July 26th, 2012

New Modular Swarovski Spotting Scope: 65mm, 85mm, 95mm

Swarovski has just announced a truly revolutionary spotting scope system. Imagine a “normal” spotting scope sliced in half, with separate objective (front) units and separate eyepiece (rear) units. This way you can have both straight and angled viewing options, and you can select from three (3) different objectives (65mm, 85mm, 95mm), depending on the light-gathering and max magnification you need for the job (and the weight you’re willing to carry).

Swarovski ATX Modular Spotting Scope

The new Swarovski Optik ATX/STX Modular Spotting Scope combines a straight (#49902) or angled (#49901) rear eyepiece module with any one of three front objective sections, the largest of which is a whopping 95mm. All three available objectives have coated HD lenses for high contrast, low chromatic aberration, and optimal light transmission. These lenses are bright, with excellent color fidelity.

Swarovski ATX Modular Spotting Scope

Both eyepiece modules have extended-eye-relief ocular lenses, with a “field-flattener” lens design that provides high contrast and correct geometry all the way out to the edge of the image. The eyepiece modules deliver either 25-60X or 30-70X power depending on front module. NOTE: The eyepieces are built into the rear modules — they are non-removable and you can’t swap in a third-party eyepiece. However, digiscoping adapter can also be fitted in the rear.

Watch Video to See Product Features and Lens Modules Changed in Field

Swarovski ATX Modular Spotting ScopeWith front and rear modules joined, the zooming and focusing rings are located right next to each other. This allows you to zoom quickly, and then easily fine-tune the focus without moving your hand. Centralizing both controls is smart because you don’t have to take your head away from the eyepiece to look for one control or the other. Your hand can stay in one position. We’ve always liked the large-diameter focus rings on Swarovski spotting scopes. Now, with the new modular Swarovski system, you get the advantage of a large-diameter, centralized zoom control as well.

Swarovski ATX Modular Spotting ScopeBig Money for Complete System
As you might expect, the Swarovski ATX/STX system commands a premium price. Either angled or straight eyepiece module is $2179.00 at EuroOptic.com. The 65mm front objective module is $879.00, but you’ll pay $1599.00 for the 85mm objective module. The biggest 95mm objective module costs $1899.00. So, for an angled rear module plus the jumbo 95mm objective, you’re looking at $4078.00 total. If you want BOTH rear modules AND the 95mm objective, you’ll need to pony up $6257.00! That’s got to be some kind of record for consumer spotting scopes. The minimum you can spend (for one rear module and 65mm objective), will be $3058.00, which is still pretty pricey. There are some significant advantages to this modular system though. For example, transport and storage is simplified, and we like the ability to choose the objective size based on the “mission”. You don’t need a 95mm objective to see bullet holes at 100 yards. But at long range, a bigger objective can be very useful.

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July 9th, 2012

Colt 901 Modular Carbine Shoots Both .308 Win and .223 Rem

Colt Manufacturing Company (“Colt”) has finally released T&E versions of the long-promised Colt 901 “Modular Carbine” first revealed in 2011. This rifle shoots both .223 Rem and .308 Win cartridges using the SAME LOWER with different uppers. The Colt accomplishes this task by using a unique magwell insert, along with different mags and buffer assemblies. The 901 is very different than other AR variants which squeeze a short .30-caliber cartridge, such as the .300 AAC BLK, into a .223-length AR magazine. The Colt 901 shoots regular .308 Winchester cartridges, from .308-Win sized magazines. The key is the proprietary magwell insert, which allows standard 5.56×45 (.223 Rem) AR mags to fit inside the lower. To move from .308 to .223, once the insert is in place, you simply switch the buffer spring and buffer, and then attach your .223 Rem upper.

Colt 901 GunsAmerica.com ReviewGunsAmerica Review
You’ll find a detailed review and field test of the Colt 901 in the latest GunsAmerica Blog. The testers say the Colt 901 caliber-changing system works as advertised: “It can be adapted from .308/7.62, using standard P-Mags, to .223/5.56, using standard AR mags, and back again, in literally seconds. The design uses one proprietary part, and you have to swap out the recoil system. It is that simple, and it works fantastic…. What [Colt] did was to design a very simple part that adapts both the lug and the magazine size from one size upper to the other. The part itself is made from aluminum, and weighs exactly 3 ounces, including the captured steel push pin. It is simply an adapter, and its genius is in its simplicity.”

The GunsAmerica Review of the Colt 901 is worth reading if you’re interested in a dual-caliber AR. The review offers plenty of photos (zoomable to large size), with close-ups of the magwell insert and the buffer systems. In addition, the reviewers field-tested the Colt 901 with both .223 Rem and .308 Win uppers. Accuracy at 100 yards was not impressive (1.5″ group with the .308, about 2″ for the .223 version), but the reviewers believe the rifle could have shot better with a trigger upgrade.

Colt 901 Video from Military.com (2011 Unveiling)

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June 15th, 2012

Modular Low-Profile Competition Stocks from Wayne Young

Texas stock-maker Wayne Young has created an innovative modular stock. The fore-end side-plates bolt on to an aluminum sub-chassis so you can alter the width, or run an offset on either side of center. You can transform the stock from 3″ wide to 5″ wide in a couple minutes. Or, if you want to experiment with offset (i.e. having more fore-end width on one side of the barrel than the other side), you can simply remove a few bolts, and stack up the sideplates on one side.

Wayne's Gun Stocks

Wayne's Gun Stocks

The ability to quickly (and inexpensively) transform a stock from 3″ wide to 5″ wide is a definite plus for shooters who want to use the same rig in both F-Class and benchrest. You can run your rifle at max-legal 3″ width for F-Class, then bolt on additional fore-end “wings” to run at 5″ for bench competition. The 5″-wide stocks are now legal for 600-yard and 1000-yard benchrest, at both IBS and NBRSA registered matches. Those folks who have tried out 5″-wide stocks on Light Guns have been impressed with the results. The extra width stabilizes the rifle on the bags, reducing perceived twist (torquing) and hop. There is less “Rocking and Rolling”. With the gun torquing less, the tracking during recoil normally shows an improvement as well. (But we should say that, even with the standard 3″ width, these stocks track great.)

Wayne's Gun Stocks

Video Demonstrates Superior Tracking
How does a Wayne Young stock track? Straight and true — with virtually no hop. You can see for yourself. In the video below, Wayne shoots a test rifle chambered in .284 Winchester, a popular F-Class cartridge. The load is a 175gr Berger XLD bullet pushed at 3010 fps by Reloder 17 powder. That’s a stout, fast load — the recoil force easily meets or exceeds a typical F-Open match load. To better demonstrate the gun’s handling characteristics, Wayne deliberately shoots the gun free-recoil style — without gripping hard or shouldering the stock*. As you can see, the gun recoils straight back. The forearm and buttstock also slide perfectly in the bags, without “grabbing”. (Note: In the video, the rifle’s front bag-rider section is aluminum without polymer “wings”. This particular gun was built with a wider aluminum channel to fit a large-diameter, straight-contour barrel).

Stock Specifications and Design Features
Finished stocks weigh approximately 7 pounds, 4 ounces. If needed, stocks can be lightened to just under 7 pounds. Overall length is 36″. Length of pull is adjustable from 13 to 13.75 inches with standard two-way adjustable butt pad. The main chassis is machined from billet 6061-T6 (Tee Six) aluminum, while the fore-end chassis section is 6063-T5 (Tee Five). The black side sections, fore-end plates, and buttstock lowers are CNC-machined from high-grade HDPE, a rugged, chemically-resistant polymer.

The chassis for round actions features a “V-Block” seating area. There is a flat configuration for Panda and Stiller flat-bottom actions. With either the round- or flat-bottom configuration, actions can be mounted directly on the 1.25″-square aluminum chassis, using supplied action bolts. (Skim bedding is optional.) No inletting, pillar-installation, or stock finishing (painting) is required. Just bolt your barreled action into the chassis and head to the range.

Wayne’s stocks come with two-way adjustable butt-plate, adjustable cheekpiece, trigger guard, and all fasteners. If you consider all that standard equipment and the fact that Wayne’s gunstocks require no inletting and no finishing, these stocks are attractively priced. Wayne’s F-Open/Benchrest Stock, with 3″ fore-end, costs $499.00 plus $25.00 S/H. There is also a $499.00 F-TR version with a fore-end set up for bipod attachment. (Wayne produces an integral, adjustable and removable F-TR bipod for $75.00.) Add $100.00 extra if you want the aluminum components hard-anodized. With long actions or Savage actions, there is an extra charge to configure the central chassis to fit. For more information visit WaynesGunstocks.com or call (210) 288-3063 from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.

* If Wayne was shooting a .284 Win in an F-Class match, he would grip the gun and put some shoulder into it. But for demonstration purposes in the video, Wayne free-recoiled the rig so you can see how well it tracks with no holding or steering by the shooter.
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March 5th, 2012

Modular Zanotti Safes Offer Easy Installation

We’ve received inquiries from readers who are looking for a gunsafe that is big and strong but can be broken down and transported more easily that a typical 800 to 1200-lb safe. One product that fits the bill is the Zanotti modular safe. It arrives in sections, none weighing more than 170 pounds. It is assembled in place, then can be dis-assembled when you need to move. The Zanotti is also well-suited for a gun-owner who lives in an apartment up many flights of stairs.

Zanotti take-down gunsafes

Zanotti Gun safeZanotti Armor safes are ideal for gun owners who need to move frequently or who live in a location where it is difficult to position a conventional safe. Zanotti safes arrive in three or four discrete shipping boxes. The safe is assembled by the owner, on site, in six steps. The heaviest component is the door, weighing 110 pounds in the 16-gun ZAI safe, and 175 pounds in the largest 52-gun ZAIII model. Five safe models are offered, ranging from 350 to 925 pounds assembled weight, without interior. Zanotti safes are popular with military personnel and others whose jobs force them to re-locate often. The safe can be assembled in under 30 minutes with no tools other than a hammer, and all you need is a hand dolly to move any component.

Guns Magazine reports: “The panels are interlocked by 3/8 inch, nickel-plated steel “L” shaped pins that slip into steel tubing sections welded to the interior surfaces of the panels. The slip fit is held to a tolerance of .003 inch, and the safes are completely assembled and hand-fitted at the factory to insure the panels will align properly. The body is made from 1/8 inch and 3/16 inch steel; the door from 3/16 inch steel; the locking bolts are 3/4 inch steel.” This is heavier gauge steel than you’ll find on most conventional gun safes.

Zanotti offers many deluxe interiors including a system of roll-out sliding drawers in the bottom of the safe. We think the sliding drawers are ideal for storing handguns and expensive items such as cameras and binoculars that you want to keep out of plain view. Mark Zanotti, the innovative creator of these modular safes, can also customize any interior to suit the customer’s particular needs.

Editor’s Note: For most applications, a conventional safe is still the best choice. Bolted in place, a conventional safe with welded walls will provide the best security and a conventional safe can provide increased fire protection. Zanotti safes do not employ a separate layer of sheet-rock or ceramic fire lining. The Zanotti is a special product for gun-owners with special needs. The units are well-made and Zanotti offers many nice custom interior features that you won’t find even on much more expensive conventional safes.

To learn more about gunsafe features and fire-proofing, read our Gunsafe Buyers’ Guide.

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January 29th, 2012

SHOT Show: Remington RACS Modular Stock for Rem 700s

Remington once again showcased a “civilian” production version of the Remington Arms Chassis System (RACS), first shown at the 2011 SHOT Show. The full-adjustable, modular RACS are designed as drop-in upgrades for any Rem 700 action. A Rem 700 action is clamped directly (metal on metal) to the center section of the RACS, which has a V-block type profile and central magazine well. There are both short-action and long-action versions of RACS. These look nearly identical in design, other than the length of the action section (see photos below by EdLongrange.)

Remington RACS Rem 700

Remington RACS Rem 700

The RACS features a folding stock, with adjustable cheekpiece, LOP, and buttplate height/cant/cast-off. This stock will accept AI magazines which also come with the kit.

Remington RACS Rem 700

No Release Date or Price Yet
What we still don’t have is a firm price and a date when RACS will actually be released to vendors. This system attracted much attention when first introduced, and it appears Remington has made evolutionary upgrades, but right now Remington is still not disclosing a final prices or a reliable delivery date. So keep your figures crossed, but don’t get too excited. Rem’s RACS may remain “vaporware” for an extended time.

Remington RACS Rem 700

Video from SHOT Show 2011

2012 Photos by EdLongRange, used by permission

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January 21st, 2012

SHOT Show: Whiskey 3 Chassis System from KRG

KRG whiskey 3 chassisWe met up with Justin Juarez of Kinetic Research Group (KRG), producers of after-market stocks for SAKO TRG 22/42, and the new Whiskey 3 Chassis (W3C) system for Tikka T3 and Remington 700.

We were pleased to get a first-hand look at a Whiskey 3 rifle build because Zak Smith is currently testing a KRG Whiskey-3 tactical rifle for AccurateShooter.com. We hope to publish Zak’s field report in February. While Zak’s W3C-fitted rifle is chambered as a Rem .260, Justin showed us a .223 Rem version with an innovative carbon-wrapped barrel. This rifle, shown at right, recently won a F-TR match — no mean feat for a .223 competing against a field of .308 Win rifles.

KRG whiskey 3 chassis

The modular W3C combines tool-less adjustments, (length-of-pull and cheek piece height) with good ergonomics and very durable construction. Rounds feed through the reliable AICS-type magazines. The W3C Gen II is currently available in fixed and folding stock versions for Tikka T3 (non-magnum length calibers) and Remington 700 short action (and 700 clones). KRG currently taking pre-orders (no money down required) with an open delivery date for other versions such as the Sako M995/TRG-S and Badger M2008. Price: Fixed $890; Folding $1260.

KRG whiskey 3 chassis

KRG whiskey 3 chassis

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September 19th, 2011

SAKO Introduces TRG M10 — New Modular Tactical Rifle

Last week, at the DSEi trade show in London, UK, Sako unveiled an all-new tactical rifle, designed from the ground up as a modular system, which can be user-configured in the field to shoot multiple calibers. By changing bolts and barrels, Sako’s new TRG M10 can be switched from a 7.62×51 NATO round to the .300 Win Mag, or the even larger .338 Lapua Magnum. With the capability of the TRG M10 to shoot both standard and magnum cartridges, Sako now has a product that can compete with other multi-caliber sniper rifles such as the Barrett MRAD, released last year. CLICK HERE for TRG M10 Spec Sheet.

Sako TRG m10

Sako TRG m10Sako Breaks TRG Mold with New M10
The TRG M10 represents quite a departure from Sako’s current TRG models which use a composite shell over a metal chassis which holds the barreled action. There is no outer shell or “skin” on the TRG M10. The action bolts into a rigid, exposed metal chassis to which a rail-equipped metal forearm/handguard is attached. Bipods can mount directly to a bottom Picatinny-style rail or to a metal block clamped to the rail on the underside of the forearm (See Photos).

TRG M10 Previewed in London
CLICK HERE to view more photos of the new TRG M10. These images, taken at DSEi in London, show the rifle both fully assembled as well as pulled apart into its major sections: action/barrel, folding stock, forearm, bolt assemblies, magazines. As the TRG M10 is designed to shoot multiple calibers, it employs two different bolt assemblies to fit both standard and magnum cases (of course this requires a barrel interchange as well).

For Military and Law Enforcement Only — for Now
Currently, the TRG M10 is marketed for “military and law enforcement only.” It will be interesting to see if Sako eventually decides to sell the TRG M10 to American civilian shooters. If Sako changes its mind about the civilian market, we would not be surprised if an announcement to that effect would be made at SHOT Show 2012 (to be held Las Vegas, NV, January 17-20, 2012). The TRG M10 system will next be displayed at the Milipol trade show in Paris, France on October 18-21, 2011.

Sako TRG m10

There is an extensive discussion of the new Sako TRG M10 on the Snipers’ Hide Forum. Overall, the initial reaction of ‘Hide members has been positive. Quite a few of those who commented on the rifle stated they would purchase a TRG M10 if it was offered to civilians. Hopefully Beretta, Sako’s parent company, will recognize that popular demand for the TRG M10 would be sufficient to justify its release to the civilian market. Only time will tell….

Sako TRG m10

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June 22nd, 2009

New Remington "Space-Gun" Modular Sniper Rifle

Remington has released a new sniper rifle that is WAY different than anything offered from a major American gunmaker, although it shares features pioneered by match-rifle builder Gary Eliseo and others. The new Remington Modular Sniper Rifle (MSR™) features a beefy new titanium receiver with the ability to handle multiple chamberings up to .338 Lapua Magnum. The MSR was designed from the ground up as a switch-barrel rig, with a floating handguard, and folding, adjustable buttstock.

Remington Modular Sniper Rifle

The whole system is modular. By exchanging bolt-face, barrel, and magazine, the gun can switch from .308 Win (7.62×51), to 300 Win Mag, to .338 Norma Mag, and to .338 Lapua Mag. All calibers are available in four barrel lengths: 20″, 22″, 24″, 27″. Barrels are designed to be rapidly interchanged. The trigger is an X-Mark Pro, user-adjustable from 2.5 to 4.5 pounds.

This rifle is Remington’s entry into the competition for the new SOCOM Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR). Big bucks are at stake. The SOCOM PSR contract is potentially a seven-figure deal for Remington. According to Tactical-Life.com, “Remington’s new MSR is so new and so unique that the entire rifle is patent pending. Everything from the triangular-shaped, three-lug titanium action with a 60° bolt throw to the side-folding modular stock was developed specifically for this [SOCOM] solicitation.”

Remington Modular Sniper Rifle

Remington claims the gun delivers good accuracy at ultra-long ranges. Using .338 Lapua Magnum ammo, Remington says its MSR will hold 1 MOA vertical at 1500 meters (1641 yards). While we don’t like the buttstock assembly much (looks like something out of the Transformers movie), it is clear that Remington has done some out-of-the-box thinking with this new rifle. The MSR employs some features that have proven successful with “space-gun” match rifles, such as a tubular, floating handguard, and metal sub-chassis.

Remington Modular Sniper Rifle

To learn more about the Remington MSR, and see a video of the rifle in action, visit RemingtonMilitary.com.

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