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December 21st, 2008

A Short History of Silhouette Shooting

The NRA Blog recently ran a story on Silhouette shooting by NRA Silhouette Program Coordinator Jonathan Leighton. Here are selections from Leighton’s story:

NRA Silhouette Shooting
The loud crack from the bullet exiting the muzzle followed by an even louder ‘clang’ as you watch your target fly off the railing is really a true addiction for most Silhouette shooters. There is nothing better than shooting a game where you actually get to see your target react to the bullet. In my opinion, this is truly what makes this game so much fun.

Metallic Silhouette — A Mexican Import
Silhouette shooting came to this country from Mexico in the 1960s. It is speculated that sport had its origins in shooting contests between Pancho Villa’s men around 1914. After the Mexican Revolution the sport spread quickly throughout Mexico. ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ uses steel silhouettes shaped like game animals. Chickens up front followed by rows of pigs, turkeys, and furthest away, rams. Being that ‘Siluetas Metalicas’ was originally a Mexican sport, it is common to hear the targets referred to by their Spanish names Gallina (chicken), Javelina (pig), Guajalote (turkey) and Borrego (ram). Depending on the discipline one is shooting, these animals are set at different distances from the firing line, but always in the same order.

Before Steel There Was… Barbeque
In the very beginnings of the sport, live farm animals were used as targets, and afterwards, the shooters would have a barbeque with all the livestock and/or game that was shot during the match. The first Silhouette match that used steel targets instead of livestock was conducted in 1948 in Mexico City, Mexico by Don Gongalo Qguilar. [Some matches hosted by wealthy Mexicans included high-ranking politicians and military leaders]. As the sport spread and gained popularity during the 1950s, shooters from the Southwestern USA started crossing the Mexican border to compete. Silhouette shooting came into the US in 1968 at the Tucson Rifle Club in Arizona. The rules have stayed pretty much the same since the sport has been shot in the US. NRA officially recognized Silhouette as a shooting discipline in 1972, and conducted its first NRA Silhouette Nationals in November of 1972.

Now There Are Multiple Disciplines
The actual sport of Silhouette is broken into several different disciplines. High Power Rifle, Smallbore Rifle, Cowboy Lever Action Rifle, Black Powder Cartridge Rifle, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, and Hunter’s Pistol are the basic disciplines. Cowboy Lever Action is broken into three subcategories to include Smallbore Cowboy Rifle, Pistol Cartridge Cowboy Lever Action, and regular Cowboy Lever Action. Black Powder Cartridge Rifle also has a ‘Scope’ class, and Hunter’s Pistol is broken into four sub-categories.

Where to Shoot Silhouette
NRA-Sanctioned matches are found at gun clubs nation-wide. There are also many State, Regional, and National matches across the country as well. You can find match listings on the Shooting Sports USA website or contact the NRA Silhouette Department at (703) 267-1465. For more info, visit SteelChickens.com, the #1 website dedicated to Silhouette shooting sports.

Permalink Competition 1 Comment »
December 21st, 2008

CARB-OUT — If It's Good Enough for Tony B…

Tony Boyer, all-time benchrest Hall of Fame points leader, has had a spectacular year, racking up many major wins. Of course, most of that success is due to his shooting skills, but Tony also benefitted from his superb Bartlein gain-twist barrels, and a new bore-cleaning product, CARB-OUT™ from SharpShoot-R™ Precision Products of Kansas. Boyer has been using CARB-OUT for the past year, and Tony enjoyed one of his best seasons ever. The use of CARB-OUT has helped Tony to remove carbon from his match barrels, reducing the need for abrasives. CARB-OUT, we’ve found, can also reduce the amount of brushing you need to do.

SharpShootR Precision Carb-Out solventOur friend Boyd Allen tested CARB-OUT on a rifle that had stubborn carbon fouling. Boyd had previously applied conventional solvents which did a good job of removing copper and conventional powder fouling. However, when examining the barrel with a borescope, Boyd saw heavy “burned-in” deposits of carbon. In this situation, Boyd observed, scrubbing with an abrasive such as Iosso or JB would normally be required. But Boyd had received a sample of CARB-OUT and Boyd decided to give it a try: “After working with a nylon brush and patches, getting all that I could out, I was able to see heavy carbon next to the lands, extending forward. This I removed by wetting the bore with the nylon brush, letting it soak for 20 minutes, and brushing with a bronze brush. I did this twice. Previously I would have expected to have done a lot of strokes with an abrasive to get the same result, since this was a worst case situation. Being able to to remove hard carbon without the use of abrasives is a ‘great leap forward’ to steal a phrase”.

Using this regimen, Boyd was able to remove the stubborn carbon. “CARB-OUT really works”, Boyd told us. “This was that baked-on black stuff that normal solvents won’t touch. After a good soak, the CARB-OUT on a wet [bronze] brush knocked it out.” Boyd observed, “Others may differ, but after using this stuff, I think abrasives may be a thing of the past.” Boyd observed: “If Boyer, who has been at the top of the BR heap for years, believes in the stuff… that’s significant.”

While Boyd used CARB-OUT with a bronze brush, Terry Paul says the product is designed to work well without brushing. For the typical type of carbon fouling seen in barrels, Terry says: “You simply put it on a patch or a mop and swab it thru the barrel. CARB-OUT also leaves behind a protective coating that prevents future carbon adherance. This coating is less than 100th of a micron in thickness, so it will not affect first shot accuracy.” For more info, visit SharpShootR.com, or call (785) 883-4444.

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December 20th, 2008

Emergency Surgery — Stan Ware Fixes a 40X

Stan Ware SGR CustomMinnesotan Stan Ware is an extremely knowledgeable gunsmith, known for his precise machine work and attention to detail. When you have work done by Stan, you know he will “sweat the details” to ensure that everything is assembled to the correct, precise tolerances. Stan is also a successful benchrest competitor, shooting in score matches, and Hunter Benchrest matches using his innovative short-neck Wolf Pup wildcat.

Stan recently received a Remington 40X receiver from a customer on the West Coast. Supposedly, the action had been “trued” by a California gunsmith (who shall remain nameless), who also fitted (using the term loosely) a PT&G replacement bolt. To be brutally honest, the California gunsmith butchered the job, and Stan Ware was called in to “save the day.”

Stan looked over the 40X action carefully and was able to determine flaws in the truing work and serious problems with the way the replacement bolt was fitted and the bolt handle attached. Faulty work by the California smith resulted in a myriad of problems — the bolt timing was off, the bolt was headspacing on the handle (not the lugs), the bolt was not camming correctly, the lugs were lapped improperly and they were not bearing correctly inside the action. All in all, this action needed major surgery. In the videos below, Stan explains how he diagnosed the problems, and he illustrates the work he did to restore the 40X to a safe, functioning condition.

Moral of the story? When you have action work to do, go to a respected smith like Stan Ware (SGR Custom Rifles), rather than some local “gun plumber” who may mess up the action big-time, leaving it downright dangerous. Watch the videos below, and you’ll be amazed at the problems that Stan had to correct.

Part 1 — Diagnosing the Problems
Stan explains: “We recently received this action to be fixed. Because the bolt is such a good example of what the things you want to avoid, I put together this video. It’s a great example of what happens when the bolt is out of time or not in the correct position.”

YouTube Preview Image

Part 2 — Fixing the Lugs
According to Stan, “We encountered some more problems after machining the bolt handle off and installing the new Kiff bolt. We found that the lugs were lapped at a angle and that we were loosing cam as we rotated the bolt. So, we decided to go back in and re-cut the integral lugs and true the bolt lugs.”

YouTube Preview Image

Part 3 — Final Bolt Installation
Stan notes: “Here we show you what was done to correct the bolt that was not installed correctly. The Kiff bolt (Pacific Tool & Gauge) is a good system and laid out well. I would recommend it to anyone that wants to accurize his 700 Action.”

YouTube Preview Image
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December 20th, 2008

Loh Stainless Windflag Supports

JJ Industries windflag supportJohn Loh is widely respected for the ultra-high-quality front rests he creates for JJ Industries. These rests exhibit some of the finest machining you’ll find anywhere. John has recently turned his attention to a new product — stainless supports for windflags.

These are not the typical collapsing tripod stands. Rather, they are designed with a strong pointed tip that you drive into the ground. The Loh windflag supports have telescoping segments of stainless rod, with locking collars. This allows you to easily adjust the height of your wind flags, while the telescoping design permits compact storage. You can easily fit three supports under the foam in a hard rifle case (between the foam and case wall) and still have room for your rifle. Built of aircraft-grade stainless steel with TIG-welded joints, these wind-flag supports are extremely rigid and sturdy, despite being relatively compact and easy to store.

John Loh recently introduced his stainless windflag stanchions at Benchrest matches out west. Used by Gary Sinclair, the stands have proven very popular and John sold out his first production run. But he has tooled up to make more, priced at $50.00 each. Contact JJ Industries, (562) 602-5553, info [at] jj-industries.com, for more information or to order. Note, these supports will work well on most terrain, but for some ranges that have very hard or rocky soil, a conventional tripod stand may work better.

JJ Industries windflag support

JJ Industries windflag support

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December 19th, 2008

CLEANING TIP — Be Careful with Brushes and Jags

We recently had a discussion with the barrel-makers at Bartlein Barrels. They confirmed that they have seen many, many more barrels harmed by crown damage caused by improper cleaning than by anything else. If you use a bronze brush, Bartlein recommends that you remove the brush after it passes through the muzzle. This is because the bristles take a set (pointing to the breech) during the out-stroke. In other words the bristles angle back as you push towards the muzzle from the breech. If you drag the brush backwards at the muzzle, you force these bristles to reverse direction abruptly right as they cross the delicate crown. In time, that can damage the crown. John Krieger of Krieger Barrels also advises his customers not to pull a bronze brush backwards across the crown.

barrel cleaning tips

Response to Skeptics
Whenever we’ve published similar advice, given by guys who are producing some of the most accurate barrels in the world, some readers get extremely angry. They say, “You’re crazy! I’ve was pullin’ triggers when you were still in diapers. I’ve got Hall of Fame points and I say there’s no way a phosphor bronze brush can ever do anything to steel. You’re full of it.” Well, these guys are entitled to their opinion. But here’s our response. Number one, we’re just telling you what the barrel-makers are telling US. Don’t kill the messenger. Number two, many of the guys who say bronze brushes can’t affect the crown are the same guys who feel they need to recrown their barrels every 400-500 rounds (Do we see a connection?). Third, if you don’t think a softer material can affect steel, look at the steel ferrules of a well-used fishing rod — there the steel is worn away by plastic. (With time, water will wear away granite.) Lastly, this Editor can tell you I’ve seen the damage myself, first-hand, using a magnifying glass on much-brushed benchrest barrels. Right at the muzzle, the top edge of the lands had sharp, jagged edges that looked like little shark’s teeth, or the edge of a serrated knife. By contrast, a new barrel will have a nice, smooth straight edge along the top of the lands at the muzzle.

Dewey Jag Rifle Cleaning

Be Careful with Jags
Bartlein’s experts also told us to be careful about the jags you use. Dewey-style jags in particular can cause problems. These have a long shaft with multiple rings with diamond-pattern “teeth”. The teeth are designed to grip a patch. The problem is that the lower rings may be exposed below the patch fabric, so the teeth can grind directly on the rifling and/or crown. Bartlein says Dewey-style metal jags can damage a crown very quickly if any of the toothed rings are exposed, metal-on-metal. Tim North of Broughton barrels also advises against using the Dewey-style jags with toothed rings. Interestingly, Dewey uses the same type of diamond-shaped teeth on the bottom of its “Crocogator” primer pocket tool, so you know those knurled teeth can scrape.

Permalink Tech Tip 7 Comments »
December 18th, 2008

Tooley Offset Stock Fights Torque on Large-Caliber Rifles

Tooley offset stockThe Tooley offset stock has been around since mid-2007, but custom gun-builders may not know it’s available. This radical rig employs an offset design to counter the torque associated with large-caliber benchrest guns. Dave Tooley tells us, “the wide, flat fore-end and offset design really tames the big 30s.” The stock is 4″ wide along the fore-end with the barreled action offset 1.5″ from center. From the trigger guard rearward the stock is pretty much the same as a Tooley MBR, with a bottom flat and slight drop from grip to buttplate. In American walnut laminate or maple laminate the stock weighs 3 lbs., 12 oz., the same as a fiberglass Tooley MBR from McMillan. There is also a lighter “Butternut” wood version that weighs 2 lbs., 12 ounces. So making weight in Light Gun Class should not be an issue.

The stock is legal for NBRSA and IBS 600- and 1000-yard benchrest competition. Dave has shipped many offset stocks to Australia, where they are very popular for the big calibers used in “Fly Shoots” and long-range competitions. For clubs (or disciplines) that may limit fore-end width to 3″, Dave notes that you can simply saw 1″ off the left side (looking from the breech foreward), to make the stock 3″ wide and legal. Dave tells us “the stock still works really well at 3″, it just doesn’t cancel as much torque as it does in a 4″ configuration.” Tests have shown that the 4″-wide stock will effectively soak up 45 inch-pounds of torque, enough to cancel the twisting effect of a 30-caliber rifle shooting 240-grainers at 3100 fps. Dave tells us: “With the offset stock, in competition, you can shoot a 30-caliber the same way you shoot a 6.5-284.” Scott Fletcher, who shot the prototype version with a 338 Lapua Improved, reports the stock “works fantastic. It’s like night and day with a heavy recoiling caliber. It makes a 30-caliber feel like a 6.5. And with a 6.5-284, you can easily shoot the gun free recoil.”

The Tooley offset stock, un-inletted but ready to finish, costs about $350 in walnut or “butternut” laminate. In maple, the un-inletted price starts at $400 and goes up for highly figured wood. Dave notes: “there is no conventional barrel channel so inletting is very easy.” For roughly $800.00 Dave will deliver the stock fully inletted and pillar-bedded for your action, complete with recoil pad. Dave currently has about a half-dozen offset stocks in inventory. Once they sell out, Dave can normally deliver walnut laminates in 2-3 weeks plus shipping time. Upgraded wood stocks will take 3-4 weeks plus shipping time. For more info, email Tooleyrifles[at]carolina.rr.com or call Dave at (704) 864-7525.

Tooley Offset Stock

Tooley Offset Stock

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December 18th, 2008

Howard Leight Electronic Ear Muffs — A Good Value

Creedmoor SportsWe’re pleased that Creedmoor Sports (among other vendors), has started carrying the Howard Leight, noise-cancelling “Impact Sport” ear-muffs. This is a good product, that works well, yet costs hundreds of dollars less that many other electronic muffs on the market. The compact, folding design makes storage convenient. Forum member Danny Reever reports: “Off the firing line, while others are shooting, you can easily carry on a conversation while the electronics cancel out the gunfire. Amplification is crisp and clear even at the highest setting. On the firing line, the muffs are comfortable and the slim profile of the muffs does not interfere with cheek weld.”

The Howard Leight Muffs’ 350-hour battery life is excellent and we like the auto shut-off feature, and external audio plug (if you want to listen to music). There is a single switch for both on/off and volume with an automatic 4-hour shutoff to help to extend battery life. The external battery compartment holds two AAA batteries, which are included.

Howard Leight Ear Muffs

Creedmoor currently sells the Howard Leight Impact Sport model shown above, for $69.99. The Impact Sport muffs have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 22. You can increase the effective NRR by using foam plugs under the muffs.

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December 18th, 2008

Brownells Releases AR15 Gunsmithing Videos on DVD

Brownells, responding to customer requests, has created a DVD version of their “How To Build An AR-15″ instructional videos (#080-000-587 – $29.95). Whether you’re building a complete gun, or just installing a new safety, flash hider or stock, this DVD will make the job easier. The DVD is designed for those who don’t can’t access the web video series on Brownells.com, or folks who want to see the videos in high resolution, or use a portable DVD player to follow the step-by-step directions right in their workshop. It provides all the info one needs to build an AR-15 from scratch. (However, we recommend that novices start with small jobs first–such as fitting a trigger–before moving on to tasks such as barrel-fitting.)

The DVD was produced professionally in Brownell’s in-house studio. It is organized into more than 50 chapters so you can access the specific content you need without excessive searching. Plus, you can pause the DVD while you perform each step.

PDF instructions are included on the DVD. (Load the disc into your computer’s DVD drive and print out the illustrated instruction sheet.) Plus, there are checklists to help you make sure you’ve ordered every piece you will need.

The DVD can be purchased for $29.95 from brownells.com. You can also order by phone at 800-741-0015, mention code #PEN. FYI, the videos can still be accessed, FREE, through the website howtobuildanar15.com, or you can click on the links in the tables below.

Section 4
Assembling the Upper Receiver
Assembling the Upper Receiver
(6 Clips)
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December 17th, 2008

Click for Better Daily Bulletin View

Daily Bulletin

One click is all it takes to enjoy the Daily Bulletin in a wider, easier-to-read format, with less scrolling. Just click ANY of the links shown below to access our WIDER Daily Bulletin page. Pictures will appear better and the navigation tools won’t block text.

Daily Bulletin

We’ve offered the dedicated Bulletin page for months, plus all these link buttons, but for some reason, many of our readers still only view the Daily Bulletin in the small “preview” window on our home page. (We’re working on making the home page wider, but that requires some major changes.) Recently we added a 6″-wide red button above this preview window saying “CLICK HERE for Daily Bulletin.” That link takes you to www.accurateshooter.com/bulletin.html, our dedicated Bulletin page. You may want to bookmark that page.

Anyway guys, if you currently read the Bulletin only on the home page, that’s like watching a 12″ TV in your kitchen when you’ve got a 50″ Plasma a step away in the living room.

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December 17th, 2008

Greg Tannel Offers Gunsmithing DVD Videos

Greg Tannel, owner/operator of Gre-Tan Rifles and GTR Tooling, is a renowned gunsmith and one of the most respected machinists in the business. He invented, and now builds, many of the advanced tools used by other gunsmiths, such as the GTR high pressure pump for chamber flushing systems.

Greg Tannel Gunsmithing Videos

CLICK HERE for Gre-Tan Gunsmithing DVD Order Page. Call (970) 878-5421 for more info.

Greg has created a series of high-quality DVD videos sharing his knowledge of advanced gunsmithing topics. These DVDs range in length from 50 minutes (Tailstock Alignment) to a full 4 hours for the 2-disc Action Blueprinting DVD. All the videos are available from Greg in modern DVD format that can be played through either your television set or your home computer. Here are the gunsmithing DVDs currently offered:

Action Blueprinting: 2 DVDs / 4 Hrs. $58.00 delivered.
Greg notes: “No other video ever made comes close to this Hi-tech, in-depth look at what is involved to blueprint an action. This video is not candy-coated. It reveals the inherent gross misconceptions of action truing with facts and dial indicators. All machining is single point, including the recutting of the threads. This includes an in-depth instruction section on setup of the threading tool bit and how to pickup the internal thread in an action for recutting for professional truing of threads.”

Bolt Sleeving Video: 2 DVDs / 2 Hrs. 30 mins. $55.00 delivered.
This video starts by showing bolt lug deflection off of the receiver lug. This will open your eyes. Next the use of the action bolt bore reamer/mandrel is shown and demonstrated on an action that is being blueprinted. Then the nitty gritty of sleeving a bolt body is presented. All setups for machining are shown from the start to finish on the bolt.

Tailstock Alignment For Reaming: 1 DVD / 50 mins. $41.00 delivered.
This video shows how to dial in the tailstock and explains why the turning of a shaft for alignment may be fighting and ruining all your chamber reaming efforts.To achieve repeatability when moving the tailstock for depth of cut, like head space readings, the tailstock has to come back into axial alignment when slide back up the barrel for resuming the reaming operations.

Sako Extractor Install: 1 DVD / 1 Hr. 59 mins. $25.00 delivered.
This video covers installation of all styles of Sako extractors. It also covers set up and machining of the bolt for the SAKO extractors.

G.T.R. High Pressure Pump: 1 DVD / 2 Hrs. $31.00 delivered.
Whether you purchased a flushing system from G.T.R. or built your own. You will want this full information video, which will save you time & money. All important matters concerning chamber flushing are covered in detail.

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December 17th, 2008

New 2009 Hodgdon Manual Available Soon

The 2009 Edition of the Hodgdon Annual Manual will be available in the second week of January, 2009, at newsstands and gun dealers. The 2009 Manual, priced at $8.99, is the most complete reloading resource yet produced for Hodgdon, IMR® and Winchester® powders. The Manual includes usage recommendations, product descriptions, and burn rate charts for over 50 powders, including Winchester’s new AutoComp™ pistol powder. Along with comprehensive load data for most popular cartridges, the 2009 Manual has 271 recipes for four new cartridges: 300 Ruger Compact Magnum, 30 TC, 338 Ruger Compact Magnum, and 327 Federal Magnum. The 2009 Annual Manual also features nine informative articles from well-known gun writers. For more info, visit www.Hodgdon.com, or call Hodgdon at 913-362-9455.

Hodgdon 2009 Manual

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December 16th, 2008

BARGAIN BIN — Great Deal on Shooting Glasses

We recently shopped the web to find a new pair of protective shooting glasses. Expecting to pay $20 or more per pair, we were surprised to find high-quality UVEX safety glasses for under $9.00! Available from CooperSafety.com, UVEX glasses feature wrap-around lenses and comfortable padded temples and nose bridges. The UVEX line of safety eyewear passes ANSI Z87+ and CSA Z94.3 standards and meets the MIL VO ballistic test for impact protection. UVEX offers a lifetime frame guarantee–something you won’t get with many $100.00 sunglasses. Among the UVEX product line, we liked the UVEX Skyper ($7.80) with its extended side-shields, the UVEX Genesis ($7.75 -$9.92), and the lightweight UVEX XC ($9.07-$10.55). All three come in a variety of lens shades, and replacement lenses are available for under $5.00 per set.

UVEX safety glasses

For more information on protective eyewear, read our comprehensive Guide to Shooting Glasses. It explains the various safety standards which apply and gives the pros and cons of the various preferred lens materials: Polycarbonate, Trivex, and SR-91.

CLICK HERE to learn more ….

EDITORIAL — Zero Tolerance Needed on Protective Eyewear
I’ve noticed a disturbing percentage of shooters, novice and expert alike, who fail to wear proper eye protection when shooting from the bench. You’ve probably seen this yourself — experienced shooters who’ll grudgingly wear protective glasses in a match (only because they are required), but who won’t wear glasses while practicing. Or, you may have noticed young shooters who shun protective eyewear because they think safety glasses “look dorky”.

shooting glasses

To be honest, guys, I think we need to exercise “ZERO Tolerance” when it comes to eye safety. “Mandatory eye protection” rules need to be enforced… no safety glasses = no shooting, period. Rangemasters must INSIST that ALL shooters on the line wear protective glasses. And when you’re out practicing on your own, wear your safety glasses… always… no matter whether you’re shooting centerfire, rimfire, or even air rifles. One little shard of brass or a popped primer and you could be blinded. Your eyesight is precious. Take care of it!

Permalink Optics 7 Comments »
December 16th, 2008

K&M Tools Sold by PrecisionReloading.com

K&M Arbor PressIf you’ve been looking for the specialized reloading tools from K&M (Ken Markel), contact Precision Reloading, 1-800-223-0900, a catalog and online vendor located in Mitchell, South Dakota. Precision Reloading stocks the excellent K&M Arbor Press, which can measure bullet seating pressure with an optional Seating Force Gauge. K&M’s neck-turning tool (item KMMACN) is a favorite of serious reloaders, and the Primer Seating Tool with depth gauge (item KMPST975, below) is perhaps the most sophisticated device of its kind. This gives a positive read-out confirming that your primers are all seated to the same depth.

Bruno Shooters’ Supply also carries K&M products at very attractive prices. Shown below is the Neck-turning Tool with optional Pilot Jack, Carbide “doughnut-cutter” mandrel and indicator for neck-wall thickness.

K&M Neck-turning tool

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December 15th, 2008

Hone Your Skills with Virtual Benchrest Program

For folks in Northern climes, the competitive shooting season is over, but you can still practice your wind-doping skills with the Virtual Benchrest program created by Bill Giel. This free online program simulates a short-range benchrest match, letting you shoot groups at official-size targets “on the clock”. The challenge is to adjust your aim to constantly changing wind conditions. There are no “virtual windflags” to watch, but the program provides a wind direction pointer along with a wind velocity meter. You need to take both wind angle and speed into account if you want to shoot tiny groups.The program lets you “dial in” windage and elevation for your crosshairs (and/or hold off), and you can switch from sighter to target during record fire. You have 7 minutes to put at least 5 shots for record on target. The program automatically calculates your group size with each shot. The program will also calculate a running average of your group sizes, which comprise your Aggregate. Shoot five, 5-shot groups to duplicate a real benchrest Aggregate.

Virtual Benchrest Game

It may sound easy, but once you give it a try, you’ll find it can be quite challenging (even if you don’t have to worry about tuning loads for temp or humidity changes). Virtual Benchrest is no substitute for real trigger-time at the range, but this program can help keep your skills sharp during the winter months. And you don’t have to pay for powder or bullets. The program is free, hosted by the Russian benchrest website, Benchrest.Ru. Although this site is in the Russian language, the instructions for the program are in English. Just click on the program’s “HELP” tab. A pop-up window will appear that explains program functions and offers tips on how to shoot the smallest groups.

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December 15th, 2008

Midsouth Offers Holiday Specials

The Midsouth Shooters Supply special Christmas Sale Flyer has been released. It contains some killer deals. We suggest you guys download the flyer and check it out.

CLICK HERE to download Midsouth Christmas Sale Flyer. (6 meg .pdf file.)

Here are some of the interesting bargains we found:

Duraseal Polymer Spinning Varmint Targets, $12.59-$24.37
Economical, lightweight product that’s ideal for long-range practice. We like reactive targets, and these units provide the instant visual feedback we like. The animal part of the target stands up to multiple hits well, but you better not shoot the hoop frame.

Leatherman Skeletool, $59.95
Typical retail is about $80.00. Check out our previous Skeletool Review. This is a very neat product — one of the best “multi-tools” on the market. This Editor bought one for a relative who is a part-time ski guide and he loves it.

Lyman DPS Upgrade Kit, $20.60
This inexpensive, drop-in upgrade will boost the performance of the first- and second-generation Lyman DPSI or DPSII electronic powder dispensers to equal the speed of the latest DPS 3. The Upgrade kit will double the dispensing speed with some powders.

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December 14th, 2008

Varmint Hunters Association Offers Online Resources

Varmint Hunters AssnThe Varmint Hunters’ Assocation (VHA) publishes an excellent print publication, the Varmint Hunter magazine. In addition, the VHA offers a wealth of online resources. On the VHA Website, VarmintHunter.org, you’ll find lots of useful features, including Event Calendar, online store, shooting and safety tips, and select reprints from Varmint Hunter magazine. Right now you can read a free feature article by Thomas Tabor on the 20 VarTarg cartridge in a Cooper model 21 Montana Varminter. If you’re a fan of small, efficient cartridges for varminting, this article is a “must-read”. Here are links to the 20 VarTarg story, and three other excellent articles from Varmint Hunter Magazine:

20 VarTarg in Cooper Montana Varminter

Precision Ballistic Charts–A Critical Aid To Long-Range Shooting

Trials And Tribulations Of Making The Long Shot

Stand And Deliver: 10 Tricks… To Be A Better Coyote Hunter

Files are Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. Copyrighted photos courtesy Varmint Hunters Association, All Rights Reserved.

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December 14th, 2008

EAR GEAR — Volume Discounts on -33db Ear Plugs

Cooper Safety Supply offers quality Howard Leight earplugs at great prices. These plugs taper at the inboard end, and flare on the outside for better noise seal. Comfortable to wear, the Leight “Max” earplugs offer an outstanding -33db sound reduction rating. We like the “Max 30″ corded version because they stay around your neck when removed and they are much more difficult to misplace. The basic (uncorded) Max plugs are on sale–just $26.40 for 200 pairs. The corded Max plugs are just $24.97 for 100 pairs. That’s still a great deal as most gunshops charge $1.00 per pair. Earplugs are great “stocking stuffers” for all your shooting friends, or you could purchase a couple hundred for your local shooting club.

howard leight ear plugs

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December 13th, 2008

Anschütz Laser Rifle Training System

It’s twelve days ’til Christmas, there’s snow on the ground and your rifles are packed away for the winter. How do you maintain that competitive edge through the slow winter months? The LaserPower training kit from Anschütz could be the answer. This is a complete system with a Laser-equiped rifle and a 5-target biathlon-style remote target station. “Shoot” the rifle, and if you aim correctly, green lights appear on the target station one by one after each shot. This is a set-up that both adult competitors and juniors can enjoy. If you’re looking for the “ultimate” Christmas gift for your kids, this might be it. The LaserPower rifle kit retails for $763.00 from NealJGuns.com. According to Anschütz, the LaserPower unit is not restricted by any firearms law so it can be used with kids as young as six years old. No FFL is required for purchase.

Anschutz laserpower rifle trainer

The unit features a 4.8-lb, laser-equipped rifle, with adjustable iron sights, an ambidextrous (right-hand or left-hand) hardwood stock, and a two-stage model 5066 trigger. In weight and dimensions, the LaserPower rifle is ideal for junior shooters, though it has been used successfully by adult biathletes for training. Below are two videos. The first video shows how the LaserPower system is assembled and operated. The second video shows the LaserPower in use at a European Biathlon training tournament.

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LaserPower LINKs
CLICK HERE for more LaserPower Videos
Download LaserPower English Language Brochure
Download LaserPower English Language Users’ Manual

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December 13th, 2008

Cargo Pants — Fieldwear for Active Shooters

Serious marksmen know the benefits of shooting hats, shooting coats, and shooting glasses, but less thought seems to be given to the rest of the wardrobe — pants. Jeans are OK for bench shooting, but they are less than ideal for prone work or tactical matches. Typical jeans provide little room for anything but loose change, car keys and a thin wallet. They tend to be restrictive in the wrong places, and heavy denim can be too hot in summer weather.

Propper Tactical pantsBy contrast, cargo pants or “tactical trousers” offer many advantages for the shooter. Many designs feature a small pocket that’s ideal for a cell phone or Kestrel wind meter. The large lower “bellows” pockets can hold a medium-sized log-book, empty chamber indicator (ECI), digital timer, a small camera, or ammo magazines. The upper slash pockets make it easy to access earplugs, come-up cards, or other small items. Some of the better cargo pants have double knees. This can provide a little more comfort and protection while shooting prone. Overall the cargo pant design is more practical, and in my opinion, more comfortable, than a pair of denim jeans.

This Editor was recently looking to replace a much-used pair of cargo pants that had finally worn out after two years. The cheap “no-name” cargo pants didn’t fit well and the stitching was poor. I looked at the military-style BDUs. They are durable, but I didn’t like the pocket options or the feel of the ripstop-type fabric. In addition, I wanted something “neutral” rather than camo. As I often wear field pants in business settings, such as banks and the post office, I didn’t need Tiger-stripes screaming “urban commando wannabee”.

I checked out various styles ranging from $15.00 to $65.00 and settled on the Propper F5220, 9-pocket “Tactical Pants”. Priced at $29.99, these have a myriad of features I really like. The elasticized waist band eases movement when you’re shooting from a prone or kneeling position. The double knees are great when you’re shooting a tactical match off bare ground. The front “cellphone pocket” is big enough to hold a Kestrel securely. The seat area is double thickness (nice when sitting on wet grass). There’s a clever double-level rear pocket that lets you position your wallet high for easy access or a low for extra security.

I also ride a motorcycle and I found the Propper tactical pants work well on a two-wheeler. Again the stretch waistband is a big plus. The front slash pockets are not cut so low that I have to worry about stuff falling out when riding. The large side cargo pockets allow me to carry checkbook, PDA, and digital camera securely on the sides of my legs. My cellphone is easily accessible and I like the extra D-ring for holding keys on a carabiner while off the machine.

Propper Tactical pants

Propper F5220 “Tactical” trousers are made from a durable 65% polyester / 35% cotton canvas blend. They are shrink-resitant and a DuPont Teflon coating makes them stain-resistant. For my purposes, the F5220 pants are every bit as good as Royal Robbins’ 5.11 pants (maybe better), and they cost at least ten bucks (25%) less. Propper F5220s are available in Khaki (tan), Black, Olive and Navy Blue from BDU.com or USPatriotstore.com.

Never heard of Propper? Propper International is a 37-year-old manufacturing company that produces uniforms for the U.S. Armed Services and police agencies. Propper has been ISO 9001-certified since 1996 and operates factories in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

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December 12th, 2008

Test Your Skills in "Smallbore Sniper" Matches

Recently, in the Daily Bulletin, we ran a story on Czech Rimfire fun matches. Many readers were interested in starting similar matches at their own clubs here in the USA. The Czech shooters have creatively combined many fun shooting scenarios using a wide variety of targets. One of the rimfire fun matches held by Robert Chlapek’s Czech Shooting Club is an event called “Smallbore Sniper Rifle”. Shown below are some of the targets used.

CLICK HERE to download ALL targets as a 1 megabyte .ZIP file. Targets are .pdf files.

Robert explains: “For 2009 we prepaired some new stages and targets. We plan to hold six matches for this year at our club, and this new discipline will be shot at at least two other clubs in Czech Republic, running the same stages according to our rules. Each match will have six (6) stages, each carrying equal weight in the final tally.”

STAGE ONE — Cold-bore Shot + Hostage Situation (11 minutes, 10 shots)
Each competitor has one minute to shoot his first “cold-bore” shot (without zeroing) on a bullseye target. The referee checks the target, then the shooter engages nine (9) hostage-situation targets in ten minutes, with one shot per target (re-zeroing allowed). Total time is 11 minutes.

STAGE TWO — Designated Bullseyes with Timer (4 Shots on Command)
There are eight, named bullseye targets (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie etc.), set at 50 meters. Each shooter is assigned a particular number. The Referee will call a shooter’s number and a target title, such as “Shooter FIVE, DELTA”, and immediately start a timer. The shooter has just 3 seconds (between timer beeps) to take a shot on the designated target. Each shooter takes a total of four (4) shots, one at a time, on command.

STAGE THREE — Shooting after Exercise (3 shots Rapid, Timed)
Here the shooter has to quickly fire three shots on three targets AFTER doing physical exercise (knee-bends or dips). This drill tests the shooter’s skills when shooting with a high pulse rate. When the referee calls “Start” the shooter must do five exercise reps, then shoot three rounds on the clock. The score is the amount of target points (times 5) divided by the time in seconds. In this formula, time counts as much as the target points, so the “sniper” must shoot accurately, but also quickly.

STAGE FOUR — Position Shooting (Two 5-minute Strings)
This involves two 5-shot strings, each completed in five minutes. The first string is shot standing, but the shooter may use a vertical steel post for stabilization — simulating a tree in the forest. In the second 5-minute stage, the shooter must fire five shots (at a smaller target) from kneeling or seated position, but he can use a chair as a rest. This stage is designed to simulate conditions when you can’t shoot prone effectively (such as when there is tall grass).

STAGE FIVE — Roll of the Dice
At random, the Referee will choose one of three target scenarios:

A. “36 Smileys” — Each shooter must find, identify and hit ten targets between 36 other very similar “smiley faces”. Time for this stage is 10 minutes.

B. “Hostages in Windows” — Shooters must shoot very quickly, trying to hit eight (8) targets in just 75 seconds. Points are deducted if you hit the hostages.

C. “Hanging Beer Mat” — This scenario tests concentration and patience. A hanging beer mat suspended from a thin line has three small targets on each side. To “engage” all six targets, you must allow the mat to “twist in the wind”. You are allowed only 6 shots total — one per target.

STAGE SIX — Circles (5 minutes, 5 shots)
The shooter must choose and hit five central target dots, one shot per circle. The smallest dots have the highest score values. A miss counts zero. This is similar to the “know your limits” dot targets used in USA rimfire tactical matches.

CLICK HERE for results of a recent Czech Smallbore Sniper match, with photos.

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