October 19th, 2017

Definitive Book for AR-Platform Gear-A-Holics

AR AR15 Armalite Black Rifle Book Gun Digest
Photo Courtesy Cabela’s Gun Sports

Kevin Muramatsu’s black rifle book, the Gun Digest Guide to Customizing Your AR-15, is a great resource for fans of AR-platform rifles. All the AR options you can imagine are covered: suppressors, premium barrels, adjustable stocks, free-float handguards, ergonomic grips, buffer systems, tactical lights and much more. Those planning an AR rifle build will find application-specific suggestions for 3-Gun, Service Rifle, High Power (Space Gun), Hunting, and Self-Defense use.

AR AR15 Armalite Black Rifle Book Gun Digest AR AR15 Armalite Black Rifle Book Gun Digest

Firearms expert Muramatsu offers advice on choosing the right stock/barrel/optics configuration for your particular game. He also discusses the wide variety of options for slings, grips, magazines and other accessories. With over 520 photos, the book includes a large photo gallery of customized ARs, and includes bonus coverage of the FAL and other “tactical” firearms. The Gun Digest Guide to Customizing Your AR-15 is available from Amazon.com for $21.87, and a Kindle eBook version is offered for $14.99. The book is also sold by Barnes & Noble, and most other major booksellers.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical No Comments »
September 13th, 2017

How Velocity Changes with Barrel Length — .223 Rem Test Results

.223 Rem Cut-Down Test barrel UMC m855

Most of us own a .223 Rem rifle. Now, thanks to our friends at Rifleshooter.com we can assess exactly how velocity changes with barrel length for this popular cartridge.

Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting the barrel of a .223 Rem rifle from 26″ all the way down to 16.5″. The cuts were made in one-inch intervals with a rotary saw. At each cut length, velocity was measured with a Magnetospeed chronograph. To make the test even more interesting, four different types of .223 Rem/5.56 ammo were chron’d at each barrel length.

READ RifleShooter.com 5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Test Article.

Test Barrel Lost 25.34 FPS Per Inch (.223 Rem Chambering)
How much velocity do you think was lost, on average, for each 1″ reduction in barrel length? The answer may surprise you. The average speed loss of the four types of .223/5.56 ammo, with a 9.5″ shortening of barrel length, was 240.75 fps total (from start to finish). That works out to an average loss of 25.34 fps per inch. (See inch-by-inch data HERE.)

5.56/.223 Barrel Cut-Down Speed Test 26″ to 16.5″ Start FPS at 26″ End FPS at 16.5″ Total Loss Average Loss Per Inch
UMC .223 55gr 3182* 2968 214 22.5 FPS
Federal M193 55gr 3431 3187 244 25.7 FPS
Win m855 62gr 3280 2992 288 30.3 FPS
Blk Hills .223 68gr 2849 2632 217 22.8 FPS

*There may have been an error. The 25″ velocity was higher at 3221 fps.

Rifleshooter.com observed: “Cutting the barrel from 26″ to 16.5″ resulted in a velocity reduction of 214 ft/sec with the UMC 223 55-grain cartridge, 244 ft/sec with the Federal M-193 cartridge, 288 ft/sec with the Winchester M855 cartridge and 217 ft/sec with the Back Hills 223 68-grain match cartridge.”

How the Test Was Done
The testers described their procedure as follows: “Ballistic data was gathered using a Magnetospeed barrel-mounted ballistic chronograph. At each barrel length, the rifle was fired from a front rest with rear bags, with five rounds of each type of ammunition. Average velocity and standard deviation were logged for each round. Once data was gathered for each cartridge at a given barrel length, the rifle was cleared and the bolt was removed. The barrel was cut off using a cold saw. The test protocol was repeated for the next length. Temperature was 45.7° F.”

CLICK HERE to Read the Rifleshooter.com Test. This includes detailed charts with inch-by-inch velocity numbers.

Much Different Results with 6mmBR and a Longer Barrel
The results from Rifleshooter.com’s .223/5.56 test are quite different than the results we recorded some years ago with a barrel chambered for the 6mmBR cartridge. When we cut our 6mmBR barrel down from 33″ to 28″ we only lost about 8 FPS per inch. Obviously this is a different cartridge type, but also our 6mmBR barrel end length was longer than Rifleshooter.com’s .223 Rem start length. Velocity loss may be more extreme with shorter barrel lengths.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Reloading 3 Comments »
August 21st, 2017

How .223 Remington Ammunition is Made

Fog Ammunition .223 Remington Rem Ammo loading machine Sierra BlitzKing

Here’s an entertaining video from Fog Ammunition. Starting with boxes of bullets and bags of cartridge brass, this video shows how components are bulk-sorted, then .223 Rem ammunition is produced on a modern, linear multi-stage loading machine. In assembly-line fashion, cases are primed, powder is added, bullets are placed, final seating depth is set, and then the case is crimped.

If you’ve never seen an automated loader in action you should definitely watch this video. With this kind of machine, a new round is produced every second or so (see video 1:15 to 1:55). The .223 Remington ammunition featured in this video is loaded with Sierra BlitzKing bullets. Fog offers both rifle and pistol ammo loaded with quality components.

Video Shows Automated Loading Process Start to Finish (Worth Watching):

Fog Ammunition .223 Remington Rem Ammo loading machine Sierra BlitzKing

Fog Ammunition .223 Remington Rem Ammo loading machine Sierra BlitzKing

Fog Ammunition .223 Remington Rem Ammo loading machine Sierra BlitzKing

Fog Ammunition .223 Remington Rem Ammo loading machine Sierra BlitzKing

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 2 Comments »
August 8th, 2017

Smart Shopper: Compare Ammo Pricing with WikiArms

Wikiarms live ammo tracking

Wikiarms live ammo trackingIf you’re looking for loaded ammunition at affordable prices, WikiArms.com can help you find a good deal. WikiArms constantly searches the listings of ammo vendors across the web. Then WikiArms ranks the offerings by cost per round, low to high. This way you can instantly compare prices from multiple vendors including Ammomen, Ammunition Depot, Brownells, Cheaper Than Dirt, Lucky Gunner, Natchez, Slickguns, SG Ammo, Sportsmans Guide, and Walmart. Search bots refresh pricing constantly so listed prices are normally current within five minutes. WikiArms even displays the amount of product currently in stock for each vendor.

Using WikiArms is easy. Just click your choice of caliber (such as .22 LR, 9mm, or .308 Win) on the navigation bar, or hit the Good Deals link (bottom left column) to see a variety of cartridge types all at one time. WikiArms is fast, and it is FREE to use. Check it out.

WikiArms also tracks prices on reloading components — bullets, brass, primers, and powders. From the WikiArms Home page, look at the left column under the “Reloading” header. From there you can select the type of components you want.

There are some great deals now on quality .223 Rem ammo. Brownells is selling 800 rounds of Norma .223 Rem for $218.70 shipped with code “JNS”. That’s just $0.27 per round for very good stuff.

Wikiarms live ammo Brownells .223 Rem Remington bulk ammo sale

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
July 31st, 2017

Choosing Optimal Barrel Twist Rate — Tips from Glen Zediker

Glen Zediker Twist Rate .223 Rem Barrel Top Grade Ammo Midsouth
Here’s an extreme range of .224-Caliber bullets: 35gr varmint bullet and 90gr match bullet. Of course, along with bullet length/design, you need to consider MV when choosing twist rate.

Even with the same caliber (and same bullet weight), different bullet types may require different rates of spin to stabilize properly. The bullet’s initial spin rate (RPM) is a function of the bullet’s muzzle velocity and the spin imparted by the rifling in the barrel. You want to ensure your bullet is stable throughout flight. It is better to have too much spin than too little, according to many ballistics experts, including Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics. Glen Zediker has some basic tips concerning barrel twist rates and bullet stability. These come from his latest book, Top Grade Ammo.

Choosing the Right Twist Rate
I’d always rather have a twist too fast than not fast enough. Generally… I recommend erring toward the faster side of a barrel twist decision. 1:8″ twist is becoming a “new standard” for .224 caliber, replacing 1:9″ in the process. The reason is that new bullets tend to be bigger rather than smaller. Don’t let a too-slow twist limit your capacity to [achieve] better long-range performance.

Base your next barrel twist rate decision on the longest, heaviest bullets you choose to use, and at the same time realize that the rate you choose will in turn limit your bullet choices. If the longest, heaviest bullet you’ll shoot (ever) is a 55-grain .224, then there’s honestly no reason not to use a 1:12″. Likewise true for .308-caliber: unless you’re going over 200-grain bullet weight, a 1:10″ will perform perfectly well.

Glen Zediker Twist Rate .223 Rem Barrel Top Grade Ammo Midsouth

Bullet Length is More Critical than Weight
Bullet length, not weight, [primarily] determines how much rotation is necessary for stability. Twist rate suggestions, though, are most usually given with respect to bullet weight, but that’s more of a generality for convenience’s sake, I think. The reason is that with the introduction of higher-ballistic-coefficient bullet designs, which are longer than conventional forms, it is easily possible to have two same-weight bullets that won’t both stabilize from the same twist rate.

Evidence of Instability
The tell-tale for an unstable (wobbling or tumbling) bullet is an oblong hole in the target paper, a “keyhole,” and that means the bullet contacted the target at some attitude other than nose-first.

Glen Zediker Twist Rate .223 Rem Barrel Top Grade Ammo MidsouthIncreasing Barrel Length Can Deliver More Velocity, But That May Still Not Provide Enough Stability if the Twist Rate Is Too Slow
Bullet speed and barrel length have an influence on bullet stability, and a higher muzzle velocity through a longer tube will bring on more effect from the twist, but it’s a little too edgy if a particular bullet stabilizes only when running maximum velocity.

My failed 90-grain .224 experiment is a good example of that: I could get them asleep in a 1:7″ twist, 25-inch barrel, which was chambered in .22 PPC, but could not get them stabilized in a 20-inch 1:7″ .223 Rem. The answer always is to get a twist that’s correct.

These tips were adapted from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth. To learn more about this book and other Zediker titles, and read a host of downloadable articles, visit ZedikerPublishing.com.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Reloading 2 Comments »
July 26th, 2017

New Lake City .223 Rem Brass on Sale at Midsouth

Midsouth Lake City .223 Brass sale bulk
Great deal on NEW Lake City .223 Rem Brass at Midsouth Shooters Supply. This is new production, unfired brass in bulk packaging.

Need a large supply of .223 Rem brass for your next varmint safari or 3-Gun match? Midsouth has a great deal right now on bulk-pack, NEW (unfired) Lake City .223 Rem (5.56x45mm) cartridge brass. The 500-count bag works out to a mere 15.6 cents per case, a fourth what some premium .223 brass costs. That’s great value.

Midsouth Lake City .223 Brass sale bulk

.223 Rem Still Shines for Varmint and Target Work
Even with all the “new and improved” cartridges (such as the .204 Ruger and 22 Nosler, the plain jane .223 Remington remains an excellent varmint cartridge, and the mainstay of service rifle competition. Here’s an example of how well the .223 Rem can perform in a good factory gun. The Tikka T3 offers excellent performance in this chambering. Tikka guarantees 1 MOA (or better) at 100 meters.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
June 11th, 2017

Reloading 101: Primer Pocket and Flash-Hole Conditioning

USAMU Handloading hump day flash hole primer pocket uniforming case prep RCBS Lyman
Case Prep Xpress photo courtesy Lyman Products.

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. This week’s “Handloading Hump Day” article covers two basic case prep chores — uniforming primer pockets and deburring flash-holes. Visit the USAMU Facebook page for other tips.

USAMU Handloading hump day reloading tips

Primer Pocket & Flash-Hole Conditioning

This week, we’ll address a question that frequently arises: “Do you uniform primer pockets and deburr flash-holes?” As we tailor our handloading methods to the specific needs of each instance, the answer, not surprisingly, is “Sometimes!” However, don’t flip that dial just yet, as what determines our approach may be helpful in deciding how to address one’s own techniques. Moreover, we have a buried “Easter Egg” morsel that may bring a chuckle, as well as useful safety information!

Generally, the USAMU Handloading Shop does not uniform primer pockets (PP) or deburr flash holes (FH) of our rifle brass. We’re certainly not against it… Rather, this reflects the very high volume of ammunition we load, the fact that very few cases are ever re-loaded for a second firing, and the types of brass we use. However, as a need is perceived, we DO deburr flash holes. Of interest, we have fired many very small, 1000-yard test groups and aggregates using weight-selected, domestic brass that had not had PPs uniformed or FHs deburred.

USAMU Handloading hump day flash hole primer pocket uniforming case prep RCBS Lyman

Before and After — On the left is a fired, deprimed 7.62×51 case with primer residue intact. On the right the primer pocket has been uniformed to SAAMI specs. Note the shiny finish at the bottom of the pocket — evidence of the the removal of metal when uniforming the primer pocket.

As to the type cases we use, many thousands of our long-range 5.56mm cases come to us from the arsenal with the primer of our choice pre-installed and staked-in, per usual practice. Obviously, we cannot uniform either FHs or PPs on this live, primed brass. However, after careful sorting, inspection and preparation, we do obtain match-winning results with it.

Shooters who reload their brass several times may decide to uniform PPs and deburr FHs, especially on their “300-yard and beyond” brass. Here, they will use the cases many times, while the uniforming is performed only once. Also, most handloaders only process moderate amounts of brass, compared to our multi-thousand round lots.

Having high quality Long Range (LR) brass helps. Many of the better brass manufacturers install their flash holes so that no burrs are created. Still, it does pay to inspect even THESE manufacturer’s products, as occasional slips are inevitable. Very rarely, some of the best makers will have a significant burr in, say, 1 per 1000 or 2000 cases, and it’s worth catching those.

Exceptions can always be found. Recently, we began processing a large lot of match brass from a premier manufacturer. We were startled to find that every case had a significant burr in the FH — something we’d never before seen from this maker. We then broke out the FH deburring tools and went to work.

Some observers have noted that it can be difficult to truly verify the contribution to accuracy of these procedures — particularly when firing from the shoulder, in conditions. Members of this staff, as individual rifle competitors, do often perform these operations on their privately-owned LR rifle brass. One could ascribe this to the old Highpower Rifle maxim that “if you think it helps, then it helps.”

However, a World Champion and Olympic Gold/Silver medalist here commented on his own handloading (for International competition, which demands VERY fine accuracy). He noted that he did seem to see a decline in accuracy whenever he did not uniform FHs, deburr FHs and clean primer pockets before each reloading. (One might be tempted to counter that only a truly World Class shooter could reliably detect the difference.) However, with the wisdom of decades experience, our Champion also remarked that “It could have been that I just wasn’t shooting as well that day.”

For those who do opt for these procedures, note that various tool models may have adjustable depth-stops; pay attention to the instructions. Some FH-deburring tools (which enter the case mouth, not the primer pocket) are dependent upon uniform case length for best results.

USAMU Handloading hump day flash hole primer pocket uniforming case prep RCBS Lyman

Above is a flash-hole deburring tool on an RCBS powered case-prep unit. These case prep machines can save a lot of pain and misery, helping one perform various functions quickly and efficiently.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
April 28th, 2017

Shot Costs Calculated for .223 Rem, 6BR, 6XC, .308 Win, 6.5×284

Shooting Cost by Cartridge Caliber type USAMU

Estimating Actual Cost per Round by Caliber
This article comes from the USAMU, which provide shooting and reloading tips on its Facebook Page. This week’s USAMU TECH TIP outlines a ballpark-estimate method of calculating the actual cost per round of different calibers. Some applications, and some shooters, by virtue of their high level of competition, require the very best ballistic performance available — “Darn the cost, full speed ahead!

If you are in serious contention to win a major competition, then losing even a single point to inferior ballistic performance could cost you a national title or record. However, this “horsepower” does come at a cost! Some calibers are barrel-burners, and some offer much longer barrel life. Look at this comparison chart:

Estimated Cost Per Round by Cartridge Type

Below are some estimated total expense per round (practice and competition) based on component costs, type used, expected barrel life and a standard, chambered barrel cost of $520.00 across calibers.

5.56x45mm: $0.46/round (barrel life 6,000 rounds)*

6mmBR: $0.81/round (barrel life 2800 rounds)

6XC: $0.97/round (barrel life 2200 rounds)

.308 Win: $0.80/round (barrel life 4500 rounds)

6.5-284: $1.24/round (barrel life 1100 rounds)

*Note the high round count estimate for 5.56x45mm. This is a bit deceptive, as it assumes a period of “lesser accuracy” use. The USAMU says: “Much of the difference you see here between 5.56 and .308 is due to using the 5.56 barrel for 100-200 yard training with less-expensive, 55gr Varmint bullets after its long-range utility is spent”.

Moreover, while some applications require specialized, high-cost components, others do not. And, if the shooter is still relatively new to the sport and hasn’t refined his skill to within the top few percentile of marksmen, a more economical caliber choice can help stretch a limited budget. Translation: More skill per dollar!

In this post, the prices for all items mentioned here were taken from a major component supplier’s current advertisements, and all brass was of top quality, except in the case of 5.56mm. There, 200 top-quality, imported cases were reserved for 600-yard shooting, and the other brass used was once-fired Lake City surplus.

Cartridge cases were assumed to be loaded 10 times each. [Your mileage may vary…] Bullet prices assumed the use of less-expensive, but good-quality match bullets for the bulk of shooting as appropriate.

The cost of top-tier, highly-expensive match bullets was also calculated for a realistic percentage of the shots fired, based on ones’ application. Barrel life by caliber was taken from likely estimates based on experience and good barrel maintenance.

Brass Costs Based on 10 Loads Per Case
Often, handloaders may calculate ammunition cost per round by adding the individual costs of primers, powder charges and projectiles. Many don’t consider the cost of brass, as it is reloaded several times. Here, we’ll consider the cost of enough top-quality brass to wear out a barrel in our given caliber, at 10 loads per case, except as noted above.

Don’t Forget Amortized Barrel Costs
Few shooters factor in the full, true cost of barrel life. Depending on caliber, that can dramatically increase the cost per round. For example, consider a long-range rifle in 6.5/284 caliber. This cartridge performs amazingly well, but at a cost. Ballpark estimated barrel life [in a top-quality barrel] is 1100 rounds. Some wear out faster, some last longer, but this gives a rough idea of what to expect.

Accurate barrels are a joy to use, but they are an expendable resource!
Shooting Cost by Cartridge Caliber type USAMU

A top-quality barrel plus installation was estimated at about $520.00. At 1100 rounds, barrel life adds $0.47 per round to our total cost. Thus, what had started out as an [components-only estimate, with brass cost] of $0.76/round now totals $1.24 per shot!

Cost Considerations When Choosing a Catridge Type
Some shooters might ask themselves if they could meet their present needs with a more economical caliber. If so, that equates to more practice and matches per available dollar, and more potential skill increase on the available budget.

Each shooter knows his skill level, practice needs, and shooting discipline’s requirements. Some might shoot NRA Service Rifle or Match Rifle using a 5.56mm with a long barrel life. Others might be Match Rifle shooters faced with choosing between, say, a 6mm BR vs. 6XC. A realistic assessment of ones needs, performance-wise, may help guide the shooter toward a caliber that’s most optimized to their needs at the moment.

Admittedly, the factors affecting cost for any individuals circumstances can vary significantly. However, hopefully this will provide one useful method of evaluating one’s training and competition choices, based on their skill, goals and needs.

USAMU reloading Facebook Page army tips tech

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 7 Comments »
April 13th, 2017

300 Blackout Basics — Specs and Cartridge INFO

300 BLK AAC Blackout

As the .30-Cal cartridge of choice for the AR15 platform, the 300 AAC Blackout, also known as 300 BLK, has become quite popular with black rifle owners. You can now purchase quality factory ammo and even premium Lapua 300 BLK brass. Some folks wonder — “why consider a 300 BLK”? Here are the key reasons you may want to acquire a 300 AAC Blackout upper for your AR:

FIVE REASONS to Shoot the 300 BLK:

1. Easy Conversion: Use your current AR lower, bolt/carrier, buffer, and magazine. The only part you need to change is the barrel.
2. Hunting Capability: 300 BLK conforms to state hunting regulations which may require a cartridge larger than .22 caliber. The 300 BLK shoots .308 caliber bullets.
3. Suppressor-Friendly: You can shoot heavier bullets subsonic. The subsonic capabilities of the 300 BLK make it ideal for use with a suppressed AR.
4. Great Barrel Life: With a .30-caliber bore and a modest powder charge, barrel life is outstanding.
5. Great Brass: No Case forming is required — just buy Lapua 300 BLK brass.

The 300 AAC Blackout was created by Advanced Armament Corp. and Remington primarily for the military as a way to shoot .30-caliber bullets from the M4/AR15 platform while using standard magazines. As explained by Robert Silvers, AAC’s R&D Director: “[You can] shoot 30 caliber from your AR while still using normal magazines with full capacity. Even the bolt stays the same, and all that changes is the barrel.” CLICK HERE for more information.

300 BLK AAC Blackout magazine

The concept of putting a .30-caliber bullet in a shortened 223 case has been done before, but not as an industry-wide standard that anyone can make products for, royalty-free. SAAMI, the industry standards organization, adopted and standardized the AAC 300 Blackout earlier this year. The SAAMI diagram for the 300 BLK is shown below.

300 AAC Blackout SAAMI Diagram
300 Blackout SAAMI Cartridge Specification

Affordable Factory 300 BLK Ammo is Available
Remington now sells a variety of 300 BLK ammo: 1) 125 grain open-tip match with a custom Sierra bullet; 2) 220gr subsonic, and 3) 125gr AccuTip (photo below). While the 300 BLK is easy (and inexpensive) to reload, Remington and AAC recognized that most people are not reloaders. So Remington will be budget-priced UMC-brand 300 BLK ammo through at just $12.99 per box — that’s less than most other rifle cartridges than are more powerful than the .223.

300 AAC BLK ammo

The 300 AAC Blackout definitely works for hunters who want to use their AR15-platform rifle. And it also serves as a specialized 30-Cal “rule-beater” that lets 3-Gun competitors “make major” with a low-recoil cartridge that also offers long barrel life. For those who need to run a .30-caliber cartridge from a standard AR15 platform (as opposed to the AR10), the 300 AAC Blackout makes sense. But for hunters using a bolt gun, there are any number of tried and true options, such as the 7.62×39, .30-30, and, of course, the .308 Winchester (7.62×51 NATO).

WARNING: With some bullet options (and setback during chambering) 300 Blackout rounds will go into a .223 chamber and fire. Putting a .308-caliber bullet in a .224-diameter barrel is a recipe for disaster. You can blow up your gun and sustain serious injury. That’s why we recommend you have a dedicated 300 BLK upper and mark your magazines. Also, always, always check your .223 magazines to ensure no 300 BLK rounds worked their way in when you loaded the mags. There have been a number of Kabooms recorded from 300 BLK rounds fired in a .223 Rem/5.56×45 chamber. CLICK HERE to see actual 300 BLK in .223 Rem chamber.

Other 300 BLK Resources
300 BLK by AAC: An Introduction by Paul Erhardt.
300 AAC Blackout Ammo Review
AAC .300 BLK AR-15, The Gun Blog.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tactical 4 Comments »
February 23rd, 2017

PRS Gas Gun Match — Season Opener in Florida

PRS Gas Gun Nightforce Optics CORE Florida AR15 AR
Photo Credit Michael Cage.

Sean Murphy, Nightforce Optics Marketing Manager, shoots what he sells. Sean recently competed at the inaugural PRS Gas Gun match held February 17-19, 2017 at the CORE Shooting Solutions range in Baker, Florida. Here is Sean’s report:

PRS Gas Gun Match at CORE by Sean Murphy
The series-opening PRS Gas Gun match is in the books. Ryan Castle put on a fun match to help set the tone for what this series will become. There were plenty of challenges for both the PRS and 3-Gun competitor. The best way I can explain it is to go as fast as you can because time matters, and then don’t miss because the penalties for leaving targets are harsh. I am looking forward to shooting more of these matches and would encourage any of my PRS and 3-Gun friends to give one a try.

PRS Gas Gun Nightforce Optics CORE Florida AR15 AR

PRS Gas Gun Nightforce Optics CORE Florida AR15 ARCongratulations to the USAMU’s Tyler Payne (right) for the exhibition on how to shoot this and a very commanding overall win. [Payne won overall and high military with a score that was 25% higher than the next-best finisher.] Also congrats to Rhett Walters and Terry Cross for their first-place and second-place finishes in Tac Lite (and 2nd/3rd overall). I was fortunate to place third in Tac Lite and 4th overall for the match. Thank you to FALKOR Defense for the prize table contribution.

Squad 4 was a lot of fun and I was fortunate to shoot with some of our nation’s finest warriors and competitors. It was great to see various military guys in attendance refining their craft. It was great as always to see all of my friends at the match and make new ones. While I love shooting, the people are why I keep coming back.

Gas guns to 800 yards, yep there are targets down there somewhere…
PRS Gas Gun Nightforce Optics CORE Florida AR15 AR
Jeff Cramblit Facebook photo

Gas Gun Match Loads — Short Range vs. Long Range
The .223/5.56 guns had some lag time waiting on shot impacts. I believe the long-term solution may be to find a light and fast load for closer stages for near-instant reaction time and use a heavy load for the long shots to see splash and get the target to move a little more. — Sean Murphy

GEAR Selections for PRS Gas Gun Matches

OPTICS for the PRS Gas Gun Series
I was proud to see Nightforce Optics well represented on guns, with the ATACR 4-16×42 F1 seeming to be a solid choice for many competitors. My optic of choice is an ATACR 16x F1 with a Horus H59 reticle. For this style match the magnification range, Zero-Hold adjustment and wide field of view are a perfect combination. We had some smoke roll in from area fires on Sunday, and the ED glass was an aid in finding the targets in deep haze and shadows. Because of the time component [stages are “on the clock”], being able to shoot with holdovers is key, as well as being able to make fast corrections on follow-up shots. The H59 or TReMoR 3 will be strong contenders for this.

PRS Gas Gun Nightforce Optics CORE Florida AR15 AR

BARREL Choice — Proof Carbon-Wrapped
I shot a 20″ PROOF Research carbon fiber-wrapped barrel that was expertly installed by Greg Hamilton himself. It shot lights out while keeping the gun light and handy for movement and getting in/out of multiple positions.

TRIGGER Choice
While I like the Geissele Automatics, LLC Super 3-Gun (S3G) trigger for carbines as it’s really fast, I went with their DMR trigger for a more refined break that helped on the 600-800 yard shots.

The preferred rifle color choice at the first PRS “Gasser” Match was definitely black…
PRS Gas Gun Nightforce Optics CORE Florida AR15 AR

AMMUNITION Choice (.223 Rem/5.56x45mm)
My ammunition of choice for this match was Black Hills 77gr .223 Rem. The ammo shot outstanding, especially at longer ranges. I believe the long-term solution may be to find a light and fast load for closer stages for near instant reaction time and use a heavy load for the long shots to see splash and get the target to move a little more. The .223/5.56 guns had some lag time waiting on shot impacts, so finding a way to speed that up over 20 or so shots might save a few seconds per stage.

BALLISTICS Solver and Wind Meter
I continue to love my Kestrel 5700 AB. It was very confidence inspiring to show up at the range, get my atmospherics and run accurate data to get first round hits all the way to 800 yards.

BAGS and Gear
The precision rifle game seems to require an assortment of bags and other gear for the various shooting positions to conquer. My Armageddon Gear and Wiebad bags and gear continue to deliver and hold up to much abuse.

PRS Gas Gun Series Rules

For the new PRS “Gasser” Competition, the PRS developed rules on gun types, scoring, match timing, penalties, safety and other key topics. CLICK HERE for Full PRS Gas Gun Series Rules.

Scoring and Penalties
The Gas Gun Series utilizes a time plus penalty-based scoring system for all match scoring. This means the score is the shooter’s total combined time on all stages plus any penalties accrued.

Penalties are as follows:
30 seconds for any rifle targets not engaged or neutralized.
15 seconds for any pistol targets not engaged or neutralized.
15 seconds for hitting a “No Shoot” target.
No more than 50% of the stages at a match can utilize an unlimited round count. At least 25% of the targets in Gas Gun Series match must be 2 MOA or smaller. Max distance is 800 yards.

Open Division: The Open Division rifles will not exceed a caliber of .30 or a velocity of 3,200 fps. A match DQ will result any rounds over the speed limit of 3,200 fps (+/- 32 fps for environmental factors and equipment discrepancies). Match Officials may request at any point during a match that a competitor fire their rifle through chronograph. If the bullet exceeds the 3,200 fps speed limit, the shooter will receive an automatic match DQ.

Tactical Light Division: Intended to allow competitors the opportunity tocompete using traditional military and law enforcement caliber. This promotes Active Duty military and law enforcement competitors use of their Service and Department-issued rifles. Tactical Light Division rifles are restricted to 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington calibers only. Bullet weight cannot exceed 77 grains and muzzle velocity cannot exceed 3,000 fps.

Permalink Competition, Tactical 1 Comment »
February 20th, 2017

Bargain Finder 75 — 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 Monday morning we offer our Best 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. Brownells — Remington 700 SA Receiver with Trigger, $399.99

Rem Remington 700 Short Action SA sale receiver X-Mark Pro

Here’s a genuine Remington short action receiver with X-Mark Pro trigger for $399.99 (or just $364.50 with coupon M3J). You can use this blued Short Action (SA) for your next hunting or varmint rifle. These Rem actions will also work with many third-party modular chassis systems. DOES NOT include receiver plug screws, recoil lug, triggerguard, triggerguard screws, and magazine components. NOTE: The sale price is $399.99, but you can save $35.00 with code M3J, good for Today Only, 2/20/2017.

2. Amazon.com — 34 dB Noise Rating Ear Muffs, $17.97

34dB NRR 32 hearing protection earmuffs

These 34 dB NRR earmuffs provide excellent sound protection without being too heavy and bulky. The lower section of the muff is trimmed for a narrower profile — that helps with rifle and shotgun stocks. The headband is adjustable and has comfortable padding. These Pro For Sho Muffs have earned a 4 1/2 star consumer rating, with over 1,600 Amazon customer reviews. NOTE: These fit pretty tight. If you have a very large hat size you might want a different brand.

3. Midsouth — Nosler Blem Bullets at Big Discounts

nosler blem seconds bullet sale

Nosler Factory Seconds are available at deep discounts from Midsouth Shooters Supply. These have correct weights/dimensions but may have minor cosmetic blemishes — such as tip discolorations or jacket water spots. The Accubond and Ballistic Tip bullets work great for hunting — your prey won’t care about water spots. And the RDF match bullets in .224 (70 grain) and .308 (175 grain) calibers can definitely do the job. But you need to act soon — quantities are limited. Once these factory seconds are gone, they’re GONE! Order now and save up to 53%.

4. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99

RCBS Special 5 Reloading Kit

Looking for a great holiday gift for a family member getting started in metallic cartridge reloading? This RCBS Kit has everything a new reloader needs: single-stage press, powder measure, scale, powder trickler, priming tool, cartridge tray, “rocket” chamfer tool, case lube and more. This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, on sale for just $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supplies. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you may want to add an additional, large heavy press, but this will get the job done. For the combined package, with all the tools one needs to hand-load quality ammo — this is a stunningly good deal at $199.99.

5. CDNN Sports — Ruger American Ranch Rifle (Tan), $349.99

Ruger American Ranch Rifle 5.56 .223 223 Remington Varmint Bolt Action

Here’s a nice little varmint rifle from Ruger with good features and performance at a killer price: $349.99. You could pay that much just for a barrel. This .223 Rem rifle features a 16.5″ hammer-forged barrel barrel threaded 1/2″-28 at the muzzle for brake or suppressor. The action, which features a 70° three-lug bolt, and Picatinny-style scope rail, sits in an aluminum bedding block. The crisp trigger adjusts down to 3 pounds. With a weight (before optics) of 6.1 pounds, this is a handy carry-around varminter. We like this rifle. For $349.99 it’s a steal.

6. Midsouth — 17 HMR V-Max Ammo, $9.95 for 50 rounds

17 HMR Hornady Midsouth V-Max Vmax Sale

Need 17 HMR ammo for your planned 2017 varmint safaris? Then grab this Hornady V-Max ammo while you can at $9.95 for a 50-round box. This is a great price. Other vendors are selling the same Hornady ammo for as much as $15.00 per box. We’ve used this ammo and it was very accurate out of both semi-auto (Savage A17) and bolt-action (CZ 455) 17 HMR rifles.

7. Able Ammo — 247 Rounds .223 Rem, HP Bullets

.223 Remington Rem Hornady XTP bullet ammo ammunition varmint sale

Here you go — instant varmint safari. This Hornady-made .223 Rem ammo features quality hollowpoint bullets, rather than the not-so-accurate FMJ bullets with most bulk .223 ammo. This stuff is much more accurate (with lower ES/SD) than other low-priced ammo. Users report sub-MOA accuracy with this stuff. If you’re planning a varmint safari this spring but don’t have the time (or gear) to reload, pick up a couple boxes of this stuff and you’re good to go. There are 247 rounds in each polymer ammo “can”. This ammo usually comes loaded with Hornady’s XTP (eXtreme Terminal Performance) bullets which work great on varmints.

8. NRA & MidwayUSA — NRA Life Membership, $600.00

NRA Life Membership $600.00 Offer discount

Here’s the best deal going right now on an NRA Life Membership. This normally costs $1500.00, but if you CLICK HERE, you can get a life membership for just $600.00, thanks to an NRA/MidwayUSA promotion. You can also save on 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year NRA memberships. Note: This is a limited-time offer.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Reloading 1 Comment »
February 19th, 2017

Zediker Examines Long Range Shooting with AR-Platform Rifles

AR15 ar-15 long range

Looking to shoot an AR-platform rifle out past 500 yards? Then you should read two articles by AR guru Glen Zediker. Author of The New Competitive AR-15 and The Competitive AR15 Builders Guide, Zediker is an expert when it comes to AR-platform rifles. Glen believes ARs have excellent long-range capability, provided they are built to high standards, with good barrels. Glen says: “a properly configured AR-15 is easily capable of good performance at 500+ yards. Good performance means it can hit a 1-foot-square target all the time. Competitive shooters can cut that standard in nearly half (the X-Ring on an MR1 600-yard NRA High Power Rifle target is 6 inches, and high X-counts are commonplace among more skilled shooters).”

Published in the Cheaper than Dirt Shooter’s Log, Zediker’s pair of articles cover the history and upgrading of the AR-15. Part One reviews the AR’s development as an accurate firearm, tracing its evolution from a Vietnam-era combat weapon to what is now a favored target rifle of High Power competitors. READ PART ONE.

Long Range AR AR-15 Glen Zediker Cheaper than dirt

Part Two discusses the specifics that make an AR accurate at 500 yards and beyond. Zediker talks about barrel configuration (profile and twist rate), bullet selection, floating handguards, and proper mounting of optics or iron sights. READ PART TWO.

Long Rang AR AR-15 Glen Zediker Cheaper than dirt

Here are some highlights from Long-Range AR-15 Part TWO:

Barrel Twist Rate
To stabilize anything longer than a 68- or 69-grain bullet, the barrel twist rate must be — at minimum– 1-in-8. Twist rates reflect how far the bullet travels along the lands or rifling to make one complete revolution. So, 1-in-8 (or 1-8, 1:8) means “one turn in eight inches.” I think it’s better to go a little faster in twist. There is nothing wrong with a 1:7 twist. The 90-grain bullets require a 1:6.5, and that is getting on the quick side. If you want to shoot Sierra 77s or equivalent, and certainly anything longer, 1:8 is necessary. By the way, it is bullet length, not weight, which constitutes the necessary twist rate to launch a stable bullet.

Optics Mounting
Correct optical sight positioning can be a challenge. With a flattop upper, I need a good inch additional forward extension at the muzzle side of the upper for the sight mount bases to avoid holding my head “back” to get the optimal view through the scope. A longer rail piece is necessary for my builds as a result.

Buttstock Length and Adjustment
An adjustable buttstock is valuable, and even more valuable if it’s well-designed. Mostly, a standard stock is too short, and the cheek area sits too low. Adding length helps a lot by itself. There are assemblies that replace the standard buttplate to allow for length and, usually, height and rotation adjustments for the buttpad. An elevation-adjustable cheekpiece is a big help to attain a solid position.

Permalink Gear Review, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »
February 2nd, 2017

In-Chamber Laser Boresighters — Very Useful Tools

In-Chamber Laser

Boresighting the old-fashioned way — by looking down the bore of a rifle at a target — is not difficult. With a conventional bolt-action rifle, visual bore-sighting can be done quickly and easily: rest your gun securely on bags, remove your bolt and set up a 50-yard target with a large bright orange or black center circle. Look through the back of the action and you should be able to sight down the bore with your own eyes just fine. There’s no need for expensive hardware. In fact it may be easier to bore-sight the “old-fashioned way” rather than try to see a laser in bright sunlight at 50 yards (or even 25).

However, with lever guns and semi-auto rifles, including the popular AR15, M1 Garand, and M1A service rifles, the design of the receiver may make it virtually impossible to sight down the bore with the naked eye. That’s where a modern laser bore-sighting device comes in handy. For those situations where a bore-sighting tool is actually needed, we recommend a laser bore-sighter that fits inside your chamber. The in-chamber configuration is more fool-proof, and is inherently safer.

In-Chamber Laser Should Be Safer
Among the laser bore-sighters available on the market, we strongly favor those that fit in the chamber, rather than in the bore. With muzzle-entry laser bore-sighters, you could have a nasty accident if you forget to remove the device. There is always the chance you could chamber and fire a round with the muzzle-entry bore-sighter still in place. Instant Kaboom. That has happened more than once. With an in-chamber bore-sighter, there is no possibility you could chamber a loaded round with the bore-sighter in place. That’s an important safety advantage. Sightmark in-chamber bore-sights are shown in the video below. You can see that, with the bore-sighter in place, you cannot chamber a live round.

In-Chamber Bore-Sighters for Rifles
Sightmark offers compact laser bore-sighters that fit inside your firearm’s chamber. The laser is housed in a brass assembly machined to duplicate a cartridge. These are easy to use — simply twist the end-cap to activate the laser, then place the bore-sighter in the rifle’s chamber. The affordable ($29.99 – $35.77) Sightmark boresighters are offered in a wide variety of pistol, shotgun, and rifle “chamberings”. Rifle options include: 17 HMR, .223 Rem, 22-250 30/30, .308 Win Family, .25-06/.270/.30-06, 6.5×55, .270/.300 WSM, .300 Win Mag, 50 BMG, and many other large hunting calibers. SEE Full Product Line.

Cabela’s also offers a Professional .223 Laser Chamber Boresighter that fits in a .223 Rem rifle chamber. This $59.99 unit, shown below, can be adapted to other chamberings by adding a caliber-specific sleeve over the .223 core unit.

Laserlyte Cabela's
Laserlyte Cabela's

Adapt Basic Unit to other Calibers with Sleeves
Cabela’s Professional .223 Laser Chamber Boresighter unit can be used for a variety of chamberings by fitting additional $19.99 caliber-specific sleeves (sold separately). Each sleeve is precision-machined from brass to SAAMI specs. One purchaser notes: “Extremely well made, the fit is so precise that I would recommend using a drop or two of light oil on the 223 laser insert before fitting it into the sleeve.” Available chamber sleeve calibers include:

Laser Boresighter laserlyte

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
December 16th, 2016

Shootin’ in the Snow — It Just Takes Commitment…

December Snow White Christmas Weather Channel Storm Decima
Weather Forecast for 12/16/2016 from The Weather Channel.

The Rockies, Great Lakes, and Northeast are bracing for a major storm this weekend, bringing cold winds, ice, and plenty of snow. Many Northern states have already seen lots of the white stuff. It seems like it will be a White Christmas for many. Does that mean there will be no more gun fun ’til spring? Heck no — just grab your snow shovel, load up your rifle, and go shooting. Here’s how Forum Member Nick (aka “ChevyTruck 83″) coped with winter’s fury back in 2012. Never underestimate the resourcefulness of a dedicated AccurateShooter Forum member….

December Snow White Christmas Weather Channel Storm Decima

snow shooting range snowmanWe admire the fortitude of Forum Member Nick who braved wintry December weather to enjoy a day at the range in his native Pennsylvania. A little snow on the ground couldn’t stop this intrepid shooter, who brought snow shovel and arctic gear to his range session. Folks, here’s a true “hardcore” fan of shooting! Despite the “relentless snow”, Nick reports that “at least it wasn’t windy”. Nick shot a variety of long guns, including his .22LR rimfires, a .223 Rem, and a .308. Not daunted by the cold, Rick said it was fun to “play like a kid once in a while.” That’s the spirit!

December Snow White Christmas Weather Channel Storm Decima

Nick reports: “There was no wind to speak of — just relentless snow. I’ll tell you what — it’s awesome to get out and play like a kid once in a while.”

Nick’s foray into the winter wonderland really puts things in perspective for “fair-weather” shooters. After viewing Nick’s Forum thread about his snowy range session, fellow Forum member DennisH observed: “I will never complain about our super hot sugar cane fields in south Louisiana ever again! We can hold matches 12 months a year. I have NEVER had, owned, or used a snow shovel.”

Permalink News, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
December 1st, 2016

USAMU Advice for Progressive Press Users

Accurateshooter.com USAMU progressive press reloading

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. In this article, the USAMU’s reloading gurus address a question frequently asked by prospective handloaders: “Should I buy a single-stage press, or a progressive?” The USAMU says the best answer is Solomon-esque in both its wisdom and simplicity: “Get BOTH!” However, there is definitely more to the issue, as the USAMU explains below.

USAMU Reloading

Progressive Press Safety Considerations by USAMU Staff
Many are the beginning handloaders who have asked a friend about their “setting up” a progressive press for them. The idea is that the newbie could then just feed in components and crank out buckets of practice ammo without needing to really learn much about handloading. Tempting though this might be, that’s simply not how it works. Such an approach might be ok if there were never a malfunction with either press or operator, but that’s unrealistic. Our hypothetical newbie would then lack the knowledge to problem-solve most situations.

(more…)

Permalink Reloading 1 Comment »
November 7th, 2016

Bargain Finder 60: 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 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. Amazon — Howard Leight Electronic Muffs, $26.99

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Muffs hearing protection Howard Leight earmuffs sale bargain

Act quickly — this is a DEAL of the DAY on Amazon! We’ve never seen a lower price on these popular electronic muffs, which are Amazon’s #1 seller in the category. The price goes back up tomorrow! Every shooter should own a pair of electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are doing spotting duties or are working near the firing line. They allow you to hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. Right now Amazon.com has the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Muffs on sale for just $26.99 (Deal of the Day). See All Price Options. NOTE: For regular, sustained shooting we recommend muffs and/or earplugs with a higher NRR rating.

2. CDNN Sports — Ruger American Ranch Rifle (Tan), $349.99

Ruger American Ranch Rifle 5.56 .223 223 Remington Varmint Bolt Action

Here’s a nice little varmint rifle from Ruger with good features and performance at a killer price: $349.99. You could pay that much just for a barrel. This .223 Rem rifle features a 16.5″ hammer-forged barrel barrel threaded 1/2″-28 at the muzzle for brake or suppressor. The action, which features a 70° three-lug bolt, and Picatinny-style scope rail, sits in an aluminum bedding block. The crisp trigger adjusts down to 3 pounds. With a weight (before optics) of 6.1 pounds, this is a handy carry-around varminter. We like this rifle. For $349.99 it’s a steal.

3. Amazon — Caldwell Long Range Target Cam System, $329.49

Amazon Caldwell Precision Long Range Target System Cam Camera

Forum members have purchased this Caldwell Target Cam System and they’ve found that it works reliably, providing a clear signal to any WiFi-enabled mobile device (smartphone, iPad, Laptop). One member specifically tested the unit at 1000 yards and it functioned fine. NOTE: This system does NOT have a zoom camera lens, so you need to position the camera within 10 yards or so of the target. But if you place it to the side a bit, this shouldn’t be a problem. This system comes with a nice, fitted carrying case that holds camera, transceivers, antennas, and stands. You get a very capable system for under $330.00 (Amazon price includes free shipping for Prime members). You can also get this system from Midsouth for $357.02 (shipping extra).

4. Amazon — Cotton Cleaning Patches, 800 for $8.99 – $17.99

Amazon bulk pack patches 800 cotton flannel

Got patches? Here’s a great deal on 100% cotton flannel patches. There are many sizes available, starting at $8.99 for 800 one-inch “17 Cal” patches. For 6mm rifles, we actually like the 1.25″ round “22/223″ sized patches priced at $11.99 for 800. Choose either round patches or square patches in most sizes. We generally like round patches for use with spire-tip jags, but some shooters prefer to wrap their patches around a jag or brush and square patches work better for wrapping. The large, 2″-square .30 Cal patches cost $17.99 for 800.

5. Amazon — Frankford Quick-N-EZ Case Tumbler, $34.99

Amazon Frankford vibratory case cartridge brass tumbler Quick n EZ

Look no further for a great deal on a reliable tumbler. We’ve used this very same machine to tumble both pistol brass and rifle cases. We like the see-through, transparent top and the large capacity — this will hold up to 350 .223 Rem cases. With 1000+ customer reviews on Amazon.com, this Frankford Quick-N-Easy Case Tumbler has earned a 4.5-star rating. If you need a tumbler, you might want to order soon — this is the best price we’ve seen in a while.

6. CDNN Sports — 45 ACP Ruger American Pistol, $399.99

Ruger American Pistol .45 ACP 45 Modular Low Bore Axis Sale

At $399.99, this modern .45 ACP Ruger American Pistol costs hundreds less than premium polymer handguns from Europe. Compared to a Glock 21, it has better sights, a better trigger, and better ergonomics. Compared to an HK USP it has a lower bore axis and is way less expensive. FYI the Ruger’s low bore axis really does reduce felt recoil. The Ruger American pistol has interchangable grip panels so you can adjust the grip to your hand size. Controls are ambidextrous. Bottom line, this is a very good gun that gives up little to Glock, HK, and Walther. Buy American and save hundreds.

7. Amazon.com — RCBS Rockchucker Supreme Press, $126.99

Amazon.com Amazon RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Single Stage Reloading Press Sale

The RCBS Rock Chucker remains a classic — a big, strong, versatile press that can handle most reloading chores with ease. And now you can get a genuine Rock Chucker Supreme for $126.99 — a very good deal. The Rock Chucker offers plenty of leverage for case-sizing and the “O” is tall enough for long cartridges. The Rock Chucker has a very strong base and should last a lifetime. We’re not fans of the Rock Chucker’s priming system but most serious reloaders use a separate priming tool.

8. RCBS — Buy Green, Get Green Rebate

RCBS Reloading Press Rebate Green

RCBS is running a very attractive Rebate Program currently. If you spend $300.00 on qualifying products you get a $75.00 rebate. Spend $50 and get a $10.00 Rebate. This program is limited to one (1) rebate redemption per calendar year, with a maximum of $75.00. CLICK HERE for more information. NOTE: To qualify, you must supply completed RCBS rebate coupon, original UPC barcodes from package, and original cash register receipt and/or dated, itemized sales invoice.

9. Bullets.com — Norma .22LR Ammo (Match 22 & Tac 22)

Norma Match 22 Tac .22 LR Ammo rimfire ammunition bullets.com

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).

Permalink Hot Deals, New Product, Reloading No Comments »
November 3rd, 2016

Recoil Comparison .223 Rem vs. 6BR vs. .308 Win

6mmBR NormaMany visitors to the site ask us, “I’ve got a .223 and .308. What will a 6mmBR Norma (6BR) give me that I’m not getting already?” Well first you will probably average consistently smaller groups than your current .223 or .308 rifle (assuming the 6BR has a quality barrel and trigger). A good .308 Winchester can be superbly accurate, no question about that, but the lesser recoil of the 6BR works in the shooter’s favor over a long string of fire. Even with a Rem 700 or Savage action factory action, a 6BR with a benchrest stock, premium barrel, and a high-quality chambering job should deliver 5-shot groups in the high twos to mid-threes, provided you do your job. We have one 6BR rifle that shoots Lapua factory-loaded 6BR ammunition in the low twos and high ones. That’s exceptional, we admit, but it still shows how the 6BR is an inherently accurate cartridge, even with factory loads.

Compared to a .223, the 6BR offers a much better selection of high-BC projectiles, and will deliver considerably more power on the target. Compared to the .308 shooting 168gr MatchKings, a 6BR shooting 105-107gr bullets offers better ballistics all the way out to 1000 yards. Plus, for most people, the 6BR is just easier to shoot than a .308. Recoil is less than half of the .308 cartridge. Both the .308 and 6BR chamberings offer good barrel life, but the 6BR uses 15-18 grains less powder, saving you money. On the other hand the .308 is the designated cartridge for F-TR and Palma shooting, so it may be a more versatile chambering for Long-Range competition. So which would we choose between the 6BR and the .308? Actually we think you should have both. The 6BR is my favorite cartridge out to 500 yards, and I like the .308 Win for F-TR. And… if you want to shoot at the World Fullbore Championships this week at Camp Perry there’s only one choice — a .308 Win.

Permalink Tech Tip 3 Comments »
October 3rd, 2016

Case Diagnostics — How to Spot Problems with Cartridge Brass

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Ever wondered what caused a particular bulge or marking on a case? And more importantly, does the issue make the case unsafe for further use? Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks offers some insight into various issues and their causes in this article from the Sierra Blog.

Diagnosing Problems with Cartridge Brass

by Duane Siercks, Sierra Bullets
I was handed a small sample of .223 Rem cases the other day and was asked if I could comment on some marks and appearances that had been noticed as they were sorting through the cases. I will share what was observed and give you what would seem to be a cause for them. These were from an unknown source, so I have no way of knowing what type of firearm they were fired in or if they were factory loaded or reloaded ammunition.

Example ONE: Lake City 5.56, Unknown Year
Case #1 was seen to have a very rounded shoulder and split. Upon first look it was obvious that this round had been a victim of excess pressure. The firearm (perhaps an AR?) was apparently not in full battery, or there was possibly a headspace issue also. While taking a closer look, the primer was very flat and the outside radius of the primer cup had been lost. High pressure! Then I also noticed that there was an ejector mark on the case rim. This is most certainly an incident of excessive pressure. This case is ruined and should be discarded. See photo below.

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Example TWO: Lake City Match 1993
Case #2 appears very normal. There was some question about marks seen on the primer. The primer is not overly flattened and is typical for a safe maximum load. There is a small amount of cratering seen here. This can be caused by a couple of situations.

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Cratering is often referred to as a sign of excess pressure. With safety in mind, this is probably something that should make one stop and really assess the situation. Being as there are no other signs of pressure seen with this case, I doubt that pressure was unsafe. That leads us to the next possibility. This can also be caused by the firing-pin hole in the bolt-face being a bit larger than the firing-pin, and allowing the primer to flow back into the firing-pin hole causing the crater seen here. This can happen even with less-than-max pressures, in fact it has been noted even at starting loads. Always question whether pressure is involved when you see a crater. In this situation, I lean toward a large firing-pin hole. This case should be safe to reload.

Example THREE: R-P .223 Remington
Case #3 appears normal with one exception. There are two rings seen about one half inch below the base of the shoulder. These rings are around the circumference of the case, one being quite pronounced, and the other being noticeably less.

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

As we do not know the origin of the firearm in which this case was fired, it does seem apparent that the chamber of the firearm possibly had a slight defect. It could have been that the reamer was damaged during the cutting of this chamber. I would suggest that the chamber did have a couple of grooves that imprinted onto the case upon firing. This firearm, while maybe not dangerous should be looked at by a competent gunsmith. In all likelihood, this case is still safe to use.

Example FOUR: R-P .223 Remington
Case #4 has no signs of excess pressure. There is a bulge in the case just ahead of the case head that some might be alarmed by. This bulge is more than likely caused by this case being fired in a firearm that had a chamber on the maximum side of S.A.A.M.I. specifications. There is actually no real issue with the case. Note that the primer would indicate this load was relatively mild on pressure.

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

If this case was reloaded and used in the same firearm numerous times there might be a concern about case head separation. If you were going to use this case to load in an AR, be sure to completely full-length re-size to avoid chambering difficulties. This case would be safe to reload.

CLICK HERE for MORE .223 Rem Case Examples in Sierra Blog

It is very important to observe and inspect your cases before each reloading. After awhile it becomes second nature to notice the little things. Never get complacent as you become more familiar with the reloading process. If ever in doubt, call Sierra’s Techs at 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Case Diagnostics Blog

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
September 17th, 2016

Eye in the Sky — Drone Video of 1122-Yard AR15 Shooting Session

Texas .223 Rem Drone Video 1000 Yards Gorilla Ammo

Many of our readers have never had a chance to shoot much past 600 yards. How far away does a 1000-yard+ target really seem to the naked eye? Well this short video answers that question. Gorilla Ammo, the video’s producers, used a camera-carrying aerial drone to fly downrange from the firing line all the way out to 1122 yards (and back again). Watch the drone footage at 0:00-0:07 and especially 0:48-1:03. The “bird’s-eye view” really gives you a sense of the distance. The “fly-back” at 0:48-1:03 time-mark is what makes this video worth watching.

The video features prone shooting at steel targets placed at 750 and 1122 yards. We do apologize for the lame, “oh so serious” voice-over which attempts to make this rather ordinary range session seem like some kind of life-changing experience. (Frankly, you may just want to turn the sound off — it’s that annoying.) It’s really not that big a deal to hit steel at 750 yards with a quality AR-15, chambered in .223 Rem, shooting Sierra 77 grain MatchKings.

Texas .223 Rem Drone Video 1000 Yards Gorilla Ammo

Hitting Steel at 1122 Yards with 2540 FPS Ammo Can Be Challenging
The 1122-yard hits are a bit more impressive. Gorilla Ammo lists a relatively sedate 2540 fps Muzzle Velocity for its .223 Rem 77gr SMK ammunition. According to JBM Ballistics, at 1125 yards, that 2540 fps load has 68.3 MOA of drop from a 100-yard zero (firing at sea level and 80° F ambient). Morever the bullet goes trans-sonic around 750 yards (losing stability) and is traveling just 933 fps at impact. And the wind’s the killer — at 1125 yards, with this bullet/load, a mere 2 mph, full-value wind change can move the Point of Impact over three feet!

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo No Comments »
September 15th, 2016

Awesome Deal on Howa 1500 Mini Action Rifle in .223 Rem

Howa Mini Action 1500 .223 Remington Rem Cabelas Bargain 16Stalkup code

Here is a great deal on a great little rifle. Right now at Cabela’s you can get the Howa 1500 Mini-Action in .223 Rem for just $314.99 with Coupon Code 16STALKUP. The rifle (with black synthetic stock) is already on sale, marked down to $349.99. That discount code gives you another 10% off. That’s a bargain — other vendors are charging $515.00 or more for this rifle. We actually “walked through” the online ordering process ourselves to confirm that the discount code works (see below). Note, you order online, but the rifles must be picked up in a Cabela’s store.

Howa Mini Action 1500 .223 Remington Rem Cabelas Bargain 16Stalkup code

The Howa 1500 Mini Action is nearly an inch shorter than a Rem 700 short action, making for a nice, compact carry-around varminter (OAL length is just 41.5″). Your Editor checked out the Howa Mini Action Rifle at SHOT Show. The bolt opens and closes VERY smoothly (way better than most mass-produced bolt guns). The two-stage HACT trigger is excellent — it’s plenty light, with a crisp release and no annoying spring-loaded blade in the middle. I like it MUCH better than standard Remington, Ruger, or Savage triggers.

The standard Howa Mini Action rifle weighs 6 pounds without scope. This particular model comes with a 22″ barrel, black synthetic stock, and 10-round detachable box magazine. The Howa Mini on sale at Cabelas.com is a .223 Remington, but other chamberings are available at a higher price if you shop around. Howa offers Mini Action rifles in .204 Ruger, .222 Rem, .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, and 7.62x39mm.

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