May 8th, 2018

New Mobile Apps for LabRadar to Be Released Soon

LabRadar chronograph doppler radar chrono mobile app iOS iphone smartphone android phone

LabRadar owners can celebrate. New mobile-friendly control software is coming soon. Gunsmith and Benchrest Hall of Famer Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez had some interesting news from the NRA Show in Dallas. He learned that the creators of the LabRadar chronograph systems will soon offer Mobile Apps that can run on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet. This new software will make it much easier to control the LabRadar, and offer enhanced data editing functionality.

New LabRadar iOS and Android Mobile Apps Coming Soon…

LabRadar chronograph doppler radar chrono mobile app iOS iphone smartphone android phoneSpeedy says: “I just got back from the NRA show in Dallas, Texas. The coolest thing I personally saw at the show was at the LabRadar booth. They had the Beta versions of their new LabRadar Apps for the iPhone and Android phones. These Apps let you control all LabRadar functions from your phone as well as your tablet via Bluetooth connection. The new Apps will also allow the LabRadar owner to store and edit his or her data from a much larger and user friendly screen.”

That’s good news. We particularly like the ability to edit LabRadar data on a tablet. Speedy added: “This is going to revolutionize this great product and make it [much more] user-friendly.”

The new LabRadar Mobile Apps will be available free for LabRadar owners. If you own a LabRadar, be sure to register your LabRadar on the LabRadar Website. That will ensure you are notified via email as soon as the software is available. To register, look for the text link at the top right of the LabRadar homepage. It says “Register your LabRadar “. Click the link then fill out the data form.

LabRadar chronograph doppler radar chrono mobile app iOS iphone smartphone android phone

Permalink New Product, Tech Tip No Comments »
April 3rd, 2018

Don’t Kill the Chrono! Setting up Chronos to Avoid Stray Shots

chronograph placement, shooting chrony, chrono, advisory, tech tip

There is nothing more frustrating (or embarassing) than sending a live round into your expensive new chronograph. As the photo below demonstrates, with most types of chronographs (other than the barrel-hung Magnetospeed), you can fatally injure your expensive chrono if it is not positioned precisely.

When setting up a chrono, we always unload the rifle, remove the bolt and bore-sight to ensure that the path of the bullet is not too low. When bore-sighting visually, set up the rifle securely on the sandbags and look through the bore, breech to muzzle, lining up the barrel with your aim point on the target. Then (during an appropriate cease-fire), walk behind the chronograph. Looking straight back through the “V” formed by the sky-screens, you should be able to see light at the end of the barrel if the gun is positioned correctly. You can also use an in-chamber, laser bore-sighter to confirm the visual boresighting (see photo).

Laser boresighter chronograph

Adjust the height, angle and horizontal position of the chronograph so the bullet will pass through the middle of the “V” below the plastic diffusers, no less than 5″ above the light sensors. We put tape on the front sky-screen supports to make it easier to determine the right height over the light sensors.

Use a Test Backer to Confirm Your Bullet Trajectory
You can put tape on the support rods about 6″ up from the unit. This helps you judge the correct vertical height when setting up your rifle on the bags. Another trick is to hang a sheet of paper from the rear skyscreen and then use a laser boresighter to shine a dot on the paper (with the gun planted steady front and rear). This should give you a good idea (within an inch or so) of the bullet’s actual flight path through the “V” over the light sensors. Of course, when using a laser, never look directly at the laser! Instead shine the laser away from you and see where it appears on the paper.

chronograph set-up

Alignment of Chronograph Housing
Make sure the chrono housing is parallel to the path of the bullet. Don’t worry if the unit is not parallel to the ground surface. What you want is the bullet to pass over both front and rear sensors at the same height. Don’t try to set the chrono height in reference to the lens of your scope–as it sits 1″ to 2″ above your bore axis. To avoid muzzle blast interference, set your chronograph at least 10 feet from the end of the muzzle (or the distance recommended by the manufacturer).

chronograph laser sky screens

Rifles with Elevated Iron Sights
All too often rookie AR15 shooters forget that AR sights are positioned roughly 2.4″ above the bore axis (at the top of the front sight blade). If you set your bullet pass-through point using your AR’s front sight, the bullet will actually be traveling 2.4″ lower as it goes through the chrono. That’s why we recommend bore-sighting and setting the bullet travel point about 5-8″ above the base of the sky-screen support shafts. (Or the vertical distance the chronograph maker otherwise recommends). NOTE: You can make the same mistake on a scoped rifle if the scope is set on very tall rings, so the center of the cross-hairs is much higher than the bore axis line.

Laser boresighter chronograph

TARGET AIM POINT: When doing chrono work, we suggest you shoot at a single aiming point no more than 2″ in diameter (on your target paper). Use that aiming point when aligning your chrono with your rifle’s bore. If you use a 2″ bright orange dot, you should be able to see that through the bore at 100 yards. Using a single 2″ target reduces the chance of a screen hit as you shift points of aim. If you shoot at multiple target dots, place them in a vertical line, and bore sight on the lowest dot. Always set your chron height to set safe clearance for the LOWEST target dot, and then work upwards only.

Other Chronograph Tips from Forum Members:

When using a chronograph, I put a strip of masking tape across the far end of the skyscreens about two-thirds of the way up. This gives me a good aiming or bore-sighting reference that’s well away from the pricey bits. I learned that one the hard way. — GS Arizona

A very easy and simple tool to help you set up the chronograph is a simple piece of string! Set your gun (unloaded of course) on the rest and sight your target. Tie one end of the string to the rear scope ring or mount, then pull the string along the barrel to simulate the bullet path. With the string showing the bullet’s path, you can then easily set the chronograph’s placement left/right, and up/down. This will also let you set the chrono’s tilt angle and orientation so the sensors are correctly aligned with the bullet path. — Wayne Shaw

If shooting over a chrono from the prone position off a bipod or similar, beware of the muzzle sinking as recoil causes the front of the rifle to drop. I “killed” my first chronograph shooting off a gravel covered firing point where I’d not given enough clearance to start with and an inch or two drop in the muzzle caused a bullet to clip the housing. — Laurie Holland

Permalink - Articles, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
February 10th, 2018

Chrono Report — Using the LabRadar from Bench and Prone

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

Bart Sauter of Barts Custom Bullets owns a LabRadar chronograph. He was curious to see how his loads performed in actual match conditions, so he brought his LabRadar to a match and set it up right on his benchtop. What he learned was quite surprising. For one thing, Bart found that tuning for the best accuracy (in the conditions), was NOT simply a matter of maintaining velocity. Read all about Bart’s experience in this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

Bart has competed in short range Benchrest matches with the LabRadar on the bench! Bart observed: “The benches were quite close, but the LabRadar was able to pick up my shots even with the other guns going off very close to it. This is a pretty impressive piece of gear.” Bart’s LabRadar unit had no trouble picking up shots when set on the bench, a bit behind the muzzle. Bart noted: “Yes it can go a long way back. You can be a lot farther behind the muzzle then advertised. At home I could get back up to around 8 feet and pick up the bullet. It’s more sensitive about the side distance. I had mine on level 4. You can also point it at your buddy’s target and get his velocity.” Bart set his LabRadar to be triggered by the sound of the gun.

RAV battery pack Amazon.comLong-Life Battery Power
Powering the LabRadar at the range is not a problem. Bart used a portable battery pack that can power the LabRadar for a long time: “I bought a RavPower battery pack from Amazon.com. It was the most powerful compact cell phone charger they had and [it costs about $30.00]. It was able to run the LabRadar for two full days without recharging and still had juice.”

The LabRadar is a pretty expensive piece of kit, but there’s nothing else like it on the market. Bart notes: “The LabRadar itself is about $560.00. The stand is $29.95 for the bench mount and the padded carry case is $39.95. So you’re around $630.00 plus shipping.”

High-Quality Portable Base for LabRadar

Labradar Swivel base

If you want to use your LabRadar when shooting prone, there’s a smart new accessory you should consider buying. Matt Owens, one of our Forum members, has created a new, compact base for the LabRadar that works better than the flat, orange baseplate offered by the manufacturer. This $75 folding base is especially useful when shooting prone (see photo above). Matt, aka “Arkcomatt”, explains: “The folding base will fit in the LabRadar case with the unit. No more having to take apart! Just fold the legs. It takes up less room on the bench and allows you to get it closer to the rifle. It is very stable and holds up very well in high winds.” Forum member Peterson1 agrees: “This is more stable than the Labradar base for my use–off a concrete BR bench, yet takes up less space. Also easier/quicker to set unit up and aimed at target. Never take the unit off for transport in LabRadar case.” ORDER BASE HERE.

LabRadar base swivel base chronograph unit

Forum Member SkiUtah02 uses the base with optional spiked feet: “I bought my base with spikes for the feet to put into the ground. I removed the rubber feet, and screwed in the four spiked feet, [and mounted] an old photography lighting stand swivel head to the base! Worked perfectly. Thanks Matt!”

Full LabRadar Field Test/Review by Ray Gross

If you are considering purchasing a LabRadar Chronograph system, we strongly suggest you read the very thorough and informative LabRadar Review by Ray Gross, past Captain of the USA F-TR team.

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
November 17th, 2017

LabRadar Chronograph on Sale for $499.95 ($60 Off)

labradar base unit arkcomatt stainless folding

The high-tech orange LabRadar represents the state-of-the-art in personal chronographs. It is extremely accurate, versatile, and you don’t need to go down-range to set it up. Some shooters have even used one during a benchrest shooting match (see below). LabRadars are used by many top shooting champions and the LabRadar chronograph has earned very positive reviews from respected testers such as Ray Gross, USA F-TR Team Captain.

Labradar Benchrest Bart Sauter

Lab-Radar Discounted for First-Time Ever — Save $60.00
Since its introduction a couple years ago, the LabRadar has been in high demand. And the manufacturer has enforced a “no-discount” policy. Now, for the first-time ever, you can get a LabRadar unit for a reduced price: $499.95. This reduced price, $60 off normal retail, is available now through December 3, 2017. Many vendors are offering the LabRadar at this discounted price including Bruno Shooters Supply, MidwayUSA, and TCK LLC. Other vendors Applied Ballistics and Midsouth don’t show the discount yet, but you can call and ask.

New High-Quality Portable Base for LabRadar Chronograph

If you currently own a LabRadar, or plan to buy one soon, there’s a smart new accessory you should consider buying. Matt Owens, one of our Forum members, has created a new, compact base for the LabRadar that works better than the flat, orange baseplate offered by the manufacturer.

labradar base unit arkcomatt stainless folding

Matt, aka “Arkcomatt”, explains: “These are machined from aluminum and put together with stainless steel screws. The rubber feet are held on with screws also. No more coming off. The legs have nylon washers between them and the base for smooth operation. The screws are torqued and thread locker applied. One of the best things is, with the standard attachment, it will fit in the case with the unit. No more having to take apart! Just fold the legs. It takes up less room on the bench and allows you to get it closer to the rifle. It is very stable and holds up very well in high winds.” ORDER BASE HERE.

labradar base unit arkcomatt stainless folding

labradar base unit arkcomatt stainless folding

This folding base unit costs $75.00 + $7.50 for shipping (USPS). In addition, Arkcomatt now offers a swivel (ball) mount and stainless spike feet (for ground use). The swivel unit costs $10 and spikes are $20 per set. The 1.4″-long spikes screw in the sames holes as the rubber feet.

labradar base unit arkcomatt stainless folding

Forum Member Praise Arkcomatt’s LabRadar Folding Base:
You can read user reviews of the Matt’s LabRadar base in this Forum Thread.

Bullet-maker Bart Sauter has one of these bases now and he endorses it: “These bases are great for the LabRadar. Stable and compact — completely grab and go!”

Forum member Peterson1 agrees: “This is more stable than the Labradar base for my use–off a concrete BR bench, yet takes up less space. Also easier/quicker to set unit up and aimed at target. Never take the unit off for transport in LabRadar case. Only negative — you can’t trade in the factory LabRadar base toward purchase of this base. So buy smart the first time!”

Forum Member SkiUtah02 uses the base with optional spiked feet: “Met up with Matt at the Sierra Cup and bought my base with … spikes for the feet to put into the ground. Just had a chance to test it today and it worked great. I removed the rubber feet, and screwed in the four spiked feet, added a threaded-rod-coupling nut onto the bolt so that I could mount an old photography lighting stand swivel head to the base! Worked perfectly. Thanks Matt!”

labradar base unit arkcomatt stainless folding

Permalink New Product, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
September 17th, 2017

MagnetoSpeed V3 Chrono Review by UltimateReloader.com

Gavin Gear Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph ultimatereloader.com

MagnetoSpeed’s technology has completely changed the market for firearms chronographs. With a MagnetoSpeed barrel-mounted chrono you can quickly and easily record muzzle velocity (MV) without having to set up tripods or walk down-range. The compact MagnetoSpeed chronos are easy to set up and transport. With the full-featured V3 model, everything you need comes in a small fitted case. In the top photo are the components used with the MagnetoSpeed V3 Kit:

1. V3 Bayonet sensor
2. Display and control unit
3. Bayonet spacers (plastic and rubber)
4. Cords and mounting hardware (left), suppressor heat shield (right)
5. Alignment rod (square cross-section)
6. Rail adapter (sold separately)

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently reviewed the MagnetoSpeed V3 and came away impressed. Gavin explains the a good chrono is essential: “If you want to load and shoot precision ammunition, you need the tools that will produce and validate the precision of your loads. A good chronograph is one of those tools! In this post I’m going to introduce you to the MagnetoSpeed V3 chonograph, the high-end electromagnetic chronograph which fills out the top slot in MagnetoSpeed’s equipment portfolio.”

In this 11-minute video Gavin reviews MagnetoSpeed’s top-of-the-line V3 Chronograph. He shows what ships with the unit, how to set it up for both rifles and pistols, and then he puts it through its paces showing how it captures velocity data. Gavin says he will follow-up with future videos showing how to link the MagnetoSpeed V3 to your mobile phone and how to log velocity data for future reference. To learn more about this high-tech chrono, visit UltimateReloader.com.

READ Full MagnetoSpeed V3 Review on UltimateReloader.com

Gavin Gear Magnetospeed V3 Chronograph ultimatereloader.com

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review 10 Comments »
March 22nd, 2017

Chronograph Testing — Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Marksmanship Unit Velocity Chronograph Testing Sample Sizes

Each Wednesday, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit publishes a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. This past week’s “Handloading Hump Day” article, the latest in a 7-part series, relates to chronograph testing and statistical samples. We highly recommend you read this article, which offers some important tips that can benefit any hand-loader. Visit the USAMU Facebook page next Wednesday for the next installment.

Chronograph Testing — Set-Up, Sample Sizes, and Velocity Factors

Initial Chronograph Setup
A chronograph is an instrument designed to measure bullet velocity. Typically, the bullet casts a shadow as it passes over two electronic sensors placed a given distance apart. The first screen is the “start” screen, and it triggers an internal, high-speed counter. As the bullet passes the second, or “stop” screen, the counter is stopped. Then, appropriate math of time vs. distance traveled reveals the bullet’s velocity. Most home chronographs use either 2- or 4-foot spacing between sensors. Longer spacing can add some accuracy to the system, but with high-quality chronographs, 4-foot spacing is certainly adequate.

Laboratory chronographs usually have six feet or more between sensors. Depending upon the make and model of ones chronograph, it should come with instructions on how far the “start” screen should be placed from one’s muzzle. Other details include adequate light (indoors or outdoors), light diffusers over the sensors as needed, and protecting the start screen from blast and debris such as shotgun wads, etc. When assembling a sky-screen system, the spacing between sensors must be extremely accurate to allow correct velocity readings.

Statistics: Group Sizes, Distances and Sample Sizes
How many groups should we fire, and how many shots per group? These questions are matters of judgment, to a degree. First, to best assess how ones ammunition will perform in competition, it should be test-fired at the actual distance for which it will be used. [That means] 600-yard or 1000-yard ammo should be tested at 600 and 1000 yards, respectively, if possible. It is possible to work up very accurate ammunition at 100 or 200 yards that does not perform well as ranges increase. Sometimes, a change in powder type can correct this and produce a load that really shines at longer range.

The number of shots fired per group should be realistic for the course of fire. That is, if one will be firing 10-shot strings in competition then final accuracy testing, at least, should involve 10-shot strings. These will reflect the rifles’ true capability. Knowing this will help the shooter better decide in competition whether a shot requires a sight adjustment, or if it merely struck within the normal accuracy radius of his rifle.

How many groups are needed for a valid test? Here, much depends on the precision with which one can gather the accuracy data. If shooting from a machine rest in good weather conditions, two or three 10-shot groups at full distance may be very adequate. If it’s windy, the rifle or ammunition are marginal, or the shooter is not confident in his ability to consistently fire every shot accurately, then a few more groups may give a better picture of the rifle’s true average.

(more…)

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
March 5th, 2017

Big Boomer Load Dev — .375 Caliber 400 Grainers at 3290 FPS

.375 Lethal Magnum Big Boomer KO2M Paul Phillips Applied Ballistics
Serious ammo — .375 Lethal Magnum rounds loaded with 400gr Cutting Edge Lazer bullets. One wag posted “They look like SCUD missiles.”

In the Extreme Long Range (ELR) game, great ballistics are paramount, but you also need excellent accuracy. The top ELR shooters campaign large-caliber rifles that boast truly remarkable accuracy, considering the massive cartridges they’re shooting (with 160+ grains of powder). These big boomers, such as the .375 Lethal Magnum shown above, can really hammer.

The winner of the 2016 King of 2 Miles (KO2M) event was Mitchell Fitzpatrick, shooting a .375 Lethal Mag cartridge, as part of Team Applied Ballistics. Another member of that squad, Paul Phillips, is also campaigning a new rifle chambered for the .375 Lethal Magnum. Paul was recently doing load development for his new beast, which features a McMillan stock, Nightforce scope, and Phoenix Bipod. Among his barrels for this rig is a massive, 38″-long Bartlein.

.375 lethal magnum

“I had a great time today doing load development at Applied Ballistics LLC laboratory with Bryan Litz, Bill Litz, and Mitchell Fitzpatrick. I was testing loads for my .375 Lethal Mag built by Lethal Precision Arms LLC. The last several test groups were sub half-min at 300 yards. Next testing is at 1800 yards.” — Paul Phillips

For this test, Paul’s load featured 400gr Cutting Edge Lazer bullets launched at a blistering 3290 FPS with Hodgdon H50BMG powder. Looks like Paul got his load dialed in “good and proper”. He fired a 0.9″ group at 300 yards, and the Oehler System 88 chronograph showed a very low Extreme Spread (ES) of just 5 FPS. That’s impressive even for just three shots.

A little snow on the ground can’t stop the Applied Ballistics testing team…
.375 Lethal Magnum Big Boomer KO2M Paul Phillips Applied Ballistics

Look carefully and you’ll find the powder charge weight — a bit more than you’d load in a 6PPC…
.375 Lethal Magnum Big Boomer KO2M Paul Phillips Applied Ballistics

Bryan Litz inspects the .375-caliber barrel with bore-scope.
.375 Lethal Magnum Big Boomer KO2M Paul Phillips Applied Ballistics

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 7 Comments »
January 4th, 2017

Chrono No-Nos: Remember this Device is a Tool, Not a Target

accurateshooter.com target chrony shoot chronograph damage chrono

“Shooting Chrony” is a product name. “Shooting Chrony” should not describe (post-mortem) what you have been doing to your chronograph. Sooner or later all of us may make a mistake, and ventilate our chronograph. With luck, the bullet just “wings” your chronograph, and the damage is minor. But if you hit the unit smack dab in the middle, you may have to retire your chrono for good.

A while back, Forum member Jeff M. (aka “JRM850″) experienced a “low blow” that put his Shooting Chrony out of commission. With tongue firmly in cheek, Jeff started a Forum thread entitled Chronograph Not Picking Up Shots in Bright Sunlight Anymore. Looking at the photo at top, the problem is obvious — he ventilated his Chrono.

This was Jeff’s first chrono kill in 23 years of use, so we shouldn’t be too critical. Jeff explained: “I didn’t realize a friend was shifting from a 300-yard target to 100 yards.” The agent of destruction was a low-traveling 58gr V-Max running at 3415 fps. What happened? Well, when one is shooting at 300 yards, the trajectory will be higher than at 100 yards. We should say, however, that this may have been a low shot, or the 100-yard aiming point may have been placed lower to the ground (closer to the bottom of the target frame), as compared to the 300-yard aiming point.

Other Forum members offered some sarcastic responses:

Try it on an overcast day – it might work again.

It looks like the V-Max performed just about as advertised.

Aww…a little duct tape and some Super Glue and you’re good to go.

(more…)

Permalink Shooting Skills, Tech Tip 8 Comments »
December 1st, 2016

6.5 Guys Review $180.00 Magnetospeed Sporter Chrono

Magnetospeed Sporter Chrono Chron Chronograph Grafs.com 6.5 Guys

The 6.5 Guys have been testing the bargain-priced Magnetospeed Sporter chronograph. This compact chrono offers great utility at an affordable price — you can buy the Sporter for under $180.00. Strapped on your barrel, the MagnetoSpeed Sporter records velocities accurately without requiring any hardware to be placed downrange. Everything is self-contained at your shooting station, so you no longer have to waste time setting up tripods and aligning the bullet path through old-fashioned chrono skyscreens.

Watch Video Review of MagnetoSpeed Sporter by the 6.5 Guys:

The 6.5 Guys give the MagnetoSpeed Sporter two thumbs up:

“Optical chronographs have been in use for decades but can be cumbersome to deploy and don’t work well in certain weather conditions. The folks at MagnetoSpeed have addressed these shortcomings with a completely different technology that is extremely compact, cost effective, convenient to use, insensitive to weather conditions and, best of all, accurate.

We’ve been using the MagnetoSpeed since V1 and the only reason we use our optical chronographs is for situations where we cannot hang the bayonet from the gun barrel. This is the most convenient, accurate, and portable chronograph system that we have come across. You’re also less likely to damage your MagnetoSpeed when compared to optical chronographs (which seem to attract bullets). There are also a number of useful accessories available. As discussed in the video, the XFR adapter and associated smartphone application allows users with MagnetoSpeed Sporter and V3 displays to download their current (un-archived) shot series to their Android or iOS device.”

READ FULL MagnetoSpeed Sporter REVIEW on 6.5Guys.com

CLICK HERE for MagnetoSpeed Sporter specifications and operating instructions.

magnetospeed sporter

magnetospeed sporter

MagnetoSpeed Sporter in Stock Now at Grafs.com for $179.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Priced at just $179.99 at Grafs.com, the Magnetospeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to position tripods and set up skyscreens. For most people, the Sporter model contains all the features they need. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
September 18th, 2016

Why MVs Supplied with Factory Ammo May Be Unreliable

muzzle velocity applied Ballistics MV chronograph

Why You CANNOT Rely on the MV Printed on the Ammo Box!
When figuring out your come-ups with a ballistics solver or drop chart it’s “mission critical” to have an accurate muzzle velocity (MV). When shooting factory ammo, it’s tempting to use the manufacturer-provided MV which may be printed on the package. That’s not such a great idea says Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics. Don’t rely on the MV on the box, Bryan advises — you should take out your chrono and run your own velocity tests. There are a number of reasons why the MV values on ammo packaging may be inaccurate. Below is a discussion of factory ammo MV from the Applied Ballistics Facebook Page.

Five Reasons You Cannot Trust the Velocity on a Box of Ammo:

1. You have no idea about the rifle used for the MV test.

2. You have no idea what atmospheric conditions were during testing, and yes it matters a lot.

3. You have no idea of the SD for the factory ammo, and how the manufacturer derived the MV from that SD. (Marketing plays a role here).

4. You have no idea of the precision and quality of chronograph(s) used for velocity testing.

5. You have no idea if the manufacturer used the raw velocity, or back-calculated the MV. The BC used to back track that data is also unknown.

1. The factory test rifle and your rifle are not the same. Aside from having a different chamber, and possibly barrel length some other things are important too like the barrel twist rate, and how much wear was in the barrel. Was it just recently cleaned, has it ever been cleaned? You simply don’t know anything about the rifle used in testing.

2. Temperature and Humidity conditions may be quite different (than during testing). Temperature has a physical effect on powder, which changes how it burns. Couple this with the fact that different powders can vary in temp-stability quite a bit. You just don’t know what the conditions at the time of testing were. Also a lot of factory ammunition is loaded with powder that is meter friendly. Meter friendly can often times be ball powder, which is less temperature stable than stick powder often times.

3. The ammo’s Standard Deviation (SD) is unknown. You will often notice that while MV is often listed on ammo packages, Standard Deviation (normally) is not. It is not uncommon for factory ammunition to have an SD of 18 or higher. Sometimes as high as 40+. As such is the nature of metering powder. With marketing in mind, did they pick the high, low, or average end of the SD? We really don’t know. You won’t either until you test it for yourself. For hand-loaded ammo, to be considered around 10 fps or less. Having a high SD is often the nature of metered powder and factory loads. The image below is from Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting: Volume II.

muzzle velocity applied Ballistics MV chronograph

4. You don’t know how MV was measured. What chronograph system did the manufacturer use, and how did they back track to a muzzle velocity? A chronograph does not measure true velocity at the muzzle; it simply measures velocity at the location it is sitting. So you need to back-calculate the distance from the chrono to the end of the barrel. This calculation requires a semi-accurate BC. So whose BC was used to back track to the muzzle or did the manufacturer even do that? Did they simply print the numbers displayed by the chronograph? What kind of chronograph setup did they use? We know from our Lab Testing that not all chronographs are created equal. Without knowing what chronograph was used, you have no idea the quality of the measurement. See: Applied Ballistics Chronograph Chapter Excerpt.

5. The MV data may not be current. Does the manufacturer update that data for every lot? Or is it the same data from years ago? Some manufacturers rarely if ever re-test and update information. Some update it every lot (ABM Ammo is actually tested every single lot for 1% consistency). Without knowing this information, you could be using data for years ago.

CONCLUSION: Never use the printed MV off a box of ammo as anything more than a starting point, there are too many factors to account for. You must always either test for the MV with a chronograph, or use carefully obtained, live fire data. When you are using a Ballistic Solver such as the AB Apps or Devices integrated with AB, you need to know the MV to an accuracy down to 5 fps. The more reliable the MV number, the better your ballistics solutions.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
July 10th, 2016

Powder Comparison Test: H4350 vs. IMR 4451

Hodgdon H4350 IMR 4451 temperature powder test

Many Forum members have been looking for a good substitute for Hodgdon H4350 powder, which remains hard-to-find in many parts of the country. One of the best alternatives is IMR 4451, part of IMR’s new Enduron line of powders. Last year, top F-Class shooter Rick Jensen did a comparison between H4350 and IMR 4451, shooting the two powder in a wide range of temperatures. His data suggests that both powders show good temp stability.

Powder Comparison Test: H4350 vs. IMR 4451

Rick Jensen, Captain of the U.S. F-Open Rifle Team, has tested some of the new IMR 4451 powder. Rick and other team members were looking for a good powder that could replace Hodgdon 4350 which is difficult to obtain currently. The makers of IMR 4451 claim that it is not sensitive to temperature and that it delivers competitive accuracy. So far, Rick’s tests, done with a .284 Winchester and 180gr Berger Hybrids, appear to confirm those claims. Rick posts:

“I did a little informal powder comparison of H4350 versus the new IMR 4451. Rifle used was a Kelbly Panda with a 30″, 1:8.75″ twist 5R Bartlein barrel [chambered in .284 Win]. All charge weights were 50.0 grains using CCI BR2 primers. I was very impressed with this new powder and I believe it to be equal to H4350 as far as temperature sensitivity.

I did not test for accuracy but I will tell you my groups were pretty much equal between the two and all were in the .2-.3 MOA range. I will defiantly be shooting more of this powder in the weeks to come, assuming the supply chain will allow. It looks very encouraging to finally have a alternative to H4350 that we might actually be able to buy.”

Hodgdon H4350 IMR 4451 temperature powder test

Chronograph Results with Temps from 23° F to 101°
Here are chronograph results of a comparison test between IMR 4451 and H4350. Rick’s rifle was cleaned and allowed to cool between each test. Five fouling shots were fired before each test. Important: Note that for both Test #1 and Test #2, the powder order is reversed in the mid-temp fields (IMR 4451 first, then H4350). For the low and high temp entries, H4350 is listed first.

Hodgdon H4350 IMR 4451 temperature powder test

Here are the IMR 4451 fired cases, displayed Left to right, coldest to the hottest (in terms of case temp when fired). All charge weights were the same: 50.0 grains.

Hodgdon H4350 IMR 4451 temperature powder test

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 5 Comments »
April 26th, 2016

How NOT to Ventilate Your Chronograph — Set-Up Tips

chronograph placement, shooting chrony, chrono, advisory, tech tip

There is nothing more frustrating (or embarassing) than sending a live round into your expensive new chronograph. As the photo below demonstrates, with most types of chronographs (other than the barrel-hung Magnetospeed), you can fatally injure your expensive chrono if it is not positioned precisely.

When setting up a chrono, we always unload the rifle, remove the bolt and bore-sight to ensure that the path of the bullet is not too low. When bore-sighting visually, set up the rifle securely on the sandbags and look through the bore, breech to muzzle, lining up the barrel with your aim point on the target. Then (during an appropriate cease-fire), walk behind the chronograph. Looking straight back through the “V” formed by the sky-screens, you should be able to see light at the end of the barrel if the gun is positioned correctly. You can also use an in-chamber, laser bore-sighter to confirm the visual boresighting (see photo).

Laser boresighter chronograph

Adjust the height, angle and horizontal position of the chronograph so the bullet will pass through the middle of the “V” below the plastic diffusers, no less than 5″ above the light sensors. We put tape on the front sky-screen supports to make it easier to determine the right height over the light sensors.

Use a Test Backer to Confirm Your Bullet Trajectory
You can put tape on the support rods about 6″ up from the unit. This helps you judge the correct vertical height when setting up your rifle on the bags. Another trick is to hang a sheet of paper from the rear skyscreen and then use a laser boresighter to shine a dot on the paper (with the gun planted steady front and rear). This should give you a good idea (within an inch or so) of the bullet’s actual flight path through the “V” over the light sensors. Of course, when using a laser, never look directly at the laser! Instead shine the laser away from you and see where it appears on the paper.

chronograph set-up

Alignment of Chronograph Housing
Make sure the chrono housing is parallel to the path of the bullet. Don’t worry if the unit is not parallel to the ground surface. What you want is the bullet to pass over both front and rear sensors at the same height. Don’t try to set the chrono height in reference to the lens of your scope–as it sits 1″ to 2″ above your bore axis. To avoid muzzle blast interference, set your chronograph at least 10 feet from the end of the muzzle (or the distance recommended by the manufacturer).

chronograph laser sky screens

Rifles with Elevated Iron Sights
All too often rookie AR15 shooters forget that AR sights are positioned roughly 2.4″ above the bore axis (at the top of the front sight blade). If you set your bullet pass-through point using your AR’s front sight, the bullet will actually be traveling 2.4″ lower as it goes through the chrono. That’s why we recommend bore-sighting and setting the bullet travel point about 5-8″ above the base of the sky-screen support shafts. (Or the vertical distance the chronograph maker otherwise recommends). NOTE: You can make the same mistake on a scoped rifle if the scope is set on very tall rings, so the center of the cross-hairs is much higher than the bore axis line.

Laser boresighter chronograph

TARGET AIM POINT: When doing chrono work, we suggest you shoot at a single aiming point no more than 2″ in diameter (on your target paper). Use that aiming point when aligning your chrono with your rifle’s bore. If you use a 2″ bright orange dot, you should be able to see that through the bore at 100 yards. Using a single 2″ target reduces the chance of a screen hit as you shift points of aim. If you shoot at multiple target dots, place them in a vertical line, and bore sight on the lowest dot. Always set your chron height to set safe clearance for the LOWEST target dot, and then work upwards only.

Other Chronograph Tips from Forum Members:

When using a chronograph, I put a strip of masking tape across the far end of the skyscreens about two-thirds of the way up. This gives me a good aiming or bore-sighting reference that’s well away from the pricey bits. I learned that one the hard way. — German Salazar

A very easy and simple tool to help you set up the chronograph is a simple piece of string! Set your gun (unloaded of course) on the rest and sight your target. Tie one end of the string to the rear scope ring or mount, then pull the string along the barrel to simulate the bullet path. With the string showing the bullet’s path, you can then easily set the chronograph’s placement left/right, and up/down. This will also let you set the chrono’s tilt angle and orientation so the sensors are correctly aligned with the bullet path. — Wayne Shaw

If shooting over a chrono from the prone position off a bipod or similar, beware of the muzzle sinking as recoil causes the front of the rifle to drop. I “killed” my first chronograph shooting off a gravel covered firing point where I’d not given enough clearance to start with and an inch or two drop in the muzzle caused a bullet to clip the housing. — Laurie Holland

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
April 18th, 2016

Bargain Finder 31: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. Grafs.com — Magnetospeed Sporter $179.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

If you have been waiting to get a Magnetospeed… wait no longer. Priced at just $179.99 at Grafs.com, the Magnetospeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to position tripods and set up skyscreens. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using Magnetspeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily from the display module to your mobile device. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review.

2. Natchez — Hornady AutoCharge Powder Dispenser, $169.99

Hornady Lock N Load AutoCharge Auto Charge Scale Powder dispense Chargemaster

The Hornady Lock N Load AutoCharge Electronic Scale/Dispenser is now on sale for just $169.99 at Natchez Shooters Supply. That’s the lowest prices we’ve seen on this product in a long time, making this a real bargain. If you are looking for an affordable combination digital scale and powder dispenser, this is very attractive pricing. By comparison, the RCBS ChargeMaster now sells for $349.99 at MidwayUSA. That means you can save $180.00 by buying RED instead of GREEN.

3. CDNN Sports — Baikal MP161K Rimfire .22 LR Rifle, $229.99

Deals Week CDNN Baikal .22 LR Rimfire Semi-Auto Ruger 10/22 Bargain

Here’s a very cool semi-auto rimfire rifle from Russia. The modern design of the Baikal MP161K is very ergonomic, making it useful for off-hand shooting. It has an adjustable comb and adjustable LOP. We tried it for some informal silhouette shooting and the testers like it. On the bench the flat “toe” in the rear of the stock works well in the bags. At $229.99, this rifle costs less than a Ruger 10/22. Out of the box we think it’s a better rifle — with a better stock and better trigger. It also comes with a scope rail AND iron sights. A 10-round magazine is included.

4. Walmart — Plano 4-Pistol, Two-Level Hard Case, $9.99

This Plano Protector Four Pistol Case features three layers of high-density foam that allow the pistols to rest securely inside. The construction is pretty tough with durable latches. A tab allows the case to be locked with a small padlock. Overall dimensions are: 16.7″ Long 14.5″ Wide X 6″ Deep.

5. Amazon — Adventure First Aid Kit, $29.95

Everybody should have a First Aid Kit, and this unit is a very good deal for the money. It offers 82 medical supplies for just $29.95 (Marked down from $59.95 this week). The compact red bag is crafted from heavy duty, water resistant 600D Oxford Cloth. The bag has large zips for convenience, plus loop hole attachments, so you can attach it to a belt or the outside of backpacks. All medical supplies are clearly labelled. The kit included a empty square pocket for special personal medical supplies or medications.

6. Boyds Gunstocks — Savage A17 Replacement Stocks

Boyds stocks laminate laminated wood varmint thumbhole hunter stock

Boyds Gunstocks now offersSavage A17 replacement gunstocks in multiple styles: Savage Classic, Featherweight Thumbhole, Heritage, Platinum, Prairie Hunter, Pro Varmint, and Varmint Thumbhole designs. Five of these styles are shown in the photos above. For field use, we like the Varmint Thumbhole because it has a comfortable grip and a longer, straight fore-end that works well with either sandbags or bipod. For target work, we favor the Pro Varmint stock ($129.00). This stock features a relatively straight toe on the buttstock that is very steady on a rear bag.

7. Amazon — Bushnell 3-9x40mm Bushnell for $112.00

Bushnell 3-9x40mm Scope Amazon.com

No, that’s not a misprint. This 3-9x40mm Bushnell scope, optimized for .223 Rem rifles, is just $112.00 right now at Amazon.com. The price on this scope was slashed more than $140.00. Now it’s priced 56% below the regular price. Act soon as this offer won’t last long. Note: This super low $112.00 price may not come up using Amazon’s internal search. You need to click the Amazon Private Sale Link which give you a list of all pricing options.

8. Home Depot — 72″ Wood Workbench for $73.88

Folding Wood Work Bench Home Deport Reloading

This patented Home Depot workbench assembles in a few minutes. Simply unfold the legs, pop in the shelf, and you are ready to start your project. Made from Premium 2×4 Hemlock fastened with glue and screws, this workbench is a great value. The bench (72″ wide x 35″ high x 22″ deep) can easily be stored when not in use. NOTE: The wood is unfinished (can be painted or stained).

Permalink Hot Deals, New Product No Comments »
April 12th, 2016

Bart Goes High-Tech: LabRadar at a Benchrest Match

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

Bart Sauter of Barts Custom Bullets has acquired a LabRadar chronograph. He was curious to see how his loads performed in actual match conditions, so he brought his LabRadar to a match and set it up right on his benchtop. What he learned was quite surprising. For one thing, Bart found that tuning for the best accuracy (in the conditions), was NOT simply a matter of maintaining velocity. Read all about Bart’s experience in this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

LabRadar Report by Bart Sauter

Bart posted: “I shot a short range NBRSA match [in March] with the LabRadar on the bench! The benches were quite close, but the LabRadar was able to pick up my shots even with the other guns going off very close to it. This is a pretty impressive piece of gear.”

It’s great for tuning. I can’t say for sure but what I saw with the PPC is that just maintaining a certain velocity will not keep the gun in tune.”

One Forum member asked: “Was the LabRadar able to pick up shots that far back (behind the muzzle) and to the side? What setting did you have it set at?”

Bart’s LabRadar unit had no trouble picking up shots when set on the bench, a bit behind the muzzle. In fact, Bart noted: “Yes it can go a long way back. At home I could get back up to around 8 feet and pick up the bullet. It’s more sensitive about the side distance. I had mine on level 4. You can be a lot farther behind the muzzle then advertised. You can also point it at your buddy’s target and get his velocity.”

Bart set his LabRadar to be triggered by the shot: “I had a tuner on the gun but no muzzle brake. [The Chrono] was set to be triggered by the sound of the gun. When you move back you have to play with the trigger level. I put mine on a tripod and was able to pick up projectiles 8 feet back, but from the side had to be within 18 inches.”

RAV battery pack Amazon.comLong-Life Battery Power
Powering the LabRadar at the range is not a problem. Bart used a portable battery pack that can power the LabRadar for a long time: “I bought a RavPower battery pack from Amazon.com. It was the most powerful compact cell phone charger they had and [it costs about $30.00]. It was able to run the LabRadar for two full days without recharging and still had juice.”

The LabRadar is a pretty expensive piece of kit, but there’s nothing else like it on the market. Bart notes: “The LabRadar itself is about $560.00. The stand is $29.95 for the bench mount and the padded carry case is $39.95. So you’re around $630.00 plus shipping.”

LabRadar Field Test by Ray Gross
Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

If you are considering purchasing a LabRadar Chronograph system, we strongly suggest you read the very thorough and informative LabRadar Review by Ray Gross, Captain of the USA F-TR team.

LabRadar Chronograph Bart Sauter

Permalink New Product, Tech Tip No Comments »
March 28th, 2016

Bargain Finder 28: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. Midsouth — Major Brand Blem Bullets (.204 to .50 Cal)

Right now Midsouth Shooters Supply is running a big sale on Major Brand Blem Bullets. You can save 50% or more on a wide variety of bullet types and calibers. Whatever your preference — Poly Tips, BT Hollowpoints, Soft-Points — you’ll find something on sale. In all 42 types of bullets, from .22 to .50 caliber, are deeply discounted. Here are just a few of the great deals we found:

.204 (20 Cal) 45gr SP, $17.06 per 100
.224 (5.56 mm) 55gr SP, $9.53 per 100
.243 (6 mm) 87gr BTHP, $15.08 per 100
.264 (6.5 mm) 120gr Poly Tip, $18.54 per 100
.308 (7.62 mm) 195gr BTHP, $22.96 per 100
.338 (8.58mm) 225gr Poly Tip, $27.22 per 100

2. Grafs.com — Magnetospeed Sporter $179.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

If you have been waiting to get a Magnetospeed… wait no longer. Priced at just $179.99 at Grafs.com, the Magnetospeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to position tripods and set up skyscreens. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using Magnetspeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily from the display module to your mobile device. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review.

3. Bruno’s — Once-Used Nightforce Scopes, Save Hundreds

Bruno Shooters Nightforce competition scope sale optics

Bruno Shooters Supply currently offers six (6) Nightforce targets scopes that were used one-time-only at the Cactus Benchrest match. These were “previewed” for evaluation on a rifle but are virtually brand new. And yes they come with full factory warranty. Choose either the 15-55x52mm Comp model or the NEW fixed-power 42x44mm scope, with either Fine Cross Hair (FCH) or Target Dot Reticle. You can save some hundreds on these scopes. For example, the 15-55X scope is offered at $2125.00, compared to the $2352.00 normal price at other vendors. That’s a $227.00 savings.

4. CDNN Sports — Ruger American Ranch Rifle (Tan), $389.99

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

Here’s a nice little varmint rifle from Ruger with some nice features at a very attractive price, $389.99. This .223 Rem rifle features a 16.5″ hammer-forged barrel barrel threaded 1/2″-28 at the muzzle for brake or suppressor. The action, which features a 70° three-lug bolt, and Picatinny-style scope rail, sits in an aluminum bedding block. The crisp trigger adjusts down to 3 pounds. With a weight (before optics) of 6.1 pounds, this is a handy carry-around varminter.

5. Natchez — 300 Rounds .45 ACP in Can, $69.99 After Rebate

Federal Premium .45 ACP REbate Ammo Can

The classic .45 ACP is probably our favorite handgun cartridge for target work. Inherently accurate, the .45 ACP delivers big, easy-to-see holes on the target. Right now you can get 300 rounds of quality American Eagle 230gr .45 ACP FMJ ammunition for just $69.99 after the Federal Premium MFG Rebate. This Natchez .45 ACP Ammo Deal includes a rugged, lockable Federal Premium plastic Ammo Can.

6. Cabelas.com — Lyman Power Case-Prep Tool, $20.89

Lyman Case Prep Driver Power Tool

This Lyman cordless power tool is now just $20.89, marked down from $39.99. That’s a steal for a tool that handles most case-prep chores. The high-torque rechargeable driver runs at the correct speed for deburring and chamfering. The accessories have hex shafts that snap in and out of the driver (much like with a cordless screwdriver). The kit includes the power unit and seven (7) accessories: two case neck brushes, two double-ended primer pocket tools (large and small), an outside 45° neck-chamfer tool, an inside 30° neck-chamfer tool, and a combo standard/phillips screw-driver bit. Grab one for $20.89 at Cabelas.com.

7. MidwayUSA — Padded Scoped Rifle Case, $24.99

MidwayUSA Padded Rifle Case Sale Scoped

This 48″-long, thickly-padded gun case will hold most tactical-style rifles and hunting rifles. At a fraction of the cost of a big, cumbersome drag bag, this case may be all you need. The heavy duty padding is over 1″ thick on both sides to protect your rifle and optics investment from rough handling. A large pocket will hold a couple boxes of ammo and other accessories. We like this bag much better than the typical gun-store soft cases. It offers much better padding and more room for large scopes. It is on sale this week at MidwayUSA for just $24.99 in four colors: black, tan, OD green, and gray. In addition to the 48″ case shown, 40″ and 44″ versions are available.

8. Amazon — Two Rolls of 3″ Neon Target Stickers, $14.95

Red Orange Neon 3

We like these bright Neon 3″ target stickers. They are big enough to see easily at 600 yards, giving you a 1/2 MOA target center at that distance. For $14.95 at Amazon.com, you get 250 3″-diameter self-adhesive centers (125 targets per roll) that stick to almost any surface The high-contrast fluorescent red/orange color provides an excellent HI-VIZ aiming point, along with good contrast for bullet holes that fall within the 3″ circle. To help line up your reticle cross-hairs, the target centers feature black markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12 0’clock.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, New Product No Comments »
January 25th, 2016

Bargain Finder 19: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. Amazon — Howard Leight Electronic Muffs (Best Seller)

Accurateshooters deals of week Electronic Leight Howard Ear Muffs Safety

Every shooter should own a pair of Electronic muffs — they are great when you are doing spotting duties or are working near the firing line. They allow you to hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. Right now Amazon.com has the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Muffs on sale for just $36.30. These NRR 22 muffs are currently Amazon’s #1 seller in the category. NOTE: For regular, sustained shooting we recommend muffs and/or earplugs with a higher NRR rating.

2. Grafs.com — Magnetospeed Sporter $179.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

If you have been waiting to get a Magnetospeed… wait no longer. Priced at just $179.99 at Grafs.com, the Magnetospeed Sporter model costs less than half as much as Magnetospeed’s V3 models. This chronograph attaches directly to your barrel so you don’t have to go downrange to position tripods and set up skyscreens. For most people the Sporter Model contains all the features they need. Using Magnetspeed’s XFR adapter (sold separately), data can be transferred easily from the display module to your mobile device. READ Magnetospeed Sporter Review.

3. Cabelas.com — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $225.00, after manufacturer’s rebate. Right now, Cabela’s is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $300.00. That’s a good deal as this Reloading Kit sells elsewhere for up to $360.00. But he’s the real incentive — if you spend $300.00 on RCBS products in 2016, RCBS will send you a $75.00 rebate. That reduces your net cost to just $225.00 for the entire Kit.

4. Brownells — Hornady 17 HMR Ammo, $12.79 per box

Deal of Week 17 MHR Hornady ammo ammunition

If you have ever shopped for 17 HMR ammunition, you know it rarely goes on sale (it’s the law of supply and demand). Right now, as part of its “Red, White and Boom” ammo promo, Brownells.com is offering first-quality Hornady brand 17 HMR ammo for $12.79 per 50-count box. We’ve seen ammo this sell in gunshops for $16.50 per box. Stock up now for the spring varmint season.

5. CDNN Sports — Savage 93R17 for $219.99

Deal of Week Savage 17 MHR 93R17

No more excuses — you can add a 17 HMR to your collection for under $220.00. We think everyone should own a 17 HMR rifle. The 17 HMR is the perfect cartridge for dispatching ground squirrels and other small varmints. The round shoots faster and flatter than a .22 LR, and delivers more energy. This week CDNN Sports is offering the Savage 93R17 for just $219.99. This little rifle can provide years of service in the varmint fields, and the 93R17 is also a good youth training rifle.

6. Natchez — CCI Blazer 9mm ammo, $9.99 for 50 Rounds

Deal of Week Hornady CCI Blazer 9mm Luger pistol ammo

This is the best price we’ve found this week on newly-manufactured 9mm pistol ammunition. And this is quality, CCI made-in-USA ammo with reloadable, brass casings. We have used this CCI-made Blazer 9mm ammo in Sig, HK, and Glock pistols and it performed very well. This stuff won’t last long at this price (less than $0.20 per round). If you need 9mm practice ammo, order soon.

7. Walmart — 48-gun Stack-on Gun Safe

Deal of Week Walmart Stack-on Gun Safe 48 Gun Fire Safe

If you need a big safe to hold lots of guns, here’s a large-capacity Stack-On Safe that’s rated for 48 long-guns. Measuring 59″ high and a full 43″ wide, this safe is much bigger than the typical safes you find at CostCo and Sam’s Club. This safe is discounted $202 right now with “Rollback” pricing. One verified safe purchaser states: “The safe interior is nice for the price. Outside finish is great. All in all this is a GREAT value after looking at safes twice this price.”

8. Brownells.com — Hornady Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine, $49.99

AccurateShooter Deal Week Sale Bargain Hornady Sonic Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine Lock Load

Yes, you can get a name-brand Ultrasonic cleaning machine for under fifty bucks. This Hornady Lock-N-Load Sonic Cleaner, which sells elsewhere for $75-$85, is available at Brownells.com this week for just $49.99. This cleaning machine holds up to 200 .223 Remington cases, or 100 .308 Winchester cases.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals 2 Comments »
January 18th, 2016

The Effect of Barrel Twist Rates on Muzzle Velocities

Barrel Twist Rate Test Bryan Litz

We will be interviewing Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics tomorrow at SHOT Show in Las Vegas. As a sneak preview of some of the topics we’ll cover, here are some highlights of some important, original research conducted by Bryan and his Applied Ballistics team. Bryan wanted to know how much velocity was altered by twist rate. The “real world” test results may surprise you….

The Applied Ballistics team tested six (6) same-length/same-contour Bartlein barrels to observe how twist rate might affect muzzle velocity. This unique, multi-barrel test is featured in the book Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting. That book includes many other fascinating field tests, including a comprehensive chronograph comparison.

Barrel Twist Rate vs. Velocity — What Tests Reveal
by Bryan Litz
When considering barrel twist rates, it’s a common belief that faster twist rates will reduce muzzle velocity. The thinking is that the faster twist rate will resist forward motion of the bullet and slow it down. There are anecdotal accounts of this, such as when someone replaces a barrel of one brand/twist with a different brand and twist and observes a different muzzle velocity. But how do you know the twist rate is what affected muzzle velocity and not the barrel finish, or bore/groove dimensions? Did you use the same chronograph to measure velocity from both barrels? Do you really trust your chronograph?

Savage Test Rifle with Six Bartlein Barrels
Barrel Twist Rate Velocity Modern Advancements Book Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics

Most shooters don’t have access to the equipment required to fully explore questions like this. These are exactly the kinds of things we examine in the book Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting. In that book, we present experiments conducted in the Applied Ballistics lab. Some of those experiments took on a “Myth Buster” tone as we sought to confirm (or deny) popular pre-conceptions. For example, here’s how we approached the question of barrel twist and muzzle velocity.

Six .308 Win Barrels from Bartlein — All Shot from the Same Rifle
We acquired six (6) barrels from the same manufacturer (Bartlein), all the same length and contour, and all chambered with the same reamer (SAAMI spec .308 Winchester). All these barrels were fitted to the same Savage Precision Target action, and fired from the same stock, and bench set-up. Common ammo was fired from all six barrels having different twist rates and rifling configurations. In this way, we’re truly able to compare what effect the actual twist rate has on muzzle velocity with a reasonable degree of confidence.

Prior to live fire testing, we explored the theoretical basis of the project, doing the physics. In this case, an energy balance is presented which predicts how much velocity you should expect to lose for a bullet that’s got a little more rotational energy from the faster twist. In the case of the .30 caliber 175 grain bullets, the math predicts a loss of 1.25 fps per inch-unit of barrel twist (e.g. a 1:8″ twist is predicted to be 1.25 fps slower than a 1:9″ twist).

Barrel Twist Rate Velocity Modern Advancements Book Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics

Above, data shows relationship between Twist Rate and Muzzle Velocity (MV) for various barrel twist rates and rifling types. From fast to slow, the three 1:10″ twist barrels are: 5R (canted land), 5 Groove, 5 Groove left-hand twist.

We proceeded with the testing in all 6 barrels from 1:8” to 1:12”. After all the smoke cleared, we found that muzzle velocity correlates to twist rate at the rate of approximately 1.33 fps per inch of twist. In other words, your velocity is reduced by about 5 fps if you go from a 1:12” twist to a 1:8” twist. [Editor: That’s a surprising number — much less than most folks would predict.] In this case the math prediction was pretty close, and we have to remember that there’s always uncertainty in the live fire results. Uncertainty is always considered in terms of what conclusions the results can actually support with confidence.

Barrel Twist Rate Velocity Modern Advancements Book Bryan Litz Applied BallisticsThis is just a brief synopsis of a single test case. The coverage of twist rates in Modern Advancements in Long-Range Shooting is more detailed, with multiple live fire tests. Results are extrapolated for other calibers and bullet weights. Needless to say, the question of “how twist rate affects muzzle velocity” is fully answered.

Other chapters in the book’s twist rate section include:
· Stability and Drag – Supersonic
· Stability and Drag – Transonic
· Spin Rate Decay
· Effect of Twist rate on Precision

Other sections of the book include: Modern Rifles, Scopes, and Bullets as well as Advancements in Predictive Modeling. This book is sold through the Applied Ballistics online store. Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting is also available in eBook format in the Amazon Kindle store.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 10 Comments »
September 30th, 2015

The Affordable MagnetoSpeed — $179.99 Sporter Chronograph

magnetospeed sporter chrono chronograph test review product speed bullet trajectory price sale

If you have been waiting to purchase a chronograph… now is a great time to buy. You can get the new-model MagnetoSpeed Sporter for under $180.00. You can set up this device in a few minutes, and you never have to go downrange to fiddle with a tripod or fuss with wires. The MagnetoSpeed Sporter is simple and effective — a no-hassle solution.

We’re impressed by the Sporter chrono (as are other shooters — this unit is selling out nationwide). Like the V3, the Sporter faithfully records shots, even in complete darkness. Shot strings are recorded digitally and can be transferred to a smart phone via MagnetoSpeed’s XFR accessory (and Apps).

The MagnetoSpeed Sporter chrono is less than half the price of previous MagnetoSpeed models. This is big news for shooters who always wanted a MagnetoSpeed but found the $379.00 cost (for V3 model) too pricey. The new Sporter Chronograph costs just $179.99 at Sinclair Int’l and Brownells. It offers most of the features of the more expensive models (see chart below for details) and has a updated sensor. MagnetoSpeed says its new Sporter is “Ideal for contoured rifle barrels (sporter barrels) and long-barreled revolvers.” The Sporter Chronograph Kit (shown above) includes: Bayonet Sensor, 3.5 foot Data Cable, Remote Display (with Battery), Strap with thumb nut, Two V-block spacers, and compact storage box.

Available NOW: MagnetoSpeed Sporter $179.99 at Sinclair Int’l and $179.99 at Brownells.

Is the MagnetoSpeed good enough? Well consider this, Derek Rodgers uses one of the original (full-size) MagnetoSpeed Chronos for his load development. Rodgers is the only man on the planet to have won BOTH the F-Open and the F-TR National Championship. ‘Nuff said.

See MagnetoSpeed Sporter Chronograph Features Reviewed in Video

Q: Will the Sporter Chrono work with thicker barrel (i.e. greater than 1″ diameter)?

A: The manufacturer recommends the $399.00 V3 model for thicker barrels. But, wink-wink, if you have a 1.25″ barrel you can get this to work, based on what we’ve seen.. If you have a really fat barrel (up to 2.0″ diameter), get the V3. Magnetospeed also says the V3 is needed for airguns, shotguns, and muzzleloaders.

Click Image for Full-Screen Photo
magnetospeed sporter chrono chronograph test review product speed bullet trajectory price sale

The Sporter Chrono attaches quickly and easily. It has a 3.5-foot-long cord, and will work with Muzzle Brakes and Flash-hiders up to 2.7″ long.

magnetospeed sporter chrono chronograph test review product speed bullet trajectory price sale

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July 10th, 2015

MagnetoSpeed Sporter — $179.99 at Brownells.com

MagnetoSpeed AccurateShooter Chronograph V3 Chrono Bayonet XFR App

If you have been waiting to acquire a chronograph, it may be time to buy. Brownells.com now has the popular new MagnetoSpeed Sporter Chronograph in stock for just $179.99. This Sporter model shares most of the capabilities of the $399.00 MagnetoSpeed V3, but at a much, much lower cost. Like all MagnetoSpeeds, the Sporter is easy to set up. Just attach the unit to your barrel with a strap and toggle clamp. There is no need to go downrange to set up tripod and skyscreens, or run wires.

We’re impressed by the Sporter chrono (as are other shooters — this unit is selling out nationwide). Like the V3, the Sporter faithfully records shots, even in complete darkness. Shot strings are recorded digitally and can be transferred to a smart phone via MagnetoSpeed’s XFR accessory (and Apps).

What’s the downside? The manufacturer says the Sporter is limited to 1″-max diameter barrels. In actuality, it can go a bit bigger than that. We have used it successfully on a 1.15″ straight contour barrel — but “your mileage may vary”. Second, the manufacturer says the new Sporter is NOT designed for use with airguns or shotguns. We have tested the original MagnetoSpeed with air rifles and it successfully recorded .177 and .22 pellet velocities, once we adjusted the sensitivity.

This Video Shows How to Use the Magnetospeed Sporter Display

Here is the XFR Device that allows Sporter and V3 chronos to work with smartphone Apps:
MagnetoSpeed AccurateShooter Chronograph V3 Chrono Bayonet XFR App

With MagnetoSpeed’s $24.99 XFR adapter and associated Apps, you can download your current shot series from Sporter and V3 chrono displays to an Android or iOS device. Once synced, users can rename the current shot series, delete irrelevant shots, email the data, reconfigure the display settings (units and sensitivity level), and clear the display’s current series.

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May 17th, 2015

Embarrassing Moments: Shooting Chrony Bites the Dust

“Shooting Chrony” is a product name. “Shooting Chrony” should not describe (post-mortem) what you have been doing to your chronograph. Sooner or later all of us may make a mistake, and ventilate our chronograph. With luck, the bullet just “wings” your chronograph, and the damage is minor. But if you hit the unit smack dab in the middle, you may have to retire your chrono for good.

A while back, Forum member Jeff M. (aka “JRM850″) experienced a “low blow” that put his Shooting Chrony out of commission. With tongue firmly in cheek, Jeff started a Forum thread entitled Chronograph Not Picking Up Shots in Bright Sunlight Anymore. Looking at the photo below, the problem is obvious.

accurateshooter.com target chrony shoot chronograph damage chrono

This was Jeff’s first chrono kill in 23 years of use, so we shouldn’t be too critical. Jeff explained: “I didn’t realize a friend was shifting from a 300-yard target to 100 yards.” The agent of destruction was a low-traveling 58gr V-Max running at 3415 fps. What happened? Well, when one is shooting at 300 yards, the trajectory will be higher than at 100 yards. We should say, however, that this may have been a low shot, or the 100-yard aiming point may have been placed lower to the ground (closer to the bottom of the target frame), as compared to the 300-yard aiming point.

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