Here’s an item for tactical and Precision Rifle Series (PRS) shooters. Howa is releasing a new rifle with a modular metal chassis. The new Howa HCR (Howa Chassis Rifle) combines a Howa 1500 barreled action with a modern, fully-adjustable aluminum chassis. The Howa’s MSRP is $1299.00, so the HCR is directly competitive with the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR). Available chamberings are: .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester.
Mounted on an AR-style buffer tube system, the Howa HCR utilizes the fully adjustable LUTH-AR MBA-3 stock. Length of Pull is adjustable form 12.5″ to 16.75″. Comb height is also adjustable to fine tune for scope height-over-bore. Weight with a 24″ barrel is 10.2 pounds (before optics), so this Howa HCR is lighter that some similar rifles on the market.
Howa HCR Features
• Howa 1500 Barreled Action with 20″ and 24″ Heavy Barrel options
• Black 6061-T6 Aluminum Chassis with Free-Float M-LOK Forend
• LUTH AR Buttstock with LOP Adjustment (12.5″ to 16.75″) and Adjustable Comb
• 10-RD ACCURATE Detachable, Teflon-coated Steel Magazine
• Two-Stage H.A.C.T. Trigger
• 3 Position Safety
The HOWA HCR features an adjustable, two-stage HACT trigger, set for about 3 pounds (combined stages). Crisp and repeatable, this is an excellent trigger for a factory gun. In our opinion, the HACT trigger is clearly superior to the trigger on the Ruger RPR, as well as the Savage AccuTrigger. And there is no annoying Glock-style safety lever in the middle of the trigger blade.
Available in .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win chamberings.
NOTE: For all chamberings, 24″ barrels are offered, with 20″ options for the .223 Rem and .308 Win as well. Twist rates are 1:9″ for .223 Rem, 1:10″ for .243 Win, 1:8″ for 6.5 Creedmoor, and 1:10″ for .308 Win. We think .243 Win shooters will NOT be happy with the 1:10″ twist. We would prefer to see a 1:8″-twist for the .243 Win so it can shoot the 105-115 grain 6mm bullets. Most competitive 6mm shooters will want a true 8-twist or even a 1:7.5″.
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Looking for a great price on an excellent hunting rifle? Here is the Tikka Deal of the Decade. EuroOptic.com has received nearly 3,500 Tikka T3 rifles, which will be sold at deep discounts as part of an inventory clearance program by Beretta, Tikka’s parent company. The Tikka T3 is a good, stout rifle with a smooth, 3-lug action, crisp trigger, and quality barrel. Accuracy is typically well under 1 MOA (for three shots). T3 barreled actions also are a good “core” for a tactical build. The strong T3 action handles detachable magazines, and fits a variety of third-party stocks such as McRees Precision G7 and G10 chassis systems.
Our friend Jason Baney of EuroOptic.com tells us: “We have two tractor-trailer loads of Tikka T3 rifles (about 3500 units) dropping here today…and the sale prices are amazingly low. I am sure it will take a day or so to get all the rifles in the system, then they will show in stock. Everything currently showing on our site should either be in stock or coming in stock this week. Feel free to order/backorder through the link below, or give us a shout.”
With McMillan’s new “Inlet Ready” series of fiberglass stocks, you can get a customized McMillan stock in just two to four weeks. Use the web-based stock selector in McMillan’s online Retail Store.
To get to the Inlet Ready section, from the McMillan Home Page click “Retail Store“, then select “Stocks in Inventory” from the left-hand column. After clicking “Stocks in Inventory” from the left column, select “Inlet Ready” from the sub-menu. This video explains how to order your Inlet Ready stock for delivery in two to four weeks:
Get Free Shipping with Orders Over $400.00
Here’s another way you can save on purchases of McMillan stocks and shooting accessories. Go to McMillan’s online Retail Store. Choose stocks, bipods, gun cases, ammunition, apparel, triggers, and other items offered for sale. Then, during check-out, use Promo CODE mcm16. This will provide FREE Shipping if your total order is $400.00 or more.
NOTE: Free shipping applies to orders over $400, standard ground delivery in the Continental USA. Shipping charges on previous orders will not be reimbursed. This offer cannot be combined with other promotions or offers.
Product and Sale tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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Have you been bitten by the PRS Bug? Our friends, Ed Mobley and Steve Lawrence, aka the “6.5 Guys”, have written an excellent article on getting started in practical/tactical competition. If you are new to the game, these tips can help you save money, progress faster, and have more fun. Here are article highlights, but we recommend you read the full story,5 Tips for Attending Your First Precision Rifle Match, onwww.65guys.com.
We often meet people who are new to long range precision shooting, and want to improve their knowledge and skill level. However, they aren’t sure if they are ready to sign up to compete in a match. They often ask, “What knowledge or skills are necessary to compete in a match?” Others may state, “I need to purchase this gear or that gear before I can attend a match”. For those guys who have a strong interest in precision rifle shooting, and who wish to chec out a precision rifle match, below are Five Tips to make it a positive experience.
TIP ONE: Make Plans and Commit to Go
First you need to start by finding a match to attend. This may entail a little bit of research and investigative work on your part to find what matches are scheduled in the next few months. We recommend starting with any match that may be within a reasonable driving distance. This may likely be a local “club” match, many of which are held on a regular basis. These make great venues because it will provide an opportunity to meet some of the regular attendees as well as shooters that are from your geographic area. Additionally, most of the smaller matches are a little more relaxed in terms of level of competitiveness.
Once you decide on the match you want to attend, do your homework. This means finding out if you need to pre-register or pre-pay the match fee. Commit to going by registering for the match and putting it on your schedule. Be sure to find other useful information for questions such as:
— What time should I arrive?
— Is there a mandatory safety briefing for new shooters at that venue?
— What is the travel time required to get to the match site?
— How many stages will there be?
— Is there a description of the stages available before the match?
— How many rounds should you bring?
— Are there special equipment requirements? (E.g. do you need chamber flags, is there a pistol stage?)
TIP TWO: Bring What You Have
(Don’t Spend a Fortune at the Start)
Some new shooters often assume they need a custom match rifle or all of the miscellaneous shooting gear associated with long range precision shooting to compete in match. While having a Kestrel weather meter and a high quality laser range finder and other shooting accoutrements are invaluable kit, you will find other shooters at your first match that will provide you with the information and coaching you need to get on target.
In fact, the only gear you really need to bring is a scoped rifle with a bipod and ammo capable of consistently shooting within one MOA. Also, be sure to know the ballistic drops or have a ballistic drop table prepared for your rifle/ammo to dial the correct DOPE on your scope for different target ranges. Many of the other participants at the match will be willing to let you borrow a support bag, bipod, tripod or other gear if you need one — just ask. Don’t use the excuse of not having the right gear to delay getting out to a match!
One reason not to make a big initial investment in a new rifle and assorted gear before competing, is we’ve seen a number of people come into the sport and try it for a year and then make the decision to move on to something else.
TIP THREE: Be Prepared to Learn
As a new shooter at a match, there is no better opportunity to learn. We often look to our local club matches as a group ‘training’ session to prepare for the bigger matches. You will find competitors at all levels of skill and many of your fellow shooters will enthusiastically provide helpful advice once they learn you are new to the sport. Take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions if you would like ideas for how to engage a stage, but also be sure to do more listening than talking as you receive guidance and tips from more experienced competitors.
Watch and observe other shooters and how they approach and ‘game’ a specific stage or course of fire. You’ll begin to recognize which shooting positions work best for different scenarios, and maybe even come up with some new ones that no one has thought of before.
Seeing what the better shooters do is an invaluable instructional tool. You can use your smart phone’s video camera to record other shooters (with their permission). When you’re ready to shoot, ask another shooter to record your performance. Watching yourself will point out needed areas of improvement.
After each match conduct an informal after action review and summarize for yourself the things that went well and what you should continue to do. You should also identify the specific shooting skills you should develop and make a plan to integrate the appropriate practice drills into your practice sessions. Finally, if you maintain a shooter’s data book or journal you’ll want to note things such as:
After Action Review – How you did, what went well, things you need to work on in practice. Stage Observations – Successful methods used for specific courses of fire. Note barricades, positions used, specific gear used for stages. Gear Observations – How your rifle/gear performed, what new items you should add to your “buy list”.
TIP FOUR: Be Safe and Have Fun
You’ve all heard a parent or teacher say, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” The same can be said of the shooting sports. Safe handling of firearms is the number one rule at any match, and comes before the FUN part in terms of importance.
Before all matches start there will always be some form of a mandatory safety briefing. Make sure you know, understand, and follow any unique safety protocols for the match you attend. Some matches require all rifles have chamber flags inserted and are stowed in bags/cases while not on the firing line — other matches may not. If you run afoul of any safety rules, you risk the chance of being disqualified from a stage or worse, the entire match.
The second rule is simply have fun. This starts with having a good attitude throughout the day. Keep in mind that as a new competitor you should think of a match as a solid day of practice and training. If you blow a stage, use it as an opportunity to diagnose what you could have done differently or what you need to improve on — then smile and drive on.
Any day at the range or shooting is a good day. A match is an opportunity to hang out with like-minded people who are passionate about shooting and impacting targets far-far away. Life is great when you are doing what you enjoy!
TIP FIVE: Make Friends
There is no better way to meet lots of precision rifle shooters and make friends than at a match. The people that attend the tactical precision matches on a regular basis are those that have ‘fallen into the deep end of the pool’ and are really into the sport. As a result, they have become part of the local precision shooting community. As you strike up conversations at the match, find out if your new-found friends visit specific forum boards or social media outlets, or if there are other matches they attend.
Precision shooters tend to congregate and share information in different corners of the Internet. It will serve you well to meet some of the guys in person at matches and be able to connect a face to a screen name. As you develop your friendships and develop a level of trust, you will find opportunities become available to shoot with others in your local area, or get ‘read-in’ on a secret honey-hole of a spot to shoot long distance. Additionally, the local shooting community will often find it more convenient to sell or trade gear and equipment locally than deal with buyers/sellers that are out of state.
Tactical ace Zak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms employs a simple, handy means to store his elevation and wind dift data — a laminated data card. To make one, first generate a come-up table, using one of the free online ballistics programs such as JBM Ballistics. You can also put the information in an Excel spreadsheet or MS Word table and print it out. You want to keep it pretty small.
Above is a sample of a data card. For each distance, the card includes drop in inches, drop in MOA, drop in mils. It also shows drift for a 10-mph cross wind, expressed three ways–inches, MOA, and mils. Zak explained that “to save space… I printed data every 50 yards. For an actual data-card, I recommend printing data every 20 or 25 yards.” But Zak also advised that you’ll want to customize the card format to keep things simple: “The sample card has multiple sets of data to be more universal. But if you make your own data card, you can reduce the chance of a mistake by keeping it simple. Because I use scopes with MILS, my own card (photo below left) just has three items: range, wind, drop in MILS only.”
Once you have the card you can fold it in half and then have it laminated at a local office store or Kinko’s. You can keep this in your pocket, tape it to your stock, or tie the laminated card to your rifle. If you regularly shoot at both low and high elevations, you may want to create multiple cards (since your ballistics change with altitude). To learn more about ballistic tables and data cards, check out the excellent Practical Long-Range Rifle Shooting–Part 1 article on Zak’s website. This article offers many other insights as well–including valuable tips on caliber and rifle selection.
Scope-Cover Mounted Ballistics Table
Another option is to place your ballistics card on the back of the front flip-up scope cover. This set-up is used by Forum member Greg C. (aka “Rem40X”). With your ‘come-up’ table on the flip-up cover you can check your windage and elevation drops easily without having to move out of shooting position.
Greg tells us: “Placing my trajectory table on the front scope cover has worked well for me for a couple of years and thought I’d share. It’s in plain view and not under my armpit. And the table is far enough away that my aging eyes can read it easily. To apply, just use clear tape on the front objective cover.”
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The Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) has been a hot seller since it was first released. All versions (.243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Win) have been in high demand, with the 6.5 Creedmoor probably being the hardest to find. The RPR represents a solid value, and it is the logical “default” choice for the new Production Class in the Precision Rifle Series. (NOTE: If you spend around $1400 for the RPR, then add a $950.00 6-24x50mm Viper PST, you’re still well under the $3000.00 Production Class price limit for rifle and optic combined.)
In this video, Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com, along with Ed and Steve of 6.5Guys.com, review the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) in 6.5 Creedmoor. This particular rifle was fitted with the Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50mm scope. Together, Gavin and the 6.5 Guys give their opinions on the rifle, the 6.5mm chambering, and the Vortex optic. They provide candid evaluations (of rifle and optic) based on field tests with targets from 100 to 1000 yards.
Gavin tells us: “The Ruger Precision Rifle is a great rifle platform. I’ve had some great groups right out of the box, and have had no problems staying on target at ranges of 1000 yards and beyond. To me, the Ruger Precision Rifle is an ‘easy buy’ for the new competitive shooter or practical field shooter. But what about optics? It can be very confusing and overwhelming when shopping for ‘just the right scope’. There are so many great scopes on the market it can be staggering to take in all of the options. We wanted to give you some hands-on impressions of one of the most popular picks for optics for the Ruger Precision Rifle and similar rifles in the ~$1000 price range: the Vortex Viper PST 6-24×50 riflescope.”
Gavin was very pleased with the Vortex Viper PST: “Having used this scope in a variety of scenarios, ranges, and over the course of more than 1/2 of a year, I’m confident with not only the scope itself, but the entire package: Rifle + Scope + Mount (rings).”
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MidwayUSA has just introduced a new compact shooting mat that should work great for varmint hunters as well as tactical competitors. The new MidwayUSA Lightweight Tactical Shooting Mat rolls up into a very compact 15″x 8″ package that fits into a handy carry pouch. Despite its light weight and portability, this mat has some nice features: 5 millimeter-thick close-cell foam padding, four corner tie-downs, and a water resistant, non-skid bottom. The rugged, abrasion-resistant exterior is constructed of 400D PVC-coated polyester fabric on top, with 1200D PVC-coated polyester on the bottom. There is also a data card pocket.
The price is right — as an introductory special, MidwayUSA is offering this new Lightweight Tactical Shooting Mat for just $29.99. You read that right — you can purchase the mat for just $29.99, thirty bucks off the regular $59.99 price. That’s a great deal…
When not in use, the mat conveniently stores in its included MOLLE-compatible, zippered pouch. Unrolled, the mat is 69″ long and 30.25″ wide. Rolled dimensions are 15″ x 8″. The MidwayUSA Lightweight Tactical Shooting Mat is currently offered in three colors: faded olive drab, black, and coyote tan (featured above).
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Are you fed up with all the “Tacticool” nonsense? Do you wonder about guys who are more into “macho” fashion statements than actually learning effective gun-handling skills? Are you tired of the whole “tactical lifestyle” silliness? Well so is respected firearms trainer David Spaulding. In this refreshingly frank and candid video, Dave speaks the “plain truth” about firearms training, pistols in particular.
Great “No-BS” Video — David Spaulding Calls Out Firearms Training Nonsense:
David explains that you don’t need to dress up like a Spec Ops Warrior. You don’t need a beard and you don’t need to wear tactical pants and combat boots. Jeans and sneakers work just fine.
David also says that too many people are caught up in hardware “one-upsmanship”. Get the pistol that works best for you — it doesn’t matter if it’s not the one used by Delta Force. Likewise, get the holster that fits YOU best, even if it’s not on the cover of Guns & Ammo magazine.
Most importantly, David says that, to be truly proficient with any firearm, you must TRAIN with that firearm in real life. Surfing the web won’t substitute for actual training time, David says. AccurateShooter.com agrees wholeheartedly — while this website provides a wealth of info on reloading, marksmanship, and other topics, you still need to get out to the range and train. There is no substitute for actual trigger time, preferably under the guidance of a competent mentor or instructor.
“The fact remains [that] if you really understood the psychological and financial trauma that occurs to someone when they take a life, you won’t want to do it. So the fascination with war-fighting, and gear, and killing people just does not make sense.
I’ll have people that contact me and say ‘What kind of trousers were you wearing?’ Who cares! They’re [just] a pair of pants…” — David Spaulding
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There’s no denying that 3-Gun competition is growing in popularity nationwide. Using a pistol, rifle and shotgun to shoot multiple targets at varying distances is exciting and challenging. Here are some pointers for performing better on the 3-Gun range by the USAMU’s SSG Daniel Horner, a two-time winner of Crimson Trace’s Midnight 3-Gun Invitational (M3GI) match.
Competing in Night-Time Stages
“I use the same gear all year long, so when it comes time for this match (the M3GI), I just adapt the guns, so they will work for the night time,” stated Daniel Horner. “I attach the Crimson Trace lasers and lights to the guns in whatever is the easiest way possible. Last year I just screwed a rail to my shotgun with wood screws. So, people can compete with pretty much whatever they have available and make it work.” Horner also recommends using a pair of head-mounted lamps. One can illuminate your firearms’ iron sights while the other headlamp is aimed at the targets.
The Precision Rifle Series (PRS) has introduced a new, price-capped Production Class in an effort to boost participation by making competition more affordable. Under recently-issued PRS rules, Production Class rifles may cost no more than $2000.00. The rules state:
“Production Division combined rifle and scope MSRP as listed on the company’s website shall not exceed $3,000 USD, the rifle shall not exceed $2,000 USD and the optic not exceed $2,000 USD.
Production Division rifles are not permitted to be altered or improved in any way from the original factory configuration.
In an effort to prevent exorbitant costs for beginning shooters, Production Division round count will not exceed 80 rounds.”
To fit the new Production Class Rules, MasterPiece Arms (MPA) has developed the new BA Lite PCR Competition Rifle built around a Savage Model 12 short action. Designed specifically for the new PRS Production Class, MPA’s PCR Competition Rifle offers many premium features yet stays under the $2,000 Class limit. The Savage action is upgraded with a Rifle Basix 2-lb trigger, and the adjustable, modular chassis offers a bag rider, barricade stop, and even a built-in bubble level. Bipods can be attached up front to a rail, with optional spigot mount. MPA PCR Rifles come with stainless Bergara barrels, 22-26 inches in length, fitted with MPA muzzle brakes (muzzle thread is 5/8-24 TPI).
MPA BA Lite PCR Competition Rifle Specifications:
Chamberings: 6mm Creedmoor, 243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 Win, 6.5 x 47 Lapua, 6mm x 47 Lapua
Action: Savage Model 12 Short Action
Trigger: Rifle Basix Savage Trigger Set to 2 lbs.
Barrel: Bergara 416R Stainless Premium Barrel Blank
Chassis: MPA BA Lite Chassis
Muzzle Brake: MPA High Performance Muzzle Brake
Magazine: AICS Type (10 Round Accurate/AICS Type Magazine Included)
Chassis Weight: 2.9 lbs. (Overall rifle weight depends on barrel length and contour.) MSRP: $1,999.99
Left-Hand and Right-Hand Models in Choice of Five Cerakote Colors
The MPA BA Lite PCR Competition Rifle is available in black, burnt bronze, flat dark earth, gunmetal, and tungsten in both left- and right-handed set ups. All chassis and barrels are Cerakoted® in a multitude of colors and patterns. (Custom patterns are $150.00 extra). Barrel lengths available include 22 inches through 26 inches. The barrel twist is caliber-specific and the barrel muzzle thread is 5/8-24 TPI.
Editor’s Note: While the MPA PCR Competition rifle has nice features, it’s hard not to compare it to the Ruger Precision Rifle costing hundreds less. The latest Gen 2 Ruger Precision Rifle, with a sleeker handguard and factory muzzle brake, is available for under $1500.00 “street price”. Ruger lists a $1599.00 MSRP for the Gen 2 RPR versus $1399.00 for Gen 1 models.
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It’s not easy to place a first shot on target at 1500 yards. You must measure the wind speed with precision, know your exact muzzle velocity, and have a sophisticated ballistics solver. In this short video from Ryansrangereport.com, the shooter manages a first-round hit on a steel silhouette at 1500 yards. He used a Kestrel 4500 NV Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics software to figure out the trajectory for his 6.5 Creemoor rounds.
The Kestrel recorded a wind velocity, and the internal software calculated a solution of 17 Mils elevation (that’s 928 inches of drop) with 2.5 Mils windage. “Bang” — the shooter sends it, and 2.6 seconds later “Clang” he had a hit (flight time was 2.6 seconds). Bryan Litz observes: “This is the science of accuracy (in the form of an Applied Ballistics Kestrel) being put to good use at 1500 yards”.
Later in the video (1:05-1:15) the shooter places three rounds on steel at 1000 yards in just 10 seconds. The three shots all fall within 10″ or so — pretty impressive for rapid fire. The shooter reports: “[In my 6.5 Creedmoor] I’m using a 136gr Lapua Scenar L. This bullet has impressed me. It screams out of my barrel at 2940 fps and holds on all the way out to 1,500 yards.”
The rifle was built by Aaron Roberts of Roberts Precision Rifles (RPRifles.com). Chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor, it features a Leupold Mark VI 3-18x44mm scope.
There are two segments on Shooting USA this week that are well worth watching. On Wednesday (May 18, 2016), Shooting USA features a lengthy segment on the Bushnell Brawl tactical match. This is followed by an “Impossible Shoots” episode featuring top USAMU shooter SSG Daniel Horner.
This Wednesday, May 18th, Shooting USA TV features the Bushnell Brawl, a tactical competition that draws top long-range shooters from the military, law enforcement and the civilian shooting communities. The match is held at the famed Rifles Only range in Kingsville, Texas. The Brawl is a one-of-a-kind physical and mental challenge that tests each shooter’s ability to read wind, figure ballistics, and adapt to difficult shooting scenarios. There is even a helicopter stage.
Shooting from a helicopter, shooting off of a wire, and shooting from the physically demanding maze called the Mouse Trap. These are just a few of the unique courses of fire at the Bushnell Brawl, part of the PRS series. Over the course of two days, competitors tackle more than a dozen stages, and this year Bushnell hosted a special one-day event for the new PRS Production Class. This new division should attract new shooters by limiting the cost of equipment — making PRS competition affordable.
New PRS Production Division — Lowering the Cost of Entry
The Production Division is a new PRS classification. Under Production Division rules, the rifle and scope must cost under $3,000, combined. All other accessories, such as bipod, rear bag, and the sling, can be added at the shooter’s own discretion. By lowering the cost of entry, PRS organizers hope to get more shooters involved: “There’s a lot of gear out there that’s not that expensive that you can use to get into this and start to play the game,” says Production Division Match Director Jacob Bynum.
Shooting USA’s Impossible Shots — Threading the Needle
This time, SSG Daniel Horner has combined with the Army Marksmanship Unit Gunsmiths to set up the ultimate Impossible Shot. Horner attempts to send one bullet through two barrels to pop a balloon.
This challenge is definitely demands the ability to “thread the needle”. In other trick shot challenges this week, Randy Oitker switches to a crossbow to set up his Annie Oakley-style, over the shoulder challenge. Julie Golob is your guide to some of the most amazing exhibition shots ever seen.
Shooting USA Hour on Wednesday Nights
Eastern Time – 3:00 PM, 9:00 PM, 12:30 AM Th
Central Time – 2:00 PM, 8:00 PM, 11:30 PM
Mountain Time – 1:00 PM, 7:00 PM, 10:30 PM
Pacific Time – 12:00 Noon, 6:00 PM, 9:30 PM
Also on Saturdays Prime Time:
Eastern Time – 12:30 AM
Central Time – 11:30 PM
Mountain Time – 10:30 PM
Pacific Time – 9:30 PM
The Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) has been a huge sales success. Nearly a year after its introduction, the RPR remains in very high demand. The first production run by Ruger essentially sold out, so it is very hard to find one for sale, in any caliber.
Though it has a big winner on its hands, Ruger has made some upgrades to its popular RPR. An “enhanced” RPR will be offered with a new handguard, bolt shroud, and muzzle brake. Two new models have been added to the RPR line-up, the model 18004 in .308 Win, and the model 18008 in 6.5 Creedmoor. These models, priced at $1599.00 MSRP, feature a new, low-profile handguard, a new aluminum bolt shroud, and a muzzle brake. The new handguard will work better for scopes with large front objectives. The muzzle brake should reduce felt recoil, but we do wonder whether accuracy might suffer. The brakeless, first-generation RPRs exhibited very good accuracy most of the time.
For the time being, the original model RPRs will be offered along with the new enhanced RPRs: “Both the original and enhanced configurations will be available from Ruger for a time, with the initial pattern being phased out as supplies are depleted.” (Source: American Rifleman). But there is a catch. The new models cost $200.00 more than Gen 1 RPRs. Ruger lists a $1599.00 MSRP for the enhanced RPRs versus $1399.00 for Gen 1 models.
To See NEW FEATURES, click the image below, then SCROLL down the page on the Ruger web page that loads. Yes, the VIDEO is there — you just have to scroll down.
According to American Rifleman, the new handguard has multiple benefits: “Still free-floating and KeyMod-compatible, the new design omits the original’s top-mounted Picatinny rail in order to increase scope clearance. Given the larger objective lenses utilized by long-range optics, this enhancement makes a lot of sense. The bottom surface of the new handguard is also contoured with a flatter surface, providing for a more stable foundation for the mounting of bipods than the original model.” Current RPR owners can purchase the new-style 15″ aluminum handguard for $249.95 from ShopRuger.com.
Ruger RPR Hybrid Muzzle Brake
The original, Gen 1 Ruger Precision Rifle had a threaded muzzle covered by a thread cap. The new “enhanced model” features a factory-installed “hybrid” brake fitted to the barrel. This brake combines radial holes in the rear half with large, angled side ports in the front. Ruger claims the brake reduces recoil almost 40% on a 6.5 Creedmoor. This brake can be purchased separately for $99.95 from ShopRuger.com.
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Here’s a new tactical-style rifle you should consider if you are involved in the Tactical/Practical shooting disciplines. It features a modern, adjustable Archangel stock with the smooth, made-in-Japan Howa 1500 action, outfitted with a detachable 10-round box magazine.
Legacy Sports, distributor for Howa rifles, is offering the new Howa Archangel Rifle in .223 Remington and .308 Winchester. The ambidextrous, carbon-reinforced polymer stock features a click-adjustable cheek-riser, adjustable length-of-pull, grip storage compartment, plus front/rear quick-detach flush cups. There is also a clevet, integrated, push-button bipod attachment system. The Howa actions mate precisely into the stock and ride on aluminum pillars.
In .223 Rem or .308 Win, the complete rifle, with either 20″ or 24″ barrel, starts at $915.00 MSRP, including 10-round mag. We expect the actual street price to be around $800.00. That makes this a more affordable alternative to the Ruger Precision Rifle, which is commanding $1200.00+ these days (if you can find one). Note: Archangel Mfg. offers this Howa 1500-compatible stock in Black, OD Green, and Desert Tan, but it appears that the initial Legacy Sports complete rifle will be in black only. These rifles are fitted with the very good HACT adjustable two-stage trigger and 3-position safety. The Howa Archangel rifle is also available (for about $230 more) in a scoped package with a 4-16x50mm Nikko Sterling Scope (see below). For more information call Legacy Sports at 1-800-553-4229 or visit LegacySports.com.
What do you get when you cut a 6.5 Creedmoor-chambered barrel down to just over 16 inches? A lot more velocity than you might think. Our friends at Rifleshooter.com recently did a barrel cut-down test with 6.5 Creedmoor test rifle, shortening the barrel from 27 to 16.1 inches in one-inch increments. Surprisingly, with a 142gr Sierra MK, the total velocity loss (as measured with a Magnetospeed) was just 158 FPS, an average of 14.4 FPS per inch of barrel length. With the lighter 120gr A-Max bullet, the total velocity loss was 233 FPS, or 21.8 FPS average loss per inch of barrel.
Five (5) rounds of each type of cartridge were fired at each barrel length and the velocity data was recorded with a MagnetoSpeed V3 barrel-mounted chronograph. The rifle was then cleared and the barrel was cut back one inch at a time from 27″ to just over 16″. NOTE: During this winter test, the air temperature was a very chilly 23° F. One would expect higher velocities across the board had the outside temperature been higher.
The photo below shows how the barrel was cut down, inch-by-inch, using a rotary saw. The barrel was pre-scored at inch intervals. As the main purpose of the test was to measure velocity (not accuracy) the testers did not attempt to create perfect crowns.
6.5 Creedmoor vs. Other Mid-Sized 6.5mm Cartridges
The 6.5 Creedmoor is a very popular cartridge with the tactical and PRS crowd. This mid-size cartridge offers good ballistics, with less recoil than a .308 Winchester. There’s an excellent selection of 6.5mm bullets, and many powder choices for this cartridge. When compared to the very accurate 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor offers similar performance with less expensive brass. For a tactical shooter who must sometimes leave brass on the ground, brass cost is a factor to consider. Here’s a selection of various 6.5 mm mid-sized cartridges. Left to right are: 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor with 120gr A-Max, 6.5 Creedmoor with 142gr Sierra MK, and .260 Remington.
When asked to compare the 6.5 Creedmoor to the 6.5×47 Lapua, Rifleshooter.com’s editor stated: “If you don’t hand load, or are new to precision rifle shooting, get a 6.5 Creedmoor. If you shoot a lot, reload, have more disposable income, and like more esoteric cartridges, get a 6.5×47 Lapua. I am a big fan of the 6.5×47 Lapua. In my personal experience, the 6.5×47 Lapua seems to be slightly more accurate than the 6.5 Creedmoor. I attribute this to the quality of Lapua brass.”
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Last summer we published our comprehensive 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide, researched by the 6.5 Guys. In case you’ve been wondering what kind of accuracy is possible for a tactical-type rifle chambered for this mid-sized cartridge, check out this tack-driver built by gunsmith Ryan Pierce. That’s a mighty impressive 0.206″ five-shot group fired with Berger 140gr Hybrids using a Brux cut-rifled barrel. The powder was Hodgdon H4350, a very good choice for this cartridge.
Ryan reports: “Here is a 6.5×47 I built for a customer. It features a trued Rem 700 action, Brux 1:8″ Rem varmint-contour barrel, Mcmillan thumbhole stock, Surgeon bottom metal, and 3-port muzzle brake. The customer’s preferred load is the same that has worked in the last couple dozen 6.5x47s I’ve built: 41.1-41.3 grains of H4350 with 140 hybrids .050″ off the lands. This should run about 2810-2815 fps from a 26″ barrel. The 3.128″ refers to length of a loaded round from the base to ogive including the Hornady ogive comparator tool.”
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We often get questions about the 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge — folks ask where they can find good resources for this cartridge, which is popular with Across-The-Course, High Power, and tactical shooters. We did some searching and found that the August 2011 digital edition of Shooting Sports USA has a good article for all fans of the 6.5 Creedmoor.
Development of the 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge
In the August 2011 Edition of Shooting Sports USA you’ll find a lengthy feature on the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. This story covers the origin of the cartridge and its performance both as a match cartridge and as a hunting round. Hornady Chief Ballistician Dave Emary explained: “the original intent of the cartridge was as an across-the-course match cartridge. We envisioned it as an off-the-shelf round that would produced the accuracy and ballistics to compete in all match disciplines right out of the box. At the same time we realized that the same characteristics would make an exceptional hunting cartridge with the right bullets.”
6.5 Creedmoor Brass No Longer Washed After Annealing
Here’s an interesting update on Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor brass and loaded ammo. In a move to improve case quality and neck uniformity, Hornady recently changed the 6.5 Creedmoor production process, eliminating the case-washing step after annealing. So now you will see annealing coloration on 6.5 Creedmoor brass, just like on Lapua brass. Dennis DeMille of Creedmoor Sports wanted to improve the consistency/uniformity of 6.5 Creedmoor case-necks. At Dennis’ suggestion, Hornady conducted tests which showed that the “standard industry practice” of washing brass could potentially alter the necks in undesirable ways. Bottom line, unwashed annealed brass was determined to have an accuracy edge over washed brass. Looking at these results, Hornady decided to forgo the post-anneal washing process. As a result, the latest 6.5 Creedmoor brass now displays the distinctive coloration left by neck/shoulder annealing. Learn something new every day, eh?
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Here’s an AR configuration suited to the new AR Mid-Range Prone Discipline: Moderate-length barrel, Harris Bipod, Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 4-12x40mm scope. Photobucket image by Ingo1978.
The NRA has created a new mid-range, target-shooting discipline for AR owners. The provisional rules for the new AR Mid-Range Prone Competition will allow calibers from .22 up to .308. Rifle weight will be limited to 14 pounds. Competitors may use Harris (or similar) compact, “tactical” bipods, and optics up to 12-power will be allowed (but iron sights can also be used). The goal of this new competition is to get the many AR owners to the range to compete.
The NRA’s Information Sheet for the new mid-range discipline explains: “These rifles are of the ‘AR-Platform’ variety, semi-automatic, chambered in any caliber from .223 cal./5.56mm. up to and including .308 cal./7.62mm. The courses of fire will be the same courses of fire currently used for other NRA Mid-Range (Prone) High Power Competition (300, 500, and 600 yards) and are designed to be fired concurrently with other forms of Mid-Range competition. The targets will be the same targets that are used for Service Rifle, Match Rifle, and Palma Rifle Mid-Range Prone competition. Mid-range telescopic sights will be allowed, but not required. Because this is prone competition, shooters may use tactical front rests such as Harris-type bipods and limited rear rests of the type one might find used in military or police tactical situations.”
A very prominent NRA member who works with the Competition Committee recently posted this explanation of the new AR discipline on our Forum:
NRA Mid-Range (Prone) Tactical Rifle (AR)
For those clubs and match directors who have members with ARs who want to shoot Mid-Range Prone but who don’t want (or can’t afford) to shoot traditional “sling” or F-Class, we have a new opportunity to get those ARs out of the closet and onto the range with very little in the way of additional costs:
It’s called Mid-Range Tactical Rifle (AR). A copy of the description and the Rules (Provisional) are attached as a PDF file and should be published by the NRA very soon. CAUTION — these are NOT official — but I think they are accurate:
In brief, here’s how it works:
1. The event will be fired concurrently with any other Mid-Range event, alongside of F-Class and “sling” divisions.
2. The Event will be fired on the “sling targets”.
3. AR Rifle General Standards:
Calibers: 223/5.56 up to and including .308/7.62mm
Weight: Overall weight not more than 14 pounds
Support: Harris-type “tactical bipod” (no large F-Class bipods).
Optics: Scope not more than 12X
Barrel: Not more than 20″
Trigger: Trigger pull not less than 4.5 pounds
4. This is NOT F-Class — this is designed to be closer to “tactical”. F-Class competition gear is generally illegal; competition stocks are generally illegal. [The event] is designed to attract more law enforcement and/or military (maybe local National Guard?) and other “tactical shooters” out to the range shooting for precision. For more info, check out the attached PDF file.
You’ll find a discussion of this new AR Mid-Range discipline in our Shooters’ Forum, HERE: AR Mid-Range Match Forum Thread. Here are some interesting comments from that thread:
“Opening up mid-range matches for ARs is a great idea. I’m not an AR guy myself, but I have lots of shooting friends who are. They tend to have a lot of ideas what their guns are capable of out to 600 yards, but most don’t take many opportunities to shoot them at those ranges, and none of the existing High Power disciplines are very appealing. Until now. I hope it doesn’t become an equipment race. A 185/200 is a respectable score even with a 12″ 10 ring. I hope everyone is supportive — helping get these guys on the paper and providing positive feedback even for scores that seem modest by F-Class standards.” — Comment by Berger.Fan222
“It looks like the recommended targets will be the same as conventional shooters use (i.e. ~1 MOA X-ring). Given the specifications for rifles/bipods/scopes/etc., I think this would be an appropriate level of difficulty to start. It will be challenging, particularly at 600 yards, but by no means impossible. Of course, at 600 yards, anyone shooting an AR15 (.223/5.56) will be at a disadvantage to ballistically-superior calibers unless they come up with a good way to load 80+ grain bullets that will mag-feed. Personally, I’d like to see this limited strictly to .223 ARs. Almost everyone has one and the mag feed requirement would really keep things even across the board. The inclusion of other calibers will allow this to become a ‘caliber race’ in that .223 will have a very hard time keeping up with other, better calibers at 600 yards.” — Comment by gstaylorg
“Looks like a great new addition. The PDF document says rule 7.20 for course of fire which is mid-range slow fire. I believe all slow fire is currently ‘one round loads’. The PDF explicitly states 10-, 20- or 30-round magazines and no sleds. Does anyone know if this new discipline would be fired from magazine or one-round loads? Shooting from magazine would be keeping with the ‘tactical’ aspect and enforcing mag-length loads. But it does not seem to jive with the ‘one round load’ currently stipulated for slow fire?” — Comment by Highpower-FClass
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This Wednesday (February 3, 2016), Shooting USA TV features the 2015 GAP Grind Pro-Am held at the K&M Shooting Complex in Finger, TN. Conducted in association with the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), the GAP Grind features a Pro/Am format with professional and amateur competitors vying for individual glory and team honors.
Here is Shooting USA Host John Scoutten (in Blue/White shirt)
Lots of Action, with 20+ Stages
The GAP Grind is a notoriously challenging, “high tempo” match with minimal down-time between stages. Over the course of 20+ stages, competitors will fire 200+ shots at a variety of steel, paper, moving, and reactive targets out to 1,200 yards. Targets vary in size/difficulty based on the shooter’s position, distance, and time allotted. Most stages include “stressors” — i.e. time limits or required movement(s).
GAP Grind Hardware Shelley Giddings, a skilled shooter of both firearms and cameras, snapped these images of state-of-the-art tactical rifles at the 2014 GAP Grind. See more firearms images on Shelley’s Facebook Page.
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A good sling is a vital accessory for a hunting or tactical rifle. Along with enabling over-the-shoulder carry, a good “tactical” sling will also provide support for shooting from hasty or improvised shooting positions. In fact, in many tactical/practical precision matches there will be at least one positional shooting stage or a stage where only a sling may be used for support (that means no bipod, no tripod, no sandbags, and no shooting sticks). The 6.5 Guys, Ed and Steve, recommend tactical slings that allow quick set-up and easy adjustment. The best slings allow shooters to quickly slip into them and then make rapid fine-tuning adjustments to build a stable shooting position.
Six Tactical/Practical Slings are Reviewed in this Video:
In this episode, Ed and Steve provide an overview and compare/contrast different designs and the functionality of six popular slings from these suppliers: Armageddon Gear, Tab Gear, Rifles Only, Hard Target Interdiction, Short Action Precision, and Accuracy International.
To learn more about tactical/practical shooting disciplines, or to access more shooting gear/accessories reviews by Ed and Steve, visit 65guys.com and subscribe to the 6.5 Guys’ YouTube Channel.
Video Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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