June 11th, 2018

What You Need to Get Started in PRS Competition

PRS Precison Rifle Series getting started equipment list

Report by Craig Arnzen, Area419.com
It’s easy to think about shooting your first precision rifle match and worry about all of the gear and trinkets that you may need to make it through. In reality, the old rules apply — keep it simple.

We wanted to put together for you a no-nonsense list of the Top Five Gear Items you need for your first match. This list focuses on the “must-have” items you’ll need for PRS-Style competitions.

PRS Precison Rifle Series getting started equipment list support bag dope scope

1. A Rifle (That is Reliable and Sub-MOA Accurate)

Your rifle is the most obvious piece of kit, but we can give you a little more information. Most of the guys you’ll find out there are shooting 6.5 Creedmoor. Yeah, there are guys using .308 Wins and 6mm Dashers, but the 6.5 Creedmoor makes up more than half of the rounds shot in PRS competition, when looking at both national and club matches. Your comp rig needs to be mag-fed and shoot better than 1 MOA. It DOESN’T need to be better than 0.5 MOA (half-MOA). With most targets being 2-3 MOA in size, a half-MOA gun will do just fine. More accuracy is better of course, but you don’t need an exotic quarter-MOA rig to win.

[Editor’s NOTE: PRS does offer a Gas Gun division, but most guys start out with a bolt-action rifle, which will be less maintenance-intensive than an AR-platform rig.]

PRS Precison Rifle Series getting started equipment list support bag dope scope

Muzzle brakes, like our Area 419 Hellfire, are also very popular as much of the PRS game is recoil management. If you can’t see your misses, you’re sure to have more of them.

The rifle also needs an optic with repeatable clicks and a reticle with Mil- or MOA-based hashmarks. The clicks can be either Mil system or MOA system (Mil is more common), so long as the click values match the reticle (i.e. you don’t want 1/4-moa clicks with a Mil-marked reticle). How much power do you need? Anything that zooms in the mid-teens will suffice. I could shoot a match with a fixed 12X scope and not feel disadvantaged. We love the Kahles K624i, if you’re looking for a suggestion.

Oh, and you’ll want a bipod — but the choice in bipod deserves a whole separate article by itself. Nothing wrong with starting out with a Harris swivel. Then you might look at different bipods on other competitors’ rifles for comparison.

2. Ammunition — Factory Ammo and Hand-loads

Good ammo is important, but as we discuss above, 0.5 MOA is good enough. Also, speed is great but it matters FAR less than you’d think. Drop can be calculated with precision, and distances are normally known, so a slightly flatter trajectory doesn’t really matter. Wind matters, but the difference you’ll find when eeking out that last 50 fps is very, very small.

PRS Precison Rifle Series getting started equipment list support bag dope ammo ammunition
Federal, Hornady, and Prime all make quality ammo that is widely used by shooters from local to national matches. Facebook photo by CReece.

Precision Handloads
If you want to run down the rabbit hole of finding that perfect ammo that shoots in the “twos” (0.2 MOA), get yourself an AutoTrickler and some of our billet aluminum accessories — you’ll love the setup.

3. A Versatile Support Bag

There are countless bag options. But there is ONE bag you’ll see everywhere, and for good reason. The Game-Changer from Armageddon Gear is aptly named. Many shooters use it as a barricade bag as well as a rear bag, meaning a guy could get away with using only this bag for an entire match. If you need another bag when you get there, ask someone in your squad, they’ll share. I promise.

PRS Precison Rifle Series getting started equipment list support bag Gamechanger Game-changer Armageddon Gear dope scope

4. DOPE (Reliable Ballistics Info)

We’re not talking the kind of Dope you may find in a match outside Denver — we are talking about the kind that feeds you ballistic solutions. The software-enabled Kestrel is a very common item on the range, but you’ll also see lots of guys using mobile Apps such as Shooter or Applied Ballistics Mobile, and they have great results.

It’s also handy to have an armband or an item like the Hawk Hill data card holder for stages with various targets at differing ranges. Once the RO says “engage” and your mind stops working, you’ll appreciate having it written down.

5. Hearing Protection

PRS Competitors shoot with brakes and sometimes in enclosed spaces. That’s why you need serious hearing protection. We recommend NRR 33 earplugs, doubled up with Electronic Muffs to hear range commands. I have used the 33 dB NRR Mack’s foamies at matches for most of the last year, and the Howard Leight NRR 33 Max-1s are also very effective. The budget-priced (under $50) Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic muffs work well, but premium electronic muffs may be more comfortable.

PRS Precison Rifle Series getting started equipment list support bag Gamechanger Game-changer Armageddon Gear dope scope

Growing in popularity are high-tech, in-ear digital units like the ESP Stealth. I have a set of linked ESP Steaths on the way and hope to evaluate them soon. These are supposed to be very good, but the ESP Stealths cost $2100.00 per pair!

Think we missed something? Have more questions? Let us know.

Contact: Team@Area419.com

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Shooting Skills, Tactical 6 Comments »
April 20th, 2018

Don’t Go Deaf — Understand Risks of Concussive Hearing Loss

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

Did you know you can damage your hearing even if you are wearing the best hearing protection available? Well, have you ever heard of concussion (or concussive) hearing loss? There is no amount of anything you can put in or over your ears to protect you from concussion loss. My audiologist explained to me the concussion comes through the facial bone structure and damages the ear’s tiny bones.

Editor’s NOTE: This may be the most important tech article we’ve run all year. It explains how you can suffer inner ear damage and hearing loss even if you use earplugs or muffs. Read that again — hearing loss even with typical hearing protection. This kind of concussive hearing loss can result from shooting with muzzle brakes in confined spaces. Using a suppressor (aka sound moderator) can reduce the risk of concussive hearing loss. You may not have the ability to use a suppressor, but this article explains how you should be more mindful of your hearing.

Why I Use a Suppressor (Preventing Concussive Hearing Loss)

Report by Mark Kuczka, Accurate Ordnance

It must have been the road noise. I thought I was having a hard time hearing my five year old daughter speaking to me on my cell phone because of the road noise. That old SUV was kind of loud inside. Until I switched the phone to my left ear and suddenly I could hear her just fine. Wait, what just happened? I moved the phone back to the right ear and there was that muffled voice again. That’s when I knew I had a problem.

“What?” Lots of us in the shooting community have lost some hearing along the way due to our time on the range or in the field. Those of us who hunt have certainly discharged a firearm or three without ear protection and without concern for our hearing. After all, it’s just one shot, right? How much can it hurt?

Actually, that one shot DOES hurt your hearing. Any sound over 140 dB is immediate hearing loss. It just happens to be killing a small amount of our hearing so most of us continued the practice without a care. Living with hearing loss now makes me wish I could go back 20 years and better protect my hearing. I can’t change what I did in the past, but going forward I can certainly do the most to protect the hearing I still have.

I decided to shoot about a year’s worth of matches with just braked rifles. That year is when I lost significant hearing in my right ear and some in the left. I’ve gone back to shooting only suppressed rifles whenever possible.

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

I shot my first suppressed firearm, a .22 LR pistol, in 2003. After a few rounds I wondered why everyone (who can do so legally) didn’t shoot suppressed? No one drives without a muffler. Why would you? Point is I immediately appreciated the hearing protection benefits of suppressors. That passion got me into the business of selling suppressors and it wasn’t long before I was one of the biggest retailers for companies like AAC, SWR, SilencerCo, Ops Inc. and others. [Editor: The author’s business, Accurate Ordnance, no longer sells suppressors. So this article is NOT a sales pitch. Mark just wanted to share his experience so others might protect their hearing.]

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

Did you know you can damage your hearing even if you are wearing the best hearing protection available? You’ve heard guys say, “I’ll wear plugs and muffs, so I’ll be just fine shooting that .50 BMG!” Well, ever heard of concussion (or concussive) hearing loss? Yeah, I hadn’t either. I’ll sum it up the way the last audiologist I spoke with about my hearing loss did – there is no amount of anything you can put in or over your ears to protect you from concussion loss.

A hand grenade went off right next to a buddy of mine. He lost some hearing as a result of the blast. No one is really surprised by that. I mean it is an EXPLOSION. It’s loud. Duh. But I had no idea the blast from a muzzle brake could basically hurt my hearing the same way. The doctor explained to me the concussion comes through the facial bone structure and damages the ear’s tiny bones. Same thing as what can happen through any TBI (traumatic brain injury).

Hearing loss diagram inner ear

I’ve owned quite a few different suppressors over the years and have shot just about everything out there. I’m still as big a fan as ever. However, I wanted to see if using a suppressor in PRS (Precision Rifle Series) and similar matches was actually a hindrance. Some people feel the added length and weight of a suppressor can make getting into some shooting positions slower or problematic. So I decided to shoot about a year with a muzzle brake instead of a suppressor. I sure regret that decision…

Getting Headaches at PRS Matches Was Warning Sign
It is fairly common in PRS matches to shoot through pipes, vehicles, inside “shoot houses” and around other obstacles that echo a rifle’s blast. I noticed I was starting to get headaches about halfway through a day of PRS match shooting. I knew the issue wasn’t hydration. I mean look, if you are peeing every other stage down at the amazing CORE range facility in mid-summer you are NOT dehydrated. So, what was causing the headaches? It wasn’t until I went back to shooting suppressed in those same environments that it became clear the little mini concussions from that muzzle brake was causing my headaches. And of course the doctors confirmed that.

Let me stop here and say I am NOT anti-brake. Muzzle brakes are useful tools and for some situations are the best tools. An aggressive brake can be more effective at reducing recoil than a good suppressor. A suppressor does add some recoil reduction, just not as much as most quality brakes. Don’t forget to factor other variables, such as caliber and rifle weight, into the equation though. For example, a 15-lb 6mm Creedmoor rifle doesn’t need much recoil reduction in the first place.

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

So, I started shooting matches long before the PRS even existed and always shot suppressed in those days. The suppressors made communication with a partner or RO easier and it was just a more pleasant shooting experience. On the recommendations of a few people I decided to shoot about a year’s worth of matches with just braked rifles. That year is when I lost significant hearing in my right ear and some in the left. I’ve gone back to shooting only suppressed rifles whenever possible and especially at matches. I’ve only once or twice found the extra length of the suppressor made it a little more inconvenient to run a stage, but not by much. Trust me, the points I missed were not because I took two extra seconds getting the muzzle in a port or window.

My hearing is something I value and will do everything to protect from this point forward. You’ll never again see me on a match field with an un-suppressed rifle. To me the minimal gains of running a braked rifle aren’t worth losing more hearing.

Choosing a Suppressor — What to Consider

Okay, so I have hearing loss that I can’t get back and realize I need to go back to shooting matches with a suppressor. But which one? I’ll still be shooting matches with custom fit plugs so I just need something to add a little recoil reduction and kill that concussion.

At our shop, Accurate Ordnance, we generally recommend direct-thread suppressor solutions to our customers. The main reason for that is all the problems we’ve seen with other fast-attach muzzle devices. It doesn’t take much tolerance stacking to result in accuracy issues. There are a few exceptions for us and the Rugged Suppressors products top the list. Since the Razor 762 uses a muzzle brake adapter on the rifle to attach the suppressor, I can use the same suppressor on my .223 Rem training rifle. My primary match rifles are chambered in 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor and the muzzle threads on those is a standard 5/8×24. My .223 Rem training rifle has .5×28 threads on the muzzle, which is standard for that caliber. Thus, the muzzle adapter interface lets me share the suppressors between all the rifles. And on that .223 Rem training rifle I have the option of switching the end cap on any of the Rugged products to a .223 aperture size, which makes the suppressors slightly more sound efficient (meaning quieter).

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Tactical, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
December 28th, 2017

Don’t Read This Article (If You Want to Become Deaf Someday)

Hearing Protection DB sound level ear plug muff

“Science tells us that exposure to continuous noise of 85 dB for eight hours is enough to cause permanent hearing loss, and worse, spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly.”
Source: NRA Blog.

The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”

Nobody wants to go deaf. But we often see shooters without effective hearing protection when they are walking around a few yards behind the firing line. That’s bad — even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. You MUST use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs.

Sound Levels for Common Noises:

9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB

Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB

.22 LR pistol: 134 dB

Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB

Noisy Nightclub: 110 db

Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db

Power Lawnmower: 95 dB

Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)

Ringing Telephone: 80 dB

Normal conversation: 60 dB

The Myth of the “Quiet” .22 LR
The NRA Blog notes that “many rimfire shooters, particularly those using the beloved .22 Long Rifle cartridge, argue that the small .22 LR caliber doesn’t produce enough sound to damage your hearing”. So, is that really true … or is it a myth?

In fact, a .22 LR can be much louder than you think — a .22 LR pistol can produce sound levels of 134 dB. That’s well above the normal human pain threshhold.

hearing protection ear muffs NRR earplugs osha deafness

Highest Protection NRR 34dB-Rated Ear Muffs

AccurateShooter Deals of Week NRR 34 muffs ear protection 34dB

For under $20.00 you can buy quality ANSI-approved muffs with a 34dB Noise Reduction Rating — the best you can get. Chose the Bright Yellow TR Industrial Muffs at $18.37, or the dark green Walker EXT Range Muffs for $12.11. Both products have padded head-bands which retract. Another dual-shell design with a 34dB NRR rating is the new FNova Muffs priced at just $12.99.

Howard Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, Just $7.50 for 50 Pairs.

accurateshooter.com review Max-1 Howard Leight ear plugs

20 Pairs
50 Pairs

These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 2-3 days a week. This is a very good price for a bulk pack of 50 pairs. And if you act soon, you can get free shipping to boot.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
November 13th, 2017

Bargain Finder 112: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. Dick’s Sporting Goods — Black Friday Gun Safe Sale

Black Friday Gun Safe Deal Dicks sporting goods

Need a Gun Safe? Head down to Dick’s Sporting Goods on Black Friday (11/25/2017). The giant, 64-gun Stack-On Sentinel vault will be marked down from $1499.99 to $699.98, a $800 savings, and a killer deal on a BIG vault! A medium-sized 24-gun safe will sell for just $399.98 — $300 off the regular price. NOTE, if you cannot wait until Black Friday, you can still save with pre-Black Friday sale pricing right now. You’ll pay more than on Black Friday, but there are still some significant savings. For example, right now you can get the Field & Stream Pro 36-gun safe for $699.98, marked down from $899.99.

NOTE: The Biggest Discounts (in the Red Advert above) are for Black Friday, 11/25/2017 ONLY! Lesser discounts apply now.

2. Natchez — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit, $224.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $224.99, after RCBS $25.00 Rebate. Hell of a Deal. Right now, Natchez is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $249.99. Heck, the Rock Chucker press alone is worth $150.00+. The Natchez price is $70-$90 cheaper than many other vendors. Plus this Master Reloading Kit now qualifies for a $25.00 RCBS Rebate. That lowers your net cost to just $224.99. That an amazing deal considering all the hardware you get: Press, Primer Tool, Scale, Powder Measure, Loading Tray, Reloading Manual and more…

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

3. Midsouth — Radians Moldable Earplugs, $10.88

Radians molded custom ear plugs

If you’re a shooter, you need hearing protection — serious hearing protection. Along with muffs and disposable foam plugs, custom molded hearing protection is an option. You can spend up to $100.00 per set for molded plugs at a gunshow or you can buy the Radian’s moldable plugs for $10.88 at Midsouth. If you follow the simple instructions, you can custom-mold these to our own ears in just 10 minutes. Many people feel this is the most secure and comfortable form of ear protection if you need hearing protection for many hours at a time. Five different colors are available. After molding, the units are washable, so they can be re-used many times. We recommend replacing the sets every few months.

4. Natchez — Weaver 36x40mm T-XR Scope. $339.99 w/Rebate

Radians molded custom ear plugs

If you read our recent report on fixed-power F-Class optics, you’ll know that a fixed-power scopes are not just for 100/200-yard centerfire Benchrest competition. These can be used for F-Class competition, varmint matches, rimfire BR, and air rifle matches. You give up some flexibility without the variable power, but the scope will be lighter, less expensive, and potentially more reliable. We do a lot of load development work with a Weaver 36X scope because it is “dead nuts” reliable. Right now the Weaver T-Series XR 36x40mm scope (Fine Cross-Hair + Dot) is just $369.99 at Natchez Shooter’s Supply. But it gets better — this side-parallax optic qualifies for a $30.00 Weaver Rebate PLUS you can get $20.00 off with Natchez Code DOT171110. So your total NET Cost is just $319.99. NOTE: You can get this XR scope with silver finish and FCH reticle for the same $369.99 price, with the same promotions.

5. CDNN — Savage 11/111 Rifle with Bushnell Scope, $349.99

Savage 11/111 Bushnell scope rebate sale package hunter hunting

Need a reliable sub-MOA hunting rifle? Here’s heck of a deal on rifle AND optic. Right now you can purchase a Savage model 11/111 for $349.99 after $100 mail-in rebate from Savage. And get this — that price includes a 3-9x40mm Bushnell Trophy scope. That’s right, you get a brand new Savage rifle plus a new Bushnell scope, all for $349.99 after rebate. Great Deal. Chose the Long Action model 111 or the Short Action model 11. Fifteen popular chamberings are offered, so you’re sure to find a caliber/cartridge that suits your hunting requirements. Choices are: .243 Win, .25-06, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, 6.5×284 NORMA, .270 Win, .270 WSM, 7mm-08, 7mm Rem Mag, .308 Win, .30-06 Spr, .300 WSM, .300 Win Mag, .338 Federal, and .338 Win Mag.

6. Hornady — New 4DOF Mobile Ballistic App, FREE

Hornady Free Ballistic App


GET Apple iOS Version HERE | GET Android OS Version HERE

Hornady Ballistic Ballistics App Mobile 4DOF degrees of freedom aerodynamic jump Android Apple iOSHornady has released a new FREE Ballistic Calculator App for iOS (Apple) and Android OS. This new Mobile Ballistic App includes Hornady’s advanced 4DOF™ calculator as well as a standard BC (ballistic coefficient) calculator. The Hornady Ballistic Calculator App is Bluetooth-enabled so it can communicate with select wind meters.

The Hornady Ballistic App is FREE but you do need to supply an email address. We found the App downloaded quickly and installed easily. While the Mobile Ballistic App is new, Hornady has offered a web-based online 4DOF Ballistic App since August 2016.

7. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $16.85

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With over 3000 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $16.85, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

8. CDNN — Ruger 9E 9mm Pistol, $279.99

Radians molded custom ear plugs

There have been some great deals on polymer-framed 9x19mm pistols lately, and this is one of the best. The Ruger 9E has won many converts from Glock ranks with its comfortable ergonomics, low bore axis, and unique reversible backstrap (flat or arched) that lets you quickly customize the grip size and feel. Another nice feature is the raked front sight for easier holstering. Right now you can get the Ruger 9E for just $279.99. That’s over $200 less than a Glock 19. And though the Glock costs way more, we actually prefer the Ruger’s grip angle, sights, and controls.

9. Amazon — Mystery Deal of the Week, $649.00

Mystery Deal of Week LRF Laser Rangefinder Amazon

Not too long ago, this big name, European-engineered item sold for $799.00 and offered best-in-class performance at that price. Now this same high-end product can be had for just $649.00 at Amazon. A key tool for hunters and tactical shooters, this compact, 6.4 oz. product offers great performance with the backing of a world-class manufacturer. If you like European electro-optics, this big-name product will help you get on target all the way out to 2000 yards. CLICK HERE to see the Mystery Deal.

Permalink Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, Optics 1 Comment »
August 6th, 2017

The Risk of Hearing Loss — How to Protect Your Hearing

Hearing Protection DB sound level ear plug muff

“Science tells us that exposure to continuous noise of 85 dB for eight hours is enough to cause permanent hearing loss, and worse, spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly.”
Source: NRA Blog.

The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”

Nobody wants to go deaf. But we often see shooters without effective hearing protection when they are walking around a few yards behind the firing line. That’s bad — even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. You MUST use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs.

Sound Levels for Common Noises:

9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB

Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB

.22 LR pistol: 134 dB

Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB

Noisy Nightclub: 110 db

Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db

Power Lawnmower: 95 dB

Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)

Ringing Telephone: 80 dB

Normal conversation: 60 dB

The Myth of the “Quiet” .22 LR
The NRA Blog notes that “many rimfire shooters, particularly those using the beloved .22 Long Rifle cartridge, argue that the small .22 LR caliber doesn’t produce enough sound to damage your hearing”. So, is that really true … or is it a myth?

In fact, a .22 LR can be much louder than you think — a .22 LR pistol can produce sound levels of 134 dB. That’s well above the normal human pain threshhold.

hearing protection ear muffs NRR earplugs osha deafness

Highest Protection NRR 34dB-Rated Ear Muffs

AccurateShooter Deals of Week NRR 34 muffs ear protection 34dB

For under $20.00 you can buy quality ANSI-approved muffs with a 34dB Noise Reduction Rating — the best you can get. Chose the Bright Yellow TR Industrial Muffs at $13.48, or the dark green Walker EXT Range Muffs for $13.99. Both products have padded head-bands which retract. If you prefer “basic black”, consider the $14.85 ClearArmor Muffs, Amazon’s #1 Best Seller among safety earmuffs.

Howard Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, Just $7.39 for 50 Pairs.

accurateshooter.com review Max-1 Howard Leight ear plugs

20 Pairs
50 Pairs

These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 2-3 days a week. This is a very good price for a bulk pack of 50 pairs. And if you act soon, you can get free shipping to boot.

Permalink - Articles, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
June 11th, 2016

New Razor-X Earbud System May Replace Electronic Muffs

Walker Razor X XV bluetooth Headset Electronic Muff

Until now, if you wanted good hearing protection with the ability to hear conversations and range commands, you’d employ a pair of electronic muffs with sound-cut-out circuitry*. Those electronic muffs worked but they were bulky, hot, and could interfere with your cheek weld. Now there’s a new alternative — an “Earbud Headset” that offers NRR 31-rated hearing protection along with the ability to hear conversations.

The innovative, patent-pending Razor-X Earbud Headset from Walker’s® could be a “game changer” in the hearing protection field. The noise-activated, sound protection hardware is contained in a padded collar that fits comfortably around your neck. Small earbuds with foam tips fit in your ear providing 31 dB of noise protection. The microphones in the headset allow you to hear normal conversations and range commands. Two versions of the Razor headset will be offered: Basic Razor-X ($119.00 MSRP) and the deluxe Razor-XV ($159.99 MSRP) with Bluetooth capability.

Razor-X Features:

• Retractable Digital Ear buds
• 31 dB NRR (Noise Reduction Rating)
• Sound-Activated Compression (SAC)
• Rechargeable 250mAH battery with 10 HR run-time.
• Hi Gain omnidirectional microphones.
• HD speakers in the ear buds for good audio quality.
• Includes 3 pairs of 12mm foam tips (S/M/L) and two pairs of 16mm coated foam tips (M/L)
• Auto-Shut Off (low power mode) after 4 to 6 hours.
• Integrated Micro USB port with charging cord.
• AC wall adapter with USB port for charging.
• Patent Pending Technology
• MSRP: $119.99

Walker’s product information states:

The Razor-X incorporates a neck-worn device featuring comfortable, retractable ear buds. The “behind the neck” design allows for ZERO interference with you or your weapon, allowing you to focus on your target. These … patent-pending buds allow the user to be in loud environments without damaging their hearing, providing an impressive 31 dB of noise reduction.

The Hi Gain omni-directional microphones provide clear sound enhancement for enjoyable conversations on the range or to hear firearm instructors’ directions while training. The Razor-X HD digital speakers provide a wide range audio quality that enhances the users experience. The kit includes two different styles of noise-reducing foam tips in a variety of sizes to ensure a proper fit for maximum noise reduction. The Razor-X is equipped with an auto-shut off (low power mode) after 4 to 6 hours. The timer will reset and the unit will wake up after any button is pressed. An AC wall adapter with USB port and a one-meter micro USB cord is provided for convenient charging.

*There are some high-tech “in-ear” electronic systems with noise-activated protection, but these are typically quite expensive and not commonly used by shooters.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 9 Comments »
April 12th, 2016

Browning Offers Safety Eyewear with Built-In Ear Plugs

Browning ANSI Shooting glasses ear plugs muffs hearing protection

Have you ever left your plugs or muffs at home when you took a trip to the range? That’s happened to most of us. That won’t be a problem now, so long as you have your eye protection. Browning now offers ANSI-rated safety eyewear that includes corded NRR 25 earplugs stored in the frames. That’s a clever design — one less thing to worry about.

Browning ANSI Shooting glasses ear plugs muffs hearing protection

Browning’s new Sound Shield shooting glasses feature ear plugs stored on a retractable cord in the end of the frames. Now, if you have your shooting glasses with you, you will always have hearing protection as well. The end of each sidepiece opens to release the corded retractable ear plug. The ear plugs have a NRR of 25 dB and are replaceable and washable.

Browning ANSI Shooting glasses ear plugs muffs hearing protection

Sound Shield shooting glasses feature polycarbonate, wrap-around lenses with a frameless design to provide additional coverage and eliminate blind spots. The glasses are available in two different styles (Large/Medium) with either yellow or lightly-tinted indoor/outdoor lenses. All lens types exceed ANSI Z87.1 impact standards. A soft rubber standoff nosepiece reduces slipping and lens fogging. According to the Browning website, these Sound Shield glasses may be offered in a kit that includes NRR 27 ear muffs, but we don’t know if that is available yet.

Permalink New Product, Optics No Comments »
March 22nd, 2016

Hearing Loss and Ear Protection — What You Need to Know

hearing protection ear muffs NRR earplugs osha deafness

Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. You need to use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs. Some other shooters prefer the custom-molded ear plugs. Electronic muffs can be useful when you are away from the firing line because they allow you to converse.

Here are some comments from Forum members on the subjects of hearing loss and the need for proper ear protection. You can join the discussion in this FORUM THREAD:

“If you are young and don’t want to end up with profound hearing loss like I have… ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use hearing protection. This is from a guy who is social security/medicare eligible, has two Re-Sound aids at a not so cheap $2000.00 EACH… and now has religion! When I was young [we] never wore ear gear and laughed at the ringing after 100 rounds of 12 gauge at the skeet range. Now we live with the consequences. Be smarter than I was!” — Gary0529


“Take it from a 70-year-old that has been shooting 49 years. I now have a Re-Sound hearing aid in the left ear and a Cochlear Implant in my right. I still cannot hear. Custom molded plugs are best. Some are sold at gun shows and some are made by the folks that make hearing aids. They are cheap as compared to this $200,000 implant. DO IT NOW for everyone around guns.” — Richard King, King’s Armory


“Say WHAT? You have to type a little louder! I used to shoot without any muffs, when I was ‘young and indestructible’, and now I have about 40% loss. When I take youngsters and friends shooting, they get muffs and plugs. I’m not allowed suppressors where I live. I would use them if I could.” — Josh B.


“For what it’s worth, I wear both ear plugs and muffs that have NO sound adjustment capability. As a youngster (15) I wore no ear protection either in shooting or motorcycle riding. I kept doing that until entering military service at age 18 where we had to wear ear plugs at the range. Started wearing ear plugs after that, except when motorcycle riding. At around age 53 my hearing started going south as a result of my own stupidity as a youngster and now some 15 years later I only have about 45% of my hearing left. So beware all — there is a price to pay if you don’t protect your hearing.” — Shynloco

hearing protection ear muffs NRR earplugs osha deafness

Important Safety Considerations:
1. The NRR (noise reduction rating) is determined by “experimenter” fit, not user fit, and trained listeners during the testing period. This results in inflated protection numbers compared to real-world protection.
2. Any disruptions in the protector/skin seal will greatly reduce the effectiveness. Think eye glass temple bars, lots of hair, ear wax, etc. A 5% leak results in a 50% reduction in effectiveness.
3. Double protection gives only 5-10 dB extra protection.
4. Bone conduction gives about 50 dB protection so hearing protectors are the weak link[.]
5. Keep the protectors in/on your ears. Over 8 hours, if you remove them for only 30 minutes (cumulative), the effective protection is cut in half.

So, if you are using a really good muff with NRR of 33 and a foam plug with NRR of 27, the real-world NRR would be about 35 dB, at best. This would attenuate a gunshot by that amount. The key is time versus exposure. Limit the exposure and you limit the dose. — DelS


Ear Protection for Small Children
Don’t forget to protect your kids if you take them to the range (or loud rock concerts). Parents of very young infants should consider Baby BanZ Muffs, which are designed for infants 0-2 years. These small-sized muffs can protect toddlers’ hearing when loud machinery is running, during fireworks displays, or other noisy activities. These really work for tiny tots. One mother reports: “I bought these for my two-month old and they work great! He’s never fought us putting them on. He’s now falling asleep with them. He’s slept through a demolition derby and a rowdy wedding reception. I’m ordering another pair for my nephew.” Another mom says: “We bought these when we took our four month-old to a loud event. They fit her head well and were well-padded. She looked very comfortable, so comfortable in fact that she slept for most of her first rock concert. I’d say they worked exceptionally well!”

Baby BanZ ear muffs kids
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February 29th, 2016

NEW Hearing Protection for Infants and Small Children

Walker's baby child kids earmuff ear muffs

Here’s a new product we’re pleased to see on the market. Walker’s, a major supplier of hearing protection for shooters, has introduced a new set of smaller-sized NRR 23 ear muffs specifically designed for infants and small children from six months to eight years of age. Walker’s new Baby & Kids Muffs provide protection for infants and children against dangerous loud noises. The muffs are designed to fit smaller heads properly, and protect the sensitive hearing of youngsters.

The adjustable headband on these muffs is designed for the smaller heads of kids up to age 8. These Baby & Kids Muffs have a 23 NRR noise reduction rating. We wish that were at least 25 NRR, but this can be supplemented with foam plugs for extra protection (plugs under the muffs). The important thing is that these muffs are sized right for youngsters and fit properly (for a good sound-seal). Walker’s® Baby and Kids muffs start at $14.99 MSRP and come in four color choices: blue, pink, green and camo.

Baby BanZ for Children 0-2 Years
Parents of very young infants should consider Baby BanZ Muffs, which are designed for infants 0-2 years. These small-sized muffs can protect toddlers’ hearing during rock concerts, when loud machinery is running, during fireworks displays, or other noisy activities. These really work for tiny tots. One mother reports: “I bought these for my two-month old and they work great! He’s never fought us putting them on. He’s now falling asleep with them. He’s slept through a demolition derby and a rowdy wedding reception. I’m ordering another pair for my nephew.” Another mom says: “We bought these when we took our four month-old to a loud event. They fit her head well and were well-padded. She looked very comfortable, so comfortable in fact that she slept for most of her first rock concert. I’d say they worked exceptionally well!”

Baby BanZ ear muffs kids
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December 21st, 2015

Bargain Finder 14: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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

1. Optics Planet — Lyman BoreCam, $299.49

AccurateShooter Deals of Week Lyman Borecam Digital Borescope.

The Lyman BoreCam is an electro-optical borescope with a digital display. You can record “stills” on a SD card. This is one of the hottest products on the market right now — so hot that it sold out at Grafs, Midsouth, and MidwayUSA. But we found some in stock. Optics Planet has the BoreCam for $299.49 with free shipping. The Tactical Store, an Optics Planet outlet, also shows the product for $299.49.

The system really works. A few of our Forum members have the system and they say it functions very well and is “very easy to set up and use”. Here’s what an Optics Planet BoreCam buyer wrote: “I have used Hawkeye borescopes and know their quality. The Lyman worked as advertised and is a great tool for checking for leading, cleanliness of bore, and bore wear. The compact size, ability to take pictures, and store them are a big plus.”

2. Amazon — NRR 34dB Safety Ear Muffs

AccurateShooter Deals of Week NRR 34 muffs ear protection 34dB

Ear muffs with a NRR34 noise rating were the most popular items we’ve yet listed in our Deals of the Week. Now we’ve found two more ANSI-approved muffs, both with a 34dB Noise Reduction Rating — the best you can get. Chose the dark green Walker EXT Range Muffs for $13.30, or the Bright Yellow TR Industrial Muffs at $17.00. Both products have padded head-bands and fold into a compact size. If you prefer “basic black”, consider the $19.99 Sumsonic G47 Muffs which also carry a 34dB NRR.

3. WeatherFlow — Remote Bluetooth Weather Meter

AccurateShooter Deals of Week Weather Flow Weather Meter Wind Anemometer Air Pressure sensor

This handy, multi-function WeatherFlow Weather Meter provides key weather data to your iOS and Android Mobile devices wirelessly via Bluetooth. The unit measures temperature, humidity, air pressure and dew points. With its built-in impeller, the Weather Meter will also record wind speed (average and gust), and wind direction. Hand-hold it or attach it to a pole/tripod. This wireless Weather Meter is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and all major Android devices. This unit offers a lot of capabilities for $79.95 at Amazon.com.

4. MidwayUSA — Deluxe Competition Shooting Mat, $49.99

AccurateShooter Deals of Week MidwayUSA competition shooting mat bargain coupon

We have used MidwayUSA shooting mats, as have many Forum members. This Competition Mat is a good product. The 400 denier, PVC-coated material is durable, the overall size is good, and we like the front flap that can be staked down. MidwayUSA normally sells this mat for about $85.00. Currently, it is on sale for $49.99, the best price we’ve seen all year. It’s hard to find a better padded mat for anywhere near that price.

Unrolled Dimensions: 73-½” Long x 35-½” Wide (Does not count the front flap).
Rolled Dimensions: 8-½” Diameter x 35-½” Wide | Weight: 6.5 lbs.

5. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $17.79

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With 1,500+ customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $17.79, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

6. Eabco.com — Pillar-Bedded Laminated Stock for Savage

E Arthur Brown Eabco Savage Thumbhole Stock Laminated

For a Savage-based general purpose rifle, this Laminated Thumbhole Savage Stock is a good choice, and a fine value at just $175.00 including installed pillars. (Most bargain-priced laminated stocks do NOT include pillars). This stock fits Savage actions with detachable magazines. There are four color options: Camo laminate (shown in photo), Brown Laminate, Gray Laminate, and walnut color.

7. Powder Valley — Berger .308 High-BC Match Bullets

E Arthur Brown Eabco Savage Thumbhole Stock Laminated

Looking for High-BC .308-caliber match bullets? Well Powder Valley Inc. (PVI) has Berger .308 match bullets from 175 to 230 grains in stock at very attractive prices. Need Juggernauts or the latest 230gr Hybrids? PVI has them. If you are shooting a .308 Win in F-TR or a .300 WSM in F-Open, you may want to stock up now before demand picks up next spring. (PVI also has good inventories of Berger Bullets in lighter weights and other calibers.)

8. Monmouth Reloading — 1000 Lake City 5.56 Cases, $59.95

Monmouth deals of week ar15 5.56 brass .223 Rem once-fired Lake City LC

1000 pieces of Lake City brass for under sixty bucks? Yep, that’s a deal and a half. Monmouth Reloading is selling genuine, once-fired Lake City 5.56x45mm brass, thick-walled and sourced direct from the U.S. Military. Monmouth reports: “Our current stock of Lake City 5.56 looks to be all newer year Lake City head stamp but may contain a small percentage of other NATO headstamps. Lake City is a popular, reliable brass, normally capable of many reloads.” Monmouth includes 1% overage to account for any damaged brass. NOTE: Brass has crimped primers, so the pockets with need to be reamed or swaged prior to reloading.

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December 29th, 2014

Peltor Shotgunner Muffs — Handy, Compact Protection

Peltor folding ‘Shotgunner’ ear muffs are on sale right now at Amazon.com. Available in red (#97013), dark green (#97012), or black (#97011), the muffs cost about $15.00 (red version), and you can get free shipping with an order over $35.00. That’s a good deal for a good product. This Editor owns two sets of these muffs. They are very lightweight and comfortable. Because they fit well, with gel foam cushions, they actually seem to work better than some big bulky muffs (with higher NRRs) that don’t seal so well. If used with plugs underneath, these are highly effective and very handy.

Peltor’s Shotgunner muffs feature tapered ear domes, cutaway on the lower half for stock clearance. We have not found any other muffs on the market that allow a better cheek weld, with less interference with the comb on a riflestock. These muffs also fold up into a very compact package. You can keep one set in your range kit and a spare set in your vehicle for back-up or if a friend needs hearing protection.


Peltor Shotgunner muffs
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June 20th, 2013

Recommended Gear: Howard Leight MAX-1 NRR 33 Ear Plugs

accurateshooter.com review Max-1 Howard Leight ear plugsBetween shooting, riding motorcycles, and working with gas-powered yard equipment, your Editor probably has foam plugs in his ears 8-12 hours a week. I’ve tried many different varieties of ear plugs, both the foam variety and the soft plastic flange-type plugs.

I’ve recently started using the Howard Leight MAX-1 plugs. Rated at NRR33, these are, quite simply, the best ear-plugs I’ve ever tried. No BS — these things really work. Among all disposable plugs I’ve tried, the MAX-1s are definitely the most effective at blocking noise, and they are also more comfortable than most other foam plugs I’ve used. In my experience at the range, these plugs block sound way better than most muffs (when worn without plugs underneath).

The first thing I noticed about these plugs is how much more effective they were than muffs alone. With muffs in place, a rifle report is still quite audible. With the red MAX-1 plugs, the noise from a shot is much, much quieter. Proof of the “real world” effectiveness of these plugs came when talking. The plugs work so well that I had trouble hearing words spoken by a colleague from just four feet away. With conventional (non-electronic) muffs I can hear a normal speaking voice from many yards away.

These MAX-1 plugs insert easily (if you roll them first), and the wide, flared outer bell makes them very easy to remove. Subjectively, these plugs seem more comfortable than most other foam plugs I have tried. They are certainly way more comfortable than the cheap, non-tapered ear plugs. MAX-1 plugs are available in both standard configuration and corded versions. These are cheap to buy — 20 pairs of non-corded MAX-1s cost just $4.25 on Amazon.com.

accurateshooter.com review Max-1 Howard Leight ear plugs

I’m not the only one who likes the Leight MAX-1 plugs. Here are some comments from verified purchasers on Amazon.com:

These ear plugs deserve all the raves they’ve received. They’re by far the best I’ve used and among the least expensive. They hold up very well when used repeatedly. This is the only brand I’ll buy from now on. — Joe

These things are as soft and gentle as they come and they block the noise out very well. I highly recommend them[.] — Byron

They are the best ear plugs I’ve ever used — and I’ve used many over the years. These are the only ear plugs I will ever use in the future. — Rhoda

My darling husband snores like the dickens. With a timid and hopeful heart, I purchased these ear plugs online. The first night I used these, I slept like a rock. The product is fantastic; the plugs stay small long enough when you pinch them so you can get them in, and they cancel out noises very well. I’m so happy I got these – they’re saving my marriage! — YC, Seattle

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March 8th, 2013

Slim, “ShotGunner” Ear Muffs Offer More Stock Clearance

A Forum member recently asked if anybody makes a thinner, less-blocky earmuff that won’t interfere with head placement on the stock. We understand his inquiry — big, over-sized muffs tend to bang into the stock and sometimes even disturb the gun in the bags.

Our first suggestion is use quality foam earplugs. The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) for a quality foam plug is better than nearly all earmuffs. But for those who prefer earmuffs, or who “double up” muffs over plugs, AO Safety (Peltor), makes the ShotGunner Folding Earmuffs, item # 97013. Peltor’s ShotGunner muffs feature tapered ear domes, which are cutaway on the lower half for stock clearance. These muffs, which retail for $16-$20, also fold up into a very compact package for storage. This Editor has used the Shotgunner Muffs (NRR 21) and they are very comfortable. Because they fit well they actually seem to work better than some big bulky muffs (with higher NRRs) that don’t seal so well.

Peltor ShotGunner Muffs

Comparative Noise Reduction Ratings
The ShotGunner folding muffs have a NRR of 21 db — compare that to 25-30 db NRR for big, heavy muffs and 29-33 db NRR for good ear plugs, such as the Howard Leight Max UF plugs (33 NRR). Of course, to achieve those 30+ Noise Reduction Ratings, earplugs must be inserted correctly. The 3M Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Division has prepared two YouTube videos which illustrate how to properly use foam earplugs and flanged (pre-molded) earplugs.

VIDEO ONE: How to Use Soft Foam Earplugs

VIDEO TWO: How to Use Pre-Molded Flanged Earplugs

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July 16th, 2012

Peltor Folding ‘Shotgunner’ Muffs Work Well for Rifle Shooters

Peltor folding ‘Shotgunner’ ear muffs are on sale right now at Amazon.com. Available in red (#97013), dark green (#97012), or black (#97011), the muffs cost about $17.00, and you can get free shipping with an order over $25.00. That’s a good deal for a good product. This Editor owns two sets of these muffs. They are very lightweight and comfortable. Because they fit well, with gel foam cushions, they actually seem to work better than some big bulky muffs (with higher NRRs) that don’t seal so well.

Peltor’s Shotgunner muffs feature tapered ear domes, cutaway on the lower half for stock clearance. We have not found any other muffs on the market that allow a better cheek weld, with less interference with the comb on a riflestock. These muffs also fold up into a very compact package. You can keep one set in your range kit and a spare set in your vehicle for back-up or if a friend needs hearing protection.


Peltor Shotgunner muffs

USER REVIEW: Because I am a firearm instructor I own a half-dozen muffs including a pair of electronic Peltors. These [folding shotgunner muffs] are my favorite at 10% of the cost of electronic muffs. I bought them for trap/skeet. My Browning has an adjustable comb but these do NOT interfere with mounting the shotgun or getting a proper cheek weld as do the large electronic muffs. I highly recommend these to you. They are inexpensive but are EXTREMELY COMFORTABLE and WORK VERY WELL. What more could you ask? — F.M. (Idaho)

Ear Plugs vs. Muffs
Personally I prefer using foam earplugs, because they have a better Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) than the Shotgunner Muffs. However, there are times when the muffs come in handy, as when I am scoring for a fellow shooter and need to hear range instructions. I also like to keep a spare pair of muffs in my vehicle at all times. It always seems that, when we go to the range, someone forgets ear protection, or doesn’t like to use plugs.

For Indoor Use — Add Plugs Underneath
For indoor use, particularly on a tight firing line (with a guy shooting a .44 Mag right next to you), you’ll want muffs with a higher NRR. Alternatively, wear ear plugs under the muffs. Peltor Shotgunner folding muffs have a NRR of 21 db — compare that to 25-30 db NRR for big, heavy muffs and 29-33 db NRR for good ear plugs, such as the Howard Leight Max UF plugs (33 NRR). Of course, to achieve those 30+ Noise Reduction Ratings, earplugs must be inserted correctly.

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