The 2016 Berger Southwest Nationals event is less than a week away. If you need some last-minute practice before this match and you don’t have the time (or money) to load a couple hundred rounds of centerfire ammo, consider rimfire practice. Past F-TR National Champion James Crofts attributes much of his success to plenty of trigger time with his rimfire training rifle.
Rimfire Training for F-Classers
2014 and 2012 U.S. National F-TR Champion James Crofts is one of America’s top F-Class shooters. A member of the 2013 World Championship-winning F-TR Team USA squad, James knows a thing or two about long-range shooting, that’s for sure. But you may be surprised to learn how James sharpens his shooting skills at relatively short distances. You see, James often practices with a .22 LR rimfire rifle at distances from 50 to 200 yards. James tells us: “Shooting my F-Class rimfire trainer saves me money and improves my shot process and wind-reading abilities.”
Remington rimfire 40X barreled action in PR&T LowBoy stock with PT&G bolt.
Rimfire Training Teaches Wind-Reading Skillsby James Crofts
Training with the rimfire is extremely useful and can be done from 25 yards out to 200 yards. I am lucky and can shoot 50 yards right off my back deck. That is far enough that any miscue on rifle handling will show up on the target. I use a two dry-fire to one actual shot routine for my practices. This gives me much more positive reinforcement without any negative reinforcement.
Wind reading is extremely important with a .22 LR rifle. I use a set of smallbore flags to aid my wind calls. The smallbore flags are a must and force you to look at the flags and mirage on each and every shot. If you think the flags at Camp Butner move a lot, try smallbore flags around tall pine trees.
James Crofts — Photo by Kent Reeve.
Rimfire Training Is Cost-Effective
Rimfire ammunition is much less costly than centerfire ammo. Though .22 LR prices have risen in recent years (and rimfire ammo is harder to find), even now I can get a 500-round brick of .22 LR ammo for less than $75.00. That works out to fifteen cents a round. That’s a fraction of the cost of handloading .308 Win match ammo. Heck, you can pay 40 cents a piece for match-grade .308-cal centerfire bullets. Then you have to figure in brass, primers, and powder.
My CMP 40X Rimfire F-TR LowBoy Clone
My quest into the .22 LLR rimfire field started with an email from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) announcing Rem 40X stripped barreled actions for sale. I thought, “Hmmm… Could one of those little 40X barreled actions be turned into a F-Class training rifle?” My gunsmith Ray Bowman of Precision Rifle & Tool was brought in at this point.
After conferring with Ray, it was decided that he could indeed turn this into a F-Class training rifle. Ray contacted Dave Kiff of PT&G and ordered a new bolt for the Remington 40X rimfire action. Next was the stock decision. I decided to go with a PR&T Low Boy F-Class stock — this is an exact clone of the stock for my .308 Win F-TR competition rifle. Then a Jewell trigger was acquired to complete the components. Ray built this just like he would any custom rifle, other than using the stock barrel. The project turned out awesome. The rifle was a hammer from the beginning even with the stock barrel.
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At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Natchez — 8.5-25x50mm Leupold VX-3 for $649.99
This is a heck of a deal. This Editor owns this very same Leupold 8.5-25x50mm VX-3 scope and I paid about a grand for it many years ago. The 25X max magnification is plenty for varmint hunting and most target work. If you don’t need 25X magnification, Natchez also sells the Leupold VX-3 4.5-14x40mm scope for just $489.90. Both these optics are protected by Leupold’s famed lifetime warranty.
2. CDNN Sports — Remington 597 for $149.99
Looking for a “first rifle” for a family member?. Consider this semi=auto Remington 597. It currently retails for just $149.99. That’s right, for under $150 you can get a reliable, self-feeding rimfire rifle that will provide years of fun for a young shooter. The 597 has a stock that’s sized right for both youngsters and adults. Receivers are dovetailed for standard rimfire rings and are also drilled and tapped to allow mounting of Weaver-style bases.
3. Amazon.com — RCBS ChargeMaster for $289.99
Here’s a very good deal on the popular RCBS ChargeMaster combo scale/powder dispenser. This unit sells elsewhere for up to $389.00. You may want to act quickly as Amazon pricing changes frequently. We also saw this item on sale at MidwayUSA recently.
4. GunBuyer.com — Federal .22 LR Ammo, $24.99 for 325 Rds
Here you go — name-brand rimfire ammo for just 7.7 cents per round. Can’t complain about that price. According to Ammoseek.com, this is the least expensive name-brand .22 LR rimfire ammo you can buy. This Federal AutoMatch .22 LR rimfire ammo features a 40gr Lead RN projectile. It feeds well in semi-auto rifles as well as bolt guns.
Need bullets for an upcoming spring varmint safari? Midsouth has slashed prices on its Varmint Nightmare X-Treme (VNX) hollow-point bullets, in both .204 and .224 calibers. The .204-cal 34gr VNXs and .224-cal 34gr VNXs are just $45.52 for 500 bullets. (That works out to just $9.10 per hundred!) If you prefer a heavier .22-cal bullet, Midsouth sells 50gr VNX soft-points for $48.82/500, and 55gr VNX hollow-points for $51.50/500.
6. Grafs.com — Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press on SALE
If you’ve been patiently waiting to acquire a Forster Co-Ax® reloading press, now’s the time to strike. Grafs.com has Co-Ax presses on sale this week at $289.99. That includes shipping charges (with one flat $7.95 handling charge per order).
The Kahr CT9 is still one of the very best 9mm carry pistols around. We tried one at SHOT Show and spoke to Kahr’s President, Justin Moon. This gun has a better, smoother trigger pull than most other carry pistols. The grip is comfortable, and the exterior is very smooth and clean, with nothing to snag. If you need a 9mm pistol, this is a good gun at a great price.
8. Harbor Freight — 11-Drawer Rolling Tool Cabinet, $159.99
This 27″-wide Roller Tool Cabinet makes a nice addition to any loading room or workspace. The 11 drawers will hold tools, reamers, dies, and spare parts. Larger items (such as tumbling media), can be placed on the lower shelf. Now through the end of February, this rolling cabinet is on SALE for just $159.99 with Super Coupon #74449393. Print out the coupon or ORDER ONLINE with Coupon pricing.
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Here’s your chance to win $50,000 and become a TV star. The Outdoor Channel’s new television show, American Marksman, showcases a series of shooting competitions leading to a big-money National Championship. American Marksman gives amateur shooters the chance to win cash, gear and fame. The top shooter will win $50,000 and earn the title of “American Marksman”.
The competition begins with local qualifiers starting in March 2016 at locations across the country. There will be three stages: local qualifying matches, regional championships, and a National Championship. The entire process will be filmed for later broadcast on the Outdoor Channel beginning in December 2016. The nine regional championships will be revealed as locations are finalized.
“If you ever wanted to enter a shooting competition and thought it was too intimidating or too expensive – then this is your chance to show the world what you’ve got,” said producer Michael Bane, Outdoor Channel. “For only $20 at the local level, you get the chance to try to qualify with other amateurs in a relaxed, safe environment and the best of you will meet in a … National Championship with TV cameras rolling. The person who earns the title of ‘American Marksman’ walks away with $50,000.”
How to Participate: To get involved in the American Marksman competition, you can Register Now at AmericanMarksman.com. You need to have your own .22 LR gun and 50 rounds of ammo for the local qualifier (you can rent a gun from the local range if needed). American Marksman will provide firearms and ammo for the Regional and National championships, should you advance. NOTE: American Marksman is an amateur-only event series with strict eligibility guidelines.
Where to Compete: The local qualifying rounds begin in March, 2016 at nearly 200 ranges in 47 states. CLICK HERE for a list of Participating Ranges, which can be sorted by state.
“The local qualifying level is designed not only to appeal to more seasoned shooters, but also to attract new people into the shooting sports by offering a low-cost and less intimidating way to get involved in competition,” explained show Producer Michael Bane.
Competition Categories: American Marksman offers four categories of competition: Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Junior (12-16) and Military/Law Enforcement. Pick the category that fits you. At the National Championship, the best shooters from each of the categories will be pitted against each other to compete for $50K and the “American Marksman” title.
Course of Fire: Each round will feature .22 LR rimfire courses of fire. As the competitors progress, they will be challenged with different calibers, targets and courses of fire. Advancing shooters will go to one of nine regional championships, which begin in June and proceed through August with the National Championship taking place in early 2017.
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Our friend, trick-shot ace Kirsten Joy Weiss, will be featured on the NRA All-Access TV show next week. As a performance shooter (and modern-day Annie Oakley) Weiss has focused her efforts to “bring the fun, challenge, and joy of shooting to a mainstream audience” via social media.
Watch Preview of NRA All Access with Kirsten Joy Weiss
Kirsten wants to be a good ambassador for the shooting sports, “spreading the positive reality of shooting”. Kirsten explains: “The fun challenge and joy of shooting is important to me because I really wanted to be a positive example. So when the media says the ‘guns are a bad thing and nobody does anything good with guns’, they can say ‘Well, what about her [Kirsten]’?”
A gifted “natural” shooter, Kirsten started shooting fairly late — at age 16. Despite her relatively late start, she learned very quickly, and managed to earn a place on the University of Nebraska shooting team. That literally opened up a new world for Kirsten: “During the course of my career, I’ve had a lot of success. I’ve gone to World Cups… in Zagreb, Croatia, in Munich, Germany. I’ve won National Championships, and got on to the U.S. Olympic short list, so it’s been a good career.”
In 2012, Kirsten was the top USA athlete-shooter at the Munich World Cup. She won the 2012 NRA Three-Position Women’s Smallbore Championship and also won the Standing Position, while finishing as the National Overall Woman Champion.
Kirsten tells us: “A lot of people don’t think of shooting as a sport, but it absolutely is, and I would even go so far as to say that it is an art form.” We don’t know if this is art, sport, or magic, but very few shooters have the skill or flexibility to make this upside-down shot…
This animated GIF shows Kirsten cutting a card in half with a .22 LR bullet. Impressive!
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At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain Selections. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. 6mmAR.com — Easy-Change Front Bag-Rider for ARs
Here’s a great product from our friend Robert Whitley at 6mmAR.com. This new device is a 3″-wide, flat-bottomed, front bag-rider that mounts to your AR in seconds, without tools. The bag-rider (aka “sled”) really works — stabilizing your AR when shooting from a front pedestal rest. We recommend using the front sled during load development and whenever shooting from the bench. The bag-rider attaches to your AR’s handguard with a Velcro strap, indexing on the bipod stud. Right now the Easy-Change Bag-Rider has an introductory price of $55.00. If you own an AR, you should get one.
2. Target Sports — Federal .22 LR Ammo, 325 Rounds for $24.90
Need good quality rimfire ammo at a low price? This TargetSportsUSA.com deal — 325 rounds for $24.90 — is a very good value. We’re pleased to see rimfire ammo prices become affordable again. Purchases are limited to five (5) 325-round boxes per customer. This is better than most “bulk-box” rimfire ammo. Another good deal right now is the Federal AutoMatch Bulk Pack, 325 rounds for $20.99 at Natchez Shooters Supply (but you are limited to two boxes).
3. Precision Reloading — Forster 2-Die Sets with Ultra Seater
Precision Reloading has Forster two-die reloading sets on clearance now. For $75-$80 per set you can get a precision full-length sizing die plus an Ultra micrometer-top seater. These are good dies — your Editor uses these very same dies for my .223 Rem reloading. Die sets for numerous popular chamberings are on sale now including: 220 Swift, 222 Rem, 22 PPC, 6mmx45, 6mm PPC, 6mm Rem, 243 WSSM, 257 Roberts, 25 WSSM, 7mm BR Rem, 280 Rem, 7mm WSM, 7×57 Mauser, 7mm RUM, 303 British, 30-378 Wby and more.
4. Home Deport — 72″ Wood Workbench for $70.25
This patented Home Depot workbench assembles in a few minutes. Simply unfold the legs, pop in the shelf, and you are ready to start your project. Made from Premium 2×4 Hemlock fastened with glue and screws, this workbench is a great value. The bench (72″ wide x 35″ high x 22″ deep) can easily be stored when not in use. NOTE: The wood is unfinished (can be painted or stained).
5. CDNN Sports — 1911-Type .22 LR Target Pistol
Everyone should have an accurate .22 LR target pistol. This German-made GSG 1911 22LR pistol shares the look, feel, and ergonomics of J.M. Browning’s classic model 1911 so it’s good for cross-training. We’ve tried this pistol and the trigger is pretty darn good — though don’t expect it be be as nice as a S&W Model 41. But consider that the GSG costs just $249.99. By contrast, MSRP on a new Model 41 is a steep $1369.00. For cross-training and target work the GSG is a very good value.
6. Stocky’s Stocks — Composite Stock with Bedding Block
Here’s a killer deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $199.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel. This would be a good choice for a varmint rifle. This is also offered with a matte black, tan, or olive baked-on textured finish for $229.97.
7. Natchez — Nikon Hunting Scopes on Close-out
Natchez Shooters Supplies is running a big sale on Nikon optics with Camo finishes. Prices have been reduced as much as 43%. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, name-brand optic for your hunting or varmint rifle, check out these Nikon bargains. This scopes all carry full Nikon factory warranty.
8. Amazon – Frankford Arsenal Master Tumbler Kit
This Master Tumbler Kit contains everything you need to tumble rifle or pistol brass. Now on sale for $64.40 with free shipping, this Kit contains: Vibratory Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, Plastic Bucket, 3 lbs. Cleaning Media, and 4 oz. Brass Polish.
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When a shot is fired through it, a barrel will exhibit harmonics. Tuning these harmonics (the “waves” that propagate through the barrel) can alter point of impact and, if you’re lucky, reduce group size. Barrel tuners have been used successfully in rimfire benchrest for many years (see photo above). While there are competing theories as to how and why barrel tuners work on rimfire rifles, there is no question that the accuracy of some rimfire barrels can be improved with the addition of a tuner. By changing the position of weights at the end of the barrel, we’ve seen shooters shrink their average group size as well as adjust the “sweet spot” for different lots of rimfire ammo. On the other hand, tuners can be the source of great frustration; some installations may yield little or no benefit. A shooter may have to experiment with a variety of different tuner designs (and weights) to find the optimal configuration.
Centerfire Tuners–Still a Work in Progress
In centerfire benchrest competition, the vast majority of competitors do not use tuners, though a few short-range shooters such as Gene Bukys and Jackie Schmidt have enjoyed considerable success. Gene has won major championships with tuned rifles. In 2011 Gene won both the Super Shoot and World Benchrest Championship (WBC), and Gene recently set a new NBRSA Sporter Class Grand Agg Record.
Centerfire benchrest guns typically employ shorter barrels with a much fatter contour (larger diameter) than rimfire rifles. Because centerfire rounds produce much higher pressures and velocities that a 22LR, a centerfire barrel also exhibits much different vibration characteristics than a typical rimfire barrel. Nonetheless, there are pioneers working with centerfire tuners who believe that tuning may be the “next leap forward” in centerfire accuracy.
Shown below is a switch-barrel benchrest rifle built by Forum member Eddie W. of Texas. It features a dual-port Hall “M” action with a ShadeTree Engineering Tuner crafted by Butch Lambert. The gun is designed to take both a 6PPC barrel for group shooting and a 30BR barrel for score shooting. The gun was barreled by Wayne Shaw, and Eddie did the stock work himself. Eddie reports: “It is a very accurate rifle.”
Will we see more tuners on centerfire rifles? Only time will tell. Some folks believe that, since one can easily adjust the loads shot by centerfire guns (by tinkering with the powder charge and seating depth), tuners have limited utility. On the other hand, tuner advocates such as Gene Beggs believe tuners can help keep your group sizes small even as conditions (temperature, humidity) change. Gene believes that, with an appropriate tuner, you can spend less time fiddling with the load specs (changing your powder charge) and instead “dial in” your sweet spot using the tuner.
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Christmas Day is just a week away. Books have always been popular holiday gifts. If you haven’t completed your holiday shopping, here are some recommended titles that should please the serious shooters and firearms enthusiasts on your shopping list. For shooting clubs, books also make great end-of-season member awards. Most of us would rather have a useful book than one more piece of wood to toss in a box in the closet.
Here Are TEN TITLES Recommended for Serious Shooters:
If you’re a serious long-range shooter, consider adding this book to your library. Relying on extensive ballistics testing, Modern Advancements contains some fascinating research results, including the effects of twist rate on muzzle velocity, BC, and precision. Other sections detail the evolution of modern rifle, bullet, and optics designs. And there is an important comparison test of chronographs. Laser rangefinders and wind measurement devices are explained in detail by contributing author Nick Vitalbo. This book is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to understand the current “state of the art” in today’s shooting world. There is a ton of “hard science” in this book — not just opinions.
This book should be on the shelf of every short-range benchrest shooter. (Shooters in other disciplines will find the book helpful as well.) Butch Lambert says Mike’s book is “far and away the best Benchrest book written. Very comprehensive, it touches on every aspect of our game.” Mike’s 368-page book is dedicated to getting the most from modern rifle accuracy equipment with an emphasis on shooting 100-200-300 yard group benchrest tournaments. This book covers the most popular hardware plus new equipment offerings are covered, including external mount scopes, actions, triggers, stocks, wind flags, and more. Also covered are rifle handling techniques, note taking, tuning, bullet selection, goals, and match strategies. Mike provides many tips that will help active competitors update their own competitive program.
Nancy Tompkins is one of the greatest long-range shooters in American history. She has won five National Long-range Championships. Tompkins’ treatise is a must-read for serious Palma, F-Class, and High Power shooters. The revised Second edition includes F-Class equipment and techniques, and newly updated information. Color pictures. Topics include Mental & Physical training, Reading Wind & Mirage Shooting Fundamentals, International Competition, and Loading for Long Range. Nancy Tompkins is a 4-time winner of the National Long Range Championships, and has won countless other major events. Nancy has been on six Palma Teams (as both a shooter and a coach).
Tony Boyer, the most successful shooter in the history of short-range benchrest competition, shares many of his match-winning tips in this 323-page book. The book covers all aspect of the benchrest discipline: loading, windflags, rest set-up, addressing the rifle, and match strategies. This is a high-quality publication, filled with valuable insights. Every serious benchrest shooter should read Tony’s book. Boyer has dominated registered benchrest in a fashion that will never be duplicated, having amassed 142 U.S. Benchrest Hall of Fame points. The next closest shooter, Allie Euber, has 47 Hall of Fame points. This handsome, full-color book is 323 pages long, with color photos or color illustrations on nearly every page.
This book by 11-time National High Power Champion David Tubb focuses on position shooting and High Power disciplines. Section One covers fundamentals: position points, natural point of aim, breathing, triggering mechanics and follow-through, sling selection and use, getting started, getting better, avoiding obstacles. Section Two covers mechanics of offhand, sitting, and prone positions. Section Three covers shooting skills, including wind reading and mental preparation. Section Four covers the technical side of shooting, with extensive disuctions of rifle design, load development, reloading barrel maintenance, and rifle fitting. We consider this book a “must-read” for any sling shooter, and there is plenty of good advice for F-Class shooters too.
Many of our Forum members have recommended The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham. This 146-page book, published in 2007, is a very informative resource. But you don’t have to take our word for it. If you click this link, you can read book excerpts on Amazon.com. This lets you preview the first few chapters, and see some illustrations. Other books cover wind reading in a broader discussion of ballistics or long-range shooting. But the Miller & Cunningham book is ALL about wind reading from cover to cover, and that is its strength. The book focuses on real world skills that can help you accurately gauge wind angle, wind velocity, and wind cycles.
Decades after it was written, Vaughn’s work remains a seminal treatise on accuracy. Vaughn was a serious scientist, working for the Sandia National Laboratories. Many “gun writers” toss out hunches about rifle accuracy. Vaughn, by contrast, did serious empirical testing and statistical analysis. Vaughn wondered why some guns shot well while seemingly identical rifles did not. Rifle Accuracy Facts covers a wide variety of topics, including internal ballistics, chamber design, barrel vibration, bullet imbalance, external ballistics, scope design and more. Writer Boyd Allen notes: “If you are serious about precision shooting, Vaughn’s book belongs in your library.”
We include this book in our list because it is an older classic that has been out of print for a while. Warren Page was the shooting Editor of Field & Stream magazine for 24 years. Long out of print, this seminal work on rifle accuracy was republished in 1996 with an updating chapter by Dave Brennan, long-time Editor of Precision Shooting magazine. If you are interested in the progress of rifle accuracy, it is worth reading this book to see how technology has developed over time (and what older methods still work today). This would make a great gift for an older shooter who grew up reading Warren Page articles in Field & Stream.
Steven Boelter’s 352-page book is a comprehensive study of all types of rimfire ammunition (including 17s and 22 mags), with over 600 photos. In a remarkable undertaking, Steven Boelter fired every brand and sample of rimfire ammo he could acquire (including .22 LR, 17 Mach 2, 17 HMR and .22 WMR), and recorded all the results. In all, Steven tested 11 brands and 137 different rimfire rounds, firing over 32,000 test rounds.
Always controversial, Bill Calfee is nonetheless a major player in the world of rimfire accuracy. Calfee-built rimfire rifles have set many records and won many titles. He harbors strong opinions about what works and what doesn’t, but if you are involved in rimfire competition you should read this book. This work covers all aspects of rimfire gunsmithing and accurizing: barrels, tuners, chambering, triggers, stock design, bedding, action design and much more. He examines each aspect of rimfire accuracy discussing all of the components and their contribution to the improved accuracy. We don’t agree with all of Calfee’s theories about accuracy, but this book still remains a “must-read” for those serious about precision rimfire shooting.
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At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain Selections. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
Quite simply, this is a steal. This Sightron 10-50x60mm SIII scope originally retailed for around $1250.00. You can grab it now for well under $800.00. If you want a high-magnification scope for Long Range Competition, this is a good choice. It has been used successfully by many top competitors. There is also a Fine Cross-Hair (FCH) model ($1039.00) and a Mil-Dot model ($960.00).
2. CDNN Sports — Baikal MP161K Rimfire .22 LR Rifle
Here’s a very cool semi-auto rimfire rifle from Russia. The modern design of the Baikal MP161K is very ergonomic, making it useful for off-hand shooting. It has an adjustable comb and adjustable LOP. We tried it for some informal silhouette shooting and the testers like it. On the bench the flat “toe” in the rear of the stock works well in the bags. At $229.99, this rifle costs less than a Ruger 10/22. Out of the box we think it’s a better rifle — with a better stock and better trigger. It also comes with a scope rail AND iron sights. A 10-round magazine is included.
3. Cabela’s — Herter’s Range Bag $9.99
Range bag for under ten bucks — this $9.99 Herters Range Bag measures 15″ long x 9″ wide. Along with the main compartment, there are four additional zippered pockets suitable for muffs, ammo, safety glasses, and more. There is a removable shoulder strap. If you order other items from Cabelas.com, you can even get free shipping. Use Coupon “5JOLLY” for Free Shipping with orders over $49.00.
4. Midsouth — $100.00 Off All Leupold VX-3 Scopes with Rebate
Click Image to Zoom for details
No doubt about it — this is one of the best deals going. This $100.00 rebate offer applies to Leupold’s entire line of VX-3 Optics. And Midsouth has sweetened the deal by offering FREE shipping on VX-3s purchased this month. The Leupold $100 cash-back program is good through December 31, 2015. CLICK Here for VX-3 scopes with $100 Rebate and Free Shipping.
5. Grafs.com — Federal .22 LR Ammo $48.99 for 500 Rounds
You can’t have too much rimfire ammo… particularly when you can get quality, American-made .22 LR ammunition for under $50.00 a brick. This Federal HV Match ammo is good for varminting, cross-training, and general plinking. Graf’s price includes shipping after a single $7.95 handling charge. Buy while you can — this will sell out fast.
6. Amazon — Kowa 60mm TSN-601 Spotting Scope Body
If you are looking for a rugged, reliable, and affordable spotting scope to watch flags, mirage, and shot spotting discs, this angled-body Kowa TSN-61 will do the job. These Kowa spotters have been used successfully for years by prone and High Power competitors. Sure the glass is not as sharp as the latest top-of-the-line HD spotting scopes, but the TSN-61 is a small fraction of the price of high-end models which can run $2000 or more. The money you save can buy four premium hand-lapped barrels. NOTE: This item is the scope body only. Eyepieces are sold separately — expect to pay about $250.00 for a Kowa 20-60X Zoom eyepiece.
Safety eyewear for two bucks. That’s right, you can get ANSI Z87.1-rated safety glasses (clear or amber lenses) for just $1.99. At that price you should pick up a half-dozen sets, just so you have extras for friends and family. We strongly recommend that shooters wear eye protection at all times when handling firearms. You only have one set of eyes folks — take care of them. This eyewear special is offered by CDNN Sports in the latest catalog (pp. 101-102). Call 800-588-9500 to order.
8. Amazon — ShotShell Thermo Bottle
Looking for a perfect, last-minute holiday gift for a shooter in your family? This is a great gift item that is as useful as it is clever. Verified purchasers of this 25 oz. Shotshell Thermo bottle give it high marks, saying it is a great gift for a hunter or sportsman.
9. Amazon — 8x30mm Military Marine Binoculars
Your Editor uses these Steiner 8×30 binoculars. For most duties, they work great. They are compact, light-weight (18 oz.) and easy to hold. The best feature is the focusing system. Once you adjust each eyepiece for your eyes, everything from about 25 yards to infinity is in focus — honest. The $202.49 price at Amazon.com is $30-$50 less than you’ll pay at other vendors. NOTE: If you want better dawn/dusk low-light performance, spend more money on premium binoculars. But for basic daylight duties, these will do the job. NOTE: Steiner offers a 10x50mm version, but the 8x30mm is HALF the weight. Verfified Purchaser Review: “I bought these binoculars for a recent hunting trip. They are…very clear at any range. I have very different eyes, one is 20/200, the other is nearly perfect, 20/30. The sports auto-focus on this is GREAT. Once I set them for my eyes, they were perfect.”
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We congratulate Rebecca Richards of Australia for her incredible shooting in the recent RBA Benchrest Grand Prix at the Sydney International Shooting Centre. Consider this, out of the five (5) benchrest classes competing (two air rifle, and three rimfire) Rebecca won four classes outright while placing third in the fifth class. Wow — that represents complete and total domination. Remarkably, Rebecca dropped only 10 points in four days of shooting.
Rebecca’s amazing 4-day performance was near perfection. Overall, she scored 2740 out of a total of 2750 possible points. She shot four of 11 targets with perfect 250/250 scores, and six more with 249/250. Over the course of the event she hit 152 “dots” (center bulls) out of a total possible 275. That’s pretty amazing if you understand how small those center bulls really are. Take a look at the target photo below — the center dot is tiny.
All in all, this was a performance for the ages — one of the best combined airgun/rimfire benchrest performances in Southern Hemisphere history. Kudos to Rebecca for her brilliant performance.
Here’s the modern Sydney International Shooting Centre…
Report based on Story inNRABlog.
It’s official — Indiana is IN and Ohio is OUT. The Chief Wa-Ke-De Range in Bristol, Indiana, is now the permanent home of the NRA National Smallbore Rifle Championships. The Smallbore Championships will no longer be contested at the historic Camp Perry facility on the shores of Lake Erie near Port Clinton, Ohio. After the Smallbore Nationals were relocated to Indiana for the past two years to facilitate the 2015 World Long Range Championships, many competitors expected a return to Camp Perry. However, the NRA Smallbore Committee has decided to make Bristol, Indiana the permanent venue for the Smallbore Championships.
Situated about three hours west of Camp Perry, the Wa-Ke-De Range has some advantages over the Camp Perry facility. First, the 100-point firing line is covered in asphalt instead of grass. In addition, the range sits in a large grove of trees that provide a beautiful setting and shelter from the wind — practically the opposite of Camp Perry’s notorious wind and open fields.
Despite this, many smallbore competitors wished for the Nationals to return to Camp Perry. One poll of shooters ran roughly 3:1 in favor of returning to Perry. On his personal website, Bill Dutton has posted an Open Letter to the NRA which states many reasons why the Smallbore Championships should be returned to Camp Perry. Among other things, Bill notes: “The facilities are perfect for a large Regional but The Chief Wa-Ke’-De Rifle Range lacks the grand scale which a Camp Perry provides. Competitors and parents look forward to browsing vendor row at Camp Perry in order to replenish supplies for the coming season… in addition to trying out the latest shooting equipment. The nearest hotel [was] in Elkhart, about 15 minutes away. Camp Perry has sufficient onsite lodging for hundreds of competitors and their families. I personally had a bill for $1,400 for the hotel I and my daughter stayed in. Compared to a Hut at Camp Perry where four people can sleep for $12.50 per night, translating to equivalent cost of $175 per person for two weeks.”
View Photo Gallery from 2014 Smallbore Championships
2016 Championships Scheduled for July 10-18, 2016
The 2016 Smallbore Championships will be held 10-18 July, 2016, with registration opening on April 1, 2016. As before, the Metric and Conventional Position Championships will fall under the umbrella of the NRA Smallbore 3-Position Championship. Note: The Metric Prone Championship was removed but the 50-yard match was added to the NRA Smallbore Prone Championship. From these two main championships (3-Position and Prone), an overall NRA National Smallbore Rifle Champion will be crowned.
Team championships in both position and prone will still be awarded. 3-Position team matches will be shot as “paper matches,” meaning the scores will be taken from a shooter’s individual performance in the 3-Position Championship. Prone team matches will still be shot on their own and will be held following each day’s individual prone matches.
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The late Bill Myers was recognized as one of greatest rimfire smiths who ever lived. Myers crafted many match-winning, record-setting rimfire benchrest rigs. Here we feature one of Bill’s most interesting creations — a clamping action that allows a rimfire barrel to be indexed (rotated) around the bore axis.
Bill was a creative thinker, and his own exhaustive testing has convinced him that barrel indexing can enhance accuracy in rimfire benchrest guns. Myers did acknowledge that, particularly with a very good barrel, the advantages of indexing may be subtle, and extensive testing may be required. Nonetheless, Myers believed that indexing could improve rimfire accuracy.
Indexing with the Myers’ Clamping Action
To index the barrel, Myers simply loosens the three clamping-bolts and rotates the barrel in the action. Because there is no thread to pull the barrel in or out, the headspace stays the same no matter how much the barrel is rotated. In other words you can rotate the barrel to any position on the clockface and the headspace remains unchanged.
The Challenge of Barrel Indexing
With a conventional barrel installation, employing a shoulder with a threaded tenon, it is difficult to index the barrel. Even with a cone breech (photo right) that eliminates the problem of extractor cuts, you’d have to use shims to alter the barrel index position, or otherwise re-set the shoulder each time you screwed the barrel in further.
Clamping Action Allows Barrel to Be Rotated to Any Position
Bill has come up with a masterful solution to barrel indexing. He designed and built his own prototype custom action that clamps the barrel rather than holding it with threads. The front section of the action is sliced lengthways, and then clamped down with three bolts. A special bushing (the gold-color piece in photos) fits between the barrel and the action. By using bushings of different inside diameters, Bill can fit any barrel up to an inch or so diameter, so long as it has a straight contour at the breech end. To mount the barrel, Bill simply places the fitted bushing over the barrel end-shank, then slips the “sleeved” barrel into the front end of the action. Tighten three bolts, and the barrel is secure.
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Here’s a feel-good story about a talented young man from Idaho. Sixteen-year-old Kolby Pavlock of Kuna, Idaho, won the NSSF Rimfire Challenge World Championship, held October 9-11 at the Old Fort Gun Club in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In winning the overall title (not just the junior class) Kolby out-shot many seasoned adult competitors, proving that youth and skill can in fact overcome “old age and treachery”, at least in this fun rimfire discipline. Kolby is blazing fast, as you can see in this video from the 2015 Idaho NSSF Rimfire Challenge Match. Check out the jaw-dropping speed at 1:20 time-mark.
Watch 16-year-old Kolby Pavlock in NSSF Rimfire Competition:
The 2015 Rimfire Challenge Championship was a great success. A record 200 competitors of all ages and skill levels took part. (By comparison only 150 or so shooters competed in the much-ballyhooed “NRA World Shooting Championship”). For many competitors, the Rimfire Challenge was very much a family affair — with mom, dad, and the kids all joining in the fun.
Fun and very affordable, the NSSF Rimfire Challenge appeals to all ages and skill levels. Here are youth competitors from last year’s Championship at the Old Fort Gun Club in Arkansas:
NSSF took over the Rimfire Challenge in 2014, replacing Ruger as the sponsoring organization. This popular competition is growing fast — in 2015, more than 400 Rimfire Challenge events were held across the country. The matches are designed to encourage family participation in a friendly, supportive atmosphere. Complete results from the world championship event will be posted at www.nssf.org/rimfire/championship.
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Larry Medler has come up with another smart little invention–a simple, inexpensive Empty Chamber Indicator for rimfire rifles. It is made from a section of plastic “weed-wacker” line and a wooden ball from a hobby shop.
Larry explains: “At all Highpower rifle matches, silhouette matches, and other shooting events I have attended, Open Bore Indicators (OBI), or what are now called Empty Chamber Indicators (ECI) have been mandatory. The NRA’s yellow ECI for Highpower rifles is easy to use and has been well-received by the shooters. However, I had not seen a truely workable ECI for 22 rimfire rifles–until I visited Michigan’s Washtenaw Sportsman’s Club where I saw juniors using ECIs for their 17 Caliber Air Rifles. Someone at the club made the empty chamber indicators by attaching an 8″ piece of weed wacker line to a 1″-diameter wooden ball, painted bright yellow. I now make similar ECIs for the 22 rimfire silhouette matches I run.”
Construction Method: First, drill a 7/64” diameter hole all the way through the 1″-diameter wooden ball. Then enlarge half of that 1″-long hole using a 13/64” diameter drill. Next insert an 8″ piece of heavy duty (0.095″ diameter) weed wacker line through the ball, leaving about 2″ on the side with the bigger-diameter hole. Then, with the short end of the line, fold over the last half-inch so the line is doubled-over on itself. Then slide the line into the ball, stuffing the doubled-over section through the 13/64″ (large) hole. Finally, pull the longer end of the line until the doubled-over section is flush with the outside of the ball. This gives you a sturdy line attachment without messy adhesives. When the assembly’s complete, hold the ECI by the tail and dip the ball in yellow paint. If you’re making more than one ECI, you can drill horizontal holes in a spare block of wood and use that as a drying rack.
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People are still complaining that affordable .22 LR rimfire ammo can’t be found. Well folks, we found some. Just call Bullets.com or Midsouth Shooter’s Supply and get yourself some Norma Tac-22 or Match-22. This is good stuff, at reasonable prices. Check out this review of Tac-22 by rimfire specialist .22 Plinkster. This Norma ammo won’t win rimfire benchrest matches, but it is plenty good enough for fun shooting, offhand practice, and tactical rimfire games.
.22 Plinkster Review of Norma Tac-22 Ammunition
Summary by .22 Plinkster (see 4:30 time mark): “I’m pretty impressed with it … I think it’s a really good deal. For six dollars and fifty cents [per box] you can’t go wrong with a box of this ammo. Out of a good bolt gun, this ammo will drive tacks.”
For centerfire ammo, you can choose from dozens of flip-top boxes, storage bins, or milsurp-style ammo cans. For rimfire ammo, there are not so many good choices. Our preferred rimfire ammo carrier is the MTM SB-200 Small-Bore Fitted Ammo Box. This flip-top plastic box holds 100 rimfire rounds in 10×5 black grids on the left and right. In the center is a storage area that will hold another 100 rounds in factory boxes. MTM’s SB-200 box was recently re-designed so it will now hold 17 HMR rounds, as well as 17 Mach 2, 22 short, 22 Win Mag Rimfire, and of course 22 Long Rifle (.22LR)
MTM Case-Gard 200 Round Smallbore Box
This is really the only product of its kind on the market. It allows you to conveniently and securely hold 200 rimfire rounds, and also segregate your ammo by brand or bullet type. These boxes fit all types of popular rimfire ammunition. The vertical clearance of the lid is sufficient to hold the longer .22 WMR Rounds, and 17 HMR (as well as .22 LR naturally). The lid fits securely so you don’t have to worry about your rimfire ammo spilling out on the way to the range.
If you don’t have one of these boxes yet, we recommend you order one or two. They cost less than $15.00 and are available in Blue or “Rust” (a brick color).
“22 Plinkster” is an avid shooter who has produced a number of entertaining videos for his YouTube Channel. In the video below, he tackles the question “Why Do Misfires Occur in .22 LR Rimfire Ammunition?” This is the most common question posed to 22 Plinkster by his many viewers. He identifies four main issues that can cause .22 LR misfires or faulty ignition:
1. Damaged Firing Pin — The dry firing process can actually blunt or shorten the firing pin, particularly with older rimfire firearms. Use of snap caps is recommended.
2. Poor Ammunition — Some cheap brands have poor quality control. 22 Plinkster recommends using ammo from a manufacturer with high quality control standards, such as CCI and Federal.
3. Age of Ammunition — Rimfire ammo can function well for a decade or more. However the “shelf life” of rimfire ammunition is not infinite. You ammo’s “lifespan” will be shortened by heat, moisture, and humidity. You should store your rimfire ammo in a cool, dry place.
4. Mishandling of Ammunition — Tossing around ammunition can cause problems. Rough handling can cause the priming compound to be dislodged from the rim. This causes misfires.
Photo shows Bryan Litz (on right) and tester Mitchell Fitzpatrick. Bryan said: “Only 2,445 rounds to go! We’re testing over 50 ammo types in five different twist barrels… science can be exhausting!”
Do you know the actual BC (Ballistic Coefficient) of your rimfire ammunition? Well Applied Ballisitics will soon have answers for you. Bryan Litz and his team of testers have been working on a Herculean project. They’ve been testing over fifty types of .22 LR ammo, using five different twist-rate barrels.
The 17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire (aka Win Super Mag or WSM) is the fastest, most potent modern rimfire round you can buy. This cartridge, which uses a modified nail gun casing, drives 20gr bullets at 3000 fps. The 17 WSM offers superior ballistics to all .22 rimfires, and is a clear step ahead of the 17 HMR. That makes this round a potential “game-changer” in the varmint fields. To guage the capabilities of the 17 WSM, Varminter.com tested the cartridge in the new Ruger 77/17 bolt-action rifle. Click HERE for Varminter.com Ruger 77/17, 17 WSM Review.
17 WSM shoots faster than the 17 HMR, so the 20gr bullets don’t drift as much in the wind:
Varminter.com reports: “The much-anticipated Ruger 77/17 chambered in the 17 Winchester Super Magnum (17WSM) has been released. Our Review Editor, William Chambers, put it through a full range test with all four currently-available ammunition loads. Afterwards, he took it on a short groundhog hunt[.] We put a lot of rounds through the guns we test, at targets, through chronographs and out in the field. This report includes all currently available 17 WSM ammunition and a sneak peek of the really nice Nikon Prostaff 5 riflescope.” READ REVIEW.
GUNS Magazine has just released a 180-page Special Edition dedicated to .22 Rimfire products — guns, accessories, and ammo. Rimfire fans may want to pick up the latest .22 Rimfire Book which covers all .22 rimfire types, from CB caps to the .22 WMR. The cover story features the new .22LR Charger handgun from Ruger. Varminters will enjoy the discussion of the .22 Magnum, a versatile round that is effective on squirrels and other small critters. Other features in this Special Edition include a review of the Volquartsen Custom Deluxe pistol, Dave Anderson’s take on the top .22 target pistols, and an article on Sig Sauer’s newest silencers.
Our favorite story was a history of High Standard’s .22 Match Pistols by contributor Robert Kolesar. High Standards are lovely guns, with a well-deserved reputation for accuracy. “Unlike a number of classic guns from the past, the High Standards I remember fondly are still in production,” Kolesar writes. “And they haven’t changed to keep the liability lawyers or bean counters quiet. Arguably, it’s a better pistol, with tighter quality control, sight upgrades not available previously and a good factory trigger — just too good a pistol to be forgotten.”
Any experienced varmint hunter knows the value of a good .17 HMR rifle, particular when used inside 150 yards on small critters such as ground squirrels. The .17 HMR is a great round, but for general plinking and target practice, we prefer shooting the venerable .22 Long Rifle. The .22 LR has less recoil and less noise. Importantly, .22 LR ammo (even with today’s shortages) remains much less expensive than .17 HMR ammunition.
Wouldn’t it be great if a single, affordable varmint rifle could shoot both .22 LR and .17 HMR? Well, CZ offers just such a rig — the CZ Model 455 American Combo, a versatile switch-caliber rifle priced at about $485.00 (MSRP is $531.00). The American Combo comes complete with both .22 LR and .17 HMR barrels, easily interchanged with a simple Allen wrench. As CZ explains: “The CZ 455 eliminates the need to spend the extra expense on a second rifle when you want to add another quality shooter to your rimfire battery”. For a bit more money, you can even purchase a .22 WMR barrel, making your CZ a triple-threat varmint-slayer.