June 8th, 2017

Ruger Mark IV Rimfire Pistol Recall

Ruger Mark 4 IV rimfire pistol handgun 22 LR semi-auto recall notice Safety

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (RUGER) is recalling Mark IV pistols (including 22/45 models) manufactured prior to June 1, 2017. The reason for the recall is the potential of unintentional discharges if the safety is not used properly. Mark IV owners should visit Ruger.com/MarkIVRecall to determine if their pistol is subject to the recall, which affects a “small percentage of Mark IV pistols”. Ruger strongly recommends that consumers not use affected Mark IV pistols until a safety retrofit has been installed.

Ruger Mark IV Recall Information Video:

Here is Ruger’s official Recall Announcement (emphasis added):

Ruger recently discovered that the pistols have the potential to discharge unintentionally if the safety is not utilized correctly. In particular, if the trigger is pulled while the safety lever is midway between the “safe” and “fire” positions (that is, the safety is not fully engaged or fully disengaged), the pistol may not fire when the trigger is pulled. However, if the trigger is released and the safety lever is then moved from the mid position to the “fire” position, the pistol may fire at that time.

Although only a small percentage of Mark IV pistols appear to be affected and the Company is not aware of any injuries, Ruger is firmly committed to safety and would like to retrofit all potentially affected pistols with an updated safety mechanism.”

As a responsible manufacturer, Ruger wants to make its customers aware of this FREE safety upgrade. All Mark IV pistols with serial numbers beginning with “401” (2017 models) or “WBR” (2016 models) are subject to the recall.

Ruger Mark 4 IV rimfire pistol handgun 22 LR semi-auto recall notice Safety

Mark IV owners should visit the Ruger Mark IV Recall website… to look up the serial number of their Mark IV and verify if it is subject to the recall, sign up for the recall, and obtain additional information.

(more…)

Permalink Handguns, News 2 Comments »
May 7th, 2017

Your Worst Nightmare: Catastrophic .338 Lapua Magnum Kaboom

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction
Click to zoom image

We first ran this story a couple years back. We’re republishing it today as a reminder to our readers that safety should be their paramount concern at the range. Avoid distractions and always check your barrel for obstructions before you chamber a round or pull the trigger. A moment of inattention can result in a catastrophic kaboom …

Discharging a .338 Lapua Magnum round with a cleaning rod in the barrel — that’s a recipe for disaster. What happens when a fired .338 caliber bullet and a cleaning rod try to occupy the same place at the same time? Well you get a catastrophic kaboom, with metal pieces flying all over the place, and a shooter very lucky to escape without serious injury. This incident occurred recently in Manatee, Florida, as reported by Sniper’s Hide member Queequeg. We thank SnipersHide.com for granting permission to publish these revealing images in the Daily Bulletin. CLICK HERE for more Kaboom info on the ‘Hide.

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

This story should serve as a chilling reminder to follow proper safety practices whenever you are at the range. Always check to make sure there is no obstruction in the bore BEFORE loading a live round.

.338 Lapua Magnum + Cleaning Rod + Inattention = Kaboom!

Kaboom at Manatee!
Sniper’s Hide member Queequeg recently published shocking photos of a catastrophic kaboom involving a .338 Lapua Magnum (Savage action). The action was blown off the rifle, shrapnel went through the roof, and the barrel split at the tenon before taking an excursion downrange. The action did crack in the front but the lugs remained engaged so the bolt did not slam to the rear (luckily for the shooter).

Here’s the report: “This happened [January 20, 2014] at the Manatee Gun and Archery Club. Al, Ren and myself were there with a couple other folks. Ren was at bench 12, I was at 13. The fellow at 11 was running a Savage .338 Lapua. He had a very bad day! He damn sure could have killed himself and quite likely Ren as well.”

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Queeqeg added: “After the boom, I heard Ren ask ‘Are you alright’ and then turned to look in time to see the fellow reacting in total shock — literally stunned. Ren and I went over to him and could not see any major injuries. Ren was uninjured as well but had a lot of fiberglass splinters on him. The barrel nut is what I presume punched the two holes in the roof. The shooter is a regular there[.] He had been having a problem with sticky cases though he said he was certain the loads were mild. That’s why he was content to knock the sticky ones out with the rod. He simply forgot to remove the rod after knocking out the last stuck case. You can see what happened next.”

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

To learn more about this incident, go to the original Snipers Hide Forum Thread. There you’ll find more details and over four pages of related discussions.

The Important Lesson Here
What did the .338 LM shooter do wrong here? You will say — “Well that’s obvious, he left a cleaning rod in the barrel and then shot a round.” Yes, that was a potentially fatal error. But that was his second mistake — one that occurred only because he made a more fundamental judgment error first.

The FIRST mistake was not acknowledging the problem with his ammo. Had he heeded the warning signs, he would still have a rifle (and an unsoiled pair of trousers). When he first observed that he was having problems with extracting cases, a warning light should have gone off in his head. Presuming his extractor was not broken (and that the chamber was cut properly) he should have been able to extract his brass if he was running safe loads. The lesson here we all need to learn is that if you observe a serious ammo-related issue, it is time to stop shooting. Don’t try to invent work-arounds just to extend your range session, when there are clear signs that something is wrong, very wrong.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
April 10th, 2017

Long-Term Powder Storage — What You Need to Know

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

Ever wondered about the stability of the propellants in your reloading room? There are some important things you should know about powder storage, to ensure consistent powder performance and safety. On its website, Western Powders (vendors of Accurate, Norma, and Ramshot powders) published an informative Q & A series entitled Dear Labby: Questions for our Ballistics Lab. Here are some excerpts that pertain to powder storage and shelf life. Worried that your powder may be too old? Western’s experts explain how to check your propellants for warning signs.

Proper Powder Storage

Q: I live in southern Arizona where it is very hot. I am told powders will become unstable if stored in an area not air-conditioned. My wife says no powder or primers in the house. Can powder be stored in a refrigerator? What about using a fireproof safe? I would appreciate your ideas. — M.C.

Lab Answer: SAAMI guidelines are pretty clear on issues of storage. They recommend storing smokeless powder in containers that will not allow pressure to build if the powder is ignited — ruling out gun safes and refrigerators.

CLICK HERE to Read SAAMI Guidelines for Powder Storage (PDF)

In their original containers smokeless powder’s lifespan is quite long, even in your hot, arid climate, typically longer than the average handloader would need to store them. Stored safely in a garage or outbuilding, your powder should last years. If you see the powder developing a reddish tint, or giving off a foul odor, it is time to discard it.

Clumps in Powder Container

Q: I ordered some of your Accurate 1680 powder back about in December. I just now opened it … and it is full of clumps. My knowledge tells me that means moisture. Am I wrong? I just now broke the seal and it has been stored in a ammo can with desiccant packs around it and a dehumidifier running 14-16 hours a day. I can’t imagine this being my fault, if this does indicate moisture. I don’t know if the pink part on the label is suppose to be red or not, but it is definitely pink, so if it was red I am wondering if I was shipped an old container? I hope that this isn’t bad and I am stuck with it…

Lab Answer: All powder contains a certain amount of moisture. When the powder is stored or during shipping, it can go through temperature cycles. During the cycling, the moisture can be pulled to the surface and cause clumping. Clumping can also be caused by static electricity if too dry or the powder has limited graphite content. You can break up the clumps before metering and they shouldn’t be a problem. This will not affect the powder performance, so your product is fine. Accurate 1680 labels are designed in Pink. As a side note, specification for testing powder is at 70° F and 60% humidity.

Shelf Life and Packaging Dates

Q: Does powder ever get to old to use and what identifying marks does your company put on the canister for when it is made, You have helped me out a while ago when I asked about keeping my cowboy shooting under 950 fps and it works great less stress on the hand and the recoil is very minimum. — R.B.

Lab Answer: On one pound bottles, the number is on the corner in a silver box. If the powder was poured today, it would read 012815 followed by a lot number. The whole number would look something like 012815749. Eight pound bottles have a sticker on the bottom with an obvious date code. The lot number appears above the date.

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

SUMMARY: Powder can have a very long shelf life. You need to watch for changes in smell and color. A reddish tinge, almost like rust on the powder, is a bad sign, as is a foul odor, not to be confused with a normal chemical smell. Either of these signs indicate it is time to dispose of your powder by means other than shooting.

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 3 Comments »
April 9th, 2017

Tech Tip: Always Check Headspace with New Barrels

A friend of ours recently took delivery of a new barrel which was chambered by a smith who had done the original build on the rifle, but who had not headspaced the barrel on the action itself this time. The smith headspaced based on his old records. Our friend happily screwed on his nice, new barrel and headed to the range. After the first few rounds, with known, safe loads, he was seeing deep craters on his primers, and then he even pierced a few primers with loads that should never have done that. Interestingly, the brass was not showing any of the other pressure signs. This was with bullets seated .015″ out of the rifling.

We were thinking maybe too much firing pin extrusion or maybe he got a hot lot of powder. Then I asked him to email me dimensions off his fired cases compared to new, Lapua brass. He emailed me that his shoulder moved 0.0105″ forward. I sent an email back saying, “hey, that must be a typo, you meant 0.0015″ right — so your shoulder moved one and a half thousandths correct?” The answer was “No, the shoulder moved over TEN thousandths forward”. Ahah. This explained some of the cratering problem in his brass. His cases were able to bounce forward enough in the chamber so that the primer material was smearing over the firing pin. And now he has brass that is “semi-improved”.

go no-go field headspace gauges

The point of the story is always check your headspace when you receive a “pre-fit” barrel, even from the smith who built the rifle. Purchase Go/No Go gauges for all your calibers. Headspace is not just an accuracy issue, it can be a safety issue. Pierced primers are bad news. The debris from the primer cup can blow into the firing pin hole or ejector recess causing a myriad of problems.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
February 5th, 2017

AR-15 Kaboom — “The Worst … I Have Ever Seen”

AR15 AR-15 Kaboom explosion pistol powder accident catastrophic destroyed
AR15 Kaboom big photo

This shocking photo of destroyed AR-15 bits and pieces was posted on Facebook by William Walter, a firearms instructor. William said this was “The worst AR-15 blow-up I have ever seen. Has anyone else seen one this bad?” It is indeed catastrophic. Seeing the above image, our friend Grant Ubl wrote: “that is most definitely THE most FUBAR’d AR15 that I have ever seen”.

Luckily the shooter sustained only minor injuries — nothing worse than a broken finger tip. But his AR-15 is certainly toast. The lower was polymer. Note the past tense. According to Walter: “It was a polymer lower and polymer magazine. Pieces of both were distributed up to 25 feet from the bench he was firing from.”

The cause of the Kaboom is somewhat mysterious. The Kaboom occurred on the 4th round fired — the first three went OK, and there is NO evidence of a squib load (i.e. no bulge in barrel). This was definitely NOT a .300 BLK round in a .223 Rem Chamber. William Walter suspects that pistol powder may be involved, but that has not been confirmed.

First thing I suspected was bore obstruction, but there wasn’t any sign of it. The case head literally atomized…you can see the brass residue on the parts. The bolt was split in two also. This was number four fired during load testing. The previous three were fine…no high pressure signs on the primer. — William Walter

One Facebook poster noted: “We had one similar here in PA about 14 years ago. The guy used Winchester 231 instead of Winchester 748 and ended up with a pile of parts very similar looking. The rifle went Kaboom on his first sighter in offhand and no one was injured surprisingly. The carrier looked like someone cut it down the middle with a torch very similarly to this picture. It also cut the bottom of the carrier and all three pieces look like a peeled banana.”

Walter stated that here: “[The shooter] had fired four rounds of the same load. He was shooting Win 748…24 grains with a 77 Sierra. I will reserve my theory until after we discuss as to not steer the conversation.

On reading that, Dennis Santiago posted: “Did you mean WW 748? That’s on the fast side powder for a .223 meant for lighter bullets. 24 grains with a long bullet like a Sierra 77 would be way too much.”

Walter noted that there was a possibility of some pistol powder getting into the catridge that detonated: “[The shooter] said he does load pistol and this was first time loading rifle. He said he used his 650 powder measure, but also a funnel and trickler.” Considering that, one poster suggested that maybe pistol powder was still left in the bottom of the powder measure.

It will be interesting to determine what exactly happened here. The remaining rounds from the same loading session will be pulled down and analyzed. A discussion of this incident appears on the Precision Shooting Journal Facebook Page.

Question to our readers: What do you think was the probable cause of this catastrophic Kaboom?

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 9 Comments »
October 12th, 2016

Follow These Safety Fundamentals When Hand-Loading Ammo

seven reloading safety tips powder primers brownells manual

You can never be too safe when hand-loading your own ammunition. This helpful Brownells video outlines the Seven Fundamental Reloading Safety Tips. This is important information for novice hand-loaders and a good refresher for those with reloading experience!

Summary of the Seven Safety Tips:

1. Store your reloading supplies in a safe and dry location, away from children and away from any possible source of ignition. This includes keeping your powder and primers separate.

2. Get and use respected reloading manuals, especially for new cartridges. Start low and work up slowly while watching for warning signs of pressure and/or case fatigue.

3. Locate your reloading activity where you will not be distracted. If you get interrupted, stop. (Distractions will eventually lead to mistakes.)

4. Do NOT mix powders. Keep your powders clearly marked and dated. You can use masking tape to write the date on the container.

5. If you load the same cartridge type for different firearms, make sure your ammo headspaces properly in each gun.

6. Check cases frequently. Look for split necks, case head separation or other signs of fatigue and excessive pressure.

7. If reloading military brass, be aware that case capacity is usually reduced, and initial loads should be at least 10-15% lower than published data.


Here are some other tips that will help your avoid making costly mistakes (such as using the wrong powder, or undercharging a case):

  • Powder Type — Always double-check the label on your powder containers. After placing powder in the powder measure, put a piece of tape on the measure with the powder type written on it. Some guys write the powder type on a card and place that right in the hopper.
  • Scale Drift — Electronic balances can drift. If you are using a digital powder scale, calibrate the scale with a test weight every 50 rounds or so.
  • Case Fill — If you throw more than one charge at a time, look INSIDE every case before seating a bullet. Squib charges can be dangerous if you don’t notice them before firing the next round.
  • Progressive Presses — When using a progressive press, consider using an RCBS Lock-Out Die. This will detect a low charge and stop the machine. These dies will work with RCBS, Hornady, and Dillon progressives.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
August 12th, 2016

NSSF Presents Handgun 101 with Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng NSSF Handgun SafetyDo you have a friend or family member who is just getting started in handgunning? The NSSF has created five Handgun 101 videos that cover the basics of handgun shooting, starting with key principles of firearms safety. Hosted by Top Shot Season 4 Champion Chris Cheng, these videos explain the important fundamentals of pistol shooting. If you will be taking a youngster (or novice adult) to the range for the first time, it would be a good idea to have him or her watch one or both of these videos. CLICK HERE to view all Handgun 101 videos.

Handgun 101: Rules for Safe Firearm Handling

Handgun 101: Single Action vs. Double Action Explained

See MORE Handgun 101 videos.

Permalink Handguns, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
August 11th, 2016

Danger of Defective Primers — Primer Pocket Blow-Through

Primer Blown Gas defect winchester casehead

Think you can “get by” without protective eyewear? This story provides yet another example of why you should wear safety glasses every time you go shooting. You only have one set of eyes — they are much too precious to risk.”

Bad Primer Blasts Gas Through Side of Casehead
Our friend Grant Guess recently had a “close encounter” with a bad primer. An apparently defective primer caused part of the casehead on one of his rounds to blow out. This, in turn, allowed high pressure gas to vent through the damaged primer pocket. Take a good look, boys and girls. This is yet another very good reason to wear safety glasses. The cartridge was a 6.5-06, hand-loaded in necked-down Winchester-headstamp .270 Win brass. Grant reports:

“I had a blow-through between the primer and the primer pocket today. The action was really smoking and I got a face full of gas. This was a reasonably light charge. Thank God for safety glasses.

I should also mention that it appears there is a 3/64 hole that is halfway between the primer and the primer pocket. Like it burned a small jet hole through both of them.”

Could this happen to you? It just might. On seeing this damaged case, one of Grant’s Facebook friends, Chris D., observed: “Search the internet, you will see a lot of these pin hole ‘in the corner’ failures. Obviously Winchester has some issues with the LR primers.”

Careful Examination Reveals Apparent Primer Defect
After this incident, Grant examined the damaged case: “I pinned the flash hole and it is not over-sized or under-sized. The primer clearly has an area where it had a defect. At [50,000 CUP], it doesn’t take much of a defect to cause issues. There was a slight bit of pucker-factor on the next shot….”

Primer Blown Gas defect winchester casehead

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
May 15th, 2016

Free eBook for CCW Holders from Beretta

Beretta CCW Ten Tips Concealed Carry Guide Instruction book

Do you have a concealed carry permit, or do you plan to carry a concealed handgun in the future? Then you can benefit from Beretta’s FREE 15-page e-book, Ten Essential Tips for CCW Holders. This eBook, in handy PDF format, helps gun owners select an appropriate handgun (and holster), understand legal obligations and responsibilities, and train effectively with the firearm. This short eBook offers many useful tips to consider, in particular for gunowners who are contemplating the pros and cons of everyday carry for themselves.

Click here to download 10 Essential Tips for CCW Holders as a PDF

As the Beretta CCW booklet says, “Carrying a concealed handgun requires a certain amount of confidence. You need to be confident in your knowledge of laws and regulations. You have to have confidence in your accuracy, and you need to trust that you can carry a gun effectively, securely and comfortably. If a gun is a burden for you to carry, you probably won’t.”

Surprising Facts About Actual Defensive Handgun Use
You may be surprised to learn when and how handguns are actually used for self-defense. Most defensive uses are at very short range and the incident only lasts a matter of seconds. You need to be prepared, and train to be proficient drawing and aiming your weapon. And remember, shooting is a last resort, when a safe retreat is not available.

55% of gunfights take place in 0-5 feet.
20% of gunfights take place in 5-10 feet.
20% of gunfights take place in 10-21 feet.
95% of gunfights take place in 0-21 feet. (Source: FBI)
The average man can cover 21 feet of ground in 1.5 seconds.
The average gunfight is over in 3-5 seconds.
3 to 4 shots are usually fired.
Most gunfights take place in low-light conditions.
On average, one shot in four strikes someone.

Here are two (2) sample pages from Beretta’s CCW eBook.

Beretta CCW Ten Tips Concealed Carry Guide Instruction book

Beretta CCW Ten Tips Concealed Carry Guide Instruction book

Permalink - Articles, Handguns No Comments »
May 2nd, 2016

Pistol Powder in a Rifle Cartridge — The Handloader’s Nightmare

This is a grim tale. A man almost lost the use of his right hand, and did suffer terrible injuries to his fingers. All because he picked the wrong bottle of powder off the shelf.

Varget Kaboom TiteGroup Hand injury reloading fingers accident

Similar Labels, Disasterous Consequences
The shooter, Denny K., was assembling some rounds for his brand new 7mm-08 Savage hunting rifle. He thought he was loading with Hodgdon Varget. Instead he had filled his powder measure with Hodgdon TiteGroup, a fast-burning pistol powder. The labels are similar, so the mistake is understandable. But the results were devastating. Here’s what 41 grains of TiteGroup can do in a 7mm-08:

Varget Kaboom TiteGroup Hand injury reloading fingers accident

Posting on the Firing Line, in a thread entitled “Lucky to Be Alive”, Denny writes:

“This is the hardest post to post. I know if I had read it a week ago my comment would have been: ‘You have no business reloading’. I had everything perfect, except pouring the wrong powder in the powder measure. I type this slowly with my left hand, embarrassed but … possibly saving someone else a tragedy or, like me, a long drive to the Emergency Room and surgery to save my finger.”

CLICK HERE for bigger, more graphic photo of injury.
Varget Kaboom TiteGroup Hand injury reloading fingers accident

The Still-Sealed Bottle of Varget
Denny did not initially comprehend exactly why the kaboom happened. He thought maybe his new Savage rifle was at fault. Then, on his return home, he discovered something…

Denny wrote: “The seven-hour period it took to go to ER, transport to Trauma Center and surgery made me think it was a Savage rifle issue. Brand new rifle, new brass, triple-checked loading data. The next day I was humbled when I realized the Varget powder was still sealed.

I knew what powder to use. I thought [Varget] was what I used. Not until the following day did I realize the Varget was still sealed.”

At that point, Denny realized what caused the accident — “operator error”. He knew he had to warn others about using the wrong powder: “I knew I needed to share my mistake, even though it is embarrassing, just to remind people. I’ve been reloading for 30 years…”

Editor’s Comment: Denny was not a novice reloader. His experience demonstrates that this kind of mistake can be made by any hand-loader, even one with decades of experience. Be safe guys, take your time when you load your ammo. Remove powders from measures after your loading sessions (pistol powders can look very similar to rifle powders). And by all means CHECK the LABEL on the jug. As the TiteGroup label says: “A little goes a long way.”

It’s not a bad idea to separate your pistol powders from your rifle powders, or perhaps even load for pistol in a separate part of your workshop.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 11 Comments »
April 26th, 2016

How NOT to Ventilate Your Chronograph — Set-Up Tips

chronograph placement, shooting chrony, chrono, advisory, tech tip

There is nothing more frustrating (or embarassing) than sending a live round into your expensive new chronograph. As the photo below demonstrates, with most types of chronographs (other than the barrel-hung Magnetospeed), you can fatally injure your expensive chrono if it is not positioned precisely.

When setting up a chrono, we always unload the rifle, remove the bolt and bore-sight to ensure that the path of the bullet is not too low. When bore-sighting visually, set up the rifle securely on the sandbags and look through the bore, breech to muzzle, lining up the barrel with your aim point on the target. Then (during an appropriate cease-fire), walk behind the chronograph. Looking straight back through the “V” formed by the sky-screens, you should be able to see light at the end of the barrel if the gun is positioned correctly. You can also use an in-chamber, laser bore-sighter to confirm the visual boresighting (see photo).

Laser boresighter chronograph

Adjust the height, angle and horizontal position of the chronograph so the bullet will pass through the middle of the “V” below the plastic diffusers, no less than 5″ above the light sensors. We put tape on the front sky-screen supports to make it easier to determine the right height over the light sensors.

Use a Test Backer to Confirm Your Bullet Trajectory
You can put tape on the support rods about 6″ up from the unit. This helps you judge the correct vertical height when setting up your rifle on the bags. Another trick is to hang a sheet of paper from the rear skyscreen and then use a laser boresighter to shine a dot on the paper (with the gun planted steady front and rear). This should give you a good idea (within an inch or so) of the bullet’s actual flight path through the “V” over the light sensors. Of course, when using a laser, never look directly at the laser! Instead shine the laser away from you and see where it appears on the paper.

chronograph set-up

Alignment of Chronograph Housing
Make sure the chrono housing is parallel to the path of the bullet. Don’t worry if the unit is not parallel to the ground surface. What you want is the bullet to pass over both front and rear sensors at the same height. Don’t try to set the chrono height in reference to the lens of your scope–as it sits 1″ to 2″ above your bore axis. To avoid muzzle blast interference, set your chronograph at least 10 feet from the end of the muzzle (or the distance recommended by the manufacturer).

chronograph laser sky screens

Rifles with Elevated Iron Sights
All too often rookie AR15 shooters forget that AR sights are positioned roughly 2.4″ above the bore axis (at the top of the front sight blade). If you set your bullet pass-through point using your AR’s front sight, the bullet will actually be traveling 2.4″ lower as it goes through the chrono. That’s why we recommend bore-sighting and setting the bullet travel point about 5-8″ above the base of the sky-screen support shafts. (Or the vertical distance the chronograph maker otherwise recommends). NOTE: You can make the same mistake on a scoped rifle if the scope is set on very tall rings, so the center of the cross-hairs is much higher than the bore axis line.

Laser boresighter chronograph

TARGET AIM POINT: When doing chrono work, we suggest you shoot at a single aiming point no more than 2″ in diameter (on your target paper). Use that aiming point when aligning your chrono with your rifle’s bore. If you use a 2″ bright orange dot, you should be able to see that through the bore at 100 yards. Using a single 2″ target reduces the chance of a screen hit as you shift points of aim. If you shoot at multiple target dots, place them in a vertical line, and bore sight on the lowest dot. Always set your chron height to set safe clearance for the LOWEST target dot, and then work upwards only.

Other Chronograph Tips from Forum Members:

When using a chronograph, I put a strip of masking tape across the far end of the skyscreens about two-thirds of the way up. This gives me a good aiming or bore-sighting reference that’s well away from the pricey bits. I learned that one the hard way. — German Salazar

A very easy and simple tool to help you set up the chronograph is a simple piece of string! Set your gun (unloaded of course) on the rest and sight your target. Tie one end of the string to the rear scope ring or mount, then pull the string along the barrel to simulate the bullet path. With the string showing the bullet’s path, you can then easily set the chronograph’s placement left/right, and up/down. This will also let you set the chrono’s tilt angle and orientation so the sensors are correctly aligned with the bullet path. — Wayne Shaw

If shooting over a chrono from the prone position off a bipod or similar, beware of the muzzle sinking as recoil causes the front of the rifle to drop. I “killed” my first chronograph shooting off a gravel covered firing point where I’d not given enough clearance to start with and an inch or two drop in the muzzle caused a bullet to clip the housing. — Laurie Holland

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
April 8th, 2016

Big-Bore Blast: .338 Lapua Magnum Cleaning Rod Kaboom

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

We first ran this eye-opening story two years ago. We’re republishing it today as a reminder that safety should always be a shooter’s #1 concern at the range. Avoid distractions and always check your barrel for obstructions before you chamber a round or pull the trigger. A moment of inattention can result in a catastrophic kaboom …

Discharging a .338 Lapua Magnum round with a cleaning rod in the barrel — that’s a recipe for disaster. What happens when a fired .338 caliber bullet and a cleaning rod try to occupy the same place at the same time? Well you get a catastrophic kaboom, with metal pieces flying all over the place, and a shooter very lucky to escape without serious injury. This incident occurred recently in Manatee, Florida, as reported by Sniper’s Hide member Queequeg. We thank SnipersHide.com for granting permission to publish these revealing images in the Daily Bulletin.

This story should serve as a chilling reminder to follow proper safety practices whenever you are at the range. Always check to make sure there is no obstruction in the bore BEFORE loading a live round.

.338 Lapua Magnum + Cleaning Rod + Inattention = Kaboom!

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom at Manatee!
A while back, Sniper’s Hide member Queequeg published shocking photos of a catastrophic kaboom involving a .338 Lapua Magnum (Savage action). The action was blown off the rifle, shrapnel went through the roof, and the barrel split at the tenon before taking an excursion downrange. The action did crack in the front but the lugs remained engaged so the bolt did not slam to the rear (luckily for the shooter).

Here’s the report: “This happened [January 20, 2014] at the Manatee Gun and Archery Club. Al, Ren and myself were there with a couple other folks. Ren was at bench 12, I was at 13. The fellow at 11 was running a Savage .338 Lapua. He had a very bad day! He damn sure could have killed himself and quite likely Ren as well.”

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Queeqeg added: “After the boom, I heard Ren ask ‘Are you alright’ and then turned to look in time to see the fellow reacting in total shock — literally stunned. Ren and I went over to him and could not see any major injuries. Ren was uninjured as well but had a lot of fiberglass splinters on him. The barrel nut is what I presume punched the two holes in the roof. The shooter is a regular there[.] He had been having a problem with sticky cases though he said he was certain the loads were mild. That’s why he was content to knock the sticky ones out with the rod. He simply forgot to remove the rod after knocking out the last stuck case. You can see what happened next.”

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

Kaboom Manatee Savage .338 LM, Lapua Magnum, catastrophic, explosion, cleaning rod, obstruction

The Important Lesson Here
What did the .338 LM shooter do wrong here? You will say — “Well that’s obvious, he left a cleaning rod in the barrel and then shot a round.” Yes, that was a potentially fatal error. But that was his second mistake — one that occurred only because he made a more fundamental judgment error first.

The FIRST mistake was not acknowledging the problem with his ammo. Had he heeded the warning signs, he would still have a rifle (and an unsoiled pair of trousers). When he first observed that he was having problems with extracting cases, a warning light should have gone off in his head. Presuming his extractor was not broken (and that the chamber was cut properly) he should have been able to extract his brass if he was running safe loads. The lesson here we all need to learn is that if you observe a serious ammo-related issue, it is time to stop shooting. Don’t try to invent work-arounds just to extend your range session, when there are clear signs that something is wrong, very wrong.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
December 14th, 2015

Winchester XPR Rifle Safety Notice and Recall

Winchester XPR Rifle Recall Safety

Winchester Repeating Arms has issued a Safety Notice and Recall for Winchester XPR rifles. This large-scale recall covers all XPR rifles, of all calibers. The issue involves the possibility of an unintentional discharge when the safety is manipulated. According to Winchester, continuous product testing revealed that moving the safety switch on the XPR rifle “may cause movement in the trigger system that could result in unintended firing of certain XPR rifles”. Accordingly, Winchester will replace certain trigger group parts in Winchester XPR rifles at no charge to the customer. Winchester requests that all owners of XPR rifles send their rifles back to the factory for retro-fitting.

For more details on how to return your rifle for retro-fitting, or if you are unsure if your rifle is included in the recall, or if you have any other questions, call 1-800-727-4312 or e-mail Winchester at XPR@winchesterguns.com. You can also CLICK HERE to view the Recall Notice and do a Serial Number search to verify your recall status. (By the terms of the notice, it appears that ALL XPRs are subject to the recall).

WARNING: Do not load or shoot any XPR rifle until it has been returned to the Winchester Service center and Received a retrofit. Failure to follow this warning may result in a risk of harm, including serious personal injury or death to you and others.

Permalink News, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 14th, 2015

Primer Pocket Rocket — Good Reason to Wear Safety Glasses

Primer Blown Gas defect winchester casehead

Our friend Grant Guess recently had a “close encounter” with a bad primer. An apparently defective primer caused part of the casehead on one of his rounds to blow out. This, in turn, allowed high pressure gas to vent through the damaged primer pocket. Take a good look, boys and girls. This is yet another very good reason to wear safety glasses. The cartridge was a 6.5-06, handloaded in necked-down Winchester-headstamp .270 Win brass. Grant reports:

“I had a blow through between the primer and the primer pocket today. The action was really smoking and I got a face full of gas. This was a reasonably light charge. Thank God for safety glasses.

I should also mention that it appears there is a 3/64 hole that is halfway between the primer and the primer pocket. Like it burned a small jet hole through both of them.”

Could this happen to you? It just might. On seeing this damaged case, one of Grant’s Facebook friends, Chris D., observed: “Search the internet, you will see a lot of these pin hole ‘in the corner’ failures. Obviously Winchester has some issues with the LR primers.”

Careful Examination Reveals Apparent Primer Defect
After this incident, Grant examined the damaged case: “I pinned the flash hole and it is not over-sized or under-sized. The primer clearly has an area where it had a defect. At [50,000 CUP], it doesn’t take much of a defect to cause issues. There was a slight bit of pucker-factor on the next shot….”

Primer Blown Gas defect winchester casehead

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 10 Comments »
September 4th, 2015

Safety Tip: Inspect Brass to Minimize Case-Head Separation Risk

cartridge case separation

We are re-publishing this article at the request of Forum members who told us the information proved very valuable. If you haven’t read this Safety Tip before, take a moment to learn how you can inspect your fired brass to determine if there may be a potential for case separation. A case separation can be dangerous, potentially causing serious injury.

cartridge case separationOn the older Riflemans’ Journal blog, GS Arizona wrote an excellent article about cartridge Case-Head Separation. We strongly recommend that you read this article. It examines the causes of this serious problem and he explains the ways you can inspect your brass to minimize the risk of a case-head separation. As cases get fired multiple times and then resized during reloading, the cases can stretch. Typically, there is a point in the lower section of the case where the case-walls thin out. This is your “danger zone” and you need to watch for tell-tale signs of weakening.

The photo at the top of this article shows a case sectioned so that you can see where the case wall becomes thinner near the web. German scribed a little arrow into the soot inside the case pointing to the thinned area. This case hadn’t split yet, but it most likely would do so after one or two more firings.

One great tip offered involves using a bent paper clip to detect potential case wall problems. Slide the paper clip inside your case to check for thin spots. The author explains: “This simple little tool (bent paper clip) will let you check the inside of cases before you reload them. The thin spot will be immediately apparent as you run the clip up the inside of the case. If you’re seeing a shiny line on the outside and the clip is really hitting a thin spot inside, it’s time to retire the case. If you do this every time you reload, on at least 15% of your cases, you’ll develop a good feel for what the thin spot feels like and how it gets worse as the case is reloaded more times. And if you’re loading the night before a match and feel pressured for time — don’t skip this step!”

cartridge case separation

Permalink News, Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
July 12th, 2015

Emergency Medical Information Bracelet Holds Digital Data

AccurateShooter EPIC-id emergency bracelet Band EMT Flash Drive USB lifesaver

Here’s a smart new product that could save your life (or the life of a loved one). The EPIC-id bracelet stores your vital information on a shockproof, weatherproof USB flash drive that can be instantly accessed by an EMT or doctor. Your Editor just bought two of these med-info bracelets — one for himself and another for a diabetic family member. If you’re a shooter, or spend much time outdoors, you should have this device or some other kind of tag that provides your vital info (such as blood type and drug allergies) to first responders.

If you’re injured, first responders need to know if you have a medical condition, have drug allergies, or take any medications. With this bracelet, that vital info is available even if you can’t communicate. The EPIC-id Emergency Band stores medical data on a USB flash drive that can be “read” by any computer or mobile device with a USB port. Firefighters, EMTs, and medical professionals can instantly determine your name, emergency contacts, insurance, and medical information. (Read my experience below).

AccurateShooter EPIC-id emergency bracelet Band EMT Flash Drive USB lifesaver

It’s easy to load your medical data on to the device. Standardized emergency info forms come pre-loaded — just insert the Epic-ID into any computer to fill out the forms. PC and Mac™ compatible, the waterproof EPIC-id features a durable stainless steel clasp and trim-to-fit silicone band.

Editor’s Story — Why This Is Important
Just this past Wednesday July 8th, at 2:00 am, a family member was rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke. She was non-responsive and unable to communicate at all. This created problems for EMTs because they were unaware of her current medications, insulin needs, resusitation preferences, and some relevant past medical history. After that experience I decided to buy these bracelets for her and myself. The good new is that she survived… but it was close.

Permalink New Product, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
June 22nd, 2015

Summer’s Here — Guide to Outdoor Safety

Stonehenge summer solstice sunrise
Solstice Sunrise at Stonehenge. Photo shared under Creative Commons License.

This year’s Solstice, considered the official start of summer, was celebrated around the world at 12:38 pm on June 21, 2015. We hope you have fun this summer with your friends and family. To help ensure those summer adventures remain safe and trouble-free, the CTD Shooters’ Log has prepared a helpful Essential Summer Survival Guide. This is worth reading before you venture away from civilization.

CLICK to READ Essential Summer Survivors Guide

Here are some highlights of the article with links for MORE INFO:

first aid kitFirst Aid Kits for Campers
You should never venture outside without a first aid kit close at hand. While exploring the outdoors, all types of accidents can occur—from cuts, scrapes, and burns to broken limbs and severe allergic reactions.

Basic Survival Skills
Basic survival skills are a necessity if you plan to spend any amount of time outdoors. These five tips, plus a how-to on what to pack in a lightweight, basic survival kit will help if you are ever stuck, lost, stranded or injured in the field.

How to Treat Burns
Fireworks, barbeques and campfires — in the summer we are frequently around fire, which increases our chance of getting burned. A first-degree burn is most likely home treatable, while a third degree burn requires immediate medical attention. Learn how to spot the differences between minor and severe burns.

Permalink News No Comments »
May 12th, 2015

A Dozen Handy Items for Your Next Range Trip

With the end summer, the shooting season in full swing. When you head to the range you’ll want to be prepared. That means collecting all the gear you’ll need at the range. It’s easy to forget small, critical items, so we’ve provided a checklist of the small “extras” you should pack before you head out to the range. In addition to rifle, rests, ammo, targets, and cleaning gear, here are a dozen essentials you should include in your range bag.

Shell-Holder — If you don’t have calipers, you can use a shell-holder to check for excessive case expansion from hot loads. If a fired case doesn’t slip into the shell-holder easily, your load is definitely TOO HOT.

Extra Earplugs — Always use ear protection when shooting. We bring a 35mm film canister with extra sets of foam earplugs.

Hex Wrench or Screwdriver for action screws — Action screws can work loose with time. Always bring the appropriate hex wrench or screwdriver whenever you go to the range.

Small Wrench for Scope Rings — Check the tension of your scope base and ring fasteners before you go. Bring along a small Torx wrench for the ring screws (or other tool that fits your fasteners).

(more…)

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 6 Comments »
May 10th, 2015

Think About Safety This Mother’s Day

julie golob child safetyTeam Smith & Wesson shooter Julie Golob has a message for Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 10th). Julie writes: “While some are using Mother’s Day week to push a gun control agenda, I’d like to encourage moms to ‘Take a Moment’. Talk to your kids about firearms safety. Help them learn what to do around firearms and have an open, honest discussion about guns and gun safety.

I truly believe that, no matter if you are pro-gun or anti-gun, everyone should know and understand the basic rules of firearm safety. It is equally important for parents to have the discussion about guns and what to do if your child finds one. Both the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe and the NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe® Program are excellent. They offer resources for parents, educators, and child care providers to help ensure kids stay safe.

In this video, Julie encourages parents to have “the talk” about firearm safety with their kids sooner rather than later, and provides tips for how to have a helpful discussion. Sherra Scott, a mom and a certified NRA instructor, agrees with Julie: “Whether you have firearms in your home or not, if you have children in your life, please watch this video and talk WITH them about firearm safety and what to do if they come into contact with a firearm.”

(more…)

Permalink - Videos, News No Comments »
March 24th, 2015

Shocking Video — Fatality Barely Averted

RSO Range Safety violation

This video will give you chills (starting at about the 0:25 mark). We need to remember to follow all the firearms safety rules, and apply them all the time. At the range, all it takes is one brief moment of inattention to create a life-threatening situation. Never assume the downrange area is safe. Use your own eyes and ears.

This video shows a competitor shooting a stage at an action pistol match. He starts when instructed by the Range Safety Officer (RSO). But unbeknownst to both RS0 and competitor, a volunteer is downrange working on targets. Watch carefully. At 0:27 the shooter sweeps left to right, engaging a paper silhouette target to his right. Then, at 0:30, as he begins a mag change, his head turns downrange. A few yards away is a white-shirted range worker! The shooter yells “Hey what’s going on?!”

What’s going on indeed… The RSO should have ensured that nobody was downrange before the shooter even stepped up to the firing line. If other competitors standing to the side had been alert, they might have seen the worker changing targets and called for a halt. And the target-worker himself — even if he was wearing earmuffs, he should have noticed that live fire had commenced just yards away…

We also have to wonder about the stage design. This set-up made it very difficult to see downrange. The white panels (see 0:10-0:20) definitely hid the target worker from view. In hindsight, given the way the stage was laid out, this was truly an “accident waiting to happen”. It’s fortunate that no one got injured in this incident. But this chilling video provides a lesson to all shooters — “Safety First”.

How could this “near-fatality” have been averted? Post your comments below.

Permalink - Videos, Handguns 14 Comments »