility at 200 yards was much better than normal. However by Sunday morning, most of the smoke had blown through, so mirage was much more of an issue for the Heavy class. Conditions on both days were extremely switchy and unsettled, with the wind continually changing direction. Many competitors shot small 4-shot groups, but lost one of their 5 shots to the continually shifting winds.

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

15-Year-Old Cameron Bailey Tops Field in Heavy Gun
Cameron had a great preformance in the Heavy Gun Glass, beating all Heavy Gun competitors (of any age) to win the Heavy Gun Grand Agg — the combined HG group size Aggregate for 100/200 yards. And Cameron also finished 7th overall in the Two-gun Championship. Very impressive performance for a teenager. This was not his first competition though — Cameron has been shooting benchrest in Australia since he was 12, the legal minimum age to use firearms in most Australian States. Cameron shoots off the left shoulder, so is able to use one of several left-hand rifles owned by his father, Fergus Bailey.

Here is Cameron shooting LV at 200 yards. Note the whirring windflags.

Cameron had a slow start on Saturday morning in the 100 Light, finishing 34th with a .4226″ Aggregate. But Cameron generally shoots better at 200 yards, so went into the Aggregate that afternoon confident that he could significantly improve his results. Cameron worked hard throughout the afternoon, and finished in 6th position with a .3833 aggregate at 200 yards. This left Cameron 14th in the Grand Aggregate. Cameron came into the Heavy Class on Sunday with confidence, and worked hard to avoid getting caught by the difficult conditions. While Cameron did not shoot many small groups, he was able to avoid the occasional lost shots that could kill an Aggregate. In the Heavy 100, Cameron finished 4th with a .2774 Aggregate, and in the 200 Cameron finished 2nd with a .3668 Aggregate. On the day, Cameron was the most consistent across the two yardages, giving Cameron the win in the Heavy Grand with a .3221 aggregate.

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

Young Cameron Even Loads His Own Ammo
Cameron employed some new gear at the match, including a new Lensi rear bag, a new 3M-covered bag on his NEO rest, and a new March High Master scope. The whole weekend, Cameron shot Barts Ultra flat-base bullets, loaded with Vihtavuori N133 powder. The cartridge was 6PPC with 0.269″ neck. And yes, Cameron loaded all his own ammunition during the match. Cameron’s hot-shooting rigs used the following components:

Krieger 1/14″-Twist Barrel – Heavy Gun Class
Krieger Gain Twist Barrel – Light Gun Class
BAT Model B Multi-flat Stainless Action
Scarborough Stock
Flavio Trigger
March 48X High Master Scope
Morr Accuracy High Scope Rings

100 200 Benchrest group Australia Canberra Aussie brush fires Cameron teen Heavy gun winner

Congratulations Cameron on Your Australia Day HG Win!

Canberra in State of Emergency
EDITOR’S Note: Canberra, Australia’s Capital city, has declared a state of Emergency, as bushfires threaten. The entire Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which includes the city of about 400,000, is under a state of emergency due to the Orroral Valley Fire burning in Namadgi National Park, about 30 miles south of the city. Authorities are concerned that predicted hot weather and high winds could drive the fire north. It is the worst threat the Canberra area has faced in 20 years. See Canberra News Report.

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