June 10th, 2019

Bargain Finder 194: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Stocky’s Stocks — LRC Stocks with AccuBlock Now $188.88

stockys stocks LRC long range composite accublock

There’s a great sale going on this week at Stocky’s Stocks. This sale covers many different LRC (Long Range Composite) stock styles, all with the built-in AccuBlock System. Chose a high-comb benchrest style LRC stock, a hunter-style MRC stock, or the new LRC thumbhole stock. All are now just $188.88, even with premium finishes, such as Kryptec Camo. The Stocky’s LRC series with AccuBlock Bedding System is a terrific choice for a varmint rifle, and you won’t find a better value anywhere.

2. Bruno’s — Huge Sale on Barrels, Bullets, Brass, Actions & More

Bruno Bruno's Sale Barrels powder

There’s a big SALE going on right now at Bruno Shooters Supply. Save $20 on Krieger Barrels for starters, then you can also save on bullets, brass, powder, and loaded ammo. In addition, high-end BAT actions and Flavio triggers are on sale. Rimfire shooters will find some excellent ammo deals, and ALL Hornady products are discounted. But you MUST ACT SOON! This SALE ENDS Monday evening, June 10, 2019 at 11:59 PM Arizona Time. Discounts apply to items in-stock ONLY.

3. EuroOptic — Great Sale on Vortex Strike Eagles

Vortex Razor Viper $150 off sale Strike Eagle SFP scope optics illuminated reticle

Need a good basic optic for your hunting or varmint rifle? Have a tight budget but still need good glass and adjustable parallax? Then check out these Vortex Strike Eagles. Save $140-$150 now at EuroOptic.com. Sale price is just $349.99 for the 4-24x50mm and $309.99 for the 3-18x44mm. EuroOptic’s Jason says these scope are a “killer value” with “target turrets, parallax adjustment close enough for rimfire, and good zoom range”. These Strike Eagles are also fairly short and light-weight, so they are good for hunters. Both these Second Focal Plane scopes offer 1/4-MOA clicks and nice EBR-4 illuminated reticles.

4. Midsouth — MTM Shooting Range Box, $39.20

MTM Shooting Range Box case travel Midsouth Amazon sale discount

The MTM Shooting Range Box employs a two-piece design. The removable top storage compartment holds oils, solvents, brushes, patches, and small accessories. Unlatch the top box to reveal a large, deep storage area that will hold tools, earmuffs, ammo boxes, and other larger items. With 18 compartments, MTM Shooting Range Boxes are big enough to hold pretty much everything you need at the range (except shooting rests). Plus there are cradles so you can do gun maintenance at the range. This MTM Range Box is also offered through Amazon.com for $39.20 with free shipping.

5. Graf’s — 10% Off All Forster Products

forster Graf graf's discount 10% sale Reloading dies presses
forster Graf graf's discount 10% sale Reloading dies presses

Forster makes GREAT products. Our staff own and use Forster presses, dies, case trimmers, primer tools, chamber/deburring tools, and more. And Forster has outstanding customer service. And did you know that Forster will custom-hone your full-length dies for a modest fee? Right how you can save 10% on ALL in-stock Forster products at Graf & Sons. But folks, don’t delay — this 10% Off Forster Deal expires June 12, 2019 at 11:59 pm CT.

6. Palmetto State Armory — Smith & Wesson 15-22 Rifle, $299.99

Palmetto Armory Smith Wesson 15-22 AR rimfire .22 LR rifle sale discount

Here’s a fun .22 LR rifle with the style and ergonomics of an AR15. Smith & Wesson’s M&P 15-22 Sport features a 10-inch M-LOK handguard, and nicely-designed Magpul MBUS® front and rear folding sights. The buttstock is a classic AR-style unit that easily adjusts for Length of Pull. The upper boasts an integrated Picatinny-style rail for optics and other accessories. NOTE: S&W 15-22 owners love this little rimfire — it has earned dozens of 5-star reviews from actual buyers.

7. Graf’s — Buy 8-lb keg of select powder, get FREE 1-pounder

hodgdon IMR powder sale

Save on powder — right now at Graf & Sons, if you buy an 8-lb keg of select Hodgdon or IMR powders, you get a FREE one-pound or 14-ounce container of the same powder. This deal works with fourteen (14) popular Hodgdon and IMR powders for rifles, pistols, and shotguns. So if you’re running low and need to stock up on your favorite powders, here’s your chance to cash in on some savings. That free one-pounder can be worth up to $32.00. CLICK HERE for POWDER DEAL.

8. SIG Sauer — Buy P226 Pistol, Get FREE X-5 Air Pistol

Sig Sauer father's day promotion free air pistol

Here’s a cool deal for Father’s Day. Buy any new SIG Sauer P226 pistol now through June 30, 2019 and get a SIG STORE Rewards Coupon for a free X-FIVE Air Pistol. This 2 for 1 Father’s Day Promotion offer runs from 06/01/2019 until 06/30/2019. To claim your free X-FIVE visit Sigsauer.rebateaccess.com, follow the instructions to complete the form, and upload or mail your receipt. Once validated you will receive a promo code that can be redeemed at Sigsauer.com for an X-FIVE Air Pistol.

9. Amazon – Proster Wind Meter, $16.99

Proster Wind Meter

Wish you had a modern impeller-style wind meter but only shoot a couple matches a year and can’t justify spending $150 (or more) on one? This Proster wind meter has a very impressive 4.5 star overall rating (with hundreds of reviews), so buy with confidence. Now on sale for just $16.99, this is a very useful tool for a bargain basement price. Get this affordable Wind Meter to ensure you have reliable wind readings for ballistics calculations. And unlike a costly Kestrel, with this low-priced wind meter, you won’t feel too bad if it gets lost or misplaced some time.

Permalink Optics, Reloading, Tactical No Comments »
June 9th, 2019

Ammo Reference Book Covers 200+ Cartridge Types

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Do you use factory ammo in your hunting rifles? Perhaps you buy bulk centerfire ammo for your AR15 or varmint rifle. Then this book is for you.

If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 6. This resource book lists over 2,600 different loads for 200+ cartridge types from 17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express, including the most popular centerfire and rimfire cartridges (both rifle and handgun). In this updated-for-2017 Sixth Edition, there are over 3,000 tables covering virtually every caliber and every load for all commercially-loaded hunting ammunition sold in the USA. Tables include velocity, energy, wind drift, bullet drop, and ballistic coefficients up to 1,000 yards.

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Ammo & Ballistics 6 helps you select ammo for a hunt — quickly compare the velocity and knock-down power of various commercial ammo. This book can help you choose a caliber/chambering for your next hunting rig.

Verified Book Purchaser Reviews
“Outstanding reference guide for shooters and ballistic enthusiasts alike. Has data on velocity, energy delivered, Taylor KO index, windage and elevation on numerous loadings for hundreds of [cartridge types]. Each cartridge has all dimensions labeled (i.e rim, case length, neck, etc.), and has an informative description of the cartridges history/relevance.” — S. Step, 2017

“Great heaps of data! This volume has pages and pages of new data for .22LR like the hot Velocitor, and also on the .22 WMR from 30 grains up into the 50s. Most importantly there is lots of range data, drop, windage, kinetic energy, etc. — Terrific reference guide….” — E. Svanoe

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
May 28th, 2019

AR Feed Failure — What Is Your Diagnosis?

AR AR15 mag magazine magpul jam misfeed short-stroking jam cartridge

Posting on the 6.5 Creedmoor Group Facebook Page, Russel T. complained that his AR magazine doesn’t like to feed that last few rounds. Russell asked: “Full magazine, no problem cycling. But with five (5) or less in the magazine… this happens. What can cause this?”

It sure looks like he could use a new magazine spring, but there may be buffer-related problems as well. Or maybe a gas system issue. What’s your call? Here are some responses posted by Facebook folks:

“Weak mag spring.” — Josh N.

“Weak mag spring or too heavy of a buffer spring.” — Justin G.

“Try a different mag, if it still jams it’s probably a gas problem, if not chuck the bad mag.” — Otto G.

“Weak mag spring or literally anything that would cause the Bolt Carrier Group to short cycle.” — Reggie W.

“I’ve had the same issue with my 300 BLK when my buffer tube came apart. It would still cycle cheap rounds fine but [not] the Hornadys. Took it apart and found the buffer tube was in pieces.” — Hunter R.

“Could be a weak mag spring or buffer spring, both at the same time.” — John S.

“As mentioned it could be a list of things. However, bolt velocity is too fast/hard and the usual (but not always) culprit is over-gassing.” — Bill F.

“Short cycle — clean and LUBRICATE the weapon.” — Mark H.

“Look to see where the brass is ejecting. That will tell if it’s an over or under gas issue. If that’s ok then look at the mag spring. See Diagram” — Teddy G.

AR AR15 mag magazine magpul jam misfeed short-stroking jam cartridge

“Weak magazine spring, I tossed four brand new ‘bargain mags’ [due to] that very problem.” — John V.E.

“May not be a weak spring or bad mag. Check out a Tubb Precision flatware spring. I swapped mine in a new rifle and solved the problem of short stroking and double feeds.” — Anthony T.

“It might be the follower as well, some designs will dip in the front/rear as rounds are expended. It’s the reason why we didn’t use some service mags with the green followers.” — Chris J.

“Weak spring… time for a new magazine…or add a 5-round block and make it a 25-round magazine. But I’m positive it’s a weak spring, which means it’s just a matter of time for failure.” — Steve M.

“Without the weapon in hand I would hate to guess….
Start with the simple stuff and go from there. Trying to diagnose a problem from a photo is just like when your wife or girlfriend tells you the car won’t start. LOL.” — Mark T.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tactical, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
May 23rd, 2019

AR-Platform Rifle Cleaning Advice

AR15 cleaning procedure

AR-platform rifles run dirty — very dirty. The gas system blows carbon and powder residues back into the action and into the bolt carrier group. That’s why you need to clean your ARs regularly, and you have to pay special attention to the nooks and crannies in the bolt and bolt carrer. The majority of AR failures we’ve witnessed have been from a combination of lube, carbon, and tiny brass shavings that collected in the ejector recess and the extractor spring recess. After that, plain carbon build-up on the bolt can be a gun-stopper too. And you need to keep the barrel extension clean too.

If you’re new to the (dirty) world of ARs, here are two helpful videos from the folks who make Froglube. That line of cleaners/lubes is pretty good stuff, though not our first choice for all AR lubrication and cleaning chores. But these videos do provide many helpful tips. They show the disassembly process and highlight the “problem areas” to which you must pay special attention.

How to Clean Your AR-15 Bolt Carrier Assembly

How to Clean Your AR-15 Lower Receiver Assembly

NOTE: Froglube also makes a video showing AR upper, chamber, and barrel cleaning. There are practices shown there that we do NOT recommend. Nor do we recommend Froglube products for bore cleaning. We think there are more effective cleaning products.

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May 10th, 2019

Fundamentals — Sight Alignment and Trigger Control

Marksmanship Fundamentals iron sights USAMU

This video from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit focuses on two key fundamentals of marksmanship: 1) Sight Alignment; and 2) Trigger Squeeze. This video can assist any Service Rifle or metallic sights shooter. The USAMU instructor explains: “You’ve probably heard a lot about fundamentals — Breathe, Relax, Aim, Squeeze… Well that gives a shooter a lot to think about. Here we teach two main firing tasks: 1) align the sights, and 2) squeeze the trigger without moving the rifle. This allows the shooter a much more simplified format.”

The following tips are transcribed from the video:

Task One: Sight Alignment
Sight alignment is the process of putting the tip of the front sight post, the rear aperture, and the shooter’s eyeball all on the same plane. It’s very important to maintain the tip of the front sight post centered in the rear aperture. Just .002″ of deviation can cause a miss at 300 meters. Allow your eye to do its job. While firing, the focus should remain on the tip of the front sight.

Task Two: Trigger Control
Your second firing task is [to] fire the rifle without moving it. This is done through proper trigger control. You’ve probably heard a lot of words about trigger control — “surprise break”, “snatch”, “pull”, “squeeze”… well we teach one thing here: “smooth”. No matter the speed at which I engage the trigger, it’s always going to be smooth. Imagine trying to pull the trigger straight through the rear of the buttstock, holding it to the rear while the gun recoils. It’s important to constantly engage the trigger, never letting your trigger finger disengage from the trigger while firing. This is achieved through natural trigger finger placement.

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April 28th, 2019

Zediker Examines Long Range Shooting with AR-Platform Rifles

AR15 ar-15 long range

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

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

Long Range AR AR-15 Glen Zediker Cheaper than dirt

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

Long Rang AR AR-15 Glen Zediker Cheaper than dirt

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

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

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

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

Permalink Gear Review, Shooting Skills 5 Comments »
April 16th, 2019

Get S&W Pistol and AR15 Complete Lower for $379.99

Palmetto State Armory S&W Shield 9mm pistol AR15 AR AR-15 complete lower assembly

With this insanely good deal from Palmetto State Armory, you can get a pistol AND half an AR rifle for just $379.99 with FREE shipping. The deal is for a PSA AR-15 complete lower with Magpul stock PLUS a M&P Shield compact 9mm Pistol. This is an incredible deal. As Ammoland.com notes: “Compare that price [for pistol plus AR lower] to $430.00 for just the S&W M&P Shield 9mm Handgun elsewhere online.”

Smith & Wesson’s M&P Shield is a concealable, striker-fired polymer pistol with 3.1″ barrel. Overall legnth is 6.1 inches and unloaded weight is just 19 ounces. The Double-action-only (DAO) trigger break consistently at about 6.5 pounds.

The PSA AR-15 Complete Lower is the Magpul MOE Edition that features a quick-adjusting Magpul stock. This PSA lower will accept all AR15 magazines, however, no magazines are included. This quality, reliable lower assembly is reviewed in this video:

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March 24th, 2019

SCATT MX-02 Training System Works for Centerfire Shooters

SCATT MX-02 training digital camera sensor target

The SCATT MX-02 is an electronic shooter training system that is capable of operating outdoors with live, centerfire ammunition, at distances from 25 yards to 600 yards. Tony Chow tested this product for AccurateShooter.com. As fitted to his AR-15 Service Rifle, Tony concludes this is a very useful tool that can help High Power competitors refine their technique and shoot higher scores. CLICK HERE for Full 3000-word Review.

How the SCATT MX-02 Works
The SCATT sensor mounted on the end of the barrel has a digital camera that recognizes the black bullseye in the target, even in broad daylight outdoors. Using the bullseye as a reference, the SCATT software tracks the movement of the muzzle relative to the center of the target. The unit can plot these movements as a continuous trace, which appears on a monitor as a squiggly, colored line. By sensing the exact moment of shot release, the SCATT can also interpolate relative shot placement (for a single shot or series of shots) — but this is not the same as an electronic target which actually records the exact shot impact location on the target.

SCATT MX-02 training digital camera sensor target

Some time ago, we reviewed this product from the perspective of a smallbore competitive shooter. (Read Previous Review.) Here we test SCATT MX-02 again, this time on an AR-15 service rifle, in order to assess its suitability for the High Power competition community.

We put the MX-02 through its paces in all three High Power shooting positions and in various environmental conditions. We wanted to find out whether the system can reliably operate in the harsher outdoor settings and withstand the recoil of a centerfire rifle. We also wanted to assess whether it provides added values for High Power shooters over older generation of electronic trainers such as SCATT’s own venerable WS-01.

On both counts, we came away impressed. The SCATT MX-02 stood up to centerfire recoil after hundreds of shots and was able to consistently recognize the often less-than-pristine High Power target faces. Both indoors and outdoors, the MX-02 acts as SCATT should and dutifully captures useful aiming traces and other data. It does that even during outdoor live-fire sessions, where shooter performance often differs from indoor dry-firing due to the sensation of recoil and environmental factors.

SCATT Rapid Fire Results (paper target on left, screen on right).
Scatt MX-02 shooting trainer camera

In particular, SCATT MX-02 allows shooters to effectively troubleshoot and improve their rapid-fire performance, a service that no previous-generation trainers are capable of providing. The unit isn’t perfect — the SCATT MX-02 had some mounting issues with small-diameter barrels, but a cardboard shim provided a quick and effective solution.


CLICK HERE for Full SCATT MX-02 Review »

Overall, performance was impressive. In most realistic training conditions that High Power shooters experience, the system performed well. We can certainly recommend SCATT MX-02 as an extremely valuable tool for High Power competitors looking to take their performance to the next level.

For more information or to order SCATT products, including the MX-02, visit ScattUSA.com or call toll-free: 1-855-57-SCATT (72288).

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Shooting Skills No Comments »
March 5th, 2019

When ARs Fail — Busted Bolt Incident

AR15 AR-15 Bolt failure Broken AR Bolt Police Department

Our friend Dennis Santiago was recently conducting training for a Southern California Police Department. During a training session one of the unit’s AR15s stopped functioning. The problem — the bolt in the AR rifle broke in half. Dennis states: “They ran the gun dry, broke for lunch, shot it again. They don’t like that. I personally like to flood the bolt wet with lube on training days. It prevents stuff like this. Given that, it’s a simple remove-and-replace fix.”

AR15 AR-15 Bolt failure Broken AR Bolt Police Department

Here are some of the more interesting comments about this parts failure — an AR bolt that literally sheared in half:

“If I was a betting man [the steel] wasn’t made by Carpenter Steel. They are one of the few companies that use the correct [milspec-steel, C-158] called out on the drawing which they coincidentally developed. Most of the other companies that make [AR Bolts] use different steel with the same heat treat specification as what is called out which gives them the potential of being a little on the brittle side at the upper end of the tolerance. When it comes to the AR platform, bolts are probably the only part of the entire gun where I must admit to being a little bit of a brand snob.” David O’N.

[Editor’s Note: Actually Carpenter Steel does not make AR bolts. They are a steel supplier, and yes Carpenter did develop the original C-158 steel for AR bolts. Here is a contrary view, claiming that AISI 9310 Steel is actually stronger than milspec Carpenter C-158: 9310 Steel for AR Bolts.]

“Dry bolt and carrier shouldn’t cause that. Looks like a big pressure spike. What kind of ammo…?” Guy G.
Reply from Dennis: “55gr factory ammo.Piles of it.

“Is that the new two-piece bolt everyone’s been talking about LOL?” — Darren R.

“Let me guess…the PD called you in cause they didn’t know why it stopped going ‘pew pew’?” — Jim O.
Reply from Dennis: “I was there today for qualifications. It broke during the rifle phase. Simple enough to fish the bolt parts out of the action. The training didn’t miss a beat. I have an armory full of the things.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical, Tech Tip 14 Comments »
January 20th, 2019

The .20 Practical AR — Wicked Accuracy, Low Recoil

20 Practical AR uppers

The new .224 Valkyrie for AR15-platform rifles has garnered lots of attention lately. That new cartridge has gotten people thinking about the options for an AR shooter beyond the venerable .223 Remington (and 5.56x39mm NATO). While the .224 Valkyrie is good for shooting long heavy bullets (such as Sierra’s new 95gr SMK), there is a simpler, cheaper option for folks who favor “fast and light” — smaller, lower-mass bullets traveling at very high velocities. That option is the 20 Practical, which is simply a .223 Remington necked down to 20 caliber. This little cartridge can launch 40-grainers at over 3900 fps. That’s bookin’. This makes the 20 Practical a great choice for an AR-based varmint rifle.

20 Practical20 Practical Ultimate Varminter
A decade ago, as a “proof-of-concept”, AccurateShooter.com created a 20 Practical AR15 Ultimate Varminter with a custom 20-caliber upper from Robert Whitley of AR-X Enterprises, LLC. That project rifle was ultra-accurate — every 5-shot group out of the gun was less than the size of a dime. That gun was auctioned off, but Robert Whitley continues to produce custom 20 Practical AR15 uppers. (The 20 Practical cartridge is simply the .223 Rem necked down to 20 caliber — you can use standard .223 brass and load with standard.223 Rem dies. Just swap in a smaller expander and use smaller neck bushings.)

Robert reports that the accuracy of the first 20 Practical AR15 was no fluke. After building six (6) more 20 Practical uppers, he tested them for accuracy and they all shot great. These uppers feature DPMS low-pro receivers with side charging handles. They are fitted with PacNor 1:11″ twist, three-groove stainless barrels.

20 Practical AR uppers

Robert reports: “We have been making more 20 Practical AR15 uppers and I have to say I am astounded by the accuracy of these things. For shooting little tiny groups out of an AR15 with bullets going 3500+ fps, it’s hard to beat the 20 Practical. Today I test-fired six more uppers, all with 11-twist barrels. Three of the uppers had 24″ barrels, two had 20″ barrels, and one had an 18″ barrel (we call it ‘Stubby’).

20 Practical Reamer print

In four of these uppers I shot re-sized Winchester brass using 25.3 grains of WC844 powder with Berger 40gr BTHP bullets loaded at 2.225″ OAL (about .015″ off the lands). WC844 is inexpensive military surplus powder that is nearly identical to H335. I tried three different primers and the choice did not seem to matter (CCI BR4, Rem 7 1/2s and Win Small Rifle — the old silver ones). All these four uppers shot great. Here is an animated GIF with targets from uppers #6, 10, and 11. All groups are mag-fed, 5-shot groups shot at 100 yards using a front rest and rear bag.”

Targets Shot with Three Different 20 Practical AR Uppers

20 Practical AR uppers

For more information visit www.6mmAR.com, or contact Robert Whitley via email: rcw3 [at] erols.com.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
December 28th, 2018

AR15 3D Animation — See How an AR Really Works

ar-15 AR15 3D animation video youtube cutaway 5.56 AR .233 Rem

Ever wondered how the parts inside an AR15 work together? Just exactly how does the reciprocating bolt carrier feed rounds from the magazine? How do the elements in the trigger group work and reset after each shot? How does the gas system bleed gas from the barrel and operate the bolt carrier? These and other questions are answered in this eye-opening video from 45Snipers. Using “cutaway” 3D computer animation, this 5-minute video shows all features of an AR15 inside and out. This fascinating firearms animation allows the viewer to look inside the upper and lower receivers, into the bolt carrier, chamber, barrel, and magazine.

This video starts off slow and has annoying background music, but it is well worth watching if you own or shoot any AR-platform rifle. It illustrates all the key operations during the charging, loading, firing, and ejection processes. The cutaway animation shows how rounds are stripped from the magazine and then chambered. It then shows how every part of the trigger group works, and how the firing pin strikes the primer. You can even watch the bullet move down the barrel before the empty shell casing is removed from the chamber and tossed out the ejection port. Here are sample frames from the video:

ar-15 AR15 3D animation video youtube cutaway 5.56 AR .233 Rem

ar-15 AR15 3D animation video youtube cutaway 5.56 AR .233 Rem

Video find by Grant Ubl. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Tactical, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
December 18th, 2018

224 Valkyrie Video Showcase — Field Tests and Reloading Info

Valkyrie Video .224 224 Valk Gavin Gear Reloader

The .224 Valkyrie is the “trendy” cartridge now for AR shooters looking for better long-range performance than the standard .223 Rem (5.56×45) can provide. With the right bullets and load, the .224 Valkyrie offers significantly less drop and drift at long range. The .224 Valkyrie is basically a 6.8 SPC case necked down to .22-caliber. You can use your existing AR15 lower, but you will need a dedicated .224 Valkyrie upper, or at the minimum a new barrel, modified bolt with proper bolt face, and 6.8-compliant mags.

Valkyrie fans say this efficient cartridge offers performance rivaling a 22-250 in a smaller case. The Social Regressive YouTube channel explains: “There are two key reasons why the 224 Valkyrie is unique and desirable. First, it is specifically designed to fit the limitations of the AR-15 platform. It does so even when loaded with gigantic bullets, like the 90-grain SMK that Federal announced. The .22-250 Rem is too long and too fat to work in the AR-15 platform; it needs an AR-10 bolt and magazine.”

Valkyrie Video Fest — Five Informative Videos

Here are five videos featuring the .224 Valkyrie cartridge and rifle options. We think the two applications that make most sense for this new cartridge are: 1) PRS Gas Gun matches (Open Class) — you get 6.5 Creedmoor ballistic performance with much less recoil for faster shot transitions; and 2) Long-Range (400+ yards) varminting — you get performance similar to a 22-250 in a cartridge that works with your existing AR15 lower. That will really help with those long shots on P-dogs.

In this video Gavin Gear test the .224 Valkyrie cartridge in both AR and bolt-action rifles. Using a drone to capture images of shots on target, Gavin produces some impressively small groups at 600 yards. This shows that the .224 Valkyrie has serious accuracy potential when the load is right.

In this 37-minute video on the “IraqVeteran8888″ channel, Chad tests a .224 Valkyrie rifle with various ammo, including 90gr handloads. The test addresses the pros and cons of this new cartridge, explaining the need to have realistic expectations, and a barrel with twist rate suitable for your bullet choices. This is a long video, but worth watching if you are contemplating building or buying a .224 Valkyrie.

This follow-up IraqVet888 video focuses on reloading for the .224 Valkyrie. Chad addresses a multitude of issues including: powder selection, bullet options, brass longevity and primer pocket uniforming. If you own a .224 Valkyrie and hand-load for the rifle, you should watch this video.

Here Gavin Gear tests Starline’s new .224 Valkyrie brass, seeing how well it stands up to repeated firings. Gavin checked for primer pocket stretching and found that 50% of the cases went 8 or more firings before the primer pockets grew too much. However a few cases did need to be retired after four firings. Gavin notes: “Brass longevity is one of the key considerations for loading 224 Valkyrie, so I thought I would put my Starline 224 Valkyrie cases to the test! Be sure to read the full Brass Test article for more insights.

The .224 Valkyrie has been marketed as a low-recoil round that can stay supersonic to 1300 yards and beyond (with 90gr Sierra MatchKings). Here a Sniper’s Hide duo shots an AR-platform .224 Valkyrie at distances out to 1550+ yards. To be honest, the accuracy wasn’t that impressive. However this test confirms that the .224 Valkyrie does launch the long, heavy projectiles at high enough velocities to prove superior to the standard .223 Rem. Frank Galli (aka “Lowlight”) teams up with Brian Whalen of Colorado Precision Rifle at the Blue Steel Ranch in New Mexico.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 4 Comments »
December 15th, 2018

The Ultra-Accurate AR — Secrets of AR Accuracy Revealed

AR-X AR15 Upper

In our Shooters’ Forum, one member recently asked: “What makes an AR accurate? What parts on an AR can really affect accuracy — such as free-floating handguards, barrels, bolts, bolt carriers?” He wanted an honest, well-informed answer, not just sales pitches. Robert Whitley posted a very comprehensive answer to this question, based on his experience building and testing dozens of AR-platform rifles. Robert runs AR-X Enterprises, which produces match-grade uppers for High Power competitors, tactical shooters, and varminters.

AR-X AR15 Upper

Building an Accurate AR — What is Most Important

by Robert Whitley
There are a lot of things that can be done to an AR to enhance consistent accuracy, and I use the words “consistent accuracy” because consistency is a part of it (i.e. plenty of guns will give a couple great 5-shot groups, but won’t do a very good 10- or 20-shot groups, and some guns will shoot great one day and not so good on others).

Here are 14 key things we think are important to accuracy.

1. Great Barrel: You’ll want a premium match-grade barrel, well-machined with a good crown and a match-type chambering, true to the bore and well cut. The extension threads must also be cut true to the bore, with everything true and in proper alignment.

2. Rigid Upper: A rigid, heavy-walled upper receiver aids accuracy. The typical AR upper receiver was made for a lightweight carry rifle and they stripped all the metal they could off it to make it light to carry (which is advantageous for the military). The net result are upper receivers that are so thin you can flex them with your bare hands. These flexible uppers are “strong enough” for general use, but they are not ideal for accuracy. Accuracy improves with a more rigid upper receiver.

3. True Receiver Face: We’ve found that truing the receiver face is valuable. Some may argue this point but it is always best to keep everything related to the barrel and the bore in complete alignment with the bore (i.e. barrel extension, bolt, upper receiver, carrier, etc.).

4. Barrel Extension: You should Loctite or glue the barrel extension into the upper receiver. This holds it in place all the way front to back in the upper receiver. Otherwise if there is any play (and there typically is) it just hangs on the face of the upper receiver completely dependent on the face of the upper receiver as the sole source of support for the barrel as opposed to being made more an integral part of the upper receiver by being glued-in.

AR-X AR15 Upper5. Gas Block: You want a gas block that does not impose pointed stress on the barrel. Clamp-on types that grab all the way around the barrel are excellent. The blocks that are pinned on with tapered pins that wedge against the barrel or the slip on type of block with set screws that push up from underneath (or directly on the barrel) can deform the bore inside of the barrel and can wreck the accuracy of an otherwise great barrel.

6. Free-Float Handguard: A rigid, free-float handguard (and I emphasize the word rigid) really makes a difference. There are many types of free-float handguards and a free-float handguard is, in and of itself, a huge improvement over a non-free-float set up, but best is a rigid set-up. Some of the ones on the market are small diameter, thin and/or flexible and if you are shooting off any type of rest, bipod, front bag, etc., a rigid fore-end is best since ARs want to jump, bounce and twist when you let a shot go, as the carrier starts to begin its cycle before the bullet exits the bore.

Robert Whitley AR Accurate accuracy aR15 barrel trigger MSR gunsmithing

7. Barrel Contour: You want some meat on the barrel. Between the upper receiver and the gas block don’t go real thin with a barrel (we like 1″ diameter if it’s workable weight-wise). When you touch off a round and the bullet passes the gas port, the gas system immediately starts pressuring up with a gas impulse that provides vibrations and stress on the barrel, especially between the gas block back to the receiver. A heavier barrel here dampens that. Staying a little heavier with barrel contour through the gas block area and out to the muzzle is good for the same reasons. ARs have a lot going on when you touch off a round and the gas system pressures up and the carrier starts moving (all before the bullet exits the bore) so the more things are made heavier and rigid to counteract that the better — within reason (I’m not advocating a 12-lb barrel).

8. Gas Tube Routing Clearance: You want a gas tube that runs freely through the barrel nut, through the front of the upper receiver, and through the gas key in the carrier. Ensure the gas tube is not impinged by any of them, so that it does not load the carrier in a stressed orientation. You don’t want the gas tube bound up so that when the gas tube pressures up it immediately wants to transmit more force and impulse to the barrel than would normally occur. We sometimes spend a lot of time moving the gas block with gas tube on and off new build uppers and tweaking gas tubes to get proper clearance and alignment. Most gas tubes do need a little “tweaking” to get them right — factory tubes may work OK but they typically do not function optimally without hand-fitting.

9. Gas Port Tuning: You want to avoid over-porting the gas port. Being over-gassed makes the gas system pressure up earlier and more aggressively. This causes more impulse, and increases forces and vibration affecting the top end and the barrel. Tune the gas port to give the amount of pressure needed to function properly and adequately but no more.

10. Front/Back Bolt Play: If accuracy is the game, don’t leave a lot of front/back bolt play (keep it .003″ but no more than .005″). We’ve seen factory rifles run .012″ to .015″ play, which is OK if you need to leave room for dirt and grime in a military application. However, that amount of play is not ideal for a high-accuracy AR build. A lot of front/back bolt play allows rounds to be hammered into the chamber and actually re-formed in a non-consistent way, as they are loaded into the chamber.

11. Component Quality: Use good parts from a reputable source and be wary of “gun show specials”. All parts are NOT the same. Some are good, some are not so good, and some aftermarket parts are simply bad. Don’t be afraid to use mil-spec-type carriers; by and large they are excellent for an accuracy build. Also, remember that just because a carrier says “National Match” or something else on it does not necessarily mean it’s any better. Be wary of chrome-plated parts as the chrome plating can change the parts dimensionally and can also make it hard to do hand-fitting for fit and function.

AR-X AR15 Upper

12. Upper to Lower Fit: A good upper/lower fit is helpful. For quick and dirty fit enhancement, an Accu-Wedge in the rear helps a lot. The ultimate solution is to bed the upper to a specific lower so that the upper and lower, when together, are more like one integral unit. For the upper receivers we produce, we try to get the specs as close as we can, but still fit the various lowers in the market place.

13. Muzzle Attachments: Don’t screw up the muzzle (literally). Leave as much metal on the barrel at the muzzle as you can. People like to thread the muzzle for a flash hider, suppressor, muzzle brake, or some other attachment, but if you really want accuracy, leave as much metal as you can there. And, if you have something that screws on, set it up so that it can be put on and have it stay there without putting a lot of torque and stress on it right where the bullet exits the bore. If you are going to thread the end of the barrel, make it concentric with the bore and make sure what you screw on there is as well. For all muzzle attachments, also ensure that the holes through which the bullet passes through are dead true to the bore. Many aftermarket screw-on things are not so good that way. Anything that vents gas should vent symmetrically (i.e. if it vents left, it should vent equally right, and likewise, if it vents up, it should vent down equally). Uneven venting of gas can wreck accuracy.

14. Quality Ammunition: Ammo is a whole story by itself, but loads that are too hot typically shoot poorly in an AR-15. If you want accuracy out of an AR-15, avoid overly hot loads. Shown below are test groups shot with four (4) different uppers, all with moderate loads. These four uppers all pretty much had the same features and things done to them as explained in this article, and they all shot great.

AR-X AR15 Upper

Robert Whitley
www.6mmAR.com

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Tactical 6 Comments »
November 24th, 2018

Out-of-Battery BANG! When Round Fires Before Bolt Fully Closed

out of battery kaboom bohica 50 bmg ar15

As posted in the Calguns.net a few years back, there was a nasty out-of-battery firing incident involving a BOHICA Arms .510 DTC AR15 upper. The cause of the out-of-battery firing is not certain but it appears that the ammo was not sized properly and the firing pin may have been stuck in the extended position. As a result, the round went off before the bolt was closed with the lugs seated. In the process, the bolt handle broke off, as the bolt retracted violently, actually ending up outside the bolt raceway.

out of battery kaboom bohica 50 bmg ar15

The shooter was badly injured, with broken bones and ligament damage to his left hand and tissue damage to his right hand. The shooter was holding the rifle with his left hand near the front of the chamber where a gas vent was located. Gas and shrapnel existed the vent hole causing the severe injuries to the left hand.

From range reports, it appears that the shooter had been struggling to chamber previous rounds, and was having trouble closing the bolt. After talking with one of the rangemasters, a poster on AR15.com reported: “The guy was using new reloads that weren’t exactly fitting well into his chamber. [The shooter] was slamming the bolt handle with his palm trying to get the cases to lock in. The guy was also slamming the bolt forward full force from the rearmost position back and forth trying to ram the cases into chamber in an attempt to squeeze the rounds in so the bolt could close. Finally, on one of the attempts … the possibly stuck firing pin rams into the primer and explodes the round when he slams the bolt forward (zero lug engagement hence the KB) and shooter puts himself into a world of hurt.”

Lessons Learned — Don’t Try to Force Oversize Ammo into a Chamber
By all reports, the shooter’s ammo wasn’t fitting his chamber properly. In an effort to force the ammo into the chamber, he worked the bolt with excessive force. That MAY have caused the firing pin to extend or the hammer to fall without the trigger being pulled. One theory is that the trigger system may have been modified, allowing the hammer to fall from the force of slamming the bolt forward. Others have speculated that the firing pin may have failed to retract because the bolt handle was over-torqued — a safety issue listed in the BOHICA manual.

out of battery kaboom bohica 50 bmg ar15

Whatever caused the out-of-battery firing, it appears that improperly-sized ammo (or a poorly-cut chamber) was the root cause of the problems. If you go to a range and find your bolt does not close easily over the ammo — STOP SHOOTING — don’t try to force the issue. Disaster may result. To paraphrase Johnnie Cochran: “If the ammo doesn’t fit, it’s time to quit”.

Photos by Wildcard, originally posted on Calguns.net.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
November 18th, 2018

Out-of-Control Gun Lust — “I May Need an Intervention!”

Hoarding AccurateShooter Forum AR

Forum member Kevin (aka “N10Sivern”), revealed he needs some help with a compulsion — a compulsion to keep buying more and more guns and ammo. Particularly ARs, all shapes and sizes of ARs. Way too many ARs. You could say he has an ARdiction….

In a Forum Thread, Kevin posted: “I may need an intervention. Trying to clean my office and pulled this stuff out. I’m missing an AR10 lower somewhere and an AR15 upper. I’ll find them before the day is done. I have a big box full of parts as well, and 4 barrels still in the cardboard tubes. Sigh. This is gonna be a lot of Cerakoting for me.”

Another Forum member said: “For the love of God, man. Delete this thread lest you be accused of hoarding!”

Kevin replied: “I guess I am hoarding a little. But it’s good hoarding right?”

And then he posted this “Mail Call” photo:

Hoarding AccurateShooter Forum AR

Kevin’s caption: “It only gets worse. Mail Call today: 20″ .308 Ballistics Advantage barrel, 26″ Savage 25-06 barrel, 700 pieces of .38 special, 300 pieces of .357 magnum, 500 pieces .308 Win, gas tube, Hornady Modified Case Gauge. I have more crap on the way too.”

Forum Member’s Chime In…
Kevin’s “Need Intervention” post drew plenty of comments from other Forum Members:

“God! It is so refreshing to see that my illness is widespread with little hope (or desire) for a cure. I smiled reading each post.” — Gary0529

“You know you have a problem when you open a drawer and find components you forgot you bought.” — JoshB

“It’s not hoarding if you intend to use it. Says he who has 12,000 primers.” — Uthink

“I guess I’ll go ahead and volunteer to help you with your obviously much needed intervention… send me the pictured items and then you’ll no longer have to deal with those nasty temptations. Just think about it, you’ll have less clutter in your office plus you’ll not have to fret over the need for any cerakoting either. I’m just one human being volunteering to help out another fellow human being who needs help!” — PikesPG

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tactical 5 Comments »
October 29th, 2018

Bargain Finder 162: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. CDNN — Winchester XPR Rifle $289.99 after $75 Rebate

Winchester XPR Rifle Rebate discount full hunting sale

We like the Winchester XPR as an affordable, entry-level hunting rifle. The three-lug bolt has a short throw, the mags seat easily and the rifle balances well. CDNN is offering the XPR for just $364.99. That’s a great price, but it gets even better. Winchester is offering a $75.00 factory rebate, lowering your net cost to just $289.99. This CDNN deal is available now for four popular chamberings: .243 Win, .308 Win, .270 Win, and .30-06 SPR. Winchester’s $75 Factory Rebate applies to any new Winchester XPR or Model 70 rifle purchased from August 1 through October 31, 2018. For more info, visit Winchester’s Trophy Season Rebate Page.

Winchester XPR Rifle Rebate discount full hunting sale

FREE SCOPE! To sweeten the deal even more, right now CDNN is offering a FREE Weaver 3-9x40mm scope with each XPR rifle sold — check it out!

2. Midsouth — RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, $199.99

RCBS Chargemaster Lite

Tired of weighing your charges one by one to get the accuracy you’re looking for? Midsouth has the RCBS ChargeMaster Lite electronic scale/dispenser on sale for only $199.99. This is a great chance to pick up one of the best off-the-shelf powder scale/dispensers for an excellent price. You can pay up to $260.00 elsewhere. Supplies are limited so now’s the time to buy if you’ve had the ChargeMaster Lite on your shopping list.

3. Grizzly.com — Bald Eagle Rests $165.00 – $199.95

Bald Eagle Deal front rest cast iron slingshot

Bald Eagle (by Grizzly) offers one of the best value-priced front rests on the market. We’ve seen F-Class shooters win matches with the Bald Eagle Slingshot Windage Rest, which costs less than a fifth of a premium co-axial rest. For a new shooter, this is a very cost-effective solution. One Forum member purchased this Bald Eagle BE1006 rest for his grandson, deciding it was the best rest under $300.00. Both rests shown offer a cable (with large knob) for easy windage adjustment. The Slingshot model, in cast iron or aluminum, has an elongated front leg for added stability. This also brings the Windage knob within easy reach. The aluminum version (BE1005) is considerably lighter and $35 cheaper, so it may be preferred by rimfire and varmint shooters. Note: Front sandbag sold separately.

4. Al’s — Vortex Razor HD 20-60x85mm Spotting Scope, $854.99

Vortex Razor 20-60x85mm 20x60 Spotter Sale Discount Spotting Scope

Here’s a great deal on a high-quality spotting scope from a top optics maker. AL’s Sporting Goods has last year’s model Vortex Razor 20-60x85mm spotter for only $949.99, including eyepiece. But it gets better — use Code ALS10 for another 10% off, bringing the final price down to $854.99. This is a very good spotter for the money and as Vortex will tell you, “buy a Razor now and we’ll always replace it with a Razor in the future”.

5. Cabela’s — Garmin GPSMAP 64S $199.00 on Sale

Creedmoor sports trimmer case kit platform

Cabela’s has slashed its price on the popular Garmin GPSMAP 64S unit, on sale for $199.99. This is an excellent hand-held GPS for hunters and hikers, with long battery life, good reception, and a fairly large screen. This unit features a High-Sensitivity GPS, Glonass Receiver, and Barometric Altimeter (important for your ballistics). The Garmin GPSMAP 64S is also available at Amazon.com for $220.90 with free shipping.

6. Creedmoor Sports — Wilson Trimmer Kit, $159.95

Creedmoor sports trimmer case kit platform

Here’s a slick set-up for precision case trimming. Creedmoor’s complete L.E. Wilson stainless trimmer kit features micrometer-adjustable length stop (.001″ increments), improved deluxe SS handle, and a special Creedmoor platform. The platform/mounting board can store 9 different case holders and comes with a polymer tapping block for knocking cases out of the holder. The platform also has four rubber feet. This system is also power-adaptable. The L.E. Wilson Trimmer Platform Kit is marked down to $159.95 this week. We favor this kind of system for trimming match cases.

7. Stocky’s — LR Stocks with Aluminum Bedding Block, $179.99

Stocky's Stocks Composite V-block stock

Here’s a good deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $179.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel. This would be a good choice for a varmint rifle. This is also offered with handsome hydrographic or web-pattern baked-on textured finishes for $199.99.

8. Palmetto State Armory — 500 Rds CCI .22 LR, $16.99

CCI Blazer 40gr .22 LR 22LR rimfire ammo sale

Here is a crazy-good deal. Get 500 rounds of CCI 40gr .22 LR rimfire ammo for just $16.99. That works out to just 3.4 cents per round. But act soon. This deal on CCI Blazer rimfire ammo expires Monday October 29, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST. If you buy five or more 500-count boxes (that’s at least 2500 rounds), you can also get free shipping.

9. Amazon — Jialitte Scope Bubble Level (30mm + 1″), $11.99

Scope Optic bubble level 30mm 1

This nicely designed Jialitte Scope Bubble Level is fully CNC-machined to close tolerances for a good fit. It features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes — that dual-diameter versatility is a nice feature. We also like the way the unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. User reviews have been very positive. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product — almost all verified buyers have rated this five stars.

RCBS and Vortex selections by Forum member F-Class John.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
October 20th, 2018

USAMU Advice for Progressive Press Users

Accurateshooter.com USAMU progressive press reloading

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

USAMU Reloading

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

Worse yet, several different handloading operations would be occurring at different stations on the progressive press at the same time. It takes an experienced operator to keep track of, and truly understand the significance of, all those potential mini-problems. Loading without this experience is a recipe for potential disaster – such as a double powder charge (especially with pistol cartridges) dropped while the loader was attending to some other function, etc. Progressives are an animal unto themselves, and while they offer many benefits, they do take some getting used to – even by experienced handloaders!

ILLUSTRATIVE HORROR STORY
Here, enter a 40-year veteran handloader who decided to jump onto the progressive bandwagon late in his career, having used only single-stage presses all his life. A High Master NRA High Power Rifle competitor, he had no background in competitive pistol shooting, where historically most progressive presses are found.

Experienced Action Pistol shooters have typically encountered multiple episodes in which shooters “skipped” a powder charge for some reason, leading to a squib round and a bullet possibly lodged in the bore. Thus, at matches, it’s reflexive for them to yell “STOP!” in unison if they see a shooter get a “click” vs. a “bang”, and rack the slide to keep firing. This writer has personally seen several pistols saved in just such scenarios over the years.

Click No Bang — What NOT to Do
Our High Master set up a popular progressive press and began turning out .223 Rem 100-yard practice ammo with abandon. He was using a moly-coated 52gr match bullet and an economical, fast-burning surplus powder that gave great accuracy. Once on the range, he began practicing strings of rapid-fire. All was well, until he heard “Click!” rather than “Boom”.

Lacking the above experience or onlookers to halt him, he reflexively operated the charging handle on his expensive, custom NM AR15 Service Rifle, and the next trigger squeeze reportedly registered on seismographs over at least a three-state radius. He sat, uninjured but bewildered, until the hail of expensive bits and pieces quit raining down around him.

When the smoke cleared, he immediately cursed the horrid, evil, demonically-possessed progressive press for this, his first-ever reloading mishap. His $1400 NM upper was ruined, but thankfully, his $800 pre-ban lower… and he had escaped injury.

This tale is told not to discourage the use of progressive presses, but to emphasize the need to EASILY and IMMEDIATELY KNOW what is happening with the press at each station, every time the handle is cranked. Not to do so is, as they say, “bad ju-ju.”

It illustrates why we at the USAMU Handloading Shop agree in recommending that new handloaders should begin with a single-stage press. Once one thoroughly learns the steps in each phase of handloading by repeated experience, then one will be qualified to move on to a progressive press.

The single-stage press will REMAIN virtually indispensable for one’s entire handloading career, even after having purchased a progressive press (or two). There are endless small projects that are best handled on a single-stage press, and a poll of USAMU’s Handloading staff reveals that not one would willingly be without his single-stage press, despite owning at least one progressive.

Permalink Reloading 3 Comments »
October 18th, 2018

Definitive Book for AR-Platform Gear-A-Holics

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

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

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

Firearms expert Muramatsu offers advice on choosing the right stock/barrel/optics configuration for your particular game. He also discusses the wide variety of options for slings, grips, magazines and other accessories. With over 520 photos, the book includes a large photo gallery of customized ARs, and includes bonus coverage of the FAL and other “tactical” firearms. The Gun Digest Guide to Customizing Your AR-15 is available from Amazon.com for $20.13, and a Kindle eBook version is offered for $14.99. The book is also sold by Barnes & Noble, and most other major booksellers.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical No Comments »
October 15th, 2018

.223 Remington vs. 5.56x45mm — Facts vs. Fiction

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

Probably the most popular centerfire rifle round in the Western Hemisphere is the .223 Remington and its metric match, the 5.56x45mm. Though many folks use “.223 Rem” and “5.56×45″ interchangeably, there are some meaningful differences in specifications for the original .223 Rem and the 5.56x45mm cartridge, as adopted by the U.S. military and NATO armies. The default chamber throats are slightly different and the .223 Rem is rated at 55,000 PSI vs. 62,366 PSI for the 5.56x45mm.*

.223 Rem vs 5.56x45mm — Key Differences
There is a truly outstanding, very thorough article on the subject, published by LuckyGunner.com.** This involved extensive testing, with pressure monitors, of 5.56x45mm ammo in .223 Rem chambers. Those tests revealed the peak pressures. Here is one of the ammo test charts:

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

NOTE: “The observed chamber pressure for Federal XM855 5.56mm ammunition in a .223 Rem chamber exceeded .223 maximum pressures, but not by a massive amount. The ninth shot (the red line) was an underpowered cartridge which exhibited significantly lower velocity and pressure than the other rounds, so it was excluded from the average velocity and pressure numbers for this chamber.”

And if you’re curious, LuckyGunner also fired .223 Rem ammo in a 5.56x45mm NATO-chambered AR15 rifle. As you would expect, the peak pressures were significantly lower, but the .223 Rem ammo still cycled the semi-auto AR-platform rifle perfectly well:

.223 Rem Remington 5.56 SAAMI CIP 5.56x45 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge ammo pressure test luckygunner ultimatereloader Gavin Gear

READ FULL LuckyGunner .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm ARTICLE »

UltimateReloader.com Explains .223 Rem vs. 5.56x45mm
To explain the key differences between the .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm cartridges our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com has created a very thorough 12-minute video. This covers the cartridge specifications and explains key considerations for hand-loaders. Gavin also addresses the oft-asked question “Can I shoot 5.56x45mm ammo in my .223 Rem chamber?” Gavin’s video is definitely worth watching. In fact, this is one of the most popular videos Gavin has ever created — it has been watched over 300,000 times on YouTube.

What Exactly Is the 5.56x45mm NATO Cartridge?
The 5.56×45mm NATO is a rimless bottle-necked intermediate cartridge family standardized by NATO with development work by FN Herstal. It consists of the SS109, SS110, and SS111 cartridges. Under STANAG 4172, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries.

Bullet diameter: 5.70 mm (0.224 in)
Maximum pressure (EPVAT): 430.00 MPa (62,366 psi)
Maximum pressure (SCATP 5.56): 380.00 MPa (55,114 psi)
Case length: 44.70 mm (1.760 in)
Rifling twist: 178 mm or 229 mm (1 in 7 in)
Parent case: .223 Remington (M193)

Ammo-Maker Federal Premium Compares .223 Rem and 5.56x45mm
Here is a video from ammo-maker Federal Premium explaining the difference between .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm NATO. Federal states that you may experience excessive pressures when firing a 5.56x45mm in a standard .223 Remington chamber:

One leading gunwriter has addressed the question of shooting 5.56x45mm ammo in .223 Rem chambers. He advocates caution (for more info, SEE pressure tests by LuckyGunner.com):

“I have received a slew of questions — many from first time AR-type rifle buyers — about the .223 Rem and the 5.56×45 mm NATO cartridges. Can I shoot 5.56×45 mm NATO in my .223 and vice-versa? Are these the same cartridge?

Externally, the two cartridge cases are identical. The main differences are that 5.56×45 mm NATO operates at a higher chamber pressure (about 60,000 PSI versus 55,000 PSI on the .223 Rem.) and the 5.56’s chamber is slightly larger than that of the .223 Rem. Also, the throat or leade is longer in the 5.56×45 mm chamber. What does this mean? You should not shoot 5.56×45 mm NATO out of a rifle that is chambered in .223 Rem. And be aware that some .223 Rem. ammunition will not reliably cycle through some AR-style .223 Rem. rifles, but it usually does. As a matter of fact, I have not encountered any difficulty with current .223 Rem. loads cycling through a 5.56 mm AR-style rifle.”
– Mark Keefe, Editor, American Rifleman


* According to the official NATO proofing guidelines, the 5.56×45mm NATO case can handle up to 430.0 MPa (62,366 psi) piezo service pressure. The U.S. SAAMI lists Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) for the .223 Remington cartridge as 55,000 psi (379.2 MPa) piezo pressure with deviation of up to 58,000 psi (399.9 MPa). The chamber for military 5.56×45mm NATO has a longer throat prior to the bullet contacting the rifling which results in lower pressures when firing 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition. If 5.56×45mm NATO is used in rifles chambered for .223 Remington the bullet will be engraving the rifling when chambered. which can increase pressures past SAAMI Max levels. NOTE: The C.I.P. standards for the C.I.P. civilian .223 Remington chamber are much closer to the military 5.56×45mm NATO chamber.

** The full-length LuckyGunner article is well worth reading. It even provides specifications for a number of .223 Rem reamer types, and compares the original .223 Rem, the 5.56x45mm NATO, and the modern .223 Wylde chamberings.

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September 13th, 2018

Miculek Nails 3 Targets at 400 yards in 4.37 Seconds — Offhand

Jerry Miculek AR15 400 yards
Jerry Miculek — that name is synonymous with revolvers. But Jerry is also one heck of a rifleman, as he demonstrates in this video.

Three Shots Standing at 400 Yards in 4.37 Seconds
For those of use who usually shoot from the bench, hitting a silhouette target at 400 yards from an standing position (unsupported) would be a big challenge. Here Jerry Miculek makes it look easy.

In this video, Jerry hits not one but THREE c-zone targets at 400 yards. And — get this — he does this in under 4.4 seconds starting with his rifle laying on a support. It took Jerry two tries (on his first run he hit 2 out of 3 in 4.65 seconds). On the second attempt (see video starting at 2:19), it takes Jerry just 4.37 seconds to shoulder his rifle, aim, and fire three shots, each hitting a separate steel target. Wow. That’s truly remarkable. Most of us would need ten seconds (or more) just to get the scope on the first target.

Jerry Miculek AR15 400 yards

Trust us folks, this ain’t easy. It takes remarkable marksmanship skills to shoot with this kind of precision at this kind of pace. As Jerry would say himself, “Not bad for an old guy who needs glasses”.

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