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September 20th, 2007

Rear Bags–Match Them to Your Stock Profile

For better accuracy and more consistent tracking, it is important to match your rear sand bag to the profile of your stock. Some stocks are curved on the bottom of the buttstock (also called the “toe”), while others have a flat, ranging from 3/8″ wide to as much as 3″. Additionally, the amount of down-angle or “drop” in a stock can vary considerably. Traditional hunting stocks have a lot of drop, whereas a 1000-yd BR stock may have “zero drop” — meaning they are completely straight from the bottom of the grip to the buttplate.

Stocks with a flat on the bottom rear normally work best in a sandbag that has a slot between the ears. (See photos below, courtesy Forum member Rayjay.) NOTE: Ideally, you do not want the flat resting directly on the stitching–it’s better to have the bottom of the stock contacting the sides of the ears a little bit above the center seam (Read comments). But you still need spacing between the ears to get the right fit–it should not be so tight as to pinch or “grab” the stock unevenly as seen in the second photo. With a more conventional round-bottomed stock, with a radiused toe, you’ll probably get best results from a bag with taller ears, and you should experiment with spacing.

Recently, Forum member Jon complained that his rifle was not tracking well, and needed to be re-positioned after every shot. Jon’s rifle has an HS Precision stock with a radius and quite a bit of drop. He was having the problem because he was using a bag with ears that were too short. See below.

Jon will have better results with a bag with taller ears and more spacing. Rayjay explains why Jon’s rifle wasn’t tracking well: “Everytime you fire the rifle the sand in the ears gets displaced. Then when you slide the rifle forward and work the bolt, etc., the sand moves around some more. Then on the next shot it displaces again… it is not consistent shot to shot.”

rifle swivel studs

Jon also had a sling swivel stud on the rear underside of his stock. Swivel studs, both front and rear, can hang up on sandbags, causing a variety of problems. Ideally, when shooting with sandbags, remove the swivel studs. If that’s not possible, at least adjust your fore-end so the front swivel stud will NOT contact the front bag at all, and adjust the rear bag so that the swivel stud is not dragging between the ears.

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September 20th, 2007

'Loonie' Reaches Parity, U.S. Dollar Continues to Slide vs. Euro

Bottom Line: The declining U.S. Dollar will help American action, stock, and barrel-makers export more products. However, key imported components, such as Lapua and Norma brass, will become more expensive in the months ahead.

Canadian Loony DollarToday, the Canadian dollar (known as the “Loonie”) reached virtual 1:1 parity with the U.S. Dollar. This will mark the first time since 1976 that Canadian currency has traded on equal terms with the American Greenback. As of today, one Canadian dollar was worth 0.9985 U.S. Dollars. The steady rise in crude oil prices, combined with the Fed’s recent interest rate cut, contributed to the slump of the U.S. Dollar.

Meanwhile the U.S. Dollar slipped to a record low against the Euro. One Euro now buys 1.4073 U.S. Dollars. The Euro, since it was first adopted, has gained over 50% in value against the U.S. Dollar.

Euro to Dollar Exchange Rate

The implication for the shooting sports is both positive and negative. First, U.S.-made goods, such as stocks, actions, and barrels, will be cheaper for Canadians and Europeans to buy. That should be a plus for companies like Krieger (barrels) and BAT Machine (actions). The folks at Kelbly’s and Sinclair Int’l have told us that their export sales have increased dramatically over the last three years, due in large part to the stronger Euro making American goods more of a bargain.

For American shooters, the negative aspect of the sinking U.S. Dollar is that the imported products we love, including Lapua and Norma brass, Zeiss Optics, and Robertson Composites stocks, will probably go up in price in the months ahead. So, if you are thinking of laying in a supply of Lapua brass, now is the time to buy. Experts predict that that U.S. Dollar will continue its slide against the Euro for the next 2-3 years.

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