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August 13th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: Varmint Rifle Video Showcase

tactical hyve training pistol rifle video sights trigger milrad reticle ar15 self defense

Varminting for Fun — With Rimfires and Centerfires

One of the most fun things you can do with a rifle is to shoot varmints such as ground squirrels, prairie dogs, rockchucks, and groundhogs. There’s great satisfaction making a perfect hit on a critter that sends the beastie spinning in the air. Varminting also affords a great excuse to acquire more rifles, because it really does make sense to own and use multiple varmint rifles in various calibers.

Having multiple rifles on a varmint safari lets you preserve barrel life, and shoot lesser-recoiling calibers at the shorter distances. For example, with California ground squirrels, we like a .17 HMR inside 125 yards, then switch to a 20 Practical (20-223 Rem). For prairie dogs, you may want that 20 Practical, plus a nice .22 BR for 250-400 yards, and a .243 Ackley (or 6XC or 6mm CM) for long shots.

Seven Varmint Rifles — Rimfire and Centerfire
With 525,000 subscribers, the Backfire YouTube Channel is highly popular. The capable hosts provide honest, candid reviews. This video covers seven different varmint rigs. First off is the Air Arms TX 200 (00:25). Then the excellent .22 LR CZ 457 is featured (01:33), followed by a .223 Rem AR15-platform rifle (02:30). Next up is the .22 LR Christensen Arms Ranger 22 (03:40), which proved to be “crazy accurate”. Then the video showcases a Bergara Premier in 22-250 (04:20), an “excellent coyote gun that you could use on varmints as well”. Last up is the Ruger American Predator (05:20) in .17 HMR.

Five Varmint and Predator Rifles Reviewed
This video covers three major manufacturer centerfire varmint rifles: Remington Model 700 PCR (01:39), Winchester Model 70 Varmint Rifle (03:36), and Henry Long Ranger in .223 (08:02). The video also covers the Ruger American Rimfire Target rifle (07:04), and the interesting Stoeger RX20TAC Varmint Air Rifle (05:31). Airguns can be effective at close ranges on small varmints such as squirrels. But for an effective kill, we recommend at least a .17 Mach 2 (HM2) beyond 50 yards.

Three Varmint Rifles Reviewed — Savage .17 HMR, Ruger .22 Magnum, Howa .243 Winchester
This video covers two rimfires and a nice .243 Win centerfire. First up is a Ruger 77/22 in .22 WMR (Winchester Magnum Rimfire). This cartridge has a lot more punch than a standard .22 LR round. Next up is the very nice Savage A17 Thumbhole in .17 HMR. This semi-auto rifle offers nice ergonomics, good feed reliability, and very good accuracy at 100 yards (check out that 3-shot target at 100 yards). Last but not least, the video features the nice Howa 1500 Ranchland with Hogue stock, in this case chambered for the .243 Winchester. These Howas have a smooth-cycling action and nice HACT 2-stage trigger.


Ruger howa savage varmint rifles

.17 WSM — The Most Powerful .17 Cal Rimfire
We think that every varmint hunter should own a nice .17 Cal rimfire rig. Out to 200 yards or so the .17 WSM or .17 HMR is very effective on small varmints. It’s nice to be able to shoot affordable ammo out of the box and not have to scrounge for hart-to-find powder and primers. This video features a superb .17 Cal varmint rig, the Primal Rights TS Custom chambered for the impressive .17 WSM cartridge.


.17 17 WSM HMR Winchester short magnum rimfire rifle test

Long Range Rockchuck Adventure with Gunwerks Crew
This Gunwerks video showcases varmint hunting in the Western USA. In this video Aaron Davidson and the Gunwerks crew try out some new rifles on some rockchucks. Most of the the rifles were suppressed but the host said the rockchucks took cover after the first shot, so this required good coordination among shooters and spotters. A 6XC varminter is featured at 2:44 and there’s some nice drone footage starting at 2:00.

.22-250 Nails Ground Squirrels and Rock Hyraxes in South Africa
Here’s an interesting video from South Africa. The video maker starts with shots on ground squirrels. His .22-250 blasts them into little pieces. They he switches to more distant targets, a furry ground-hog size animal called the Rock Hyrax, Cape Hyrax, or Dassie. Mature Rock Hyraxes weigh 4-5 kilograms and have short ears and tail. These Rock Hyraxes are found at higher elevations in habitats with rock crevices, allowing them to escape from predators (but not skilled varmint hunters).


south africa rock hyrax dassie 22-250 kill hunt

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August 13th, 2022

Lead-Free Ammo Option for .17 WSM Shooters

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test
Photo Courtesy Varminter.com.

Some “progressive” states, such as California, are imposing broad new restrictions on the use of ammunition that contains lead. This is problematic for rimfire varmint shooters. Thankfully, Winchester now offers LEAD FREE 17 WSM ammunition. In this ammunition, zinc replaces lead in the bullet cores.

The team at Varminter.com has conducted an extensive test of Winchester’s new lead-free ammo. Over the course of multiple sessions, Varminter.com shot the ammo using no less than nine different rifles. Four, 5-shot groups were shot with each rifle from the bench at 100 yards.

Results were impressive. Average group size for a 1:9″-twist heavy barrel Savage B-Mag was a remarkable 0.5005 inches. Group size averages for seven of the eight other 17-cal rifles* ranged from 0.755 to 1.03 inches at 100 yards — pretty impressive for factory rimfire rigs. A LOT of time was invested in this test, and we recommend you read the full report on Varminter.com.

» READ FULL 17 WSM Lead-Free AMMO Review on Varminter.com

Fastest Rimfire Cartridge Ever
If you’re not familiar with this cartridge, the 17 WSM is the fastest, flattest-shooting rimfire round you can buy. It stomps the .22 LR, and even offers significantly better ballistics than the popular 17 HMR. This lead- free version is impressively flat-shooting. With a 100-yard zero, it drops only 4.3 inches at 200 yards. Compare that with a .22 LR which can drop 18 inches or more from 100 to 200 yards (based on 1150 fps MV).

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test

Zinc Replaces Lead in Winchester’s Eco-Friendly 17 WSM
For folks who live in areas where lead ammo is restricted, such as California, the arrival of this Lead Free 17 WSM is good news. Winchester’s new 17 WSM ammunition features a Zinc-cored, polymer-tipped 15-grain bullet with 0.118 G1 BC. The ammo is rated at a speedy 3300 FPS velocity. Winchester says that the zinc core and “thin alloy jacket with engineered sidewall profile” deliver “explosive fragmentation.”

Varminter.com winchester 17 WSM lead free no lead rifle test

*The ninth rifle, a Savage BMAG with original thin-contour barrel, was the “odd man out”. Accuracy was mediocre, averaging 1.763 inches.

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August 13th, 2022

Work on Your Breathing to SEE Better and SHOOT Better

Vision Eye Target Scope Relaxation Oxygen Target

Do you find that the crosshairs in your scope get blurry after a while, or that you experience eye strain during a match? This is normal, particularly as you get older. Focusing intensely on your target (through the scope or over iron sights) for an extended period of time can cause eye strain. Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce eye fatigue. For one — breathe deeper to take in more oxygen. Secondly, give your eyes a break between shots, looking away from the scope or sights.

In our Forum there is an interesting thread about vision and eye fatigue. One Forum member observed: “I have noticed recently that if I linger on the target for too long the crosshairs begin to blur and the whole image gradually darkens as if a cloud passed over the sun. I do wear contacts and wonder if that’s the problem. Anyone else experienced this? — Tommy”

Forum members advised Tommy to relax and breath deep. Increase oxygen intake and also move the eyes off the target for a bit. Closing the eyes briefly between shots can also relieve eye strain. Tommy found this improved the situation.

Vision Eye Target Scope Relaxation Oxygen Target

Phil H. explained: “Tom — Our eyes are tremendous oxygen hogs. What you are witnessing is caused by lack of oxygen. When this happens, get off the sights, stare at the grass (most people’s eyes find the color green relaxing), breath, then get back on the rifle. Working on your cardio can help immensely. Worked for me when I shot Palma. Those aperture sights were a bear! The better my cardio got the better and longer I could see. Same thing with scopes. Try it!”

Keith G. noted: “Make sure you are still breathing… [your condition] sounds similar to the symptoms of holding one’s breath.”

Watercam concurred: “+1 on breathing. Take a long slow deep breath, exhale and break shot. Also make sure you take a moment to look at the horizon without looking through rifle or spotting scope once in a while to fight fatigue. Same thing happens when using iron sights.”

Arizona shooter Scott Harris offered this advice: “To some extent, [blurring vision] happens to anyone staring at something for a long time. I try to keep vision crisp by getting the shot off in a timely fashion or close the eyes briefly to refresh them. Also keep moisturized and protect against wind with wrap-around glasses”.

Breathing Better and Relaxing the Eyes Really Worked…
Tommy, the shooter with the eye problem, said his vision improved after he worked on his breathing and gave his eyes a rest between shots: “Thanks guys. These techniques shrunk my group just a bit and every little bit helps.”

Read more tips on reducing eye fatigue in our Forum Thread: That Vision Thing.

To avoid eye fatigue, take your eyes away from the scope between shots, and look at something nearby (or even close your eyes briefly). Also work on your breathing and don’t hold your breath too long — that robs your system of oxygen.

eye vision Vince Bottomley

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August 12th, 2022

SSG Amanda Elsenboss Wins National President’s Rifle Match

SSG Amanda Elsenboss President's 100 National Guard CMP Camp Perry winner

Report based on story by Ashley Dugan, CMP Staff Writer
CAMP PERRY, Ohio – SSG Amanda Elsenboss, 33, of the Army National Guard, has made history – Amanda is the first-ever female to be the overall winner of the President’s Rifle Match, a notable marksmanship event first held in 1894.

The 2022 President’s Rifle Match (aka “President’s 100″) took place August 1st as part of the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry. The top 100 scoring competitors are dubbed the President’s One Hundred.

“This has been a longtime coming – everybody thinks of the President’s Hundred Match”, Elsenboss said, looking back on her own career. Amanda has been a recognizable force on the firing line for years, first as a junior shooter and then as a member of the USAMU rifle team. Amanda joined the Army in 2009 and was assigned to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU). There, she collected several titles, including national wins in service and long range rifle. At the 2021 National Matches, Amanda set a new national record score and was the overall individual competitor of the National Trophy Team (NTT) event – netting a near unbeatable score of 500-34X.

Last year’s National Matches was also her first as a member of the National Guard All Guard Marksmanship Team, which she joined in 2019. While on the team, she has experienced many big challenges on the firing line, and the 2022 President’s Rifle Match was no exception.

SSG Amanda Elsenboss President's 100 National Guard CMP Camp Perry winner
SSG Amanda Elsenboss receives awards from CMP Director Emeritus Gary Anderson.

Challenging Wind Conditions at 2022 President’s Match
This year’s President’s Match was tough. Winds were strong yet switchy throughout the day with tough, changing conditions. Yet Elsenboss managed a preliminary score of 297-9X – dropping only one point each in standing and prone positions.

“I shocked myself by shooting 99s everywhere, and I owe it to my teammates and the other competitors on the line who let me ask them what wind [calls] they were using,” she said. “The camaraderie between all of the competitors is so large that no one’s going to try to hurt you. Everyone’s looking out for you. And that makes a difference.”

Next came the President’s Match 20-person Shootoff – fired after the qualifying round from the day’s course of fire. Elsenboss had participated in the shootoff multiple times before, in 20th place and higher, but this year was her first starting in the lead position on the line. “Coming into the Shootoff with a three-point lead felt like enough of a buffer,” Elsenboss said.

SSG Amanda Elsenboss President's 100 National Guard CMP Camp Perry winner

As the Shootoff began, the conditions became even more challenging, with the strongest wind gusts of the day. Still, Elsenboss was confident. She put her rifle on three minutes, right where she thought it needed to be for her first record shot, and fired – a 7, to the right. “That’s not going to work”, she thought. Her next shots brought a 9 on the left and a 9 on the right. “I said to myself, ‘You’ve got it bracketed. Stop, and just put it right in the middle’”. She shot well, with her last shot a 10, for a 391-12X Shootoff Aggregate.

SSG Amanda Elsenboss President's 100 National Guard CMP Camp Perry winner

That score proved to be good for the Shootoff victory. SFC Brandon Green, her former USAMU teammate and 2018 President’s Match winner, came up to the firing line and told her, “Congrats, Champ!”. That was notable said Amanda: “I’ve known Brandon for almost as long as I’ve been shooting, and it means something that he would do that”.

SSG Amanda Elsenboss President's 100 National Guard CMP Camp Perry winner

Elsenboss finished the shootoff just above her teammate SGT Jonathan Wood and added the third consecutive President’s Rifle Match win for the Army National Guard team. The team also had the most members in the Shootoff of any service team.

After her win, fellow shooters and spectators congratulated her. Among her fans were young female competitors. Parents also thanked her for being a great example for the next generation. “I try my best to be an ambassador, being a female in a sport that’s a male dominant sport — knowing that juniors or other females in general maybe be intimidated and want to figure out shooting,” Elsenboss said.

Elsenboss remembers looking up to other lady shooters, such as Julia Watson (now Carlson) who was won national and international titles. Carlson was also the first female to win the National Matches National Trophy Individual (NTI) event back in 1998. “I was a junior, and that meant something to me,” Elsenboss said of Carlson and other influential women in the sport. “I thought, If they can do that, I can do that.”

SSG Amanda Elsenboss President's 100 National Guard CMP Camp Perry winner
Julia Carlson (in red) congratulates Amanda on her President’s Match victory.

From now on, no matter what she does or where she goes — Elsenboss will always be a fixture in the legacy of marksmanship and will undoubtedly carry on inspiring others. “Let’s continue this and see what we can do,” she said.

SSG Amanda Elsenboss President's 100 National Guard CMP Camp Perry winner

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August 12th, 2022

6mm Creedmoor Load Data from Sierra Plus PRB Bonus

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets
NOTE: The 6mm Creedmoor now does have an official SAAMI specification. It is no longer just a wildcat.

CLICK HERE for Sierra Bullets 6mm Creedmoor LOAD DATA PDF »

Sierra Bullets Load Data 6mm Creedmoor reloading tips

Sierra Bullets has published load data for the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge, a necked-down version of the popular 6.5 Creedmoor. Sierra has released very comprehensive 6mm Creedmoor load data, covering fifteen (15) different bullets from 55 to 110 grains. NOTE: Hornady-brand brass was used for Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor load tests, not the newer, stronger Lapua 6.5 CM brass with small primer pockets. Hand-loaders using Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass necked to 6mm may have to adjust their loads.

Sierra writes: “As soon as the 6.5 Creedmoor was released in 2007, a 6mm version was being envisioned. After the 6mm Creedmoor demonstrated its worth at 1000 yards it began to catch the attention of Precision Rifle Series (PRS) competitors. The 6mm Creedmoor is a great fit for those looking for an AR platform-friendly cartridge. It delivers velocities very similar to the .243 Win and yet fits the AR10 magazine length[.] The 30-degree shoulder makes this a very efficient case and helps prolong case life as well. The 6mm Creedmoor works well with powders such as H4350, [RE-16], RE-17, and Ramshot Hunter for heavier long-range bullet weights. Slightly faster powders such as RE-15, Win 760, and Vihtavuori N540 work well with lighter weight bullets.”

Sierra Bullets Tested for 6mm Creedmoor Load Data
55gr BlitzKing (#1502)
60gr HP (#1500)
70gr HPBT (#1505)
70gr BlitzKing (#1507)
75gr HP (#1510)
80gr SBT (#1515)
85gr Spitzer (#1520)
85gr HPBT (#1530)
90gr FMJBT (#1535)
95gr HPBT (#1537)
95gr TMK (#7295)
100gr Spitzer (#1540)
100gr SBT (#1560)
107gr HPBT (#1570)
110gr HPBT (#1575)

In developing its 6mm Creedmoor load data, Sierra tested a very wide selection of propellants, two dozen overall. For the smaller bullets, fast-burning powders such as Benchmark, H4895, and CFE223 were tested. For the heavier 100+ grain bullets, Sierra tested a selection of medium-burn-rate powders including H4350, Reloder 16, Reloder 17, Varget, and Superformance. Sierra did a very thorough job. We know this information will be welcomed by 6mm Creedmoor shooters.

Don’t know what powder to try first? For the 107-110 grain bullets, if you want best accuracy and low ES/SD, our Forum members recommend Alliant Reloder 16 and Hodgdon H4350. If you are seeking max velocity with the 110-grainer, look at Hodgdon Superformance and Reloder 19.

Here are Sierra’s 6mm Creedmoor Load Data Charts for 90-95 grain bullets plus the 107gr MK and 110gr MK. There are five other tables for other bullet types.

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets

6mm Creedmoor 6.5 Creedmoor load data Sierra Bullets


BONUS: PRB 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor Load Survey

The Precision Rifle Blog compiled Load Data from PRS Competitors, for both 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. This is a good place to start. PRB surveyed the match loads for “173 of the top-ranked precision rifle shooters in the country”. One cautionary note: These PRS guys may be loading fairly hot, so work up gradually, 0.3 grains at a time. CLICK HERE.

PRB precision rifle blog pet loads what pros use 6.5 Creedmoor 6mm CM

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August 12th, 2022

For Smoother Bullet Seating — The Dry Lube Option

Forster original caseneck case neck brass dry mica lube lubricator system

If you want smoother bullet seating, inside neck lube can help. Forum member Ackleyman II likes to add a little Mica powder inside his case necks before seating bullets. This is easily done with the Forster three-brush neck lube kit. Ackleyman tells us: “Many loads that I have will not shoot well with a dry neck compared to a neck that is cleaned and lubed with this [Forster Dry Lubricator] — the best $15 you have ever spent.” You can order from Midsouth, MidwayUSA, or Precision Reloading starting at $15.01.

The Forster Case Neck Lubricator features three brushes attached to a tough, impact-resistant case with holes for bench mounting. The brushes accommodate all calibers from 22 to 35 caliber. The kit includes enough “motor mica” to process 2000 to 3000 cases and has a cover to keep dust and grit from contaminating the mica. By moving the case neck up and down on the correct mica-covered brush, the neck can be cleaned and lubricated at the same time.

Function: Lubricate case necks for easier resizing
Contents: Kit with base, lid, and three nylon brushes
Lubricant: Includes 1/10 oz. of Motor Mica, enough to process 2000-3000 cases

Neck Lubrication After Ultrasonic Cleaning
If you wet-tumble your cases with stainless media and solvents or ultrasonically clean your brass, you may find that the inside of the case necks get too “squeaky clean”. The inside surface of the neck looses lubricity. In this situation, applying a dry lube can definitely be beneficial. CLICK HERE to see story about ultrasonic cleaning.

Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning

ultrasonic brass cleaning neck lubricant moly dry lube

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August 11th, 2022

Inertial Trigger is a Great, Low-Cost Upgrade for LabRadars

LabRadar chronograph to register bullet speed JKL inertial trigger recoil activated

SUMMARY: This article reviews a device that “triggers” the LabRadar chronograph to register bullet speed. Rather than activate by sound or Doppler reading, this $35 JKL Inertial Trigger works from the rifle’s instantaneous recoil pulse when a shot is fired. After some frustration with his LabRadar when shooting at a range with reflective surfaces, our tester is now reporting that 100% of his actual shots are being captured correctly by his LabRadar chrono equipped with the JKL Inertial Trigger. He won’t use his LabRadar without it now. Other users have become instant fans of this inertial LabRadar trigger as well. It is very affordable and it works great. VIEW LARGE PHOTO.

JKL Inertial Trigger for LabRadar Chronograph

Product Review by F Class John
The LabRadar chronograph has been one of the most revolutionary tools in the shooting world because of how it collects velocity data, how it reports (and stores) that data, and, ultimately, the ease with which it can be positioned and operated. However, it’s not a perfect system. A majority of the complaints come from users whose LabRadars sometimes fail to record all the shots fired in a string. For the average plinker, this may not be an issue. But for serious shooters trying to do ladder tests or load development requiring all shots to be reported, it can be frustrating when a shot is missed.

LabRadar chronograph to register bullet speed JKL inertial trigger recoil activated

Traditionally, LabRadar has recommended trying different settings that compensate for the gap between the unit and muzzle as well as well as having different options for how the unit recognizes a shot fired. While these options work to some degree, they aren’t a guaranteed fix especially when shooting at ranges with concrete baffles or with roofs, walls, and dividers that can alter sound waves. While nobody can precisely explain why shots are lost under certain circumstances, the fact remains it DOES happen. In addition, the default system can sometimes pick up stray shots from nearby rifles.

Not willing to give up on this sophisticated chronograph, many shooters have looked for a foolproof way to prevent such failures from happening. In fact, for this shooter, the frustration was so high that I actually sold my first LabRadar and went back to another chronograph before ultimately buying another LabRadar almost a year later. But I made that repeat purchase only after vowing to finding a way to make the LabRadar work — EVERY time, for EVERY shot.

See How JKL Inertial Trigger Works in this Video

JKL Inertial Trigger — Outstanding Product That Works Great
Enter the JKL Trigger for the LabRadar. This is an easy-to-use, inertial-driven trigger that activates simply from the recoil of your gun. The unit consists of a small rectangular pad attached to a long audio cable. All you do is plug in the audio cable, attach the pad to your gun with the provided hook and loop (Velcro) material. Then (important), you must change the LabRadar trigger settings from “Doppler” to “Trigger”. The unit works great and is easy to set up. In my experience, the unit will activate no matter where you place it on a stock. However the recoil of every gun is slightly different, so you will need to make sure you find a location that doesn’t interfere with your shooting setup.

LabRadar chronograph to register bullet speed JKL inertial trigger recoil activated

An unexpected benefit of using the JKL trigger is that it gives you a larger area in which to place your Labradar unit, making it more convenient to setup on benches or range stations. I found this a welcome relief since the LabRadar originally seemed somewhat fussy about where I placed it. Now I can place the LabRadar in more convenient locations — as long as it’s still near my gun and pointed at the target correctly, I get consistent bullet speed data.

LabRadar chronograph to register bullet speed JKL inertial trigger recoil activated

Are There Issues with “False Positives”?
If there is any downside to using the JKL Inertial Trigger, it’s that a very hard bump or aggressive working of the action can trigger a false reading. However these are easy to identify in your data, because the speed value is way lower than true fired shot values. Simply remove that low entry or otherwise ignore it in your calculations. To be fair, this “bump activation” really doesn’t happen very often once you get used to using the inertial trigger.

SUMMARY — Outstanding Accessory for LabRadar Users
Bottom line — if you own a LabRadar, then definitely get a JKL Inertial Trigger. Priced at just $35.00 this device is not expensive, yet it’s one of the most effective accessories you can buy for the LabRadar. I’ve recommended these inertial triggers to dozens of shooters. Every one of those guys who did buy a JKL trigger says they can’t imagine using a LabRadar without one. If you love what the LabRadar can do, but have been frustrated with shots not getting recorded 100% of the time, then definitely get yourself a JKL Inertial Trigger. It turns a good system into an amazing system. JKL Industries states that its inertial trigger “will work on anything from a .22 LR to a suppressed system or with standard rifle and brake.”

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August 11th, 2022

How Sound Can Hurt Your Hearing and Protection Options

Hearing Protection DB sound level ear plug muff

“Science tells us that exposure to continuous noise of 85 dB for eight hours is enough to cause permanent hearing loss, and worse, spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly.” Source: NRA Blog.

The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”Effective hearing protection is a must whenever you are shooting firearms or when you are in the vicinity of gun-shots. For ultimate protection, we recommend a good set of tapered foam earplugs, topped by ear-muffs. However, there are situations when you may prefer lighter-weight hearing protection that can be quickly removed. For example, if you are standing well behind the firing line as an observer, or if you are working as a rangemaster or waddie some distance away from the shooters.”

hearing protection db NRR deafness ear muffs plugs

Sound Levels for Common Noises:

9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB

Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB

.22 LR pistol: 134 dB

Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB

Noisy Nightclub: 110 db

Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db

Power Lawnmower: 95 dB

Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)

Ringing Telephone: 80 dB

Normal conversation: 60 dB

What about suppressors? If you use a suppressor is it OK to dispense with hearing protection? Not really. Even the most effective suppressors, on the smallest and quietest calibers (.22 LR), reduce the peak sound level of a gunshot to between 110 to 120 dB. To put that in perspective, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), that is as loud as a jackhammer (110 dB) or an ambulance siren (120 dB). For normal caliber handguns and rifles, suppressed sound levels routinely exceed 130 dB, just shy of OSHA’s “hearing safe” threshold of 140 dB. Accordingly, we recommend use of hearing protection even when shooting suppressed.

Compact, Low-Profile NRR 27 dB-Rated Ear Muffs

walker shooting hearing protection muffs 27 db NRR

Many hunters and competitive shooters prefer low-profile ear muffs. As these typically have a lower Noise Reduction Rating, perhaps NRR 22-27, we recommend running earplugs under muffs. If you use low-profile electronic muffs, such as Howard Leight Impact Sport Muffs, you should still be able to hear range commands even with plugs underneath.

Another good option for hunters and range visitors are hearing bands, basically earplugs connected with a semi-rigid plastic band. These banded products provide “quick access” hearing protection for hunters. You can keep them handy around the neck while spotting game, and then insert the plugs before shooting.

Howard Leight MAX NRR 33 Earplugs, Just $9.40 for 20 Pairs

accurateshooter.com review Max-1 Howard Leight ear plugs

20 Pairs
50 Pairs

These Howard Leight NRR 33 Max-1 Plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Howard Leight foam plugs in my ears 3-4 days a week. They are comfortable and the flared outer edge helps the NRR. There is also a Max-30 corded version, with the same excellent 33 dB Noise Reduction Rating. Get five pairs of Max-30 Corded Plugs for $6.80 on Amazon, or 25 pairs of Max-30s for $14.50.

Note, if you prefer thin, light-weight earmuffs, we recommend running earplugs underneath for double protection while shooting firearms (or when you’re on the firing line). Sound experts tell us that running plugs and muffs together can effectively improve your effective noise reduction by 4-7 dB NRR.

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August 11th, 2022

How to Determine a Barrel’s TRUE Twist Rate

FirearmsID.com barrel rifling diagram
Erik Dahlberg illustration courtesy FireArmsID.com.

Sometimes you’ll get a barrel that doesn’t stabilize bullets the way you’d anticipate, based on the stated (or presumed) twist rate. A barrel might have 1:10″ stamped on the side but it is, in truth, a 1:10.5″ twist or even a 1:9.5″. Cut-rifled barrels, such as Kriegers and Bartleins, normally hold very true to the specified twist rate. With buttoned barrels, due to the nature of the rifling process, there’s a greater chance of a small variation in twist rate. And yes, factory barrels can be slightly out of spec as well.

After buying a new barrel, you should determine the true twist rate BEFORE you start load development. You don’t want to invest in a large supply of expensive bullets only to find that that won’t stabilize because your “8 twist” barrel is really a 1:8.5″. Sinclair International provides a simple procedure for determining the actual twist rate of your barrel.

Sinclair’s Simple Twist Rate Measurement Method
If are unsure of the twist rate of the barrel, you can measure it yourself in a couple of minutes. You need a good cleaning rod with a rotating handle and a jag with a fairly tight fitting patch. Utilize a rod guide if you are accessing the barrel through the breech or a muzzle guide if you are going to come in from the muzzle end. Make sure the rod rotates freely in the handle under load. Start the patch into the barrel for a few inches and then stop. Put a piece of tape at the back of the rod by the handle (like a flag) or mark the rod in some way. Measure how much of the rod is still protruding from the rod guide. You can either measure from the rod guide or muzzle guide back to the flag or to a spot on the handle.

Next, continue to push the rod in until the mark or tape flag has made one complete revolution. Then re-measure the amount of rod that is left sticking out of the barrel. Use the same reference marks as you did on the first measurement. Next, subtract this measurement from the first measurement. This number is the twist rate. For example, if the rod has 24 inches remaining at the start and 16 inches remain after making one revolution, you have 8 inches of travel, thus a 1:8″-twist barrel.

Determining Barrel Twist Rate Empirically
Twist rate is defined as the distance in inches of barrel that the rifling takes to make one complete revolution. An example would be a 1:10″ twist rate. A 1:10″ barrel has rifling that makes one complete revolution in 10 inches of barrel length. Rifle manufacturers usually publish twist rates for their standard rifle offerings and custom barrels are always ordered by caliber, contour, and twist rate. If you are having a custom barrel chambered you can ask the gunsmith to mark the barrel with the twist rate.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip Post comment »
August 10th, 2022

Four Ammo Safety Checks to Do Every Time BEFORE You Shoot

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Here’a useful article by Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager Carroll Pilant. This story, which originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog, covers some of the more common ammo problems that afflict hand-loaders. Some of those issues are: excessive OAL, high primers, and improperly-sized cases. Here Mr. Pilant explains how to avoid these common problems that lead to “headaches at the range.

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

I had some gentlemen at my house last fall getting rifle zeros for an upcoming elk hunt. One was using one of the .300 short mags and every 3rd or 4th round would not chamber. Examination of the case showed a bulge right at the body/shoulder junction. These were new cases he had loaded for this trip. The seating die had been screwed down until it just touched the shoulder and then backed up just slightly. Some of the cases were apparently slightly longer from the base to the datum line and the shoulder was hitting inside the seating die and putting the bulge on the shoulder. I got to thinking about all the gun malfunctions that I see each week at matches and the biggest percentage stem from improper handloading techniques.

One: Check Your Cases with a Chamber Gage

Since I shoot a lot of 3-gun matches, I see a lot of AR problems which result in the shooter banging the butt stock on the ground or nearest solid object while pulling on the charging handle at the same time. I like my rifles too well to treat them that way (I cringe every time I see someone doing that). When I ask them if they ran the ammo through a chamber gage, I usually get the answer, “No, but I need to get one” or “I didn’t have time to do it” or other excuses. The few minutes it takes to check your ammo can mean the difference between a nightmare and a smooth running firearm.

A Chamber Gauge Quickly Reveals Long or Short Cases
Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Size Your Cases Properly
Another problem is caused sizing the case itself. If you will lube the inside of the neck, the expander ball will come out a lot easier. If you hear a squeak as the expander ball comes out of a case neck, that expander ball is trying to pull the case neck/shoulder up (sometimes several thousandths). That is enough that if you don’t put a bulge on the shoulder when seating the bullet … it can still jam into the chamber like a big cork. If the rifle is set up correctly, the gun will not go into battery and won’t fire but the round is jammed into the chamber where it won’t extract and they are back to banging it on the ground again (with a loaded round stuck in the chamber). A chamber gage would have caught this also.

Bad_Primer_WallsOversizing cases also causes problems because the firing pin doesn’t have the length to reach the primer solid enough to ignite it 100% of the time. When you have one that is oversized, you usually have a bunch, since you usually do several cases at a time on that die setting. If the die isn’t readjusted, the problem will continue on the next batch of cases also. They will either not fire at all or you will have a lot of misfires. In a bolt action, a lot of time the extractor will hold the case against the face of the breech enough that it will fire. The case gets driven forward and the thinner part of the brass expands, holding to the chamber wall and the thicker part of the case doesn’t expand as much and stretches back to the bolt face. If it doesn’t separate that time, it will the next time. When it does separate, it leaves the front portion of the case in the chamber and pulls the case head off. Then when it tries to chamber the next round, you have a nasty jam. Quite often range brass is the culprit of this because you never know how many times it has been fired/sized and in what firearm.’Back to beating it on the ground again till you figure out that you have to get the forward part of the case out.

Just a quick tip — To extract the partial case, an oversized brush on a cleaning rod [inserted] and then pulled backward will often remove the case. The bristles when pushed forward and then pulled back act like barbs inside the case. If you have a bunch of oversized case that have been fired, I would dispose of them to keep from having future problems. There are a few tricks you can use to salvage them if they haven’t been fired though. Once again, a case gage would have helped.

Two: Double Check Your Primers

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Another thing I see fairly often is a high primer, backwards primer, or no primer at all. The high primers are bad because you can have either a slam fire or a misfire from the firing pin seating the primer but using up its energy doing so. So, as a precaution to make sure my rifle ammo will work 100% of the time, I check it in a case gage, then put it in an ammo box with the primer up and when the box is full, I run my finger across all the primers to make sure they are all seated to the correct depth and you can visually check to make sure none are in backwards or missing.

Three: Check Your Overall Cartridge Length

Trying to load the ammo as long as possible can cause problems also. Be sure to leave yourself enough clearance between the tip of the bullet and the front of the magazine where the rounds will feed up 100%. Several times over the years, I have heard of hunters getting their rifle ready for a hunt. When they would go to the range to sight in, they loaded each round single shot without putting any ammo in the magazine. On getting to elk or deer camp, they find out the ammo is to long to fit in the magazine. At least they have a single shot, it could be worse. I have had hunters that their buddies loaded the ammo for them and then met them in hunting camp only to find out the ammo wouldn’t chamber from either the bullet seated to long or the case sized improperly, then they just have a club.

Four: Confirm All Cases Contain Powder

No powder in the case doesn’t seem to happen as much in rifle cartridges as in handgun cartridges. This is probably due to more handgun ammo being loaded on progressive presses and usually in larger quantities. There are probably more rifle cartridges that don’t have powder in them than you realize though. Since the pistol case is so much smaller internal capacity, when you try to fire it without powder, it usually dislodges the bullet just enough to stick in the barrel. On a rifle, you have more internal capacity and usually a better grip on the bullet, since it is smaller diameter and longer bearing surface. Like on a .223, often a case without powder won’t dislodge the bullet out of the case and just gets ejected from the rifle, thinking it was a bad primer or some little quirk.

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

For rifle cases loaded on a single stage press, I put them in a reloading block and always dump my powder in a certain order. Then I do a visual inspection and any case that the powder doesn’t look the same level as the rest, I pull it and the one I charged before and the one I charged after it. I inspect the one case to see if there is anything visual inside. Then I recharge all 3 cases. That way if a case had powder hang up and dump in the next case, you have corrected the problem.

On progressive presses, I try to use a powder that fills the case up to about the base of the bullet. That way you can usually see the powder as the shell rotates and if you might have dumped a partial or double charge, you will notice as you start to seat the bullet if not before. On a progressive, if I don’t load a cartridge in one smooth stroke (say a bullet tipped over sideways and I raised the ram slightly to reset it) Some presses actually back the charge back adding more powder if it has already dumped some so you have a full charge plus a partial charge. When I don’t complete the procedure with one stroke, I pull the case that just had powder dumped into it and check the powder charge or just dump the powder back into the measure and run the case through later.

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August 10th, 2022

Firearms Storage Quiz — Are YOUR Guns Stored Safely?

NSSF resources quiz new firearm gun owner

Gun safety is not just about safe firearms handling and safe shooting. Your guns need to be safe and SECURE during the 95+% of the time they are NOT in use. This article offers a helpful Firearm Storage and Safety Assessment Quiz. This walks gun owners through questions related to safe handling and storage of firearms. Here is Part One of the Quiz. If you click on this part, you can complete the entire Quiz and see how you score.

CLICK HERE to Take Gun Storage and Safety Quiz »

NSSF resources quiz new firearm gun owner

Firearms Safe Storage Video

Safe Gun Storage/Transport in Vehicles | Ten Tips for Firearms Safety at Home

NSSF resources quiz new firearm gun owner

Other Gun Safety Resources

NSSF resources quiz new firearm gun owner

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August 10th, 2022

Lapua Monach Cup 2022 Commences in Ridgway, PA

ridgway silhouette championship lapua monarch cup

The 2022 Lapua Monarch Cup kicked off in Pennsylvania this week. The first leg of the Lapua Monarch Cup was held August 8-9, 2022 in conjunction with the NRA Smallbore Rifle Silhouette Championship at the Ridgway Rifle Club in Ridgway, PA.

In its inaugural year, the Lapua Monarch Cup is a series of smallbore silhouette shooting matches hosted in two different countries: United States and Mexico. Competitors earn points from each match within their respective classification (Master, AAA, AA, & A), giving all shooters an opportunity for over $100,000 in cash and prizes. Lapua’s Monarch Cup is recognized as the must-attend event of the silhouette shooting world — the premiere Silhouette series. For more information visit lapuamonarchcup.com.

Lapua monarch cup

Smallbore silhouette shooting is a fun and challenging shooting discipline that has competitors taking aim at a variety of steel chickens, pigs, turkeys and rams. Shooters, standing and unsupported, take aim at four banks of silhouettes at increasing distances, shooting 40 targets in all. For every silhouette knocked down, the competitors earn one point. Smallbore shooters are shooting at distances of 40, 60, 77 and 100 meters, and High Power at 200, 300, 385 and 500 meters.

ridgway silhouette championship lapua monarch cup

About Lapua
Lapua produces the highest quality small caliber cartridges and components for civilian and professional use. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com.

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August 9th, 2022

+One Movement — Bring Someone New to the Range this Month

nssf august shooting sports month

August is National Shooting Sports Month. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), encourages every avid shooter to take one new person to a shooting range this month. Let that newcomer experience the fun of pistol, rifle, or shotgun shooting. The NSSF states: “One trip to the range can be all it takes to create a new recreational shooter. Share your passion and invite a friend on your next trip to the range.”

nssf august shooting sports month plus one +1

The +One Movement is intended to expand the number of participants in the shooting sports — something we need if we want to preserve our rights, which are under attack now from politicians in Washington.

nssf august shooting sports month plus one +1

Find Shooting Sports Events Near You
The NSSF’s ShootingSportsMonth.org website offers a comprehensive, searchable database. This lets you search by state, to find ranges, events, and sales promotions near you. Visit the NSSF online database of NSSM shooting events to find matches, clinics, training sessions, special sales — and much more.

nssf august shooting sports month plus one +1

nssf august shooting sports month plus one +1

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August 9th, 2022

The Packable 3.5-lb Henry AR-7 — Unique Rimfire Rifle

henry u.s. survival rifle AR-7 AR7 .22 LR rimfire take-down

The Henry AR-7 Survival rifle is a unique rifle. Weighing just 3.5 pounds, this little semi-auto rimfire can perform pest-control duties for a farmer or rancher, or serve as a utility rifle carried in a truck or ATV. The cleverly-designed AR-7 is affordably priced, just $289.99 at Sportsman’s Warehouse.

henry u.s. survival rifle AR-7 AR7 .22 LR rimfire take-down

We think most gun-owners would enjoy adding an AR-7 to their collection. The Henry AR-7 breaks down for easy carry in a backpack or a vehicle. The barrel, receiver, and magazines all fit INSIDE the buttstock. That’s handy. And this little 3.5-pound rifle offers surprisingly good accuracy.

If you don’t like basic black, Henry offers two camo versions from the factory: True-Timber Kanati Camo, and Viper Western Camo. Click the photo below for full-screen (2048 pixel wide) image:

henry u.s. survival rifle AR-7 AR7 .22 LR rimfire take-down

Or, if you have artistic skills (and confidence with spray cans), you can paint your AR-7 yourself, as this owner did. The talented gun-painter reports: “[This is a] great little gun that is accurate and I love how it packs away. I paint all my black guns. Already took a grouse at 16 yards.”

henry u.s. survival rifle AR-7 AR7 .22 LR rimfire take-down

History of the Henry AR-7 Rifle
Starting in 1959 the AR-7 was provided to U.S. Air Force fliers as a survival rifle to use if they were stranded in a remote area. Today the AR-7 is a favorite of bush pilots, backpackers, and backcountry adventurers who, like their Air Force counterparts, need a rifle that’s easy to carry yet can take down small game. Like the original Henry U.S. Survival Rifle, this innovative, semi-automatic rimfire rig is lightweight (3.5 lbs.) and highly portable. At just 16.5″ long, with all components stowed, it easily fits into a backpack, or the cargo area of an ATV, truck, boat. or plane. The AR-7 is chambered in .22 LR so you can carry plenty of ammo without adding much weight to your gear. When disassembled, all the pieces fit inside the impact-resistant, water-resistant stock.

henry u.s. survival rifle AR-7 AR7 .22 LR rimfire take-down

Assembly is as easy as attaching the receiver to the stock, inserting the barrel, and screwing on the barrel nut. In a few seconds, without any tools, the Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 is ready for action. It now comes standard with a steel barrel covered in tough ABS plastic with a protective coating for corrosion resistance. The Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 is available in three finishes; Black, True Timber Kanati Camo Pattern, and True Timber Viper Western Camo Pattern. All models are equipped with an adjustable rear sight and a blade front sight. As you can see below, the built-in storage can be used to hold magazines and ammunition as well as the rifle components.

henry u.s. survival rifle AR-7 AR7 .22 LR rimfire take-down

Another AR-7 owner posted this review:

Simple Goodness: Henry AR-7 — Fun Modern Version of a Classic
Henry got this modern take of the AR-7 right. Gentle finger-tighten is all it takes to assemble. The funky orange plastic sight on the end of the barrel is kind of loud, but was also easy to target with. Brand spanking new, I was getting grapefruit-sized patterns out of each 8-round mag at 50 feet. For a compact take-down, was surprised that length-of-pull was satisfactory for a six-foot guy. It didn’t feel cramped.

For realistic backpack, bail-out, or bug-out situations this would be a smart choice. It was fussy with a single Rem Golden in the first mag… but after that no problems, and no issues at all with Federal and CCI. The safety is right-handed but large and easy to get used to. The charge handle retracts so [you must] pull it up before pulling back, but that motion seemed to become reflexive pretty quickly. The mag eject is in front of the trigger and pushes forward. All in all, [the AR-7 offers a] really nice, compact form factor. [It is] light, perfect for backpack plinking and … low-rent varmint sniping.

Inset photos from Sportsman’s Guide Customer Gallery.
Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
August 9th, 2022

Firearms Storage Options — Hidden in Plain Sight

hidden gun safe Tactical Walls concealment

When you want a firearm for home defense instantly available, you don’t necessarily want it buried in a large gun safe in a remote section of your house. There are reasons you may want a rifle, pistol, or shotgun ready to be deployed quickly. One solution for this is the “hidden in plain sight” option. Using common household furniture or house features (such as vents and mirrors), you can stash a firearms where it can be quickly accessed, but no unwelcome visitor will suspect it is stored. This article presents some popular gun storage options.

Virginia-based Tactical Walls is a leader is specialized gun storage/concealment systems. This company offers a variety of USA-made furniture/decorative options for gun storage. There are mirror assemblies, sliding wooden flags, tables with hidden storage, bookcases, shelving units, and more. The General Manager of Tactical Walls is Dennis DeMille, formerly GM of Creedmoor Sports, and a talented marksman.

Creedmoor sports Tactical Walls Dennis Demille GM General Manager concealment

Dennis tells us: “Tactical Walls was the pioneer in concealing firearms in plain sight”. He says this company has great creativity and impressive production capabilities. View all Tactical Walls concealment gun storage options at TacticalWalls.com.

Hidden in Plain Sight — Guide Gear Vent Pistol Locker

hidden gun safe Tactical Walls concealment

This clever “imposter vent” should fool any unwanted visitors. This Guide Gear Hide-A-Gun vent storage unit is just $34.99 on Amazon. NOTE: This will require installation in the wall, with attachment to studs.

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August 8th, 2022

BargainFinder 359: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

NOTE: All listed products are for sale to persons 18 years of age or older. No products are intended for use by minors.

1. Bullet Central — Krieger and Bartlein Pre-Fit Barrels

pre fit barrels
Great quality pre-fit barrels, ready to mount to your rifle

Do you own a Kelbly, BAT, or Impact action and need a new barrel but don’t want the hassle (and cost) of having a smith chamber and headspace the barrel? Consider a Krieger or Bartlein Pre-Fit Barrel from Bullet Central. On BulletCentral.com you’ll find a wide range of barrels in various calibers for multiple action types. Place your order for professionally-chambered, custom-grade barrels that you can install yourself.

2. EuroOptic — Trijicon Riflescope Clearance

eurooptic trijicon scope riflescope sale discount
Trijicon makes excellent optics, now with HUGE discounts

Trijicon scopes are some of the best value riflescopes on the market. They have good glass, are sharp, and very reliable. And now, EuroOptic is offering Trijicon riflescopes at crazy low clearance prices. You can save over $1600 on the Ten Mile 4.5-30x56mm scope and save over $1100 on the Ten Mile 3-18x50mm model. With Trijicon discounts exceeding 60%, this could be the best deal you’ll see on scopes of this quality.

3. MidwayUSA — Caldwell Rock BR Rest + Rear Bag, $109.99

Caldwell Rock rest and rear bag
Good inexpensive system for varminters or sight-in duties

Need a good basic front rest and rear bag to sight-in that hunting rifle? Here’s a solid, functional benchrest set-up at a great price. This Caldwell Rock BR Rest and Bag Combo is great combo deal for just $109.99. This will more than suffice for testing a hunting rifle or basic bench-work. Upgrade the rear bag later. The front rest adjusts for both windage and elevation. This is a very good deal — consider that the Rock BR Rest by itself sells for $135.99 on Amazon.

4. CDNN Sports — Talon Armament Gryphon GAR15, $499.99

AR-15 AR PA-15 Modern sporting rifle sale discount palmetto armory
Get a quality AR-platform .223/5.56 rifle while you can

With the anti-gunners in Congress pushing radical legislation, it may be time to pick up an AR-platform Modern Sporting Rifle before it’s too late. The Democrats in Washington are pushing for a complete ban on modern, mag-fed semi-automatic rifles. But right now, for just $499.99, you can get the Talon Armament Gryphon GAR15 rifle. This features a 16″, 1:7″-twist barrel, with a 15″ M-LOK rail on the handguard, and adjustable T-Force stock. Save hundreds with this deal.

5. Midsouth — Lyman Presses and Reloading Kits on Sale

Lyman Single Stage Victory Press C-Frame Ideal Turret Press reloading kit sale
Big discount on quality Lyman Single Stage Victory Press

Lyman makes excellent single-stage and turret presses. Right now you can save up to 22% on Lyman presses and reloading kits at Midsouth. The versatile Victory Single Stage Press is marked down to $149.99, a $46.00 savings. Lyman’s compact Ideal C-Frame Press is on sale by itself for $98.99 or get a full Ideal C-Frame Reloading Kit with this press, powder measure, primer tool, reloading handbook and more for just $234.99. There is also a deluxe Kit with Lyman 8-station Turret Press for $439.99.

6. CDNN Sports — AR-15 Magazines Starting at $8.99

cdnn ar15 ar-15 MSR magazine mag high-capacity polymer aluminum steel sale
Huge selection of metal and polymer AR mags 5rd to 42rd

The gun-grabbers in Congress intend to ban AR-15s, and you know they want to outlaw full-capacity magazines as well. If you own an AR-platform modern sporting rifle (MSR), you might want to get a good supply of magazines while you still can. CDNN Sports offers a huge selection of AR15 magazines at very attractive prices. Choose metal or polymer with capacities from 5 rounds to 42 rounds. For High Power matches and varmint duties, we like the straight, 20-round mags.

7. Midsouth — 1000 9mm Bullets + 1000 JAG Cases, $239.99

9mm brass bullet reloading sale
Great deal for 9mm reloaders — 1000 bullets and 1000 cases

Here’s a great deal for pistol shooters who handload 9mm Luger ammunition. Midsouth offers a 9mm Loader Pack featuring 1000 124gr FMJ bullets and 1000 JAG brand new brass cases. This is a great deal for anyone who reloads large supplies of 9mm ammo for fun shooting or competition.

8. Amazon — Smart Weigh Gem20 Digital Scale, $24.99

gem 20 powder scale

Great little accurate, repeatable scale at amazing price — Watch the VIDEO!

The Smart Weigh Gem20 scale is an excellent option for those looking to reduce velocity Extreme Spread by weighing powder precisely to the kernel, without having to spend $1000 on a laboratory grade scale. At this low price (under $25 currently), this is also great option as a back-up or travel scale used at the range. Verified purchasers, including the maker of the video above, have praised the scale. Watch the video to see how precise it is — the scale can measure kernel by kernel. Use the “mode” button to select grains. The scale can also weight in grams, ounces, and other modes. Use the tare function to zero with powder pan. This scale ships with two 10g calibration weights.

9. MidwayUSA — Real Avid AR-15 Cleaning Kit with Mat, $28.22

avid AR5 ar-15 cleaning kit mat tool kit sale
Great accessory for AR15s, cleaning kit and mat with diagrams

We can recommend the Real Avid AR-15 Cleaning Kit/Smart Mat for all AR owners. This includes a large, padded, oil-resistant mat with printed AR parts diagram and a built-in parts tray. The tool kit, in zippered pouch, has key tools needed to disassemble and clean your AR. The kit also includes the Real Avid Field Guide. At $28.22, this combo set costs less than the Real Avid Cleaning Kit by itself.

10. Amazon — 12″ x 12″ Splatter Grid Targets, 10 for $10.99

Sight-in 12
Great for hunting rifle Sight-In and easy to estimate group size

This 12″x12″ Splatterburst Target combines splatter shot marking with a grid background, with five aiming points. The bright neon shot circles make it easy to see your shots. And the handy grid lets you quickly estimate your group size. Get a 10-pack for $10.99, or a 25-pack for $19.99 (better deal). This particular target has earned rave reviews — 87% of verified buyers gave this a FIVE-Star rating. One example: “Excellent quality and durability. The adhesive is really strong and the splatter contrast is [great].”

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August 8th, 2022

Videos Show How Barnes Bullets Are Manufactured

Barnes Bullets Factory

Barnes Bullets FactoryMany of our readers have been interested in learning how modern bullets are made. While a “boutique” bullet-maker, supplied with appropriate cores and jackets, can craft bullets using relatively simple hand dies and manual presses, factory production is different. The major bullet-makers, such as Barnes, employ huge, complex machines to craft their projectiles on an assembly line.

Modern hunting bullets are made with a variety of sophisticated (and expensive) machines, such as Computer Numerical Control (CNC) lathes, giant multi-stage presses, and hydraulic extruding machines that draw lead ingots into lead wire. Barnes offers an “inside look” at the bullet production process in a series of videos filmed at its Mona, UT factory. We’ve embedded four videos from the series here. These videos can also be viewed on the Barnes Bullets YouTube Channel.

Milling Slots in TSX All-Copper Bullet
This video shows how the slots (between the drive bands) in the TSX all-copper bullet are cut. The slots reduce the bearing surface that contacts the rifling. This helps reduce friction and heat, extending the life of barrels used with all-metal, drive-band bullets:

Varminator Bullets Produced in Jumbo Transfer Press
Here is the transfer press used in the production of Varminator and MPG Bullets. The process begins with a giant spool of flat copper material. The copper is stamped into jackets and eventually the formed Varminator bullets are ejected one by one into a bucket.

CNC Lathe Turns Bullets Automatically
In the video below, a Bar-Feed CNC crafts mono-bloc bullets from metal bar stock. Barnes uses a small CNC lathe to turn .50-caliber bullets from brass bar stock. We’re not sure which bullet is being made in this video. The material looks to be sintered metal. In the close-ups you can gold-colored shavings from when the machine was previously used for CNC-turned brass bullets.

Accuracy Testing in 100-yard Tunnel
Barnes regularly tests bullet samples for accuracy. In the video below, a Barnes technician loads sample rounds and tests them for accuracy in a 100-yard tunnel. The rounds are shot through a special fixture — basically a barreled action connected to parallel rods on either side. This allows the testing fixture to slide straight back on recoil (see it move back at 1:07-08 minute mark).

Upside-Down Trigger — Application for Unlimited Benchrest Competition?
Note how the tester actuates the trigger, which points UPWARDS, just the opposite of a normal rifle. The technician lightly taps the upward-pointing trigger shoe with a metal rod. Could this upside-down trigger work in benchrest shooting — perhaps with railguns? It could make for an interesting experiment.

Story suggestion by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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August 8th, 2022

eBook Edition of Zeglin’s ‘Wildcat Cartridges’ Now Available

Zegline Wildcat Cartridges ManualFred Zeglin has released a Kindle eBook edition of his popular book Wildcat Cartridges — Reloader’s Handbook of Wildcat Cartridge Design. Gunsmith/author Zeglin explains: “The print edition of Wildcat Cartridges has gone out of print. We have plans to produce a second edition, but that is currently on the back burner. Demand of this book has remained strong so the decision to offer the first edition in a e-book format was made.” The Kindle eBook edition retails for $9.99 on Amazon.com. You can preview a FREE SAMPLE. CLICK HERE then click on “Look Inside” above the cover photo.

CLICK HERE to Read FREE eBook Sample from Zeglin’s Wildcat Cartridges

This is more than just a history of cartridges. Dimensional drawings and loading data accompany many of the cartridge descriptions. More recent and popular designs are included as well as the “classic” older wildcats. There are chapters about important cartridge designers like P.O. Ackley, Jerry Gebby, Rocky Gibbs, and Charles Newton. (The hardback edition of the book contains 288 pages of stories, illustrations, instructions, and data.)

Gunwriter Wayne Van Zwoll says Zeglin’s book is a valuable resource: “Fred has illustrated his book well, with neat line drawings and photos you probably won’t find anywhere else. It’s a rare technical treatise that draws you in with illustration, or that keeps you with an easy flow of chat that, were it lifted from print, might pop up at any gun counter or handloading bench. Fred Zeglin has done well with this book, giving wildcatters – indeed, all rifle enthusiasts – an overview of a culture often mentioned but little explored on the page.”

Writing about the 2005 Print Edition of Wildcat Cartridges, Big Bore Journal declared: “This is a fantastic book on American wildcats, US loads and much more. A must have for wildcatters and gunsmiths.”

About the Author
An award-winning writer, Fred Zeglin operates Z-Hat Custom, and Hawk Cartridges. Fred has taught classes for the NRA Gunsmithing Schools in Colorado and Oklahoma. He served as production manager for McGowen Precision Barrels for a time, and was a tech advisor for 4D Reamer Rentals. To learn more about Z-Hat and Fred’s Wildcat Cartridges eBook, contact:

Z-Hat Custom Inc.
Fred Zeglin
432 E. Idaho St., Suite C420
Kalispell, MT 59901

Permalink - Articles, New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
August 7th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: Marksman Inspired by Grandfather’s Legacy

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather

Jeff Hansen of Utah now holds Distinguished Rifleman Badge #2561. Jeff’s journey to Distinguished status began with a box filled with his grandfather’s old shooting medals, which led him to the Camp Perry National Matches in Ohio.

Though he had no intention of shooting competitively, only arriving to see the ghosts of his grandfather and uncles, he was so moved by the ambiance of Perry that he began his own marksmanship career — eventually leading him to a prestigious Distinguished Badge.

At the 2022 National Matches, Jeff fired his best scores yet. In the National Trophy Individual (NTI) Match, he reached an overall score of 487-9X for 52nd overall out of nearly 790 competitors. And at the 600-yard line he shot an outstanding 199-5X out of a 200 possible.

“He was on the range with me shooting that 199″, Jeff said of his grandfather. “I felt like he was right there when I finished up. I just hope other people see this and see what I’ve tried to do – if I can do this, they can do this”, he said. “Chase that dream”.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather
Left to Right: Alvin Hansen, Ray Hansen, and Jeff’s Grandfather Lou Hansen at Camp Perry.

Inspired by My Grandfather to Become a Distinguished Marksman

Article based on CMP Report by Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen earned his Distinguished Rifleman Badge in 2022 – a journey which began with his Grandpa’s own marksmanship tales from the 1920s and 1930s.

As early as I can remember, my grandfather, Lou, was a huge influence in my life. He was a great marksman. My dad, Ed Hansen, would tell me about the hunting trips they would go on and how Grandpa would make incredibly long shots to get an amazing bull elk or mule deer, only taking one shot to do so. He was always taking me hunting and fishing and shooting – lots of sleepovers where I didn’t actually sleep much, if any, because I would be so excited for the adventures that were going to happen with him the next day.

Whether it was hunting ducks, pheasants, chukars or just shooting, it didn’t matter. It was always an awesome experience with him. Life was great. Then, we got some tough news – my grandfather had leukemia. He fought a courageous battle with it for a couple of years, then in 1978, when I was 8, he passed away. Needless to say, I was devastated.

Inspired by Grandfather’s Shooting Medals
Not too long after he passed away, my dad brought home a box from Grandpa’s. It was full of medals. He carefully removed them and told me they were from when my grandfather competed in rifle matches with his brothers (Alvin Hansen, a U.S. Army veteran of World War I in France, Ray Hansen, and Oscar Hansen) at Camp Perry, Ohio, in the late 1920s to 1937.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather
Shooting medals from 1920s and 1930s with picture of Lou Hansen and his brothers.

My Grandpa was really humble – never said much about his trips to Camp Perry or his accomplishments there. Seeing the contents of the box, my grandfather became an even bigger hero to me. The medals he earned that impressed me the most were the three President’s Hundred brassards from 1935, 1936 and 1937 – along with many others.

I grew up looking at those medals thinking I wish I could do that maybe, someday. My life moved forward. My dad, a U.S Air Force veteran, and I both loved hunting, fishing, and shooting and still went as often as we could. Later, I got married and now have three daughters and one son. As my family grew up, we also enjoyed hunting, fishing, and shooting together.

Then, life threw some blows. My dad passed away suddenly in November 2014, and my mom fought a fierce battle with cancer for a few years before passing away in March 2018. Not long after she passed away, I found myself hanging [my grandpa’s] medals on the wall in my own home. Seeing them there got me thinking about how awesome it would be to go to Ohio and watch the President’s Match – not shoot, just watch.

In July 2018, I went. I’ve got to admit there were a few tears in my eyes driving between the two iconic lighthouses at the entrance to Camp Perry. I loved it.

The year I came happened to be the year SFC Brandon Green of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit cleaned the President’s Match — a record that still holds today. I got to talking to one of the Army Reserve team guys, asking him questions about competing, and he couldn’t believe I was there just to watch. I showed him some pictures of my grandfather’s medals, scorebook, and of Camp Perry in the 1930s. Matt Goad and Jon Arcularius of the Army Reserve team came over to look at them.

They said, “Hey, you can’t come all the way out here with a family history like that and not shoot here!”

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather

They offered to sign me up for the NTI match the following day and even said they would get a rifle, ammo, and anything else I would need. That was so awesome, but I couldn’t make it work – I was flying back home the next day. Although I didn’t shoot, they did get me all the information I needed to get started.

I loved every minute of my first Camp Perry trip. It was because of the people there, showing me such kindness and taking me under their wings, that I thought, “I’ve shot all my life and hunted, and I’ve always liked marksmanship. This is something I can do.”

When I got home, I ordered a White Oak upper and started changing parts on my AR-15 to make it ready for matches. I was ready in the spring of 2019 and started shooting mostly small matches.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather
Grandpa Lou was humble and never talked about his achievements at Camp Perry.

At first, all I wanted to do with my rifling career was get a President’s Medal — following in my Grandpa’s footsteps. I didn’t know what “going Distinguished” was all about. I got a Silver Achievement Medal in the first match I went to, then started to go to more matches. Through that, I caught wind that winning President’s is one thing, but you’ll get to President’s if you excel your skills and go Distinguished. So, that became the new goal.

By summer, I was traveling to EIC matches and earned my first points at Nampa, Idaho, on July 21, 2019. After that, it was time to head back to Perry for the President’s and the NTI.

I didn’t do as well as I wanted, but it was an amazing experience to be competing where my grandfather had. I struggled the rest of the year and didn’t earn any more points until 2020. It was tough trying to find matches during COVID, but I ended up earning 12 more points by the end of the year. I missed a hard leg at Twentynine Palms, California, by X-Count, and things got tough after that.

I figured I needed to step up the way I was practicing, so I got a Shot Marker electronic target system and some wind flags so I could practice full distance. I’m very lucky that I can practice 30 minutes from home any time I want on public land.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather
At the 2022 National Matches, Jeff fired a superb 199-5X at the 600-yard line.

Starting in the first part of December, I had some extremely hard things going on in my personal life, and I didn’t feel like practicing. I didn’t even pick up my rifle for two months. I missed the first EIC in Phoenix in January, and before I knew it, February was half gone. Then, one of my friends talked me into going to the Western CMP Games in Phoenix in March.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather

Practice was tough, and sometimes I wondered why I was even trying. Tons of things were going wrong, and I was about DONE. I wanted to quit, many times. [But then] Western Games was fun, and I did well, but gained no points.

Navy Matches were coming around at the end of April, so I practiced as much as I could and made the trip. With several friends going, it would be great getting together after the matches and have a good time. I shot well the first day as well as on that Saturday. I even shot my personal best National Match Course score. Then Sunday, May 1, was the real test – the EIC match.

I struggled in standing and dropped a few more points than usual. Sitting was the same – rapid prone was good. Slow prone went well. The wind had some fairly big changes, but I worked through it and ended up with 477-11X. I figured there’s no way I’m making the cut for a hard leg this time and headed to the pits to finish out the match. We finished and waited for the results.

Jeff Hansen CMP Camp Perry distinguished badge marksman Lou Hansen grandpa grandfather

When the results were posted, I couldn’t believe it – I FINALLY GOT THAT HARD LEG! I did it. On top of earning my goal at last, it’s awesome to have my friend Jeff Lovat (#2383) be the one to present me with my Distinguished pin. (That President’s Hundred medal is still out there – maybe next year!)

The Honor of Earning the Distinguished Marksman Badge
Though I certainly enjoy earning my Distinguished Badge, the greatest thing I have gained from accomplishing this is without a doubt all the friends and people I have gotten to know along the way. To all my shooting friends, thanks for not letting me quit – part of this accomplishment is yours too.

To all of you that are working toward that goal, don’t ever quit. Keep practicing, and your day will come. Never quit until you reach your goals.

No matter what, I do know one thing. When I walk that stage at Perry at the 2022 National Matches and get my Distinguished Badge officially presented to me — well my father, my grandfather and his brothers will be walking it with me.

About the Distinguished Badge Program

To earn a Distinguished Badge, a competitor must earn 30 Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) points or more in a qualifying competition. Individuals earn the 6, 8 or 10 “leg” points based on score and a percentage of match participation, with at least one “hard” leg, worth 8 or 10 points. Currently, the CMP administers Distinguished Badges for:

Service Rifle
Service Pistol
.22 Rimfire Pistol
Junior Air Rifle
Smallbore Rifle

International Shooter
Distinguished Marksman Badge
Distinguished Air Rifle and Air Pistol
Distinguished Service Revolver Badge

To lean more about the Distinguished Badge Program, visit the CMP website.

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August 7th, 2022

Protect Yourself — Check for Possible Brass Case Wall Failure

cartridge case separation

We are re-publishing this article at the request of Forum members who found the information 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 highly-respected Riflemans’ Journal blog, created by our late dear friend German Salazar*, there was an excellent article about Cartridge Case-Head Separation. In this important article, Salazar (aka GS Arizona) examined the causes of this serious problem and explained 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 below shows a case sectioned so that you can see where the case wall becomes thinner near the web. You can see 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.

cartridge case separation

Paper Clip Hack for Detecting Problems
The article provided a great, easy tip for detecting potential problems. You can use a bent paper clip to detect potential case wall problems. Slide the paper clip inside your case to check for thin spots. GS Arizona 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!”


* Sadly, German Salazar passed away unexpectedly on June 21, 2022 at age 62. German was a great inspiration to this site and help guide the creation of the AccurateShooter Forum. A brilliant man, expert attorney, and top-tier marksman, German will be sorely missed in the shooting sports world. We plan a more lengthy In Memoriam tribute to German in the weeks ahead.

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