November 17th, 2017

6.5 Grendel Reloading Data From Sierra Bullets

6.5 Grendel load data Sierra Bullets

CLICK HERE for Sierra Bullets 6.5 Grendel LOAD DATA PDF »

Sierra Bullets has just released load data for the 6.5 Grendel, a popular cartridge that works equally well in bolt guns and AR15-platform gas guns. Sierra published comprehensive 6.5 Grendel load data, covering 19 powders and eight (8) different bullets from 85 to 130 grains. NOTE: Hornady-brand brass (see below) was used for Sierra’s 6.5 Grendel tests, not the stronger Lapua 6.5 Grendel brass. Hand-loaders using Lapua 6.5 Grendel brass may need to adjust their loads. Also Winchester WSR primers were used. We imagine most precision hand-loaders will prefer CCI or Federal primers.

Sierra Bullets Tested for 6.5 Grendel Load Data
85gr HP (#1700)
100gr HP (#1710)
107gr HPBT (#1715)
120gr Spitzer (#1720)
120gr HPBT (#1725)
123gr HPBT (#1727)
130gr HPBT (#1728)
130gr TMK (# 7430)

In developing its 6.5 Grendel load data, Sierra tested a very wide selection of propellants, 19 in all. For the 85gr to 100gr varmint bullets, modern powders such as XMR 2230, Power Pro Varmint, and Ramshot TAC offered the best velocity in the 24″ test barrel. For the heavier 120gr to 130gr match bullets, Sierra tested a selection of powders. Highest velocities came with Power Pro Varmint and TAC. If you’re looking for best accuracy, consider the slower burn-rate powders such as IMR 8208 XBR and Varget — but you’ll sacrifice some speed. Overall, Sierra’s latest 6.5 Grendel load data is an excellent addition to the 6.5 Grendel knowledge base. Thanks Sierra!

Here are Sierra’s 6.5 Grendel Load Data Charts for Sierra’s 123gr HPBT, 130gr HPBT, and 130gr TMK. There are a five other tables for lighter-weight Sierra bullets.

6.5 Grendel load data Sierra Bullets

6.5 Grendel load data Sierra Bullets

6.5 Grendel load data Sierra Bullets

History of the 6.5 Grendel Cartridge
The 6.5 Grendel originated as a 6mm PPC necked up to 6.5 mm. After Alexander Arms relinquished the “6.5 Grendel” Trademark, the 6.5 Grendel was standardized as an official SAAMI cartridge. It has become popular with target shooters and hunters alike because it is accurate, efficient, and offers modest recoil. Good for small to medium game, the 6.5 Grendel is becoming a popular chambering in lightweight hunting rifles, such as the Howa 1500 Youth Model. It is one of the most accurate cartridges you can shoot in the AR-15 platform.

6.5 Grendel Saami Hornady Brass

CLICK HERE for 6.5 Grendel Cartridge History (Wikipedia entry).

Sierra Bullets Load Data 6mm Creedmoor reloading tips

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 4 Comments »
August 1st, 2017

Flash-Hole Fix — Clearing Flash-Hole Obstructions in Your Brass

Flash-hole reamer

Even with high-quality brass from Lapua, Norma, and RWS, occasionally you may find one or two cases per box which have a small flake or obstruction in the flash-hole. This will appear like a thin crescent on one side of the flash hole (see photo). You should inspect ALL new brass before loading to identify any pieces with a partially-obstructed flash hole. It’s a good idea to remove any flake or thin crescent left as an artifact of the flash-hole forming process. Because the flash-hole itself is normally centered and of the correct diameter, it is not necessary to ream the flash-hole to a larger diameter. All you really need to do is remove the small obstruction(s). This can be done quickly with inexpensive tools.

Use a Small Pin Vise to Remove Flash-Hole Obstructions
Folks have asked if there is a tool that can remove obstructions from a Lapua small, BR-sized flash hole without opening the hole size. The Lapua PPC/BR flash hole is spec’d at 1.5mm, which works out to 0.059055″. Most of the PPC/BR flash-hole uniforming tools on the market use a 1/16″ bit which is nominally 0.0625″, but these often run oversize — up to 0.066″.

If you want to just clear out any obstructions in the flash hole, without increasing the flash hole diameter, you can use an inexpensive “pin vise” with an appropriate drill bit. For $0.99, eHobbyTools.com sells a 1.5mm drill bit, item 79186, that matches the Lapua flash hole exactly. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise drill bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). An 0.0595″ bit is close enough. You can find pin vises and these small-diameter drill bits at hobby stores.

Pin vises Lapua Flash hole

For quite some time, Sinclair Int’l has sold a similar device for small (PPC and BR-size) flash holes. Like the 07-3081 unit for large flash holes, the 073000 Reamer for small flash holes works from the outside, so it can index off the primer pocket. It reams to .0625″, and also costs $39.99. The standard dimension for Lapua 220 Russian and 6mmBR flash holes is 1.5mm or .0590″. This tool will permit standard-size decapping rods with .0625″ tips to work without binding. However, note that both Forster and Redding normally supply .057″ decapping pins with their PPC and BR dies. So, it is NOT necessary to ream your Lapua BR/PPC flashholes, unless you prefer to do so for uniformity. It IS, however, a good idea to check BR/PPC flash holes for burrs before loading the first time.

AccurateShooter Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer

NOTE: If you purchase either the 073081 or 073000 Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer tools, we recommend you mic the cutter tip before you process a bunch of cases. Sometimes a tip comes through that is oversize. This will ream the flash holes larger than you may intend.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
July 19th, 2017

Can We Predict Useful Barrel Life? Insights from Dan Lilja

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Barrel-maker Dan Lilja’s website has an excellent FAQ page that contains a wealth of useful information. On the Lilja FAQ Page as you’ll find informed answers to many commonly-asked questions. For example, Dan’s FAQ addresses the question of barrel life. Dan looks at factors that affect barrel longevity, and provides some predictions for barrel life, based on caliber, chambering, and intended use.

NOTE: This article was very well-received when it was first published last year. We are reprising it for the benefit of readers who missed it the first time.

Dan cautions that “Predicting barrel life is a complicated, highly variable subject — there is not a simple answer. Signs of accurate barrel life on the wane are increased copper fouling, lengthened throat depth, and decreased accuracy.” Dan also notes that barrels can wear prematurely from heat: “Any fast varmint-type cartridge can burn out a barrel in just a few hundred rounds if those rounds are shot one after another without letting the barrel cool between groups.”

Q. What Barrel Life, in number of rounds fired, can I expect from my new barrel?

A: That is a good question, asked often by our customers. But again there is not a simple answer. In my opinion there are two distinct types of barrel life. Accurate barrel life is probably the type most of us are referencing when we ask the question. But there is also absolute barrel life too. That is the point where a barrel will no longer stabilize a bullet and accuracy is wild. The benchrest shooter and to a lesser extent other target shooters are looking at accurate barrel life only when asking this question. To a benchrest shooter firing in matches where group size is the only measure of precision, accuracy is everything. But to a score shooter firing at a target, or bull, that is larger than the potential group size of the rifle, it is less important. And to the varmint hunter shooting prairie dog-size animals, the difference between a .25 MOA rifle or one that has dropped in accuracy to .5 MOA may not be noticeable in the field.

The big enemy to barrel life is heat. A barrel looses most of its accuracy due to erosion of the throat area of the barrel. Although wear on the crown from cleaning can cause problems too. The throat erosion is accelerated by heat. Any fast varmint-type cartridge can burn out a barrel in just a few hundred rounds if those rounds are shot one after another without letting the barrel cool between groups. A cartridge burning less powder will last longer or increasing the bore size for a given powder volume helps too. For example a .243 Winchester and a .308 Winchester both are based on the same case but the .308 will last longer because it has a larger bore.

And stainless steel barrels will last longer than chrome-moly barrels. This is due to the ability of stainless steel to resist heat erosion better than the chrome-moly steel.

Barrel Life Guidelines by Caliber and Cartridge Type
As a very rough rule of thumb I would say that with cartridges of .222 Remington size you could expect an accurate barrel life of 3000-4000 rounds. And varmint-type accuracy should be quite a bit longer than this.

For medium-size cartridges, such as the .308 Winchester, 7×57 and even the 25-06, 2000-3000 rounds of accurate life is reasonable.

Hot .224 caliber-type cartridges will not do as well, and 1000-2500 rounds is to be expected.

Bigger magnum hunting-type rounds will shoot from 1500-3000 accurate rounds. But the bigger 30-378 Weatherby types won’t do as well, being closer to the 1500-round figure.

These numbers are based on the use of stainless steel barrels. For chrome-moly barrels I would reduce these by roughly 20%.

The .17 and .50 calibers are rules unto themselves and I’m pressed to predict a figure.

The best life can be expected from the 22 long rifle (.22 LR) barrels with 5000-10,000 accurate rounds to be expected. We have in our shop one our drop-in Anschutz barrels that has 200,000 rounds through it and the shooter, a competitive small-bore shooter reported that it had just quit shooting.

Remember that predicting barrel life is a complicated, highly variable subject. You are the best judge of this with your particular barrel. Signs of accurate barrel life on the wane are increased copper fouling, lengthened throat depth, and decreased accuracy.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Benchrest Barrel Life — You May Be Surprised
I thought it might be interesting to point out a few exceptional Aggregates that I’ve fired with 6PPC benchrest rifles with barrels that had thousands of rounds through them. I know benchrest shooters that would never fire barrels with over 1500 shots fired in them in registered benchrest matches.

I fired my smallest 100-yard 5-shot Aggregate ever in 1992 at a registered benchrest match in Lewiston, Idaho. It was a .1558″ aggregate fired in the Heavy Varmint class. And that barrel had about 2100 rounds through it at the time.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Another good aggregate was fired at the 1997 NBRSA Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona during the 200-yard Light Varmint event. I placed second at this yardage with a 6PPC barrel that had over 2700 rounds through it at the time. I retired this barrel after that match because it had started to copper-foul quite a bit. But accuracy was still good.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
June 23rd, 2017

IBS Report: 31st Annual Boop Memorial Benchrest Match 2017

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover
Al Auman, 2-Gun Second Place finisher, takes aim…

IBS 31st Annual Memorial Match at Union County Sportsmen’s Club, Weikert, PA
Reported by Jeff Stover, IBS President
The “Boop Shoot” is traditionally held on Mother’s Day in May, but this year it was moved to June due to a club conflict. No matter, as 63 shooters showed up on June 10th and 11th, 2017 to compete at one of the best benchrest ranges in the country. “Weikert” is nestled in a narrow valley in pastoral central Pennsylvania and has a wide following since the IBS Nationals have been held there a number of times.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

The 2-Gun Aggregate represents “all the marbles” — the overall win for a weekend of Short Range Group shooting. Accuracy gunsmith Dave Bruno won the 2-Gun with a .2606 Agg shooting his 6PPC built on a Borden action in a Roy Hunter stock. On Dave’s heels was Al Auman, shooting a Goodling-built 6PPC BAT. In third place was Paul Mitchell with his BAT 3-Lug in a Scarborough stock built by Dwight Scott. The 2-Gun Aggregate is the combined average group size for 20 targets total, 10 each for both the Light Varmint (10.5-lb) and Heavy Varmint (13.5-lb) classes, with shooting at both 100 and 200 yards. Despite the class distinctions based solely on rifle weight, a vast majority of shooters opt for a 10.5-lb rifle for the entire course of fire. You get a lot of shooting at an IBS Registered Group match.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover
Two-Gun Overall Winner Dave Bruno (center) flanked by second place Al Auman (right) and third place Paul Mitchell (left).

The Tailwind from Hell
The real story of this match was the shooting conditions. For the entire weekend, there was a tail wind. When the wind blows hard, a pure tailwind is favored by many veteran shooters as velocity changes are less apparent on the target compared to a pure crosswind where pickups and letups can be mapped on the record target of a less-than-observant trigger puller. At this match, it was a tailwind from hell. The over-the-shoulder wind veered from red (right to left) to green (left to right) as quickly as it took you to read this sentence. The point of impact in the extremes could cause groups of 1.5 inches at 200 yards. It was one of those shoots where posting a .824” 200-yard group could move you up in the standings. Normally shooting an “eight” would assure a “bottom of the pile” finish.

Sunday morning saw that nefarious tailwind doing its dirty work once again, but it was not quite as bad as the afternoon would turn out to be. The tailwind’s impact, however, could be seen in the fact that the Heavy Varmint 200-yard winner was upstate NY shooter, Jim Miller with a .2817 (200-yard Aggregates are recorded in MOA, so Jim’s average group at 200 yards was .563”). He was the only competitor in the “twos”. Bob White shot well but his .3012 was not enough.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover
Scott Miller ready to pull the trigger on the firing line…

Dave Bruno Dominates Light Varmint 200
Light Varmint 200 was shot after lunch on Sunday. The winds had picked up while the shooters were enjoying burgers and hot dogs from the range house. This last Aggregate was the climax of the entire weekend. Two-gun winner Dave Bruno set the stage for his overall win by shooting as if he were from another planet. He was on fire with a .2388 Aggregate. Next was Bob Brushingham with a .3024. That is a difference of .0636” in average group size, or about 1/16th of an inch. A sixteenth is not much in most things, but in short range benchrest it is a chasm that Evel Knievel would not dare to test. Most Aggregates in benchrest are won and lost by a few thousands, or even ten-thousands of an inch. Dave blew out the field with his singular performance. When asked what condition he shot, Dave said “the tailwind” — go figure.

Yes, 100-yard was also contested. Back in the day, a “Teen Agg” (an aggregate of targets under .200”) was usually shot in perfect, or mild, readable conditions. The level of shooting in recent years, however, has seen Teen Aggs shot in tough conditions. The aforementioned tailwind prevailed on Saturday too, but was just a bit less nasty.

Loading at the range remains important in the Benchrest for Group discipline. In a Special Report below, IBS President Jeff Stover explains how loading methods (and hardware) have evolved over the years.
IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover
Pat Hurley checking his aim (notice bolt is out).

Two Gun Overall
1. Dave Bruno: .2604
2. Al Auman: .2727
3. Paul Mitchell: .2776
4. Bob Brushingham: .2851
5. Kent Harshman: .2969

Heavy Varmint Grand
1. Jim Miller: .2582
2. Bob White: .2622
3. Allen Arnette: .2706

Light Varmint Grand
1. Dave Bruno: .2375
2. Al Auman: .2717
3. Paul Mitchell: .2770

Light Varmint 100 was won by veteran Howie Levy (he started shooting in 1968!) with a .1794. He was not alone below .2, as Dale Boop was close at .1848. He was shooting Norma 201 to boot. This powder was the ticket to small 6PPC groups in the 1980s, but has been little seen for many years.

More Teen Aggs were shot in the Heavy Varmint relays. Benchrest Hall of Fame shooter Allen Arnette recorded a tiny .1686. On the podium with Allen were Howie Levy with a .1808 and Willie Bauer who shot a .1980.

Light Varmint Trophy Winners (L to R): Hensley, Boop, Auman, Brushingham, Francis, and Bruno.
IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Memorial Shoot Is a Family Affair
The 2017 Annual Boop Memorial Shoot ran like clockwork, as usual, and once again the success of this annual shoot can be attributed to the Trutt and Boop families. Mark Trutt serves as range officer extraordinaire. Dale Boop is match director while his mother, Linda, handles the administrative and scoring chores. Target crew honcho Steve Dodge, once again, ensured a rapid and accurate changing of the target.

NOTE: It has yet to be determined whether 2018 Memorial Match will be on Mother’s Day or in June.

Loading at the Range — Then and Now

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

In benchrest shooting for group, loading at the range has been de rigueur for decades. In the Score discipline, preloading is usually the custom. The main reason is that, in Score competition, only one Aggregate (warm-up match and five record targets) per day is usually shot. That would be less than 50 shots, assuming a few sighter shots. Also, the 30BR, the dominant Score cartridge, is amenable to pre-loading.

By contrast, the Group discipline includes 21 targets (two warm-ups and twenty record targets) over a weekend, usually shot with 6PPC-chambered rifles. Many times, the 6PPC shooters may tweak their loads through the day given changing atmospheric conditions or simply trying to find the correct tune to “dot up”. This term, “Dot up”, means the shots are essentially going through the same hole, or closely so.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Loading at the range was a bit different when benchrest competition was in its infancy. The 1951 book, Modern Accuracy by Bob Wallack, is the best of the early benchrest books. Copies can be found, from time to time, on eBay or Alibris. It is a fascinating survey of benchrest as it existed more than six decades ago. There’s even coverage of a controversial target that was argued over at the time. In it, there is a photo of Wallack using the rear bumper of a car at the bench to clamp his reloading tools. Things have come a long way compared to the range loading set-ups of modern shooters. Here you can see Bob Wallack way back in 1950:

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Modern loading bench set-ups shown in this Boop Memorial Match Report belong to top shooters Howie Levy, Bob Hamister, and Kent Harshman.

IBS Benchrest Shooters International Memorial Match Weikert PA Jeff Stover

Permalink Competition, Reloading, Shooting Skills No Comments »
April 22nd, 2017

‘Pride and Joy’ Rifles Showcased in Shooters’ Forum


This stunning flame-painted PPC belongs to Chris from Australia. This rifle features a Stiller Viper action, Speedy (Robertson) BRX stock, and Maddco (Australian) 14-twist barrel chambered in 6PPC.

In our Shooters’ Forum you’ll find a thread in which readers can post photos of their “pride and joy” — their favorite rifle. You’ll find a wide range of guns, from “big boomers” to .17-caliber varminters. Here are some of our favorite entries in the “Pride and Joy” Gallery.

The Bear’s Barbed-Wire Barnard

BarryO, aka ‘the Blue-eyed Bear’, posted his beautiful 6mm Dasher, with its unique barbed wire 3D finish. (There’s a story behind that design.) This rifle was smithed by John King in Montana, with stock bedding work by Leo Anderson. The gun features a Barnard ‘P’ action (with trigger), and 28″ Broughton 5C fluted barrel with VAIS muzzle brake. The Barnard sits in a Tom Manners carbon fiber BR stock decorated with amazing graphics by Mad Shadow Custom Paint.

Sebastian’s Radical Swallowtail 6PPC

Sebastian Lambang is the designer and builder of SEB Coaxial Rests. He’s a smart, creative guy, so you knew when he designed a short-range benchrest stock it would be something special. It needed to be lightweight, yet very rigid. Using “out of the box” thinking, Seb employs a truss-style structure to provide great strength with minimal weight. The rear section is equally radical. There are two splayed “keels” in the rear, forming what this Editor calls a “swallowtail” rear design. Others have called it a “catamaran buttstock.” Below is a side-view of the prototype SEB stock before painting.

Brad’s 6CM Long-Range Match Rifle
Chad Dixon Surgeon 6CM Paint

Chambered in the 6mm Competition match cartridge, this handsome rig features a Surgeon RSR Action, Bartlein Barrel, and LRB stock. Barrel work was done by Chad Dixon at LongRifles, Inc. and paint by AT Custom Painting.

Varmint Special with Figured Walnut Stock
pride joy low boy gray yellow Dasher

Here’s a handsome varminter with a beautifully-figured walnut stock. This is one of three rifles Forum Member Dan Hall posted in the Pride and Joy thread.

A Trio of Pealescent Bench Guns
pride joy blue UK 7mm WSM

DixiePPC served up not one but THREE pretty bench rigs, all with pearlescent paint jobs. We’d be proud to own three eye-catching rifles like that. Click the image to see a full-screen version.

Zebra-Skinned Match Rifle
And here is Mark Walker’s amazing Zebra-skin BR rifle. With that wild-looking paint job, this rifle turns heads whenever Mark brings it to the range…

Anschutz BR rifle

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
April 16th, 2017

Pin Vise with 1.5mm Bit Fits Lapua BR/PPC Flash Holes

Folks have asked if there is a tool that can remove obstructions from a Lapua small, BR-sized flash hole without opening the hole size. The Lapua PPC/BR flash hole is spec’d at 1.5mm, which works out to 0.059055″. Most of the PPC/BR flash-hole uniforming tools on the market use a 1/16″ bit which is nominally 0.0625″, but these often run oversize — up to 0.066″.

If you want to just clear out any obstructions in the flash hole, without increasing the flash hole diameter, you can use an inexpensive “pin vise” with an appropriate drill bit. For $1.00, eHobbyTools.com sells a 1.5mm pin vise bit, item 79186, that matches the Lapua flash hole exactly. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). An 0.0595″ bit is close enough. You can find pin vises and bits at hobby stores.

Pin vises Lapua Flash hole

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »
April 15th, 2017

Legends of Accuracy — The Secrets of the Houston Warehouse

From the late ’70s through 1983, a huge, concrete-walled warehouse in Houston was used for benchrest testing. Virgil King and Bob Fisher set up a bullet-catching backstop at the end of a 30-yard-wide, 325-yard-long fire lane that remained unobstructed even when the warehouse was in use. This allowed accuracy tests in virtually perfect “no wind” conditions. Over a six-year period, about 30 shooters were invited to test their rifles. The results were amazing, with numerous “zero groups” being shot in the facility. Many of the lessons learned in the legendary Houston Warehouse still help benchresters achieve better accuracy today.

Dave Scott wrote a superb article, the Secrets of the Houston Warehouse which appeared in a special issue of Precision Shooting Magazine. That issue has long been sold out, but, thankfully, Secrets of the Houston Warehouse is now on the web: CLICK HERE to READ Secrets of the Houston Warehouse.

Houston WarehouseDave Scott explains why the Warehouse was so unique:

“Over a period of six years, the levels of accuracy achieved in the Houston Warehouse went beyond what many precision shooters thought possible for lightweight rifles shot from sandbags and aimed shot-to-shot by human eye. For the first time, a handful of gifted, serious experimenters — armed with the very best performing rifles (with notable exceptions) — could boldly venture into the final frontiers of rifle accuracy, a journey made possible by eliminating the baffling uncertainties of conditions arising from wind and mirage. Under these steel skies, a shooter could, without question, confirm the absolute limits of accuracy of his rifle, or isolate the source of a problem. In the flawlessly stable containment of the Houston Warehouse … a very few exceptional rifles would display the real stuff, drilling repeated groups measuring well below the unbelievably tiny .100″ barrier. The bulk of rifles, however, embarrassed their owners.”

Scott’s article also reveals some interesting technical points: “One thing that IS important is that the bullet be precisely seated against the lands. T.J. Jackson reported this fact in the May 1987 issue of Precision Shooting. In a letter to the Editor, T.J. wrote, ‘…in all our testing in that Houston warehouse… and the dozens and dozens of groups that Virgil King shot in there ‘in the zeroes’… he NEVER fired a single official screamer group when he was ‘jumping’ bullets. All his best groups were always seated into the lands, or at the very least… touching the lands. Virgil said his practice was to seat the bullets so the engraving was half as long as the width of the lands. He noticed an interesting phenomenon with rifles that could really shoot: if the bullets were seated a little short and the powder charge was a bit on the light side, the groups formed vertically. As he seated the bullets farther out and increased the powder charge, the groups finally became horizontal. If he went still farther, the groups formed big globs. He said the trick is to find the midway point between vertical and horizontal. That point should be a small hole.”

You should definitely read the complete article, as it provides many more fascinating insights, including shooting technique, barrel cleaning, neck-turning, and case prep.

Permalink - Articles, Competition 3 Comments »
December 13th, 2016

TECH TIP: Rebate Larger Case Rims to Shoot with PPC Actions

30BR 6 PPC rim rebated Butch Lambert

Many short-range Benchresters have thought about converting their 6 PPC to shoot a 30BR for score matches, or a Dasher for mid-range (or even 1000-yard) games. That way you have a rifle that does double duty, giving you the most bang for your buck. Though an action with a PPC bolt won’t normally work with 30BR/6BR/Dasher cases with their larger .308-class rim (0.4728″ diameter), there is a pretty easy solution that allows you to cycle these bigger cartridges with a 6PPC-style bolt (designed to fit .220 Russian rims).

“Rebating case rims … lets you shoot a 30BR in score matches using your PPC action. All you need is a new barrel. This saves buying another bolt, receiver, or rifle.” — Butch Lambert

Butch Lambert of ShadeTree Engineering provided this tip. Butch notes that many 6 PPC benchrest group shooters also enjoy shooting in score matches. But to be really competitive in the BR for score game, that means shooting a 30BR, which has a wider, .308-class rim (0.4728″ diameter). Likewise, if you want to compete in 600-yard registered BR events or in varmint matches, you probably want to run a bigger case, such as the 6BR, 6mm Dasher, or 6-6.5×47. Those cartridges also have the larger 0.4728″ rims.

30Br Butch Lambers 6 PPC

To convert a PPC-boltface action to shoot the bigger cases you can spend a ton of money and buy a new bolt. That can cost hundreds of dollars. The simpler solution is to turn down the diameter of the larger cases on a lathe. Butch explains: “We’ve seen plenty of interest in rebating case rims. This lets you shoot a 30BR in score matches using your PPC action. All you need is a new barrel. This saves buying another bolt, receiver, or rifle if you have a PPC boltface. Anyone who has access to a lathe can do this job pretty easily. Yesterday I turned 150 case in about an hour.” Below is the lathe form tool Butch uses to rebate the case rims.


Cutting Head for Rebating Rims

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
October 18th, 2016

Benchrest Brilliance — Texan Demonstrates World-Beating Skills

Here’s an example of world-class benchrest shooting. Charles Huckeba of Texas was the top individual shooter at the 2013 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) held near Sydney Australia in October 2013. In this video, 2013 WBC Two-Gun Overall winner Charles shoots a 1/8th MOA group at 200 yards — “a little bitty dot” as a fellow Team USA shooter observes. That’s impressive. If you can describe Huckeba’s style in a nutshell it would be “smooth, consistent, and rapid but not hurried”.

Charles also employed some unusual hardware. In the video, take a close look at the joystick on the Farley Coaxial front rest. There’s no knob at the end. In its place is a small, wood ammo caddy. Charles removed the standard knob from the handle of his Farley rest and replaced it with a home-made wood block that holds cartridges for the record target. The 10.5-lb Light Varmint rifle is chambered in 6PPC with a BAT Machine Action and a composite wood and carbon-fiber stock.

Watch Charles Huckeba Shoot 1/8 MOA, 200-yard group at World Benchrest Championships

Here is the actual 200-yard, 5-shot group Charles shot in the video. Photo (by Stuart Elliot) taken through the lens of Huckeba’s 50X March scope (reticle has 1/16th MOA Dot).
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia

Analyzing the Fine Points — What Makes Huckeba So Good

Short-range benchrest shooter Boyd Allen saw some interesting things in Huckeba’s WBC performance, as captured on video. Boyd noticed Huckeba’s smooth gun-handling and efficient loading. But Boyd also spied some interesting equipment, including an innovative joystick “handle-caddy”.

1. Low Friction Bags — When Huckeba slid his rifle, there was very little apparent friction. The front bag features the new 3M material (ScotchLite) on the sliding surfaces. The rear Protektor bag has ears of the same low-friction material.

2. Pause Before Chambering — While he was watching the flags and deciding when to start firing, Charles kept his first round in the action, but out of the barrel’s chamber, probably so as not to heat the cartridge and change the round’s point of impact.

Charles Huckeba PPC World Benchrest joystick handle3. Ammo Caddy on Joystick Arm – Charles shoots a Right Bolt/Left Port action, so he pulls his rounds with his left hand. Note that Huckeba’s record rounds rest in a small, wood ammo caddy attached to the end of the joystick shaft. Look carefully, you’ll see the wood ammo block in place of the normal black ball at the end of the joystick. That allows Charles to pull shots with the absolute minimum of hand movement. Ingenious! Huckeba is very fast, with a great economy of motion. I believe that because his ammo was literally at hand, Charles was better able to keep his focus on aiming and the flags.

4. Smooth-Cycling BAT Action — Note how smoothly Huckeba’s action operates. When Charles lifts the bolt handle (to extract a round and cock the firing pin), this does not disturb the rifle. Likewise, as he closes the bolt, the gun doesn’t wobble. The smooth action allows Charles to hold point of aim even when shooting relatively quickly. Huckeba’s BAT action is chrome-moly steel. Some shooters believe this metal makes for a smoother action than stainless steel or aluminum.

5. Long-Wheelbase Stock — The wood and carbon fiber stock is light, long, and stiff. Yet, importantly, the stock is also well-damped. The longer-than-average stock length (with extended forearm) seems to help the gun track well without jumping or rocking. The longer forearm allows a longer “wheelbase”, effectively shifting the weight distribution rearward (less weight on the front, more weight on the rear). This places a greater share of the gun’s weight on the rear bag, as compared to a more conventional benchrest stock. Huckeba’s stock, built by Bob Scoville, is at the cutting edge of short-range benchrest design. Its light-weight balsa wood and carbon fiber construction provides a combination of stiffness and vibration damping that allows its relatively long fore-end to be fully utilized to increase the weight on the rear bag (always an issue with 10.5-pound rifles).

To learn more about this benchrest stock design, read the comments by stock-builder Bob Scoville in our PPC with Pedigree story in our Gun of the Week Archives. Bob observed:

“There is a lot more to the structure of the stocks than meets the eye. The carbon fiber skin with which I cover the stocks creates a light, tough exterior surface. However, this contributes very little to the overall performance of the stocks. The real strength and stiffness is the result of an internal beam utilizing balsa core/carbon fiber technology.

This type construction can be found in aircraft, race cars, powerboats, and sailboats. It is interesting to note, balsa has the highest strength to weight ratio of all woods and carbon fiber is one of the lowest stretch (modulus of elasticity) relative to weight of all materials. The marriage of these two materials is common in the high-performance world. Additionally, balsa is used commercially for vibration dampening and sound reduction.”

Video find by Boyd Allen. Video by Stuart Elliot of BRT Shooters Supply, Brisbane, Australia.
Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 28th, 2016

TECH Tip: Fire-Form with Fouler Shots

PPC Fire-formingHere’s a tip for guys who shoot the 6 PPC, 6 Dasher, or other wildcat cartridges that require fire-forming. Use your fouler shots to fire-form new cases. That way your fouler shots do “double-duty” and you get your brass fire-formed without putting extra rounds through your expensive barrel.

This procedure is recommended by Joel Kendrick, the 2004 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year. After he cleans his barrel, Joel knows it takes two or three shots to foul in the bore before accuracy returns. When shooting his PPC, Joel uses those fouler shots to fire-form his new brass. Joel explains: “I like to have relatively new brass always ready. By fire-forming a couple cases after each barrel-cleaning during a match, by the end of the weekend I’ve got a dozen or more freshly fire-formed cases to put into the rotation. If you do this with your fouler shots you get your fire-forming accomplished without using up any extra barrel life.”

We thank Joel for this smart suggestion. For those who do not have a dedicated barrel for fire-forming, this should help keep your round-count down. Joe currently works as the Supplier Quality Process Engineer for MMI-TruTec, a company that offers barrel surface coatings that can further extend your barrel life.

Permalink Tech Tip 2 Comments »
June 11th, 2016

How Long Will Your Barrel Last? Dan Lilja Offers Some Guidelines

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Barrel-maker Dan Lilja’s website has an excellent FAQ page that contains a wealth of useful information. On the Lilja FAQ Page as you’ll find informed answers to many commonly-asked questions. For example, Dan’s FAQ addresses the question of barrel life. Dan looks at factors that affect barrel longevity, and provides some predictions for barrel life, based on caliber, chambering, and intended use.

Dan cautions that “Predicting barrel life is a complicated, highly variable subject — there is not a simple answer. Signs of accurate barrel life on the wane are increased copper fouling, lengthened throat depth, and decreased accuracy.” Dan also notes that barrels can wear prematurely from heat: “Any fast varmint-type cartridge can burn out a barrel in just a few hundred rounds if those rounds are shot one after another without letting the barrel cool between groups.”

Q. What Barrel Life, in number of rounds fired, can I expect from my new barrel?

A: That is a good question, asked often by our customers. But again there is not a simple answer. In my opinion there are two distinct types of barrel life. Accurate barrel life is probably the type most of us are referencing when we ask the question. But there is also absolute barrel life too. That is the point where a barrel will no longer stabilize a bullet and accuracy is wild. The benchrest shooter and to a lesser extent other target shooters are looking at accurate barrel life only when asking this question. To a benchrest shooter firing in matches where group size is the only measure of precision, accuracy is everything. But to a score shooter firing at a target, or bull, that is larger than the potential group size of the rifle, it is less important. And to the varmint hunter shooting prairie dog-size animals, the difference between a .25 MOA rifle or one that has dropped in accuracy to .5 MOA may not be noticeable in the field.

The big enemy to barrel life is heat. A barrel looses most of its accuracy due to erosion of the throat area of the barrel. Although wear on the crown from cleaning can cause problems too. The throat erosion is accelerated by heat. Any fast varmint-type cartridge can burn out a barrel in just a few hundred rounds if those rounds are shot one after another without letting the barrel cool between groups. A cartridge burning less powder will last longer or increasing the bore size for a given powder volume helps too. For example a .243 Winchester and a .308 Winchester both are based on the same case but the .308 will last longer because it has a larger bore.

And stainless steel barrels will last longer than chrome-moly barrels. This is due to the ability of stainless steel to resist heat erosion better than the chrome-moly steel.

Barrel Life Guidelines by Caliber and Cartridge Type
As a very rough rule of thumb I would say that with cartridges of .222 Remington size you could expect an accurate barrel life of 3000-4000 rounds. And varmint-type accuracy should be quite a bit longer than this.

For medium-size cartridges, such as the .308 Winchester, 7×57 and even the 25-06, 2000-3000 rounds of accurate life is reasonable.

Hot .224 caliber-type cartridges will not do as well, and 1000-2500 rounds is to be expected.

Bigger magnum hunting-type rounds will shoot from 1500-3000 accurate rounds. But the bigger 30-378 Weatherby types won’t do as well, being closer to the 1500-round figure.

These numbers are based on the use of stainless steel barrels. For chrome-moly barrels I would reduce these by roughly 20%.

The .17 and .50 calibers are rules unto themselves and I’m pressed to predict a figure.

The best life can be expected from the 22 long rifle (.22 LR) barrels with 5000-10,000 accurate rounds to be expected. We have in our shop one our drop-in Anschutz barrels that has 200,000 rounds through it and the shooter, a competitive small-bore shooter reported that it had just quit shooting.

Remember that predicting barrel life is a complicated, highly variable subject. You are the best judge of this with your particular barrel. Signs of accurate barrel life on the wane are increased copper fouling, lengthened throat depth, and decreased accuracy.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Benchrest Barrel Life — You May Be Surprised
I thought it might be interesting to point out a few exceptional Aggregates that I’ve fired with 6PPC benchrest rifles with barrels that had thousands of rounds through them. I know benchrest shooters that would never fire barrels with over 1500 shots fired in them in registered benchrest matches.

I fired my smallest 100-yard 5-shot Aggregate ever in 1992 at a registered benchrest match in Lewiston, Idaho. It was a .1558″ aggregate fired in the Heavy Varmint class. And that barrel had about 2100 rounds through it at the time.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Another good aggregate was fired at the 1997 NBRSA Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona during the 200-yard Light Varmint event. I placed second at this yardage with a 6PPC barrel that had over 2700 rounds through it at the time. I retired this barrel after that match because it had started to copper-foul quite a bit. But accuracy was still good.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 9 Comments »
January 30th, 2016

Primer Cratering Problem? Give Greg Tannel a Call…

Crater moon primers greg tannel bushing firing pinCraters may look interesting on the moon, but you don’t want to see them on your primers. Certain mechanical issues that cause primer craters can also cause primer piercing — a serious safety problem that needs to be addressed. If you have a gun that is cratering primers (even at moderate pressure levels), there is a solution that works with many rifles — send your bolt to Greg Tannel to have the firing pin hole bushed.

Shooters who convert factory actions to run 6BRs, 6PPCs or other high-pressure cartridges should consider having the firing pin bushed. These modern cartridges like to run at high pressures. When running stout loads, you can get cratering caused by primer flow around the firing pin hole in the bolt face. The reason is a little complicated, but basically the larger the hole, the less hydraulic pressure is required to crater the primer. A limited amount of cratering is normally not a big issue, but you can reduce the problem significantly by having a smith fit a bushing in the firing pin hole. In addition to reduced cratering, bushing the firing pin often produces more consistent ignition.

CLICK HERE for Gre-Tan Firing Pin Bushing Service INFO

This is a highly recommended procedure that our editors have had done to their own rifles. Greg Tannel (Gre-Tan Rifles) is an expert at this procedure, and he does excellent work on a wide variety of bolts. Current price for a bushing job, which includes turning the firing pin to .062″, is $80.00, or $88.00 with USPS Priority Mail return shipping.

If you have a factory rifle, a bushed firing pin is the way to go if you are shooting the high-pressure cartridges such as 6PPC, 6BR, 6-6.5×47 and 6.5×47. This is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial upgrades you can do to your factory rifle. For more info on the Firing Pin Bushing process, visit GreTanRifles.com, or email greg [at] gretanrifles.com. (After clicking the link for GreTanRifles.com, Click on “Services” > “Shop Services” > “Bolt Work”, and you’ll see a listing for “Bush Firing Pin Hole & Turn Pin”. Select “View Details”.)

Gre-Tan Rifles firing pin bushingFiring Pin Hole Bushing by Greg Tannel

Work Done: Bush firing pin hole and turn pin.
Functions: Fixes your cratering and piercing problems.
Price: $80.00 + $8.00 return shipping
Total Price: $88.00

Actions for which Bushing is Offered: Remington, Winchester, Savage multi-piece pin, Sako, Kimber, Nesika, Stiller, BAT Machine, Kelbly, Lawton, Surgeon, Borden, Wichita, Hall, Ruger, Howa, Weatherby, Dakota, Pacific Tool, Phoenix, and Defiant bolt action rifle or pistol.

Actions for which Bushing is NOT Available: Case hardened receivers, ARs, Accuracy International (AI), Barnard, Big Horn, Cooper, Desert Tactical Arms, Kimber, Rosenthal, New Savage single piece pin, Rim fires, Falling block, Break open, Lever, Pump rifles, 1903-A3, CZ, Mauser.

How to send your bolt in to be bushed:
You can send your bolt snail mail, priority mail, or UPS (Please do not use FEDEX as it sometimes has delivery delays). Pack your bolt carefully and ship to: Gre’-Tan Rifles, 24005 Hwy. 13, Rifle CO 81650. Please include your name, phone number, and return shipping address.

Due to the high volume of work, turn around is 5 to 8 weeks on bushing a bolt. Three or more bolts will be sent back to you UPS and we will have to calculate shipping. We can overnight them at your expense. You can pay by check, money order, or credit card. For more information visit GretanRifles.com.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
December 30th, 2015

Ultimate Precision: Mac McMillan’s Historic .009″ Group

Mac McMillan .009 benchrest record group nbrsa.009″ — The Record That Stood for 40 Years.
In 1973 Mac McMillan shot an amazing 100-yard, .009″ five-shot group in a benchrest match. The .009″ group was measured with a 60x microscope for verification. Mac McMillan shot the group using a handbuilt prototype McMillan rifle with an early McMillan stock.

Mac’s .009″ group was the “Holy Grail” of rifle accuracy. This .009″ record was considered by many to be unbreakable, a record that would “stand for all time”. Well, it took 40 years, but someone finally broke Mac’s record with an even smaller group. In 2013, Mike Stinnett shot a .0077″ five-shot group using a 30 Stewart, a .30 caliber wildcat based on the 6.5 Grendel. Stinnett’s .0077″ group now stands as the smallest 100-yard group ever shot in registered benchrest competition.*
Read About .0077″ group HERE.

Stinnett’s success doesn’t diminish the significance of Mac McMillan’s .009″ group in the history of benchrest competition. For four decades Mac’s group stood as the ultimate standard of rifle accuracy*. For those of you who have never seen Mac McMillan’s .009″ group, here it is, along with the NBRSA World Record certificate. The target now hangs in the McMillan Family Museum.

Mac McMillan .009 benchrest record group nbrsa

Mac McMillan .009 benchrest record group nbrsa

*Somebody else might claim a smaller group, but unless moving backers or electronic targets were used, it cannot be verified. Moving target backers are used at registered benchrest matches to ensure that five (5) shots are actually fired in each group. That eliminates any doubt.

Permalink Competition 4 Comments »
December 17th, 2015

Shoot BR Cases from Your PPC Action with Rebated Rims

Butch Lambert of ShadeTree Engineering provided this tip. Butch notes that many 6 PPC benchrest group shooters also enjoy shooting in score matches. But to be really competitive in the BR for score game, that means shooting a 30BR, which has a wider, .308-class rim (0.4728″ diameter). Likewise, if you want to compete in 600-yard registered BR events or in varmint matches, you probably want to run a bigger case, such as the 6BR, 6mm Dasher, or 6-6.5×47. Those cartridges also have the larger 0.4728″ rims.

To convert a PPC-boltface action to shoot the bigger cases you can spend a ton of money and buy a new bolt. That can cost hundreds of dollars. The simpler solution is to turn down the diameter of the larger cases on a lathe. Butch explains: “We’ve seen plenty of interest in rebating case rims. This lets you shoot a 30BR in score matches using your PPC action. All you need is a new barrel. This saves buying another bolt, receiver, or rifle if you have a PPC boltface. Anyone who has access to a lathe can do this job pretty easily. Yesterday I turned 150 case in about an hour.” Below are photos of a rebated 6BR case, along with the lathe form tool Butch uses to rebate the case rims.

Cutting Head for Rebating Rims

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
April 23rd, 2015

Ideal 50-Round Ammo Case for PPC and BR-type Cartridges

Frankford 512 Ammo Box BR casesAccurateShooter.com Forum members often ask: “Is there a reasonably-priced ammo box that fits PPC and BR cases just right?” The answer is yes — check out the 50-round Frankford Arsenal model 512 ammo box. It is offered in transparent blue or smoke gray for $3.49 per box at MidwayUSA (or $3.99 per box at Amazon.com).

The cartridge slots are just the right size for 22BR, 6mmBR, 30BR, 220 Russian, 6 PPC, 6.8 Rem SPC, 6.5 Grendel, and 7.62×39 cartridge cases. Cells are 1.687″ high x 0.392″ square, with a divider height of 0.94″. That will hold BR-type cases securely, and fired brass won’t get jumbled if you tip-over the box.

Frankford 512 Ammo Box BR cases

(more…)

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals 3 Comments »
April 16th, 2015

“Little Bitty Dots” — World-Beating Texan Shows How It’s Done

Here’s an example of world-class benchrest shooting. Charles Huckeba of Texas was the top individual shooter at the 2013 World Benchrest Championships (WBC) held near Sydney Australia in October 2013. In this video, 2013 WBC Two-Gun Overall winner Charles shoots a 1/8th MOA group at 200 yards — “a little bitty dot” as a fellow Team USA shooter observes. That’s impressive. If you can describe Huckeba’s style in a nutshell it would be “smooth, consistent, and rapid but not hurried”.

Charles also employed some unusual hardware. In the video, take a close look at the joystick on the Farley Coaxial front rest. There’s no knob at the end. In its place is a small, wood ammo caddy. Charles removed the standard knob from the handle of his Farley rest and replaced it with a home-made wood block that holds cartridges for the record target. The 10.5-lb Light Varmint rifle is chambered in 6PPC with a BAT Machine Action and a composite wood and carbon-fiber stock.

Watch Charles Huckeba Shoot 1/8 MOA, 200-yard group at World Benchrest Championships

Here is the actual 200-yard, 5-shot group Charles shot in the video. Photo (by Stuart Elliot) taken through the lens of Huckeba’s 50X March scope (reticle has 1/16th MOA Dot).
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia
200 yard benchrest group charles huckeba australia

Analyzing the Fine Points — What Makes Huckeba So Good

Short-range benchrest shooter Boyd Allen saw some interesting things in Huckeba’s WBC performance, as captured on video. Boyd noticed Huckeba’s smooth gun-handling and efficient loading. But Boyd also spied some interesting equipment, including an innovative joystick “handle-caddy”.

1. Low Friction Bags — When Huckeba slid his rifle, there was very little apparent friction. The front bag features the new 3M material (ScotchLite) on the sliding surfaces. The rear Protektor bag has ears of the same low-friction material.

2. Pause Before Chambering — While he was watching the flags and deciding when to start firing, Charles kept his first round in the action, but out of the barrel’s chamber, probably so as not to heat the cartridge and change the round’s point of impact.

Charles Huckeba PPC World Benchrest joystick handle3. Ammo Caddy on Joystick Arm – Charles shoots a Right Bolt/Left Port action, so he pulls his rounds with his left hand. Note that Huckeba’s record rounds rest in a small, wood ammo caddy attached to the end of the joystick shaft. Look carefully, you’ll see the wood ammo block in place of the normal black ball at the end of the joystick. That allows Charles to pull shots with the absolute minimum of hand movement. Ingenious! Huckeba is very fast, with a great economy of motion. I believe that because his ammo was literally at hand, Charles was better able to keep his focus on aiming and the flags.

4. Smooth-Cycling BAT Action — Note how smoothly Huckeba’s action operates. When Charles lifts the bolt handle (to extract a round and cock the firing pin), this does not disturb the rifle. Likewise, as he closes the bolt, the gun doesn’t wobble. The smooth action allows Charles to hold point of aim even when shooting relatively quickly. Huckeba’s BAT action is chrome-moly steel. Some shooters believe this metal makes for a smoother action than stainless steel or aluminum.

5. Long-Wheelbase Stock — The wood and carbon fiber stock is light, long, and stiff. Yet, importantly, the stock is also well-damped. The longer-than-average stock length (with extended forearm) seems to help the gun track well without jumping or rocking. The longer forearm allows a longer “wheelbase”, effectively shifting the weight distribution rearward (less weight on the front, more weight on the rear). This places a greater share of the gun’s weight on the rear bag, as compared to a more conventional benchrest stock. Huckeba’s stock, built by Bob Scoville, is at the cutting edge of short-range benchrest design. Its light-weight balsa wood and carbon fiber construction provides a combination of stiffness and vibration damping that allows its relatively long fore-end to be fully utilized to increase the weight on the rear bag (always an issue with 10.5-pound rifles).

To learn more about this benchrest stock design, read the comments by stock-builder Bob Scoville in our PPC with Pedigree story in our Gun of the Week Archives. Bob observed:

“There is a lot more to the structure of the stocks than meets the eye. The carbon fiber skin with which I cover the stocks creates a light, tough exterior surface. However, this contributes very little to the overall performance of the stocks. The real strength and stiffness is the result of an internal beam utilizing balsa core/carbon fiber technology.

This type construction can be found in aircraft, race cars, powerboats, and sailboats. It is interesting to note, balsa has the highest strength to weight ratio of all woods and carbon fiber is one of the lowest stretch (modulus of elasticity) relative to weight of all materials. The marriage of these two materials is common in the high-performance world. Additionally, balsa is used commercially for vibration dampening and sound reduction.”

Video find by Boyd Allen. Video by Stuart Elliot of BRT Shooters Supply, Brisbane, Australia.
Permalink - Videos, Competition 4 Comments »
July 20th, 2014

Farley Mfg. Introduces New Gravity-Fed Cartridge Caddy

Farley Manufacturing has just introduced a new gravity-fed cartridge caddy that puts your rounds right next to your rifle’s loading port. Farley’s new G-Feed Cartridge Elevator has a unique switchback-type feed path that provides high capacity in a compact unit. This unit is handy and fast to use. Farley says that, with a little practice, a skilled benchrest shooter can run five shots in less than 18 seconds. We believe that — provided a shooter has quality rests, a stock that tracks well, and good technique.

Farley Mfg. benchrest ammo caddy gravity feed elevator

The G-Feed Elevator is held up by a 3/4″-diameter spring steel gooseneck (similar to 50s-style lamp support arm). You can easily adjust the gooseneck to the exact height and angle you want. (But Farley recommends at least 10 degrees of “tilt” to ensure proper feeding.)

Made from machined 6061 aluminum, the G-Feed Caddy ranges in price from $125.00 to $160.00 depending on cartridge size. Currently three sizes are offered: PPC, BR/PPC, and .284 Winchester. The BR/PPC model holds 22 rounds of BR cases or 23 rounds of PPC cases. The larger .284 Win model has a 25-cartridge capacity.

Farley Mfg. benchrest ammo caddy gravity feed elevator

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, New Product 2 Comments »
December 31st, 2012

Maisto Competition Cartridge Boxes — Quality Craftsmanship

Up in Wisconsin, a gentleman named Joe Maisto crafts some exceptionally nice competition cartridge boxes. Each box is hand-machined (no molds, no CNC), with the holes precisely fitted to the cartridge you shoot. Joe has been building his boxes since 1996, first from wood, and now from more durable (and easier-to-clean) polymers. Joe started with a hinge-top 25-round box (with magnetic latch) for short-range benchresters. He still makes that box, but now he also offers 40-round boxes, high-top boxes (for bigger, taller cartridges), open top cartridge blocks, and combo blocks with holes for cases and a built-in tray. Our buddies in the short-range benchrest game say the Maisto boxes are perfect for carrying rounds from the loading bench to the firing line. GO TO Joseph Maisto website.

25-Round Cartridge Boxes
These units were designed in 1996. The originals were machined of Walnut, Cherry, or Birch. They were lovely, laborious, and expensive. To make the price more affordable, the wood units have since been retired in favor of high density polyethylene (HDPE). The front holes are separated for “record rounds”. Holes are bored with a minimum of clearance, and up to the shoulder. Additionally, each cartridge slot has a smaller hole in the bottom to allow debris to exist. These $60.00 boxes feature a quality stainless steel hinge with small but strong magnets that provide secure closure. While these were originally crafted for PPC cases, Joe offers various hole diameters for different-sized small cartridges.

joe maisto cartridge box

40-Round Cartridge Boxes
For those who want more capacity (for longer strings of fire), Joe offers 40-round cartridge boxes. These allow shooters to change loads on the line, or simply have more rounds in a single box. With finger grooves front and back, the 40-rd boxes work for both left and right handers. Just like the 25-rd boxes, the 40s have a stainless hinge and magnetic closure. Price is $130.00.

Large Cartridge Box
Joe’s Large Cartridge Boxes are taller to accommodate the bigger cartridges used for long-range shooting. These feature magnetic latching and and bottom exit holes, just like the Joe’s original PPC boxes. Joe notes that, for some cartridges, the Large Boxes “have 20 holes instead of 25 because of the larger cartridge head size”. When ordering the Large Boxes, you need to specify cartridge dimensions and cartridge overall loaded length (COAL). Price is $65.00 per box.

joe maisto cartridge box

Cartridge Blocks
These cartridge “blocks” are made from the same material as Joe’s cartridge boxes. Each has finger grooves and exit holes. Joe says: “The size of the block is perfect for manipulating primed cases under a powder measure where space is a factor.” The 20-round block costs $19.00. Joe also offers a version with a recess on one side for empties. These have either 10 or 14 holes and cost $28.00.

joe maisto cartridge box

AccurateShooter.com field tested gear
Joseph A. Maisto
www.benchrest.com/maisto
3647 Debby Lane
Franksville, Wl 53126
PH: (262) 886-1610
Email: jmaisto [at] wi.rr.com

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 1 Comment »
November 9th, 2012

Ferris Pindell’s Original Four Benchrest Rifles For Sale As a Set

Want to invest in a gun-making milestone, with authentic “PPC Provenance”? Here is a rare opportunity to acquire a set of guns that forged new frontiers for rifle accuracy. Dave Kiff, founder of Pacific Tool & Gauge, is selling a consecutive built and numbered set of four (4) benchrest rifles which belonged to Ferris Pindell, one of the fathers of the PPC cartridge. These four game-changing guns were custom-crafted by Pindell with help from his friend and fellow PPC inventor Lou ‘Doc’ Palmisano.

Dave Kiff tells us: “These are the four rifles that June Pindell had sold me a while back. I have #1, #2, #3 and #4 of Ferris Pindell’s original custom-made Benchrest rifles. These are consecutive builds. I am selling all four at cost! Several collectors (and one museum) have offered a generous amount of money for only one or two of them, but I would hate to split them up. I would much rather sell all four of them complete for $6,900.00 and keep them all together. There are two PPCs and two BRs from what his wife told me. June told me these are the rifles that Ferris and ‘Doc’ Palmisano built when they created the PPC cartridge. This would be a great addition to any collection or a great start for anyone interested in shooting competition, as the rifles look very usable.”

For more information, call Yvette of PT&G at (541) 826-5808, or send email to yvette [at] pacifictoolandgauge.com .

Sale tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gunsmithing, Hot Deals No Comments »
November 16th, 2011

Championship .38 Spl Revolver — 11 Years Old and Still Winning

Editor’s Note: Sometimes proven old designs are just as good as the latest technology. In the capable hands of Robert Vadasz, the scratched and well-used 11-year-old Smith & Wesson revolver shown below has won three PPC National Championships and the 2011 National Police Shooting Championship (multiple guns used). Here’s a profile of a great shooter and his trusty old wheelgun.

Vasdasz 38spl Revolver

Story by Lars Dalseide, for The NRA Blog
When I first approached U.S. Border Patrol Agent Robert Vadasz about profiling the guns he used to win the 2011 National Police Shooting Championship — his third in four years — he had just completed the final stage of the Revolver 1500 Match. A match that he won with a score of 1490-117X. A match in which he used his Bob Jones PPC revolver.

“It’s a .38 Special Smith & Wesson,” said Vadasz. “My Bob Jones PPC revolver. The very first competition gun that I ever had built … probably back in 2000″. Fitted with Hogue Monogrip, the .38 hasn’t been tinkered with since the day it arrived. “Exact same gun,” said Vadasz. “It’s never been worked on. It’s never been changed. I won all three of my PPC National Championships with this gun. It’s real special to me.”

In a 2001 NRA Law Enforcement Division Newsletter, gunsmith Bob Jones talked about his work on PPC pistols: “I started working on pistols in the Navy, and it kind of stuck — it was something I really enjoyed doing,” said Bob, thinking back to his days as a Naval armorer who tinkered with .45s.

Vasdasz 38spl Revolver

Bob’s typical modifications to a Smith & Wesson revolver include fitting a Shilen barrel, bobbing the hammer (cutting off the cocking spur), adding an Aristocrat Sight Rib, tuning and smoothing the trigger, and installing a trigger stop. The Shilen barrel increases accuracy, adds some additional weight for stability, and its increased size (and surface area) helps with heat dissipation.

Vasdasz 38spl Revolver

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »