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May 21st, 2008

Sources for Ballistol Lube (and Mysteries Revealed)

Regular readers of the Daily Bulletin know we’ve recommended Ballistol as a near-ideal case lube for basic full-length sizing. It’s extremely slick, and goes on very thin when applied with the aerosol version. Unlike many other case lubes, you won’t need to use a solvent or tumble the brass afterwards to remove. All you need is a very thin layer of Ballistol, and this easily wipes off with a paper towel. (For case-forming and neck expansion, we recommend a thicker lube such as Imperial Die Wax or Mobil 1.)

Unfortunately, many folks have told us that they can’t find Ballistol at local shops, or they want to combine it with a reloading supply order to cut down on shipping costs. Here are sources for Ballistol, including Brownell’s and MidwayUSA. For convenience, we recommend the aerosol version, but the liquid version can be diluted and used also.

Brownell’s
1.5 oz. Aerosol $4.43 982-000-001
6.0 oz. Aerosol $6.82 982-000-002

MidwayUSA
1.5 oz. Aerosol $3.99 727130
6.0 oz. Aerosol $6.49 831231

BULK ORDER SOURCES:

Ballistol USA
PACKAGE 1: BALLISTOL-LUBE
Two – 1.5oz. aerosols
Three – 6 oz. aerosols
$ 24.00 + 9.00 s&h = $ 33.00

FireHawktech.com
Basic Aerosol Pack
Two – 1.5 oz. Aerosol Can
One – 6 oz. Aerosol Can
Total $20.95 incl. shipping

Aerosol 5-pak
One – 1.5 oz. Aerosol Can
Four – 6 oz. Aerosol Can
Total $39.95 incl. Shipping

Ballistol Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is the “Ballistol Lube” with the white label the same as the Ballistol “Sportsman’s Oil” with the green label.

A: Yes. Same product, just different labels. But remember there are both aerosol and liquid versions. The aerosol comes out very thin — like water. The liquid is thick — like motor oil.

Q: The liquid version is more economical by weight, but can I dilute it down?

A: Yes, Ballistol liquid can be diluted with water, up to a 10:1 ratio and it will remain slick. We recommend about a 6:1 ratio for use as a general case cleaner and lubricant — but you should experiment yourself.

Q: Will Ballistol get gummy over time, like other lubricants?

A: Nope. Here’s an interesting story. In 1952, a bottle with Ballistol, with the cap only loosely attached, was found in the attic of a deceased German hunter. The purchase receipt was found proving that the Ballistol had sitting for over 30 years. Yet, it still had the consistency of freshly produced Ballistol.

Q: If Ballistol oil can be diluted with water, does that mean it will promote corrosion?

A: No. Ballistol emulsifies in water. The resulting product will displace H20 like WD40, and then leaves a thin, protective oil. Ballistol is also mildly alkaline (pH between 8.5 and 9.5), so it neutralizes mild acidic residues such as hand sweat or residues from black powder (which are acidic).

Q: What’s Ballistol made from — it smells funny?

A: Ballistol is made from medical grade mineral oil, alkaline salts of oleic acid, several alcohols, Benzyl Acetate and oil from vegetable seeds. The smell comes from medicinal Anethole oil, which is derived from the Anise plant. Ballistol is biodegradable and non-toxic. CLICK HERE for the Material Data Safety Sheet

For more information on Ballistol, contact Ballistol USA, (800) 253 2460, (252) 261 0408 (fax).

Permalink Reloading 1 Comment »
May 20th, 2008

NSSF Offers $250,000 in Grants for Gun Clubs and Shooting Ranges

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has announced a new grant program for ranges aimed at helping public and private shooting facilities jumpstart their recruitment and retention efforts. “The best way to increase participation is to enhance and promote shooting opportunities at the local level,” said Melissa Schilling, NSSF recruitment and retention manager. “We’re looking for unique proposals that move the needle on recruiting new shooters, attracting lapsed shooters back to the range and increasing opportunities for active shooters.” The projects will serve as pilot programs, which, if successful, can be used by other facilities across the country. A total of $250,000 will be available through the program.

Project applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis in 2008, and the funded program must be completed by February 2, 2009.

CLICK HERE to Download 2008 Grant Application Form

The NSSF noted that this grant program is NOT intended for land purchases, for building or improving structures (such as club-houses), or for acquisition of range equipment and supplies. A winning grant proposal will focus on bringing new shooters to the sport and reviving the interest of shooters who are currently inactive. The NSSF also favors programs that will allow active shooters to try new disciplines. To learn more about program objectives and grant selection criteria, visit RangeInfo.org.

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May 19th, 2008

Reviving a Remington 700

Gunsmith Nat Lambeth, nlambeth [at] embarqmail.com, recently had a client bring in a Custom-Shop Remington that wouldn’t even hold one Minute of Angle (MOA) at 100 yards. Nat was able to correct flaws in the factory action and then fit a new barrel. Remarkably, after action truing and barrel replacement, the gun shot like a house on fire. After working his magic, Nat shot a 0.111″ 5-shot group with the gun.

Nat tells us: “I had a customer bring in a Remington 700. This rifle was supposed to have been from the custom shop. It was a stainless model 700 with a 5R Mil Spec barrel in a HS Precision stock. The customer paid a premium price for this rifle. The customer complained the rifle ‘won’t shoot groups under 1.5″ at 100 yards’, and he wanted a new barrel. He had 400 rounds down the tube. The barrel looked to be in good shape with maybe a scratch 8 inches from the muzzle.

Blue-Printing the Receiver
I removed the barrel from the receiver and looked at the internal bolt lug engagement surfaces. Only one lug seemed to be contacting. I put the bolt in a V-Block and measured the rearward bolt lug surfaces. The right or bottom lug had .019″ more reaward surface than the left or upper lug. This would have taken me two days to lap out so I set up the bolt in a truing jig and turned the bolt .020. I then put the action in a action truing jig and machined the inside lug surfaces until I got one even surface. I lapped the lugs until I had 80% bi-lateral contact, then re-faced the bolt and action face.

New Broughton Barrel
I dialed in a new 26″ Broughton 1:10, 5C barrel. It was indicated on both ends until a .0001″ indicator needle was not moving. The barrel was turned, threaded, and chambered in the same setup using thinbit tooling, a PT&G 95 Palma reamer with a .3004 bushing. The chamber was cut within .0015″ with a Lambeth/Kiff Micrometer Adjustable Reamer Stop. The factory recoil lug was replaced with a precision-ground lug.

The barrel was removed from the lathe and the muzzle was cut 1.250 shorter in a bandsaw. The barrel was re-mounted in the lathe and the muzzle dialed in the steady rest. The crown was faced with a piloted, PT&G facing tool then faced with a piloted, 79° counter bore .100″.

Stock Work
The rifle stock was re-inletted and glassed in for two inches. Then the barrel free-floated.

A Tack-Driver is Born
I thoroughly prepped 22 pieces of used 308 Federal Gold match brass, which were then loaded with 42.5 grains of H4895, CCI BR2 primers, and Hornady 168 HPBT bullets. After cleaning the barrel, I fired one test round with no problems and cleaned the barrel again. I then installed a Leupold 6.5-20AO scope in Farrell bases and rings. I bore-sighted the rifle by eye with the bolt removed at 50 yards.

After some sighters to set Point of Aim, I sat down and did 5 shots for record at 100 yards. Those five shots went into one ragged hole. (See Target Below — this editor measures the group as 0.111″ center to center using OnTarget Software.) Another customer who was there at the range, then shot a 5-shot group that went into 0.312″. That’s an 0.2115″ average for the two groups. I then was able to shoot a couple more groups in the ‘teens.”

Conclusion
Nat proved that attention to detail DOES make a difference, and that truing an action, improving the bedding, and fitting a superior barrel can make a HUGE difference in accuracy. Now, mind you, we’re not suggesting that you can take a factory .308 and make it into a gun that will win the Super Shoot. Nat’s 0.111″ group was exceptional. Still this demonstrates that major gains can be had by action blue-printing combined with bedding work and a new barrel.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip No Comments »
May 19th, 2008

U.S. Postal Service Increases Rates

You may already know this, but just in case you missed the announcement, here’s the bad news.

The United States Post Office raised the price of first class postage one penny to forty-two cents ($0.42), effective May 12th. The USPS is now allowed to adjust stamp prices independently, based on inflation. Under new rules, the Postal Service can increase the price of a stamp by a penny without any oversight as long as it gives 45 days notice. You may recall that the USPS already increased the price of a first-class stamp to 41 cents in 2007, a two-cent hike at the time.

Other USPS Price Hikes, effective May 12:

Postcard rate is up 1 cent to 27 cents
Large Envelope rate is up 3 cents to $1.00
Certified Mail is up 5 cents to $2.70

Penny Wise Advice:
With postal rates going up a couple times a year, and stagflation looming on the horizon for the U.S. economy, it may be wise to buy a bunch of “Forever Stamps” next time you’re at the Post Office. These special non-denominated stamps, now priced at $0.42 each, are “immune” to price hikes. “The stamp will be good for mailing one-ounce First-Class letters anytime in the future — regardless of price changes,” the USPS has promised.

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May 18th, 2008

Remington Introduces AR10-based Hunting Rifle

As most of you know, Cerberus Capital Management acquired Bushmaster Firearms, a leading maker of AR-platform rifles, in April 2006. A year later, Cerberus acquired Remington Arms. Not surprisingly, Cerberus has merged the product lines of these two companies, so AR-style rifles are now marketed under the Remington label.

Yesterday, at the NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY, Remington unveiled its latest semi-auto rifle, dubbed the Remington R-25. The R-25 is based on the AR-10, the “big brother” of the AR15, a heavier, beefier rifle designed to shoot the .308 Winchester and similar cartridges. The R-25 will be offered in three chamberings: .308 Win, .243 Win, and 7mm-08. We were hoping Remington might also offer the .260 Remington or other 6.5mm caliber such as the 6.5 Creedmoor, but right now Remington is sticking to the more mainstream hunting calibers. However, Remington reps indicated that Short Magnum calibers might be added to the line-up in the future.

The basic R-25 features a flat-top receiver and metal float tube. The whole rig is decked out in Mossy Oak® Treestand™ Camo. Barrels for all three calibers are 20″ in length, with a 1:10″ twist rate. Barrels are fluted ahead of the gas block but that’s more for looks than anything else. Remington chose a fairly light barrel contour, keeping the gun’s weight down to 8.75 pounds, without optics. The trigger is a single-stage unit set at 4.5-5 pounds. That’s pretty disappointing, and we expect the first thing many R-25 owners do is modify or swap out the trigger to reduce pull weight. The R-25 ships with a 4-round magazine, but will use any standard AR-10 mag.

The Remington R-25 is priced at $1532 MSRP, and the first units are expected to ship in July 2008. At first blush, the price seems high for a pretty average rifle with a heavy trigger and what, we predict, is a mediocre barrel. Shooters wanting a .308 cartridge-size semi-auto platform for a cross the course rifle or space gun should consider other, less expensive sources such as Armalite for a separate AR-10 lower. Match AR-10 uppers are available from a variety of boutique makers such as Fulton Armory.

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May 18th, 2008

Good Article on Standing Position

The May 2008 issue of On The Mark, the CMP’s newsletter for junior shooters, has a feature by Gary Anderson on building the proper standing position. Though focused primarily on juniors, all 3P High Power, Service Rifle, and Silhouette shooters can benefit from this article.

CLICK HERE to Download Newsletter as .pdf file

Tips on Hand Position
Here is sample of Gary’s advice: “It is critical not to force the rifle up or down to get the sights pointing at the target. The correct way to do this is to select a left hand-wrist position that fills the support gap between the left hip and the rifle fore-end. A good mid-range starting position is to keep the wrist straight and either set the rifle on top of a closed fit or support the rifle between the thumb and the first knuckle.

Either of these options will work well for most shooters. However, shooters with proportionately longer arms and shorter torsos will have rifle sights pointing high with either of these hand positions. By breaking the wrist and resting the rifle in the flat of the hand or by keeping the wrist straight and dropping the rifle down into the fork of the hand they should be able to comfortably bring the sights down to the target.

Conversely, shooters with proportionately shorter arms and longer torsos need a wrist-hand position that adds more length to the support column. They can achieve this by resting the rifle between the spit fingers and thumb, up on the second knuckles or, highest of all, on the thumb and fingertips.”


In his article, Anderson also explains how to correct the most common mistakes in the standing position:

“1. Incorrect body turn—too little or too much body turn makes it impossible to have a straight column of support under the rifle and upper body and difficult to balance[.]
2. Left elbow not under rifle—incorrect elbow positioning misaligns the column of support.
3. Left hip not under rifle—incorrect hip position misaligns the support column and makes good balance more difficult.
4. Butt too low in shoulder—when the head is tipped down too far to see through the sights comfortably, the butt must be raised in the shoulder and a higher left hand-wrist position must be selected.
5. Left arm not relaxed down onto side or hip—this means the rifle is being supported with muscles instead of bones—relax the arm down onto the side or hip and, if necessary, select a higher hand position.”

The May Issue of On The Mark contains many other useful articles, including a feature on Aerobic Fitness by 2003 Smallbore (3P) National Champion Amber Darland.

(Photos © Copyright 2008 CMP, used by permission.)

Permalink - Articles, Competition 2 Comments »
May 17th, 2008

Fun Shoots: Host a Multi-Gun Event at Your Club

One key issue affecting all shooting sports is how to attract new shooters, particularly juniors. Young people represent the future of the sport, and unless we can get them involved, there will be fewer shooting opportunities for all. Gun manufacturers will see their sales decline and more ranges will be closed, both due to lack of revenue and political pressures. The closing of shooting ranges is a major problem in many areas of the country, particularly in California and other regions where anti-gun politicians and land developers are aggressively working to shut ranges down.

Ojai 7-gun youth shooting

One great way to draw new shooters into the fold (particularly youngsters and ladies) is to host an event at your club where novices can try multiple disciplines. This is a user-friendly, low-cost way for newcomers to try different types of firearms in a supervised setting. Every year, the Ojai Valley Gun Club (OVGC) in California hosts a 7-Gun Shoot open to the public. OVGC’s 7-Gun Shoot took place on April 26th, and was a huge success, with 125 new shooters coming to the range for a day of fun, followed by a tri-tip barbecue. Participants ranged from 6 to 89 years of age. For a fee of just $10.00, visitors (of any age) could try seven different types of arms, under the guidance of club members who provided assistance and safety instruction. Guns and ammo were furnished by club members, and hearing and eye protection were offered for a nominal fee.

CMP walther air rifle

The 7-Gun Shoot offered a smorgesbord of shooting options: Air Rifle, Small-bore Pistol, Small-bore Rifle, Full-bore Rifle (.223 and .308), Centerfire Handgun, Black-Powder Rifle, and Shotgun (Trap). OVGC even offered an archery clinic, which was very popular with both kids and adults. A full troop of boy scouts attended the 7-Gun Shoot, and there were many families with husband, wife and kids. Participants were issued scorecards covering all 7 disciplines, and prizes were awarded to the highest aggregate totals for junior boy, junior girl, adult women, and adult men. Among the visiting couples, it was not unusual for the wives to outscore the husbands. One lady who came to the 7-Gun Shoot with her husband had never fired a long-gun before, yet she managed a perfect score with air rifle and an impressive 4 for 5 on the trap (shotgun) course.

Uberti Sharps black powder rifle

Even many veteran shooters took the opportunity to try out new disciplines. Handgunners tried out the rifle course and some hard-core trap shooters enjoyed knocking down steel targets with replica black powder rifles. There’s nothing quite like the boom and smoke of the “Holy Black”. The day concluded with a great 4-course all-you-can-eat barbeque, ($8.50 per head), followed by a raffle of shooting and camping accessories. Overall, the event was a great success. The young people seemed to have the best time of all, and more than a few of the Scouts said the 7-Gun Shoot was one of their favorite annual troop activities.

OVGC signed up a number of new members during the shoot, but more importantly, the club gave scores of novices, young and old, the chance to have fun and get hooked on shooting sports. If you are interested in developing a similar program, visit OVGC.net where you can email the organizers.

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May 17th, 2008

Use Wash Bottles to Apply Solvents

rifle bore cleaner bottleUsing wet patches or wet brushes is an inefficient way to really saturate the tight bores of 17s, 20s, and 22s. Even with a cotton bore mop, most of the solvent will be squeezed out before it gets to the end of the bore, where most copper fouling occurs. Here’s a simple solution. Get a small plastic “wash bottle” and fill it with your preferred solvent. Then stick the tapered nozzle right in the chamber. The tapered end will press fit in the throat, sealing off the chamber. With the barrel slightly nose-down, give the bottle a couple good squirts until the solvent mists out the muzzle. In just a few seconds, this will put more solvent in the bore than a half-dozen wet patches. Alternatively, plug the chamber and squirt solvent in from the muzzle. It’s also much easier to saturate a bore brush (without spilling solvent on your stock), by using the wash bottle. You can get these bottles from USPlastic.com or lab supply stores.

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May 17th, 2008

Bore-Store Protective Bags on Sale

MidwayUSA has Bore-Store synthetic fleece rifle storage bags on sale. We can say, unequivocally, that Bore-Stores are a great product. Every gun in this editor’s safe rests in a Bore-Store. Bore-Stores cushion your guns against dings and scratches while the breathable fabric wicks away moisture and fights rust with a special anti-corrosion coating. The fabric is coated with pure silicon and an extra rust-inhibiting chemical. Bore-Stores are relatively inexpensive and last forever. Unlike cotton, wool, leather or canvas bags, the fibers do not absorb and retain moisture. You really can’t beat them for storage in a safe because they cushion the gun as well as fight rust and aluminum corrosion.

MidwayUSA has the full line of Bore-Store cases on sale. We’ve found that the latest examples run on the roomy side, so the 46″ scoped rifle case, item SRC-1, will fit guns up to 48″ overall, with plenty of clearance for a big scope. The 46″ case is now $9.99 marked down from $11.49. The 40″ Scoped Rifle Case, item SRC-3 ($9.49 on sale), will fit most short-range BR guns up to 42″ in length. There are also models for shotguns, carbines, and pistols.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals 1 Comment »
May 16th, 2008

Savage Shows Palma Rifle at NRA Meeting

At the NRA Annual Meeting, Savage Arms has its latest long-range precision rifle on display — a Palma rifle, chambered in .308 Winchester. Team Savage Captain Stan Pate will be manning the Savage booth (#527) during the show and can answer questions about the new gun.

Savage Palma rifle

The .308 Palma is made for 1K prone competition with iron sights and sling. It comes with Savage’s Target AccuTrigger, adjustable down to six ounces. The rifle features a 30-inch heavy barrel tapered to accept standard aftermarket sights. The stock has an adjustable cheekpiece, 3-way adjustable buttplate, and forearm accessory rail. Currently, Savage is the only large manufacturer producing “factory rifles” for Palma competition.

Savage also produces rifles for F-Class Open and F-T/R disciplines. The Palma and F-Class guns, including a new 6mmBR F-Classer, “were made to compete and win against the most expensive custom guns.” Savage VP of Sales and Marketing Brian Herrick said. Terry Brady has been testing a 6mmBR Savage F-Classer for AccurateShooter.com. He reports: “It looks good. I still need to work up a load and chron it, but I’ve been able to shoot sub-inch groups at 300 yards in early testing.”

Savage Palma rifle

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May 16th, 2008

Outdoor Channel Loses Popular TV Shows to The Sportsman Channel.

Ten Intermedia Outdoors television shows, including popular shooting sports shows, will no longer be broadcast on the Outdoor Channel next season. The line-up of shows includes: “Guns & Ammo Television,” “Guns & Ammo Television Classics,” “In-Fisherman Television,” “In-Fisherman Critical Concepts,” “North American Whitetail Television,” “Bowhunter Magazine TV,” “Personal Defense TV,” “Shallow Water Angler,” “In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail” and “Petersen’s Hunting ADVENTURE Television.”

These shows will continue to run, but on a different cable network — The Sportsman Channel (TSC), which Intermedia Outdoors acquired last year. (See Related Story).

Intermedia pulled a large block of TV content from the Outdoor Channel and will use those shows in the future as the backbone of its own network. In a press release, Intermedia Outdoors CEO Jeff Paro declared: “We are going to build The Sportsman Channel into the leading outdoor network, both in distribution and ratings. Shifting all of our programming to TSC is a major first step in that direction. We have led in every outdoors category we have entered-magazine, internet, and television production-and now we will lead in networks.” Paro continued: “We will actively and aggressively program TSC with hunting, shooting and fishing content, with a focus on high-quality original programming….”

Jim Shepard, editor of The Outdoor Wire, believes that the Outdoor Channel was hit hard by Intermedia’s decision to move its TV shows: “In one shot, InterMedia Outdoors has announced to the television industry that it not only intends to become the major player in outdoor television, it is quite willing to hammer its former partner in a very public manner.”

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May 15th, 2008

$75.00 Gift Certificate with Nightforce Scope Purchase

Creedmoor Sports has a new promotion for scope buyers. If you purchase a Nightforce NXS or Benchrest Model scope at regular price, Creedmoor will give you a $75.00 gift cerficate that can be applied to other Creedmoor Sports merchandise. (Note: The certificate can NOT be applied to the original scope sale, or the purchase of another Nightforce product.)

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
May 14th, 2008

FIRST LOOK: Sightron 8-32×56 Scope

Just this week, Sightron sent us one of the new Sightron SIII 8-32×56 LR D rifle scopes for evaluation. This new optic features a 30mm main tube and weighs 24.7 ounces. Clicks are set in 1/4-MOA increments. The reticle is a fine cross hair with 1/4-MOA dot. The scope comes with a 3″ sunshade, turret covers, and rubber-connected, see-thru lens caps. Jason Baney had a chance to test the scope and give his initial impressions of its optical qualities. We will follow this “First Look” report with more extensive testing of the scope’s mechanical tracking and long-range resolution.

Overall, Jason was extremely impressed with the new scope. It was very bright, with excellent color rendition and contrast. The image remained bright and sharp out all the way out to the edges, with no shadowing or distortion. Compared to a Nightforce 12-42×56 BR scope set at 32-power, Jason thought the Sightron had better contrast and more vivid colors. Jason concluded: “At this point, the new Sightron seems like a good value, and compares well with the Nightforce BR model.”

Parallax and Focus
Importantly, the Sightron’s parallax control worked perfectly. There was no lash issue and Jason was able to attain minimal parallax with the target at maximum sharpness. With some other scopes, if you set the scope to have the target in best focus, you’ll still have too much parallax.

Elevation and Windage
This is a scope you can use to 1000 yards. Jason ran the adjustments top to bottom and recorded 75 MOA of both Elevation and Windage, based on the stated 1/4-MOA click Value. (That’s 75 total MOA available from one extreme to the other.) The target knobs have 15 MOA per turn and operate VERY smoothly and positively. Jason said the clicks “feel similar to Nightforce NXS clicks, but the Sightron clicks engage with a slightly softer feel, with less resistance.”

Resolution Tests
Jason used two resolution charts, the USAF 1951 Optical Chart, and a line-width/text size chart. To judge resolution, Jason did a comparison test of the new Sightron 8-32×56 and a Nightforce 12-42×56 BR, with both scopes set at 32x with their sunshade attached. Jason looked through both scopes at the resolution test targets at 100 yards, and then at target frames, grass, and flowers at 300 yards. Viewing was done late in the day, with some shadows on the range. Keep in mind these were less than ideal conditions for viewing.

The test charts have incrementally smaller focus lines and text. Both scopes were able to resolve down to the same line/text level on the two resolution charts. The new Sightron showed comparable, but VERY slightly less resolution than the NF. Both could identify the same size of text, but the NF saw it just a bit more crisply. Jason reports: “I could go to the same resolution level with both scopes, but the last line was just a touch more crisp with the Nightforce. Still, the Sightron is very close in resolution.”

Contrast and Color Fidelity
The Sightron was the winner in this category. In fading light, the Sightron delivered better contrast. Green, yellow, red, and white colors showed more differentiation and all the colors were more vivid. Weathered target backer boards also showed more contrast through the Sightron. Jason checked this several times nearing dusk, and the Sightron always seemed more vivid and showed more contrast looking at a patch of grass and colored vegetation. In terms of color temp, the Nightforce has a more whitish tone, whereas the Sightron seemed “warmer” with more vivid colors.

Brightness/Light Transmission
Along with its superior color and contrast, the Sightron seemed to be consistently brighter through the fading light. We note, however, that manufacturers’ published light transmission factors are nearly identical for the Sightron 8-32 and the Nightforce 12-42. The greater brightness of the Sightron is Jason’s subjective perception, but he said “the Sightron definitely seemed brighter.”

View to Edge
With many zoom scopes, at high magnification, the center of the “circle of light” is bright and sharp, but the edges are faded or shadowy. The brightness attenuates (fades out) on the edges. In addition, you sometimes see some image distortion or focus loss at the edges. The Sightron showed none of these issues. At SHOT show, this editor looked through a prototype 8-32 Sightron and it was bright and sharp all the way out to the edges. Jason observed the same thing: “The Sightron was noticeably clear edge to edge, where the Nightforce showed some fading or darkening at the edges. This point was quite surprising to me.” Jason also noted that the Sightron had about a 3-4″ wider field of view at 100 yards.

Fringe Effect with Highly Reflective Subjects
With the Sightron, when looking at extremely bright, reflective objects, such as a car’s chrome trim, Jason did observe some minor fringing–what he called a “thin halo”. This also appeared around the edge of a white target paper viewed in bright light. A through-the-lens photo appeared to show edging colors (purple fringe), so this may be Chromatic Aberration*. It wasn’t a major issue and it did not affect the sharpness or contrast of the viewed object itself. This was visible only on the periphery of very bright objects.

Conclusion–Impressive Optics for $825.00
We only were able to comparison-test one sample of each scope, Sightron vs. Nightforce. As noted, the performance was very close, and it is possible that different samples might perform slightly better or worse in each optical category. In this test the Nightforce had a very slight edge in resolution, while the Sightron was brighter. We plan to do more testing, with bullet-hole targets set at long ranges. That should give us a better sense of how the Sightron can resolve bullet holes and target lines out past 300 yards. Jason will also do a box-test to check the tracking and repeatability of the Sightron. Based on what we’ve seen so far, however, the Sightron, with a “street price” of about $825.00, is a very good value. Jason concludes: “Given the 8-32 Sightron’s price point, I’d say most people will feel it is a great scope for the money.”

*Chromatic aberration occurs in a riflescope when white light, bent by the objective lens, separates into different colors (wavelengths), each color bending at a slightly different angle. When that occurs, the colors don’t focus at the same point. This most often appears as a deep blue/purple or yellow edge on the image, particularly straight black and white edges.

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May 14th, 2008

NRA National Meeting May 16-20

From May 16-20, the National Rifle Association will hold its NRA Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. Scheduled events include the Members Meeting, NRA Foundation Banquet, Sportsmen’s Luncheon and Auction, plus a free concert. Many leading firearms manufacturers will also have products on display at the Kentucky Expo Center. In addition, major private collections will be displayed by NRA-affiliated gun collector clubs. Hunting Guides and Outfitters be featured in an exclusive outfitter section.

CLICK HERE for Schedule of Events

Throughout the 3-day event, there will be Special Seminars, including an African Hunting Seminar, Reloading Seminar, and a full, day-long Firearms Law Seminar with officials from the FBI, Law Professor Glenn Reynolds, and Kentucky Supreme Court Deputy Chief Justice Will Scott. The Seminars take place at the Kentucky Exposition Center, 937 Phillips Lane, which is also the site of all Exhibits. The Foundation Dinner and NRA Celebration of American Values Banquet will be at the Kentucky International Convention Center (221 Fourth Street).

Live Radio Coverage Offered
“Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk”, will broadcast live from the NRA Annual Meeting, Sunday, May 18. The 3-hour radio program will feature appearances by spokespeople from the NRA, the NSSF, and leading firearms companies.

“Gun Talk” will air from 2:00pm until 5:00pm Eastern time, and from 8:00pm til 11:00pm Eastern on XM Satellite Channel 166. “Folks who miss the live broadcast,” said Gresham, “can always download the show from www.guntalk.com.”

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May 13th, 2008

Top Guns Duel at Piedmont 600

The regular, monthly 600-yard benchrest match at the Piedmont Gun Club in Rutherfordton, NC rivals a National event in terms of the quality of the shooters and the rifles. On May 10th, there were multiple IBS-record holders in every relay, with a dozen rifles capable of going sub-inch at 600 yards. Piedmont, the “home of world records”, attracts many of the top mid-range benchrest shooters, such as Terry Brady, Mike Davis, Sam Hall, Larry Isenhour, Joel Kendrick, Buster Long, Mark Schronce, and Rodney Wagner. That line-up includes some IBS Shooters of the Year.

Piedmont Gun Club:
Piedmont Gun Club, NC

CLICK HERE for Equipment List and Match Results

There was a very competitive field on May 10th at Piedmont. Larry Isenhour, shooting a 6 BRX, took Light Gun Overall by winning the Light Gun Group size Agg, and placing third in Score. In Heavy Gun, Mark Schronce combined a fourth in Group and first in Score to take the HG Overall. Schronce also shoots a 6 BRX. Rodney Wagner, yet another 6BRX pilot, shot a very consistent match, with all four targets under 2.55″ to place first in HG group Agg.

Larry Isenhour

In both Light Gun and Heavy Gun, about half the guns were straight 6BRs, with quite a few BRXs. There were a half-dozen 6.5x47s or 6-6.5x47s, and a few 6.5-284s and 243 AIs. Learn more about the shooters’ rigs by reading the Equipment List (scroll to bottom of linked page).

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May 13th, 2008

NRA Honors Four Women for Support of Gun Rights

The NRA has selected four women to receive the 2008 Marion P. Hammer Woman of Distinction Award for their contributions to the Second Amendment and the shooting sports. This year, the prestigious award, named for the NRA’s first female president, was presented to: Linda Hill of Pueblo West, CO; Cathy Lynch of Renton, WA; Paula Radcliff of Dexter, KS; and Patricia Stoneking of Bonner Springs, KS.

Linda Hill is on the board of directors of the Pueblo Municipal Shooting Range in Colorado. She started a women’s shooting group at the range and a youth shooting program. An NRA Certified Instructor, Hill is involved with Women On Target® Instructional Shooting Clinics, NRA Basic Pistol classes, NRA Range Safety Officer training, and personal protection seminars. An experienced hunter education instructor, Hill has taught in both Alaska and Montana.

Cathy Lynch is a shooting sports director at the Cascade Scout Reservation for the Boy Scouts of America. An NRA Certified Range Safety Officer and Instructor in rifle, shotgun, and muzzleloading firearms, she is an instructor at the Boy Scout National Camp School, and a hunter education instructor for the WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Paula Radcliff is a member of the Kansas State Rifle Assn. and served as the group’s legislative representative when Kansas’ concealed carry law was passed in 2006. Her efforts were instrumental in Kansans winning the right to carry concealed firearms. Radcliff has supported the NRA’s Women On Target® and Youth Hunter Education Challenge programs, hosting events for both programs on her ranch.

Patricia Stoneking is a legislative advocate, and NRA Certified Instructor in multiple disciplines. Stoneking owns Target Master Shooting Academy in Bonner Springs and is head instructor at The Bullet Hole Shooting Range. She led a grassroots effort to pass Kansas’ concealed carry law, hand-delivering a petition to the governor’s office.

For more info on the Marion P. Hammer award, and to nominate a deserving woman, visit www.nrahq.org/women/awards.asp or call (800) 861-1166.

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May 12th, 2008

Beggs Develops Radical Rigs in West Texas Tunnel

Gene Beggs operates his own 100-yard indoor tunnel and rifle testing facility just outside of Odessa, Texas. Gene provides instruction and “tunnel time” for serious benchresters looking to improve their skills and optimize the accuracy of their rifles. Along with teaching the fine points of short-range benchrest, Gene has been developing two radical new rifles, one chambered in 220 Beggs, a slightly modified 220 Russian, and a second chambered in 6mm Beggs, a necked-up version of the 220 Russian that retains the original body taper and shoulder angle.



Both rifles share a skeleton design which uses the Stiller Cobra or Viper action as a central load-bearing member. Remarkably, there is no conventional fore-arm at all. Gene has bolted, directly to the barrel, a 3″-wide bag-riding aluminum sled. The sled was not designed as a mid-barrel tuner, but it might have some beneficial effects in that regard. However, the tuning functions are handled by two concentric rings threaded to the muzzle. Gene believes that with minor rotations of his front tuning rings, he can dial the gun into tune and the tune can be easily adjusted as conditions warrant.


Do Mr. Beggs’ guns shoot? Absolutely. We had the chance, a month ago, to visit Gene in Odessa. We shot both the 220 Beggs-chambered rifle, and its 6mm Beggs-chambered cousin. Both rifles are nearly identical, though the Heavy Varmint-weight 220 has a longer, 27″ barrel compared to 22″ for the Light Varmint 6mm.

In the tunnel, the 220 HV, with a no-turn-neck 220 Beggs chamber, produced three-shot groups in the low ones and zeros right out of the gate, even before the tuner was optimized. With a barrel with over 1000 rounds through it, after firing 40 rounds without cleaning, Gene produced a tiny 5-shot group in the low ones. The first shot was slightly high (a common occurence in the tunnel according to Beggs). The last 4 shots, rounds 42-45 since the barrel had been cleaned, went into 0.084″. This rig, though radical in the extreme, certainly appears fully competitive with more conventional BR rigs, and it tracked superbly, with no hopping or rocking on the bags.

220 Beggs — Simple, Accurate, Efficient
We were also very impressed with the 220 Beggs cartridge. It’s basically a plain 220 Russian with a sharper radius at the neck-shoulder junction. Gene has commissioned a 220 Beggs reamer with matching seating and full-length sizing dies. The little cartridge achieves 3600+ fps with a 52gr bullet, pushed by Benchmark powder. From what we could tell during our short visit, the 220 Beggs is easy to load for, and performs exceptionally well with either turned (.250″) or no-turn necks. The recoil was noticeably less than a 6mm PPC, making the gun a joy to shoot. This round, we felt, could also be an outstanding varmint cartridge. The velocity is there, and we don’t think any other 22-caliber varmint cartridge is going to beat it for inherent accuracy.

Gene notes: “The .250 turned neck is probably the best choice and I have custom carbide neck bushings available for that diameter. I also have a new shipment of custom Hornady dies. Freebore? Anywhere from .035 to .045 is fine. I prefer flatbase bullets of 52 grains. Hodgdon’s Benchmark has become my favorite powder for the 220 Beggs. A case full gives around 3550 to 3600 fps with no signs of excessive pressure. The little sucker is a hoot to shoot and is competitive with anything out there on the 100/200 yard line.”

As for the 6mm version, Gene told us: “The 6mm version of the cartridge performs best with Hodgdon’s H4198 Extreme, but the 220 has proven it will shoot well with just about anything you put in it including N133, H322, Benchmark, 8208, Norma 200 etc. It is the most trouble-free, user friendly cartridge I have ever worked with and will compete heads-up with anything. It’s also very easy on the shoulder.”

How to Learn More
Gene sells components (reamers, dies etc.) for the 220 and 6mm Beggs, and also offers training/testing sessions in his West Texas Tunnel on an appointment basis. For more information, or to schedule a session, email genebeggs [at] cableone.net.

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May 12th, 2008

2008 Eastern CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Results Posted

Over the past two weekends, concluding on May 11th, hundreds of shooters participated in the 2008 Eastern CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup at Camp Butner, NC. Some 398 shooters took part in the CMP Games on the first weekend. That makes the Games one of the most popular shooting events of any kind hosted in North America. Importantly, at a time when match attendance is shrinking for many other disciplines, CMP Games participant numbers were up dramatically since last year’s inaugural event. This reflects the growing interest in traditional, military-style firearms.

CLICK HERE for Complete Match Results

SFC Singley Wins Creedmoor Overall
The CMP has posted complete CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Results online. The Creedmoor Cup Overall Champion was SFC Grant Singley, with a 790-31X score. A service rifle shooter with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), SFC Singley was the Military Marksmanship Association (MMA) Soldier of the Year in 2007 and 1996. Taking second in Service Rifle was Singley’s USAMU team-mate Tyrell Cooper, with a 787-26X. First in Match Rifle Class was Troy Lawton, who posted a 787-25X.

CMP Games Popular
Warm Carolina spring temperatures, light winds and only one brief spell of rain created ideal shooting condition. As a result there were 12 Garand-Springfield-Vintage Military Rifle scores in the 280s. Sean Leighton (287-5X) won the Eastern Games Garand Match, while Robert Churchill (281-5X) won the 1903 Springfield Match. Churchill was also High Senior among Springfield shooters.

The best score of the CMP Games was a 288-6X fired by CWO2 Peter Burns, USMC, in the Vintage Military Rifle Match. Burns is now the OIC of the Marine Corps Rifle Team, but he competed in the Camp Butner As-Issued Military Rifle Matches to “just shoot for fun.” He fired a Swiss Schmidt-Rubin M1911 rifle in 7.5mm Swiss caliber. The Schmidt-Rubin has a barrel-mounted open rear sight. Burns’ winning performance demonstrates that peep (aperture) sights are not essential to shoot great scores. Burns also placed sixth in the Garand Match, third in the Springfield Match, and first overall in the As-Issued M1 Garand EIC Match.

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May 11th, 2008

6-6.5×47 Varminter with Trick Mount for Rangefinder and Spotting Scope

Forum member Scott S. (Sunbuilder) has built a sweet long-range varminter based on the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge necked down to 6mm and then improved to 40 degrees, with slightly less body taper. Scott tells us that “improving the case adds about 2.0 grains to the case capacity”. This allows Scott to run the 103-108gr bullets at well over 3100 fps, with no pressure issues. Scott calls his Improved case a “Long Dasher”, a name suggested by Dave Kiff of Pacific Tool & Gauge.

A Better Mount for the Spotter and Rangefinder
Scott designed and fabricated a very slick set-up to hold his Zeiss spotting scope and Leica CRF RangeFinder. He’s built a combo bracket that holds both units rock steady, with a parallel line of sight (same axis and elevation). Smart. Very smart. Scott explains: “I built a mount to connect my rangefinder to my spotting scope. The mount can be adjusted, so the spotting scope and rangefinder are both centered on the same object. The only way I have found to get repeatable long-range readings is to make them from a stable base.” Scott, we think you’ve got a winner here with your innovative and clever design.

sunbuilder spotter and rangefinder mount

6-6.5×47 Improved Works Well with Many Powders
Scott’s 6-6.5×47 Lapua Improved varmint rifle features a Stiller Diamondback action, Lilja 30″ 8-twist barrel, Richard Franklin stock, and a NightForce 8-32×56 NXS. Scott has had excellent success–his two longest groundhog hits were at 778 and 810 yards. Scott has tested many powders with his 6-6.5×47 wildcat: “I tried several powders (H4350, N160, N560, H4831sc), and primers (CCI 450, BR4, Rem 7 1/2, Fed 205Ms). I got better velocity with H4350, but my barrel likes the N160. I did find a [high-speed] node with H4350. The increased velocity potential of this cartridge is partially due to the slightly increased case capacity. The load I am shooting now is 40.5gr N160, Berger 105gr Match BT, .010″ jam, CCI BR4, .002″ neck tension at 3115 fps. This has an ES under 15 fps, and it will group under 2″ at 500 yards if conditions hold. This ‘Long Dasher’ (6-6.5×47) seems to have a lot of potential (and that’s an understatement).”

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May 11th, 2008

6BRs Dominate Mifflin Groundhog Shoot

Pennsylvania’s Mifflin Country Sportsmen’s Assoc. held one of its triple-yardage Groundhog Shoots on May 10, and the results just came in. This is a very popular match with targets at 200, 300, and 500 yards. It’s a score match, so small groups are nice, but they better be centered. We were interested in the match results because it shows the rifles that folks are using, and what’s winning, in both factory class and “Custom Limited” classes. (At Mifflin, Custom Limiteds are typical 600-yard benchrest Light Guns–full customs weighing 16.5 lbs or less.)

In Custom Limited Class, 8 of the top 10 places were taken by 6BRs, with one 22 BR, and one 6 PPC. That’s a pretty emphatic demonstration of both the popularity and the accuracy of the 6BR cartridge. Rod Morton and Steven Kotecki tied for first with 143 points apiece. Rod was named the winner, based on “X-Count”, as Rod had 7 “Xs” compared to 6 “Xs” for Steven. Now that’s a close match. Joe Pellegrene was just one point shy, to finish third with 142 points.

In the factory class, Jesse Hall, a Junior, had highest score, 125-1x, shooting a .223 Rem. Next highest factory shooter was Bill Slattery with 119-3X, also shooting a .223. The .223 Rem was the most popular chambering in factory class.

Can the .223s shoot with the 6BR? Looking at the scores, the .223s were pretty competitive at 200 yards, and even 300, but at 500 yards, most of the better .223 shooters were scoring high 20s, while the top 6BR shooters in Custom Limited class were in the mid-40s. (Junior Nick Sinkus did, however nail a 40 at 500 yards with his factory .223 Rem — great shooting by the youngster.)

CLICK HERE for Mifflin 2008 Schedule of Events.

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