November 15th, 2017

Bright Bargain: Laser BoreSighters Under $15.00

Sportsman's Guide laser boresighter bore sight chamber lazer
With good factory rifle ammo costing $1.00 per round — a Laser BoreSighter could pay for itself in just a couple range sessions.

Laser BoreSighters — fitted to your chamber — help you get on target more quickly, particularly with factory firearms. Just activate the unit, slip it into the chamber and look for the red dot on the target. The laser dot is about 2″ in diameter at 100 yards, and is visible even in full sunlight. Right now you can get HQ Issue BoreSighters for just $14.99 at Sportsman’s Guide (member price is $13.49). These units have a durable brass metal body and the battery will run an hour. Boresighters are offered for numerous popular rifle cartridge types including: .223 Rem, .22-250, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win family, and .30-06 (full list below). Sportsman’s Guide also offers Pistol Laser BoreSighters for $17.99 (pistol chamberings: .38 SPL/.357 Mag, .40 SW, .44 Magnum, .45 ACP).

Sportsman's Guide laser boresighter bore sight chamber lazer

In-chamber BoreSighters are much safer than the kind that you insert in the end of the barrel (or attach to muzzle). If you forget your laser bore-sight placed in the end of the barrel, and then fire a round, you can blow up your barrel and/or suffer serious injury — it HAS happened,.

Rifle and Shotgun Cartridge Types:
.223 Rem
.22-250
6.5 Creedmoor
7mm Mag (also .264 Mag, .338 Mag)
7.62×54
.30-30
.303 British
.308 Win (also .243, .260, 7mm-08)
.30-06 (also .25-06, .270 Win, .338-06)
.300 Win Mag
20 Gauge Shotgun
12 Gauge Shotgun
Permalink Hot Deals, New Product No Comments »
September 23rd, 2017

Laser Sights — Not Just for Night-Time

Training with laser sights crimson trace

Are laser sights really useful on a handgun? Yes, and not just in low-light situations. That said, most folks who own laser-equipped handguns do not train effectively with the laser. For many gun-owners, the laser is just a toy, a gimmick that is used a few times and then ignored. Those gun-owners miss out on some of the most important advantages of a laser sights. Go to Training with Laser Sights Page.

Crimson Trace has produced a series of training videos that may change your mind about lasers. If you shoot a handgun you should watch these videos. They show how laser sights can help diagnose and correct common handgun-shooting errors (such as flinching and anticipating the shot). The videos also show how to improve sight alignment and get your sights on target quickly. Watch the video and you’ll see how the laser can improve your aiming and your trigger control.

Training with Laser Sights, Full 12-minute Video
(Covers Muzzle Awareness, Aiming, Trigger Control)

This video show how training with laser sights can: 1) improve muzzle direction awareness; 2) aid with sight alignment; 3) speed up target acquisition; and 4) improve trigger control. The video also demonstrates the obvious advantage of acquiring and maintaining sight picture in low light conditions. Numerous firearms experts are featured in the video while they are shooting and training at Arizona’s Gunsight Academy.

Training With Lasers — Trigger Control
Training with laser sights helps diagnose and improve trigger control errors by showcasing the importance of “surprise break” and follow-through. Lasers quickly diagnose errors such as recoil anticipation, jerking the trigger, and breaking the wrist.

Muzzle Awareness — All-Important for Safe Shooting
Training with laser sights improves a shooter’s muzzle awareness. A daylight-visible laser shows the gun operator where his or her muzzle is pointing at all times. This helps teach proper safety practices.

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September 10th, 2016

New Leica Rangemaster CRF 2000-B Laser Rangefinder

Leica CRF 2000-B Rangefinder LRF 2000 Yards

Leica has introduced a new Laser Rangefinder (LRF), the CRF 2000-B, with a claimed effective range of 2000 yards. Leica says upgrades to optics, internal software, and electronics have extended the range of Leica’s top-of-the-line LRF from 1600 yards to 2000 yards. We expect the new unit may indeed have reduced beam divergence or better error correction. In any event we don’t doubt the Leica CRF 2000-B will range farther than previous models, at least when clamped in immovable test fixtures.

However, in the real world LRFs are hand-held, and there’s the problem. We’ve never found ANYone who could hold the ultra-compact Leica LRFs steady enough to range deer-sized objects even at 800 yards. Consequently very few if any folks could really effectively use the claimed 1600-yard range of the previous model. The Leica CRF units are designed to be held vertically. That’s not great ergonomically and this unit was not designed to be fixed to a tripod for extra steadiness. Therefore, we doubt most humans will be able to range 2000 yards with the CRF 2000-B, except maybe with very large targets such as barns or huge storage tanks. It’s just too difficult to hold the little Leica CRFs rock steady.

But even if the new Leica Rangemaster 2000-B’s theoretical extended range doesn’t have much practical utility, there are some interesting new features that may make the 2000-B worth its $799.00 MSRP. First, the 2000-B has air pressure and temperature sensors, along with an on-board inclinometer. That last feature will appeal to Hunters, who often take angled shots. The new CRF 2000-B also offers a variety of ballistics readouts — users can select Equivalent Horizontal Range (EHR) up to 1200 yards or Inches of Holdover, and MIL & MOA corrections to .1 decimal point. The built-in microprocessor is fast — data is delivered to the shooter in only 0.3 seconds via the heads-up four digit LED display in the viewfinder.

As with previous Leica compact LRFs, the new CRF 2000-B is very light and easy to carry. It weighs just 6.5 ounces and really does fit in a shirt pocket. The 7-power (7X) optical lens is bright and sharp, and we appreciate the fact that Leica made this unit waterproof — it will withstand rainstorms though we certainly wouldn’t recommend dropping ANY rangefinder in a river.

View Leica Rangemaster CRF 2000-B features and specifications at: https://us.leica-camera.com/Sport-Optics.

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July 5th, 2016

Something Old, Something New — Laser Training with M1903A3

Beamhit beam-hit laser marksmanship training target computer

Old Gun… New Gadget. A while back, our friend Dennis Santiago has been practicing with his trusty old Springfield, in preparation for the CMP Western Games in Phoenix. To help improve his off-hand hold, Dennis utilized a laser training device that plots shot location on a laptop computer. Here’s a report from Dennis on his laser-enabled dry-fire practice:

Laser Dry-Fire Practice with Vintage Rifle
Something old, something new. Take a M1903A3 Springfield, put a laser in its nose, and practice your off-hand shooting until staying on focus with the front sight throughout the shot process becomes a reflex.

If the last thing you see is the front sight, the shot is in. If the last thing you see is the bull, it’s out. Simple as that. If you had told someone in the 1920s or 1930s that this much tech would one day be available to aid in training … come to think of it, it’d have made real riflemen smile.

Here is the receiving end of the laser beam:
Beamhit beam-hit laser marksmanship training target computer

About the Hardware and Software
Dennis was using the BeamHit 190 series Personal Marksmanship Training System. This interactive dry-fire training system uses a laser detecting device to transmit hits directly to a computer in real time. The BeamHit 190 software allows shooters to choose from multiple targets and even create timed scenarios. You can save strings of fire for later review directly on the connected computer. The included software is compatible with Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7. It seems like the system Dennis used is out of production, though EoTech still offers a 190-3 system through Amazon.com. The BeamHit 190 system has been replaced with the simpler Insight/Beamhit MDM1001 Portable Target System. This is less sophisticated and does not require a connected computer.

Permalink Gear Review, Shooting Skills No Comments »
April 26th, 2016

How NOT to Ventilate Your Chronograph — Set-Up Tips

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

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

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

Laser boresighter chronograph

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

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

chronograph set-up

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

chronograph laser sky screens

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

Laser boresighter chronograph

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

Other Chronograph Tips from Forum Members:

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

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

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

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
January 1st, 2016

Technology: Bluetooth-Enabled Ballistic Targeting System

Ashbury Precision bluetooth wireless rangefinder Vectronix kestrel GPS

You knew it was just a matter of time until modern Bluetooth wireless technology was harnessed for precision shooting. Now weather data from a Kestrel and range info from a Vectronix rangefinder can be shared to a remote PDA with GPS capability. The system works via the common Bluetooth networking protocol used for smartphone accessories and computer peripherals. Ballistic solutions are calculated using Field Firing Solutions software. Composed of weathermeter, rangefinder, and hand-held processor (PDA), this three-part TALON Wireless Ballistic Targeting System was developed for Ashbury Precision Ordnance (APO). The Talon System will be introduced by APO at SHOT Show 2015 where pricing and availability will be announced.

Ashbury Precision bluetooth wireless rangefinder Vectronix kestrel GPS

Here’s how it works — dual Bluetooth feeds (from Kestrel and rangefinder) communicate with a Trimble T41 Juno or NOMAD PDA. The dongle is set up for any Vectronix Laser Rangefinder equipped with a RS232 data port. The enabling technology, a nicely packaged Bluetooth dongle, was developed by a team of U.S. SpecOps personnel. Their goal was enhance operational capabilities by getting rid of wires and cables. They succeeded.

Permalink New Product, Optics 2 Comments »
December 4th, 2015

New 3-Way Mount Holds Spotting Scope, Rangefinder & Camera

R-F LRF Camera Cam Cradle Defensive Edge RLC Customs

The R-F Cam Cradle is a smart new product that lets you securely mount a Laser Rangefinder (LRF), digital camera, and spotting scope all on a single tripod. The “game-changing” feature of the R-F Cam Cradle is that it allows you to colimmate (i.e. precisely align) all your optics on the same spot. This way you can simultaneously aim all three devices at a long range target by simply moving the tripod head. A tactical shooter can easily range his target while watching the wind though his spotting scope. And the long-range hunter can range and film his prey as he watches it through the spotter. This unit costs $179.95 from DefensiveEdge.net.

You’ll find a detailed product evaluation of the R-F Cam Cradle on the LongRangeOnly.com website. Reviewer Sam Millard uses the R-F Cam Cradle in the field with a variety of optics and rangefinders. Millard explains how the R-F Cam Cradle conveniently allows combined use of spotting scope, LRF, and compact video camera.

Millard was very impressed with the system: “I field-tested the R-F Cam Cradle in the mountains of northern Idaho and the wide open spaces of eastern Wyoming. I believe the most effective way to use the cradle is in a long range ambush; get the spotting scope, camera, and LRF aligned on a landmark, then lock it down. The LRF and spotter won’t be aligned perfectly, but they’ll be well within the field of view of each other, requiring only a gentle tilt of the tripod to center the beam of the LRF on the target. At ELR distances, a well-supported LRF is crucial to obtaining an accurate range. This mount makes it easy, and doesn’t require displacing your spotting scope to get it done.”

See R-F Cam Cradle Demonstrated in the Field:

Having a video camera mounted in alignment with spotting scope is great for Long Range applications notes Millard: “The camera mount is my favorite feature of the R-F Cam Cradle. It allows co-witnessing the video camera to the spotting scope, then aiming the field of view of both with one movement of the tripod head. This is a great improvement to the normal way of recording the shot and spotting at the same time, which previously required two tripods or a clamp-on head for the camera, both of which required separate aiming of the camera and spotting scope.”

R-F Cam-Cradle Product Details

Manufacturer: RLC Customs
Vendor: Defensive Edge, Inc.
Rathdrum, ID
DefensiveEdge.net
Order Phone: (208) 687-2659

Material: 3/16” 53 Series aluminum
Finish: Powder-coated Matte Black
Total Weight: 16.5 ounces
Mount: ¼-20 Threaded Standard Camera Mount
Retail price: $179.95

Shawn Carlock of Defensive Edge explains: “The R-F Cam Cradle is a way for one person to run everything. Otherwise it’s really difficult to run the spotting scope, run the video camera, run the rangefinder, get dope — do all those different things. So RLC Customs has come up with the idea to put everything together in one platform, where you can sync it together and use it effectively, as a cluster.”

Product Find by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions
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May 24th, 2015

Vanishing Point? TrackingPoint No Longer Accepts Orders…

tracking point trackingpoint laser guided precision rifles halt orders bankruptcy
Above image is a screen-shot from www.Tracking-Point.com.

TrackingPoint, the Texas-based maker of expensive “Precision-Guided Firearms” with laser target tagging, has announced that the company is no longer accepting orders due to “financial difficulty”. Here is Tracking Point’s official statement, as posted on its website:

“Due to financial difficulty TrackingPoint will no longer be accepting orders. Thank you to our customers and loyal followers for sharing in our vision.”

Expensive System Doesn’t Read the Wind
Why has TrackingPoint stumbled? Some speculate that TrackingPoint’s products are simply too expensive for the general sporting market. (A TrackingPoint AR10-type .308 rifle retails for $14,995, while a bolt-action .338 TP costs a whopping $49,995!) Additionally, though the TrackingPoint hardware incorporates sophisticated laser target designation technology, the shooter must still call the wind and enter wind values. If the shooter badly mid-judges wind speed or angle, he WILL miss his target at long range, even with all the advanced technology. For this reason, some analysts believed TrackingPoint promised more than it could deliver in the real world. Doubtless TrackingPoint was hoping to secure large, lucrative defense orders, but those have yet to materialize. The wind-calling issue, and concerns over battery life, have emerged as barriers to adoption by defense agencies.

(more…)

Permalink - Videos, News 5 Comments »
January 26th, 2015

SHOT Show: Bushnell, McRee’s Precision, Timney, TargetVision

Our friends Ed and Steve, aka the 6.5 Guys, were in Las Vegas last week, checking out new products at SHOT Show. On Day 2, Ed and Steve tracked down some cool products from Bushnell, McRee’s Precision, Timney, and TargetVision. Here are Ed and Steve’s Show product preview video reports. You can see more SHOT Show videos by Ed and Steve at 6.5Guys.com.


Bushnell

Laser RangeFinder with BlueTooth: Here Bushnell showcases the brand new Elite CONX Rangefinder. Using a Bluetooth connection, this “networkable” rangefinder can communicate with a smart-phone (and certain Kestrels). This allows you to push range/angle data directly into a ballistics App on your phone. We will certainly see more of this kind of inter-device connectivity in the future. The CONX can work with both iOS (Apple) and Android OS devises.

Bushnell Shot Show 6.5 Guys Optics Rangefinder


McRee’s Precision

Chassis Systems and Prefit Kits: The 6.5 guys interviewed Top Shot Season 2 Champion Chris Reed at the McRee’s Precision booth. McRee’s offers chassis systems as well as turn-key pre-fit barrel kits using Criterion barrels. Chris Reed reviews the “Remage” pre-fit barrel system for Remington actions at 5:25 in the video.

6.5 Guys McRee's Precision Remington Savage Prefit Barrel


Timney Triggers

New Double-Sear Trigger: The 6.5 Guys checked out Timney’s new “Calvin Elite” double-sear trigger. This versatile trigger adjust from 8 ounces up to 2.5 pounds. It allows you to shoot a rifle with a low trigger pull weight for competition, then raise the pull weight to 2.5 pounds for field use or hunting.

Bushnell Shot Show 6.5 Guys Optics Rangefinder


TargetVision

Wireless Target Camera: If you want to see bullet holes reliably, in all conditions, past 400 yards, you need some kind of digital camera system, preferably wireless. TargetVision sells a reliable system that works through common WiFi technology, so you can view your shooting session on a smart-phone, iPad, or Android tablet. The TargetVision system includes proprietary software that can highlight the last shot fired. You can even take snapshots or record videos of your shooting sessions.

Bushnell Shot Show 6.5 Guys Optics Rangefinder

Permalink - Videos, New Product 2 Comments »
November 21st, 2014

New Pistol from Taurus has Lights, Laser, Curved Frame

Taurus has introduced an innovative new DAO pistol, the “Taurus Curve”. This .380 ACP compact carry pistol ($392.42 MSRP) features a curved frame (see photos below). Seen from the rear, the grip curves inward (to the left). Seen from the front, the frame and grip (below the slide) curves to the right. The purpose of the curve is to make the gun fit more comfortably when carried in a pocket or inside the waistband. (The Curve comes with a built-in metal spring clip for inside-waistband carry).

Taurus Curve pistol CCW LED Laser

The extended front section of the Curve’s frame houses a red laser and a lamp with twin LEDs. That’s a smart feature on a carry pistol we think. Taurus claims the Curve is the first production pistol that combines both integrated LED lights and an aiming laser.

Taurus Curve pistol CCW LED Laser

The 10.2-ounce Curve is a tiny gun. With a 2.5″ barrel, the pistol measures just 5.2″ long and 3.7″ high. Width is 1.18″ inches, while the grip is just 0.88″ — very slim indeed. Capacity is 6+1 rounds of .380 ACP. There is no external, selectable safety, though the Curve does have a magazine disconnect and loaded chamber indicator.

GUNS Magazine was able to field-test an early production Taurus Curve. Reviewer Mark Kakkuri reports that the DAO Curve was reliable: “The 100 or so rounds I fired through the gun fed well and the empty cases ejected perfectly. The long trigger was decently smooth and the recoil, while sharp, was manageable. And not only was the gun a reliable shooter, it also hit where I aimed, thanks in part to its integrated light and laser.”

The reviewer also validated the Curve’s unique shape: “In my pocket, the Curve indeed fit comfortably, printing less than most other pocket pistols, looking sort of like a large wallet. In my waistband… the well-designed bend in the frame proved more comfortable than most other pistols this size.”

Taurus Curve pistol CCW LED Laser

Taurus Curve pistol CCW LED Laser

Permalink Handguns 4 Comments »
October 10th, 2014

Beyond the Bore-Scope — BEMIS Laser Bore Inspection Machine

Do you think your borescope is a state-of-the-art bore inspection device? Well think again. There is now something way more advanced than any optical borescope. A new laser-equipped scanning device can map the entire interior surface of a barrel bore. With this new technology you can now examine every land and every groove, millimeter by millimeter, from the chamber to the tip of the muzzle. The most minute flaw in a barrel can now be revealed.

Chesapeake Testing BEMIS laser bore scanner barrel inspection machineThe new device is called the BEMIS-SC™ (for Barrel Inspection Machine Small Caliber). Operated by Chesapeake Testing and Laser Techniques Company (LTC), BEMIS-SC performs non-destructive laser-based mapping of gun bores. The BEMIS-SC currently works with .22 caliber to .50 caliber (5.56 – 12.7 mm) barrels. The BEMIS captures thousands of highly accurate data points over the full length of a barrel. The inspection can be completed in mere minutes, with scan results displayed in graphical, tabular, and 3D visual formats. Here is a barrel cross-section, as scanned by the BEMIS-SC:

Click for Full-Screen Version
Chesapeake Testing BEMIS laser bore scanner barrel inspection machine

Until the 1980s, gun tube inspection had to be conducted by hand using a manual “star” gauge, a process that would take hours and provide minimal data. Electronic gauges were eventually developed along with the video bore scope, but these systems were still limited to very few, low-resolution data points. That has all changed with the BEMIS™, a huge leap forward in technology that is capable of rapidly capturing thousands of precise data points.

BEMIS-SC (Small Caliber) Barrel Inspection Machines
Chesapeake Testing BEMIS laser bore scanner barrel inspection machine

Chesapeake Testing commenced BEMIS-SC barrel inspection services in September 2014. Testing is performed in Chesapeake’s commercial barrel inspection laboratory, located in Belcamp, MD, minutes from the U.S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground. While testing is currently limited to .22 to .50 caliber barrels, Chesapeake Testing will accommodate both smaller and larger calibers in the future.

“We have always focused on building our company around very unique technologies. BEMIS™ has changed the industry in regards to the inspection of weapon systems. We are excited to be an exclusive partner with LTC in this industry and look forward to contributing to the future of this technology,” says Jim Foulk, founder and president of Chesapeake Testing.

Permalink News, Optics 1 Comment »
September 16th, 2014

Get a Free SureFire Flashlight with Leica Rangefinder

Here’s a nice combo offer if you’re thinking about buying a laser rangefinder for the fall hunting season. Right now, if you purchase a Leica CRF 1000-R or 1600-B Laser Rangefinder you can receive a Surefire G2x-Pro flashlight worth $85.00. The rugged, dual-power G2x-Pro should last a lifetime.

This is a limited-time offer works. When you purchase a new Leica CRF Rangemaster 1000-R or 1600-B Compact Laser Rangefinder from any authorized North America Leica Dealer you can receive a Surefire G2X-Pro flashlight and lanyard ($85 value). Send in your mail-in Rebate Form, plus your CRF proof of purchase, to Leica between Sept. 15 and Dec. 31, 2014, to receive your Surefire G2X-Pro flashlight.

Leica Surefire rangefinder laser flashlight rebate promotion

Leica’s CRF 1000-R Rangemaster is an easy-to-use laser rangefinder than can fit in your pocket. The wide field of view makes target identification fast and easy. The CRF 1000-R features built-in angle correction. This provides automatic point-of-aim correction for uphill or downhill shots. That’s a very valuable feature for hunters.

Leica’s CRF 1600-B Compact Laser Rangefinder boasts an integrated precision ABC (Advanced Ballistic Compensation) system. This instantly measures distance, incline, temperature, and air pressure and then calculates hold-over based on selected bullet BC. The 1600-B’s LED display has ambient-light-controlled brightness — a nice feature when you’re in the field. For more info, visit LeicaSportOptics.com

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
June 28th, 2014

Can’t Find .22 LR Ammo? Here’s One Solution…

.22 LR 22LR Laser Trainer
Watch LaserLyte .22 LR Trainer in Action

Do you own a .22 LR rimfire pistol? Well now you can transform that handgun into a high-tech laser pistol, thanks to a new gadget from LaserLyte. The new .22 Caliber Laser Trainer works with nearly all .22 LR pistols (but not revolvers) with a striker or conventional firing pin. The battery-powered device emits a laser beam when you pull the trigger. The video below shows how it works.

We have to admit we liked the idea of this device so much, we ordered one from Amazon.com. The $83.22 retail price seems a little steep, but think of all the money you can save on .22 LR ammo (which is pretty darn hard to find these days anyway). We just wish there was a version for .22 LR revolvers.

.22 LR 22LR Laser Trainer

.22 LR 22LR Laser TrainerWARNING: Before you use the LaserLyte .22 Caliber Trainer, check and double-check to ensure your pistol is UNLOADED!! That means NO ROUND IN THE CHAMBER! Pulling the trigger with the training device in the barrel (and a loaded round) could cause serious injury or death to yourself or someone downrange. As with any firearm, always make sure to follow all basic firearm safety rules! Additionally, never point the laser beam at another person — as the laser can cause eye injury.

New product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product 2 Comments »
January 27th, 2014

LaserLyte Plinking Cans Jump When Hit By Laser Beams

laserlyte plinking cans

Snow on the ground? Can’t go shooting outside? Here’s one way to have fun indoors while practicing your aiming skills. LaserLyte offers a set of three cans equipped with laser-activated “kickers” on the base. When a laser hits the can in the right spot the can topples over. The laser activates a solenoid that releases a spring-loaded plunger. To reset the cans, simply stand them up and depress the plunger.

Watch Laserlyte Plinker Training Cans:

The LaserLyte® Laser Plinking Can Set is sold in a three-pack with three 9V batteries included. One battery will tip the can over about 8,000 times. Watch the video to see how it works. This would be fun with kids (just follow safe practices with the laser beams).

laserlyte plinking cans

To direct a laser at the plinking cans, you’ll need a firearm fitted with an in-barrel laser (instead of live ammo). Or, alternatively, you can use the blue plastic LaserLyte training pistol ($54.95). For actual handguns, you can use the universal LT-Pro laser module, or a caliber-specific unit that fits the chamber of your gun. The blue training pistol is designed to work with the LT-Pro universal module, as you can see in the video below, a field test by Gunsandammo.com. The testers noted that the cans may be sensitive to very bright light sources.

Permalink New Product, Shooting Skills No Comments »
December 24th, 2013

Ultimate Range-Finding Binocular Test by PrecisionRifleBlog.com

PrecisionRifleBlog.com recently published results from the most comprehensive field test of rangefinder binoculars ever conducted. It included virtually every product available in a variety of real-world scenarios, to see which had the best performance in the field in terms of both optical clarity and ranging capabilities. The results are based on over 10,000 data points collected from the field over 3 months of testing. Cal Zant, author of PrecisionRifleBlog.com, published a series of posts with exhaustive details about his optical and ranging tests and results, but we’ll hit the highlights here.

Ranging Binocular Field Test and Reviews

VOICE FILE: Click Button to Hear Cal Zant TALK about Rangefinder Binocular Test

Six of the models tested were binoculars, and the other two were monoculars. The Leupold monocular was included for reference, because many shooters have a 1,000-yard rangefinder similar to the RX-1000. The Vectronix Terrapin model was included as the control for ranging performance, because it is known to be an extremely accurate rangefinder (spoiler alert: it is). Cal provides a very detailed side-by-side spec comparison for these models in one of his posts.

Ranging Test Results

Rangefinder Binocular ReviewEach model was used to range 500+ times in a variety of scenarios from 25 to over 30,000 yards. The tests showed these models had similar performance at close and mid-range targets, but at 600 yards their performance started to diverge … so that is where most of the testing was focused.

The chart below summarizes the ranging performance found on the test targets in ideal conditions, which was from a sturdy tripod, at sunset, with 10+ mile visibility. The exact target shape and surroundings varied, but the targets were all approximately 2 MOA wide, highly reflective, and perpendicular to the rangefinder. Specifics on target dimensions, view from the ranging position, and target surroundings are given in the detailed ranging performance results post.

Rangefinder Binoculars Review Ranging Performance Under Ideal Light Conditions

Vectronix is the leader of the rangefinder world, and that was proved once again in these tests. The new Leica Geovid HD-B wasn’t far behind them, with accurate ranging beyond 1 mile. The Zeiss Victory RF also had surgical precision off a tripod, although it had a reduced range compared to the Vectronix and Leica. The Bushnell Fusion 1 Mile also proved to be able to range targets out to their claimed max range of 1,760 yards.

PrecisionRifleBlog.com also tested the ranging performance of each model in bright lighting conditions, and offhand as well. The data from those tests also contained a few surprises. To determine how accurate each model really was, Cal Zant carefully analyzed the results from each model when aimed at precisely positioned, “known distance” targets. To see how those tests turned out, or learn more details about specific models, GO TO full results.

Optical Test Results

Rangefinder Binoculars Review Optical QualityFor the optics tests, Cal’s goal was to find an objective, data-driven approach to testing optical performance. What he came up with was placing eye exam charts from 600 to 1,400 yards with different size letters, and then recording what two different people could accurately read with each model. The data for each unit was summed into a single score so they could be ranked relative to how much detail the testers could make out. More specifics are provided regarding how the test was conducted and how scores were calculated in the optical performance results post. Here are the results from Cal’s data-driven approach:

Rangefinder Binoculars Review Optical Quality

The Leica Geovid HD-B edged out the other models for the top spot, with its completely new, Perger-Porro prism design. The original Leica Geovid HD, and Zeiss Victory RF also showed great optical clarity.

The Rest of the Story

Cal’s full series of posts is very informative. He’s done tons of analysis on the data, and summarizes it in several charts that provide a lot of insight. Cal is also in the process of publishing detailed reviews on each model, including notes he and the other testers compiled for each unit. They used them all — a lot, so they have a unique perspective on what’s good or bad about each. Find out more at the link below:

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article with More Info

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November 9th, 2013

Future Tech: 3D Metal Printing of Gun Parts and 1911 Pistol

Could your next metal scope rings, trigger guard, or muzzle brake be crafted with a 3D printing process? It’s possible. In fact, a wide variety of metal parts (even a complete handgun) can be printed using the latest 3D Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) process. The way this works is as follows: powdered metal is heated by a laser, causing the metal particles to fuse and solidify. This is progressively repeated, in vertically-stacked layers, until the entire metal part is complete. It’s like building a metal layer cake with the shape/size of each thin layer defined by a precise laser beam. The laser is guided by computer-controlled servos following a CAD “blueprint”.

This video demonstrates how metal parts are 3D printed using the DMLS process. This technology is offered by Solid Concepts, a leading rapid prototyping and manufacturing services company.

The Solid Concepts 1911 — World’s First 3D-Printed Metal Firearm

Solid Concepts has manufactured the world’s first 3D-printed metal gun using a laser sintering process and powdered metals. The gun, a .45 acp 1911 clone, has already handled 50 rounds of successful live-fire testing. A 1911 design was chosen because the “blueprint” is public domain. The gun is composed of thirty-three, 17-4 Stainless Steel and Inconel 625 components, crafted through the DMLS process. Even the carbon fiber-filled hand grips are 3D printed, using a Selective Laser Sintered (SLS) process.

3D metal printing 1911 DMLS Solid Concepts

Except for the springs, all the parts of this 1911 handgun were printed using the metal laser sintering process. Yes even the highly-polished slide, the barrel, the frame, and the hammer were printed. There are no forgings, castings, or conventionally-machined parts. With the exception of springs, all 30+ components in this prototype pistol were printed using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) technology. Watch the video for a glimpse into the future of gun-making:

World’s First 3D-Printed Metal Gun Test Firing

Solid Concepts believes that its fully-functional, 3D-printed 1911 handgun proves the viability of 3D printing for gun parts, even highly-stressed components. Kent Firestone, V.P. of Additive Manufacturing at Solid Concepts, states: “We’re proving this is possible, the technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D metal printing. And we’re doing this legally. In fact, as far as we know, we’re the only 3D printing service provider with a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Now, if a qualifying customer needs a unique gun part in five days, we can deliver.”

3D metal printing 1911 DMLS Solid Concepts

Will we see complete 3D-printed metal guns on the market soon? That’s unlikely. It’s still more economical to produce complete guns the old-fashioned way. However, we may see 3D printing used for rapid prototyping. In addition, 3D metal printing has advantages for hard-to-machine parts with complex geometries. Solid Concepts reports that its 3D printed metal has fewer porosity issues than an investment cast part and better complexities than a machined part. It will be interesting to see what unfolds in the years ahead.

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June 5th, 2012

ORNL Builds Reticle-Compensating Sight with Laser Barrel Sensor

Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a system that uses lasers and fiber optics to measure very small changes (deflections) in a rifle barrel. These deflections are recorded with laser sensors, and then algorithms are used to compute the resultant changes in bullet trajectory. Using computer-calculated trajectories, the digital sighting system’s “virtual” reticle automatically adjusts to compensate for barrel deflection, as well as changing environmental conditions. The microprocessor-controlled digital reticle can adjust to 1/1000th of a Minute of Angle (MOA). That makes it far more precise than any conventional riflescope reticle.

ORNL Barrel Sensor with Compensating Reticle
Shown below is a laboratory prototype of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Reticle Compensating Rifle Barrel Reference Sensor. This system precisely measures the deflection of the barrel relative to the sight and then electronically makes the necessary corrections. The system was developed by a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Slobodan Rajic, shown in the photo.

Oak Ridge Barrel sensorThe Reticle Compensating Rifle Barrel Reference Sensor takes the guesswork out of shooting by shifting the burden of knowing the relative position between the barrel and the weapon sight axes from the shooter to an electronic sensor. The system precisely measures the deflection of the barrel relative to the sight and then electronically realigns the moving reticle, or crosshairs, with the true position of the barrel, or bore axis.

“When a weapon is sighted in, the aim point and bullet point of impact coincide,” Rajic said. “However, in the field, anything that comes into contact with the barrel can cause perturbation of the barrel and induce errors.”

With modern high-caliber rifles boasting ranges of up to two miles, even very small barrel disruptions can cause a shooter to miss by a wide margin. That makes this technology indispensable from a marksman’s perspective, Rajic said.

From a technological standpoint, the approach is straightforward. ORNL starts with fluted barrels (the flutes play a key role). With the ORNL technology, glass optical fibers are placed into the flutes. The sensor system contains a laser diode that sends a signal beam into the optical fibers parallel to the bore axis of the barrel.

“The optical fibers are designed to split the laser beam twice, sending one beam along the top of the rifle barrel and another light beam along the side of the barrel,” Rajic said. “Thus, we can measure both the vertical and horizontal barrel deflection.”

Through a combination of algorithms, optics and additional sensor inputs, the system can take into account distance and other factors affecting the bullet trajectory. Ultimately, the whole optical/laser/digital system provides the shooter with crosshairs that automatically adjust for conditions in real time.

A Compensating Reticle with 1/1000 MOA Precision
Skeptics of electronic sighting systems have complained that the resolution of a digital rifle-sight is too crude to allow precise aiming. There simply aren’t enough pixels on a viewscreen to allow ultra-precise aiming at long-range targets, shooters have said. In fairness, the existing commercially-available digital rifle sighting systems HAVE been crude — with a lo-rez screens like you might find in a portable GPS.

Well you can forget all that. ORCL has achieved a break-through in digital sighting. The bar has been raised — by an order of magnitude. The resolution of ORNL’s digital, sensor-informed Compensating Reticle is 125 times better than that of traditional target reticles, which can normally be adjusted by one-eighth Minute of Angle (MOA) (at best). Now get this — the ORNL sensor can sense angular displacement and shift the reticle by 1/1,000th of a minute of angle. While this system is expensive, and designed (at this point) for the military, this technology could eventually benefit sport shooters. A decade from now, we would not be surprised if long-range civilian shooters commonly use electronically-enhanced optics, with digital reticles that automatically compensate for bullet drop (and maybe even windage).

ORNL scientists are also working on technology that could yield much more precise and accurate plots of bullet trajectories. We will no longer have to rely on “guesstimated” data inputs, and certain assumptions about bullet drag factors. Rajic and colleagues are developing a laser-based, bullet tracking system that would record plot the bullet’s actual flight path while the bullet is in the air. In other words, this tracking system would be able to plot the bullet’s true trajectory from muzzle to target. That is much differerent than current ballistic “solvers” which merely draw a predicted arc based on muzzle velocity, wind and temp inputs, and a reference BC value.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a multi-program science and technology laboratory managed for the U.S. Department of Energy by UT-Battelle, LLC. Over 3000 scientists and engineers at ORNL conduct basic and applied research and development to create scientific knowledge and new technology in key areas of science, energy, the environment, and national security.

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June 3rd, 2012

Crimson Trace Offers Free Batteries for Life on Laser Sights

Crimson Trace Free BatteriesCrimson Trace (CTC) is extending its popular FREE Batteries for Life promotion. CTC customers will receive free replacement batteries for the lifetime of their laser sights, in exchange for registering their Crimson Trace products with the company’s customer service department.

“There are very few things in life that are truly free,” said Nate Hoke, Director of Customer service for Crimson Trace. “This is one of them. Just register online or via our 800 number and every year, we’ll send a fresh set of batteries for your Lasergrips® or Laserguard® product for as long as you own it.”

Hoke reported that many customers were still using the original batteries in their sights after six or seven years. “While Crimson Trace products have the longest run times in the industry, laser sights are safety devices and as such, should have regular battery changes.”

Crimson Trace Free Batteries

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April 10th, 2012

New High-End Extreme-Range Laser RangeFinder from Vectronix

terrapin LRF laser Vectronic rangefinderEurooptics.com now carries the impressive Vectronix Terrapin Laser Rangefinder. The $1995.00 Terrapin is a high-grade, milspec device rated to 2400m, well beyond the stated ranges for LRFs in the $600-$1000 class. Field reports indicated that the Terrapin is very good. One field tester, using a Terrapin set on a tripod, said the Terrapin hit 16″ plates at 800 yards more reliably than a Swarovski Laserguide. Ranging a small object like that at 800 yards is a tough test for any LRF. The Terrapin performs well on smaller objects because it has extremely tight beam divergence (this means the beam doesn’t spread out like a wide cone at long range).

The reports we’ve received indicate that the Vectronix lives up to expectations created by its 2400m distance rating. Jason Baney reports: “This Vectronics is impressive. In the right conditions, these units can range well beyond 2000 yards. On a Snipers’ Hide Thread, Vectronix Terrapin owners have reported ranging successfully past 3000 yards on large objects.” Available in tan or green, the Terrapin has a rugged aluminum inner housing and is rated to be waterproof with 60 minutes of immersion. It is easy to hold, and weighs just 1.1 pounds. Efficient electronics allow the Terrapin to make over 7,000 ranging “shots” before the two CR123 batteries need to be replaced.

terrapin LRF laser Vectronic rangefinder

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March 22nd, 2012

Get Leica CRF 1600 Rangefinder on Sale for $649.00

Here’s a very good deal if you’re looking for a premium Laser Rangefinder with excellent long-range performance and a compact form factor. The popular Leica CRF 1600 laser rangefinder is now on sale at EuroOptic.com for just $649.00. That represents a $150.00 savings over the previous price. The hundred and fifty bucks you save can pay for other gear items you need.

Why is the CRF 1600 on sale? Leica is bringing out a CRF 1600-B in June, 2012. The newer ‘1600-B’ model will have more bells and whistles, yet it will be sold at the $799.00 price. That means the price has been slashed on the current CRF 1600.

Should you wait for the ‘1600-B’ version? That depends. The new CRF 1600-B model offers built-in angle correction plus an LED output for holdovers (in inches or cm). It can also display the elevation clicks you need at particular distances, based on reference to a set of internal ballistics curves. That sounds cool, but if you already have a come-up table (as you probably do), all you really need is an accurate range to the target — and the CRF 1600 can definitely deliver that. The current CRF 1600 does offer hold-over values (in cm or inches), based on built-in ballistics curves, but it doesn’t have an inclinometer and it doesn’t provide click-value read-outs. If you don’t need the “fancy extras”, or you don’t want to wait until June for the ‘1600-B’ model, it makes sense to pick up a CRF 1600 now at the $649.00 sale price.

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