May 2nd, 2017

SOCOM Considers New 6.5 mm Chamberings for Semi-Auto Rifles

U.S. Special Operations 6.5 Creedmoor .260 Remington SOCOM
Cartridge photo courtesy Rifleshooter.com.

According to Military Times, the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is considering replacing the 7.62×51 NATO in semi-auto sniper rifles with a mid-size 6.5 mm cartridge. The two leading candidates are the 6.5 Creedmoor and the .260 Remington. These 6.5 cartridges would deliver a flatter trajectory, better long-range ballistics, and reduced recoil compared to the 7.62×51 NATO (aka .308 Winchester). While the .260 Rem enjoys a case capacity edge over the 6.5 Creedmoor, in the real world, performance is similar — both cartridge types can push a 130gr bullet to velocities around 2900 fps. (See Sierra 6.5 CM Load Data.)

Military Times Reports:

“Major Aron Hauquitz told Military Times Tuesday that SOCOM is in the preliminary stages of exploring a sniper rifle chambered in the 6.5 mm caliber. The two commercially available rounds being evaluated are the .260 Remington and the 6.5 mm Creedmoor.

Research shows that both rounds will ‘stay supersonic longer, have less wind drift and better terminal performance than 7.62 mm ammunition’, SOCOM officials said.

‘We’re purely in the exploratory phase’. Hauquitz said. ‘We’re trying to see if we can take a weapon that is 7.62 and give it greater range, accuracy and lethality.'”

U.S. Special Operations 6.5 Creedmoor .260 Remington SOCOM

The SOCOM representative indicated that test rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor and/or .260 Remington might be issued to test teams later this year, but there was no issue date in place yet. Hauquitz said the 6.5 mm exploration came out of preliminary results of the Small Arms Ammunition Configuration study, which assesses commercially available ammunition and new ammo technologies.

SOCOM Also Considering Polymer Cartridges
The Military Times report also revealed that SOCOM is considering polymer-cased rifle ammunition, with the goal of reducing load weight. SOCOM’s research shows that a polymer-cased mid-sized 6.5 mm cartridge could be one-third lighter than conventional brass-cased 7.62×51 ammo. That means the next-generation 6.5 mm ammo could “come in at 5.56×45 mm weight ranges”. While SOCOM is seriously looking at this new option, polymer-cased ammo will NOT be required for SOCOM’s new semi-auto rifle. In other words, if the polymer ammo is not ready, that “would not delay potential fielding of a 6.5 mm rifle” according to Maj. Hauquitz.

Permalink News, Tactical 6 Comments »
October 5th, 2016

New Savage A17 Target Sporters with Laminated Wood Stocks

Savage A17 semi-auto delayed blowback 17 HMR

The Savage A17 earned honors as American Hunter’s 2016 Rifle of the Year. And now this popular auto-loading 17 HMR is even better. Savage Arms has released two new “Target Sporter” versions with heavier barrels and beefier, laminated wood stocks. We particularly like the new Thumbhole version, shown below. MSRP is $631.00 but ‘street price’ will be much lower.

Savage A17 semi-auto delayed blowback 17 HMR

These new models feature 22″ button-rifled heavy barrels for improved accuracy and Boyds’ gray wood laminate stocks for improved ergonomics. As with all A17s, the new wood-stocked Target Sporter models feature a case-hardened receiver, chromed bolt with large charging handle, 10-round rotary magazine, and user-adjustable AccuTrigger.

Features & Benefits
• First reliable semi-automatic rimfire specifically designed from for 17 HMR
• Delayed-blowback action for safe, reliable cycling
• Hard chrome bolt with oversized bolt handle
• Case-hardened receiver and 22-inch button-rifled barrel
• 10-round rotary magazine

The A17 platform is the first delayed-blowback, semi-auto rimfire designed espressly for the 17 HMR cartridge. The unique delayed-blowback action allows safe, reliable semi-auto cycling with normal 17 HMR loads. We tested the original A17 and it proved accurate and reliable (so long as you made sure the magazine is completely seated). In fact, the A17 we tested flawlessly powered through multiple magazines in rapid-fire. Savage has modified the magazine well slightly to enhance reliability (see below). Now it’s easier the get the mag seated — the key to 100% reliable cycling.

Savage A17 semi-auto delayed blowback 17 HMR

How the A17 Works Using Interrupter Lug
For the A17 series of auto-loaders, Savage engineers invented a new delayed-blowback action that employs an interrupter lug to hold the bolt closed for a few milliseconds. Savage engineers scrapped the standard straight-blowback approach, which ejects spent casings via overpressure during firing. In its place, they opted for an interrupter lug that locks the bolt until peak cartridge pressure has passed. The timing system prevents the bolt from opening prematurely, effectively putting an end to ruptured cases. By doubling as a firing pin block, it also prevents out-of-battery firing with an open action.

Savage Interrupter Lug A17

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product No Comments »
December 30th, 2014

.260 Remington in the AR-10 Platform — A Smart Solution

The AR-10 was designed to handle the 7.62×51/.308 Winchester and other .308 “family” cartridges such as the .243 Win and .260 Remington. Our friend Dennis Santiago recently put together an AR-10 to shoot the accurate .260 Rem cartridge. Here is his initial report:

AR-10 Platform Chambered for .260 Remington by Dennis Santiago
I was very curious to see how the .260 works in the AR-10 compared to a .308. I’ve always thought about chambering a bolt gun in .260 but before doing so I thought it’d be good to try it using a less expensive entry point. With an AR platform’s easy interchanging of barrels, it seem like the best way to test out the .260 Rem chambering. So far, it’s most impressive.

DPMS LR-308 in .260 Remington getting function cycle tuned and zeroed
.260 Rem AR10 AR-10 Scenar H4350

I took the AR-10-type .260 Rem a step closer to being ready for matches yesterday. The first order of business was to confirm which buffer spring to use with both the 123 grain and 140 grain bullet loads. My .260 Rem loads, on average, are using 4-5 grains less powder than the .308 loads. In a semi-automatic action that means less gas/energy to work the mechanics. The solution in an AR-10 platform is to either cut coils in the .308 spring or use a weaker AR-15 buffer spring; yup they are not the same. In this case, a CS flat spring for the AR-15 did the trick.

I also put a very nice NightForce Benchrest 12-42x56mm scope that came via friend Mark Gravitt on it and got zeros. This scope’s 1/8th MOA clicks are nice. The AR-10 had previously mounted a NightForce F1, a more “field tactical” 3-15X system. This 12-42X scope now sets this gun up as more of a target cannon. Field of view is limited when your minimum magnification is twelve. Maybe I’ll put an auxiliary red dot on it just to find the target.

.260 Rem AR10 AR-10 Scenar H4350

Pet Loads: H4350 and Lapua 123gr Scenars
Comment by Daily Bulletin Editor
Over a two-year period, this Editor put a lot of rounds through a .260 Remington. I did a ton of load testing with that Savage-actioned rifle (before it was rebarreled as a 6mmBR Norma). I tried two dozen load recipes with five different powders and bullets ranging from 100 grains to 142 grains. Hodgdon H4350 was my “go-to” powder. As many 260 Rem shooters have discovered, H4350 is a winner in the .260 Rem. This propellant delivered the lowest ES in my rifle and nothing beat H4350 for consistent accuracy with bullets in the 120-140 grain range. My most accurate load was with Lapua 123gr Scenars, pushed by H4350 and CCI 250 primers. The 123gr Scenars worked well jumped as well as seated into the lands. Best accuracy, in my 24″-barreled .260 Rem, was right about 2950 fps. Other powders work well, but H4350 is a very good choice for the .260 Remington (as well as the smaller 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge).

Permalink Reloading, Tactical 7 Comments »
January 8th, 2014

Volquartsen Semi-Auto 17 WSM Debuts at 2014 SHOT Show

.17 Winchester Super Magnum RimfireIt’s been a long time coming, but we are finally starting to see supplies of Winchester’s 17 Winchester SuperMag (17 WSM) rimfire ammunition, along with factory rifles chambered for the fast little 17 WSM cartridge (it runs up to 3000 fps). Leading the way among new 17 WSM firearms is a hot little rifle from Volquartsen Custom. This new Volquartsen semi-auto 17 WSM will be unveiled at SHOT Show next week in Las Vegas.

Volquartsen’s engineers tell us: “The 17 Winchester SuperMag was introduced at the 2013 SHOT Show. Soon after that we went to work on a semi-auto platform for this exciting round. Visit us in SHOT Show Booth #11329 to find out more about this exciting new rifle.”

About the 17 WSM
17 WSM semi-auto prototypes have been built and tested. Volquartsen will begin taking orders at the 2014 SHOT Show. The initial release will feature a laminated wood stock, stainless steel receiver and a stainless steel bull barrel.

  • Standard magazine capacity will be 8 rounds.
  • The rifle will utilize a direct blowback action.
  • We are pursuing additional stock options as well as options for a lightweight version of the rifle, however there is no anticipated release date for either.
  • The 17 WSM cartridge necessitates a different action than our 17 HMR rifles. Unfortunately, 17 HMR rifles cannot be converted to 17 WSM.

.17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire

.17 Winchester Super Magnum RimfireNew 3000 FPS Rimfire Round
Winchester has created a new, high-velocity 17-caliber rimfire cartridge, the .17 Winchester Super Magnum (aka .17 WSM). Winchester offers .17 WSM ammo with a choice of three bullet types: 20gr plastic tip (Varmint HV), 25gr plastic tip (Varmint HE), and a 20gr JHP (Super-X). The 20-grain varieties boast a 3000 FPS muzzle velocity, earning honors as the fastest Rimfire ammo ever made.

.17 Winchester Super Mag Specifications Symbol Sub Brand Bullet Weight Muzzle Velocity
S17W20 Varmint HV 20-gr Plastic Tip 3,000 fps
S17W25 Varmint HE 25-gr Plastic Tip 2,600 fps
X17W20 Super-X 20-gr JHP 3,000 fps

Winchester claims that all .17 WSM ammo types shoot much flatter than the .22 Win Mag and .17 HMR, while delivering 150 percent more energy than both. In addition, the .17 WSM “bucks the wind” better than any other rimfire ammo — exhibiting significant less horizontal drift at extended ranges.

17 wsm winchester super magnum rimfire

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 2 Comments »
October 12th, 2013

Semi-Auto Ban Vetoed in California, But Lead Ammo Ban Approved

governor jerry brown californiaWe have good news and bad news for California gun owners and hunters. The good news is that California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB 374. The bad news is that Gov. Brown also signed AB 711 which bans the use of lead-containing ammunition for hunting. Gov. Brown surprised many people with his veto of SB 374, a sweeping ban on virtually all semi-automatic centerfire rifles with any kind of detachable magazine. Had it become law, SB 374 would have banned the sale and transfer of hundreds of rifle types, including many classic hunting rifles with 3- or 4-round flush-mount detachable magazines. In addition, SB 374 would have banned historic military rifles such as the M1 Garand, and M1 Carbine, which are prized by collectors and widely used in vintage rifle events and CMP shooting matches.

In his Veto Message, Gov. Brown stated:

I am returning Senate Bill 374 without my signature.

The State of California already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, including bans on military-style assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

While the author’s intent is to strengthen these restrictions, this bill goes much farther by banning any semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine. This ban covers low-capacity rifles that are commonly used for hunting, firearms training, and marksmanship practice, as well as some historical and collectible firearms. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of current gun owners would have to register their rifles as assault weapons and would be banned from selling or transferring them in the future.

I don’t believe that this bill’s blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners’ rights.

Governor Brown Signs Eleven Bills Targeting Gun Owners
In addition to vetoing the expanded “assault weapons” ban, Brown vetoed six other bills relating to firearms: SB299, SB475, SB567, SB755, AB169, and AB180. Again, that sounds good. However, at the same time, Gov. Brown signed eleven other bills that will affect California gun owners:

    SB 171 – Patient threats must be reported by psychotherapists to police within one day.

    SB 363 – New penalties for storing loading guns where they may be improperly accessed.

    SB 683 – Requires long gun owners to obtain safety certificates.

    AB 48 – Bans magazine conversion kits increasing capacity.

    AB 170 – Disallows organizational permits for “assault weapons”, and .50 BMG.

    AB 231 – Criminalizes leaving a gun where child might use it without permission.

    AB 500 – Imposes further rules on gun storage; expands DOJ background check times.

    AB 558 – FFLs must provide Record of Sale to gun buyers.

    AB 539 – Permits disallowed persons to temporarily transfer guns to FFL.

    AB 711 – Bans lead ammunition for all hunting activities.

    AB 1131 – 5-year gun prohibition for people who have revealed threat to psychiatrist.

Bill Banning Use of Lead-Containing Ammunition for Hunting
AB 711, the lead ammunition ban, will create real problems for California hunters as it is “phased in” over the next few years. There are no lead-free bullets readily available for many cartridge/caliber types. Critics of AB 711 have called this “a ban on hunting disguised as an ammunition ban”.

Summary of Key Provisions of AB 711:
Existing California law requires that nonlead centerfire rifle and pistol ammunition be used when taking big game with a rifle or pistol, as defined by the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s hunting regulations, and when taking coyote, within specified deer hunting zones, but excluding specific counties and areas.

This bill would instead require, as soon as is practicable, but by no later than July 1, 2019, the use of nonlead ammunition for the taking of all wildlife, including game mammals, game birds, nongame birds, and nongame mammals, with any firearm. The bill would require the commission to certify, by regulation, nonlead ammunition for these purposes. The bill would require that these requirements be fully implemented statewide by no later than July 1, 2019.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News 4 Comments »
December 17th, 2011

Alexander Arms Introduces AR15 Rifles Chambered in 17 HMR

Alexander Arms is now shipping production 17 HMR AR15 rifles and 17 HMR upper receiver kits. The complete rifles are the only semi-auto rifles specifically designed to reliably shoot the 17 HMR cartridge. Alexander Arm’s 17 HMR rifle does not employ a reworked .22LR rimfire action. Instead the gun features a new bolt assembly design purpose-built built to work with the 17 HMR cartridge. This is good news for varmint hunters who want semi-auto capability for fast follow-up shots in the varmint fields.

Alexander Arms 17hmr AR15

Alexander Arms 17 HMR AR Tech Specifications | 17 HMR AR Frequently Asked Questions

The complete rifle comes standard with a straight fluted 18″ stainless barrel, A1 flash-hider, free-floating composite hand guard and two molded-plastic 10-round magazines. Options include a spiral-fluted barrel and MK3 railed upper receiver. Alexander Arms’ 17 HMR ARs will be offered in both fixed stock and collapsible-stock versions. The upper receiver kit includes all the ancillary items needed to convert existing AR15 lowers to work with the 17 HMR cartridge.

Alexander Arms 17hmr AR1517 HMR Basics
If you are not familiar with the 17 HMR, it is a popular varmint cartridge effective out to 200 yards or so. With typical muzzle velocities of 2550-2650 fps, the little 17 HMR packs much more punch than a .22LR, while bucking the wind much better. CLICK HERE for Varmint Al’s 17 HMR webpage, which provides a comprehensive analysis of 17 HMR ballistics, kinetic enegy, and effectiveness on small varmints.

Video Showing Alexander Arms 17HMR Bolt Cycling in Slo-Mo

On its website, Alexander Arms reports: “Our initial production run will be 500 units. We are extremely pleased with this [17 HMR] caliber. With help from Hornady, this unit has been extensively tested and has proven itself to be very capable in the field. At the recent Big 3 Event, we ran two rifles out to ranges of 400 yards and despite windy conditions… the guns performed well. While running guns at the Big 3 we had an opportunity to run one of the rifles with the excellent magnum rimfire silencer from Thunderbeast Arms Corp. The rifle exhibited a slight shift in zero and ran without a hitch for the two days of the event. This unscheduled test provided a quick insight into the flexibility of the rifle and everyone agreed that this combination would serve well for any varminting purposes.”

For more info contact visit AlexanderArms.com or call at (540) 639-8356. You can also download the Alexander Arms’ 17 HMR Rifle Owners Manual as a PDF file.

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, New Product 1 Comment »
January 21st, 2009

SHOT Show Report: Brownells Launches AR15 Website

Widespread concern over the possibility that the Obama administration will push for new, restrictive gun laws has spurred sales of all types of firearms, with self-loading, military-style rifles leading the way. The “Obama effect” has created huge demand for ‘black rifles’ of all variety. Recognizing this, Brownells has created a new website, AR15builder.com, to help buyers purchase a AR with components customized to the buyers’ individual needs. Using state-of-the-art “drag and drop” web technology, a black rifle buyer can chose from a wide variety of components (stocks, uppers, barrels, handguards, optics etc.), and see the gun, as assembled, right on the web page. As one selects among AR components, the website even provides running total of the cost of the components.

Mix and Match Components for Your Custom Build
Announced at SHOT 2009, AR15builder.com combines almost 600 images of external AR-15 parts and accessories so you can mix and match parts to see exactly what your own, custom AR can look like with your selected parts installed. The screenshot below, showing a “precision varminter” with adjustable stock and 24″ barrel, was created using parts from Brownell’s inventory.

AR15builder.com Brownells

The website allows you to preview the many options available for the AR platfrom, so you can “mix and match” scores of products in Brownells’ catalog. Color variations are shown as well. So, if you want to see a black receiver with a tan handguard and green buttstock, AR15builder.com will show you. If you want to change any component, just go back to the parts menus and drag the new selection to the center of the page. As you change components, the prices automatically change in real time.

With endless combinations, it’s easy to create the unique look you want, in the price range that suits your budget. You can also select complete uppers and lowers. Purchase items directly from AR15builder.com, Brownells.com, or call 800-741-0015 and mention code PER.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News No Comments »