July 25th, 2015

‘Also-Ran’ Cartridges — The .244 Remington (aka 6mm Rem)

6mm Remington .244 Rem .243 Winchester .308 Cartridge AccurateShooter Chuck Hawks Sierra Bullets

What we now know as the “6mm Remington” was originally called the .244 Remington. The cartridge was renamed because it was not a commercial success initially, being eclipsed by the .243 Winchester. The .244 Remington and the 6mm Remington are identical — only the name was changed. Why was the .244 Remington an “also-ran” to the .243 Win? Sierra Bullets Ballistics Technician Paul Box provides some answers…

Was Anything Wrong With The .244 Remington?

by Ballistic Technician Paul Box for Sierra Bullets Blog

The year was 1955. A time of carhops, drive-in movies, and Buffalo Bob. It was also the year that Winchester introduced the .243 Win and Remington counter-punched with the .244 Remington (now more commonly known as the 6mm Remington). The .243 Win was based off the time-proven .308 Win case while Remington chose the old war horse, the 7×57.

We’ve all read countless times how Winchester chose the 1:10″ twist, while Remington adopted the 1:12″ twist for their .244 Rem rifles. The first complaint in the gun magazines of that era was how the faster twist Winchester could handle 100 grain bullets, while Remington’s [12-twist factory rifles were supposedly limited to 90 grain bullets].

The first complaint I remember reading was that the 100-grainer was better suited for deer-sized game and the 1:12″-twist wouldn’t stabilize bullets in this weight range. Now, let’s look at this a little closer. Anybody that thinks a 100-grainer is a deer bullet and a 95-grainer isn’t, has been drinking too much Kool-aid. In all honesty, it’s all about bullet construction and Remington had constructed the [90s] with light game in mind. In other words, Remington got it right, but due to a lack of knowledge at the time on both bullet construction and stability, the .244 never gained the popularity it deserved. At that time, Sierra had the 100gr SMP and Hornady offered a 100gr RN that would both stabilize in the slower 1-12″ twist. The .244 Remington provides another classic example of how the popularity of a cartridge suffered due to a lack of knowledge.

.244 Rem vs. .243 Win — What the Experts Say
Respected gun writer Chuck Hawks says the .244 Remington deserved greater acceptance: “The superb 6mm Remington started life in 1955, the same year as the .243 Winchester. It was originally named the .244 Remington. Although the 6mm lost the popularity contest to the .243, it is one of my favorite rifle cartridges, and much appreciated by reloaders generally. The .244 Rem and 6mm Rem cartridges are completely interchangable, and anyone with a .244 Rem rifle can shoot [6mm Rem] ammunition in complete safety (or vice-versa). Remington .244 rifles made from 1958 on can stabilize all 6mm bullets, while those made in 1955 through 1957 are limited to loads using spitzer bullets not heavier than 90 grains for best accuracy.”

Nathan Foster, author of The Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Cartridges, states: “In 1963 Remington attempted to regain ground by releasing .244 rifles with a new 1:9″ twist to handle heavier bullets. The cartridge was renamed the 6mm Remington and new ammunition was loaded giving the hunter the choice of either an 80gr bullet for varmints or a 100gr bullet for deer. In comparison to the .243 Win, factory loads for the .244/6mm Remington are slightly more powerful while hand loads increase this margin further.”

6mm Remington .244 Rem .243 Winchester .308 Cartridge AccurateShooter Chuck Hawks Sierra Bullets

Was the .244 Remington Actually Better than the .243 Winchester?
The .244 Remington (aka “6mm Remington”) has a velocity advantage over the .243 Winchester due to a slightly larger case capacity. The longer case neck of the .244 Remington is considered desirable by handloaders. We like the added capacity and long neck of the original .244 Remington. As renamed the “6mm Remington”, the cartridge HAS developed a following, particularly with varmint hunters looking for a high-velocity 6mm option. But it never achieved the success of the .243 Winchester for many reasons. As a member of the .308 family of cartridges, the .243 Winchester has certain obvious advantages. First, you can simply neck down .308 Win brass, which was available at low cost from many sources. Moreover, a .308 Win or 7mm-08 full-length sizing die could be used for body sizing. Still the .244 Remington (6mm Remington) presents an interesting “what if?” story…

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July 6th, 2015

ABM Ammo Releases .260 Rem Ammunition with Berger Hybrids

ABM Ammunition Ammo .260 260 Remington 6.5mm 6.5-08 Tactical, long range
Many tactical shooters have adopted the .260 Remington as an alternative to the heavier-recoiling .308 Winchester. The .260 Rem has also performed well in the hands of long-range High Power shooters such as SSG Sherri Jo Gallagher, past National High Power Champion. The .260 Remington is basically the .308 Win necked down to .264 (6.5 mm) caliber. It can launch very high-BC 130-142 grain projectiles at impressive velocities. The ballistics of the .260 Rem allow it to shoot flatter, with less wind drift, than typical .308 Win loads.

For fans of the .260 Remington, very high-quality factory ammo is now available. ABM Ammo, a division of Berger Bullets just announced that it will produce two varieties of .260 Remington ammo.

ABM’s 260 Remington 140gr Berger Match Hybrid Target ammo is designed for class-leading ballistic and superior accuracy. Using the highest-BC 6.5 mm caliber bullet offered by Berger, the 140gr Hybrid, this load features less wind deflection and more energy on target than the competition. ABM claims that this Match Hybrid ammo is “unrivaled as a long-range 260 Remington factory ammo option.” Since it pushes a higher-BC bullet than other .260 Rem factory ammo, we’d have to agree with that statement.

Match Ready 260 Remington 140gr Berger Match Hybrid Target Specifications

Distance (yds) Muzzle 100 200 300 400
Velocity (fps) 2789 2642 2500 2363 2229
Energy (ft-lb) 2418 2171 1944 1735 1545
Bullet Details
G1 BC 0.618
G7 BC 0.317

Performance based on a 26″ barrel and sea level conditions.

Mission Ready .260 Rem OTM Tactical Load for Mag-Fed Rifles
ABM Ammo also offers .260 Rem factory ammo loaded with the NEW 130gr AR Hybrid bullet. The .260 Rem 130gr Berger Match AR Hybrid OTM Tactical load is optimized for the AR-10 platform or any magazine-fed rifle. Berger’s 130gr AR Hybrid bullet offers a 0.290 G7 BC. That’s very close to the 0.317 BC of the longer 140gr Hybrid. This, combined with a 2847 FPS muzzle velocity, provides excellent performance in a shorter COAL that feeds perfectly from box magazines.

ABM Ammunition Ammo .260 260 Remington 6.5mm 6.5-08 Tactical, long range

In fact, if you run the ballistics (using JBM) using ABM’s published MVs, you’ll find that you give up nothing with the shorter bullet. At 600 yards, the 130gr “Mission Ready” load has 78.8″ (12.5 MOA) of drop. By comparison, the “Match Ready” load with 140-grainers has 80.3″ (12.8) MOA of drop at 600 Yards (That’s not a mistake — the smaller bullet has LESS drop because it has a higher MV to start.) At 1000 yards, the “Mission Ready” load is virtually identical to the “Match Ready” load: The 130gr ammo has 304.6″ (29.1 MOA) of drop at 1000 vs 303.4″ (29.0 MOA) for the 140gr ammo at the same distance. (These calculations are based on standard conditions at sea level, with ABM supplied MVs.)

Because the ballistics are so close, you may want to try both loads in your .260 Rem rifle, even if you single-load and are not restricted by mag length. Some barrels may have a preference for one bullet over the other.

Product Tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 2 Comments »
June 14th, 2015

Which is Better: .260 Remington or 6.5×55 Swedish?

6.5x55 SE, 6.5 Swedish 6.6x55mm .260 Rem Remington Laurie Holland comparison

The .260 Remington and the 6.5×55 Swedish (aka 6,5x55mm SE) are both very popular cartridges with hunters and target shooters. The 6.5×55 has a long military heritage and a great record as a hunting round. The .260 Rem, essentially a .308 Win necked down to .264 caliber, is a more recent cartridge, but it grows in popularity every year, being one of the top cartridges for tactical/practical competitions. It offers better ballistics and less recoil than the parent .308 Win cartridge. In our Shooter’s Forum, respected UK gun writer Laurie Holland provided a good summary of the differences between the two chamberings. Laurie writes:

Remington 260 CartridgeThe 6.5×55 case has 6 or 7% more capacity than the .260s, even more in practice when both are loaded to standard COALs with heavy bullets, which sees them having to seated very deep in the .260 Rem using up quite a lot of powder capacity. So loaded up for reasonable pressures in modern actions, the 6.5×55 will give a bit more performance.

The issue for many is what action length is available or wanted, the 6.5×55 requiring a long action. So sniper rifle / tactical rifle competitors will go for the .260 Rem with the option of the many good short-bolt-throw designs around with detachable box magazines (DBMs). If a bit more performance is needed, the .260 AI (photo right) can yield another 100-150 fps velocity, depending on bullet weight.

(more…)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 8 Comments »
June 4th, 2015

.308 Win Barrel Cut-Down Test: Velocity vs. Barrel Length

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

With barrels, one wonders “Can a little more length provide a meaningful velocity gain?” To answer that question, Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting a .308 Win barrel from 28″ 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 .308 Win factory ammunition were chronographed at each barrel length.

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

READ RifleShooter.com .308 Win Barrel Cut-Down Test Article.

Test Barrel Lost 22.7 FPS Per Inch (.308 Win Chambering)
How much velocity do you think was lost, on average, for each 1″ reduction in barrel length? The answer may surprise you. With a barrel reduction from 28″ to 16.5″, the average speed loss of the four types of .308 ammo was 261 fps total. That works out to an average loss of 22.7 fps per inch. This chart shows velocity changes for all four ammo varieties:

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

Summary of Findings: The average velocity loss per inch, for all four ammo types combined, was 22.7 FPS. By ammo type, the average loss per inch was: 24.6 (Win 147 FMJ), 22.8 (IMI 150 FMJ), 20.9 (Fed GMM 168gr), and 22.5 (Win 180PP).

Interestingly, these numbers jive pretty well with estimates found in reloading manuals. The testers observed: “The Berger Reloading manual says for the 308 Winchester, ‘muzzle velocity will increase (or decrease) by approximately 20 fps per inch from a standard 24″ barrel’.”

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. Since we would be gathering data on 52 different barrel length and ammunition combinations and would not be crowning the barrel after each cut, we decided to eliminate gathering data on group sizes. 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 47° F.”

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

CLICK HERE to Read the Rifleshooter.com Test. This includes detailed charts with inch-by-inch velocity numbers, multiple line charts, and complete data sets for each type of ammo. Rifleshooter.com also offers ballistics graphs showing trajectories with different barrel lengths. All in all, this was a very thorough test by the folks at RifleShooter.com.

Much Different Results with 6mmBR and a Longer Barrel
The results from Rifleshooter.com’s .308 barrel cut-down 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 5″ longer than Rifleshooter.com’s .308 Win start length. Velocity loss can be more extreme with shorter barrel lengths (and bigger cartridges). Powder burn rates can also make a difference.

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April 20th, 2015

Adapt .308 Precision Mic for 6BR Family and 6.5×47 Cartridges

The $52.99 RCBS Precision MIC is a well-made and useful tool for measuring cartridge headspace and bullet seating depth. The Precision Mic measures from a datum point on the case shoulder to the base. Unfortunately the Precision MIC is not specifically made for the 6mmBR Norma, 22BR, 6XC or 6.5×47 Lapua cases. Don’t despair. Reader Caduceus devised a clever way to adapt a .308 Win Precision Mic for short cases that match the .308 Win in rim diameter and case body diameter. He simply creates a spacer out of a pistol cartridge. He trimmed a 9mm case to 0.511″ and “found this to be a perfect fit which gave a zero micrometer reading when the FL-sized 6BR case was placed in it.” We expect many readers already own a Precision Mic for their .308s. Now you can adapt this tool for the 6BR family of cartridges, for no extra cost. Cut the spacer shorter for the 6.5×47 Lapua and 6-6.5×47 cartridges.

How to Use the Precision Mic with a Spacer
RCBS Precision Mic 6BRCaduceus explains: “I can use the .308 version of the RCBS Precision Mic to compare brass which has been fully sized in my 6BR body die with brass which has been fired in my chamber. With the spacer inserted, FL-resized cases mic 0.000″ at the datum point on the shoulder. Using the same set-up, fire-formed cases measure +0.005″. In other words, my chamber has a headspace of +0.005″ above minimum dimensions. This is fairly typical of a custom rifle set up for switch-barrel use. If I were to FL-resize my brass down to minimum spec each time, this excessive working would shorten its life-cycle and might lead to case head separation. Now that I know the headspace of the chamber, I can substitute the standard shell holder on my press with a Redding +0.004″ competition shell-holder. This ensures that my cases only receive 0.001″ of shoulder set-back.”

Click HERE for a full article explaining how to adapt an RCBS Precision Mic for use with a 6BR. You can do the same thing with a 6XC or 6.5×47 case–just cut the spacer to a shorter length (for an 0.000″ mic reading). Note: You can also use this procedure with an RCBS .243 Winchester Precision Mic.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
February 9th, 2015

Hornady Progressive with Automated Case Feed and Bullet Feed

Lock and Load Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader AR-10
Gavin Gear tests .308 ammo with his DPMS LR-308B, AR10-type rifle.

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com owns a DPMS LR-308B, an AR10-type semi-auto rifle. Gavin finds that his DPMS has a healthy appetite for ammunition. So, he set up his Hornady Lock-N-Load progressive press to produce .308 Win ammo. This video shows the process of press set-up and operation, complete with Hornady’s automated Case Feeder and Bullet Feeder. Employing elevated rotary hoppers, the case feed and bullet feed systems really speed up production. The automated feeders allow the operator to produce cartridges without ever touching case or bullet with his hands.

If you need large quantities of .308 Win ammo for 3-Gun matches or tactical games, and if you value your time, a progressive press may be a wise investment. The progressive can load a complete round with every cycle of the press handle. With Case Feeder and Bullet Feeder in place, the Hornady L-N-L can easily crank out a new .308 round every 3-4 seconds (watch video at 5:25). Conservatively speaking, that’s 15 rounds per minute sustained production (and some guys can go even faster).

Get updates from UltimateReloader.com via Gavin’s twitter feed: @UReloader. To learn more about the Hornady Lock-N-Load Progressive Press (with case/bullet feed options), and to see a list of the dies and accessories Gavin uses, click the link below:

Hornady Rifle Bullet Feeder Part 5: Loading .308 for the AR-10

Lock and Load Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader AR-10

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October 14th, 2014

Shooting a Tubegun in F-Class — G. Salazar Talks Equipment

When we recently ran a story about Dennis Santiago’s new snakeskin Eliseo Tubegun, folks asked us if this kind of rifle can be competitive in F-Class competition. Here’s a detailed answer to that question by G. Salazar, who runs the Riflemans Journal Website.

A while back, G. Salazar published a three-part article on Shooting The Tubegun in F-Class. Links for all three segments are found below. The article covers some of the hardware German engineered to adapt his tubegun for long-range F-Class shooting with scope. If you’re an F-Classer, or just a fan of tubeguns, you should read German’s article, in all its parts.

READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 1
READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 2
READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 3

In the intro to his multi-part F-Class Tubegun article, German explains:

Salazar: The tubegun has truly changed the face of High Power shooting over the past five years or so. Specifically, the CSS (Gary Eliseo) tubeguns, which are made for a broad variety of actions and configurable to single-shot or repeater, have truly helped the sport to grow. That’s not just idle talk, the two principal factors that made the tubegun so important to our growth are the ease of transition for AR15 shooters moving into a bolt-action rifle and the absolutely ridiculous length of time it currently takes to get a stock from the conventional stock makers. My last conventional stock took well over two years from order to delivery (plain fiberglass). One of my friends has now been waiting four years for a simple wood stock for a smallbore rifle. By contrast, tubeguns, which are largely CNC machined, are delivered in a reasonably short time — weeks or a couple of months at most.

German Salazar F-Class Tubegun

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the tubegun would never have attained its present success if it weren’t for one simple fact — they are brutally accurate. I have three CSS tubeguns, one chambered in .308 and two in .30-06 and they are my favorite prone rifles due to their accuracy and great ergonomics. Those factors are just as appealing to an F-Class competitor as to a prone shooter, and indeed, the tubegun is making solid inroads into F-Class. READ MORE…

READ MORE of Part 1, The Tubegun in F-Class

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August 13th, 2014

New Giraud Case-Trimming and Chamfering Tool

Giraud Tool has a new case trimmer/chamferer that works with a power drill (or other power source). Giraud’s patent-pending Tri Way Case Trimmer is a self-contained unit powered by your drill or motor. Using a sharp carbide blade it will trim your cases to length, deburr, and cut both inside and outside chamfers — all in one pass. That’s pretty impressive for a $90 tool that fits in the palm of your hand.

Close-up of the Tri Way cutter with clear plastic chip guard removed.
Giraud Tri Way Trimmer Case Cutter tool

Product Features
1. Fully adjustable for cartridge length (and depth of chamfer).
2. Tool includes carbide blade that cuts a 15° inside case mouth chamfer and 45° outside chamfer.
3. Case holder supported by sealed ball bearing raceway.
4. Tool includes removable, transparent plastic chip guard.
5. Tool can work in any orientation (vertical, horizontal, or any angle).

The Giraud Tri Way Trimmer is designed to be powered by a portable hand drill, drill press, or other dedicated rotating power source. The tool indexes off the shoulder of your cases, but the blade adjusts so that cartridge overall length (COAL) can be controlled with precision. Constructed out of 6061-T6 aluminum and 303 stainless steel, the Tri Way tool should last a lifetime. Note: This tool is not universal. The Tri Way is dedicated to a single cartridge and “related” cartridges with similar body dimensions. Thus you need a specific tool for each cartridge family. For example, the .308 Win tool will also trim .243 Win, .260 Rem, and 7mm-08.

Cartridge Sizes Available for Giraud Tri Way Trimmer:
.223 Remington (Also trims .17 Remington, .204 Ruger, .222 Remington, .222 Remington Magnum)
7.62 x 39mm (Russian)
.300 Blackout (Also trims .17 Rem Fireball, .221 Fireball)
.308 Winchester (Also trims .243 Winchester, .260 Remington, 7mm-08)
.30-06 Springfield (Also trims .25-06, .270 Winchester, .280 Remington)
.300 Winchester Mag (Also trims .264 Winchester Magnum, 7mm Remington Magnum)

Giraud Tri Way Trimmer Case Cutter tool

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, Reloading 4 Comments »
January 31st, 2014

Idaho Company Produces Advanced Ammo-Loading Machines

Looking to start a new enterprise? How about entering a field where consumer demand greatly exceeds supply right now — the ammunition business. If you have $38,000 or so you can get your own automated ammo-making machine from Ammo Load Worldwide, Inc., an American-run business located in Lewiston, Idaho. There’s also an 11-station, computer-controlled “Mark L” rifle ammo machine that’s a bit pricier — $77,000 with accessories. Sure that’s a tad more expensive than a Dillon XL650, but with a Mark L you can produce three thousand .223 Rem rounds per hour with the push of a button.

Ammo Loader Idaho Ammunition machine

Watch Ammo-Loading Machines in Action:

Mark X Pistol Cartridge Loading Machine (about $38,000)
For over 30 years Ammo Load machines have served ammunition manufacturers, commercial loaders, private shooting ranges, and numerous law enforcement agencies. The Mark X Ammo Load machine (for pistol cartridges) has a maximum production rate of just over 5,000 cycles per hour. Many users produce between 3,000 and 5,000 rounds per hour. The primary factors governing the quality and quantity of ammunition produced are the components (particularly the cases), the caliber, and the capabilities of the operator.

Ammo Loader Idaho Ammunition machine

The Mark X Ammo Load machine for pistol cartridges has nine (9) stations: Case Check, Size and Deprime, Primer and Primer Disk Check, Belling, Powder Feed, Powder Check, Bullet Seating, Bullet Crimp, Final Sizing. There are checks (with shut-offs) for case feed, primer feed, bullet feed, and powder load. The Mark X comes complete with shell case feeder, primer feed tube, powder flask, and bullet feed tube.

Mark L – Automatic Rifle Ammunition Loader (About $77,000)
In 2009 Ammo Load Worldwide introduced the Mark L automatic rifle ammunition loader in .223 and .308. Many proven features from the Mark X pistol machine have been incorporated into the Mark L to provide precise and consistent rifle cartridge loading at approximately 3,000 to 3,600 rounds per hour. All of the sensors and switches use fiber optic technology to increase precision and reduce maintenance. The Mark L utilizes a 3-station powder drop; the manufacturer claims this maintains charge weights to within 1/10th of a grain.

Ammo Loader Idaho Ammunition machine

Ammo Loader Idaho Ammunition machine

Mark L Rifle Cartridge Loading Machine has 11 stations:
1. Sizing/Checking*
2. Mouth Flare
3. Priming
4. Primer Check / 1st Powder Drop
5. 2nd Powder Drop
6. 3rd Powder Drop

7. Powder Check
8. Initial Bullet Seating
9. Final Bullet Seating
10. Crimp & Bullet-in-Case Check
11. Eject
*Along with sizing, this first stage performs Flash-Hole Check, Ringer Check, and Case Check.
Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 7 Comments »
January 12th, 2014

Redding Micro-Adjust Taper Crimp Dies for .223 Rem and .308 Win

Redding Rifle .223 Rem .308 Win taper crimp micrometer dieRedding is now offering Micro-Adjusting Taper Crimp Dies for the .223 Remington (5.56×45) and .308 Winchester (7.62×51), the two most popular cartridges used in competitive rifle shooting. New for 2014, these top-adjusting, micrometer-style dies, you can adjust crimp precisely without having to back-out the die and reposition the lock ring.

The process of traditional taper crimp die adjustment is generally both time consuming and imprecise due to the 1:14″ thread pitch coupled with the need to reposition the lock ring after each adjustment. The new Redding Micro-Adjusting Taper Crimp Dies for .223 Rem and .308 Win use a knurled, micrometer-type head situated to provide approximately +/- 0.100″ of adjustment after initial die set-up. The actual crimp is applied with a hardened steel “free floating” internal sleeve.

To Taper Crimp or Not to Crimp?
That Depends…

Do you actually need a taper crimp on .223 Rem or .308 Win cartridges? If you are shooting a precision bolt gun, the answer is “probably not”. However, if you are hand-loading ammo for a semi-automatic rifle, there are reasons you may want to apply a taper crimp on the cartridge. And high-volume .223 Rem shooters may want to apply a taper crimp, particularly when loading mixed headstamp brass using a progressive press. The new Redding dies allow you to control the amount of crimp easily and more efficiently. Redding claims that: “Down time and loss of production due to adjustment of the crimp are virtually eliminated, dramatically increasing the rounds per hour rates of all progressive and turret-style presses.”

High-volume hand-loaders often struggle with the realities of case variation and the resulting difficulties in obtaining a uniform crimp. Redding notes: “Case length is not the only variable, as case neck-wall thickness also impacts where the case intersects the die’s tapered crimping surface.”

Permalink New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »
December 11th, 2013

Norma .308 Winchester Ammo On Sale at Bullets.com

Norma .308 Winchester Ammo bullets.comWe know many readers have been searching high and low for components and high-quality ammunition, particularly for popular chamberings such as the .308 Winchester. Well Santa delivered something nice for you .308 shooters. Bullets.com received a large shipment of Norma-brand Tac .308 ammo. This is good stuff — Norma brass loaded with a quality 150gr Norma FMJ bullet. This Tac-308 ammo is now in stock and On Sale for $53.50 for fifty (50) rounds at Bullets.com. If you can find this elsewhere, you’ll pay $65.00 or more per box. And remember, you’ve got quality Norma brass that will last for many reloadings after the ammo is fired. When you consider the value of the brass for reloading, this deal is even more attractive.

Norma .308 Winchester Ammo bullets.com

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December 2nd, 2013

Slick F-TR with Adjustable Bag-Rider and Carbon-Metal Bipod

Forum member Jonathan L. (aka ‘Quest-QC’) was a member of the Canadian F-TR team at the F-Class World Championships in Raton, NM this fall. His handsome .308 Winchester rifle features some interesting hardware and a stunning African Padauk-wood stock stiffened with carbon fiber layers. We were impressed by the innovative, adjustable bag-rider assembly Jonathan fitted to the rear of his stock (scroll down for photo). With an Allen wrench, the vertical height and the slope (i.e. fore/aft angle) of the V-shaped bag-rider can be changed easily. This has many advantages. First, Jonathan can set his rifle to the most comfortable height (for his prone position) without using “lifters” under the rear bag. The system also gives him some gross elevation adjustment separate from the bipod. In addition, the angle adjustment allows the bag-rider to better match the geometry of the rear bag. Last but not least, by setting up the bag-rider with some drop (higher in front, lower in back), Jonathan can fine-tune his elevation (while aiming the gun) by simply sliding the rifle fore and aft.

F-TR F-t/r rifle starshooter .308 Win Winchester F-Class Berger Hybrids Adjustable stock bag rider Padauk African Wood Carbon Fiber Bipod

Jonathan says: “This year was my second year shooting at 1000 yards and I managed to find a spot on Team Canada for the FCWC at Raton. Here is the rifle that brought me there…”

F-TR F-t/r rifle starshooter .308 Win Winchester F-Class Berger Hybrids Adjustable stock bag rider Padauk African Wood Carbon Fiber Bipod

The rifle features a Kelbly Panda F-Class RB-LP action, 34″ Bartlein 1:11″-twist, Heavy Palma contour barrel. Fitted to the red-toned Padauk-wood stock is a 23.2 oz., StarShooter CF-SS light weight bipod with custom bench feet. On top is a March 8-80x56mm scope in Kelbly rings. Total weight of the rifle is 18 pounds, 1 oz., complete with the 24 oz. adjustable brass bag-rider at the back. The bag-rider block was modeled in 3D, then machined afterwards to use up the remaining weight available after all the other components. CLICK for StarShooter CF-SS Bipod Video.

African Padauk Wood is Very Stiff
Jonathan chose the red-toned African Padauk Wood because it is stiff for its weight: “The reason for choosing African Padauk is that the weight of the wood is the same as Maple but 45% more rigid.” The downside of Padauk, as Forum member Gstaylorg notes, is that it is a “very oily wood, which can make it somewhat difficult to finish with something like polyurethane. [Padauk] can generate a lot of bubbles and cause cracking problems around joints and/or seams.” Jonathan did note that he has observed a few bubbles in the auto clear coat on his stock. He plans to refinish the stock in the off-season.

F-TR F-t/r rifle starshooter .308 Win Winchester F-Class Berger Hybrids Adjustable stock bag rider Padauk African Wood Carbon Fiber Bipod

Gun Is Extremely Accurate with Berger 200gr Hybrids
Jonathan says this rig was very accurate, at least until his barrel gave up the ghost. He says he has put 15 successive shots in about 1/4 MOA: “I managed to make it twice (1/4 MOA for 15) by taking my time between shots. You don’t want to overheat this barrel. I needed to provide a very strong effort (mentally) to be able to achieve such precision as the rifle is way better than me.” Jonathan shoots Berger 200gr Hybrid bullets (in the lands) with Hodgdon Varget powder, and Federal 205M primers, loaded into neck-turned Lapua .308 Win brass. He has also had good luck with Vihtavuori N150 powder in the past.

F-TR F-t/r rifle starshooter .308 Win Winchester F-Class Berger Hybrids Adjustable stock bag rider Padauk African Wood Carbon Fiber Bipod

In compliance with F-Class rules, the adjustable bag-rider system would not be adjusted “on the fly” during record fire. The bag-rider’s vertical rise and fore/aft slope would be optimized before shooting, then locked in place. The bottom photo offers a good view of the V-shaped profile of the metal bag-rider. We have found that this kind of V-profile, closely matching the triangular profile of the rear ears, makes a rifle more secure in the rear bag and often allows the gun to track better.

F-TR F-t/r rifle starshooter .308 Win Winchester F-Class Berger Hybrids Adjustable stock bag rider Padauk African Wood Carbon Fiber Bipod

F-TR F-t/r rifle starshooter .308 Win Winchester F-Class Berger Hybrids Adjustable stock bag rider Padauk African Wood Carbon Fiber Bipod

Permalink Gunsmithing No Comments »
September 10th, 2013

F-TR Nat’l Champion Derek Rodgers Shares His Winning Secrets

While attending the 2013 F-Class World Championships at Raton, we had a chance to talk with Derek Rodgers, who had just been named the 2013 U.S. F-TR National Champion. Derek’s F-TR Win at Raton makes him the only shooter to have won U.S. F-Class National titles in both F-Open and F-TR divisions. Derek was excited about his performance at Raton: “F-TR was my first love in competitive shooting and [winning the F-TR title] has always been a personal goal to achieve”. In this Q&A session, Derek tells us about his rifles and his Nationals-winning .308 Winchester load. Derek also provides some advice for new shooters in the F-TR game.

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion

Q: Readers want to know about your rifle. How did your select your stock, action, and bipod? And tell us about working with your gunsmith Doan Trevor and the quality of his work.

Derek: For my F-TR project, I carefully chose as many lightweight components as possible, without compromising performance. I wanted to put the weight savings (from light components) into a heaver, stiffer barrel. The rifle features a left port, left bolt Kelbly F-Class Panda action fitted with a Kelbly trigger. The stock was acquired as an uncut blank. It’s a McMillan Prone stock and is very comfortable in design. It also has a nice vertical pistol grip and gentle palm swell. This makes getting behind the gun feel very natural. [Editor’s Note: Though Derek is a right-hander, he shoots with a Left bolt-Left port action. This allows him to stay in the shooting position, right hand on grip, while manipulating the bolt (and feeding rounds) with his non-trigger-pulling hand.]

CLICK on Rifle Photos for Full-Screen Versions

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion
Rifle photos by Dennis Welker.

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion doan trevor gunsmithDoan Trevor built the entire rifle. Doan even made all of the hardware on the gun. Doan was able to drop pounds vs. ounces as a result. Doan’s 3-way butt-plate hardware alone weighs just half a pound! Doan was highly attentive in helping me build the gun the way I wanted. His bedding and fitment is clean and he has creative ideas for the competitive shooter. While my stock is fiberglass, Doan really shines when it comes to building stocks from wood blanks. In fact, Doan built the stock used by second-place finisher Lige Harris, and also fourth-place Trudie Fay. I feel fortunate to have Doan so close. He’s truly a master craftsman who can quickly turn a project into reality.

I chose a Bartlein barrel on this rifle. It is an 1:11″ twist, 32″ long, heavy-contour barrel to stabilize heavy bullets. This barrel was a real hummer from the start. I shot six shells over the chronograph to determine initial chamber behavior and all six loads shot into 1 hole at 100 yards. Each cartridge had 0.5 grains increase in powder. That’s never happened to me before.

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion

Up front, I used a Duplin Bipod. It weighs just 17.2 ounces and is made in North Carolina by Clint Cooper and supplied through Brownells/Sinclair. It is a new product for them and it has already proved to be an extremely lightweight, solid platform. Kelbly rings and an NXS 8-32X scope top the rifle off.

Q: Could you talk about your experience shooting at Raton — dealing with the challenging winds. Did you have any strategy going into the Nationals? Did that change?

Derek: The Raton winds can be intimidating to a person that has never shot there before. In fact, one of the first comments I heard was that it was ugly and nasty out there as the flags ripped straight out to the NW. I glanced downrange and thought it looked like another beautiful New Mexico day (being from NM does have its perks). There is usually no shortage of big wind out here. I’m fortunate to shoot 1K matches locally at a Del Norte Gun Range located outside of Albuquerque. It prepared me to shoot when I can see the mirage and proceed with caution when I can’t. It is the same elevation as the Whittington Center and gives me true testing with actual come-ups that will work dead on at both ranges. My strategy going in to the match was to shoot heavy 200 grain Berger hybrid bullets. I felt like it was the best compromise between BC and velocity. My load held an incredibly flat water-line and that gave me the confidence to either shoot through the entire string in tough wind or stop and wait until the switching winds returned to what I like to see. I was fortunate to pick the correct wind-sets and jump in when I needed to — or wait when the mirage didn’t look right. It paid off as I saw competitors’ targets raised with wide ring spotters. A few times I watched my clock and let a couple relays tick down to the last several minutes before finishing. The winds are quite challenging here and wind pickups and let-offs are huge! The wind calls are definitely magnified in Raton.

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion

Q: You are the only shooter to have won both the F-Open and F-TR U.S. National Championships. How would you compare and contrast F-Open vs. F-TR?

Derek: Now that I’ve won both F-TR and F-Open National titles, I have finally captured the elusive F-TR national victory. F-TR was my first love in competitive shooting and [winning the F-TR title] has always been a personal goal to achieve. I could not be happier to win in my home state with a spectacular level of expertise in attendance. You really need to remain 100% focused in F-TR and try not to miss any condition change. If you do, you will pay dearly as the .308 Win just doesn’t have the extra horsepower to plow through the minor wind changes like Open guns can. Needless to say, F-Open shooters have their hands full in Raton as well; high BCs and fast, booming magnums aren’t the only way to get good scores. Open shooters need to be just as in-tune with the wind. Most of the Open Class shooters use sophisticated rests and cartridges superior to the .308 Win. However, I saw rough conditions disrupt many top shooters as they handed over their score cards to line officers. Although not in a front rest, I have learned to manage my F-TR gun to keep it tracking straight back under recoil. I had two main concerns in Raton this year with my F-TR rifle: 1) Keep all my shots on paper even if the winds blow 25+ mph; and 2) do NOT shoot another target! It’s very easy to do if your bipod slides over during recoil. That was less of a concern for me when I shot Open. Open Class rifles have a more stable foundation that stays in place better. However, just one crossfire at this level will take you out of contention to win anything in Open or F-TR. Both classes are very tough these days on the upper level and you can’t afford to give away points.

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion

Q. What was your load for Raton and did you have to make any adjustments for the altitude or temperature?

Derek: My load for the upcoming Nationals was something I used earlier in the year to win the 2013 East Coast Sinclair Nationals: Berger 200gr Hybrids, Lapua brass, Varget powder, Wolf LR primers. I felt it was very consistent against some of the best F-TR shooters around. However, my biggest concern was my load being over-pressured in late summer. It was a hot year in New Mexico. In June, I made a couple trips to Raton and discovered my loads that I felt were safe were actually on the hot side. I tested locally in the heat of the day vs. calm cool mornings. I also spent quite a bit of time studying past load data / temperatures and came up with a game plan to work with what I had. I kept my fingers crossed that the ambient temperature would stay in the low 80s. I knew my load shot well from 50-80 degrees, but above that and I thought I may have problems with the groups coming apart late in a string. I saw this happen to me in the past with temp-stable powders in a .308 Win. In fact, .308 Win loads become much more critical when pushing the cartridge to its full capacity. Had the temps been in the mid to upper 90s, I’m sure the rifle would have shot differently.

Derek Rodgers 2013 F-TR USA U.S. national champion

Q: What advice would you offer to someone getting started in F-TR competition?

Derek: I think shooting F-TR has allowed me to really get an idea of what the wind is doing. If a new shooter is interested in trying it, the best tips I can offer is to partner up with a few experienced shooters that know how to hand-load carefully and compare shooting notes. This helps someone get traction with proven methods. Another tip would be to get matches under your belt–at different ranges. It may seem trivial, but each range is different. The shooter may benefit by seeing something that he hasn’t encountered before. The other thing I’d suggest to new shooters is not to worry about your score when starting. Keep shooting. More trigger time is key. I’d recommend working on eliminating your lowest ring value first. For example, if you’re lowest score was a 6, next match try to only shoot better than 7s. Once that is eliminated work on your 8s. When you consistently shoot 9s and 10s then you can be assured that your technique is solid and manageable. Higher scores and Xs will come….

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
July 6th, 2013

Powder Valley Has Factory Second Bullets at Rock-Bottom Prices

Powder Valley bullet seconds sale BTHP accurateshooter.comNeed quality bullets at affordable prices? Powder Valley Inc. (PVI) has made a huge purchase of FOUR MILLION factory second bullets from a major manufacturer. These come in lots of 500 bullets at great prices. How about $73.95/500 for .224 caliber bullets? That’s just $14.79 per hundred! If you shoot a .30-caliber rifle, PVI also has 168gr and 175gr factory second bullets at great prices. The 168s are $109.95/500 while the 175s are $115.95/500. These factory-second bullets are found on Powder Valley’s Specials Page (Go to PowderValleyInc.com and click on the blue “Specials” Link in the top left.)

NOTE: All these bullets are in stock right now, but we expect these to sell out fast. Note, you can not purchase small quantities. These are only offered in lots of 500.

PVI Special Purchase Major Brand Bullets
Item # Description Price
PVI22477 .224 77 GR HPBT (500) (Major mfg factory seconds) $73.95
PVI308168 .308 168 GR HPBT (500) (Major mfg factory seconds) $109.95
PVI308175 .308 175 GR HPBT (500) (Major mfg factory seconds) $115.95
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals 1 Comment »
June 12th, 2013

Lapua Brass in Many Popular Calibers Available Now

Lapua cartridge brass accurateshooter.comWe all know that reloading components have been in short supply in recent months. If you’ve been searching for quality brass, your wait may be over.

A boatload of Lapua cartridge brass has crossed the Atlantic, cleared customs, and is now in warehouses. Many large vendors report that they have ample supplies of Lapua brass in stock now. So if you need some cartridge cases, place your orders today.

Here is a summary of the cartridge types in stock, vendor by vendor. Sorry, no 6mmBR brass on hand at these outfits, but you’ll find most other types of Lapua rifle brass:

Lapua Rifle Cartridge Brass in Stock as of 6/12/2013
Creedmoor Sports Grafs.com Powder Valley Inc.
.220 Russian
.223 Rem
22-250 Rem
6.5×47
6.5×284 Norma
.260 REM
.308 WIN
.308 WIN Palma
.30-06 Spr
.220 Russian
6.5×47
.260 Rem
6.5×55 SE
6.5×284 Norma
.338 Lapua Mag
.220 Russian
.222 Rem
.223 Rem
22-250 Rem
.243 Win
6.5×47
.260 Rem
6.5×55 SE
6.5×284 Norma
7.62×39
.308 Win
.308 Win Palma
.30-06 Spr
.338 Lapua Mag
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo No Comments »
May 10th, 2013

Large vs. Small Flash Holes in .308 Win Brass

Conventional .308 Winchester brass has a large primer pocket with a large, 0.080″-diameter flash hole. In 2010, Lapua began producing special edition .308 Win “Palma” brass that has a small primer pocket and a small flash hole, sized 1.5mm (.059″) in diameter. Tests by U.S. Palma Team members showed that the small-flash-hole .308 brass possibly delivers lower Extreme Spread (ES) and Standard Deviation (SD) with some bullet/powder/primer combinations. All things being equal, a lower ES should reduce vertical dispersion at long range.

Why Might a Small Flash Hole Work Better?
The performance of the small-flash-hole .308 brass caused some folks to speculate why ES/SD might be improved with a smaller flash hole. One theory (and it’s just a theory) is that the small flash hole creates more of a “jet” effect when the primer fires. German Salazar (Rifleman’s Journal Editor) sought to find out, experimentally, whether this theory is correct. German explained: “During one of the many internet forum discussions of these cases, Al Matson (AlinWA) opined that the small flash hole might cause the primer flash to be propagated forward more vigorously. In his words, it should be like shooting a volume of water through a smaller nozzle, resulting in a flash that reaches further up the case. Now that kind of comment really sparked my curiosity, so I decided to see what I could see.”

More Primer Testing by Salazar
You can read more about this test and other primer experiments on RiflemansJournal.com.

Salazar Primer Tests: Small Rifle Primer Study | Large Rifle Primer Study

Large and Small Flash Hole .308 Cases — But Both with Small Primer Pockets
To isolate the effect of flash hole diameter alone, German set up a test with the two types of .308 case that have a small primer pocket: Remington BR brass with a 0.080″ flash hole and Lapua Palma brass with a 0.062″ flash hole. NOTE: German reamed the Lapua brass to 0.062″ with a Sinclair uniforming tool, so it was slightly larger than the 0.059″ factory spec. The Remington brass has a .22 BR headstamp as this brass was actually meant to be re-formed into .22 BR or 6 BR before there was factory brass available for those cartridges.

.308 Winchester Flash Holes

German set up his primer testing fixture, and took photos in low light so you can see the propagation of the primer “blast” easily. He first tested the Remington 7 1/2 primer, a primer known for giving a large flame front. German notes: “I thought that if there was a ‘nozzle effect’ from the small flash hole, this primer would show it best. As you can see from the photos, there might be a little bit of a flash reduction effect with this primer and the small flash hole, the opposite of what we expected, but it doesn’t appear to be of a significant order of magnitude.”

Remington BR case, 0.080″ Flash Hole, Remington 7.5 Primer.

Lapua Palma case, 0.062″ Flash Hole, Remington 7.5 Primer.

Next German tested the Wolf .223 primer, an unplated version of the Small Rifle Magnum that so many shooters use. German notes: “This is a reduced flame-front (low flash) primer which has proven itself to be very accurate and will likely see a lot of use in the Lapua cases. With this primer, I couldn’t detect any difference in the flash produced by the small flash hole versus the large flash hole”.

Remington BR case, 0.080″ Flash Hole, Wolf .223 Primer.

Palma case, 0.062″ Flash Hole, Wolf 223 Primer.

German tells us: “I fired five or six of each primer to get these images, and while there is always a bit of variance, these are an accurate representation of each primer type and case type. You can draw your own conclusions from all this, I’m just presenting the data for you. I don’t necessarily draw any conclusions as to how any combination will shoot based on the pictures.”

Results of Testing
Overall, looking at German’s results, one might say that the smaller diameter of the small flash hole does not seem to have significantly changed the length or size of the primer flame front. There is no discernible increased “jet effect”.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 9 Comments »
April 11th, 2013

“Texas T” — Radical, All-Metal F-TR Rifle from Richard King

Report by Richard King (King’s Armory, Texas; ‘Kings X’ on our Forum)
With all the talk from Vince Bottomley in the April issue of Target Shooter about aluminum stocks, I thought you might like to see my latest project. This is my personal gun, built the way I wanted it. I know it’s radical and some may not care for it. But it works.

Richard King F-TR skeleton rifle

This is pretty much an all-aluminum rifle. The action is a Kelbly F-Class with a Shilen stainless steel competition trigger. The scope is a 1″-tube Leupold 36X with a Tucker Conversion set in Jewell spherical bearing rings. The .223 barrel is Pac-Nor 3-groove, 1:6.5″-twist mounted in a “V”-type barrel block. The bipod has vertical adjustment only via a dovetail slide activated by a stick handle. It works like a joy-stick, but for vertical only. I adjust for windage by moving the rear sandbag.

The 30″ barrel is 1.250″ in diameter. With the barrel block forward, the vibrations should be at a low frequency. Instead of one long rod whipping, I now have two short rods (barrel haves) being dampened. This is my fourth barrel block gun. They work, but so does a good pillar-bedded action. I just do stuff a little different.

Richard King F-TR skeleton rifle

The vertical “keel” down the bottom of the stock stops the “spring” of a flat-bar stock. There is little, if any, noticeable flex before or during recoil. The long length of the stock, the fat barrel, and the forward-mounted barrel block work together to keep the gun from rising off the ground. BUT, remember this is a .223 Rem rifle. A .308 Win version might act very differently. I may try a .308-barreled action soon, just to see what happens. But I will stick with the .223 Rem as my choice for match shooting.

Richard King F-TR skeleton rifleThe offset scope idea came from a benchrest “rail” gun. In truth, the whole concept came from a rail gun — just adapted to being shot off a bipod. Sure it isn’t directly over the bore. It is about 1.5″ over to the left. So if you want the scope to be zeroed on the center of the target, you have to adjust for the offset. At 100 yards that is 1.5 MOA. But at 300 it is only 0.5 MOA, at 600 only a ¼-MOA, and at 1000 about 1 click on my scope.

What the offset DOES do for me is eliminate any cheek pressure. My cheek never touches the stock. Since this is only a .223 Rem, I don’t put and shoulder pressure behind it. And I don’t have a pistol grip to hang on to, but I do put my thumb behind the trigger guard and “pinch” the two-ounce trigger.

The offset scope placement could interfere with loading a dual-port action from the left. That’s not a problem for me as I set my spotting scope up on the left side very close to the rifle. I have plenty of time to reload from the right side while the target is in the pits being scored.

Again — this is my rifle. It is designed for my style of shooting. It is not meant to be a universal “fit all” for the general public. However, I will say the design is adaptable. I can easily convert the system to run in F-Open Class. I would drop a big-bore barreled action into the “V” block, slide on a heavier pre-zeroed scope and rings, add plates on the sides up front to bring the width to 3”, and maybe a recoil pad. It might be interesting to offset the wings up from to counter torque of the big bullets. But I would also have to offset the rear bag rider to get the gun to recoil straight back.

How the Gun Performs
I have had “T” to the range only twice for load development. It groups like my present barrel-blocked 223 F-TR gun. But it’s much easier to shoot and it only moves about 3/4” — straight back. I tried to build am omni-directional joy-stick bipod but I could not get all the side-to-side wiggle out of it. So I have set it up so it only moves up and down (horizontal movement is locked-out). As it works now, the joystick on the bipod lets me set elevation on the target quickly (with up/down adjustment). Then, to adjust for windage, I slide my rear bag side-to-side as needed. Once set, I just tickle the trigger and smile.

Gun Handling — Shoot It Like a Bench-Gun
I basically shoot the gun with no cheek or body contact. I don’t grip it, other than maybe a pinch on the trigger guard. The scope was offset to the left to help the shooter move off the gun and avoid the possibility of head/cheek contact with the stock.

Listen to Richard King Explain How He Shoots his ‘Texas-T’ Rifle:

[haiku url=”http://accurateshooter.net/Video/RichKingTalks.mp3″ Title=”Richard King Talks”]

CLICK PHOTOS to See Big Size

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 13 Comments »
January 13th, 2013

Sling Shooter Learns the F-TR Game

Following shoulder surgery, our Contributing Editor German Salazar moved to F-TR shooting, replacing his sling and iron sights with bipod and scope. German has done remarkably well for an F-TR newbie, winning his first two 500-yard matches (in F-TR class) at Phoenix-area ranges. German has been shooting his “old Palma rifle with a scope and bipod attached”. This rig features a Gilkes-Ross action in a Robertson/Sitman Highpower Prone stock with an Anschütz 5020 trigger and 30″ 1:11″-twist Krieger barrel. The rifle is fitted with a Canadian-made Rempel “Ski” bipod and a Leupold BR 24X scope.

On his Riflemans’ Journal website, German has crafted a helpful article with advice for “sling shooters contemplating a busman’s holiday into F-Class.” Even seasoned F-Class shooters can learn something from German’s observations in his F-TR: Scoping it Out article. Here are some highlights from the article:

Carpet Under the Bipod
“I quickly learned that a piece of carpet was an essential component under the bipod. Without the carpet, [on dirt surfaces] the bipod tends to dig into the dirt with every shot, resulting in odd elevation shots. On the concrete it isn’t quite as essential, but it smooths the recoil movement appreciably and is worthwhile. [I used] a short-nap carpet remnant for this, but my car floor mat also worked well.”

F-TR rifle salazar

Clicking vs. Holding Off
“I’ve been shooting iron sights and clicking sight knobs for most of my life; trying to hold off made me very uncomfortable and the reflex pull of the trigger just wasn’t there. Once I returned to holding center and clicking, I was more comfortable and was able to execute my shots more quickly and cleanly. By zeroing the windage knob I can also easily return to a previous setting when conditions warrant.”

Reading Mirage with Spotting Scope
“In conversations with other F-Class shooters in our club, I found that few were using a spotting scope to see mirage; they were largely relying on the rifle scope. However, the rifle scope is focused on the target, as it must be to eliminate parallax, and thus cannot show mirage with the same clarity as a spotting scope that is focused roughly halfway down the range.”

F-TR rifle salazar

Positioning Your Spotting Scope
“I position the spotting scope in the same manner as I did when shooting from the sling. It is very close to me and can be used without moving the head from the cheekpiece. The object, as always, is to minimize movement in order to maintain a consistent position and to minimize the time lost between the last glance at the mirage and breaking the shot.”

CLICK HERE to Read Full F-TR Article by German Salazar

German’s F-TR article first appeared in 2011. Since then German has had another shoulder surgery, but he is progressing well.
Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 5 Comments »
January 3rd, 2013

Remington Introduces Affordable Model 783 Bolt Gun

Remington will introduce a new bolt-action rifle at SHOT Show, the Model 783. Remington positions the new model 783 as a mid-level offering between the Model 770 and Model 700 SPS, according to John Fink, Freedom Group Rifle Product Manager. This new rifle was first revealed in an American Rifleman article by Richard Mann, who tested an early production version in September 2012. Mann reports: “The ‘7’ in the model designation comes from the 700 line of rifles, the ‘8’ is kind of a throwback to the affordable but reliable model 788, which was discontinued 20 years ago, and the ‘3’ is for the three in 2013. The suggested retail price is $451, but you can expect street prices to be closer to $400.”

Remington Model 783

Remington is claiming sub-MOA accuracy for the Model 783, as demonstrated by the “teaser” photo sent out to Remington customers earlier this week:

Remington Model 783

Remington Model 783

Remington Model 783Adjustable Trigger with Insert
The rifle features a polymer stock, cylindrical action, and an adjustable trigger with a control insert (as used on the Savage AccuTrigger and Marlin Pro-Fire trigger). Remington’s “CrossFire Trigger System” is pre-set at 3.5 lbs pull weight. According to the reviewer, Remington’s CrossFire Trigger is “similar in appearance to the Savage AccuTrigger and the Marlin Pro-Fire Trigger; it has a center lever that locks the trigger until it is fully depressed.” (We think selecting “CrossFire” as a product title was a dumb move by Rem’s marketing guys.)

Model 783 Has Barrel Nut System
Remington has borrowed a trick from Savage, employing a barrel nut system for fitting barrels to model 783 actions. The model 783’s two-lug bolt features a Sako-style sliding-plate extractor — this is a departure from the system on a Rem 700. Scopes can be mounted with two Model 700-spec front scope bases. However, Remington plans to offer integral scope mounts in the near future.

CLICK for Model 783 Review in American Rifleman | CLICK for Model 783 Photo Gallery

Designed for game hunters, the model 783 will initially be offered in four chamberings: .308 Winchester (short action), .270 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, and 7mm Rem. Magnum. Remington says it will roll out more chamberings by the middle of 2013. In addition a compact-stock version with a shorter length of pull will be offered. Barrels are 22″ or 24″ with a “magnum contour”. Model 783 rifles will be produced in the Freedom Group’s Mayfield, Kentucky manufacturing plant.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 23 Comments »
December 13th, 2012

“It Hammers” — Radical Jennings-Stocked F-TR Rig Shoots Great

We recently reported on the new Jennings F-TR stock with integrated bipod. When we first saw this rig we thought, “OK, it looks cool, but how does it shoot?” Well, we had a chance to test a .308 Win F-TR rifle built by Chesebro Rifles using the Jennings stock, Barnard action, and 32″ Bartlein barrel. With the gun on the bench, we first shot a few rounds to confirm zero and test for function.

Then gun-builder Mark Chesebro set the rifle on the shooting mat, opened up a box of Federal 168gr Gold Medal Match (GMM) .308 Win ammo, and got down to business — from the ground. What happened next can only be described as “shock and awe”. Mark nailed three successive groups that left us shaking our heads in amazement. The Jennings stock works. Does it ever. This gun hammers.

All groups were shot from the ground, bipod-supported, with Federal factory GMM ammo.

Mark’s first three-shot group had two shots in one hole, then the third leaked a bit high for a 0.184″ group. Then Mark dialed down 2 MOA elevation, and drilled an astonishing 3-shot .047″ group. (For reference, the black diamond in the orange paster is 1/4″ from point to point.)

I was watching through a Swarovski spotting scope and I saw all three shots track into one hole that just got a little whiter in the middle with each successive round. I yelled out “Stop shooting!” because I wanted to measure the group. It was an easy mid-zero — and honestly it looked like just one bullet hole from a pistol. That is amazing with factory .308 Win ammo, particularly in a barrel throated for 185s, not the 168gr SMKs Federal uses in its Gold Medal Match .308 ammunition.

Mark Chesebro Rifles

After measuring Mark’s 3-shot bughole, we walked back to the firing line and Mark shot a full 5-shot group. This would have been a two-flat, but he flinched a bit and his third shot went a little high to open the group to a 0.233″. Still darn impressive with factory ammo…

Editor’s Comment: This Gun is Ultra-Stable and Tracks Straight Back
I had a chance to shoot the gun from the ground. I can tell you this — the stock design really works. With the wide-track bipod, the gun is incredibly stable. As you’re aiming there is virtually zero horizontal movement in the crosshairs. All you need to do is squeeze the ears to set your vertical Point of Aim and pull the trigger. This thing is one of the easiest guns to shoot accurately (from the ground) that I’ve ever tried. You don’t have to struggle for stability at all — the gun wants to stay dead calm.

With the large, cylindrical Delrin feet placed on a mat, the gun tracks straight back. And there is no hop, no bounce, no roll. In fact, the gun tracked so well that I could see my bullets impact on the paper target. That’s surprising for a .308 Win with no muzzle brake. After a shot I could slide the gun forward and the crosshairs were right where they should be — the only thing I had to do is squeeze the ears to re-set my vertical. All I can tell you is the thing is very easy to shoot well.

I don’t know whether it is because of the forward-angle geometry of the legs, or the Delrin feet, or the properties of the carbon fiber tube that supports the front end, but the gun seems to have more damping than other metal-chassis stocks I’ve tried. Some metal-stocked guns seem to “ring” and transmit a sharp pulse to the shooter. This Jennings stock doesn’t do that — it seems to soak up vibration somehow. And the recoil is very mild, I think because the Delrin feet slow the gun down as they slide back smoothly.

Bottom Line: We came away very, very impressed with this rifle and the Jennings stock. I have never experienced a bipod-equipped rifle (in any caliber) that is easier to aim and hold steady, or which is easier to return to precise point of aim after each shot. And, without question, this is one of the most accurate .308 Win rifles we have ever shot from the ground. And that was with factory ammo, not tuned handloads!

Making a Great Design Even Better
Could the rifle be improved? Yes. While there is some rear elevation adjustment (via an eccentric bag-rider that rotates) we would like to see more rear-end elevation adjustment, so the gun could better adapt to uphill and downhill target placements. Also we’d like to see a higher mounting point for the bag-rider so you could use a taller, beefier rear bag. We discussed these points with Mark Chesebro, and he’s agreed to start prototyping some upgrades. This may include a thumbwheel-adjustable bag-rider (sort of like an upside-down adjustable cheekpiece). At our suggestion, the vertically adjustable bag-rider may be offered in two versions — straight and angled. With an angled bag-rider (i.e. with a slight amount of drop front to rear), you could adjust your vertical point of aim by sliding the gun forward or aft in the rear bag.

We will supplement this test report with more photos and video in a few days. We know you want to see how well it tracks. The video tells the story better than words can…

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »