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January 20th, 2010

SHOT Show New Products — Quick Look

Streamlined DBM Mag Release from American Precision Arms
Jered Joplin of American Precision Arms (formerly Patriot Arms) showed us a smart new product that should speed up mag changes for tactical bolt-gun competitors. The new APA detachable box magazine (DBM) bottom metal has two, spring-loaded tabs, one on either side of the tigger guard. Just push down on the tab on either side and the magazine drops out quickly and easily. You don’t have to fumble around with hard-to-operate latches anymore.

American Precision Arms’ DBM system uses the well-proven AICS magazine, as several others do, but APA’s version has the most streamlined and user-friendly mag release mechanism. Releasing the magazine with the trigger finger is very intuitive. The release levers are machined to fit flush with the trigger guard edges, so there is virtually no change of a snag or unintentional release. For more information, call Jered Joplin at (706) 534-1577.

New Protektor Model Deluxe Rear Bags
We stopped by the Protektor Model booth and were pleased to find some new deluxe rear bags on display. The DR bag, a large square rear bag, is one of Jason’s favorites. He suggested to Protektor that it combine this flat top design with the larger Loaf design, shown at right in the picture below. The loaf provides extra stabiity and it can serve as a hand/arm rest as well.

One new Protektor product that caught our attention was a thick-botomed bag with a carry handle. The thick bottom is crafted from hard, thick leather with an extra layer of suede on the bottom for enhanced grip. Though designed for bench use, I dubbed this model the “F-Class Bag” because the extra height would be very helpful when shooting from the ground, and the built-in handle would be ideal for carrying the bag out to the shooting positions. This new F-Class Bag is not on Protektor’s website yet, but it is a production model that should retail for roughly $70.00 unfilled and about $80.00 filled with sand. (Protektor conveniently offers both filled and un-filled versions of most of its sandbags.)

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January 20th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Murdica Tests New Norma 6PPC Brass

Lou MurdicaAt the request of, respected Benchrest ace Lou Murdica tested the brand new, early production Norma 6PPC brass. Lou shot 30 cases (both turned and unturned) over the past few days, and he endorses the Norma brass without hesitation. Lou says “the Norma PPC brass is great brass. Without a doubt this will be highly competitive brass in the short-range benchrest group”. Lou did observe that the necks on the Norma brass were slightly thinner than on Lapua 220 Russian brass, but that really doesn’t matter. With a slight neck turn, Lou declares, “the Norma PPC brass is as good as any out there.”

Lou said, based on his testing, the Norma brass holds pressure well, and the accuracy is outstanding. Lou shot five 5-round groups, as in a match course of fire, and his largest group was “around 0.148″ at 100 yards.

If you’re a short-range benchrester, definitely watch this video and listen to Lou. He thinks this new Norma brass will “change the game”. Note — Lou said most PPC shooters can shoot the Norma cases with no change in their powder recipes. So you won’t lose any velocity using Norma’s new brass. Lou was very impressed with Norma’s new offering, enough so that he declared: “I would go right for the Norma right now if I could put a bunch in my hand.”

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January 20th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Manners Composite Stocks

Manners Composite Stocks builds very strong, stiff stocks employing advanced manufacturing methods and high tech carbon fiber materials. In this video, stock-maker Tom Manners showcases his new products for 2010. These include the handsome new MCST 5A Tactical stock, composed of 30% carbon fiber, 65% fiberglass. Though as strong as any comparable stock on the market, the MCST 5A weighs just 4.1 pounds. Tom also displayed his impressive “long wheelbase” F-Class stock. A full 7″ longer than any other F-Class stock on the market, the Manners F-Class stock features all-carbon construction and a unique “fish-belly” design that provides extra rigidity so the stock tracks smoothly without the “springboard effect” common to some other low profile stock designs.

Manners F-Class stock

Manners F-Class stock

Tom also previewed the new Manners Mini Chassis, an integrated v-block/bottom metal/mag carriage. Manners’ Mini Chassis can be installed in one of Manners stocks or other designs, and it provides a rock-solid, “bolt-in and go” mount for a Rem-700 footprint action. The Mini Chassis takes both 5-round and 10-round AI magazines.

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January 20th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: The Boys from Bartlein

Bartlein BarrelsWisconsin’s Bartlein Barrels currently produces some of the most accurate cut-rifled rifle barrels in the world. We had a chance to chat with Bartlein barrel-makers Tracy Bartlein and Frank Green shortly after the doors opened at the 2010 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Frank and Tracy weighed in on some of the “hot topics” in the barrel-making business: Gain Twist and the advantages of single-point cut rifling. In this interview, the “boys from Bartlein” discuss current trends in barrel-making, including what’s “hot” in short-range benchrest and the emergence of 7mm barrels for F-Class Open competition. Tracy also offers his opinions on cut rifling vs. button rifling, and he explains how modern technology has helped make modern barrels “better than ever”.

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