January 24th, 2019

SHOT Show 2019 — Eye-Catching Products

Shot show 2019 eley

There are tens of thousands of products on display at SHOT Show, the world’s largest firearms industry trade show. We visited dozens of manufacturers to see their featured items on display. Here are our selections of interesting products as well as some eye-catching product displays. Check out the cutaway Redding dies, the Norma giant plexiglass bullet shell.

Volquartsen .22 LR Ultralite with ModShot Carbon Stock, 3.8 LBS

Volquartsen ultralite ModShot carbon .22 LR rimfire rifle

Volquartsen showcased a radical rimfire rifle with “carbon everything”. Designed for rapid-fire Steel Challenge games, this unique rig has a carbon-wrapped barrel, carbon buttstock shaft with an aluminum buttplate, and a carbon fiber handhold forward of the action. The ModShot stock secures the bottom of the action, provides attachment points for rear section and front handhold. Total weight (without optics) is just 3 pounds, 13 ounces! MSRP is $1733.00. Our hunting editor, Colton Reid, said this “bare bones” carbon-enhanced design could be adapted for an ultralight centerfire hunting rifle under 5 pounds.

Redding Cutaway FL and Neck Sizing Dies

Redding Cutaway Sizing and Seating FL bushing full lenght micrometer Dies

At the Redding booth, we saw interesting sets of “cutaway” sizing dies. It was cool to see the insides of various types of dies. In the photo above the top two dies are micrometer-top dies. Below are three sizing dies: neck-sizing bushing die at left, a “plain” full-length sizing die in the middle, and a bushing full-length sizing die on the right. The bushing FL die would be our first pick — it allows you to size the entire body of the case, while adjusting neck tension (and bullet “grip”) with the neck bushings.

F-Open Champion with Kestros ZR Stock

Kestros ZR McMillan

Today, January 24th, Norm Harrold, the current F-Open 2018 national champion and 1000 yard record holder, appears at the McMillan booth. In the video above he’s holding the advanced, long-wheelbase Kestros ZR stock he used to set the new National Record and capture his F-Open title. Norm will explain the features of this stock that make it shoot so well. The Kestros ZR’s low COG and long wheelbase help the stock track and resist torque.

Christensen Arms Modern Precision Rifle

SK Ammunition .22 LR rimfire sheet cartridge

Our buddy Jason Baney was mighty impressed with the Modern Precision Rifle from Christensen Arms. With a handsome desert bronze finish, this rifle features carbon-wrapped lightweight barrel, carbon handguard/forearm, and carbon cheek piece. The folding buttstock folds quickly and secures with a magnetic lock. The rifle comes with a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee, and is available in 8 chamberings: .223 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .308 Win, 300 PRC, .300 Win Mag, .300 Norma Mag, and .338 Lapua Mag. Jason was so impressed with this $2295 rifle he said: “this could be my next hunting field rifle”. He said the folding stock really is an advantage when trekking long distances.

Rimfire Cases — How They Are Formed

SK Ammunition .22 LR rimfire sheet cartridge

At the Capstone Precision Group booth, we saw a long sheet of shiny brass metal. We were fascinated. This sheet illustrated how SK .22 LR casings are created from brass, started with a dime-sized flat circle, then ending with an extend narrow cylinder. This then becomes the case which receives the priming material (in the rim), powder and bullet. This is not identical to the actual factory production process, but it does show the key stages of rimfire case “punching” and drawing.

Frankford Arsenal New Compact Rotary Tumbler

SK Ammunition .22 LR rimfire sheet cartridge

Rotary tumblers do a fine job cleaning brass with media in liquid solution. There are many large rotary tumblers on the market. But frankly most are bigger than needed by rifle shooters who might just clean 100-200 pieces of brass at a time. Frankford Arsenal developed a smaller tumbler that runs smaller batches efficiently. Good idea. Look for this product at MidwayUSA in a few months. It should be significantly cheaper than Frankford Arsenal’s large, 7-liter Platinum tumbler which sells for $165.00 on Amazon.

Norma’s Giant See-Through Cartridge Display

Norma bullets brass Ammunition giant cartridge model display

Norma, maker of excellent brass, bullets, and loaded ammunition, had a eye-catching prop for displaying Norma bullets and cartridge brass. Over four feet long, this one-of-a-king plexiglass cartridge half-model held hundreds of projectiles and casings. Eye-catching for sure.

AMP Mark II — Runs Longer, Cooler, And Does .50 BMG

SK Ammunition .22 LR rimfire sheet cartridge

The makers of the Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) electro-induction annealing machine showcased a new, upgraded Mark II model. The new Mark II machine looks similar on the outside, but has a number of enhancements. It has bigger strong fans so it ran process more cases before you need to take a break to let the machine cool down. In addition, the Mark II now has a “super-sized” case chamber that can hold virtually any size case — all the way up to the .50 BMG. We watched as the AMP 2 annealed a jumbo .50 BMG in just a few seconds. Very impressive. For more info and pricing, visit www.AMPannealing.com.

Parting Shot — Goblin Green Race Pistol

eley green pistol 1911 race gun

Eley, the UK-based rimfire ammo maker, had a couple wild-looking race guns on display. This Metallic green stunner features a massive compensator, relieved slide (for faster cycling), and a color-coordinated C-MORE Reflex sight on top. Inconspicuous, this pistol is not!

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September 29th, 2018

Norm Harrold and His Championship-Winning F-Open Rig

F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

After Norm Harrold won the 2018 F-Open National Championship in Raton, New Mexico, setting a new 1000-yard National Record in the process, many of our Forum members wanted to see Norm’s championship-winning rifle, and learn more about Norm’s experience at the Nationals. Read on for coverage of Norm’s equipment and .284 Shehane ammo. Scroll down and you’ll find a detailed video showing how McMillan builds the advanced Kestros ZR stocks, like the one Norm used at Raton.

Norm posted: “I made it home from Raton 2018 F-Class Nationals and what an unbelievably amazing week I had. I was blessed enough to bring home a new F-Open 1000-yard record and the National Championship! Our Team McMillan took second in Mid-range and fourth overall in Long Range. I am so thankful and blessed to have this opportunity and to be able to do it with such a stand-up group of competitors and lifelong friends. Thanks to all our sponsors: McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Nightforce Optics, Kelbly’s [Actions], Bartlein Barrels, and Berger Bullets.”

F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Gun and Load: Norm’s F-Open rig features a McMillan Kestros ZR stock and Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane, which has a bit more case capacity than a standard .284 Winchester. Norm loaded Berger 184gr 7mm bullets in Lapua brass. Norm revealed his load in an Erik Cortina YouTube Video. Fellow shooter Erik Cortina joked — “the minute this video goes live, the 184s will be hard to find”. Norm says “Stock up guys — they shoot good!”

F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Here Norm Harrold shows his shooting form. Note how low the McMillan Kestros ZR forearm sits on Norm’s SEB NEO front rest. Norm also uses a large footprint rear bag for enhanced stability.

Harrold Shoots 200-22X to Smash 1000-Yard F-Open Record
On a rainy day at Raton, Norm shot brilliantly to set a new F-Open National Record: 200-22X at 1000 yards. (The previous record was 200-17X.) How could he get 22 Xs for a 20-shot string? Under NRA rules, if you shoot all Xs for the full string, you are allowed to keep shooting for as long as you can put shots in the X-Ring. Norm almost missed the chance to extend his X-Count. After his 20th shot, Norm recalled, “I said ‘I’m done, give me my target’, but … my shooting partner said ‘No! Keep shooting!’” So Norm did, drilling two more Xs to set the new National Record.

F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Kelly McMillan Shows Design and Construction of the Kestros ZR:

In this video, Kelly McMillan explains the design features and construction methods for the Kestros ZR, a fiberglass Kestros with aluminum extension rails in the front. Kelly explains “how and why we made the stock the way we did” and he shows how to retro-fit standard Kestros stocks with the new front rails. On the ZR the rails are anchored to a reinforced area for extra rigidity. In addition, the cantilevered rails are milled to be perfectly parallel. If you shoot F-Class we strongly recommend you watch this video.

Kelly McMillan Kestros ZR front rail prototype
Kelly McMillan showed us the prototype Kestros ZR at the 2018 Berger Southwest Nationals.

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