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April 20th, 2007

Berger 105 VLDs on Sale at MidwayUSA

Berger’s 6mm 105gr VLD bullet has set multiple world records, including Terry Brady’s 0.860″ 600-yard IBS 5-shot record group. Berger has recently acquired new dies for the 105 VLD which should make the bullet more dimensionally consistent than ever before. Be aware, however, that since the new 105s are produced on a new die, the diameter is somewhat smaller and you may have to adjust your load. Through April 30th, MidwayUSA has Berger 105 VLDs on sale, for $19.99 per 100, item 195087. Midway isn’t able to pull specific lot numbers, but 105s made on the new die are Berger lot number 559 or higher.

Berger 105 vld 6mm bulletEric Stecker of Berger Bullets tells us: “We use certified gauges and indicating micrometers to measure the OD. The new die produces bullets that are .2431 to .2432 at the pressure ring and .2430 at a point half way up the bearing surface. A measurement taken on the bearing surface close to the ogive will be .2429. The taper on these bullets is straight which we believe is good as this taper may line things up nicely in the bore.

Here is the important part: They are two things that happen during this type of change: 1. Due to the EDM and polish process no die maker can make the ogive portion of the die exactly the same. This produces a slight change in where the bullet will touch the rifling based on your seater die setting. The change could go either way (in or out). 2. Since the diameter of the bullet is smaller than what the previous die created the portion of the bullet that engages the rifling is moved back.

To make these bullets shoot well, treat them as an entirely new bullet and work up a load adjusting seating depth and neck tension. The nice thing is that once you get this dialed in you will be set for a while as we are dedicating this particular die to making nothing but 105 gr. These bullets are not undersized based on a .2430 groove diameter however they are smaller than previous lots. Dial them in as you would any new item and you will be happy with the results.”

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April 19th, 2007

New RCBS Ball Mic at Cabela's

120x60 - No URLRCBS has a new, very affordable Vernier Ball Micrometer. This tool measures accurately to .0001″ and is ideal for determining case neck-wall thickness. Ball diameter is 0.185″. If you turn your case-necks, you’ll need a tool like this to set up your cutter and gauge the consistency of your results. And for those who shoot no-turn brass, a Ball Mic allows you to sort cases by neck-wall thickness. Cabela’s has the best price we’ve found on the RCBS tool–just $41.99. To order, please click on the Cabela’ link and type “216307” into the product search field at the top of the page.

RCBS Ball Micrometer Vernier

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April 19th, 2007

Harts, Kriegers, Shilens at Bruno's

We spoke to Amy at Bruno Shooters Supply today. She confirmed Bruno’s has “hundreds of Hart, Krieger, and Shilen barrels in stock,” including “dozens of 8-twist and 8.5-twist long barrels in Light, Medium, Heavy and Palma contours.” Bruno’s also has a large supply of slow-twist short-range BR barrels. If you don’t want to wait two to four months for a new match barrel, give Bruno’s a call. Right now Shilen barrels are priced to move. All Shilen barrels 1.250″ (or smaller) diameter, 28″ in length or shorter, are sale priced at just $236.40. To order, call Amy toll-free at (800) 455-0350.

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April 18th, 2007

$560 Limited Edition Borescope

Hawkeye Limited Edition BorescopeHere’s a great deal on a quality Gradient Lens Corp. Borescope.

Sinclair Int’l offers a special $560.00 Limited Edition Hawkeye model, designed for shooters and gunsmiths. This 17″ borescope, Sinclair item #HS17, includes the same light source, mirror adaptor, and cleaning kit as the regular Hawkeye #HS17FE-K. You don’t get a focusing eyepiece with the Limited Edition but focus is pre-set for 22 through 30-caliber barrels, so that’s not a problem. The same model with focusing eyepiece (item HS17FE-K) costs $775.00 ($660.00 after manufacturer’s rebate*). The Limited Edition Hawkeye is shipped in a padded, cardboard case and can be disassembled in seconds with included Allen wrench. Savings are passed on to shooters with the omission of the focusing eyepiece and hardcase. The more expensive model comes with a deluxe, lockable aluminum hardcase.

*Rebate offer: A rebate of $75.00 is available on the Hawkeye 17 Borescope Kit (HS17FE-K ONLY). Mail your Sinclair International Invoice directly to Gradient Lens before July 1, 2007. Rebate valid for United States customers ONLY. NO REBATE on Limited Edition.

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April 18th, 2007

CH4D Offers Titanium Nitride Custom Dies

CH4D custom Titanitum Nitride dieNeed a custom full-length sizing die? Want something very special that will be gentle on your brass, reduce sizing effort, not rust, and never wear out? Tool-maker CH Tool & Die,, offers custom sizing dies, with optional Titanitum Nitride (TiN) coatings inside and out. Internal die dimensions can be set from fired brass you supply, a chamber cast, or specifications you provide (which could be based on a reamer print, with the dimensions tightened up slightly). Cost for a custom sizer die is $73-$110, depending on chambering (common calibers cost less). TiN coating is $36.50 for the die body, $10.80 for the expander ball. CH4D custom FL dies are conventional full-length sizers without bushings. If you need to vary the neck tension, have the die spec’d for “normal” tension and then use a separate bushing neck-sizer when you need more tension. Normal turn-around time for a CH4D custom die is 10-12 weeks; TiN coating can add 2-3 weeks to that.

CH4D’s Dave Davison explains: “Titanium Nitride coatings have been used in industry for many years, primarily to extend the life of carbide tools. It has not been useful in reloading until recent advances in technology permitted TiN coating a die without softening the steel of the die itself. A TiN coated sizer in 308 Win showed no measurable wear after sizing 50,000 rounds. Although Titanium Nitride is harder than carbide and has a lower coefficient of friction it does not eliminate the need for lubricant when full-length sizing cases. It does reduce sizing effort considerably and minimizes the lubricant required. TiN-coated dies will live longer and require less force to operate than any die available. If you ever manage to wear out your TiN coated die, we will replace it at no charge. All we ask is that you tell us how many rounds you’ve loaded with it.”

CH4D can coat other manufacturers’ dies with Titanium Nitride. However, CH4D cautions: “TiN coating other manufacturers’ dies can be done, and is usually successful. However we have no control over the material or heat treatment of these dies and cannot guarantee the results.”

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April 17th, 2007

Tax Day Is Here–Extension Options

Since April 15 fell on a Sunday this year, and April 16 was Emancipation Day (a holiday in DC), April 17 is the last day to file your IRS tax returns for 2006. If you’re falling way behind and simply can’t make the deadline–don’t despair. Click HERE to download IRS Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time. This gives you an extra 6 months (4 if you are out of the country) to file your Federal Return. NOTE However, you MUST pay ALL your taxes today, with the Form 4868, or you will be subject to interest and penalties. Normally filing a Form 4968 extends your filing date for State income taxes, but check with a tax professional.

If you need some Mental TAX RELIEF after the grim duties of filing taxes, we offer this nice photo taken by gunsmith Richard Franklin in Bedford County, Virginia. Maybe that will put things in perspective. Remember we don’t live to work and pay taxes, we work and pay taxes to be able to enjoy life, including the chance to spend a nice day in the country with our rifles. View Larger Photo.

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April 17th, 2007

Olympic Gold Medalist to Lead Air Force Shooting Team

Launi Meili shooting championLauni Meili, Olympic Gold Medalist (Barcelona 1992), and 7-time National Champion in three-position rifle, has been named head rifle coach at the Air Force Academy. Meili comes to the academy from the University of Nebraska, where she led the Cornhuskers to a No. 2 national ranking this season and earned “Coach of the Year” honors in 2006. “Coach Meili brings a wealth of experience as not only a proven NCAA Division I head coach, but a world-class competitor as well,” said Col. Billy Walker, the Air Force Academy’s Assoc. Athletics Director. “I’m quite certain Coach Meili will develop us into one of the elite programs in the country.”

As a shooting competitor, Meili shot with the U.S. Shooting team for 10 years. In that time, Meili participated in two Olympic Games, two Pan American games and a World Championship. During her career, she produced three world records, three Olympic records, a world team championship and the Olympic Gold medal in Barcelona in 1992, becoming the only American woman to ever win gold in smallbore. She has written the Advanced Coaches Certification Program in use by the US Shooting Team and the NRA to certify coaches at the highest level. She has also created the “mental training workshop” taught to athletes, coaches and business personnel in the US and Japan.

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April 17th, 2007

Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS on Sale

Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS is, in the opinion of many, the best 22LR ammo ever made. Red-label Ultimate EPS is the 22LR ammo with which Joe Friedrich recently shot a perfect 2500 and set a pending ARA 4-target record of 9700. This editor personally saw Joe shoot a 5-shot group at 50 yards that was one elongated hole about 0.300″ edge to edge. Lapua, RWS and Wolf also produce outstanding rimfire ammo, but if you’re looking for the pinnacle of rimfire accuracy, you owe it to yourself to try a couple boxes of Ultimate EPS. Through the end of April, MidwayUSA has Tenex Ultimate EPS on sale for $12.99 per box, item 126879.

Eley 22LR Ultimate EPS rimfire ammo

If you need a particular batch of Eley ammo, Bob Collins of C&S Accuracy sells Eley products by specific lot number. If you’re curious about how lot differences can affect rimfire accuracy, read this ELEY AMMO ARTICLE by Bob Collins. Here’s a sample: “Eley uses a system where the first three letters are for grade, year, and crimp. For example, with UFW prefix, U is Ultimate, F is 2001, and W is the crimp machine. The next four numbers are for loading machine and Lot number. Thus, for ammo marked UFW4375, 4 is the four machine and the 375 is the Lot number. The fps is printed underneath, e.g. 1055 fps. This fps on the label is an average of 50 shots from one of the six test guns at the Eley factory; these guns have 26 inch barrels with the chronograph three feet in front of the barrel. There are 4 different machines that load Eley Ultimate and Match EPS. I have found that these machines are very specific to which gunsmith chambers and fine-tunes your rifle. Depending on barrel twist, length, and the gunsmith who put the gun together, you will find at least three Lots of ammo that will shoot under different conditions without turning the tuner. Each machine has subtle differences, so that different machine lots of Ultimate can chamber and give the best accuracy.” If you have questions, call Bob at (478) 472-7176. He truly has a wealth of information to share.

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April 16th, 2007

NBRSA 600-Yard Nationals This Week

The NBRSA 600-yard Nationals will be held this week, April 19-22, at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center Range in Sloughhouse, California. Weigh-in and Sight-in Sessions will be held Thursday the 19th, with the Match commencing Friday the 20th at 8:00 am. Ed Eckhoff notes: “The new smaller 600-yard target will be used. The Firing line will be covered for the Sloughhouse 600. Just be sure no one does ANYTHING to PO the range gods and we’ll have good conditions. On-site overnight parking available for RVs at $10/night. If you have questions, contact me at (530) 661-6018.” There will be practice sessions throughout this week. The Schedule is:

Mon April 16: Normal BR and F-Class Practice day 600
Tues April 17: Palma and F-Class Practice day 800, 900, 1000
Wed April 18: Range normally closed BUT can be available 600 yd.
Thurs April 19: 600 Nat’ls day for sign-in/weigh-in/sight-in
Fri, Sat, Sun, April 20-22: Sloughhouse NBRSA 600 Nationals
Sat April 21: Catered BBQ immediately after the match

Click HERE to download the NBRSA Rules. For weather reports, go to In the search box at the top, enter Zip Code 95683. That provides an extended forecast for the whole week. Under each day of the week click on the blue “Detail” link for more wind and humidity info. Click HERE for Map and Directions to the range.

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April 15th, 2007

Eliseo Donates R5 Tubegun Kit for Auction

Gary Eliseo, builder of outstanding Tubegun kits for Cross the Course, Prone, and Highpower shooting, has generously donated an R5 Repeater Kit to help support this website. We will auction off this kit, with the high bidder to be announced the first week of May, 2007. The Competition Shooting Stuff R5 kit is set up to shoot the 6mmBR cartridge or similar family (22BR, 6 Dasher etc.). The kit comes complete with everything you need to build a gun except sights (or scope), trigger, barrel and action. The current retail price on this R5 Kit is $925.00. There is a long waiting list and the next production run won’t be available until August 2007, so this is a chance to get an R5 before the end of the summer. Click HERE for our illustrated feature article on the R5 Repeater. Click the video window below to watch Gary put an R5 through its paces in rapid fire:

Eliseo R5 6mmBR Repeater

The kit to be auctioned has a handsome silver finish, which Gary tells us is the most popular color. There is a minimum bid for the R5 Kit of $500.00. Submit your bids by email to You MUST include your name, address, and phone number so we can confirm your bid. Note: Because this kit does NOT include an action, no FFL is required. You will, however, need a capable smith to chamber and fit the barrel.

Eliseo R5 Repeater Tube Gun Kit

The R5 kit comes complete with everything you need except front and rear sights, Rem 700 action, barrel, and trigger. Click Here for large photo. The kit is much more than a painted housing for action and barrel. For $875.00, Gary delivers the following components:

• Complete Stock in gray powder-coat color.

• Advanced 4-way adjustable Buttstock/buttplate Assembly.

• Extended Picatinny (Weaver-style) top rail.

• Adjustable Handstop with quick disconnect socket.

• Recoil Disc to replace factory recoil lug.

• Bolt-handle Extension Knob.

• Two 5-round CNC Magazines optimized for the 6mmBR cartridge.

• SLED for single-round loading.

• All screws, washers and other fasteners.

Because of export restrictions, the R5 kit will only be shipped within the 50 U.S. States. The winning bidder must comply with all applicable laws.

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April 15th, 2007

Great Deals on Shooting Magazines

RifleShooter magazineWe like to think that provides some of the best information available for precision rifle shooters. We have hundreds of articles (all searchable), thousands of photos, and an active forum. And all that doesn’t cost a dime. Still, sometimes it’s nice to grab a print magazine, sit down in a comfy chair and read about shooting the old-fashioned way. In conjunction with, we have put together some great deals on popular newstand magazines for rifle shooters. You can save up to 79% over the cover price. subscriptions come with free shipping, no sales tax, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Shooting Times: $16.98 for 12 issues, 65% off cover price.

Rifle Shooter: $12.97 for 6 issues, 46% off cover price.

Field & Stream: $10.00 for 12 issues, 79% off cover price.

GunHunter: $12.95 for 6 issues, 46% off cover price.

Shooting Sportsman: $32.00 for 6 issues, 10% off.

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April 14th, 2007

New Stocks for Savage Target Actions

There has been much interest in the new Savage Precision Target Action with 6-oz. AccuTrigger. However, this new design has three action screws (rather than two) and the hole spacing is different than before. This means stocks have to be specifically inletted for the new design (or modified).

SSS thumbhole Benchrest stock Savage

Sharp Shooter Supply (SSS) has stocks in inventory fully inletted for the new action, including a new laminated thumbhole benchrest design shown above. SSS has a wide variety of colors available including the attractive new “Natural” in three shades of brown. SSS Stocks cost $299.00, 100% inletted, pillar-bedded, and ready to finish.

Bill Shehane of D&B Supply, also reports: “I’ve been busy making new patterns for the new Savage 3-screw target action. We now have the ST-1000, Tracker II, MBR Tracker, ST-BR (photo below), the Lee Six Thumbhole and the Varmint Benchrest patterns with the drop-in inletting for the 3-screw Savage Action.”

Shehane Savage ST BR gunstock

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
April 14th, 2007

Winchester Endows Marksmanship Program

Marksmanship qualification ProgramWinchester Ammunition has pledged $500,000 to permanently endow the NRA’s Marksmanship Qualification Program. The gift allows Winchester to become the exclusive, permanent sponsor of the program, which will now be formally known as the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program. The original NRA Marksmanship Qualification program is based on the Winchester Junior Rifle Corps, started by Winchester in 1918. Winchester transferred this program to the NRA in 1926, where it was merged with its existing youth training offerings.

The Marksmanship Qualification Program provides attractive pins, patches, and certificates to participants as they achieve progressively higher shooting standards. More than 200,000 such awards were distributed in 2006 alone, and 1,700 shooters reached the program’s highest level, “Distinguished Expert.” Although originally designed for youngsters, the program has grown to include beginning adult shooters and hunters as well. To learn more about the program, Click HERE to view the program summary, or call the NRA Qualification Coordinator at (703) 267-1505.

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April 13th, 2007

New Lead-Free Nosler E-Tip™ Bullet

In some parts of the country, State Agencies and/or private ranges are imposing “no-lead” restrictions for hunting and match ammunition. This is to avoid on-site lead pollution and to lessen the effects of lead ingestion by protected species such as the California Condor. Nosler has just announced its new E-Tip™ Lead-Free Bullet. Because the E-Tip™ has a polymer tip plus a dual-cavity interior (E² Cavity™), Nosler claims that its new bullet provides better expansion and enhanced weight retention. The new bullet will be available in the fall of 2007 in a 180gr, 30-caliber design. We applaud Nosler’s engineering work on this new bullet and hope that Nosler chooses to produce similar lead-free projectiles in 6.5mm and 6mm.

Nosler eTip lead free bullet

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April 13th, 2007

NRA F-Class and Highpower Rules

Competitors should note that there have been quite a few changes to the official rules for 2007. Click HERE to download a handy .pdf file (from ShootingSports USA), with ALL NRA rule changes, complete with detailed info on the new targets. This is a “must-have” update.

Larry Bartholome of the USA F-Class team also notes that specific 2007 F-Class and Highpower rule changes are now posted on the NRA web site:

Highpower changes (F-Class starts on page 6, Section 22):

Complete Fullbore rules (F-class on page 42, Section 22):

2007 Fullbore changes only (F-Class on page 2):

Changes for other NRA shooting disciplines:

CLICK HERE for the Camp Perry Nationals sign-up form.

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April 12th, 2007

Hornady 22-Cal 50gr V-Max on Sale

50 grain Hornady V-max varmint bulletLock, Stock, and Barrel has a great deal right now on Hornady 22 Caliber (.224) 50 grain V-Max bullets: $29.00 per box of 250 bullets, item HRN22616. (That works out to just $11.60 per hundred!) These are regular production bullets, not blems or seconds. Offer limited to five 250-ct boxes per customer and stock on hand. With a short boat-tail and polymer tip, the 50gr V-Max is accurate and very explosive on varmints. You’ll find loads for this bullet in our .223 Rem Cartridge Guide. Contributor Graymist’s favorite .223 Rem load is the 50gr V-Max pushed by Hodgdon H4895. He says “this combo has worked great in every .223 he’s shot.”

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April 12th, 2007

Star-D Pro Tripods on Ebay

Star-D tripodThe Davidson Star-D tripod is a solid, all-metal rig that is sturdy enough to be used for movie cameras. Star-Ds feature convenient rotary cam (collet) leg height adjustments and all-metal tilt and pan controls that lock solidly. The center post is clamped with a big locking ring that adjusts for tension. The rugged, machined-aluminum Star-D tripods are no longer in production but you can find good “previously-owned” models for sale on eBay. This tripod is ideal for use with a chronograph or spotting scope (for viewing in sitting or standing positions). Right now there are three nice Star-Ds on Ebay, items 170099554007, 230114024777, and 230114022708. If these units sell out, watch for the newer Star-Ds with all-silver heads and cam-locked legs. You can often pick them up for under $25.00. Look for the latest versions, as shown in the picture.

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April 11th, 2007

Cool Hats for Hot Days

Summer’s approaching and temperatures are starting to heat up. For all-day sessions at the range, it’s a good idea to wear a hat that shades your ears and neck from the sun. At the 2006 F-Class Nationals, we noticed that many of the top competitors, including winner Eric Bair and runner-up Alan Warner, sported wide-brimmed hats. Alan even wore his hat while shooting.

Alan Warner F-Class

Cabela’s sells excellent brimmed hats that feature 50+ UPF sun protection ratings and moisture-wicking sweatbands. These are similar to boonie hats, but are more comfortable, better ventilated, and have a slightly broader and stiffer brim. The Yellowstone Breezer Hat, our favorite, has a mesh top, and is on sale right now for $19.88, item OG-951124. A DeLuxe Breezer Hat, with fully-vented top, is $29.95.

Cabelas Yellowstone Breezer hat

Cabela’s RiverGuide Series hats, shown below, are also on sale for just $19.88. The San Juan Packable Hat (item OG-951125), available in Sage (green-gray) or Natural tan is soft, well-ventilated, and packable. There is also a canvas version (item OG-951126) with a foam crown insert so it floats–great if you use the hat when boating or fishing. To order any of these summer hats, click this Cabela’s LINK and type in the item number.

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April 11th, 2007

Expedition Cases for Rifle Transport

You need a strong gun case for valuable rifles. One of our forum members recently shipped a costly match rifle via UPS. When it arrived the fancy stock was broken in half. Replacement cost? $961. We’ve also found that the inexpensive plastic cases with foam padding can put a serious side load on your scope turrets or iron sights that can affect the zero. We’ve seen a Redfield Olympic rear sight actually bend from the side pressure in a cheap plastic rifle case. The best systems for gun transport, in our view, are the expedition cases that store rifles vertically, side-by-side. This puts no bending or lateral pressure on the gun or scope/sight mounts. Also, with this “toaster”-style layout you can place the gun case on the ground with the lid open, and the rifle and optics are still shielded from dust and blowing sand.

Cabelas Safari Double Rifle CaseThe very best side-by-side gun cases are built by Ziegel Engineering, (562) 596-9481. Featuring heavy-gauge aluminum with welded corners, Ziegel cases are beautifully made, but expensive. Ziegel’s Double Expedition Box with cam locks retails for $639.95. A similar product is offered by Cabela’s for much less money. The “bullet-proof” Safari case, made from .063″ marine-grade aluminum with welded corners, costs $359.99 for a 2-gun version, and $379.99 for a 3-gun version. Click THIS LINK and type in “226585” for the Cabela’s item number. NOTE: The interior slots, from foam edge to foam edge, are 50.75″ long. That should fit rifles up to a 30″ barrel unless you have an extended buttstock or bloop tube.

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April 10th, 2007

6mm 117 grain DTACs–First Look

Superior Shooting Systems has released a new 117 gr DTAC bullet, designed for 1:7.5″ or faster twist barrels. David Tubb advises these 117s require at least .040″ more throat length compared to his 115s. Robert Whitley got some new 117s and he told us they look very impressive: “The 117 gr bullet looks great, but it’s a real Goliath for a 6mm projectile. I checked on how the bullet sits in relation to the throating of various 6mms. I measured them multiple times in three different barrels–two with brand new, unfired chambers. It looks like you need about .050″ – .060″ more freebore than you need with a DTAC 115 to keep the junction of the boat tail and bearing surface in the same place, and about .125″ – .135″ more freebore than you need with a Sierra 107 to keep the junction of the boat tail and bearing surface in the same place. (I have cases with a slit up the neck so I can see where the junction of the bearing surface and boat tail sits in relation to the neck and shoulder of the case.)”

Robert adds: “I will try these in a 6XC (after I throat out one of my barrels a bit) but the bullet looks big for a 6XC case. I am also looking forward to trying these in the 6mm Super X, the 6CM, and the 6mm Remington I have, all of which have a good bit more powder capacity to enable the use of slower powders (H4831SC, H1000, etc.) with such a bullet. If these shoot as well as they look, the 6mms may give a 6.5 x284 some real competition at long range–we’ll see!”

DTAC 117 gr Bullet David Tubb

Left to Right: Boron nitride-coated 117 gr bullet (1.376″) ,
Moly 115gr DTAC (1.290″), Moly 107 Sierra MK (1.225″)

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