August 12th, 2017

Caldwell Target Cam — Real World Reviews by Forum Members

caldwell long range target cam system forum accurateshooter.com review

We’ve used a variety of target cam systems — When you get a good one, they are a great tool for training and load development, and just fun shooting.

Over the past five years we’ve tested many target cam systems. To be frank, some have been disappointing, but we think the Caldwell Target Cam System works well. A number of our Forum members have purchased this system and the reviews have been generally quite positive — image quality is good, reception is good, software is good, and storage cases work well. The only complaint is that the flexible camera arm can droop with time. READ Target Cam Forum Reviews.

Caldwell Target Cam Review by Nando-AS
“I have been using the Caldwell camera for over a year and it works great for me in every respect. I use it mainly at 600 yards, but I have also used it at 1000 yards successfully. In my case, as opposed to the experience posted by Snakepit (see below), the flexible arm that supports the camera is as tight as when it was brand new. The only thing that has broken so far is the plastic top on one of the two stakes supplied to steady the tripods to the ground. Instead of the stakes, I now use a couple of heavy shooting bags. I just place one bag over one of the legs of the tripod, and that is good enough.”

Target Cam Output with camera placed 600 yards from shooter:
caldwell long range target cam system forum accurateshooter.com review

Target Cam view at 600 yards: Blue ring is three inches, outer circle is six inches. I use a Samsung Tablet to display the image. I zoom in when actually shooting — so each target fills the screen.

Caldwell Target Cam Review by Shoot4Fun
“Caldwell Target Camera owner here. It comes neatly packed in a soft case and even has two stands for the camera/transmitter and the receiver units. I have only used it to 500 yards though they do call it a one-mile system. The resolution is very good and it has some neat features for capturing and labeling your targets. I did buy two Tallantcell USB packs to power it but it has internal batteries as well. The App works with my iPad or my iPhone and I’m sure there is an Android version too. I see them on sale from time to time at under $375 complete.”

Caldwell Target Cam Review by SnakePit
“I have the Caldwell Target Camera system and it works great. I mainly use it at 600 yards and the transmitter has enough power that I do not have to use the receiver at the bench for my tablet or cell phone. But Caldwell needs to do something with the flexible arm that holds the camera to the tripod. It becomes loose after a while and the camera wants to droop down. Caldwell sent me a replacement flexible arm but it is starting to have the same problem. You can get it to work when this happens but it can be a hassle. Other than that it is a great system for the price and I would buy another one.”

Important Features of a Target Cam System
Key qualities you’ll want in a target cam system are: ease of set-up, good video resolution, effective range (good signal quality/strength), good battery run-time, and the ability to use WiFi-enabled devices for viewing. Caldwell’s new Long-Range Target Camera offers all these things, making it an impressive new product for the price — $359.95 at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Some other target cam systems on the market cost twice as much, yet lack key features of the Caldwell system.

Watch Video, Record Video, Capture Stills, Measure Group Size and more…
The Caldwell LR Target Camera is very versatile, allowing you to both watch and record video and/or stills on any WiFi-enabled device. A free iOS/Android Mobile App allows you to record video, save still pictures, add notes, calculate group size, and save session info. This video shows the complete set-up process and how to use the free App. It shows actual Target Cam output on a WiFi-enabled tablet:

Caldwell Ballistic Precision LR Target Camera

    Caldwell LR Target Camera Features:
    — High Definition (720p) camera delivers sharp image with good detail.
    — WiFi output is compatible with Android, iPhone and most tablets.
    — System can stream live HD video, record video, and save still images.
    — Camera, transmitter, and receiver are contained in sturdy, waterproof housings.
    — Breaks down into custom-fitted storage case for easy transport.
    — Rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries run system for up to 6 hours continuously.
    — External power jack for more permanent installation.
    — Target Camera Mobile App for iOS and Android devices.
    — Includes two collapsible, tripod-base Antenna/router stands.
    — Positionable, spring-loaded camera clamp.

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May 25th, 2017

Protective Eyewear for Shooters — What You Need to Know

Eyewear Safety ANSI Z97 Lucky Gunner Test Impact Pellet Glasses

If you’re one of those folks who doesn’t wear eye protection, you need to check out the LuckyGunner Labs Eye Protection Test. For those who DO wear safety glasses — don’t assume that everything is OK. Just because you purchased name-brand “safety glasses” doesn’t mean that you are getting truly effective protection. In fact, many forms of protective eyewear sold today are flimsy, or poorly made. Consequently, they won’t stop even low-energy, slow-velocity fragments.

CLICK HERE to Read Complete Eyewear Test Report by LuckyGunner Labs.

Lucky gunner eyewear testTwo years ago, LuckyGunner Labs conducted very extensive field tests of 28 types of eyewear, ranging in price from $7 to $220. Remarkably, some of the most expensive safety eyewear performed no better than $10 items. Many of the products failed shockingly — with the lenses coming right out of the frames when hit with pellets. LuckyGunner recorded these kind of failures even with ANSI Z87-“approved” eyewear. The reason is that the Z87 test is not tough enough: “The basic ANSI standard is referred to as Z87, and you’ll see this marked in a number of locations on most eye protection marketed to shooters. However, the Z87 impact standard involves a .25″ steel ball traveling at 150 fps — this is fine for protecting eyes from debris that might fall or be thrown, but is not extremely relevant to shooters, who are dealing with objects traveling at much higher velocities.”

Standard Impact speed Caliber/Size
ANSI Z87.1-2003
High Velocity
150 feet/second
45 meters/second
0.25″ diameter steel ball
(25 caliber)
Mil-PRF-31013
Vo ballistic test
640-660 feet/second
195 meters/second
0.15 inch diameter steel projectile (15 caliber)

The testers recommend you select eyewear that meets military specification (above and beyond ANSI Z87). The MIL-PRF-31013 Standard covers projectiles up to 650 feet per second. This is much more stringent. Additionally, you want to replace often-used protective eyewear every year or so. Long-term exposure to UV radiation can weaken polycarbonate and lessen its ability to withstand impacts.

SUMMARY — What to Look for in Protective Eyewear

THE GOOD — Eyewear Protects Against Direct Hit with .22 Short Bullet
APEL Revision Sawfly eyewear was shot with a .22 Short, pushing a 29 grain bullet at 710 fps. That’s not powerful by modern firearm standards, but this might be fairly representative of a ricochet bullet fragment. The Sawfly lens stopped this 29gr bullet with minimal damage to the cheek area.

Lucky gunner eyewear test
THE BAD — Remington Eyewear Lenses Separate. Right Lens Enters Eye Socket
The most gruesome example was the cheap Remington eyewear which shed both lenses back towards the eyes, one of which embedded itself into the eye socket. The real-world implications of this action are disturbing to say the least.

Lucky gunner eyewear test

THE UGLY — Prescription Glasses Failed Miserably
Many ranges don’t see any need for protective eyewear beyond prescription glasses. However, most prescription lenses offer little if any protection. If the prescription lenses are glass, this can create more problems. As shown below, these prescription glasses offered no ballistic protection, and, in fact, proved more dangerous to the eyes due to the flying glass shards.

Lucky gunner eyewear test

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Results Chart, Video Clips, and Photos copyright Luckygunner.com.

Summary and Conclusions:
For faster-moving projectiles such as ricochet fragments, you need high quality, tested eye protection. LuckyGunner recommends eyewear with a single (one-piece) lens for any activity where your face might be struck by small, fast-moving objects. Individual lenses detach from the frames once a certain level of force is reached, and they are driven back into the eye sockets, where considerable damage may be done. There are good examples of protective eyewear with two separate lenses, but a broad, one-piece lens distributes force much better.

Lucky gunner eyewear testA wide, comfortable, and preferably soft rubber nosepiece is critical. Along with good “arms”, this will serve to keep the eye protection in place and will also reduce the chances of the lens being driven down or back into the face with enough force to damage the orbital bones.

A frame that connects across the top of the lens, not individual arms which attach to the outside corners of the lens, is recommended. This will reduce the chances of the lens detaching from the frame under impact (it’s still possible, just less likely). Some types of eye protection actually use the frame to absorb impact and distribute force.

NOTE: Andrew, the author of the LuckyGunner Eyewear report, was a former Navy Corpsman. Accordingly, he is familiar with health and safety matters.

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April 12th, 2016

Bart Goes High-Tech: LabRadar at a Benchrest Match

Bart Sauter Ray Gross LabRadar Benchrest Review Chronograph Bench tripod

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

LabRadar Report by Bart Sauter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LabRadar Chronograph Bart Sauter

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March 19th, 2016

Walther PPS M2 — Small Gun, Big Performance

Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mm

Jay Christopherson is AccurateShooter.com’s systems administrator — he keeps the servers up and running. Jay is also a very talented rifle shooter who holds a carry permit. Recently, Jay acquired a Walther PPS M2, a compact, defensive carry pistol. Here Jay reviews that pistol, which is now his “go-to” handgun when he chooses to carry a firearm pursuant to his CCW permit.

The Walther PPS M2, Single-stack 9mm is a Comfortable, Reliable Everyday Carry Pistol.
Looking for a new carry pistol in a single-stack, 9mm configuration, I tested out the slim (1″-wide) Walther PPS M2, with three different magazine capacities. For someone who has carried a 5″-barreled, .45 ACP model 1911 for the last few years, the switch to a single-stack 9mm was a big change — but a welcome one in terms of weight and comfort. I like my big 1911, but the PPS M2 gives me the feeling that if it’s needed, it’ll be a safe, effective, and reliable option. I still love my 1911, but when it comes to carry, the 1911 will stay in the safe while I “pack” the smaller, lighter PPS.

Click Image for Large View of Pistol Specifications Sheet
Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mm

Like many of AccurateShooter.com’s readers, I have a permit to carry a concealed firearm and I use the privilege regularly. I’m no great shakes with a pistol, having focused most of my efforts on long-range rifle shooting, but I do spend enough time at the pistol range to ensure that I am familiar with my weapon and comfortable shooting it out to ranges where I might encounter a situation requiring its use.

Part of being responsible is selecting a carry weapon that you can be comfortable with, both using and carrying. Now, I’ll admit that I’ve focused a lot on the former, but not as much on the latter. I’m an unabashed fan of John M. Browning’s crowning (in my opinion) achievement, the Colt .45 ACP M1911. My current 1911, with a 5” barrel, is not the easiest pistol in the world to carry comfortably. While I love shooting it, carrying it is another situation altogether. I’ve tried many different configurations, but found myself carrying it less and less.

And so, I decided that I needed to enter the world of the 9mm single stack for a carry weapon. There are a lot of reasons why I chose to go that direction, but it’s a highly subjective and personal subject (some of the arguments out there are pretty heated), so I won’t bore you with mine. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty of available information for you to make an informed decision. To help with testing, Walther Arms was kind enough to provide a new Walther PPS M2, in 9mm, for evaluation.

Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mm

Three Magazine Options
Along with the PPS M2, Walther provided three magazines — the 5-round standard mag plus 6-round and 7-round extended magazines. I tried all three magazines, both for carry/fit, and at the range to see if they would affect my ability to shoot the pistol. For reference my hands are roughly 9.25″ wide — according to the Internet, the average hand size for a male is 7.44″, so I guess I’ve got larger than average hands. The shortest magazine was a bit too short for me to grip comfortably — my pinky finger had zero engagement and my two-hand grip suffered for it. The middle magazine let my pinky engage the grip partially, but was still not ideal. The longest magazine fit perfectly. My guess is that if your hand is in the average range, the middle magazine will work for you. For women, I think the smallest grip will work nicely. My wife has an average hand span for females and thought that the smallest grip felt pretty natural for her.

The trigger is fair — the takeup is smooth, the trigger breaks relatively cleanly and predictably, but a rough spot on the Glock-style trigger safety lever wore against my finger, leaving it feeling a bit raw. It’s fairly minor and something that can easily be resolved. And even with my larger fingers, I still had no problem with trigger guard clearance. Disassembly is fairly easy, though the take-down lever takes some effort to work. [Editor — on the PPS M2 I tried at SHOT Show, the small slide-stop lever was hard to manipulate.]

After having carried my 1911 around quite a bit, I found the Walther PPS M2 to be much lighter and easier to carry (I use a Clinger holster). I rarely notice it, even when getting into and out of a car. With the PPS M2 it’s easy to carry without “printing”, at least with the appendix carry method I prefer.

General Function and Accuracy Testing
I took the pistol down to the range to test it out and get a feel for it. I bought a variety of 115 grain FMJ ammunition to test including PMC and Blazer brass-cased 9mm. I ran about 400 rounds through the little Walther. None of the ammo experienced any sort of issue and the pistol never failed to perform flawlessly. With 400 rounds through the PPS M2 cleanly, I am confident to carry the PPS M2 when I feel the need to carry.

I set up targets at 15 feet and 30 feet — remembering that I’m looking for a personal defense/carry pistol and that I don’t practice for competition! At both ranges, shooting all three magazines, I had no problems putting together groups that are more than accurate enough for “center mass”.

Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mm

Walther PPS M2 pistol carry firearm handgun test review 9mmDuring a second testing session, I shot the pistol for accuracy with my forearms rested on sandbags. The results were impressive. Above is a seven-shot (7-shot) group at 10 yards (30 feet) with the CCI Blazer Brass ammo. At right is a group shot at 5 yards (15 feet), forearms rested, with the PMC ammo. The one shot that went up outside the group was probably me, the shooter. Remember this is a very small, light-weight pistol that does have some muzzle flip. I’ve seen other tests done with the Walther PPS M2, at longer ranges in the hands of skilled shooters and producing much cleaner groups.

Summary — Walther PPS M2 is a Keeper
Overall, I really like the 9mm single stack Walther PPS M2. It’s a very handy, manageable pistol. After testing the gun for AccurateShooter.com I decided to purchase the pistol and keep it. That’s the ultimate vote of confidence. This gun shoots comfortably, accurately and reliably, and most of all, the PPS M2 is comfortable to carry. When I choose to carry, should I ever need a firearm, I have every confidence in the Walther PPS M2.

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