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November 19th, 2021

Henderson Case Trimmer Reviewed — Fast and VERY Repeatable

Henderson case timer powered Gen 3 brass trimming machine

Our friend and colleague F-Class John tests some of the finest reloading and shooting equipment you can buy. Recently he added the impressive Henderson Gen 3 Powered Trimmer to his inventory of tools. John is now a Henderson fan. He likes the speed, precision, and repeatability of the $779.00 Henderson machine, which trims-to-length and chamfers the case mouth all in one pass. Unlike some other trimming tools, the Henderson indexes off the overall case length NOT the shoulder. John found this worked just fine for his .284 Winchester brass, which has all been full-length sized prior to trimming.

John liked the precision of the Henderson trimmer and the overall design of the machine, which offers good ergonomics and very precise alignment of the cases. Cycling is smooth and positive, as you can see from the videos. Fit over the pilot was fine for John’s .284 Win brass, but he notes that other users may need to expand their case necks appropriately to fit their pilot.

Watch the video to see the Henderson trimmer in action. The dual, parallel horizontal support shafts provide precise alignment of the case as it moves inward toward the cutter blade. The Taper-Lock cutter provides a 14-degree inside chamfer and 30-degree outside chamfer. The trimming process is very consistent case after case, and the Henderson’s design captures brass shavings effectively.

Henderson case timer powered Gen 3 brass trimming machine

Testing Trim Length Consistency — Henderson Shows Superb Repeatability
John did a separate quick test to demonstrate the trim length consistency of the Henderson unit. Measuring with digital calipers, John found that he could easily hold case overall trim lengths within .001″ (one-thousandth). The consistency was excellent even when trimming cases very quickly. When trimming .003″ off his cases, John said the Henderson showed superb repeatability. Henderson promises the trimmer “will repeat to within 0.002″ with same brand brass”, and John was able to hold 0.001″ length consistency.

Another Henderson owner posted: “I love mine. I like [the] consistent trim length with the positive stop. [Doing] the trim, chamfer, and debur all in one step sure makes the process nice and easy! I also immediately noticed the problem with the pilot on the cutting head with my sized cases. I just polished the pilots on my cutting heads with some fine grit sand paper a little at a time till I got it perfect for my preferred neck tension setting! I’m very pleased with my purchase of the Henderson precision trimmer.”

Henderson Power Trimmer vs. Giraud Power Trimmer

Henderson case timer powered Gen 3 brass trimming machineAfter he tested his new Henderson trimmer, F-Class John compared the pros and cons of the Henderson vs. his other high-volume power trimmer, a Giraud. He likes both machines, but now favors the Henderson for trimming his .284 Winchester match brass. He found that his ES/SD dropped a bit for brass trimmed with the Henderson vs. brass trimmed with the Giraud. With the Henderson-trimmed brass, John achieved an ES of 15 fps for 49 shots. That’s mighty impressive (see photo at right).

But the Giraud does have it’s advantages. It can work with calibers above .338, and it is very fast. One viewer of this video commented: “The Giraud is insanely fast if you aren’t only loading insane precision ammo. I borrowed one when I first started reloading and immediately ordered one. I’ve trimmed somewhere between 40-50k .223 cases. You can just rip through them while watching TV or listening to a podcast. It trims to length consistently less than +/-.001 all day.” The Giraud also indexes off the shoulder while the Henderson trims based on Cartridge Overall Length (OAL).

Henderson Gen 3 Trimmer Details

The Henderson Trimmer is available from HendersonPrecision.com for $779.00. When ordering, you must select a caliber and a collet size. Expect to wait a bit for delivery, depending on the cartridge type(s) you load. Available calibers are: .223, .243 (6mm), .25, .264 (6.5mm), .277, .284 (7mm), .308, and .338.

Henderson case timer powered Gen 3 brass trimming machine

Product Description: The Gen 3 powered case trimmer uses a powerful, single-speed DC motor. The DC motor is extremely smooth and quiet and powers the spindle at around 1700 rpm. The enclosed aluminum motor mount shroud bolts directly to the bearing housing. The 90-volt DC motor offers maximum torque at 1700 rpm where you need it most. The motor has an in-line on/off switch for easy control. The Tri-Trim case trimmer includes one Henderson Precision Taper-Lock cutting head with Forster pilots as well as one Forster collet. The Taper-Lock cutter provides a 14 degree inside chamfer and 30 degree outside chamfer. The following cutter heads are available: 224, 243, 25, 264, 277, 284, 308, 338.

Henderson case timer powered Gen 3 brass trimming machine

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September 22nd, 2021

Build a Better Barrel Cooler for under $15 — DIY Project

F-Class John Yivar barrel cooler cooling fan Yivar hose empty chamber indicator ECI

In this article we cover a better barrel cooler you can build yourself for under $15. This uses a high-speed inflator fan sold on Amazon, along with a piece of temp-stable tubing. Forum member (and popular YouTube host) F-Class John devised this system. He found it cools his barrels in less than half the time of some other products. And the system can also serve as an Empty Chamber Indicator (ECI).

Barrel coolers perform an important function — reducing barrel operating temperatures. This can definitely help preserve barrel life and help maintain good accuracy in competition. In addition, keeping barrels cool can reduce the chances of excess chamber pressure, an important safety concern.

F-Class John Yivar barrel cooler cooling fan Yivar hose empty chamber indicator ECI

There are a variety of commercially-available barrel cooling systems. There are external fans, as well as internal, slip-in systems than can do double duty as an Empty Chamber Indicator (ECI). You can get the original yellow $39.99 BarrelCool or the red $59.99 RifleKuhl from Magnetospeeed. Both are good products. But F-Class John came up with a system that works even better — one you can build for a fraction of the cost of those yellow or red fans.

F-Class John Yivar barrel cooler cooling fan Yivar hose empty chamber indicator ECI

Build Your Own Barrel Cooler for Under $15
This system is easy to put together. Order a $11.99 YIVAR pump from Amazon. This is a small, high-output pump designed to inflate air mattresses. Then get some high-temp-rated tubing from a local supply shop. Then trim the case-head off an old piece of brass. Taper the end of the tube a bit and fit it in the case. NOTE: Use of the fitted case is optional. Having the case provides a nice fit in your chamber. But the system works pretty well just with the tubing and Yivar air pump.

In his .284 Win barrel, the Yivar pump system blows air at 10+ mph out the muzzle. F-Class John says that is “about three times the velocity of other systems”. The Yivar pump “holds about 45 minutes of charge” so he can use it for 15 minutes after each of three strings in a match. And then it can be recharged from a USB-compatible battery pack at the range. John notes the fan continues to blow about the same speed for the full 45-minute charge duration.

F-Class John Yivar barrel cooler cooling fan Yivar hose empty chamber indicator ECIKey Benefits of this system

1. Faster Cooling
2. Low Cost (under $15)
3. Longer run time on battery
4. Fan battery is USB rechargeable
5. Finally a use for that worn-out brass

John confirmed the effectiveness of his barrel cooler using a stick-on temperature tape placed on the barrel. This showed that his fan system cooled the barreled in less than HALF the time as the plastic commercial fan systems. In addition, his run time was excellent, and the Yivar’s built-in Lithium-Ion battery is fully rechargeable so he never has to buy expensive batteries.

What are the downsides? Not many. The fan IS somewhat noisy — watch video at 4:04-4:28 time mark to hear the fan. F-Class John notes, however, that the Yivar fan is about 4 decibels (dB) quieter than a Magnetospeed RifleKuhl, so the Yivar’s noise is not that bad.

Here are comments from YouTube viewers who like F-Class John’s invention:

Finally something affordable! It’s compact and can be recharged at the range. I have room for this but not all the other gadgets you show. And a poor pensioner like my self can afford it! Thanks for the tip.

Ingenious and awesome idea! I bought one as soon as I saw this. I’ve been thinking about getting a cooler when I’m testing my loads. Thanks!

Brilliant… Brilliant… Brilliant! I have been deferring buying a barrel cooler for years now on account of wanting to spend my toy fund budget on other things. Considering how cheap it is to build, there is no excuse to not make one now.

Fan with Plain Hose Also Works Well (No Brass Case Cutting/Fitting Required)
F-Class John likes the custom fit he achieves with the hose inserted into a piece of modified brass. However he notes that the system also works well with no brass at all — i.e. just hose and fan. If you have a small diameter chamber, this may actually work better. Simply put the hose on the fan, trim/taper the forward hose end to fit and you are good to go.

F-Class John explains: “The heavy duty tubing and the motor works just fine without a brass case. The hose can sit in the chamber by itself. Obviously not every brass case will easily allow for you to put it on the end of the tube. For many people simply using the tube (without brass) may be the simpler option.”

F-Class John Yivar barrel cooler cooling fan Yivar hose empty chamber indicator ECI

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July 16th, 2021

Tool Time with F-Class John — Eight Great Video Reviews

 F-Class john tool youtube video reviews lyman primer hydro press

Forum member F-Class John is an avid F-Class competitor and expert handloader. John reviews reloading hardware and shooting-related products for his popular F-Class John YouTube Channel, which now boasts 220+ videos. John also does important product testing for AccurateShooter.com. Through his YouTube channel, John has reviewed many of the latest and greatest reloading tools and accessories. For today’s Video Showcase, we selected eight F-Class John tool and reloading product reviews.

If you like these selected videos, consider joining F-Class John’s Patreon Channel for live video meetings, more in-depth videos, and detailed explanations.

21st Century Hydro Press and Standard Arbor Press

John notes: “You can’t really talk about precision reloading without taking about inline dies and arbor presses. For my money there’s nothing better than the lineup from 21st Century Shooting. They offer the Hydro Seater which is hands-down the best manual seater out there as well as their standard arbor press which is great for taking on the road to push back bullets as needed.”

Primal Rights Competition Priming Seater (CPS) Review

If there is a Ferrari of priming tools, it has to be the Primal Rights Competition Primer Seater (CPS). This impressive bench-mounted tool allows very precise control over primer seating depth. A vertical tube holds primers ready for insertion. The action is smooth and precise. John believes that this is definitely the best priming tool on the market, though it may not be for everyone given its premium $600.00 price.

Lyman Powered Case Trimmer Review

The Lyman Case Trim Xpress is an efficient, precise unit that allows easy adjustment of trim length with a click-adjustable collar. The trimmer comes with a set of cartridge-specific bushings that index off the case shoulder. One nice feature is a variable speed control. For the price, $154.99 on Amazon, this trimmer delivers excellent performance. F-Class John has another video review of the Lyman Case Trim Xpress which shows set-up and operation.

Dillon 750 Tips and Tricks

The Dillon XL 750 is a favorite of high-volume reloaders. With the optional case feeder, the XL 750 offers high output with great reliability. And Dillon offers one of the best warranties in the business. In this video, F-Class John features upgrades including the Armanov tool-head holders from Europe. These are drilled and tapped for all FIVE stations allowing the user to put threaded dies in any station.

Gunsmithing Torque Wrench Comparisons

When you are working on custom rifles that might cost $5000+, and mounting scopes that can run $3000 (or more), you need to use very high-quality tools. Precise torque settings are essential, both to avoid damage to valuable parts, and to have the rifle and optic perform optimally. In this video, F-Class John looks at a variety of torque wrenches suitable for gunsmithing duties.

Concentricity Checking with Accuracy One Gauge

Every serious hand-loader needs a quality concentricity gauge. The Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge boasts a smart design that delivers precise, repeatable results. We like the unit’s easy adjustability and its ability to work in a variety of configurations. The Accuracy One Gauge measures internal and external neck runout of cartridge cases as well as seated bullet runout. It can also measure the runout of the ogive, bearing surface, and boat-tail of individual bullets. And it can even measure your primer pocket runout.

Teslong Rigid (Shaft) Borescope with Monitor

Seeing inside your barrel can provide clues to how well you’re cleaning and the bore’s overall health. One of the best tools on the market is the Teslong Rigid Borescope. This features a solid rod for easy use in barrels. Plus it comes with a self-contained high-definition viewing monitor so no smartphones or WiFi tablets are needed. If you’re looking for something more portable and a bit more versatile, try the Teslong Flexible Borescope, $99.99 including monitor. John was impressed with the new rigid Teslong he tested, and he likes having a dedicated monitor (no WiFi required).

Zero Turret Press with Whidden Sizing Die

The new Zero Press from Area 419 is arguably the best turret press ever crafted. It offers unrivaled precision, along with the highest-capacity turret head with NINE die/tool stations. Milled from billet aluminum and stainless steel, this press moves with the help of 14 bearings. In this video, F-Class John shows how to use a Whidden Gunworks full-length sizing die on the Zero Press. And John has two other video reviews of the $1200 Zero Press: 1. Zero Press First Thoughts Video; 2. Loading on a Zero Press.

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May 10th, 2021

Rodzilla’s Impressive New T-Rex Front Rest — Product Review

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

Meet the new T-Rex front rest from Rodzilla. In the world of front rests there have been many innovations over the past decade, but this new front rest from Rodzilla really represents significant innovation. The new T-Rex offers impressive capabilities that can truly take your shooting experience to the next level.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

At first glance the new T-Rex may resemble some other coaxial front rests. The T-Rex has a joystick, three points of ground contact, and a platform for the rifle. But look closer and you’ll see this isn’t your typical rest. Designer/builder Rod Brakhage (the Rod in Rodzilla) has started from the ground up to create the most user-friendly, match-ready, modular front rest on the market. The new T-Rex is already in high demand, but currently Rodzilla has been fulfilling orders in about 8 weeks. T-Rex MSRP ranges from $1895.00 to $2305.00 depending on options.

The T-Rex weighs just over 21 pounds — about the same as many mid-sized rests. However the T-Rex has a large footprint, rivaling the largest rests on the market. Rod tells us: “The T-Rex has a similar footprint to the SEB MAX… 12.5″ wide X 11.25″ front to back. However, at just over 21 lbs. my rest weighs less than a SEB NEO.” This combination (wide base with moderate weight) allows for an incredibly stable platform that is still quite portable.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

Rugged Carry Case Makes Transport Easy
Rodzilla delivers the T-Rex in a custom-designed hard carry case that fits it perfectly and still has room for additional feet and accessories. This sturdy case makes taking the T-Rex to matches easy. The case is strong enough that I can stack things on top of it in my truck. One side note, if you plan on storing your rest in the case between matches, it’s wise to put a desiccant pack in the case to absorb moisture.

The T-Rex boasts an adjustable joystick that extends from 15.5″ to 21″ in length. With this adjustability, no matter what your stock length or design, you can find a comfortable position without having to stretch uncomfortably. And you won’t have to shop for a joystick extension.

Using the T-Rex is a pure pleasure when shooting prone F-Class or from the bench. That’s because of its revolutionary ability to make large vertical adjustments without getting out of position. This is accomplished with a detachable arm/handle you can actuate while behind the gun. (This is the long T-handle on the right side of the rest).

The simplest way to show why this is a game changer is to consider when you’ve just left the 800-yard line during a match. You head up to the 900-yard line, get all set up, the range officer calls a hot line and suddenly realize you didn’t adjust your elevation for the new yardage. Normally you’d have to turn your scope dials then get up from your position to adjust your front rest, or at best stretch uncomfortably in hopes of reaching your rest adjustments. With the T-Rex, you simply turn the right-side gross elevation handle while still in position, move to your new hold point, and begin firing.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

This same principal applies to other situations that require adjusting vertical without breaking your shooting position. All of this is accomplished in conjunction with an incredibly sensitive, yet easy-to-adjust counterbalance system. Once set, the counterbalance ensures that smooth and fluid motion occurs in any direction without any resistance or fear of backlash that might affect your shots.

Very Wide Horizontal Range is Useful in Matches
When it comes to looking downrange, the T-Rex can deliver nearly twice the range of horizontal motion as that of some other rests. (In high ratio mode, there is about 70 MOA of horizontal travel.) This means you can quickly scan a wide expanse of targets/flags without having to change magnification or go to your spotting scope. The huge field of view is a great help when shooting in a condition that is switching and you want to view targets on either side.

Rodzilla T-Rex Configuration Options: Tops, Colors, Feet

Rodzilla offers a number of options for the T-Rex. The first choice is the top. Select the Rodzilla 5-Axis roller top or the new 5-Axis IBS-legal sandbag top. Or, if your budget permits, you can order both — they are easily interchangeable in minutes. The video below shows the easy top-swap procedure:

This video explains how to exchange tops on the Rodzilla T-Rex

5-Axis Top Advantages
Rod Brakhage tells us: “This innovative new 5-Axis top rotates independently of the base plate so no matter how the rest is set on the line you only need to move your rear bag to pan across the row of targets with no binding of the rifle. Also, the sides of the rifle run against vertical Delrin rollers.”

Color Choices for Rodzilla T-Rex Base
In addition to the choice of tops, there are four (4) standard colors on the website, but for an additional fee you can have it made in just about any color you want, which is pretty cool.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

Choose Standard Feet, Sand Feet, or Both
When you order a T-Rex, you can choose standard bench feet or large, gorgeous sand/dirt feet. Or order them both, as I did. I use the bench feet at my regular club where I shoot from wood and concrete platforms, but the sand feet are great for matches held on dirt, gravel, sand, or grass. These sand feet provide an incredibly stable platform on the ground.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

Linear Bearings Allow Ultra-Smooth and Precise Adjustments
Rodzilla’s Rod Brakhage is a smart, innovative designer committed to improving the shooter’s experience. One of Rod’s key innovations in the T-Rex is the use of linear ball bearings for both X and Y axis: “The horizontal/vertical assembly, or X-Y block, moves on 6 double-sealed ball bearings that travel on hardened shafts for effortless movement”.* This system delivers a smooth, fluidity of movement that lets you aim quickly and efficiently. Gone are the days of having to move PAST your aim point and then come back (to get the aim right), or resetting your joystick position after every shot. With the T-Rex, you make one smooth, precise move and your aim is set. And it stays set after the shot.

The T-Rex allows you to position your crosshairs with pinpoint precision every time and if you need to move them just a hair, you can do it with ease. In F-Class, we often hold between the target’s scoring lines to correct for wind variations (without touching the scope’s windage knob). With the T-Rex, I could make those holds quickly and precisely without wasting time bouncing back and forth.

Overall, I’ve come to really enjoy the repeatable confidence the T-Rex has given me whether I’m doing load development, practicing at the range, or shooting a match. So, if you’re in the market for a superb front rest that just might give you an edge or, at minimum, make your life easier, head over to TheRodzilla.com and learn all about the impressive, new T-Rex Front Rest.


* Rod Brakhage explains: “The bridge travels up and down on double-sealed ball bearings on 1” hardened shafts. My design utilizes a rack and pinion with an 18″-long drive shaft for adjusting the height of the bridge. This system allows you to stay in shooting position and looking through the scope while adjusting the vertical placement of your crosshairs. Precisely dial your vertical to the center of your target with the joy stick at the exact height you prefer. A 1/4 MOA movement is very easy to accomplish with this design. Also, there is no need to lock the bridge as there is an adjustable clutch to hold the vertical position. The long drive shaft utilizes a scalloped hand wheel on the shooters side and a quick coupling adapter on the rest side. Once adjusted you merely pull back on the drive shaft and remove it or just set it on your shooting mat out of the way. The geared rack and pinion can be placed on the right for right-handed shooters or on the left.”

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March 24th, 2021

Accuracy One Seating Depth Comparator Review

Accuracy One Seating Depth Comparator gauge ogive shoulder measure reloading ammunition case

Looking for a faster, easier, and more accurate way to measure bullet positions on your loaded rounds? Check out the Accuracy One Seating Depth Comparator. This unique tool provides a shoulder-to-ogive measurement instead of the traditional cartridge base-to-ogive measurement. The Accuracy One Comparator just might work for you. This unique tool allows a very rapid and secure measurement that provides a precise determination of the bullet seating depth in the case.

Accuracy One Seating Depth Comparator

Product Review by F-Class John
You probably check your loaded ammo by measuring cartridge base to ogive, but have you ever considered there may be a better way? Curt at Accuracy One has considered the question, and after exhaustive research and testing he created the Accuracy One Seating Depth Comparator. As opposed to looking for a base to ogive measurement, this tool measures from the shoulder to ogive, which is arguably the more repeatable number when it comes to accuracy.

Click Arrow to Watch Video Tool Review

As Curt explains, “Well, when you fire a chambered cartridge, the strike from the firing pin first pushes the cartridge forward until it bottoms against the shoulder. The primer is then ignited. What this means is that your seated bullet depth consistency can more accurately be gauged using the dimension from shoulder to ogive. Using this dimension, you effectively eliminate any small variances in your sized case length from the equation”. As a result, it made sense that when he was designing the measurement tool his goal was to create a universal insert that allowed a user a quick, easy, accurate and repeatable process that measures from mid-shoulder to ogive.

Accuracy One Seating Depth Comparator gauge ogive shoulder measure reloading ammunition case

The comparator fits cartridges from .22 to .30 Caliber with 0.400″ and larger shoulder diameters. The tool fits so many bullet sizes because of the specific taper that Curt developed. This ensures that any caliber in that range makes good contact along the ogive. As I used this tool and talked to people about it, I kept getting skeptical comments with people asking how it could measure the ogive on that many calibers accurately. I had to remind them that the ogive is not a single point on the bullet but in fact the entire curve from the tip of the bullet to the point it straightens out. As a result, it’s only important that the tool you use is consistent in what point along the ogive it measures and that’s where the Accuracy One Seating Depth Comparator shines. According to Curt, he went through countless iterations on his design until he was able to accurately and repeatably measure all those calibers (.22 to .30).

Accuracy One Seating Depth Comparator gauge ogive shoulder measure reloading ammunition case

How to Use the Accuracy One Seating Depth Comparator
Using the comparator is simple. There are alternative methods. The easiest way is to simply zero the indicator, insert a loaded round, note the measurement and compare any future rounds against it for variation. An alternative to this is a method I use. I insert a loaded round and then zero the indicator. This allows you to see the exact variation without mental math (and frankly it’s faster this way). I also use this method to sort loaded rounds for matches in order from shortest to longest ensuring that rounds that measure the same are fired together.

Bonus Option — Measuring Length to Lands with Tool
Another great use for this Accuracy One comparator is to take my initial depth to lands. This helps ensure my seating depth was properly set. Using a case with very light neck tension, I load a bullet, and with a stripped bolt I load and close it. Then I can remove the round and take a measurement, zero the indicator and make a note of it in my book. After that the comparator will remember the new zero until it’s zeroed again and if that happens by accident, I can always reference the number that my round measured and pull on the indicator stem until that number is found and then zero it again. I found this entire process fast, easy and repeatable as I loaded rounds and needed to check for any seating depth variance.

Tool Pricing:
Seating Depth Comparator without Indicator: $65.00
Seating Depth Comparator with Indicator: $115.00
Gauge Stand: $47.00

Accuracy One Seating Depth Comparator gauge ogive shoulder measure reloading ammunition casePurchase Options
You can buy the tool with or without an Digital Indicator. Accuracy One also makes a Primer Depth Gauge. Both Accuracy One tools employ the same digital indicator. This helps save money as you can order the comparator alone if you already have one (either from another Accuracy Tool or another tool).

The Accuracy One Seating Depth Comparator is essentially the same size as the Accuracy One Primer Depth Gauge, so you can even utilize Accuracy One’s primer gauge storage case. There is also an optional stand that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND as it can hold either the seating depth OR primer gauge, making for amazingly simple one-handed operation while you’re loading.

CONCLUSION — Tool Is Precise, Repeatable, and Fast
Overall, this tool left me feeling confident in my depth setting and I found it quick and easy compared to past methods. At the end of the day there are several ways to skin the proverbial cat when it comes to measuring seating depth. But if you’re looking for what just might be the most accurate, consistent and speediest method, give the Accuracy One Seating Depth Comparator a try.

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February 27th, 2021

Gear Review: Lyman Reloading Press Stand — “It’s a Keeper”

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I absolutely love using this press stand. I use it with my Forster Co-Ax as well as my Dillon 550. The stand mounts those presses at the right height to minimize fatigue and maximize torque. Some products I merely review and return but this one is a keeper and won’t be leaving my bench anytime soon. — F-Class John

Lyman Universal Press Stand REVIEW

Product Review by F-Class John
Positioning your press at the optimal height is one of the oldest problems in reloading. Most presses sit low off the edge leading to uncomfortable arm strain or inconsistent pressure being applied while using. Lyman has set out to fix that problem with a reasonably-priced ($54.99 at Midsouth) press riser that works with the vast majority of reloading presses. This unit will raise just about any press up off your bench securely, allowing you to working more comfortably from a standing position. This also frees up vital bench space UNDER the press. Unfortunately this press stand is so popular it is back-ordered at most vendors.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I have used a variety of presses over the years. At times I’ve run into issues mounting a press at a level that doesn’t promote arm or hand strain during normal operations. In the past I’ve used blocks of wood or even tried other brands’ proprietary stands. But I had very limited success with those options. Accordingly, I was very excited to give the Lyman Universal Press Stand a chance.

Lyman’s Universal Press Stand comes complete with side plates, two different top plates, and a large collection of mounting hardware. The two top plates are pre-drilled for numerous popular Single Stage or Progressive presses. Helpful diagrams and instructions show which side of the top plate you need to use. The pre-drilled holes accommodate a variety of presses from RCBS, Dillon, Lyman, Redding, and Hornady. But surprisingly, the plates are not pre-configured for the Forster Co-Ax Press.

CLICK to WATCH VIDEO Showing Lyman Universal Press Stand

Setting up the stand was very simple. The two sides bolt to the lower shelf unit at which point you attach the top plate. All the supplied bolts made this a breeze and once everything was snugged down, I was able to place it on my bench where I wanted it and mark the drill holes to mount it. After securing the stand to my bench it was time to mount my press.

Lyman Universal Press Stand with Dillon 550 Press

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Adapting Lyman Universal Press Stand for Forster Co-Ax
At the time of testing I was primarily using a Forster Co-Ax press. With no pre-drilled Co-Ax configuration for either Lyman top plate, I decided to customize the blank side of one of the top plates. I opted to position the mounting holes so that the press could sit 100% on top of the mounting plate and not just off one edge. I found this process simple to execute. Mark your drill holes, then drill the plate. This can easily be done with regular drill bits although using a step-bit worked faster and cleaner to help enlarge the holes just a little when I needed some extra clearance.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Universal Press Stand Is Stable and Strong
Once set-up, I found the stand to be incredibly stable. The design allows for full force to be applied to the press no matter what the operation. Having used this Lyman Press stand regularly over the past few months with both my Co-Ax and a Dillon 550c, I still find myself loving it. The height is perfect and allows me to load as much as I like without straining my arm or getting fatigued. With an attractive price point (under $55.00 street price) and a simple design, I feel this is a great system for those looking for a secure and raised platform for their reloading presses.

The Universal Press Stand comes with two plates. If you have different presses that fit each plate you could easily swap presses just by changing plates while leaving the presses attached. It’s less functional if you have two presses that share one plate and would require removing one press before installing the next one.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Press Stand Unboxing and Set-Up (KFW Video Review):

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January 13th, 2021

Lyman Case Prep Express Full Review and Video

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

Product Review by F-Class John
Case preparation is critical for precision reloading. One must trim cases, debur/chamfer case mouths, clean necks, spruce up primer pockets and do other important tasks. Complete case prep can involve many separate processes, each requiring its own tools. With each of those tools comes additional cost as well as the need for more storage and bench space. To make case prep easier, faster, and more convenient Lyman created the Case Prep Xpress. The Case Prep Xpress, introduced a few years back, combines up to five prep stages into one well-built, stable, versatile unit. Watch this video to see the machine in action:

The Case Prep Xpress features five (5) independently-turning spindles all with the common 8/32 thread. This allows you to attach multiple tools supplied with the unit PLUS many other screw-on prep tools. For our testing we started out using a variety of the 12 included tools and found they cover the majority of case prep tasks. Lyman supplies deburr and chamfer tools, pocket uniformers, reamers and cleaners, as well as an assortment of neck brushes.

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

The deburr and chamfer tools worked really well, creating beautiful bevels all while leaving a nice flat edge across the top of the neck which is critical for accuracy and brass life. We found the primer pocket cleaning tool did a good job, but for truly clean pockets we recommend using the primer pocket uniforming tool, which very efficiently removes even hard residues.

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test videoLyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

The benefit of having interchangeable heads is that you can add your own accessories. We like to use a bore brush with bronze wool wrapped around it for use inside our necks. This worked perfectly once we screwed it in. In fact, we couldn’t think of any 8/32-threaded accessory that wouldn’t work well on this machine. Another great design feature is how all the accessories are oriented straight up. This allows for perfect visual alignment of your cases onto the tools which is critical — especially when performing cutting operations such as primer pocket uniforming.

Along with the five power stations there are six female-threaded storage spots on the sides where tools can be placed to ensure they don’t get lost. We like this feature since there will be more than five accessories you want to use and having them easily available is a great feature. You can keep 11 tools right on the machine (5 on top, 6 on the sides). That way you don’t have to dig through storage bins.

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

The Case Prep Xpress has a removable front bin to hold brass shavings, and there are two circular trays on either side of the bin. In front is a long tray that holds the provided brush. This makes it relatively easy to clean off brass shavings and other debris from case prep processes.

SUMMARY — Versatile Case Prep Xpress Is A Good Value
For the money, Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress is tough to beat. It performs multiple tasks well while being stable and easy-to-use. Yes there are some multi-spindle prep centers that offer variable or fast/slow RPM spindles while the Lyman’s spindles are all fixed RPM. (See, e.g. the RCBS Brass Boss). However those other systems don’t include all the convenient on-board storage of the Case Prep Xpress, and are more expensive. The Lyman Case Prep Xpress sells for $150-$160 “street price”. It costs $154.99 at Midsouth, and is in-stock now (1/13/2021). This makes the Lyman Case Prep Xpress a fine value — it offers great versatility while saving space and saving money compared to buying five or more separate, powered tools.

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December 25th, 2020

Happy Holidays to Our Readers — Thanks for Your Support

Christmas AccurateShooter.com tree snow

Christmas AccurateShooter.com Elk CanadaHoliday Greetings to Our Readers
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our readers and especially our nearly 54,000 Forum Members. This marks our 16th Christmas “in business”, and the site is stronger than ever thanks to our Gold and Silver Forum members and industry sponsors. AccurateShooter.com is now accessed by over 500,000 visitors every month, who enjoy our Feature Articles, Daily Bulletin, Shooters’ Forum, and our Facebook Page. Part of the reason for that success is the hard work of our dedicated staff and volunteer helpers.

Unsung Heroes Deserve Recognition
I want to acknowledge those guys who have really helped out the site. Number one is Jay Christopherson who served as our Systems Admin for most of the year. Along with being a computer guru, Jay is a superb shooter who won the Berger SW Nationals F-Open this year. Stepping in for Jay in the second half of 2020 has been fellow F-classer Praveen Kumar, a very talented programmer who helped us through the challenge of a major Forum upgrade this fall. We also thank Andy B. our Xenforo ace who has contributed vital software solutions.

A huge “thank-you” goes to F-Class John who finds weekly bargains for the Bulletin and tests new products. John produces gear/hardware reviews for the Daily Bulletin with informative videos showcased on his YouTube Channel. John’s work has become a highlight of our Bulletin content. We thank Boyd Allen and EdLongRange who supply story leads for the Daily Bulletin. And we wouldn’t be here without Jeff Williams, who handles site donations by mail. We have a great place to test rifles thanks to our valued friend Joe Friedrich. Other important contributors include: Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com; Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics, Bill Marr of Rifleshooter.com, Jason Baney of EuroOptic.com, and Dennis Santiago. These folks have contributed stories, reviews, and and videos. I also want to recognize Hunting Editor Colton Reid and Norway’s Thomas Haugland (shown below). All these men (and many others) have aided the site.

Christmas AccurateShooter.com tree snow

Praise for our Site Sponsors and Advertisers
We also want to thank our major sponsors, without whose support the site could not provide the full AccurateShooter.com experience, with an active Forum, an archive of in-depth articles, and fresh content 365 days a year in our Daily Bulletin. We’re grateful to ALL our sponsors and advertisers. In particular, we want to acknowledge the major companies which have been strong supporters of this site for many years: Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori), Bruno Shooters Supply, Bullet Central, Graf & Sons, EuroOptic, Krieger Barrels, Midsouth Shooters Supply, Powder Valley Inc., Precision Reloading, Whidden Gunworks, and Zeiss Sports Optics. Their continuing support helps us keep up the flow of information and serve our readers and Forum members.

Christmas accurateshooter.com tree holiday greetings

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December 25th, 2020

Christmas Video Showcase — 8 Great Videos from F-Class John

Nancy tompkins book f-class john videos
This image is from multi-time Nat’l Long Range Champion Nancy Tompkins, author of Prone and Long Range Rifle Shooting. Nancy loves to photograph the Aurora Borealis.

As a Christmas present for our readers, today we showcase eight very informative videos from AccurateShooter Forum member F-Class John. A talented F-Class competitor with a smart, technically-focused mind, John has created a series of videos about reloading and precision loading tools, along with rifle and shooting accessories. Many of John’s product reviews are the most thorough and detailed you’ll find in video format. You’ll find over 120 informative videos on F-Class John’s popular YouTube Channel.

SEE ALL F-Class John YouTube Videos HERE »

Nancy tompkins book f-class john videos

21st Century Hydro Press and Arbor Press — Product Review

Many of the world’s top benchrest, long-range, and F-Class shooters prefer to seat their bullets using arbor-type presses with inline dies. This allows smooth, repeatable bullet-seating with very low run-out. One of the very best arbor-type seating presses ever created is the 21st Century Hydro Press. This offers plenty of leverage driving a precision ram. The Hydro Press also features a hydraulic line to drive a precision seating force gauge. Along with the Hydro Press, John tests 21st Century’s standard arbor press.

Cartridge Case Separation — Tell-Tale Warning Signs

If you reload and haven’t experienced a case separation yet then you are fortunate. It’s a fact of life in the shooting world. A bad case separation can have very unfortunate consequences. Therefore you need to watch for warning signs on your cartridge brass, so you stay safe. The video above shows what to look for — and how to recognize signs of incipient separation. One important factor leading to case head separation is improper head-spacing causing growth. To learn more about case head separation watch F-Class John’s follow-up video Case Head Separation Causes, identification and prevention.

Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge — Product review

Every person who makes precision hand-loads should have a quality concentricity gauge to measure run-out of case-necks and loaded rounds. Here John tests one of the best such tools on the market, the Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge. This measures the internal and external neck runout of cartridge cases as well as seated bullet runout. It can also measure the runout of the ogive, bearing surface, and boat-tail of individual bullets and can even measure primer pocket runout. John notes: “I think most precision shooters should have one of these to make sure their ammo is within their specs they’re happy with.”

How to Use a Barrel Tuner to Improve Accuracy and Repeatability

Erik cortina e.c. Tunner f-class john videosIn this video, John works with a barrel tuner created by Erik Cortina, a member of Team Lapua/Brux/Borden. A tuner can be useful in modulating barrel vibrations and that can translate to smaller groups on target. Sometimes the positive effects are quite noticeable. Tuners have been popular with short-range benchresters for many years and now they are becoming more common on top F-Class and Long Range rifles.

John says: “I’ve been using Erik’s E.C. Tuner for a while now and I really like what it’s done to help as my final step in load development. Just remember, a tuner is a tool, not a magician. You still need good load development practices, good brass prep, and solid skills but the tuner does help make great loads even better.”

Teslong Rigid 26″ Borescope with 4.5″ Monitor — Product Review

There are a variety of affordable Teslong digital borescopes for inspecting your barrels and diagnosing issues. All Teslongs deliver impressively sharp images/video. Some units plug into a laptop or tablet, while others work via a dongle to communicate wirelessly. Here John tests a 26″ rigid model borescope that comes complete with its own 4.5″ viewing screen. Priced at $129.99 on Amazon, this system is completely self-contained — you don’t need a laptop or smartphone. You don’t have to worry about connections and there are no Apps to install or configure. John says: “Teslong now offers a 26″ rigid rod model with a 4.5″ monitor. This allows you to use the unit without the need for any mobile device or computer.”

Dillon 550 vs. Dillon 750 for Precision Reloading — Pros and Cons

Progressive presses are not just for bulk reloading these days. Many top shooters, including 5-time National Long Range Champion John Whidden, use Dillon progressive presses to complete many cartridge loading operations more efficiently. Even in the F-Class world, Top Guns such as Erik Cortina have found ways to use Dillon progressives for bullet pointing, case prep and other repetitious tasks, even if a precision arbor press is used for final bullet seating. In this video, F-Class John compares two Dillon options: “If you’re deciding between a Dillon 550 or 750/650 reloading press for precision reloading, here are some pros and cons of each. Both are capable of producing high quality ammunition but each has their own quirks so knowing your capabilities and loading style is important when choosing one over the other.

AutoTrickler V3 — General Set-Up and Operational Advice

In this video, John offers some general advice for setting-up the AutoTrickler system. He notes that you want to set the initial drop weight (from the powder measure) in an optimal range: “When you set the original drop you need it to be about 1 to 1.5 grains below. Some people set it too close to the final weight they want and it actually doesn’t let the trickler unit work as efficiently, consistently and accurately as it will if you start 1 to 1.5 grains low.” John also explains how to hook up the cords and how to position the trickler unit. John places his AutoTrickler on a 30-lb piece of granite, with a thin polymer “anti-static” pad on top. John also uses a line conditioner and grounding wire to provide the best electrical flow to the scale and trickler. John also shows how the angle of the trickler unit can be adjusted. If you own an AutoTrickler or plan to purchase one, we definitely recommend you watch this entire video.

ShotMarker Power-User Tip — How to Test Unit without Shooting

The ShotMarker is an advanced system that plots shot location using electronic sensors mounted on a frame. ShotMarker arrays are now used in many competitions because they are reliable, precise, and much more affordable than competing systems. Invented by Canadian Adam MacDonald, the ShotMarker plots bullet entry on target using sensors activated by the bullet’s soundwaves.​ Using 8 high precision MEMS microphones placed in the corners of your frame, ShotMarker precisely measures the point of impact and down-range velocity of each shot, so that you can analyze your groups and shoot for score in competition. In this video, John shows how you can quickly and easily test your ShotMarker before deploying it at the range: “Here’s a quick and simple way to ensure your system is working 100% before taking a shot on it.”

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November 12th, 2020

AutoTrickler V3 Tips — Set-up, Optimization, Maintenance

Adam MacDonald Autotrickler v3 autotrhow powder dispenser video F-Class john

Top rifle competitors use the AutoTrickler system because it offers a superior combination of speed and precision in dispensing powder loads. With an AutoTrickler fitted to a compatible lab-grade magnetic force restoration scale, you can achieve single-grain weight consistency with your hand-loads. That kind of load weight uniformity does help deliver low ES/SD that translates to reduced vertical at long range. Adam MacDonald’s AutoTrickler system is so good that it can truly be called a “game-changer” in the precision handloading world.

As good as the AutoTrickler may be, there are some simple ways to keep it functioning better, or to improve your productivity. Here are three videos by F-Class John that provide very helpful tips for AutoTrickler owners. The first video shows general set-up and installation. The second video shows a simple but brilliant trick to speed up the process — use two identical powder measure cups shaved to be the EXACT same weight. In third video, F-Class John shows important maintenance tips to keep your AutoTrickler components running smoothly and quietly.

AutoTrickler V3 — General Set-Up and Operational Advice

In this video, John offers some general advice for setting-up the AutoTrickler system. He explains how you can get the machine optimized. For example he notes that you want to set the initial drop weight (from the powder measure) in an optimal range: “When you set the original drop you need it to be about 1 to 1.5 grains below. Some people set it too close to the final weight they want and it actually doesn’t let the trickler unit work as efficiently, consistently and accurately as it will if you start 1 to 1.5 grains low.”

John also explains how to hook up the cords and how to position the trickler unit. John places his AutoTrickler on a 30-lb piece of granite, with a thin polymer “anti-static” pad on top. John also uses a line conditioner and grounding wire to provide the best electrical flow to the scale and trickler. Interestingly, the granite was an inexpensive “surplus” piece taken from a kitchen top installation.

John also shows how the angle of the trickler unit can be adjusted. Another smart tip involves marking the white trickler tube belt bushing. That makes it is easier to discern slow movement and determine when the trickler is completely stopped.

If you own an AutoTrickler or plan to purchase one, we definitely recommend you watch this entire video.

Are you experience chattering when powder is dispensed? John also explains (3:20 – 5:30 time mark) how to replace a small rubber “wiper” part in the dispenser unit. This can help prevent chattering or kernel-cutting as the powder charge drops into the pan from above.

Use Two Identical-Weight Powder Cups to Load Faster

In this second video, F-Class John shows how you can use TWO identical powder cups to speed up your reloading. This is a VERY clever and relatively inexpensive upgrade. You can use 600-grit wet sandpaper to make the weight of the twin cups absolutely identical. John says: “I just lightly sanded the bottom of these until they both weighed exactly the same on my scale.” He can now use one cup to load a case while the other cup is receiving the next powder charge.

AutoTrickler V3 General Maintenance Tips

If you have been running an AutoTrickler for quite some time, you have probably noticed some noise or vibration. This video shows some very simple maintenance procedures that will have your AutoTrickler running great again. F-Class John reveals some components that can get dirty or worn after considerable use. The video identifies the items that may require a cleaning or adjusting. In the video John shows how to do those tasks quickly and easily.

Adam MacDonald Autotrickler v3 autotrhow powder dispenser video F-Class john

In the last three minutes of the above video John shows an important process involving the trickler unit motor. The motor’s attachment screws tend to loosen slightly over time. After removing the pulley drive wheel, you want to gently tension the four Phillips screws. Then reattach the wheel and drive belt. Doing this simple process should reduce unwanted vibration.

Adam MacDonald Autotrickler v3 autotrhow powder dispenser video F-Class john

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November 5th, 2020

Cool Tool — 21st Century Shooting Sand Bag Filler

21st Century Sand bag filler tool F-Class John

Are you tired of struggling to fill your rear sandbags and other sand-filled shooting supports? With a conventional plastic funnel it can be difficult to get the bags filled to full capacity. It’s also time-consuming and awkward to keep pouring sand into a small funnel top.

21st Century Shooting has a solution — a tool that makes it WAY easier to fill all types of sandbags and sand-filled shooting rests, including PRS bags, Bulls Bags, and X-Bags. The 21st Century Sand Bag Filler has a large transparent bottle that holds a lot of sand. This attaches to a nicely-machined threaded grip section that feeds the sand into a small-diameter insert tube. This smaller tube easily fits in the small fill-ports of sandbags. The small tube also allows you to steer the sand flow to the corners of your bags to get a more even, uniform fill.

This video from F-Class John shows how to use the 21st Century Sand Bag Filler. John explains how to fill the sand bottle, than shows how to efficiently fill an Edgewood Dead-bottom bag with sand. John was impressed. At the 2:26 mark John notes: “This is pretty ‘kick ass’ … It is just sucking up the sand into this bag… that is fast”. John is sold on this tool: “I’ve got some giant SEB and Protektor bags. Before I had this tool, I’ve used any number of methods in the past and it’s probably taken me a good hour to pack a bag properly.” Now John says he can fill a big bag in a fraction of the time.

21st Century Sand bag filler tool F-Class John

Along with benchrest rear bags, such as the new SEB Premium Bigfoot shown above, there are many other sand-filled support bags. Shown below are some popular bags. The Uncle Bud Bulls Bag has long been a favorite of varmint shooters. It’s very stable but does require a LOT of sand. The 21st Century tool will dramatically shorten filling time for a big Bulls Bag or X-Bag.

21st Century Sand bag filler tool F-Class John

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October 29th, 2020

Report: Wicked Conditions at Mid-Range F-Class Nationals

F-Class Nationals Championship ben avery arizona 600-yard mid-range

Mid-Range Competitors Battle Tough Conditions at Ben Avery
Report by F-Class John (competing at the Nationals)
The Mid-Range Nationals at Ben Avery in Arizona have been completed, and many competitors are breathing a sigh of relief. Winds were howling and conditions were VERY tough. We congratulate all the competitors who battled the high winds. This year all shooting at the Mid-Range Nationals was done at 600 yards (the simplified course of fire was adopted in 2019). I think I can safely say everyone is excited and ready to move on to Long-Range portion of the championships.

The Top 10 in each division are listed below. New F-Open Mid-range Champion Tim Vaught put together a very impressive performance, dropping just 14 points in very challenging conditions.

F-Class Nationals Championship ben avery arizona 600-yard mid-range

The fact that F-Open winner Tim Vaught dropped just 14 points across nine 20-shot relays is INSANE given the incredibly tough conditions. He deserved his title without a doubt. F-TR Mid-Range Champion Andrew Cyr also had an impressive performance, winning by 9 points over a very tough field, including past National F-TR Champions and Nancy Tompkins, past NRA High Power and Long Range Champion.

The F-TR division was won by Andrew Cyr. His gunsmith, Bryan Blake, said this rig has some unusual features, including barrel twist rate. Stay tuned for a full tech report…
F-Class Nationals Championship ben avery arizona 600-yard mid-range

Challenging Conditions at F-Class Mid-Range Nationals
Conditions were pretty incredible and by no means typical for Ben Avery for the Mid-Range portion of the USA F-Class National Championships. We started on Sunday with dead calm conditions on relay one and by the end of shooting, it was challenging but certainly not anything outside the normal for most of the people. We woke up Monday to crazy strong winds that just tore apart those who were ‘lucky enough’ to be on the first relay and it throughout the day it went from horrible to manageable and it was just dumb luck if your relay got hit or spared. The uncharacteristically strong winds met us Tuesday morning again for the final day of Mid-Range.

Video has highlights from three days of Mid-Range competition.

Before the first relay I measured gusts that were almost 24 mph with the constant wind hovering in the high teens. It calmed down from there but still remained very challenging until the end. Overall it was quite the fight for first with Tim Vaught earning the F-Open win with Dan Bramley and Tod Hendricks taking a respective second and third place out of a field of 66 High Masters and 13 Masters. These guys all shot superbly in some of the most challenging conditions ever witnessed at the Ben Avery range in Arizona. Mighty impressive…

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October 25th, 2020

L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer Product Review

L.E. Wilson case gage gauge shoulder bump depth micrometer measureing tool

L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer Tool
Hands-On Tool Review by F-Class John
Are you looking for a better way to measure shoulder bump when sizing brass? When it comes to measuring your shoulder bump there has traditionally been just one way to do it and that’s with a set of calipers and some type of tool attached to a calipers jaw which contacts the case shoulder. While this method has worked well for decades there’s always been some inherent lack of consistency and repeatability. While a minor issue, the inability to get the exact number in completely dependent on the user’s pressure applied and the angle at which the jaws push on the brass.

Enter the L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer with its simple but effective use of Wilson case gauges to ensure a perfect measure of shoulder bump every time. The unit comes with the micrometer top as well as a check gauge which allows you to easily calibrate the micrometer whenever needed. On top of the micrometer unit, you’ll also need to purchase the appropriate case gauges for each of your cartridge types and then you’re ready to go. No other measuring instruments are needed (yep, no calipers are required).

L.E. Wilson case gage gauge shoulder bump depth micrometer measureing tool

Using the Wilson Depth Micrometer (perhaps a better name is Shoulder Bump Micrometer) is a straightforward process. Simply take your fired brass and insert it into the case gauge and place the micrometer top onto the primer side of the gauge. While holding the micrometer top firmly against the case gauge in one hand, slowly turn the micrometer until you feel it stop. You can back off and turn it again to verify the stop point and once you have it, look at the measurement on the micrometer. Now insert a sized piece of brass and repeat the procedure. Take note of the new number and subtract it from the fired brass number and you now have an exact amount of shoulder bump. Continue to adjust your sizing die until you have the correct amount of shoulder bump and you’re ready to size all your brass.

Watch Video to See how Shoulder-Bump Measuring Micrometer Tool Works

Guys, in this case a VIDEO is worth more than a thousand words. In may not be obvious from the photos how this system works. In fact, it is fast and easy. Drop brass into cartridge-specific case gauge, then put the Micrometer unit on top, and dial to touch. The video shows how this works.

SUMMARY — Tool is Fast, Precise, Repeatable, and Easy to Use — We Like It
The beauty of this tool is the simplicity with which it works. It uses a very accurate micrometer to simply measure how much further your brass is sitting forward inside the case gauge. After a couple uses, you’ll find that this tool is fast, accurate and incredibly repeatable. That gives you confidence that your brass is being sized properly. Ultimately, I found that using the micrometer top really became a joy as I set up a new set of dies and as I sized my brass, I could easily check the consistency as brass came off my press. If you’re looking to improve your sizing game, give the L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer a try. MSRP is $110.00.

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August 20th, 2020

Kestrel 5700 Elite Ballistics Weather Meter Review with Videos

Kestrel 5700 Elite Ballistics Weather Meter Review App Applied Ballistics

Every serious, long-range shooter needs a modern, accurate wind meter. And the higher-level Kestrel Wind Meters include a sophisticated ballistics engine that can calculate drops and wind-holds at any distance. These “smart” Kestrels can communicate (via Bluetooth) with a powerful App on your mobile device(s). For this exclusive review, our Editor F-Class John field tests the Kestrel 5700 Elite Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics, and explains its many impressive features. This unit offers great functionality for a $699.00 MSRP. Shop at KestrelBallistics.com or Amazon.com. For this article, F-Class John has created THREE (3) videos which are well worth watching.

Kestrel 5700 Elite Ballistics Review, Video Part 1

Kestrel 5700 Elite — Field Test and Evaluation

by F-Class John
In order to make accurate shots at long range, whether in the desert knocking down steel at a mile or shooting paper at 1000 yards, you need to know and understand the effects of your environment (wind, temperature etc.), along with your bullet’s ballistics. Traditionally, shooters gauge wind speed/angle with a wind meter and then input the data into a ballistic program on a mobile device. That program then produces a firing solution after calculating bullet drop and wind drift. While this method works, it can be time-consuming and cumbersome, and there’s always the potential for error when transposing the information from wind meter to mobile device.

Enter the Kestrel 5700 Elite Applied Ballistics with Kestrel LiNK. This all-in-one unit allows for incredibly accurate firing solutions by using a variety of measurements such as average, head, and cross winds as well as other atmospheric conditions which are then analyzed by built-in Applied Ballistics software. This yields ultra-accurate results from a handheld unit that easily fits in your pocket. Describing the 5700 Elite can be a little difficult. Yes, it is an anemometer at its core, but it is also a complete weather station, a ballistic calculator, and a target card creator.

Kestrel 5700 Elite Ballistics Weather Meter Review App Applied Ballistics

The Kestrel 5700 Elite’s own menu has three Mode options: Weather, Easy, and Ballistics. The Weather Mode option (great on its own) features the ability to measure altitude, barometric pressure, crosswind, density altitude, dew point temperature, headwind/tailwind, heat stress index, relative humidity, station pressure, temperature, wet bulb temperature, wind chill, wind direction and wind speed/air speed. These readings are available both on the screen by themselves or grouped three at a time. Access is quick and easy with readings updating constantly so you always have the most accurate information at hand.

In addition to Weather Mode, the Kestrel 5700 Elite Ballistics boasts two other Modes, EASY and BALLISTICS. NOTE — before using Easy Mode or Ballistic Mode I recommend creating gun profiles and bullet profiles in the Kestrel directly or through the Kestrel App. This is easy, as the Kestrel Ballistics App connects directly to any LiNK-enabled Kestrel unit. After the initial startup you’ll want to begin with Gun Profile Management tab. This tab allows you to enter both your gun information as well as your loads. The Elite allows up to 30 gun profiles to be created. Notably, the Elite’s included Applied Ballistics software constantly updates bullet profiles. In fact, during my testing, new bullet profiles were added twice. So I was assured I had the most up-to-date bullet choices when creating load profiles.

Kestrel 5700 Elite Ballitics Review, Video Part 2

Along with gun profiles, the Kestrel 5700 Elite Ballistics allows you to create 10 separate Target Profiles. This can be done a couple different ways. The first is Easy Mode — a great option for those want to get a firing solution but don’t need or want to enter a lot of information. It allows you to set up your target range (distance), target data (wind, direction, etc), and choose your rifle profile. Other variables are muzzle velocity, compass, and latitude. Easy Mode allows you to enter the most vital information without feeling overwhelmed, yet Easy Mode still provides for a very accurate solution.

Kestrel 5700 Elite Ballistics Review, Video Part 3

Switching from Easy Mode to Ballistics Mode provides even more options. These include setting up your target (target angle, target speed, wind direction, and more), wind input, gun profile, environment (temp, barometric pressure, altimeter humidity, etc.), target cards, and range cards (with fixed distances). You also get full access to the Applied Ballistics calculator as well as your ability to manage gun profiles. The target card is a really great feature for multi-target disciplines such as PRS where you may be able to range targets ahead of time. The target card allows you to enter any 10 exact distances and the Applied Ballistics software will calculate solutions for all of them in an easy-to-access chart. This is a great feature that can save you time and improve scores.

Kestrel 5700 Elite Ballistics Weather Meter Review App Applied Ballistics

The Kestrel 5700 Elite’s associated Applied Ballistics software offers additional advanced functionality. For example you can calculate the actual BC of your bullet and adjust for transonic bullet flight. Once you get the hang of how to use these additional features, they really make you realize how powerful this tiny unit is. The App is configured for easy data entry and it even has the classic Snake game as a fun hidden feature in the “About” section of the menu.

SUMMARY — Outstanding Handheld Device with Full Ballistics Functionality
The Kestrel 5700 Elite with Applied Ballistics demonstrated that it is truly the most feature-packed handheld weather meter/ballistic calculator available on the market today. In fact, after several weeks of testing I feel there were still more minor features that I could have used to get even more information about my ammo, firing solutions, and environment. If you’re a technology-driven shooter looking for the ultimate Weather/Ballistics tool at the range, the Kestrel 5700 Elite is for you. This is an outstanding product.

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August 8th, 2020

New Rodzilla 5-Axis Top for SEB Rests — Superb Functionality

Rod Brakhage Rodzilla SEB Rest Neo Max Mini 5-axis top new field test review F-Class John

Rodzilla 5-Axis Top for SEB Rests

Review by F-Class John
Walk the line at any F-Class or Benchrest match and you’ll see plenty of SEB rests — for good reason. SEB produces some of the most popular competition shooting rests available today. With their ease of use and smart design, it is no wonder why SEB rests are so popular. But as good as they are, there are ways SEB rests can be made even better — such as making them easier to align precisely to the target during set-up. It was while shooting with his SEB NEO one day that inventor, fabricator, and competitive F-Class shooter Rod Brakhage decided to make a better mouse trap — to improve the SEB series of rests. He identified aspects of the NEO/MAX rests and SEB Mini tripod rest that could be enhanced and he then set out to improve their already great performance.

Rod Brakhage Rodzilla SEB Rest Neo Max Mini 5-axis top new field test review F-Class John
This photo shows the new Rodzilla 5-Axis top installed on a SEB Mini tripod rest. There are also Rodzilla tops for the SEB NEO and MAX two-column front rests.

Nearly a year and countless prototypes later, Rod unveiled his new Rodzilla 5-Axis Top to a select group of shooters to test and it’s been a wild ride ever since. Best of all, his top is drilled and tapped so that it can be fitted to a SEB NEO, MAX, or Mini front rest without altering the rest base in any way. To make things easy, if you don’t want to install it yourself, you can send just the bridge from your NEO/MAX or top from a Mini and Rod will install the 5-Axis unit. You pay for the Rodzilla top, and Rod will install it for free. The Rodzilla NE0/MAX tops currently sell for $549.00, while the Rodzilla Mini top is $584.00.

Watch Video to See All Features of Rodzilla 5-Axis Rest Top:

Rodzilla Top Swivels Independently of Rest Base
The first thing Rod did was allow the top to swivel independently of the base. On a NEO this makes a HUGE difference because you can now set your rest down in the general direction of your target and make final adjustments once you’re down behind the gun. This is a huge departure from the normal procedure where you find yourself moving your NEO repeatedly until it’s just right. You can do the same thing on a Mini which is actually a nice feature despite the head already swiveling because you can now lock down the Mini head and make your final adjustments behind the gun as well. This is probably the feature that stood out the most to me when I first set it up. Being able to lock the front end down and get comfortable immediately behind the gun without having to get up again was a time-saver. This also left me feeling very confident in my gun alignment to the target.

Rod Brakhage Rodzilla SEB Rest Neo Max Mini 5-axis top new field test review F-Class John

Delrin Rollers on Side Guide Stock during Recoil
The second major innovation is the addition of Delrin rollers along the side. The unit has two easily adjustable jaws that each contain a set of rollers. These rollers allow for as much or little contact as you want along the sides of your stock and provide a smooth if not near frictionless experience whether during recoil (breakaway) or when returning the gun to battery. the departure from traditional sandbags on the side quite revolutionary, and yes it is legal under NRA rules. Current NRA High Power F-Class rules have no limits on what material contacts the sides of the stock. As someone who has owned a number of front rests and filled countless small sandbags this comes as a welcome relief! The Rodzilla’s rollers give me confidence that I’ll have consistent contact with the stock without the side bags constantly shifting and needing my attention during a match.

Rod Brakhage Rodzilla SEB Rest Neo Max Mini 5-axis top new field test review F-Class John

Small, Separate Sandbags Provide Consistent Contact at Any Gun Angle
Another major Rodzilla advancement is the design of the left and right sandbags. Conventional sandbags are stationary and oriented to the rest itself meaning that if you’re shooting uphill or downhill then you may not have stock contact with the full bag surface or the stock may be at a weird angle to the sandbag. Plus, with time, conventional front sand bags can form crowns or lumps that require attention. Those problems are solved with the Rodzilla’s tilting mini-sandbags. Rod’s sandbags are very small yet still meet NRA High Power guidelines as they are filled with sand and can be visibly deformed when pushed. But otherwise, they are unlike anything you’ve seen before. Each bag is mounted on a pivoting arm allowing the gun to always keep consistent contact with each bag regardless of the angle of your rest. This provides confidence that your stock is always riding on the same amount of sandbag no matter how the rest has been placed, or the ground angle relative to target.

Rod Brakhage Rodzilla SEB Rest Neo Max Mini 5-axis top new field test review F-Class John

CONCLUSION: The Rodzilla 5-Axis Top is a Game-Changer
If you have a SEB Rest you will definitely want this…
The innovative design features of the Rodzilla 5-Axis Top make SEB rests work even better. The Rodzilla Top delivers an incredibly smooth and repeatable shooting experience. Recoil seems smoother, and it is easier to align the rest on target during set-up. If you own a SEB rest and are looking to make your set-up on the line easier and faster, have near-zero breakaway force on each shot, and have consistent follow-up shots to your point of aim, then give the Rodzilla 5-Axis Top a try.

This Video shows how to install the Rodzilla 5-Axis Top on SEB Mini tripod rest:

This Video shows how to install the Rodzilla 5-Axis Top on SEB NEO or MAX Rest

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gear Review, New Product 3 Comments »
June 14th, 2020

Precise Neck Expansion with Gage Pin Die from Porter’s Precision

Porter's Precision Gauge Pin Die

Gage Pin Die System Product Review
by F-Class John
Consistent neck tension is often considered key to precision reloading. Neck tension (or interference as it’s more accurately known) helps ensure that the bullet is held with a known amount of pressure ensuring a consistent release each time. The more common expansion method employs expander mandrels. However, there is another lesser-known but very effective method — using GAGE PINS. This article reviews a unique Porter’s Precision Products Reloading Die designed to work with high-quality Gage Pins.

Gage Pins, long-time tool of machinists, are used to measure the size of a bored hole. They come in a variety of sizes and classes. In the reloading world, most people use ZZ Gage Pins that are sized .0005″ apart and are accurate to .0002″. The nice thing about Gage Pins is that you can order them in either a + or – size which means their accuracy errors on one side or the other so by ordering sets of + and – you can effectively make half-sizes. It’s this flexibility and great range of sizes that make Gage Pins so attractive.

For all the good that Gage Pins can do, until now there has not been a handy way to use them in a reloading press. Some folks tried using a bullet puller to hold the Gage Pin. But on many presses, this can be inconvenient because of long handles or unusual height requirements. As a result, I have mostly resorted to using conventional expander mandrels.

But now I have started using precision Gage Pins, thanks to a special new Gage Pin die system from Porter’s Precision Products in Texas. Not long ago I received a video from a friend showing someone using a custom die specifically made for holding Gage Pins. It turns out that Porter’s Precision Products out of Texas makes a custom Gage Pin Die product that consists of a die body, collet, and die cap. Porter’s Precision also sell a wide range of Gage Pins that have been nicely tapered to prevent damage to brass.

Porter's Precision Gauge Pin Die

Using the Porter’s Precision Gauge Pin Die for Expanding Necks
Using the Porter’s Precision Gage Pin die is pretty straight forward with one caveat. The instructions are very clear that the collet must be inserted at an angle into the threaded cap to help ensure it tightens correctly otherwise damage to the collet may occur. Once you do this a couple times it becomes very simple and shouldn’t be a concern, especially since there’s rarely a ready to actually remove the collet unless you’re changing from one caliber range to another.

With the cap and collet now threaded onto the die body, choose the Gage Pin you want to use, insert it into the collet and tighten the cap down. Once the pin is where you want it, use a set of wrenches to firmly tighten the cap down and you’re ready to go. Thread the die in your press and simply adjust the height to ensure the Gage Pin is being inserted fully into the neck of your brass. You want to make sure the entire neck is being expanded without damaging the rim by pushing it to far up inside the die.

General Thoughts — Gage Pins vs. Expander Mandrels
The actual use of Gage Pins on case neck doesn’t vary from expander mandrels. They both accomplish the same goal and which tool you choose really comes down to personal preference. Where Gage Pins really shine is in their durability and the vast selection of sizes/diameters/tolerances. You can even find long-wearing, reduced friction carbide Gage Pins, but they do cost more.

For me, using the Porter’s Precision Die allowed smooth operation and Porter’s Gage Pins are really well-made. This makes expanding a dream even without any lube in the necks (although I still recommend lube when using a steel Gage Pin, as opposed to carbide). If you’ve been in the market for a way to help expand your necks with enhanced consistency, give Gage Pins a try using the Porter’s Precision Gage Pin Die.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, New Product, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 4th, 2020

Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm MOA Scope Review

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescope

In the world of F-Class, PRS and other precision rifle disciplines, scope manufactures such as Nightforce, Kahles, and Vortex currently dominate the firing lines. However, Oregon-based Leupold has set out to change all that. Long known for premier hunting and military scopes, Leupold has set its sights squarely on the long-range competition market with the Mark 5HD series scopes. With these scopes (available in both MIL and MOA versions), Leupold now has a clear, repeatable, versatile scope in a wide range of magnifications, all the way up to 7-35X. We tested the Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm MOA second focal plane (SFP) optic. Though it features a very large 35mm (yes thirty-FIVE mm) main tube, it is one of the lightest scopes in its class — a bonus for guys struggling to make weight with their comp rifles.

Leupold Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm Field Test
Report by F-Class John
The Mark 5HD is a beast of a scope packed into a great-looking and sturdy form factor. While mounting and bore-sighting the scope, I immediately like the size, shape and feel of the elevation and windage knobs. The knobs have a solid, positive feel with distinct, lovely clicks every time they were turned. I was happy to see that Leupold designed the elevation to actually go under zero which can be helpful in some situations.

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescope

Scope Box Test in Tunnel
I ran a box test while shooting in a 100-yard tunnel going clockwise then counterclockwise around the corners. I found that the repeatability to be “spot on” with each 5 MOA adjustment landing me basically back on top of the previous shots. After five passes back and forth I was left with four ragged holes in each corner. That’s impressive.

The power ring became one of my favorite features, with its incredibly functional throw lever. Actually more of a throw knob, this allows for quick and smooth change of power. Combine these features with 100 MOA of vertical adjustment and 50 MOA of windage and you have just about everything need to achieve your goals.

Reticle Options for Mark 5HD 7-35x56mm — TMOA Plus on Test Scope

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescope

Leupold Mark 5HD MKV 7-35x56 scope optic riflescope f-class Second focal plane riflescopeLeupold currently offers two reticle options for its second focal plane (SFP) Mark 5HD 7-35X scope: the TMOA Plus (above) and the Impact-60 (right). The Impact-60 reticle features Xmas Tree-type vertical and horizontal hold-offs. My test scope had the TMOA Plus reticle, a much simpler design with an open aiming point in the center of the reticle for precise shot placement.

The TMOA Plus takes a little getting used to especially if you’re coming from a center dot or crosshair like I did. This is because there’s nothing dead center in your reticle, only four small hold squares at 3, 6, 9, 12 o’clock around center. You can use the aiming center to center up on a bullseye or any of the points around the center as hold off points. A side benefit is that the center set of squares are designed to perfectly fill the X ring at 1000 yards for easy aiming. I will say that once you get used to the reticle configuration it starts to become more intuitive and you can find different ways to use it when holding off for different conditions.

Leupold Mark 5HD Delivers Outstanding Brightness and Clarity
As I got behind the scope, I was surprised by the amount of light coming in through the large 35mm main tube. I tested the scope in the early morning just after dawn, during mid-day, and also at night. Where I shoot there is often a good amount of head-on light coming over the hills in the morning. With my current premium scope, I often see a faint glare (often seen as a haze or whiteness) that will ultimately resolve itself by mid-day but nonetheless bothers me in those early relays. The Mark 5 had NONE of this. The first time I thought it was a fluke but after countless mornings without the annoying haze I was convinced it was the glass. Leupold told me that the Mark 5HD’s superior haze- and glare-free morning performance was a function of how the lens coatings are applied.

While many top-end scopes have quality coatings, the method of applying coatings can produce micro flaws. Leupold explained that such flaws, under certain light conditions, can create a hazy view through the lens. Leupold has clearly mastered this process, achieving a visually clear scope no matter what direction the light comes from, even head-on.

HD Glass Eliminates Chromatic Aberration
Optical performance during mid-day was bright and clear. Importantly, I did notice the absence of chromatic aberration which I have experienced with some other popular-brand scopes. Chromatic aberration usually manifests as fringes of color around hard edges and can be seen even in some of the better scopes. This can affect your ability to see mirage, or to see details on a long-range target. With the Leupold Mark 5HD, chromatic aberration was noticeably absent.

The Leupold Mark 5HD also worked great during an evening shooting session. My club has night shooting for our 600-yard matches. We do it every Tuesday night, so I had lots of time to test the scope in the evening. Our club has lit targets, and even with the rest of the range dark, the targets were clear and bright, making it easy to aim precisely.

SUMMARY — Great Sharp, Clear Scope — More Magnification Would be Welcome
The majority of my testing was in F-Class and while I found nearly every aspect of the scope enjoyable, I did find myself wanting just a little more magnification. I have no doubt that in other disciplines such as PRS and ELR the 7-35X is more than enough and in fact perfectly suited. However, in the current F-Class world, 35X max magnification is on the low end, as other leading optics-makers offer scopes in the 50-60x range.

Overall, I really enjoyed this scope and think it’s going to become the favorite for a lot of shooters. It is easy to use and incredibly clear. Despite its beefy look it actually weighs less than many scopes in this category. Leupold says the Mark 5HD is “up to 20 ounces lighter than other scopes in its class”. That’s great for disciplines with tight weight limits. If you’re in the market for a new competition optic you should give one of the new Mark 5HD scopes a try.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Optics 6 Comments »
October 22nd, 2019

21st Century Hydro Press and Arbor Press Review with Videos

21st Century Shooting Hydro Press Hydraulic Arbor Press bullet seating

Hydro Press and Arbor Press from 21st Century Shooting

Gear Review by F-Class John
Inline dies, used with arbor presses, continue to dominate the world of precision reloading. While arbor presses have remained mostly unchanged, 21st Century Shooting offers the Hydro Bullet Seating Press, a radical departure from your average arbor press. If you are looking for improved “feel” and feedback on bullet seating pressure, you should definitely check out the Hydro Press. This design has been around for a while now but has remained unchallenged since its inception. The 21st Century Hydro Press still remains a category leader (and the choice of many top competitors) for good reason.

Arbor presses have traditionally worked by using a gear-driven ram operated with a rotating handle. This allows for a compact design but often lacks the tactile feel and smooth operation that many reloaders want. The 21st Century Hydro Bullet Seater works by using simple mechanical leverage coupled with a hydraulic pressure gauge to seat bullets in a smooth motion all while helping you keep track of seating pressures.

21st Century Shooting Hydro Press Hydraulic Arbor Press bullet seating

Editor: Many top shooters believe they can seat bullets with greater precision using the 21st Century Hydro Press. I personally get more consistent seating, which seems to improve accuracy and even help a bit with lowering ES. The Hydro Press gives you excellent feedback when seating bullets. That has helped me detect a case with too much neck tension, or a case that may have doughnut issues. When the gauge does something odd or spikes, you are alerted to a possible issue.

In this video, John Perkins of 21st Century Shooting Shows how the Hydro Seater functions.

You might be asking why or how simple a simple mechanical lever gives you an advantage over gear driven systems and the answer is simple, leverage. The Hydro Seater is equipped with a long arm that comes straight up and out from the front and uses a set of hinges that connect to the ram. This elongated arm provides lots of leverage allowing easy force modulation. This smoothly applies pressure to the seating die in one fluid motion. This transfer of power helps seat bullets smoothly in even the tightest of necks without any jerky or stuttering movements.

Working at the same time is a hydraulic pressure gauge using internal oil. I found this gauge was incredibly sensitive, accurate, and repeatable compared to spring-driven gauges. The Hydro gauge read-out really gives the user the chance to sort ammo by seating pressure should they choose. In my particular case I only use it to cull out noticeably high or low ones as “blow off” rounds and am perfectly happy if the rest fall within a given pressure range. The nice thing is that the press allows you to be as picky as you want.

21st Century Shooting Hydro Press Hydraulic Arbor Press bullet seatingCompact 21st Century Standard Arbor Press
Not to be outdone by its big brother, 21st Century offers a Standard Arbor Press as well, in both right-hand and left-hand versions. Affordably priced at $108.99, this small arbor press in made to the same exacting standards as the Hydro Seater and has some nice features of its own compared to other small arbors.

The large, knurled adjustment knob is one of my favorite features. It tightens securely, yet it allows for easy raising or lowering of the head unit without the need for hex wrenches. 21st Century’s basic arbor press also has a slightly canted lever arm which allows the user to apply pressure more easily and consistently compared to some other arbor presses. While this press is small enough to fit many range bags, it can be disassembled quickly with a single Allen wrench.

While I own the 21st Century Hydro Press for use at home, the Standard Arbor Press goes with me to out-of-town events, so I can adjust bullet seating depth at the match. I love using it for this purpose since the little press is so easy to transport, and then set up and use on the road. The seating action is smooth, and there is plenty of leverage.

Seating my bullets long before I travel gives me the ability to set them to adjust for any throat erosion that may occur. This also ensures my bullets are seated correctly, by eliminating any potential bullet weld or problems from the bullets accidentally bouncing in your luggage. I like the confidence of knowing that my bullets are properly seated before a big match, especially when it has been days or weeks since I loaded them.

SUMMARY — 21st Century Makes Great Bullet Seating Presses

Whether you need a premium bullet-seating Press such as the Hydro Bullet Seater or a basic, easy-to-transport Arbor Press, 21st Century Shooting has a excellent option for you. The Hydro Press offers outstanding bullet seating “feel” and consistency, with an ultra-smooth operation. The basic Arbor Press is well-made, compact, and also yields excellent results. Both these presses are built for a lifetime of use, using high-quality materials.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
October 2nd, 2019

$50 Teslong Borescope Works Great — Full Review with Videos

Teslong digital endoscope borescope windows android Mac video screen barrel inspection

Review by F-Class John
Do you know what the inside of your barrel looks like? Borescoping is a great way to diagnose a barrel problem or evaluate your cleaning regimen. Conventional optical borescopes work great but are expensive. Low-cost digitial borescopes have been on the market for a while, but many have have lacked the resolution necessary to get the job done properly. Enter the Teslong rifle borescope. We set out to see whether this new electro-optical borescope, priced at just $49.99, could do the job of conventional optical borescopes that might cost twenty times as much. We concluded that this little device is pretty amazing…

Teslong digital endoscope borescope windows android Mac video screen barrel inspection

Here is an actual video captured with the Teslong borescope owned by Forum member DMoran. This is the inside of a Howa factory .223 Rem Barrel:

Setting Up and Using the Teslong Borescope
The Teslong borescope comes in a handy, zippered case* with a mesh pouch on one side and an elastic strap on the other to help secure the cords. The unit employs two different cables. One is a flexible USB A/V cable which also thoughtfully comes with a USB/USB-C converter as well. The other piece is the mirrored borescope which is attached to a flexible but fairly rigid cable. The first thing I noticed is the generous length of the combined cable. Since the unit needs to be connected to a computer or other compatible device, the long cable allows you easily scope the entire length of your barrel while you keep your computer at a distance. I appreciated the way this works because it allowed me to continue cleaning my gun and checking the barrel without worrying about getting any cleaning supplies on my computer.

Teslong digital endoscope borescope windows android Mac video screen barrel inspection
NOTE: The Teslong borescope we purchased from Amazon in September came with the storage case shown. We’d been informed that some recent shipments have omitted the case.

Plug and Play — With Impressive Resolution and Image Quality
Once the unit is plugged into the computer all I had to do was open my photo program and the Teslong activated and displayed the bore image. For Windows at least, there are no Apps to install or anything else to do other than plug it in. Once it’s plugged in you simply slide the unit into your bore and start looking. The angled mirror along with the integrated light allows for easy viewing of the lands and grooves with little to no need for focal adjustment. I ran the scope down some newer barrels as well as one of my oldest, burned-out barrels and I was shocked at the detail and resolution I saw. Rust, copper, carbon and fire-cracking really popped out. If I was assessing barrel cleaning effectiveness, I could easily see how levels of fouling are being removed. I will use my Teslong to capture photos of my next barrel in brand new condition. Then I can reference those “Day 1″ images each time I clean that barrel.

As an owner of a Hawkeye and another digital borescope, both of which are fairly expensive, I have to admit I was skeptical of a borescope that costs a mere fifty bucks. But frankly, I was amazed at the image quality. Look for yourself. These are actual Teslong photos I took while inspecting one of my barrels.

Teslong digital endoscope borescope windows android Mac video screen barrel inspection

Teslong digital endoscope borescope windows android Mac video screen barrel inspection
NOTE: This is a fire-forming barrel that was not cleaned for 500 consecutive rounds.

Read Reviews from Teslong Borescope Buyers

Want to know what other Teslong owners think? You can read over five pages of Teslong Rifle Borescope comments and reviews by our Forum members in AccurateShooter’s Teslong Forum Thread.

Here are actual statements by Forum Members and Amazon purchasers

“Received mine last week, incredible quality for the price.” — PhilC

“There’s a couple of threads discussing these borescopes. It actually has the 45 degree mirror so that you can see the everything much better than with a standard endoscope.” — Mark W

“Most firearm borescopes are expensive… The Teslong Rifle Borescope is currently the best affordable borescope you can buy. With the Teslong Rifle Borescope I’m able to see the fire cracking in my rifle’s bore. I definitely recommend purchasing.” — Amazon Purchaser

“The price is right and the quality is first-rate. Plugs into USB-A or Micro USB port on PC, Mac, or Android (it doesn’t work with iPhones). Takes pics or HD video, stored using either native camera software or their Teslong Camera program. It has a very close focus necessary for a borescope. Other commercial ‘endoscopes’ may be the same diameter, but they have a 2- to 5-cm focal distance, making it difficult to use in a barrel and useless for 90 degree viewing except in, say, a 105mm howitzer. Probe diameter is 0.20 in/5.0 mm diameter and is ideal for use on .223/5.56. The removable 45° mirror allows viewing chamber walls and barrel lands/grooves up close and personal.” — Jim Schmidt

“I have tried it out on my 6.5mm and .223 rifles and it performed way beyond my expectations once you know how to focus it. Also, I have a Samsung Android and neither the USB plug nor the additional adapter would fit my phone (I thought). Teslong customer service reps told me that the plug for my phone is actually a part of the standard plug that comes with the unit. Heck, all I had to do was flip the male end of the plug down! Also, there is a light intensity adjustment on the little box-looking thing that is a part of the cable. It’s really small and easily overlooked.” — Barrbqn (Amazon)

F-Class Nationals Competitors Try the Teslong — And Then Place Orders
I gave the Teslong a pretty thorough testing on my bench at home, but I was also able to test it while attending the 2019 F-Class Nationals. It hooks up easily to a laptop (either Windows or Mac). It will also work with an Android tablet or smartphone (but not yet with an iPad or iPhone). I set the Teslong up for some fellow competitors to test. Each time someone stuck it in their barrel there was a collective gasp when they saw how clear and detailed the picture was. It wasn’t long before everyone in our housing unit wanted to try it.

Interestingly, one of the fellows in our housing pulled out the exact same unit. It turned out he loved it just as much as we all did. What really told me it was a keeper is when several of the people who also own Hawkeyes or other borescopes ordered a Teslong as soon as they were done playing with it. On a side note, we also ended up using it to look inside a seating die, inside a disassembled bolt, and under a refrigerator. I’m sure there are countless other uses for the Teslong.

CONCLUSION — Impressive Product — You Won’t Be Disappointed
The bottom line is that there isn’t anything on the market that can compete with this little gem anywhere near its $50 price point. I would say that if you’ve put off buying a borescope because of price or quality concerns this is the unit to buy — you won’t be disappointed. In the video below I show how to use the Teslong in your rifle. The Teslong Borescope is available right now for $49.99 on Amazon.

Software Functionality (Apps and/or Operating System)
Windows 7/8/10 or later (Desktop or Laptop Computer)
1. Use Windows Camera, the built-in Camera software of Windows10, only for Win10.
2. Use Teslong camera software or AmCap software

Android 4.4+ (Tablet or Smartphone)
Use Teslong Camera App, CameraFi, or USB Camera App

Mac OSX 10.6+ (Desktop or Laptop Computer)
Use Photo Booth or QuickTime Player

Notice: This Teslong model does NOT support iPhone and iPad! Teslong says: “WiFi version of the rifle borescope supporting iPhone and iPad is under development, and coming soon.”

Teslong vs. Conventional Optical Borescope (Such as Hawkeye)
The Teslong is not perfect. It does have some shortcomings when compared to a conventional optical borescope such as the Hawkeye. A borescope with a long, rigid metal shaft is easy to rotate within the bore. Therefore you can quickly inspect all 360 degrees inside the barrel. By contrast, the Teslong has a flexible cable that you have to twist to rotate the lens. That works, but it’s not as easy. Additionally, in a large-diameter bore, the 5mm-wide Teslong tends to flop to the low side. Again, with a Hawkeye, it is easy to maintain a constant distance to the bore wall.

Forum member Ned Ludd explains these considerations in a Forum post: “The [Teslong] is designed to fit into a .22 Cal bore. As such, there is quite a bit of play (lateral movement) of the camera head in a .30 Cal bore as you twist the cable to swivel it around 360 degrees. This is largely caused by the angle of the cable as you spin it, which is not perfectly concentric to the bore. This is not an issue of concern in a much more expensive borescope with a purpose-built swivel mechanism.”

That said, we still think the Teslong is a great device, well worth the money ($50 vs. $850+ or so for a Hawkeye). The cable rotation isn’t that big a deal, with a little practice. Overall, for regular visual inspections of your barrels, with easy photo/video capture, the Teslong is hard to beat for the price.

*The Teslong borescope we ordered from Amazon and tested came in the black, zippered case shown in the top-most photo. We have been informed that some Teslong units have recently shipped with NO case. We do not know if cases will be provided in the future.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Optics 13 Comments »
September 25th, 2019

F-Class National Championships in Raton, NM

f-class f-open f-tr f/tr national championship Raton NM new mexico whittington
Mid-range team day. Team jerseys and tons of additional gear adorned the firing line. Most of the top teams had headsets so they could communicate in private.

The 2019 F-Class National Championships took place September 16-22 at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. The Mid-Range Championships ran Sept. 16-18, while the Long-Range Championship finished the week, running Sept. 19-22. This year’s F-Class Championships were well-attended and memorable — as there were some of the most challenging winds many competitors had ever witnessed. Winds were strong, gusty, and shifty — with rapid and unpredictable direction and speed changes. Some seasoned, “world-class” F-TR and F-Open competitors dropped 20 points or more on a single relay — conditions were that bad at times.

F-Class Nationals Long Range Results | F-Class Nationals Mid-Range Results

Nonetheless, through skill, patience, and perseverance there were some outstanding performances at both the 2019 Mid-Range and Long-Range Nationals. Brian Bowling won the F-Open Long Range Championship with a 1573-78X score, ahead of second-place Keith Glasscock (1570-72X). Shiraz Balolia was F-Open High Senior, while Cindi Baudhuin was the top female shooter. In the other division, Jade Delcambre (Master Classification), won the F-TR Championship with a 1549-53X. Ian Klemm was a close second in F-TR with a 1548-44X. Skip Barkley was F-TR High Senior, while Jennifer Bondur was High Lady competitor.

f-class f-open f-tr f/tr national championship Raton NM new mexico whittington
F-Open “Top Shots”. Brian Bowling, F-Open LR National Champion, is the chap with the beard.

In LR Team Competition, Team Lapua-Borden-Brux won F-Open, scoring 1585-86X to beat runner-up Team Roadrunners by 9 points and a bunch of Xs. In the F-TR Team Match, Team USA Freedom (1555-58X) took first, ahead of second-place Team USA Independence (1546-55X).

Here are some quotes from competitors, posted in our Shooters Forum:

“Today was, in a word, brutal.” — Turbulent Turtle

“I was on relay 1 and I don’t think I have ever shot in these types of conditions! I came off the second string and had dropped 14 points and people were saying “good shooting”!! Playing ping pong with the 7 ring was common. There was no chasing the spotter as every shot was a new condition.” — Shiraz Balolia

“Some relays were very easy wind-wise, and some were monsters! Relay 1 today got hosed like I’ve never seen! 35 mph winds, gusty and switching had most the top shooters doing their best to just stay in paper!” — Falconpilot

f-class f-open f-tr f/tr national championship Raton NM new mexico whittington

f-class f-open f-tr f/tr national championship Raton NM new mexico whittington

Report from Mid-Range F-Class Nationals

The Mid-Range Nationals were closely fought also. Congratulations to Timothy Vaught, 2019 Mid-Range F-Open Champion, and to Luke Ramsey, 2019 Mid-Range F-TR Champion. Both victors took their titles by a single point, although Luke had a huge ‘X’-count edge, with 101 Xs compared to 77 Xs for runner-up Tracy Hogg. Here are Top Five Mid-Range individual Results.

Mid-Range F-OPEN Top 5
TIMOTHY VAUGHT 1794-119X NAT’L CHAMPION
TOD HENDRICKS 1793-111X SILVER
DAVID GOSNELL 1789-103X BRONZE
PATRICK SCULLY 1789-99X 2ND BRONZE
JOHN MYERS 1787-107X 3RD BRONZE
Mid-Range F-TR Top 5
LUKE RAMSEY 1784-101X NAT’L CHAMPION
TRACY HOGG 1783-77X SILVER
RANDY LITTLETON 1781-100X BRONZE
ALLEN TAMPKE 1779-88X 2ND BRONZE
JEREMY NEWELL 1779-79X 3RD BRONZE

In the Mid-Range Team Competition, Team Roadrunners, coached by Scott Harris, won the F-Open Team Division (1592-87X), edging Team Berger-Bartlein-SEB-Kelbly (1591-94X) by one point. The winning F-TR Mid-Range Team was Team Independence (1585-88X), coached by past Nat’l Champ James Crofts. Team Texas (1581-85X) finished second in the Mid-Range F-TR event.

The F-Class Nationals Experience — Report from Raton

By John Masek (aka F-Class John, AccurateShooter Weekly Deals Editor)

“The winds were by far the most challenging I have ever encountered, but I learned so much from that. I definitely came home a better shooter after the 2019 Nationals.”

Four of us from Tri-County Gun Club in Sherwood, Oregon loaded up and headed down to shoot two weeks of Spirit of America (SOA) plus the F-Class Mid-Range and Long Range Nationals. The first week of SOA was pretty straight-forward although the nearly 7,000-foot altitude had an immediate effect on our bodies, forcing us to hydrate like never before. We were going through upwards of 10 bottles a day of water and sports drinks to quench our thirst.

f-class f-open f-tr f/tr national championship Raton NM new mexico whittington
Here is a view of the 1000-yard range seen from the Founders Cabins up on the opposing hill. Raton is truly one of the most spectacular places you could ever shoot a match like this.

SOA is a Fullbore match so you shoot two to a mound and only have 45 seconds to take a shot. That requires you to make quick decisions based on ever changing conditions. I was fortunate enough to shoot for two days with Scott Harris who was an amazing partner. Scott even shared some of his amazing wind-calling wisdom with me. I was fortunate enough to win a couple medals during SOA and missed out on a second gold because of a stupid mistake — cross-firing on a target. That was heartbreaking to say the least. The final day of SOA brought whipping, switchy winds that played havoc with the last Long Range match and foreshadowed what what to come the following week.

Mid-Range started on Sunday and while it wasn’t a cakewalk, most shooters managed to work their way through the conditions. Raton has a funny way of keeping most everyone humbled one way or another. But nothing could prepare us for what was coming.

f-class f-open f-tr f/tr national championship Raton NM new mexico whittington
Here is a panorama image of the firing line for the start of the Mid-Range Nationals.

Long Range Nationals started on Thursday and everything seemed pretty normal. The ace shooters worked their way to the top as you would expect and we all went to bed expecting a normal day to follow, we had no idea what was in store for us. Friday started like any other day and the first relay went off without a hitch but as it ended we noticed the weather was starting to turn. As I headed to the pits the winds picked up and flags began going every which way. By the time targets went up for live fire we knew something bad was about to happen. Sighter shots came down and while not unusual to see low scoring shots for sighters, there were a lot of them. This was a 2 + 20 string so as soon as the two sighters were done we knew record shots were coming. When they did points started dropping like prices on Black Friday.

We saw people ping-ponging 7s, a few misses and everything in between. After two relays the dust settled and it was our turn to line up and shoot. During the switch over at the buses everyone was shaking their heads in disbelief of what happened to them and somehow seemed almost relieved to be heading to the pits. The conditions only got worse and by the end of the third relay people were rejoicing if they dropped anything less than 20 points.

Some of the biggest names in the game had dropped in excess of 20 points and there were reports of some people dropping as many as 40-50 points. Just imagine how bad the conditions had to be for the top 93 High Masters in the country to be dropping that many points. By the end of the day people we in stunned disbelief and many were considering getting shirts made that said “I survived Raton 2019″.

f-class f-open f-tr f/tr national championship Raton NM new mexico whittington
Every evening we would complete our nightly ritual of pushing bullets back. We initially loaded all our ammo set to the lands and then pushed the bullets back based on our testing each night.

Watching Brian Bowling Shoot To Victory in F-Open
As an F-Open shooter I was fortunate enough to be shooting a few lanes down from Brian Bowling and he was on fire all three days and was a pleasure to watch. Even in the worst of conditions he managed to skillfully hunt and peck his way to some amazing scores which led to him winning the National Championship. Keith Glasscock and David Christian gave a good chase over the three days but came up just a little short, earning Silver and Bronze places respectively.

Success for the Boys from Oregon
Below are me and my buddies from Oregon (L to R: Devin Wiggett, David Christian, Bill Brown, John Masek). As a group we won a total of 34 medals and trophies during the Spirit of America and the Nationals. Overall, the eight days of Nationals included some the most amazing shooting I’ve experienced, in some of the most scenic terrain in the country. I think I speak for many when I say that no matter how good or bad the shooting was, there was always a chance to learn and you couldn’t help but walk away a better shooter in the end.

f-class f-open f-tr f/tr national championship Raton NM new mexico whittington

Headed Home — Securely Packed
f-class f-open f-tr f/tr national championship Raton NM new mexico whittington

Q: How do you transport an F-Open Rifle, spotting scope, tripods, stand and lots of gear?
A: Get yourself some very big, sturdy cases, with lots of padding.

Here is my load-out for Raton. For the match I brought one stock and TWO complete barreled actions, with Kahles scopes fitted on each. I also had a separate large square case for my SEB NEO front rest, 21st Century Arbor Press, and 450 rounds of pre-loaded ammo.

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