February 11th, 2020

Short-Range Benchrest Techniques Showcased in Finland

Benchrest Shooting Finland free recoilIn these two videos from the Rekyyli Ja Riista (Recoil and Game) YouTube Channel, you can see how a modern, short-range benchrest rifle is shot. Note how the gun tracks superbly, returning right on target, shot after shot. As a result, the shooter doesn’t have to adjust the rifle position after firing (other than pushing the gun forward), so he can quickly load and fire within seconds of the previous shot. Good rests and consistent, smooth bolt actuation keep the gun from rocking.

It does take practice to perfect the right technique for shooting free recoil (or nearly free recoil — with just a pinch on the trigger guard). And, of course, you must have a very good bag/rest set-up and the stock geometry and rifle balance must be perfect. The ammo caddy also helps by placing the cartridge up high, right next to the left-aide loading port. Hats off to Forum member Boyd Allen for finding these videos. Boyd told us: “Watch carefully — Now this is how it’s done.” [Work Warning: Loud gunshot noises — Turn Down Volume before playback.]

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
December 26th, 2019

Make Your Own Ammo Caddy for Under Ten Bucks

Flex Arm Flexible Port Level gooseneck Ammo Block caddy

Whether you should from the bench, or from prone, it’s great to have your cartridges in a convenient, easy-to-reach position. This article explains how you can build your own height-adjustable ammo caddy for under ten bucks. Credit Martin Tardif for this great Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project. Martin’s flex-arm caddy design works great for F-Open competitors as well as anyone who shoots with a pedestal front rest, either on the ground or from a bench. The ammo caddy attaches, via a flexible arm, to your front rest. The flexy arm allows you to position your ammunition close to your rifle’s feeding port. That makes it easy to grab cartridges and load them into the chamber without shifting your shooting position.

Kudos to Martin Tardif for his clever use of inexpensive materials. The total cost of the whole project, according to Martin, was just $8.00!

Martin Explains How to Build the Ammo Caddy
Here are some pics of my DIY P.L.A.B. (Port Level Ammo Block). I cannibalized the goose neck from a Craftsman bendy-style utility light and bought a 3.5″x 1″ Acetal disk on eBay. I then drilled out the disk to accept twenty .284 Winchester rounds and screwed the disk to the bendy arm. The arm, by itself, wasn’t sturdy enough to support my fully loaded ammo block, so I inserted a 1/8″-diameter steel rod cut to length into the arm before I screwed it to the disk. On this Bald Eagle rest, I wasn’t using the windage adjustment cable. That allowed me to secure the bottom end of the arm to the unused 5/16″ x 18 bolt hole for the cable. [Editor’s Note: For other pedestal rest types/brands you may need to drill a hole for the base of the flexy arm.]

Flex Arm Flexible Port Level gooseneck Ammo Block caddy

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip No Comments »
July 20th, 2019

Make Your Own Ammo Caddy with Wood Knife-Holder Block

Wood Knife Holder ammo caddy

Forum member Alex W. (aka “zfastmalibu”) came up with a clever adaptation of an item you may already have on your kitchen counter. By drilling a few strategically-placed holes in a wood knife-holding block, Alex created a handy, 20-round ammo holder for the bench. We’re not sure the wife will appreciate the new holes in her kitchen accessory, but we think this is a smart invention. Alex asked fellow Forum members: “What do you think, is there a market for it?” We think there is. Of course, with a ruler and an electric drill you could probably make your own version easily enough.

Get a Solid Wood Knife Block for under $25.00
Hardwood Knife blocks can be purchased for under $25.00 through Amazon.com. They are also available in bamboo ($18.14), beechwood ($39.95), acacia ($49.95), and solid walnut ($59.95).

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 30th, 2016

Forum Member Offers Hand-Crafted Oak Cartridge Caddies

Cartridge Caddy Caddies .308 6mm Red oak wook F-Class

Forum member Alex M. (aka Nando-AS) has crafted some very nice wood Cartridge Caddies fitted with timers. He’s made these for competitors at the F-Class Nationals in Lodi, Wisconsin, and he’s now taking orders for other shooters who might want one. The caddies are made from Oak, hold 25 rounds, and feature a battery-powered shot timer. Price is $75.00 shipped for the 6mm and .308 caddies and $85.00 shipped for the Magnum size. Forum members can contact Alex via our Forum Classifieds Board, or you can email alextek [at] charter.net.

Alex tells us: “Several forum members and shooting buddies suggested that I should make more Cartridge Caddies with Timers, so I made over a dozen to take to Lodi and to offer to Forum members.”

These Caddies are made of solid red Oak and are finished with five coats of clear Polyurethane. Each has 25 holes, which consist of a counter-bore of the appropriate diameter and depth for the cartridge, and a Ø0.40″ through-hole to allow the bullet and/or the neck of the cartridge to fit through. The Timers are a Silver color normally, but Alex has a few in black.

Alex offers three sizes of caddies: 6MM for 6mm cartridges with .308-size rim; 308W for .308 Win/.284 Win size cartridges; and Magnum for 300 WSM and similar magnum diameter cases.

Cartridge Caddy Caddies .308 6mm Red oak wook F-Class

6MM – For 6mm family, which will accommodate 6mmBR, 30BR, 6×47, and other cartridges based on the .308 base. (Counter bore is Ø0.50” x 0.8” deep)
Price: $75 including USPS priority shipping with tracking number provided.

308W
– For .308 Win, 6.5-284, .284 Win, and similar cartridges based on the .308 and .284 cases. (Counter bore is Ø0.52” x 1.0” deep)
Price: $75 including USPS priority shipping with tracking number provided.

MAGNUM – For 300WSM, 300RUM and similar cartridges with larger diameter bases.
(Counter bore is Ø0.56” x 1.0” deep)
Price: $85 including USPS priority shipping with tracking number provided.

Permalink New Product 4 Comments »
August 16th, 2015

Do-It-Yourself Ammo Caddy Made from Wood Knife Block

Wood Knife Holder ammo caddy

Forum member Alex W. (aka “zfastmalibu”) came up with a clever adaptation of an item you may already have on your kitchen counter. By drilling a few strategically-placed holes in a wood knife-holding block, Alex created a handy, 20-round ammo holder for the bench. We’re not sure the wife will appreciate the new holes in her kitchen accessory, but we think this is a smart invention. Alex asked fellow Forum members: “What do you think, is there a market for it?” We think there is. Of course, with a ruler and an electric drill you could probably make your own version easily enough.

Get a Solid Wood Knife Block for under $25.00
Hardwood Knife blocks can be purchased for under $25.00 through Amazon.com. They are also available in bamboo ($18.14), beechwood ($39.95), acacia ($49.95), and solid walnut ($59.95).

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 1 Comment »
June 17th, 2015

Custom Oak Cartridge Caddies with Timer from Nando

Ammo Ammunition Caddy WSM 6mmBR Oak ammo holder custom timer

Retired engineer Alexander Müller (aka Nando-AS on our Forum) produces handsome oak ammo caddies in his home workshop. Cartridge-specific, the caddy’s holes are sized for specific casehead diameters, so your cartridges go in and out easily. There are also through-holes, allowing loaded cartridges to be placed nose-down if you wish.

To order, visit this Forum Page: http://forum.accurateshooter.com/index.php?topic=3875396

(more…)

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »
April 16th, 2015

“Little Bitty Dots” — World-Beating Texan Shows How It’s Done

Here’s an example of world-class benchrest shooting. Charles Huckeba of Texas was the top individual shooter at the 2013 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) held near Sydney Australia in October 2013. In this video, 2013 WBC Two-Gun Overall winner Charles shoots a 1/8th MOA group at 200 yards — “a little bitty dot” as a fellow Team USA shooter observes. That’s impressive. If you can describe Huckeba’s style in a nutshell it would be “smooth, consistent, and rapid but not hurried”.

Charles also employed some unusual hardware. In the video, take a close look at the joystick on the Farley Coaxial front rest. There’s no knob at the end. In its place is a small, wood ammo caddy. Charles removed the standard knob from the handle of his Farley rest and replaced it with a home-made wood block that holds cartridges for the record target. The 10.5-lb Light Varmint rifle is chambered in 6PPC with a BAT Machine Action and a composite wood and carbon-fiber stock.

Watch Charles Huckeba Shoot 1/8 MOA, 200-yard group at World Benchrest Championships

Here is the actual 200-yard, 5-shot group Charles shot in the video. Photo (by Stuart Elliot) taken through the lens of Huckeba’s 50X March scope (reticle has 1/16th MOA Dot).
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia

Analyzing the Fine Points — What Makes Huckeba So Good

Short-range benchrest shooter Boyd Allen saw some interesting things in Huckeba’s WBC performance, as captured on video. Boyd noticed Huckeba’s smooth gun-handling and efficient loading. But Boyd also spied some interesting equipment, including an innovative joystick “handle-caddy”.

1. Low Friction Bags — When Huckeba slid his rifle, there was very little apparent friction. The front bag features the new 3M material (ScotchLite) on the sliding surfaces. The rear Protektor bag has ears of the same low-friction material.

2. Pause Before Chambering — While he was watching the flags and deciding when to start firing, Charles kept his first round in the action, but out of the barrel’s chamber, probably so as not to heat the cartridge and change the round’s point of impact.

Charles Huckeba PPC World Benchrest joystick handle3. Ammo Caddy on Joystick Arm – Charles shoots a Right Bolt/Left Port action, so he pulls his rounds with his left hand. Note that Huckeba’s record rounds rest in a small, wood ammo caddy attached to the end of the joystick shaft. Look carefully, you’ll see the wood ammo block in place of the normal black ball at the end of the joystick. That allows Charles to pull shots with the absolute minimum of hand movement. Ingenious! Huckeba is very fast, with a great economy of motion. I believe that because his ammo was literally at hand, Charles was better able to keep his focus on aiming and the flags.

4. Smooth-Cycling BAT Action — Note how smoothly Huckeba’s action operates. When Charles lifts the bolt handle (to extract a round and cock the firing pin), this does not disturb the rifle. Likewise, as he closes the bolt, the gun doesn’t wobble. The smooth action allows Charles to hold point of aim even when shooting relatively quickly. Huckeba’s BAT action is chrome-moly steel. Some shooters believe this metal makes for a smoother action than stainless steel or aluminum.

5. Long-Wheelbase Stock — The wood and carbon fiber stock is light, long, and stiff. Yet, importantly, the stock is also well-damped. The longer-than-average stock length (with extended forearm) seems to help the gun track well without jumping or rocking. The longer forearm allows a longer “wheelbase”, effectively shifting the weight distribution rearward (less weight on the front, more weight on the rear). This places a greater share of the gun’s weight on the rear bag, as compared to a more conventional benchrest stock. Huckeba’s stock, built by Bob Scoville, is at the cutting edge of short-range benchrest design. Its light-weight balsa wood and carbon fiber construction provides a combination of stiffness and vibration damping that allows its relatively long fore-end to be fully utilized to increase the weight on the rear bag (always an issue with 10.5-pound rifles).

To learn more about this benchrest stock design, read the comments by stock-builder Bob Scoville in our PPC with Pedigree story in our Gun of the Week Archives. Bob observed:

“There is a lot more to the structure of the stocks than meets the eye. The carbon fiber skin with which I cover the stocks creates a light, tough exterior surface. However, this contributes very little to the overall performance of the stocks. The real strength and stiffness is the result of an internal beam utilizing balsa core/carbon fiber technology.

This type construction can be found in aircraft, race cars, powerboats, and sailboats. It is interesting to note, balsa has the highest strength to weight ratio of all woods and carbon fiber is one of the lowest stretch (modulus of elasticity) relative to weight of all materials. The marriage of these two materials is common in the high-performance world. Additionally, balsa is used commercially for vibration dampening and sound reduction.”

Video find by Boyd Allen. Video by Stuart Elliot of BRT Shooters Supply, Brisbane, Australia.
Permalink - Videos, Competition 4 Comments »
October 6th, 2013

Carlito’s Way: High-Tech Benchrest Shooting in Argentina

This story has all the ingredients: exotic location, exotic hardware, cool POV video (with John Lee Hooker blues soundtrack), plus something you’ve probably never seen before — a gravity-fed cartridge caddy that loads a PPC round into a benchrest rig with the push of a button. Watch this video to see Benchrest in Argentina with some very cool equipment:


Soundtrack includes John Lee Hooker’s blues classic “Boom, Boom” (starting at 0:28).

This video was filmed by our friend, Frenchman Pascal Fischbach, during his recent visit to Argentina. In Buenos Aires, Pascal met with action-maker extraordinaire Carlos (“Carlito”) Gonzales, creator of the CG Thunderbolt action. The video shows Carlito shooting groups with his CG-actioned benchrest rifle and MCF (“Manual Cartridge Feed”) ammo caddy. Look for the push-button control at the 1:15″ time-mark. The five-shot groups, shown at 1:20″, are pretty impressive. Even more impressive is how flawlessly this trick cartridge-fedding system works.

About Carlito’s Benchrest Rifle
The rifle features Carlito’s CG thunderbolt action, in a low-profile carbon-fiber stock also made by Gonzales. Up front is a Bukys-style tuner. If you watch the video carefully, you may wonder “how do the cartridges get into the action?”, since you won’t see the shooter (Carlito) pulling rounds from a loading block. Well the secret is that metal contraption to the left of the gun. It is a gravity-fed caddy connected, via cable, to a hand control. After working the bolt to extract a fired case, the shooter can push a button and the next round drops down from the upper left into the left port/right eject action. Simply close the bolt and you’re ready to roll. For more information, visit Benchrest.com.ar or email casagonzalec [at] benchrest.com.ar .

CG thunderbolt action

External Horizontal Cartridge-Feeder
The Gonzales loading device is an open-ended, covered metal tray situated on the left side of the action (but it does not touch the gun — it is supported by an arm attached to the front rest). This feeds into the left-side loading port. The cases are gravity-fed, but the shooter has positive control over feeding. A cable with a push-button control runs from the magazine down to the rear foot of the pedestal rest. You just push the button to drop one cartridge from the magazine. We don’t know exactly how the cartridge is released in the magazine itself, but in the video below you can see how the push-button works. This device has been approved for competition by USA and International benchrest sanctioning bodies.

Carlos Gonzales CG MCF manual cartridge feeder ammo loader caddy
Photo by Rich Pollock of Benchrest.ca

Carlos Gonzales CG MCF manual cartridge feeder ammo loader caddy

Video Shows Cable-Operated Cartridge Feeder in Action

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
September 10th, 2012

New Double-Stack Sure Feed Ammo Caddy by Tim Sellars

On his Facebook Page, Gunsmith Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzales featured the Sure Feed cartridge caddy by Tim Sellars. This device works well, and Tim can customize the height to fit your rifle and rest elevation. Speedy reports: “Here’s the new double-stack Sure Feed made by Tim Sellars out of Ft. Worth, Texas. This is one he made for me for my PPC. Each column holds 10 rounds plus five additional hole on the side for sighters or for holding a different test load. Tim makes these for all calibers and work great if you need to dump rounds down-range fast. Each consecutive round slides out and goes directly into the chamber without having to orient it into the correct position.”

To order a Sure Feed Cartridge Caddy (either the original single-stack or the new double-stack model), send email to sel248 [at] aol.com, or call Tim at 817-581-7665, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Speedy adds: “Tim is very accommodating and will build just about whatever [size caddy] you want.” Single-column caddies are $85.00 (short) and $95.00 (tall). Call for prices on the double-stack models.

Sure Feed Ammo Caddies
Tim Sellars – Sure Feed
4704 Redondo Street
North Richland Hills, TX 76180
Phone: (682) 240-7690 (cell)
eMail: sel248 [at] aol.com

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