October 10th, 2019

How to Succeed at Club Matches — Six Tips

During shooting season, there are probably 400 or more club “fun matches” conducted around the country. One of the good things about these club shoots is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on equipment to have fun. But we’ve seen that many club shooters handicap themselves with a few common equipment oversights or lack of attention to detail while reloading. Here are SIX TIPS that can help you avoid these common mistakes, and build more accurate ammo for your club matches.

Benchrest rear bag1. Align Front Rest and Rear Bags. We see many shooters whose rear bag is angled left or right relative to the bore axis. This can happen when you rush your set-up. But even if you set the gun up carefully, the rear bag can twist due to recoil or the way your arm contacts the bag. After every shot, make sure your rear bag is aligned properly (this is especially important for bag squeezers who may actually pull the bag out of alignment as they squeeze).

Forum member ArtB adds: “To align my front rest and rear bag with the target, I use an old golf club shaft. I run it from my front rest stop through a line that crosses over my speed screw and into the slot between the two ears. I stand behind that set-up and make sure I see a straight line pointing at the target. I also tape a spot on the  golf shaft that indicates how far the back end of the rear bag should be placed from the front rest stop. If you don’t have a golf shaft, use a wood dowel.

2. Avoid Contact Interference. We see three common kinds of contact or mechanical interference that can really hurt accuracy. First, if your stock has front and/or rear sling swivels make sure these do NOT contact the front or rear bags at any point of the gun’s travel. When a sling swivel digs into the front bag that can cause a shot to pop high or low. To avoid this, reposition the rifle so the swivels don’t contact the bags or simply remove the swivels before your match. Second, watch out for the rear of the stock grip area. Make sure this is not resting on the bag as you fire and that it can’t come back to contact the bag during recoil. That lip or edge at the bottom of the grip can cause problems when it contacts the rear bag. Third, watch out for the stud or arm on the front rest that limits forward stock travel. With some rests this is high enough that it can actually contact the barrel. We encountered one shooter recently who was complaining about “vertical flyers” during his match. It turns out his barrel was actually hitting the front stop! With most front rests you can either lower the stop or twist the arm to the left or right so it won’t contact the barrel.

3. Weigh Your Charges — Every One. This may sound obvious, but many folks still rely on a powder measure. Yes we know that most short-range BR shooters throw their charges without weighing, but if you’re going to pre-load for a club match there is no reason NOT to weigh your charges. You may be surprised at how inconsistent your powder measure actually is. One of our testers was recently throwing H4198 charges from a Harrell’s measure for his 30BR. Each charge was then weighed twice with a Denver Instrument lab scale. Our tester found that thrown charges varied by up to 0.7 grains! And that’s with a premium measure.

4. Measure Your Loaded Ammo — After Bullet Seating. Even if you’ve checked your brass and bullets prior to assembling your ammo, we recommend that you weigh your loaded rounds and measure them from base of case to bullet ogive using a comparator. If you find a round that is “way off” in weight or more than .005″ off your intended base to ogive length, set it aside and use that round for a fouler. (Note: if the weight is off by more than 6 or 7 grains you may want to disassemble the round and check your powder charge.) With premium, pre-sorted bullets, we’ve found that we can keep 95% of loaded rounds within a range of .002″, measuring from base (of case) to ogive. Now, with some lots of bullets, you just can’t keep things within .002″, but you should still measure each loaded match round to ensure you don’t have some cases that are way too short or way too long.

Scope Ring5. Check Your Fasteners. Before a match you need to double-check your scope rings or iron sight mounts to ensure everything is tight. Likewise, you should check the tension on the screws/bolts that hold the action in place. Even on a low-recoiling rimfire rifle, action screws or scope rings can come loose during normal firing.

6. Make a Checklist and Pack the Night Before. Ever drive 50 miles to a match then discover you have the wrong ammo or that you forgot your bolt? Well, mistakes like that happen to the best of us. You can avoid these oversights (and reduce stress at matches) by making a checklist of all the stuff you need. Organize your firearms, range kit, ammo box, and shooting accessories the night before the match. And, like a good Boy Scout, “be prepared”. Bring a jacket and hat if it might be cold. If you have windflags, bring them (even if you’re not sure the rules allow them). Bring spare batteries, and it’s wise to bring a spare rifle and ammo for it. If you have just one gun, a simple mechanical breakdown (such as a broken firing pin) can ruin your whole weekend.

Permalink Competition, Reloading, Shooting Skills 6 Comments »
February 3rd, 2019

Scope Mounting — How to Avoid That Rude Poke in the Eye

Kirsten Weiss Video YouTube Scope Eye Relief

This helpful video from our friend Kirsten Joy Weiss explains how to avoid “scope bite”. This can occur when the scope, on recoil, moves back to contact your forehead, brow, or eye socket area. That’s not fun. While common sense tells us to avoid “scope bite” — sooner or later this happens to most shooters. One viewer noted: “I have come close. I had a Win Model 70 in .375 H & H Mag and I was shooting over a large rock in a strange position. The scope hit my eye glasses hard enough to bend the wire frames and cause a little pain on the bridge of the nose from the nose piece. [That] made a believer out of me.”

Kirsten offers a good basic principle — she suggests that you mount your rifle-scope so that the ocular (eyepiece) of the scope is positioned at least three inches or more from your eyeball when you hold the rifle in your normal shooting position. From a technical standpoint, optical eye relief is a property of the scope, so you want to purchase an optic that offers sufficient optical eye relief (meaning that it allows you to see the full circle of light with your head at least three inches from the eyepiece). Then you need to position the optic optimally for your head/eye position when shooting the rifle — with at least three inches of eyeball-to-scope separation (i.e. physical eye relief).

NOTE: You should mount the scope to provide adequate eyeball-to-scope separation for the actual position(s) you will be shooting most of the time. For an F-TR rig, this will be prone. For a hunting rifle, your most common position could be sitting or standing. Your head position will vary based on the position. You can’t assume the scope placement is correct just because it seems OK when you are testing or zeroing the gun from the bench. When shooting from a prone or kneeling position you may find your eye considerably closer to the eyepiece.

Permalink - Videos, Optics, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
August 24th, 2017

Burris Signature Zee Rings — Low Cost, High Performance

Burris Signature Zee rings

Burris Signature Zee ringsMore and more folks are using Burris Signature Rings these days. These unique rings feature polymer inserts. That allows you to pre-load some elevation in your scope set-up, or you can center-up the windage. Additionally, the polymer inserts hold your scope securely without leaving marks on the tube. Lastly, some folks believe that Signature rings may offer advantages for benchrest competition. Rodney Wagner shot the best 600-yard group in history using Burris Signature Zee Rings (“Zee” denotes the Weaver-rail model). James O’Hara set multiple IBS 1000-yard records using Burris Signature Zee Rings. James will tell you he thinks “all his guns seem to shoot best with these rings”.

Records Have Been Set with Signature Zee Rings
Are Signature Zees good enough for competition? Absolutely. Some folks scoff at these Burris rings, given their low price. A set of 1″-diameter Sig Zees cost just $38.79 at Grafs.com. But consider this, Rodney Wagner shot the smallest 600-yard group in history, a 0.336″ 5-shot stunner, using Signature Zee Rings on his IBS Light Gun. Here’s a photo of Rodney showing the record-setting rifle, outfitted with affordable Signature Zee 30mm rings.

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Vendors Have Burris Signature Rings in Stock Now
A quick search of webstores shows that various models of Burris Signature Rings are available from many vendors. NOTE: You may have to check with more than one seller to get the exact size, height, and model you prefer. But right now these vendors have pretty good selections of Signature Zees, including the hard-to-find 30mm High and Extra High models. If you check all three sellers, you’ll probably find what you need.

Midsouth Shooters Supply Grafs.com Bruno Shooters’ Supply

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Permalink Competition, Optics 12 Comments »
September 18th, 2015

How To Install a Scope on Your Hunting or Field Rifle

scope alignment tactical rifle scope level

Hunting season is right around the corner. That means its time to inspect all your hunting gear, including your scope set-up. A proper scope installation involves more than just tensioning a set of rings — you need to consider the proper eye relief and head position.

scope alignment tactical rifle scope levelIn this NSSF video, Ryan Cleckner shows how to set up a scope on a hunting or tactical rifle. Ryan, a former U.S. Army Sniper Instructor, notes that many hunters spend a small fortune on equipment, but fail to set up their rifle to use the optics optimally. Cleckner likens this to someone who owns an expensive sports car, but never adjusts the seat or the mirrors.

Ryan notes that you want your head and neck to be able to rest naturally on the stock, without straining. You head should rest comfortably on the stock. If you have to consciously lift your head off the stock to see through the scope, then your set-up isn’t correct. Likewise, You shouldn’t have to push your head forward or pull it back to see a clear image through the scope. If you need to strain forward or pull back to get correct eye relief, then the scope’s fore/aft position in the rings needs to be altered. Watch the full video for more tips.

Tips on Mounting Your Scope and Adjusting Your Comb Height:
1. Normally, you want your scope mounted as low as possible, while allowing sufficient clearance for the front objective. (NOTE: Benchrest shooters may prefer a high mount for a variety of reasons.)

2. Once the scope height is set, you need to get your head to the correct level. This may require adding an accessory cheekpad, or raising the comb height if your rifle has an adjustable cheekpiece.

3. Start with the rifle in the position you use most often (standing, kneeling, or prone). If you shoot mostly prone, you need to get down on the ground. Close your eyes, and let you head rest naturally on the stock. Then open your eyes, and see if you are too low or too high. You may need to use a cheekpad to get your head higher on the stock.

4. If your scope has a flat on the bottom of the turret housing, this will help you level your scope. Just find a flat piece of metal that slides easily between the bottom of the scope and the rail. Slide that metal piece under the scope and then tilt it up so the flat on the bottom of the scope aligns parallel with the flats on the rail. Watch the video at 8:40 to see how this is done.

Video find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 4 Comments »
June 27th, 2015

Ring Reducers Adapt 30mm Rings to Fit 1″ Scope Tubes

Forum member Jacob spotted this simple, but effective set of scope ring inserts on the Brownells’ Website. With these inserts, you can use a scope with 1″-diameter body in 30mm rings. Non-marring, matte black Delrin sleeves surround the scope tube so it can fit larger-diameter rings. Each sleeve comes in two parts for easy installation around your scope tube. Ring Reducers are sold as front/rear kits. Cost is $14.99 for the 30mm to 1″ ring adapters, item 084-000-091.

Brownells Ring Reducers

Note: These Brownells units simply function as plastic bushings. Unlike Burris Signature Ring inserts, they do not allow you to “pre-load” windage or elevation. If your rings are misaligned, the Brownells Ring Reducers won’t correct that problem.

Permalink Gear Review, Optics No Comments »
March 1st, 2015

Offset Scope Mount Helps Shooter with Vision Problem

offset scope base mountForum member Roy Bertalotto did a real nice off-set scope installation on a bolt gun to help a sight-challenged shooter. Roy explains: “A friend of mine shoots left-handed and has lost the sight in his left eye. I built him a scope mount so he can still shoot left-handed, but now use his right eye.” Roy’s fabrication work is impressive and we praise his efforts to help a fellow shooter stay in the game.

Roy bolted a plate to the existing scope rail on the top centerline of the Rem 700 action. This plate extends a few inches to the right. On the outboard end of the plate, Roy fitted a second scope rail, aligned with the bore. Weaver-based rings are then clamped to the outboard (right side) auxiliary rail.

offset scope base mount

offset scope base mount

offset scope base mount

Be Careful of Canting Issues with Offset Scope Installations
We’re pleased to see that Roy developed a solution for a shooter with an optical disability, but we want to stress that this is a specialized installation that can create some problems with point of impact shift if the gun is not maintained perfectly level. With the amount of horizontal offset (between the scope’s optical axis and the bore axis) built into this rig, if the rifle is canted, point of impact can shift rather dramatically. For a southpaw who is willing to adapt his/her shooting style, it may be better, in the long run, to learn to shoot right-handed if his/her right eye is the only good eye. Likewise, if a right-handed shooter can only see well through his left eye, he may benefit from learning how to hold the stock and work the trigger with his left hand. The shooter could still work the bolt with his non-trigger hand. Changing from right-hand to left-hand shooting (or vice-versa) may require a stock swap if the stock is not ambidextrous.

Permalink Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
April 11th, 2014

Pre-Season Maintenance On Your Rifles

This Article Originally Appeared in Sinclair International’s The Reloading Press.

Pre-Season Gun Maintenance,
by Ron Dague, Sinclair International
Firearms SafetyI give my rifles a pre-season check before the shooting season starts. This starts with a general inspection starting with the butt-plate or recoil pad and making sure that all the screws and adjustable parts (on an adjustable butt-plate) move freely up or down and side to side. If you got caught in rain some of these screws and adjustable parts may not move when needed. I disassemble parts as needed and put rust preventative or a light oil and/or grease on threads and sliding parts. On rifles with recoil pads and fixed butt-plates, make sure the screws are tight and that holes in the stock aren’t stripped out. Make sure there are no cracks in the stock and around the butt-plate. If the recoil pad is glued-on, just make sure it hasn’t come loose.

Next I take the action out of the stock and check for cracks and wear marks. I look at the bedding to make sure that oils and cleaning solvents have not damaged the bedding. While the action is out of the stock, I look for any surface rust or dirt/dust in the recoil lug area and magazine well. Clean as needed and repair or re-bed if needed.

Trigger Assembly and Action
Jewell trigger Remington 700With the barreled action out of the stock, it is a good time to spray out the trigger with cleaner. I use Ronson oil or lighter fluid. [Editor’s Note: Some trigger-makers advise against using any kind of lubricant, grease or oil — so plain lighter fluid is preferred.] After the trigger is cleaned you may want to check the trigger pull weight. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, take it to a gun smith and have it checked. It is worth every penny to not have a trigger issue and/or a safety malfunction. I also take the bolt apart and clean the firing pin spring and bolt housing with Gun Scrubber or automotive brake cleaner. Then lube the firing pin-spring and firing pin with light oil. I use Kel Lube and/or Butch’s gun oil. Put a small dab of gun grease on the [bolt locking lugs] and cocking ramp.

I will also spray the outside of the action and barrel and give that a light coating of oil for rust prevention. I clean the action with Sinclair’s action cleaning tool. Don’t forget to clean the bore. Even though you didn’t fire the rifle, this makes sure nothing obstructs your barrel.

Checking Metal Fixtures and Fasteners
rifle scope ringsNext I look at the trigger guard and hinged floor plate and make sure it works as designed. Make sure there are no cracks in the trigger guard from an accidental drop. Check guard screws and /or action screws for tightness and tighten to proper spec. There are torque specs for this, but on wood stocks the wood can crush and this should be checked throughout the year as weather change can affect this. My entire collection of rifles are bedded and I just tighten them just snug with screw driver or Allen wrench. The rimfire rifles have a spec of 55 to 74 inch/lbs and I think would carry over to center fire as well. I would caution you about torque wrenches as you need a good quality wrench, and read the directions on how to use it. You can over torque if not careful. Check the swivel studs and bipod to make sure there tight as well. You may want to take scope off and check the base screws and check the rings.

Test Fire the Rifle After Maintenance
After all cleaning and is done and everything is reassembled, take a few rounds out to the range and test fire to make sure everything works as it should. Don’t forget to run 3-5 rounds through the magazine at least two times for function. I look at this as preventive maintenance on the rifle. If you give it a look over you shouldn’t have any trouble during the rifle matches or hunting trip.

Ron Dague
Certified Reloading Instructor
Certified Range Safety Officer
Email: rond [at] sinclairintl.com
Phone: 800-717-8211

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
December 11th, 2013

Outstanding Rings and Rails from Morr Accuracy

Morr Accuracy lightweight RingsYou can find big, bulky, heavy rings from many sources, but what if you need svelt, light-weight rings for a weight-restricted benchrest rifle, or need light-weight offset rings or benchrest-grade .22 RF rings? Well now there’s a source for these specialized rings — Morr Accuracy.

Beautifully crafted by John Morrison, these ring-sets offer many nice features you won’t find elsewhere. Chose from various heights and 2-fastener or 4-fastener models. You can even get a combo set (one 4-screw and one 2-screw). Got a dove-tailed rimfire action? Check this out — Morr Accuracy has rimfire rings designed for factory 11mm dovetails. But these will also fit aftermarket 3/8″ rails, so if you later decide to mount a rail, you won’t need a new set of rings. That’s clever. For more information, email john [at] morraccuracy.com or call (201) 537-5374.

VOICE FILE: Click Button to hear John Morrison TALK about his Rings and Bases.

Offset Rings — Unique Design
These offset rings allow shooters to get slightly away from the stock so as not to disturb the rifle in the rest during shooting. These are a beautiful design, unique in their simplicity. They are offered in a silver-tone finish as well as the Gold Anodized finish shown below. Morrison says: “There are other offset rings using multiple components, but we decided to integrate the offset into the rings themselves and eliminate some complexity. We also took advantage of finite element analysis to eliminate extra weight in the new Edge offset rings without sacrificing strength.” Weighing just 1.5 oz. per pair, these offset rings are offered for 1″ or 30mm scope tubes and for 11mm or 3/8″ rails. Price is $75.00 per set ($78.00 with Gold Anodizing).

Morr Accuracy lightweight Rings

World’s Lightest Rings — Magnesium Air Weight Rings — Just 0.6 Ounces Per Set!
The Air Weight rings were designed specifically for the .22 Sporter Class shooter where every ounce counts. These Morr Accuracy Air Weights may well be the lightest commercially available rings you can buy. They weigh just over 0.6 oz. for a pair of two rings, including all the fasteners. John Morrison says: “We couldn’t quite make our goal of lightest ever with any of the aluminum alloys, so we went to magnesium, which is the lightest, commonly available alloy. Magnesium presents some specific machining challenges, but we felt that the added care needed was worth it for the result.” The .22 Air Weight Rings are available for both 1″ and 30mm scope tubes at $98.00 per pair.

Morr Accuracy lightweight Rings

Scope Rails and Bases — Both Davidson Style and Picatinny
Morr Accuracy offers a variety of high-grade scope rails and precision bases. Morrison tells us: “Originally we developed stainless steel Picatinny rails for the tactical market, feeling that there was a demand for rails that were stronger than aluminum offerings, but would never rust like standard steel alloy. We have offerings for several popular actions in both 0 and +20 MOA, and have the ability to do special angles relatively quickly. We also offer the advantage of the one-piece rail to target shooters in the 3/8 style. For a slight penalty in weight, the shooter has the advantage of knowing that the ring bases are in alignment and that the rings will require minimal to no lapping. The one-piece target rails are also available in 0 and +20 MOA.”

Morr Accuracy lightweight Rings

Morr Accuracy Tactical RingsMorr Accuracy Does Tactical Too
John Morrison served in the U.S. Marines Corps as a marksmanship instructor, so he understands the requirements of tactical shooting. Along with these lightweight rings and rails designed for target shooters, Morr Accuracy also offers sturdy Tactical Rings and Rails. Priced at $125.00 per set, Morr Accuracy’s Tactical Rings are made from 7075 aluminum alloy, with 17-4 stainless steel cross bolts, nuts and clamps. These are offered for 30mm tubes in 1″, 1.25″, and 1.5″ heights. This is very nice ring set for the price.

Permalink New Product, Optics 1 Comment »
August 20th, 2013

Burris Signature Rings — Calculating Actual Elevation Changes

Burris Signature Rings with polymer inserts are an excellent product. The inserts allow you to clamp your scope securely without ring marks. Moreover, using the matched offset inserts you can “pre-load” your scope to add additional elevation. This helps keep the scope centered in its elevation range while shooting at long range. Additionally, with a -20 insert set in the front and a +20 insert set in the rear, you may be able to zero at very long ranges without using an angled scope base — and that can save money. (To move your point of impact upwards, you lower the front of the scope relative to the bore axis, while raising the rear of the scope.)

Burris Signature Rings

Insert Elevation Values and Ring Spacing
People are sometimes confused when they employ the Burris inserts. The inset numbers (-10, +10, -20, +20 etc.) refer to hundredths of inch shim values, rather than to MOA. And you need the correct, matched top/bottom pair of inserts to give you the marked thousandth value. Importantly, the actual amount of elevation you get with Burris inserts will depend BOTH on the insert value AND the spacing between ring centers.

Forum member Gunamonth has explained this in our Shooters’ Forum:

Burris inserts are [marked] in thousandths of an inch, not MOA. To know how many MOA you gain you also need to know the ring spacing. For example, with a -20 thou insert set in the front and a +20 thou insert set in the rear, if the ring spacing is 6″, the elevation change will be approximately +24 MOA upwards.

Burris signature rings inserts

Here’s how we calculate that. If you have a 2 X 0.020″ “lift” over a distance of 6 inches (i.e. 0.040″ total offset at 0.5 feet) that’s equivalent to 0.080″ “lift” over 12 inches (one foot). There are 300 feet in 100 yards so we multiply 0.080″ X 300 and get 24″ for the total elevation increase at 100 yard. (Note: One inch at 100 yards isn’t exactly a MOA but it’s fairly close.)

Here’s a formula, with all units in inches:

Total Ring Offset
——————– X 3600 = Change @ 100 yards
Ring Spacing

(.020 + .020)
—————– X 3600 = 24 inches at 100 yards
6

NOTE: Using the above formula, the only time the marked insert offset will equal the actual MOA shift is when the center to center ring spacing is 3.60″. Of course, you are not required to use 3.60″ spacing, but if you have a different spacing your elevation “lift” will be more or less than the values on the inserts.

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 11 Comments »
July 3rd, 2013

From Sweden — SPUHR Unimount Scope Mount System

When a scope mounting system costs as much as a factory hunting rifle, it better be something special. At $410.00, the Spuhr Unimount Scope Mounting System is one expensive piece of kit. But if you shoot .338 Lapua Magnums or 50 BMGs, this mount may be worth the money. Made in Sweden, the aluminum Spuhr Unimount integrates “rings” into a +20.6 MOA (6 MIL) base with built-in bubble level. The matte-black-anodized Spuhr Unimount has some interesting design features. The clasping bolts are set at a 45° angle. Ring internal surfaces are grooved for enhanced “grip” (these are not threads — the surface is precision ground and smoothed so there are no sharp edges). Available in 30mm and 34mm diameter (and various heights), the Spuhr Unimount even comes with a scope indexing tool to help you align your scope correctly with the mount. Along with the standard Unimount shown in the photo, a cantilever-sytle Unimount is offered for AR-platform rifles and other guns requiring forward scope placement.

Spuhr unimount 34mm scope rings base mount tactical accurateshooter.com

SPUHR Unimount Features

  • Swedish-made machined aluminum one-piece scope mounts
  • Rings are cut at 45 degrees instead of horizontal so turrets can be easily viewed from the rear and no bolt heads interfere with scope controls
  • Rings are grooved on the interior to prevent slippage and to allow gluing
  • Built-in, easy-to-view bubble level in rear of mount
  • Available as a standard mount or cantilever
  • Included scope indexing (alignment) tool
  • Built-in 20.6 MOA (6 MIL) Elevation

Spuhr unimount 34mm scope rings base mount tactical accurateshooter.com


Permalink New Product, Optics 3 Comments »
February 24th, 2013

Innovative Borka Torque Setting Driver Belongs in Your Toolkit

Borka Torque DriverPh.D Engineer Boris Teper has invented a remarkably compact yet effective torque-setting tool that is ideal for tensioning scope ring fasteners and action screws on rifles. The Torque Settings Driver from Borka Tools is brilliant in its simplicity. The lightweight tool is basically a lever, with a series of hex slots through which a spindle is fitted. The slot position sets the effective lever arm length. How does the tool prevent over-torquing? That’s the magic of Teper’s invention. On one end of the tool is a handle with a spring-loaded ball detent. Once desired torque is reached, the handle overrides the detent, snapping forward so you can’t crank too hard (figure 2 below).

Borka Torque Driver

Borka Torque Driver

The Borka Driver is very easy to use, and despite its simplicity, it is very precise. Lab testing of the Borka driver show that the tool yields the correct torque setting within 4-6% of the true nominal torque measured with a calibration device. That means, for example, if you set the driver for 40 inch-lbs. it will torque the fastener within ± 2.5 lbs of your target setting. That’s as good as some full-size torque wrenches — pretty impressive for a tool that weighs only 4 ounces complete with spindle. And every Borka driver is calibrated to ensure accuracy before it ships.

Borka DriverBorka offers many versions of its tool, with torque ranges from 10 inch-lbs. up to 72 inch-pounds. The basic Borka driver, priced at $55.00, offers six (6) preset torque values. For $15.00 more Borka sells a driver that offers twelve (12) preset torque values. This 12-setting tool, which is not any bigger or heavier than the 6-setting model, is cleverly designed — you simply flip it over to switch from the first six torque settings to the second six. This works because the handle has variable “break” resistance depending on direction of travel. Smart.

Borka’s most popular torque tool is the 12-setting $75.00 “Military Grade” MG driver, model ATD-15×72-12FS-MG. This offers a dozen torque settings from 15- to 72-inch-pounds. We recommend the “Military Grade” model because it has torque settings laser-etched on the surface of the driver arm (see video). That way you’ll always know your torque values. The “Military Grade” model also comes with 1/4″ hex to 1/4″ square (M) and 1/4″ square (F) to 3/8″ square (M) adapters. The Military Grade Model, intended for use in the field by both DOD and LE personel, has already proved popular with “civilian” tactical shooters. You can store the tool in the supplied fabric carry pouch, or stash it (with needed bits) in your range kit.

Video Shows How to Use Borka Driver When Mounting Scope
We suspect many readers are still a bit confused as to how the Borka driver actually works. We could explain in greater detail but a video is worth a thousand words. In the YouTube video below, Frank Galli (aka “LowLight”) from Snipers’ Hide explains how to use the Borka torque driver. Frank demonstrates the $75.00 “Military Grade” Model, but all the Borka lever arm drivers share the same basic operation. Frank shows how to set the spindle position to your desired torque setting and hold to hold the unit properly. Watch carefully and you’ll see how the cylindrical handle at the end of the tool snaps forward or “breaks” when the desired torque setting is reached. Frank notes that: “there is no backlash when torquing. This is an excellent feature as it breaks clean at the desired weight.”

YouTube Preview Image

Where can you get a Borka torque setting driver? All models can be purchased directly from Borka Enterprises by emailing info@borkatools.com. You can also purchase through Manson Precision Reamers, (810) 953-0732. (Dave Manson worked with Boris Teper to get this product to market.) In addition, four models are available from Brownells: ATD-20X4006FS (Brownells item #080-000-734), ATD25X5006FS (Brownells item #080-000-735), ATD-36X7206FS (Brownells item #080-000-736), and ATD-15X7212FS (Brownells item #080-000-737).

DOWNLOAD: Intro to Torque Setting Driver | Borka Torque Driver Users’ Manual | Tool Calibration

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product 4 Comments »
December 31st, 2012

Magna-Tip Torx Driver Set from Brownells

Here’s a cool Torx driver from Brownells that belongs in every shooter’s tool box. The Magna-Tip Tactical/LE Field Torx Kit features a driver with five (5) Torx bits to fit popular scope rings and bases. A storage compartment in the handle holds the bits when not in use. A built-in magnetic socket in the handle holds each bit securely in the shank. We think this is a great new product. When Eyeballing a Torx screw, it’s hard to tell which size bit is required, and the short, L-shaped Torx wrenches that come with ring sets get lost all too easily. The $17.99 Torx Driver Kit, (Brownells Item 080-000-757), will help shooters keep all their often-used Torx bits safely in one place.

Brownells Magna tip torx driver

Permalink Gunsmithing No Comments »
October 6th, 2012

Scope-Ring Alignment Tool for Hunting Rifles

Jerry Schmidt, an avid shooter and hunter from Montana, has created a tool designed to help install single-dovetail or double-dovetail rings on hunting rifles. Jerry’s invention, the Scope-Tru Alignment Bar (patent pending), is unique. Unlike most other alignment systems, this is a single, long precision machined rod with a pointed forward end. You work on one ring at a time, first setting the front ring in the dovetail and then setting the rear ring. The process is shown by Jerry in the video below.

CLICK HERE FOR PART II of Full VIDEO, showing final version of Scope Alignment Bar.

Jerry explains: “The Scope-Tru Alignment Bar is a tool designed to install both standard ring/mount systems, and dual dovetail ring/mount systems. The tool provides significant leverage to turn the dovetail rings into their bases. By observing the pointer on the end of the bar, it is easy to align the ring with the center of the barrel, thereby assuring that the ring is installed at 90 degrees to the axis of the bore. Because the bar is a one-piece tool, it is possible to get the rings into nearly perfect alignment with each other, and near perfect alignment with the bore axis.”

scope-tru alignment bar parabola llc

scope-tru alignment bar parabola llc

scope-tru alignment bar parabola llc

scope-tru alignment bar parabola llc

The photos above show how the tool is used to install and align a set of standard hunting rings (with rear windage adjustment). You start with the front ring, rotating it 90 degrees in the dovetail, and then align with the center of the barrel. Next, slide the tool rearwards and loosely set the rear ring in place. With both rings adjusted correctly, the alignment tool will be perfectly centered and both rings with be subsequently squared at 90° to the bore axis. Schmidt says he can install conventional rings with this tool, tighten them to spec on a rifle scope, and there will be virtually no marks on the scope tube. (Of course this would require that the rings are extremely well made with no burrs or highspots on the trailing and leading edges.)

scope-true alignment bar

CLICK HERE for a short VIDEO Showing the Final Version of the Scope Alignment Bar.

The Scope-Tru Alignment Bar is CNC-machined from TGP bar stock, and will be offered in both 1 inch, and 30mm diameters. The durable bar is designed for regular, long-term use by the professional gunsmith, the home gunsmith or “gun crank”, and retail or wholesale sporting goods store staff. The 1″-diameter, all-steel Scope-Tru is can be purchased for $135.00 plus shipping and handling. The version for 30mm rings AND a new combo 1″/30mm Scope-Tru tool are both in final development, and could be available in the near future. To place an order for a 1″-diameter Scope-Tru, CLICK this LINK.

For more info, visit Parabola-LLC.com, phone (406) 586-1687, or email info [at] parabola-llc.com. CLICK HERE for a shorter video that shows the entire mounting process in a compressed time format.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product, Optics 4 Comments »
June 12th, 2011

Unitized Scope Mount System from DNZ Products

Quite a few of our hunter friends have praised the DNZ Products (aka DedNutz) “Game Reaper” scope mounting system. This is a unitized one-piece base AND ring system. Because the rings are integral with the scope base, there’s no potential misalignment between the front and rear base. You also eliminate the need to keep separate rings torqued securely on an action-top rail. The rigid DNZ design has no moveable parts between the firearm and the scope.

Made of milled, anodized aluminum, the one-piece DNZ scope mounting system is one-third the weight of most other one-piece base and ring mounts and it can’t rust. For rifles with a Weaver or Picatinny-style base, we still advocate the use of Burris Signature Zee rings. However, if you are looking for a sturdy, low-profile set-up that attaches directly to the receiver, the DNZ system fits the bill. It would be a good choice for a walk-around varminter or a deer rifle. Because DNZ “Game Reaper” front and rear rings are precision CNC-machined, DNZ claims that it’s not necessary to lap the rings. We still recommend you inspect the ring edges and lightly debur as necessary. If you choose to lap the rings, do it gently as the inside should be very concentric already and you don’t want to grind through the anodizing.

One DNZ scope mount user, writing on huntingnet.com, comments: “I bought a pair of DedNutz for a Browning A-Bolt and a pair of Talley Lightweights for the same gun. I have to tell you that I think these DedNutz rings are some of the most rugged rings I have seen and yet are very lightweight. The [DedNutz] have a superior finish to the Talley lightweights … and they are better machined. I put a lapping bar on both and the Talleys needed it but not the DNs.” DedNutz scope mounts are are offered in 1″ and 30mm sizes, in matte silver, matte black, or Realtree Camo finishes.

DNZ scope mounts start at about $54.00 and can be purchased from MidwayUSA.com, or direct from DNZProducts.com. (You’ll probably find MidwayUSA’s prices to be considerably lower.)

Permalink - Videos, Optics 2 Comments »
February 7th, 2011

Exclusive Package Deals on Leupold Mark 4 Scopes and Rings

Leupold’s Mark 4 riflescopes are highly respected for their quality of glass, user-friendly tactile turrets, and durability backed up by Leupold’s lifetime warranty. These scopes are favored by police and military shooters. Because of their popularity, Mark 4 scopes are in high demand and retailers maintain pretty high prices. We’ve worked with one of our sponsors to create a very attractive special discount on Mark 4 6.5-20x50mm LR/T M1 scopes, just for our readers.

Leupold 6.5-20x50mm Mark 4 with Leupold Tactical Rings for just $1375.99
Our sponsor DogHouse Outdoors has created a special package with a Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 6.5-20x50mm scope, plus Leupold tactical 30mm rings at a super-low price. These rings have an MSRP of $224.00. Through this special offer for AccurateShooter.com readers, you can get the Mark 4 scope, plus genuine Leupold Mark 4 30mm rings (either aluminum or steel), for just $1375.99. And shipping is FREE! Go ahead and comparison shop and you’ll see what a good value this is.

Leupold Mark 4 Scope Sale

Choose either a mildot reticle or Leupold’s TMR® (Tactical Milling Reticle). Most tactical shooters seem to prefer the TMR, which has fine hash marks. However, in low light, some shooters say the older Mildot Reticle is easier to see.

This is a limited-time offer. DogHouse Outdoors plans to offer this $1375.99 pricing for the next three weeks, through the end of February, 2011. If you have been looking for a high-quality Leupold tactical scope, you should definitely check out this offer.

Leupold Mark 4 Scope Sale

CLICK HERE for Leupold 6.5-20x50mm LR/T with Rings Package

First Focal Plane, Mil-Mil Version Also Offered
Because most shooters actually are better served with a second focal plane reticle, and the vast majority of American shooters prefer MOA adjustments, the Mark 4 $1375.99 LR/T package scopes come with 1/4-MOA windage and elevation clicks with a second focal plane reticle. However, for those shooters who need a First Focal Plane (FFP) Reticle (for ranging at all magnifications), and mil-based clicks, DogHouse Outdoors is also offering a Mark 4, ER/T M5 6.5-20x50mm package. This features a FFP reticle, and turrets with 1/10 milrad clicks. The price, including Leupold Mark IV 30mm rings, is $1,775.99. That’s 24% off the normal list price (with the $224 rings). Again, this offer is limited in time. Get your orders in before 2/28/2011.

Leupold FFP ER/T scope sale

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics 1 Comment »
October 9th, 2010

Ivey Externally-Adjusting Scope Mounts for Ultra-Long Range Shooting

Stephen Ivey has engineered a set of gimbaled scope rings allowing up to 150 Minutes of Angle (MOA) of elevation. These rings have precision hinge pins front and rear allowing the entire scope to be tilted by a micrometer-controlled cam in the rear. This allows the scope to tilt upwards (in the rear) with the front ring as the axis while both rings remain parallel to prevent scope binding. The rear ring tilts to match the front while a cam pushes it up. Ivey also makes tilting +150 MOA Picatinny riser rails.

Stephen Ivey Rings

Ivey offers two scope-mounting products. First is the RT-150 Ring set (above). This has two, polished 30mm or 34mm 6061-T6 aluminum rings with bases to fit a Picatinny profile or mil-spec 1913 rail with standard 5mm cross slots at 10mm spacing. (Weaver installation requires extra cross-slots to be cut.) Total elevation is +150 MOA. The micrometer adjuster is graduated in true 1 MOA intervals, with 5 MOA of elevation change per rotation. This product costs $525.00 and requires at least 5-1/2″ length mounting base.

The newest product is the MSRR-150MOA Riser Rail, a pivoting 5.75″-long Picatinny-style rail that accepts Weaver-style clamping scope rings. This Adjusts from Zero to +150 MOA and raises the scope 1.45″ from the top of the action. The extra height provides clearance for large objectives when the unit is tilted for a full +150 MOA elevation. Cross slots are 5mm wide at 10mm (.394″) spacing. The $525.00 riser rail is made of 6061 T6 Aluminum hard-anodized black. Clamps are heat-treated steel. The micrometer thimble is marked for 1 MOA gradations, and provides 20 MOA per revolution.

Stephen Ivey Rings

The Ivey products are expensive, to be sure, but they are beautifully machined, and they offer unique capabilities for ultra-long-range shooters. With the +150 MOA units you have enough elevation to shoot at 2000+ yards! We like the idea of using the micrometer to dial within 1 MOA and then just using the scope turrets for fine-tuning. To learn more, visit the Ivey Shooting website, or call Stephen Ivey at (615) 896-9366, or email him at sales [at] iveyshooting.com .

Permalink New Product, Optics 7 Comments »
June 29th, 2010

New Generation Tactical Rings Offer Innovative Clamping Designs

TacticalRifle.net Chimera Titanium RingsWe recently had a chance to test the new Chimera Titanium Rings from TacticalRifles.net. The Chimera Rings are “ultra-premium” items designed to compete with the very best tactical rings on the market. As you’d expect, they’re expensive. The 30mm Chimera Rings retail for $224.00 per matched set, including Torx driver. Though these fat boys are beefy in size, offering 7.5 square inches of clamping area per set (way more than most rings), they are very light weight. A medium-height, 30mm Chimera ring weighs just 84 grams (2.96 ounces).

The Chimera rings are precision-machined to exacting tolerances. We had our Mark, our in-house machinist, check them out and he was very impressed: “These rings exhibit beautiful fit and finish and are extremely tough. The fit of the ring bases on a Picatinny rail is perfect. I liked the radius shapes given to most of the surfaces. The front and back faces of each ring are standard flat planes, and the ring caps have a flat disc in their centers, but the remainder of the cap and the sides of the bodies are gently curved. This design requires sophisticated machining processes to pull off, but it looks good. The larger-than-standard heads on the cap hardware, 8-32 X #25 Torx, are another departure that looks well thought out. One danger this increased head size would present if the fasteners were threading into typical 6061 aluminum bodies would be the potential to over-torque and strip the threads with the larger #25 Torx wrench. However, since the titanium bodies have approximately double the tensile strength of 6061 aluminum this is not a problem.”

TacticalRifle.net Chimera Titanium RingsAssymetrical Tensioning by Design
The Chimera Titanium Rings employ an assymetrical clamping design. This should allow the rings to provide stronger clamping force with less chance of ring distortion. Here’s how they work. After placing the scope in the lower halves of the rings, you screw down the top halves on one side only (opposite the bolt head that clamps to the Picatinny rail). After the three Torx screws are tightened fully on one side, so that the top Ring half butts firmly on the bottom half, there will still be a small gap on the opposite side of the ring (see photo). Don’t worry — that is by design. Final torque is applied to the side with the gap. With the final tensioning done on one side only, the scope is less prone to twist. Furthermore, the manufacturer claims this design puts less stress on the scope tube during mounting.

TacticalRifle.net Chimera Titanium Rings

We did fit the Chimera rings to a Leupold LRT 8-25x50mm scope with 30mm tube. Fit was excellent with no high or low points. With the rings installed as instructed, with one side first clamped flush and the opposite side then torqued to spec, the scope was very secure. On removal the Chimera rings left no visible marks on the tube. I can’t say that it would be a waste of time to lap these rings, but on our Leupold scope the fit was perfect, and the “grip” was uniform over the entire clamping surface.

TacticalRifle.net Chimera Titanium Rings

Tactical Precision System TSR™ Rings
TSR™ rings made by Tactical Precision Systems (TPS) have a clamping design very similar to the Chimera Titanium Rings. After placing the scope in the TSR ring set, you clamp down one side (of the ring tops) until metal meets metal. This then leaves a gap of 0.020″ on the other side. The TSR Picatinny 30mm 7075 Aluminum Medium Rings cost $82 in aluminum or $94.00 in alloy steel. The TSR rings are narrower than the Chimeras, and have two Torx bolts per side, rather than the three on the Chimeras.

TSR Rings Tactical Precision

M3 Hinged Scope Rings from American Rifle Company
An even more radical clamping system is employed by the new, patent-pending M3 Scope Rings from The American Rifle Company. The top section of the M3 rings is attached with a hinge on one side. After placing the scope in the bottom section of the M3 rings, you swing the upper ring half into place over the scope tube. Then the clamping is done with two inverted (head-down) machine screws that actually pull the hinged ring section downwards. This is designed to put less stress on the scope than conventional rings. The axis of the screws is tangential to the scope tube. Sophisticated finite element analysis (FEA) was used to develop the “over the top”, tangential-clamping ring design. According to the manufacturer, this design evenly distributes clamping forces over the tube and “eliminates the damaging effects of [scope] bending”. The manufacturer claims that, with its rings, “no significant stress concentrations are present on the scope tube”. American Rifle Co. backs up these claims with a series of 3D stress analyses published on its website.

TSR Rings Tactical Precision

Credit The Firearm Blog for reporting on the M3 ring design.
Disclosure: TacticalRifles.net loaned a pair of Chimera Titanium Rings for testing and evaluation.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics 2 Comments »
May 15th, 2010

NEW Professional Drill Jig for Mounting Optics Bases and Rails

Brownells has added a new Professional Drill Jig to its collection of gunsmithing tools. The $194.99 jig, made by B Square, aligns hole-spacing for popular scope bases on most popular military bolt action receivers. According to Brownells, this jig: “aligns mount hole-spacing for Weaver, Redfield and Buehler bases on all Springfields, U.S. Enfields (not SMLE), Japs, Mausers, Remington 30s and similar bolt actions.” Brownells says this unit saves time and eliminates tedious measuring as it “automatically locates holes in reference to recoil shoulder, and aligns and spaces holes vertically on the centerline of the receiver.”

Brownells Scope rail jig

Brownells’ Drill Jig features all-metal construction. The jig bars, base block and top piece are gold-anodized aluminum while the bore arbor and “V” bushings are blued steel. For the $194.99 price, the Pro Drill Jig includes two bars (Mauser and Spgfld/Enf/Jap,), complete mounting assembly, and an interchangeable No. 31 drill bushing.

Editor’s Comment: In the past, we haven’t been particularly impressed with B Square consumer products, particularly B Square rails and rings, but with CNC machining these days, the Professional Jig should be a quality tool. Remember that Brownells offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on everything it sells: “If you aren’t completely, 100% satisfied with any purchase you receive from Brownells, for any reason, at any time, return it for a full refund or exchange. No hassle, no problem.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
January 15th, 2010

New 2.6 oz. Titanium Rings from TacticalRifles.Net

Florida-based Tactical Rifles has just released its new “Chimera” series of 30mm Titanium Tactical Rings. Precision machined from advanced billet alloys and titanium, these sturdy, wide-body rings offer 50% increased surface area, with no fewer than twelve (12) 8-32 torx screws per set.

Though the Titanium Chimera rings weigh just 2.6 ounces each, they are rugged and durable, and provide a secure mount for even the heaviest tactical riflescope. Three different exterior colors are offered: Desert Tan, Matte Black, and Olive Drab. The Black finish is hard anodized, while the tan and olive colors are a moly epoxy finish. (NOTE: Prototype rings are shown in the photos; the interior section of production rings will be anodized matte black.)

Each ring set is serial numbered as a matched pair, and are available for pre-orders now. Suggested retail price is $229.00 per set, your color choice. For more information, visit TacticalRifles.net or call 1-877-811-GUNS (811-4867).

Permalink New Product, Optics No Comments »
December 31st, 2009

Kokopelli Ring Lapping Tool and Scope Alignment Bars

If you use mass-production ring sets, other than Burris Signature Rings or SAKO Optilock Rings (which both feature polymer inserts), you can benefit from lapping your scope rings. Lapping your rings, when done properly, with the right tools, can improve the fit of the rings, reducing bending forces and stress on the scope. Properly-lapped rings are also less likely to leave prominent marks on your scope tubes.

Forum member Boyd Allen is a strong advocate of ring lapping for factory-produced ring sets. He’s tried various lapping tools and he believes that the Kokopelli system is one of the best available. Custom crafted in Kalispell, Montana by John Werre, the Kokopelli lapping system combines a specially-machined lapping rod with patented flat-ended scope alignment bars.

Kokopelli Lapping Tool
John Werre, Kokopelli’s owner, explains why his lapping tool works better than most others: “No one was making a lapping bar that would lap anything more than the bottom half of the rings and they were made of rolled stock and only a very short stroke was possible, rapidly wearing out the bar due to the limited area of use. I did something entirely different. I designed the bar to be used with the top halves of the rings in place and utilizing a long stroke thereby distributing the wear over the entire 12″ length of the bar. Why just do half a job?”

Kokopelli Ring Lapping Tool

John adds: “Another problem was that the lapping compound would readily scrape off the bar, slide around and wear the bar out as fast as the rings. I added the spiral groove to stop the scraping off of the compound and later changed to a much softer steel and put a very rough, but carefully designed, finish to accept the lapping compound, actually allowing the grit to be driven into the surface of the bar. The nasty, scruffy rough finish is full of grooves and valleys of a depth designed to ‘catch’ the very sharp lapping compound, imbedding it into the bar. You then will wear out what you’re trying to lap rather than wear out the bar at the same time. The spiral grooves also cannot catch on the edge of the scope rings as can one which has annular grooves cut perpendicular to the axis of the bar in separate rings. I have very good reasons for every unique feature of my tools. Every aspect has a valid design behind it.”

Kokopelli Scope Alignment Bars
Kokopelli’s patented scope alignment bars have flat ends and work differently than alignment bars which use pointed tips. Kokopelli came up with a flat-ended design because alignment bars with pointed tips can yield a “false positive”, meaning the points can touch when the scope rings are out of alignment. To demonstrate, try this simple experiment. Take two ordinary pencils. With one pencil in each hand, hold them parallel with the pointed (lead) tips touching. Now simply move the outboard end of each pencil, while keeping the tips touching. You can see instantly that the tips can touch even if the pencils are way out of alignment. The same thing can be true of scope alignment bars.

With the Kokopelli scope alignment bars, each bar is an exact cylindrical projection of the interior of each ring. When you bring the bars together, if they don’t mate perfectly, i.e. if there is any gap between the flat ends when the bars are touching, then you know you have an alignment problem. Kokopelli claims that misalignments as small as .002″ can be detected. John Werre explains: “The bars actually are a three-dimensional projection of each ring ‘hole’. You’re looking at a solid representation of the hole through the ring. Put one bar in each ring and you can then compare the axial alignment of the ‘ring holes’ to each other. If the ends match and are flat together you have reconstructed the bars into one [cylinder] and the alignment is PERFECT.” Below, in Figure 1, you can see rings that are out of alignment. In Figure 2 you can see rings that are properly aligned. Interestingly, the misalignment illustrated in Figure 1 did NOT show up with pointed ring alignment bars. This amount of misalignment can create up to 3/16″ of scope tube bending (depending on ring spacing).

Kokopelli Scope Alignment Tool

Kokopelli Scope alignment Tool

The function of the Kokopelli lapping tool and alignment bars are described in greater detail on the Kokopelli website. The lapping tool and alignment bars are sold separately, or as part of Kokopelli’s complete Accurizing Kit shown below. The kit, which combines Scope Alignment Bars, Lapping Bar, pointer rod, and lapping compound in a fitted box, costs $84.50 for 1″ rings, or $91.00 for 30mm rings. For more info, contact John Werre at Kokopelli Products, 3820 Foothill Rd., Kalispell, MT 59901; phone (406) 755-3220. NOTE: Kokopelli has maintained the same prices since 2003. However, due to increased costs of materials, John Werre plans to raise his prices by mid-January, 2010. You can get current pricing by ordering soon.

Kokopelli Accurizing Kit

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Optics 2 Comments »