January 11th, 2018

Guide to Gun Metals — What You Need to Know

Sweeney Guide to Gun Metal

4140, 4150, 316, 17-4, 6061, 7075-T6 — What is the significance of these numbers? No, they’re not winning lottery numbers. These are all designations for metals commonly used in firearm and barrel construction. 4140 and 4150 are carbon steels, with 4150 often used in mil-spec AR15 barrels. 316 and 17-4 are grades of stainless steel. 316 is “marine grade” stainless, while 17-4 has 17% chromium and 4% nickel. 17-4 is a harder steel used in barrels and receivers. 6061 and 7075-T6 are aluminum alloys. 6061 is “aircraft grade” aluminum, often used for rings and trigger guards, while 7075-T6 is a much stronger, heat-treated aluminum commonly used in AR15 uppers.

Sweeney Guide to Gun MetalYou can learn about all these metals (and more) in the online archives of RifleShooter magazine.

Written by Patrick Sweeney, RifleShooter’s Guide to Gun Metal summarizes the primary types of steel and aluminum used in gun and barrel construction. Sweeney explains the nomenclature used to define metal types, and he outlines the salient properties of various steel and aluminum alloys. This is a useful resource for anyone selecting components or building rifles. We recommend you print out the page, or at least bookmark it.

Metals by the Number
The number system for steel classification came from the auto industry. Sweeney explains: “The Society of Automotive Engineers uses a simple designating system, the four numbers you see bandied about in gun articles. Numbers such as 1060, 4140 or 5150 all designate how much of what [elements are] in them. The first number is what class—carbon, nickel, chromium, and so forth. The next three numbers [list other elements in the alloy]. 4140, also known as ordnance steel, was one of the early high-alloy steels. It has about 1 percent chromium, 0.25 percent molybdenum, 0.4 percent carbon, 1 percent manganese, around 0.2 percent silicon and no more than 0.035 percent phosphorus and no more than 0.04 percent sulphur. That leaves most of it, 94.25 percent, iron.”

Aluminum Alloys
Numbers are also used to differentiate different types of aluminum alloys. Sweeny writes: “Aluminum is used in firearms in two alloys: 7075 and 6061. 6061 is commonly referred to as ‘aircraft aluminum’ and has trace amounts of silicon, copper, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. 7075 is a much stronger alloy and has markedly larger amounts of copper, manganese, chromium and zinc.” 7075 Aluminum has significantly better corrosion resistance, and that’s why it is used for AR receivers. The “T6″ you often see appended to 7075 refers to a heat-treating process.

Aluminum (or “Aluminium” in the UK) is a chemical element in the boron group with symbol Al and atomic number 13. It is a silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic, ductile metal. Aluminum is the third most abundant element, and the most abundant metal, in the Earth’s crust. (Wikipedia)

Aluminum alloy table chart Silicon Maganese Zinc Copper Magnesium

To learn more about the metals used in your firearms’ barrels, rings, receivers, and internal parts, read Sweeney’s article in RifleShooterMag.com. Taking the time to read the article from start to finish will expand your knowledge of metal properties and how metals are chosen by manufacturers and gunsmiths. CLICK to Read Guide to Gun Metal.

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions. Aluminum Alloy chart courtesy AluminiumDesign.net.
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October 15th, 2016

Unique Metal and Wood Hybrid Stock for .284 Shehane Savage

Aluminum Savage Free-float Action Wood Hybrid stock Michigan F-Class F-Open
Click Photo to see large version.

Here is a very interesting rifle, a true metal/wood hybrid that combines an aluminum front section with figured walnut in the rear half. As you can see, this unique rifle also features a barrel block that allows the Savage action to float. You may be wondering “how is the metal section connected to the wood?” The gun’s owner/builder epoxied a stainless steel tube in the wood and that tube is secured in the aluminum fore-end with set screws.

Aluminum Savage Free-float Action Wood Hybrid stock Michigan F-Class F-Open

Forum member Justin V. reports: “Sometime last fall my buddy wanted to build barrel-blocked Bavage. He is a machinist by trade so he was able to build all of the custom components himself. I know he put a ton of time into this thing over the winter, taking his time to get it done right. If you shoot in Cadillac or Midland, Michigan you will probably see him around. He tried to shoot a match this past weekend but was rained out. Hopefully it will stop raining in Michigan so he can see what it can do at 600 yards. Here are the results….” Learn more about this gun in this FORUM Thread.

(more…)

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March 23rd, 2016

Metal Properties Revealed in ‘Guide to Gun Metal’

Sweeney Guide to Gun Metal

4140, 4150, 316, 17-4, 6061, 7075-T6 — What is the significance of these numbers? No, they’re not winning lottery numbers. These are all designations for metals commonly used in firearm and barrel construction. 4140 and 4150 are carbon steels, with 4150 often used in mil-spec AR15 barrels. 316 and 17-4 are grades of stainless steel. 316 is “marine grade” stainless, while 17-4 has 17% chromium and 4% nickel. 17-4 is a harder steel used in barrels and receivers. 6061 and 7075-T6 are aluminum alloys. 6061 is “aircraft grade” aluminum, often used for rings and trigger guards, while 7075-T6 is a much stronger, heat-treated aluminum commonly used in AR15 uppers.

Sweeney Guide to Gun MetalYou can learn about all these metals (and more) in the online archives of RifleShooter magazine.

Written by Patrick Sweeney, RifleShooter’s Guide to Gun Metal summarizes the primary types of steel and aluminum used in gun and barrel construction. Sweeney explains the nomenclature used to define metal types, and he outlines the salient properties of various steel and aluminum alloys. This is a useful resource for anyone selecting components or building rifles. We recommend you print out the page, or at least bookmark it.

Metals by the Number
The number system for steel classification came from the auto industry. Sweeney explains: “The Society of Automotive Engineers uses a simple designating system, the four numbers you see bandied about in gun articles. Numbers such as 1060, 4140 or 5150 all designate how much of what [elements are] in them. The first number is what class—carbon, nickel, chromium, and so forth. The next three numbers [list other elements in the alloy]. 4140, also known as ordnance steel, was one of the early high-alloy steels. It has about 1 percent chromium, 0.25 percent molybdenum, 0.4 percent carbon, 1 percent manganese, around 0.2 percent silicon and no more than 0.035 percent phosphorus and no more than 0.04 percent sulphur. That leaves most of it, 94.25 percent, iron.”

Aluminum Alloys
Numbers are also used to differentiate different types of aluminum alloys. Sweeny writes: “Aluminum is used in firearms in two alloys: 7075 and 6061. 6061 is commonly referred to as ‘aircraft aluminum’ and has trace amounts of silicon, copper, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. 7075 is a much stronger alloy and has markedly larger amounts of copper, manganese, chromium and zinc.” 7075 Aluminum has significantly better corrosion resistance, and that’s why it is used for AR receivers. The “T6″ you often see appended to 7075 refers to a heat-treating process.

Aluminum (or “Aluminium” in the UK) is a chemical element in the boron group with symbol Al and atomic number 13. It is a silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic, ductile metal. Aluminum is the third most abundant element, and the most abundant metal, in the Earth’s crust. (Wikipedia)

Aluminum alloy table chart Silicon Maganese Zinc Copper Magnesium

To learn more about the metals used in your firearms’ barrels, rings, receivers, and internal parts, read Sweeney’s article in RifleShooterMag.com. Taking the time to read the article from start to finish will expand your knowledge of metal properties and how metals are chosen by manufacturers and gunsmiths. CLICK to Read Guide to Gun Metal.

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions. Aluminum Alloy chart courtesy AluminiumDesign.net.
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October 16th, 2014

Dewey Mfg. Offers Aluminum Jags

Aluminum jag Dewey

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

Aluminum jag DeweyJ. Dewey Mfg. is now producing a series of “Copper Eliminator” jags and brush adapters made from aircraft-grade aluminum with the same hardness as brass. Dewey claims that its new aluminum jags will not become embedded with grit or particles that could harm your bore. At the same time, Dewey’s aluminum jags will not react to ammoniated bore solvents that can turn patches blue green when used with brass jags. Dewey aluminum jags are offered with either male OR female 8/32 threads. The $4.95 aluminum jags and $3.50 brush adapters are offered in a wide variety of calibers. You can order from Dewey Mfg. or Sinclair Int’l.

Story Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome submissions from our readers.
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April 10th, 2014

Richard King’s Radical .223 Rem F-Class Rig

We know you guys like exotic hardware, so today we pulled something very exotic from our featured rifle archives. We doubt that you have ever seen anything quite like this before. Gun-builder Richard King says: “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

Report by Richard King (King’s Armory, Texas; ‘Kings X’ on our Forum)
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.

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

VOICE FILE: Richard King Explains How He Shoots his ‘Texas-T’ Rifle:

CLICK PHOTOS to See Big Size

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October 2nd, 2013

Lothar Walther Bi-Metal Barrels Are Lighter, and Shed Heat Better

Less weight plus better heat dissipation — Sound good? Here is an innovative barrel technology that promises worthwhile performance benefits for hunters or match shooters. Lothar Walther (LW) has developed a new bi-metal barrel system that cuts weight dramatically while promising significantly-enhanced heat dissipation.

Walther’s Ultra-Lightweight Barrels combine steel with lightweight alloys. This results in a significant weight reduction without the use of carbon fiber, epoxy binders, or other heat-retaining materials. Beginning as an LW50 stainless blank, the barrel is precision-machined to remove excess weight. An outer casing of light-weight alloys is machined and the two are fitted together without adhesives. Basically you end up with the steel inner barrel inside a larger-diameter fluted aluminum outer barrel (see diagram). This gives you the ‘best of both worlds’ — light weight for ease of carry, and thick diameter for rigidity and enhanced heat dissipation. Near the action, the barrel remains all-steel.

The barrels come pre-chambered in your choice of caliber/cartridge, from .22LR up to .338 Lapua Magnum. Walther chambers the barrel — but a gunsmith is still required to finish the shoulder so that the headspace is set correctly for your action. These barrels are not inexpensive. A typical bi-metal Walther Barrel runs $850.00 – $875.00, for barrel lengths from 22″ to 30″. Threading for a muzzle brake or suppressor (if desired) is normally included in that price.

Lothar Walther ultra lightweight bi-metal barrel

Aluminum thermal conductivityWe haven’t tested one of these bi-metal composite barrels, but the potential for significant weight savings is obvious — aluminum is a lot lighter than steel. What’s more, a metals expert we contacted said that a bi-metal system employing fluted aluminum over steel, if assembled properly, could dissipate heat much better than steel alone (given the same diameter). Stainless steel has a thermal conductivity factor of 16. Aluminum has a thermal conductivity factor of 250.*

Our expert also pointed out that some other composite barrel systems on the market actually increase heat retention because they place insulating materials next to the inner steel barrel. (Carbon, Fiberglass, and Epoxy are all considered “insulating substances” as they have very low thermal conductivity*.) The LW system of aluminum over metal should avoid this mistake, our expert believes. Lothar Walther says: “Unlike solid steel barrels, this barrel sheds heat fast. VERY FAST!”

Half the Weight of Conventional Barrels
How much weight can you save? With a 1.200″ shank diameter and a muzzle diameter of 0.850″, the LW Ultra-Lightweight Barrel is less than half the weight of a standard varmint barrel of the same size. Walther claims its UltraLight Barrel can be “carried for long distances and stand up to heavy firing.” This, LW says, makes these barrels “perfect… for varmint and tactical uses”.

Pre-Chambered Ultra-Lightweight Barrels Available in .22 to .338 Calibers
Lothar Walther offers Ultra-Lightweight barrels in a full range of calibers from .22LR to .338. Each Ultra-Lightweight Barrel comes complete with chamber, crown, and breech threads. These barrels are fluted by the factory. If you order a LW Ultra-Lightweight barrel, Lothar Walter provides the services of a specialist trained in building guns with these barrels. To order one of Lothar Walther’s bi-metal barrels, CLICK HERE or contact Lothar Walthar at the address below:

Lothar Walther Precision Tools, Inc.
3425 Hutchinson Rd. – Cumming, GA 30040
Phone: 770-889-9998 | Fax: 770-889-4919
E-Mail: lotharwalther [at] mindspring.com
Website: www.lothar-walther.com

*Thermal conductivity is the quantity of heat transmitted through a unit thickness in a direction normal to a surface of unit area, due to a unit temperature gradient under steady state conditions. The factor values are based on this formula: W/(m.K) = 0.85984 kcal/(hr.m. °C). Here are thermal conductivty values for common materials: Aluminum, 250; Brass, 109; Steel (Carbon 1%), 45; Stainless Steel, 16; Carbon, 1.7; Brick dense, 1.3; Concrete (medium) 0.7; Epoxy, 0.35; Fiberglass, .04.

Story tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
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December 11th, 2012

Pappas Airgun/Rimfire Front Rest — Artistry in Aluminum

Our friend and product tester Joe Friedrich is the proud owner of a spectacular front rest from James Pappas. This rest is used for both air rifle and rimfire benchrest matches. The fancy Pappas front rest is a shortened, front-support-only version of the Pappas one-piece rest, which is popular with rimfire benchresters. Pappas engineered this rest to comply with air rifle benchrest rules which do not allow use of integrated (one-piece) front and rear rests. The end result was a 30.8-lb masterpiece of machining.

Pappas Air gun front rest

Pappas Air gun front rest

The workmanship on this Pappas front rest is astounding. Accurately described as a “work of art” by Joe Friedrich, this rest, crafted of aircraft-grade aluminum, sets new standards for “Benchrest BLING”. It looks like it should be on display in an art museum. Nearly all components of this rest, including the adjustment controls, have been polished to a mirror finish.

Pappas Air gun front rest

Convenient Rear Windage and Elevation Controls
The Pappas front rest features separate fine-tuning controls for windage and elevation, plus a central gross-elevation control. Normally, once the rest is centered-up on the target, you can make all needed elevation and windage adjustments with the rear (fine-adjustment) controls. In the video below, Joe explains how the controls work as he practices with his modified Theoben Rapid MFR air rifle. Joe hopes to use this new Pappas rest in the upcoming Air Rifle Benchrest Worlds to be held in South Carolina this summer. (Note: In the last minute of the video, the back-lighting was so intensely bright that we lost detail in the foreground. We apologize for that flaw, but you can still hear the audio.)

YouTube Preview Image

Price for this Masterpiece? Don’t Ask…
If you are interested in getting a similar rest, visit PappasRimfireProducts.com, or call James Pappas directly at (817) 735-9883. Be forewarned — James said “If you need to ask about the price, you probably can’t afford it.” This is truly the “Rolls-Royce” of front rests, and it will be priced accordingly.

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December 11th, 2012

Dewey Offers Aluminum Jags and Aluminum-Tipped Rods

For decades shooters have used brass jags attached to brass-tipped cleaning rods. These work effectively. But there is one problem. Many bore solvents will react with the brass metal to give “false positives”. You can get bluish-green patches even when there is no copper fouling in your bore.

To solve this problem DeweyRods.com offers a full line of aluminum jags, aluminum brush adapters, and nylon-coated cleaning rods with aluminum tips. Dewey explains: “Ammonia-based solvents attack copper & brass but also leave your patches a blue-green color so you are never sure if your bore is truly clean of copper. Our aircraft-grade aluminum has the same hardness of brass, it will not embed impurities or harm your bore, and ammonia will not attack it.” As shown below, along with caliber-specific aluminum jags (center), Dewey now offers aluminum thread adaptors (left) and aluminum-shaft brushes (right).

Dewey Aluminum Jags

New Dewey ‘Copper Eliminator’ Cleaning Rods
These new rods have the same nylon coating and handle assembly as Dewey’s standard coated rods, but they feature a chemical-resistant, 8/32 female-threaded, aluminum ferrule. No brush adapters are required. Each rod is supplied with a male-threaded aluminum jag. Dewey charges $39.95 for these rods, but you may find them slightly cheaper at other vendors.

Dewey Copper Eliminator Cleaning Rod

Copper Eliminator Rods are currently offered in two diameters (.22-.26 Cal, or .27+ Cal), and three lengths: 36″, 40″, 44″. Listed rod lengths do NOT include handle assembly. One last note: Dewey cautions users to avoid TM Solution, because this solvent may harm Dewey’s nylon rod-coatings.

Story sourced by Edlongrange.
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August 10th, 2012

RVB Precision Cleaning Rod Bore Guide for 17 HMR Rifles

When Hornady (and CCI) developed the 17 HMR cartridge, they really hit a homerun. And the rifle manufacturers quickly marketed some nice rifles to chamber this 17-cal rimfire round. But unlike .22 LR rifles which, typically, require very little cleaning, 17 HMRs demand frequent bore cleaning to maintain good accuracy. That’s because 17 HMRs shoot copper-jacketed bullets at 2550 fps velocities.

17-Cal Bore Guides — The Challenge
The problem is, it’s hard to find a well-designed, quality bore guide for 17-caliber rimfire rifles. With many 17 HMR (and 17 Mach 2) rifles, you encounter mechanical interference when you try to use a standard bore guide to protect the delicate chamber edge and the bottle neck area of the chamber. A fixed ejector is in the way. On many 17 HMR rifles, this little “shark fin” ejector is right in line with the chamber and is fixed — it doesn’t retract. Therefore the kind of bore guide you might use for centerfire rifles won’t work in 17 HMRs — it will hang up on the ejector.

Polymer bore guides exist for this type of action, but they are typically open-bottom designs that do not enter and seal the chamber. These open-bottom designs don’t protect the delicate chamber edge or the bottleneck area of the chamber, and they also allow some seepage of solvents out of the chamber. That’s why Roy Bertalotto created his RVB Precision Bore Guide for 17 HMR rifles. The 7075 aluminum tube on his Bore Guide is thin enough to pass by the ejector, yet it is extremely rigid. (Photos below.)

Roy explains: “My bore guide is made of 7075 anodized aluminum tubing, which is totally unaffected by any type of cleaning solution. One end is swagged down to fit completely into the chamber of a 17 HMR rifle. This guides your cleaning rod perfectly to the bore without touching the chamber walls or front edge of the chamber. The tight fit of the bore guide in the chamber also stops cleaning solvents from getting into the action, magazine, and trigger housing.” (Editor: Solvent seepage can do damage. We had a 17 Mach 2 rifle that rusted internally because solvents leaked past an open-bottom bore guide.)

Using the RVB 17 HMR Guide – Once the bore guide is in place, slide the supplied aluminum bushing over the tube, and gently push the bushing into the rear of the action. This centers the guide rod in the action to keep the guide rod tube aligned. Once the guide rod and bushing are in place, you can use a 17-caliber cleaning rod* with patches and/or brushes to clean the barrel. Use the rod normally, but make sure your patches are quite small and don’t apply too much pressure as these small-diameter rods can kink if you try to force over-size patches down the bore.

The RVB Precision 17 HMR Bore Guide costs $19.95 plus $5.00 shipping. To order, email Roy Bertalotto via rvb100 [at] comcast.net. Roy will then send you shipping/payment details.

* NOTE: You really do need a dedicated .17-cal cleaning rod for this job. Most other rods are too fat to pass through the barrel. Dewey Mfg. makes a decent 17-caliber cleaning rod that is reasonably stiff and doesn’t kink too readily. It is available sizes from 7″ to 36″, either bare stainless or with a nylon coating. We prefer the nylon-coated version, in either 26″ or 36″ lengths, depending on barrel length.

Dewey 17 cal caliber bore guide

If you have a high comb on your rifle, you may need extra length to avoid interference with the rod handle. Use this formula to determine correct rod length: Length of barrel + action or breech rod guide length + 2-3″ clearance + high comb if applicable = total rod length needed.

There are other quality 17-cal cleaning rods, but we’ve used the Dewey and it functioned well. The nylon coating cleaned easily and was gentle on the throat and crown. You should clean the coating before and after each use to ensure it does not embed grit or other contaminants.

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August 9th, 2012

New Bald Eagle Rests with Remote Windage Controls

Some clever F-Class competitors, such as Forum Member Peter White, have fitted remote flexible-drive-shaft windage controls to their front rests. This allows you to easily adjust windage with the twist of a knob without leaving your shooting position. Until recently, if you wanted a flex-drive windage system on your rest you had to fabricate it yourself.

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage

Now you can enjoy the advantages of remote flex-drive windage adjustment in a ready-made product. Bald Eagle Precision Products has introduced a trio of front rests with “factory” flex-drive windage controls. There are three (3) models. The model BE1006 boasts a heavy, cast-iron slingshot-style base with heavy-duty 1/2″ x 13 TPI threaded feet. Weight is 20 pounds without front bag. This heavyweight model BE1006 should be popular with F-Classers shooting the 7mm and magnum calibers, as the added mass provides great stability.

The slingshot base design has a longer rear leg, bringing the windage control closer to the shooter’s hand. Bald Eagle’s model BE1005, shown below, shares the clever slingshot design of the ME1006 along with remote windage adjustment, but the BE1005’s base is cast aluminum. This drops total weight to 11 pounds (without front bag), making the BE1005 easier to carry than its heavyweight cousin. The aluminum-based BE1005 saves you 9 pounds compared to the BE1006.

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage

The third new Bald Eagle front rest, model BE1004, features a more conventional triangle pedestal design. Like the model BE1005, it has a cast aluminum base, and weighs 11 pounds without front bag. All three Bald Eagle rests, BE1004, BE1005, and BE1006 can be equipped with over-size disc-type feet (item BE1007) for greater stability in soft or soggy ground.

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage


SEB-Made Bags with MicroFiber Tops Available for Bald Eagle Rest
Bald Eagle offers high-quality front bags to fit its line of front rests. These bags are crafted by SEB and feature a low-friction, smooth microfiber surface. We have used SEB front bags with micro-fiber tops and we think they are some of the best available. The microfiber allows your rifle to slide easily without powders, silicon sprays, or other surface lubricants. Having two fill spouts, the front bags are also easy to fill to the firmness level your gun prefers. The front bags measure 4-5/8″ wide by 1-3/4″ tall, and come in three configurations: 3″ wide for F-Class and Benchrest; 2-1/4″ wide for medium-wide flat forearms; and a 3″ radius for sporter/hunting stocks.

Bald Eagle Front Rest Remote Windage

All Three Bald Eagle Rests, Front Bags, F-Class Feet, and other accessories can be purchased from Grizzly Industrial and other retailers nationwide. Here are “street prices” of the three rests, as sold on Grizzly.com:

BE1006 is priced at $475.00 but has an introductory sale price of $425.00.
BE1005 is priced at $450.00 but has an introductory sale price of $399.95.
BE1004 is priced at $450.00 but has an introductory sale price of $399.95.

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June 15th, 2012

Modular Low-Profile Competition Stocks from Wayne Young

Texas stock-maker Wayne Young has created an innovative modular stock. The fore-end side-plates bolt on to an aluminum sub-chassis so you can alter the width, or run an offset on either side of center. You can transform the stock from 3″ wide to 5″ wide in a couple minutes. Or, if you want to experiment with offset (i.e. having more fore-end width on one side of the barrel than the other side), you can simply remove a few bolts, and stack up the sideplates on one side.

Wayne's Gun Stocks

Wayne's Gun Stocks

The ability to quickly (and inexpensively) transform a stock from 3″ wide to 5″ wide is a definite plus for shooters who want to use the same rig in both F-Class and benchrest. You can run your rifle at max-legal 3″ width for F-Class, then bolt on additional fore-end “wings” to run at 5″ for bench competition. The 5″-wide stocks are now legal for 600-yard and 1000-yard benchrest, at both IBS and NBRSA registered matches. Those folks who have tried out 5″-wide stocks on Light Guns have been impressed with the results. The extra width stabilizes the rifle on the bags, reducing perceived twist (torquing) and hop. There is less “Rocking and Rolling”. With the gun torquing less, the tracking during recoil normally shows an improvement as well. (But we should say that, even with the standard 3″ width, these stocks track great.)

Wayne's Gun Stocks

Video Demonstrates Superior Tracking
How does a Wayne Young stock track? Straight and true — with virtually no hop. You can see for yourself. In the video below, Wayne shoots a test rifle chambered in .284 Winchester, a popular F-Class cartridge. The load is a 175gr Berger XLD bullet pushed at 3010 fps by Reloder 17 powder. That’s a stout, fast load — the recoil force easily meets or exceeds a typical F-Open match load. To better demonstrate the gun’s handling characteristics, Wayne deliberately shoots the gun free-recoil style — without gripping hard or shouldering the stock*. As you can see, the gun recoils straight back. The forearm and buttstock also slide perfectly in the bags, without “grabbing”. (Note: In the video, the rifle’s front bag-rider section is aluminum without polymer “wings”. This particular gun was built with a wider aluminum channel to fit a large-diameter, straight-contour barrel).

Stock Specifications and Design Features
Finished stocks weigh approximately 7 pounds, 4 ounces. If needed, stocks can be lightened to just under 7 pounds. Overall length is 36″. Length of pull is adjustable from 13 to 13.75 inches with standard two-way adjustable butt pad. The main chassis is machined from billet 6061-T6 (Tee Six) aluminum, while the fore-end chassis section is 6063-T5 (Tee Five). The black side sections, fore-end plates, and buttstock lowers are CNC-machined from high-grade HDPE, a rugged, chemically-resistant polymer.

The chassis for round actions features a “V-Block” seating area. There is a flat configuration for Panda and Stiller flat-bottom actions. With either the round- or flat-bottom configuration, actions can be mounted directly on the 1.25″-square aluminum chassis, using supplied action bolts. (Skim bedding is optional.) No inletting, pillar-installation, or stock finishing (painting) is required. Just bolt your barreled action into the chassis and head to the range.

Wayne’s stocks come with two-way adjustable butt-plate, adjustable cheekpiece, trigger guard, and all fasteners. If you consider all that standard equipment and the fact that Wayne’s gunstocks require no inletting and no finishing, these stocks are attractively priced. Wayne’s F-Open/Benchrest Stock, with 3″ fore-end, costs $499.00 plus $25.00 S/H. There is also a $499.00 F-TR version with a fore-end set up for bipod attachment. (Wayne produces an integral, adjustable and removable F-TR bipod for $75.00.) Add $100.00 extra if you want the aluminum components hard-anodized. With long actions or Savage actions, there is an extra charge to configure the central chassis to fit. For more information visit WaynesGunstocks.com or call (210) 288-3063 from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.

* If Wayne was shooting a .284 Win in an F-Class match, he would grip the gun and put some shoulder into it. But for demonstration purposes in the video, Wayne free-recoiled the rig so you can see how well it tracks with no holding or steering by the shooter.
Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
May 13th, 2012

Lothar Walther UltraLight Barrels — Less Heat, Half the Weight

We’re excited when major barrel-makers offer new technologies that promise worthwhile performance benefits for hunters or match shooters. Lothar Walther (LW) has developed a new bi-metal barrel system that cuts weight dramatically while promising significantly-enhanced heat dissipation.

Walther’s new Ultra-Lightweight Barrels combine steel with lightweight alloys. This results in a significant weight reduction without the use of carbon fiber, epoxy binders, or other heat-retaining materials. Beginning as an LW50 stainless blank, the barrel is precision-machined to remove excess weight. An outer casing of light-weight alloys is machined and the two are fitted together without adhesives. Basically you end up with the steel inner barrel inside a larger-diameter fluted aluminum outer barrel (see diagram). This gives you the ‘best of both worlds’ — light weight for ease of carry, and thick diameter for rigidity and enhanced heat dissipation. Near the action, the barrel remains all-steel.

Lothar Walther ultra lightweight bi-metal barrel

Aluminum thermal conductivityWe haven’t tested one of these bi-metal composite barrels, but the potential for significant weight savings is obvious — aluminum is a lot lighter than steel. What’s more, a metals expert we contacted said that a bi-metal system employing fluted aluminum over steel, if assembled properly, could dissipate heat much better than steel alone (given the same diameter). Stainless steel has a thermal conductivity factor of 16. Aluminum has a thermal conductivity factor of 250.*

Our expert also pointed out that some other composite barrel systems on the market actually increase heat retention because they place insulating materials next to the inner steel barrel. (Carbon, Fiberglass, and Epoxy are all considered “insulating substances” as they have very low thermal conductivity*.) The LW system of aluminum over metal should avoid this mistake, our expert said. Lothar Walther says: “Unlike solid steel barrels, this barrel sheds heat fast. VERY FAST!”

Half the Weight of Conventional Barrels
How much weight can you save? With a 1.200″ shank diameter (except Savage) and a muzzle diameter of 0.850″, the LW Ultra-Lightweight Barrel is less than half the weight of a standard varmint barrel of the same size. Walther claims its UltraLight Barrel can be “carried for long distances and stand up to heavy firing.” This, LW says, makes these barrels “perfect… for varmint and tactical uses”.

Pre-Chambered Ultra-Lightweight Barrels Available in .22 to .338 Calibers
Lothar Walther offers Ultra-Lightweight barrels in a full range of calibers from .22LR to .338. Each Ultra-Lightweight Barrel comes complete with chamber, crown, and breech threads. These barrels are fluted by the factory. If you order a LW Ultra-Lightweight barrel, Lothar Walter provides the services of a specialist trained in building guns with these barrels. To order one of Lothar Walther’s bi-metal barrels, CLICK HERE or contact Lothar Walthar at the address below:

Lothar Walther Precision Tools, Inc.
3425 Hutchinson Rd. – Cumming, GA 30040
Phone: 770-889-9998 | Fax: 770-889-4919
E-Mail: lotharwalther [at] mindspring.com
Website: www.lothar-walther.com

*Thermal conductivity is the quantity of heat transmitted through a unit thickness in a direction normal to a surface of unit area, due to a unit temperature gradient under steady state conditions. The factor values are based on this formula: W/(m.K) = 0.85984 kcal/(hr.m. °C). Here are thermal conductivty values for common materials: Aluminum, 250; Brass, 109; Steel (Carbon 1%), 45; Stainless Steel, 16; Carbon, 1.7; Brick dense, 1.3; Concrete (medium) 0.7; Epoxy, 0.35; Fiberglass, .04.

Story tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 15 Comments »
November 13th, 2011

Milled T-6 Aluminum 40mm Salt & Pepper Shakers

The Xmas holiday buying season is right around the corner. If you’re looking for an unusual gift for a firearms enthusiast or military veteran, check out the 40mm Grenade Salt & Pepper shakers from GG&G. Available with either silver or gold anodized top sections, these measure 4″ tall by 1 5/8″ in diameter. GG&G’s matched salt and pepper shakers are milled from solid billet 6061 T-6 aluminum, and closely replicate the dimensions of the original 40mm grenade. The tip of the projectiles are engraved with “S” or “P” to easily identify the contents. The top halves (gold or silver sections) unscrew for easy filling. Cost for either gold (GGG-1315) or silver (GGG-1316) versions is $45.00. These would also be a great “conversation pieces” for your Thanksgiving family get-together.

40mm Salt Pepper Shakers grenade

Permalink New Product 4 Comments »
November 1st, 2011

NEW O-Ring Aluminum Jags from Sinclair International

Sinclair Int’l is now selling a new line of O-ring-equipped aluminum jags made by The Custom Shop (TCS). These unique TCS O-Ring Jags are crafted from aluminum so they won’t react to solvents. The O-rings hold the patch firmly against the bore surface to efficiently clean powder, lead, copper, and plastic fouling. There are shapes and sizes for pistols, rifles and shotguns. Rifle jags come in sizes .22 (J22), .243 (J2436mm), .257 (J25725Cal), .270-6.8mm (J27068mm), .284 (J2847mm), .308 (J30RP), .338 (J338RP), and .50 Cal (J50). The “RP” models do double-duty for large-caliber rifles and pistols.

O-Ring aluminum cleaning Jag

We haven’t tried these jags yet, but we think the O-rings may be a good idea. As with any aluminum-bodied jag, be sure to keep the jags clean, as hard particles and debris can become embedded in the aluminum surface. You don’t want to drag embedded debris across your delicate rifling. The TCS jags range in price from $9.95 to $10.95.

Permalink New Product 3 Comments »
March 12th, 2011

Tom’s Customized CNC-Milled Loading and Sorting Blocks

Forum Member Tom Sziler(aka Tomekeuro85) produces very nice CNC-milled aluminum loading and sorting blocks that can be customized with your name or catridge designation. These start at just $15 for a 50-bullet sorting tray or 25-round range block. The original 50-round loading blocks cost $25 for most cartridges (smaller than .338 Lapua), $28 for .338 Lapua, and $30 for big stuff like the 50 BMG.

Milled loading sorting tray
This bullet sorting tray is useful if you sort by base to ogive length or bullet weight.

Trays Are Made to Precise Tolerances and Fitted with Rubber Pads
All trays and blocks have rubber pads on the bottom for grip. Holes are all milled deep, to precise tolerances to prevent rattling, but rounds still fit with sufficient clearance. Clearance is provided on the bottom of each hole to avoid potential primer contact and to make room for debris. You want something customized? No problem. Tom says: “Custom variations of any of these items are available. Just let me know what you’re looking for.”

Milled loading sorting tray

Milled loading sorting tray

These blocks are definitely high-quality. Forum member PGG reports: “You can count on top notch work and materials guys. I bought a boat load of them for Christmas gifts [and] they were a huge hit. Super items, super service, great value.” Forum member WoolenMammoth agrees: “[I] ordered a few blocks recently and they far exceeded my expectation. Really nice work at an absurdly competitive price.” For more info, or to place an order, view this Shooters’ Forum Thread, or email Tom.Sziler[at]gmail.com.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 11 Comments »
July 16th, 2010

Got Your Stinger Missile Box Yet?

stinger missile gun caseLast month, we ran a story explaining how surplus aluminum Stinger missile transport boxes can be modified to hold two long-barreled match rifles side-by-side. We have received many emails concerning the Stinger missile box conversions. People wanted to know where they could purchase the Stinger boxes commercially. Folks also asked about shipping costs and weights.

On the outside, the Stinger missile transport boxes measure roughly 66″ x 12″ x 13″. Usable inside length is just under 62″. That’s nearly a foot longer than a typical long-range benchrest rifle with 30″ barrel — so you have plenty of clearance. As received from Uncle Sam, with hard foam internal cradles, the boxes weigh about 53 pounds. The boxes are watertight and are fitted with air relief valves, but they do not have key-locks. However, it is pretty easy to retrofit a hasp lock for security.

stinger missile gun case

Stinger Missile Boxes $199.97 at SportsmansGuide.com
The Sportsman’s Guide is now selling the Stinger boxes for $199.97 plus shipping. These durable containers weigh a hefty 53 pounds shipped so there is a $5.00 “heavy product” surcharge in addition to regular shipping and handling fees. If you are a member of Sportsmans’ Guide’s “Buyers Club”, you can save money. Buyer’s Club price is listed at $179.97 plus shipping. If you’re doing a search on the Sportsman’s Guide website, these boxes are listed as “U.S. Military Aluminum Container”, item number WX2-157199.

Forum Member Stinger Box Offer
Paul Scott, one of our Shooters’ Forum members, acquired many of these Stinger cases a while back. He still has a half-dozen or so for sale at $175.00 plus shipping. These are the same type U.S. Army surplus missile boxes that Sportsman’s Guide is selling. The dimensions and features are identical, they’re just a bit cheaper. Paul charges actual UPS shipping, which should run from $30-$50 depending on far you are from Paul’s Texas home. To order, email pscott [at] pegasustexas.com.

It is very easy to add wheels to a Stinger Box. Start by sliding a solid axle through the horizontal “bumper” on one end. Add spacers, wheels, cotter pins and … Voilà, you have a wheeled double-gun transporter. Shown below is Paul Scott’s wheeled Stinger box: “The wife found a old hand truck dolly with 10″ no-flat wheels. Put the axle through the aft bottom bumper and secured it with 1/2″ pipe clamps. The spacer is 1/2″ irrigation pipe cut to fit and adapted for cotter pins. The 10″ wheels are perfect to fit in the box.”

Stinger box with wheels

Permalink Hot Deals, New Product 5 Comments »
July 10th, 2010

Precision, Caliber-Specific Funnels Make Reloading Easier

Aluminum Satern powder funnelHaving a quality funnel helps you get carefully-measured powder charges in your cases, with no spillage, every time. If you’ve tried cheap, plastic funnels you know that they can rock on the case mouth. Also, if the fit isn’t good, some kernels end up on your bench, instead of inside the case.

Thankfully, precision, caliber-specific metal funnels are available to reloaders for about $10-$12.00. Satern Custom Machining funnels feature an aluminum top with a caliber-specific, machined brass base/neck. The Satern funnel’s aluminum body is completely static-free so powder flows into the case without bridging. Dick Saunders makes a similar, turned-aluminum funnel sized for particular calibers. Both these metal funnels make reloading easier (and they are ideal for blackpowder loading because they do not give off static electricity). As Forum member Wes notes, with a fitted metal funnel: “the possibility of the funnel sliding to the side, and spilling powder all over the place is drastically reduced.”

Satern Aluminum/Brass Funnels
Steve Satern crafts rugged aluminum funnels with brass ends. The caliber-specific sizes offer a snug fit that keeps the funnel tight on the case neck while the powder is flowing. Forum member Danny Reever reports: “If you are tired of the generic ‘fits all’ funnels falling over and powder spraying every where, try one of the Satern funnels. Sinclair Int’l sells them and they are top notch.” SMike308 adds: “I have retired my plastic funnels after buying my first Satern funnel. I now have one for each different caliber that I load for. I especially like that the Satern has the brass weight at the bottom, which adds stability to the funnel.”

Aluminum powder funnel Satern

Satern funnels are sold by MidwayUSA (6mm $11.29), Satern Machining (6mm $11.25), and Sinclair International (Item 11-9XX, 6mm $11.95). Satern Machining also offers two types of universal funnels, 22-30 caliber and 30-50 caliber. Satern’s universal funnels, along with the larger .338 to .50 caliber funnels, cost $18.45.

Saunders Aluminum Funnels
Some of our Forum members prefer the turned aluminum funnels made by Dick Saunders. You’ll need to order these direct from Saunders. Specify .17, .20, .22, 6mm, 6.5mm, .30 caliber or “all-purpose”. The Saunders funnels start at about $10.00. Contact Dick Saunders at the address below:

Dick Saunders
145 Delphi Rd.
Manchester, IA 52057
563-927-4026

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
May 17th, 2010

How to Shear Your Scandium .44 Mag Revolver in Half

There has been a trend to ever-lighter handgun frame construction, in an effort to make pistols lighter and more convenient to carry. Ruger just introduced the LCR 357, a .357 Magnum carry revolver with a frame made, in part, from plastic. Well, perhaps weight reduction efforts have gone too far, at least when it comes to magnum chamberings in handguns.

S&W model 329 PD Kaboom

A Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum model 329 PD revolver recently broke in half while shooting Winchester factory ammo. The whole front end of the gun sheared off forward of the cylinder. Cause of the failure is unknown, but it does not appear that the barrel was obstructed, as there was no visible damage to the barrel assembly forward of the frame. We really don’t know why this revolver broke in half, though some observers speculated there may have been hairline fractures in the frame. That’s just a guess. It’s also possible that the factory ammo was over-charged. The pictures below were posted by the gun owner on Photobucket and first linked on AR15.com.

Scandium Alloy Frames
The model 329 PD has a “Scandium AirLite” frame, which is in fact an alloy of aluminum and scandium. When combined with aluminum, scandium (which costs ten times as much as gold by weight), forms an alloy that is lighter than titanium and as much as three times stronger than ordinary aluminum. Apparently however, there can be problems with scandium construction… as the photos reveal. Last year, Smith & Wesson recalled 270 limited-edition Performance Center m329 revolvers because barrel assembly may have caused frame damage. The model 329 PD shown in this article was NOT one of the recalled Performance Center guns.

Make My Magnum from Steel…
Dirty Harry .44 MagnumThe Smith & Wesson model 329 PD weighs only 25.1 ounces total, unloaded. Why one would want to shoot “full-house”, high-pressure loads through such a light gun puzzles this Editor. For a carry gun, lower-pressure .44 Special loads seem more appropriate. Smith & Wesson makes a variety of heavier, all-steel handguns chambered in .44 Magnum. If I was to shoot a steady diet of full-power .44 Magnum loads through a revolver, give me a gun with a solid steel frame, such as the classic S&W model 29. After seeing these shocking kaboom photos, when shooting true Magnum loads through a Scandium-framed revolver I would nervously ask myself the question famously posed by Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry: “Do I feel lucky?”.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 16 Comments »
July 11th, 2009

Premium Powder Funnels for Precision Reloading

Having a quality funnel can help you get a carefully-measured powder charge in your cases, with no spillage, every time. If you’ve messed around with cheap plastic funnels you know that they can rock on the case mouth. Also, if the fit isn’t good, some kernels can end up on your bench, instead of inside the case.

Thankfully, precision, caliber-specific metal funnels are available to reloaders for about $10-11. Satern Custom Machining funnels feature an aluminum top with a caliber-specific, machined brass base/neck. Dick Saunders makes a simliar, turned-aluminum funnel sized for particular calibers. Both these metal funnels make reloading easier (and they are ideal for blackpowder loading because they do not give off static electricity). As Forum member Wes notes, with a fitted metal funnel: “the possibility of the funnel sliding to the side, and spilling powder all over the place is drastically reduced.”

Satern Aluminum/Brass Funnels
Steve Satern crafts rugged aluminum funnels with brass ends. The caliber-specific sizes offer a snug fit that keeps the funnel tight on the case neck while the powder is flowing. Forum member Danny Reever reports: “If you are tired of the generic ‘fits all’ funnels falling over and powder spraying every where, try one of the Satern funnels. Sinclair Int’l sells them and they are top notch.” SMike308 adds: “I have retired my plastic funnels after buying my first Satern funnel. I now have one for each different caliber that I load for. I especially like that the Satern has the brass weight at the bottom, which adds stability to the funnel.”

Aluminum powder funnel Satern

Satern funnels are sold by MidwayUSA (6mm $11.29), Satern Machining (6mm $10.49), and Sinclair International (Item 11-9XX, 6mm $11.95). Satern Machining also offers two types of universal funnels, 22-30 caliber and 30-50 caliber.

Saunders Aluminum Funnels
Some of our Forum members prefer the turned aluminum funnels made by Dick Saunders.
These are sold by Russ Haydon’s Shooters Supply for $9.95 each. Specify .17, .20, .22, 6mm, 6.5mm, .30 caliber or “all-purpose”. If you have questions, you can contact contact Saunders directly:

Dick Saunders
145 Delphi Rd.
Manchester, IA 52057
563-927-4026

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 3 Comments »
May 7th, 2009

Bruno Tests New ShadeTree F-Class Rest Base

Butch Lambert sent his new ShadeTree Engineering F-Class rest base to German Salazar in Phoenix for testing and evaluation. The Daily Bulletin previewed a prototype rest base last month. (CLICK HERE for previous report.)

Shadetreee Eng. front rest

ShadeTree Rest is Lightweight and Easily Assembled
Designed to be light for air travel and easy carrying at the range, the anodized aluminum rest base weighs just 3 pounds without the top or feet. Once fully assembled, this rest base is lighter than anything else on the market, but provides all the stability needed on the range. The legs attach with thumbscrews and the center section slides right in. Assembly was a matter of a minute or two and can be done at the range without any tools. The legs have an I-beam section for light weight and rigidity, the anodizing is well-executed. Almost any currently-made top assembly will fit the base as will the leg screws. We found the rest to be well designed and manufactured.

Shadetreee Eng. front rest

Bruno Wins Match Using ShadeTree Rest Base
Well-known benchrester Lester Bruno of Bruno Shooters’ Supply also shoots F-Class in matches at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Lester volunteered to give the rest a workout. Lester used the rest in a local 600-yard match May 2nd. Lester’s first comment was that the ShadeTree rest was a lot easer to carry on and off the firing line than a heavy cast iron rest. After shooting the match, Lester confirmed the rest’s ease of use and stability. Given that Lester won the match, we can surmise that the rest was an effective tool for the job and a worthwhile product for any F-Class shooter, particularly one who travels by air. To learn more about price and availability of the F-Class rest base, call Butch Lambert at (972) 524-2247 or email papawlambert [at] starband.net.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »