December 21st, 2016

Stocking Stuffers — Budget Gift Items for Gun Guys

stocking stuffers christmas gift guide

Christmas is just four days away, so today we’re featuring a hand-picked collection of “stocking stuffers” for precision shooters. So as not to bust your holiday budget, all of our selections are priced under $10.00. These items are handy tools that you’ll use over and over again at the range and/or at your loading bench (so you’re allowed to buy them for yourself, even after Christmas). Our AccurateShooter staffers use most of these items, including the Surveyors Tape, 10X Loupe, Ballistol, Mirage Shades, Crocogators, and Barrel Bags.

Gifts $1 to $5 

Shooting Glasses S&W Safety
Safety Eyewear
$1.50

Surveyors Tape
$1.99
Sinclair Barrel Mirage Shade
Barrel Mirage Shade
$4.95
Carson 10X Magnifier Loupe Loup
Carson 10X Loupe
$4.99

Safety Eyewear ANSI Z87.1. Yes you can get ANSI-approved Safety Eyewear for under two bucks. At that price you should pick up a half-dozen sets, just so you have extras. We recommend that shooters wear eye protection at all times when handling firearms. This eyewear special is offered by CDNN Sports. Call 800-588-9500 to order.

Surveyors’ Tape. Always watch the wind when you shoot. Inexpensive, Day-Glo Surveyors’ Tape (aka “Flagging Tape”), attached to a stake or target frame, makes a good wind indicator. It will flutter even in mild breezes, alerting you to both angle and velocity shifts. This should be part of every range kit. Don’t leave home without it.

Sinclair Barrel Mirage Shade. For high-volume varminters, and competitors who shoot fast in warm weather, a mirage shield is absolutely essential. This prevents hot air rising off the barrel from distorting the image in your scope. The aluminum Sinclair shield can be trimmed to fit, and comes with stick-on Velcro attachments. Two lengths are available: 18″ for short BR barrels, and 24″ for longer barrels.

Carson 10X Loupe. You’ll find dozens of uses for this handy 10X magnifier. Use this Carson 10X Loupe to check for burrs on case mouths, inspect bullet tips, find rifling marks on bullet jackets when setting seating depth, and look for potential separation lines on cases. There are dozens of other uses. In our reloading room, this inexpensive magnifier is one of our most valuable tools.

Gifts $6 to $10 


Dewey Crocogator
$6.50
Ballistol multi-purpose gun lube
Ballistol Aerosol Lube
$8.99
Sinclair Barrel Storage Bag
Benchrite Barrel Bag
$9.50
stalwart wood sinclair loading block
Stalwart Load Block
$9.99

Dewey Crocogator. The Crocogator tool, with knurled “teeth” at both ends, is simple, inexpensive, and compact. Yet nothing zips though primer-pocket gunk faster or better. Unlike some cutter-tipped primer pocket tools, the Crocogator removes the carbon quick and easy without shaving brass. One end is sized for large primer pockets, the other for small.

Ballistol Aerosol Lube. Ballistol is a versatile, non-toxic product with many uses in the reloading room. We have found it is ideal for lubricating cases for normal full-length sizing. It is clear, not gooey or chalky like other lubes. It is very, very slippery, yet is easy to apply and just as easy to wipe off. As you lube your cases, the Ballistol will also clean powder fouling off the case necks. For heavy-duty case forming and neck expansion, we’ll still use Imperial die wax, but for every-day case sizing, Ballistol is our first choice. It also helps prevent your dies from rusting and it even conditions leather. Ballistol is a favored bore cleaner for Black Powder shooters because it neutralizes acidic powder residues.

Santa Christmas Stocking giftsBenchrite Barrel Bag. If you run a switch-barrel rig, or take spare barrels to a big match, this simple but effective barrel bag will protect your valuable steel. The bag is moisture-resistant vinyl on the outside with a soft, quilted interior to protect the barrel’s finish and delicate crown. There are two sizes: one for barrels up to 26 inches, the other for barrels up to 31 inches. Both sizes are priced at $9.95 per bag. That’s cheap insurance for those priceless barrels.

Stalwart Wooden Loading Block. These handsome wooden loading blocks, sold by Sinclair Int’l, feature chamfered holes properly sized for the particular case you reload. Stalwart blocks are stable on the bench, and the hardwood material feels nice to the touch. These “Stalwart” loading blocks have the same machined fit as Sinclair’s popular white “Poly” blocks. Each Stalwart block is machined from select hardwood and has 50 holes (except for model #LB-9 with 32 holes). Finger grooves are machined into the sides for a sure grip.

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading 1 Comment »
July 26th, 2016

Handy Magnifiers Help Old Eyes with Reloading Tasks

Magnifying lens LED light relaoding

pocket fold-out magnifierWhat is the most-used piece of equipment on this editor’s reloading bench? No it’s not my Rock-Chucker press, or even my calipers. The one item in near-constant use is a small, folding magnifying glass. Mine folds into a square case and offers 4X viewing with an 8X bifocal insert. With this handy tool I can inspect case mouths for burrs, check primer pockets, inspect meplats, and look for flaws on bullet jackets. I also use the magnifier to see rifling marks on bullets seated into the rifling, or check my bolt for galling. The number of uses is nearly endless. I keep one magnifier at my reloading bench and another in my range kit.

Folding magnifiers are so handy yet inexpensive that you should own a couple spares (including one in the range box). I bought my magnifier in a book-store, but you can also find them on the web at FoldingMagnifier.com and WidgetSupply.com starting at just $1.95. To see the finest details, Widget Supply offers a powerful 9X/18X slide-out magnifier with a built-in, battery-powered LED light. With that gadget, you can easily see any minute flaws in your barrel crowns. That’s important because crown damage can cause hard-to-diagnose accuracy issues. We’ve known guys who spend weeks tinkering with loads, when the real problem was a worn-out or damaged crown.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
September 23rd, 2013

Handy Small Magnifiers Aid Many Reloading Tasks

pocket fold-out magnifierWhat is the most-used piece of equipment on this editor’s reloading bench? No it’s not my Rock-Chucker press, or even my calipers. The one item in near-constant use is a small, folding magnifying glass. Mine folds into a square case and offers 4X viewing with an 8X bifocal insert. With this handy tool I can inspect case mouths for burrs, check primer pockets, inspect meplats, and look for flaws on bullet jackets. I also use the magnifier to see rifling marks on bullets seated into the rifling, or check my bolt for galling. The number of uses is nearly endless. I keep one magnifier at my reloading bench and another in my range kit.

Folding magnifiers are so handy yet inexpensive that you should own a couple spares (including one in the range box). I bought my magnifier in a book-store, but you can also find them on the web at FoldingMagnifier.com and WidgetSupply.com starting at just $1.95. To see the finest details, Widget Supply offers a powerful 17X/50X slide-out magnifier with a built-in, battery-powered LED light. With that gadget, you can easily see any minute flaws in your barrel crowns. That’s important because crown damage can cause hard-to-diagnose accuracy issues. We’ve known guys who spend weeks tinkering with loads, when the real problem was a worn-out or damaged crown.

pocket fold-out magnifier

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 3 Comments »
November 7th, 2009

Reloading Tip: Inspect Ammo Components with Magnifier

What is the most-used piece of equipment on this Editor’s reloading bench? No it’s not my Rock-Chucker press, or even my calipers. The one item in near-constant use is a small, folding magnifying glass. Mine folds into a square case and offers 4X viewing with an 8X bifocal insert. With this handy tool I can inspect case mouths for burrs, check flash-holes, and look for flaws on bullet jackets and bullet tips. I also use the magnifier to see rifling marks on bullets seated into the rifling, or check my bolt for galling. The number of uses is nearly endless.

When loading match ammo, here are some of the things you should check with a magnifier:

  • Flash Holes (make sure they are round and not obstructed)
  • Case Necks and Bushings (check necks for scratching; inspect bushings for embedded grit or brass shavings)
  • Case Mouth (check inside and out for small burrs or cuts — either can damage your bullet jackets)
  • Bullet Meplats (check meplats CAREFULLY — look for damaged tips and significant meplat size variations)
  • Plastic Ballistic Tips (check for crooked or broken tips; look at jacket edge where it meets the plastic — this can be very ragged with burrs or gaps so it doesn’t fit flush with the plastic tip)

    Ballistic Tips

    Folding magnifiers are so handy yet inexpensive that you should own a couple spares (including one in the range box). I bought my magnifier in a book-store, but you can also find them on the web at Edmund Scientifics and WidgetSupply.com starting at just $1.97.

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