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April 30th, 2011

Forum Member Builds Barrel-Block F-TR Rig on Savage Action

Forum member Jon B. (aka LazyEiger) has created a one-of-a-kind F-TR rifle that showcases innovative, “outside-the-box” thinking. Starting with an affordable Savage Target Action, Jon added top-flight components: Master Class HP prone stock with adjustable cheekpiece, and a custom Lilja 1:13″-twist barrel chambered in .308 Win. The centerpiece of the project, however, is the barrel block Jon fabricated himself to hold the barreled action. The barrel block is secured with a long plate that runs down the centerline of the stock on the bottom side. John is still in the initial testing phase of his project, but the rifle’s performance is very promising.

Savage .308 Master Class Barrel Block

Jon tells us: “I am new to the sport of rifle shooting. But my son has been shooting and reloading for a year or so and he persuaded me to ‘give it a go’. I have always been a firm believer that the best way to compete in any sport is to completely understand the equipment involved. For me this means building everything I can from scratch. I am a fairly accomplished machinist and decided to make everything I could myself for the rifle. I had read many comments about Savage action screws and how important it is to get the correct tension on them for best accuracy, this made me think if the action was floating, then action screw tension would not be a factor. I did a lot of research on rail guns and came up with the design for my .308 Winchester barrel block rifle. The barrel block has a 1/8″ phenolic (plastic) sleeve to help dampen vibration and also to minimize heat transfer from the barrel to the block.”

Savage .308 Master Class Barrel Block

Savage .308 Master Class Barrel Block

Savage Action, Lilja Barrel, Master Class Stock, Sightron Scope
Jon carefully chose premium components to combine with his Savage Target Action. The 13-twist Lilja Medium Palma contour barrel has a 32″ finished length. Jon chambered the barrel in .308 Win with a PTG reamer with 0.336″ neck and 0.060″ freebore to shoot 155.5gr Berger fullbore bullets. The stock started off as a Master Class Highpower prone blank before it was modified to take the barrel block. On top is a Sightron SIII 10-50x60mm scope with Evolution Gun Works (EGW) rail and rings.

Savage .308 Master Class Barrel Block

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
April 30th, 2011

Sinclair Int’l Offers $10 Off Certificate at NRA Annual Meeting

Here’s a good deal for those of you in Pittsburgh, PA this weekend for the NRA Annual Meeting. Just wander by the Sinclair Int’l booth in the Exhibit Hall and you can get a $10.00 Gift Certificate for free. Sinclair’s booth (#1010) is right up front near one of the main entry points. While you’re there, you can see Sinclair’s latest products and reloading tools. You can also place orders for reloading components (although Sinclair does not sell products directly at the show. You may want to stock up on bullets from existing inventory. Sinclair Int’l President Bill Gravatt revealed: “We are starting to see some indications of price increases ahead for some of the bullet manufacturers. Sierra just informed us that they will be taking an unexpected price increase because of material costs effective May 1, 2011.”

Sinclair Discount Coupon

Story sourced by Edlongrange.
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April 29th, 2011

Zeiss Offers Scope Rebates and Cuts Rangefinder Costs

Zeiss Optics RebateCarl Zeiss Sports Optics has announced attractive consumer promotions that can save you hundreds of dollars. From May 1 through December 31, 2011, you can get a $50 mail-in-rebate on all Conquest Riflescopes with Rapid-Z® Ballistic Reticle. Zeiss will also offer a $100 mail-in-rebate on all Victory Riflescopes with Rapid-Z reticle. “Even though the economic outlook is improving, we know there are many people out there who are mindful of every dollar spent,” said Erik Schumacher, president of Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. “This is our way of helping hunters’ dollars go further.”

Zeiss Rangefinder Price Cut $100.00
Zeiss is also lowering the price of its Victory Laser RF binoculars by $200 and Victory 8×26 T* PRF laser rangefinder (LRF) by $100. NOTE: recently conducted a comparison field test with the Zeiss Victory Laser PRF, Leica 1200, and the much more expensive Swarovski Laser Guide. The Zeiss Victory LRF ranged as well as the Leica and the Swaro out to 1000 yards, and we found the Zeiss to be easier to hold and aim than both the Leica and Swaro. Even before the price drop, we considered the Zeiss Victory LRF a “best buy”. The Zeiss LRF was the favorite of all three of our testers and it was the unit we eventually purchased with our own money.

Zeiss Rangefinder LR

Carl Zeiss is also offering special Victory DiaScope Spotting Scope kits at participating dealers. These kits include a DiaScope Spotting Scope (65mm or 85mm, straight or angled), with 15-56x / 20-75x Vario eyepiece and new Zeiss Carbon Fiber Tripod set. Purchasing these items as a kit yields a $300 savings to customers.

Story sourced by Edlongrange
Permalink Hot Deals, Optics 1 Comment »
April 29th, 2011

Gun Talk Radio Broadcasts from 2011 NRA Annual Meeting

Gun Talk RadioIf you can’t make it to the NRA Annual Meeting (and Exhibits) in Pittsburgh, PA, you can still monitor developments via radio. Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk Radio will broadcast live from the NRA Annual Meeting this Saturday, April 30th, from 12pm – 3pm Eastern at the Taurus Booth, #1937. All attendees are encouraged to stop by the booth and “watch” the radio show. Guests will include ‘Hickock 45′ (popular YouTube Gun reviewer), plus representatives from major manufacturers including Liberty Safe, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Taurus, and Timney Triggers. If you miss the live broadcast, you can download a recorded podcast version from the Gun Talk Archive.

NRA Annual MeetingThe NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits, April 29th through May 1st, are free for NRA Members (tickets required for banquets). It’s worth attending if you can spare a day. Attendees can check out hundreds of exhibits from firearms and shooting accessory companies, meet celebrities, and talk with gun enthusiasts and shooters from around the USA.

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April 29th, 2011

Gear Review: AIM 60 Tactical Drag Bag

AIM Tactical Drag BagThe folks at AIM Field Sports Ltd. in the UK recently sent us an AIM 60 Tactical Drag Bag for testing and evaluation (T&E). Capable of handling a rifle up to 59″ overall, and equipped with shoulder straps and lots of storage pockets, this unique product is far more versatile than the typical “soft” rifle case. In backpack mode, the AIM 60 will carry the weight of your gun and all the extras comfortably over long distances. The AIM 60 costs £159.00 incl. VAT (or £132.50 duty-free, US $215.40), while the smaller AIM 50 version costs £141.00 incl. VAT (or £117.50 duty-free, US $191.02). (USA prices at current exchange rates; shipping not included.) Both AIM 60 and AIM 50 are offered in Lincoln Green, Tan, or Black.

The AIM 60 is crafted from heavy-duty 1000 denier Cordura® nylon, and employs high-grade zippers and fasteners all around. On the front of the bag are two jumbo-sized, padded utility pockets. The larger pocket has a string of elastic straps that are ideal for magazines, and the pocket is large enough to hold a rear sandbag. The smaller pocket has elasticized, gusseted inner pockets for holding radios, rangefinders, tools, earmuffs, and personal gear. On the outside of the smaller front zippered pocket is a diagonal zippered compartment which can hold logbooks, maps or other flat items.

AIM Tactical Drag Bag

The main gun compartment has a detachable drag hood, adjustable internal weapon securing straps, and a cleaning rod sleeve. Extra thick foam padding protects the rifle and there is a stock support sleeve that cradles the butt. This is a really important feature. The sleeve supports the rifle’s weight (keeping it off the zipper) when you use the bag in backpack mode.

AIM Tactical Drag Bag

Field Tests Demonstrate ‘Quality in the Details’
Over the past couple months, Our “master fabricator” Mark LaFevers has used the AIM 60 to carry his gear at local tactical and varmint matches. He’s impressed by the quality of the AIM 60: “In assessing this soft-sided rifle case from the UK, ‘Top Flight’ has to be the lead descriptor. The target market for this bag looks to be the extreme end of the performance spectrum, where demands on gear are the highest.

What impressed me most about this bag is how well thought-out the design is. Everywhere you look there are smart features that make the bag perform better, last longer, or provide better protection for your gear. To ensure the front drag handle won’t fail, AIM provides heavy nylon webbing doubled over at the loop, triple-stitched six inches down each side of the bag. To better protect the rifle, AIM added a floor stiffener in the full length pocket provided for a cleaning rod, and a padded 2” flap inside the full length top zipper so that contents bear against the flap and not the zipper. To make the bag more versatile (and boost its carrying capacity) AIM provided over 30 external heavily-stitched web loop attach points for gear. And to ensure that the shoulder strap mounts never fail, AIM uses high-quality METAL clips and rings. The shoulder straps even stow cleanly inside a zippered compartment when not in use. In summary, the AIM bag showcases superior attention to detail in both design and construction.

This is no ordinary rifle case — and people notice that immediately. As I was getting ready to leave a local rifle match, I was stopped by one of the other competitors. ‘Wait a minute’, he said. ‘Where did you get that bag… can I check it out?’ After looking at the AIM for a minute, he said: ‘You know I just spent a lot of money on the best bag I could find. But my bag doesn’t have half the features that yours does. I wish I had bought one of these [AIM] bags instead.'” That’s a pretty strong endorsement for the AIM.

YouTube Preview Image

Here are some other reviews of the AIM Tactical Drag Bags:

“The Drag Bag is a proper sniper-style drag-bag with rucksack-style straps…It has some enormous pockets that will swallow an unbelievable amount of gear. The bag is packed with features…every time I use it I seem to find another well thought-out feature — like the quick-release straps which hold your rifle in place…The pockets have more pockets inside and elasticised retainers which stop all your bits ‘n’ bobs falling about. This bag is also longer than most I looked at. The price? Just [£138 for AIM 50] and I defy you to find one in the same class for anything like that.” — Vince Bottomley (Target Sports, Nov. 2008)

“Full bore shooters… need a rifle bag that can be worn as a rucksack. It did not take me long to figure out the hard case I had for my rifle was of no use whatsoever. It could not hold my range book, ammo box or much else other than the rifle. My .308 Remington 700 is fitted with a muzzle brake and a huge 12-42 Nightforce NXS scope. The bag swallows this 53″ gun easily. It has two snap buckle securing straps inside the bag to hold the rifle securely as well as a stock support pocket [and] 5 snap buckles to ensure the gun remains in the bag. I like the fact that my £3000 gun is cradled and protected in this ‘over the top’ way. I no longer take a range bag when going shooting a tactical competition, everything fits in the AIM bag. The rucksack shoulder straps [make] for a very comfortable carrying system. This leaves your hands free for a [front] rest if you use one….” — Tim Finley (Gun Mart, Jan. 2008)

CLICK HERE for a Video Guide to the AIM 50 Drag Bag

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 7 Comments »
April 28th, 2011

Varmint Fun Matches on Both Coasts This Weekend

Whether you’re on the East Coast or West Coast, you can have fun this weekend at an outstanding varmint match, shooting reactive targets for fun, glory (and maybe a little cash). Easterners — head down to Virginia for the Roanoake Egg Shoot. Westerners — navigate to the Pala Range near Oceanside in Southern California.

Roanoake Egg Shoot, Saturday April 30th
roanoake Egg ShootIn Virginia, the Roanoake Egg Shoot will be held Saturday, April 30, 2011 at the Roanoake Rifle and Revolver Club in Hardy, Virginia. This is a real test of shooter and equipment. You want challenge? Try hitting an egg at 500 yards. That requires a skilled triggerman (or woman) and a very accurate rifle. In addition to the 500-yard egg event, Roanoke also offers long-range plate shooting. There will be three classes this year: 1) Factory Guns; 2) Hunter/Tactical; and 3) Custom Benchrest. The custom gun class will shoot 2″-diameter steel plates at 425 yards while the Factory and Hunter class guns will shoot 3″ plates at 425 yards. All shooting is from a 20-bench covered firing line. The entry fee is just $20.00 per gun/class entry. Pay $60.00 and you can shoot all three classes. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top shooters. For more info, contact Mark Schronce (540) 980-1582 or Epps Foster, (540) 890-4973. The club is located at 1305 Gun Club Drive, Hardy, VA 24101. GET DIRECTIONS.

Pala, California Multi-Stage Varmint Silhouette Shoot
About 24 miles east of Oceanside, California (near the Camp Pendleton Marine base) is the Pala Reservation. On that Native American land you’ll find an impressive Casino Resort, plus an excellent shooting range. The first Sunday of every month, shooters come to Pala to enjoy a challenging Varmint Silhouette Match. At five different yardages, ten steel “critter” targets are set as follows: 200 Meters – Field Mice (“pikas”); 300 meters – Crows; 385 meters – Ground Squirrels; 500 meters – Jack Rabbits; 600 yards – Prairie Dogs.

Pala Silhouette Match

There’s a North County Shootist Association Varmint Silhouette match this Sunday, May 1st. You’ll need a very accurate rifle, and 80-100 rounds of ammo. You can shoot either rested prone (F-Class style), from bipod, or from a wooden bench with front pedestal and rear bag. Any rifle 6.5 caliber or under is allowed, with no weight restrictions. Muzzle brakes are permitted. There’s a one-hour sight-in period starting at 8 am, and the match starts at 9 am sharp. The folks at Pala run a tight ship, cycling multiple relays efficiently, so everybody gets to shoot 50 targets (10 each at five different yardages), and the show is usually completed by 1:00 pm. (Then if you want… head over to the Pala Casino for gambling fun, or a spa treatment.) CLICK HERE for Match Info.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
April 28th, 2011

Top Shot Season 2 Final Episode Now on Website

If you’re a fan of the History Channel’s Top Shot series, but you missed the season finale, don’t despair. You can watch the full episode online and see who wins $100,000 and the title of “Top Shot”. We won’t reveal any spoilers here, but we can say that some dramatic surprises will unfold as you watch.

CLICK HERE to watch the Season 2 Finale of Top Shot

Permalink - Videos, Competition 2 Comments »
April 28th, 2011

NRA Annual Meeting Activities Commence This Afternoon

The 2011 NRA Annual Meeting and Exhibits officially kick off tomorrow, April 29th. However, if you’ll arrive in Pittsburgh, PA early, you can occupy yourself with many interesting afternoon activities, including air gun shooting:

2:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Member registration
Registration opens this year and offers a great chance for you to take care of this early, allowing you to walk right by the line and into the convention center Friday morning.

Pyramyd Air Air Gun Range2:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Pyramid Air Air Gun Range
Pyramid’s indoor Air Gun range in the Lawrence Convention Center opens at 2 pm today. For a $1.00 fee you can shoot the latest models of air rifles, air pistols, air silhouette rifles and 10-meter running game target rifles. CLICK HERE to see all the different models available.

2:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Antique Guns & Gold Showcase
At the Guns and Gold Showcase in the Convention Center upper lobby, experts from the National Firearms Museum can evaluate your antique guns, explaining markings and appraising current market values.

5:00 pm – National NRA Foundation Banquet
This evening’s National NRA Foundation Banquet (ticket required), includes dinner, silent auctions, games, and special drawings with all proceeds going to support The NRA Foundation.

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April 26th, 2011

Match Report: NBRSA 600-Yard and 1000-Yard Nationals

From April 20th through the 24th, the NBRSA conducted its National long-range Benchrest Championships at the Sac Valley Shooting Center in Sloughhouse, CA. The 600-Yard Nationals were held on April 20-21. Next was an F-Class Benchrest match on Friday the 22nd. This was followed by the two-day, 1000-yard Nationals on Saturday and Sunday, April 23-24.

Complete Match Scores (MS Word files): 600-Yard Results | 1000-Yard Results | F-Class Bench Results

Peter White was crowned the new NBRSA 600-yard Champion. Peter, who shot a 6mm BRX in both Light Gun and Heavy Gun classes, finished with 17 ranking points overall, well ahead of runner-up Greg Wilson (24 points). (In the two-gun overall ranking, fewer points are better). A highlight of this event was Bruce Bangeman’s 280-7X score, which has been logged as a potential NBRSA World Record.

Bruce Bangeman was the “Top Shot” in the NBRSA 1000-Yard Championships held on Saturday and Sunday. Bangeman won the 2-Gun Overall to be named the NBRSA 1K champion, with 23 ranking points. Bob Hoppe finished second with 26 points, and our friend Bruce Duncan of MT Guns finished third with 32 ranking points. CLICK HERE for a PDF file with complete 1000-yard results.

Despite rather blustery weather, there was a good turnout for all the events, with over 30 shooters on the line in both the 600-yard and 1000-yard Tournaments. Bruce Duncan, who finished 3rd overall in the 1K event, told us that: “Conditions were tough off and on throughout the match. We had targets blown off the board in some events. The winds were especially nasty on Sunday morning.”

600-Yard NBRSA National Championship

National 2-Gun 600yd Champion: Pete White, 17 points
2nd: Greg Wilson, 24 points
3rd: Gary Gagliono, 27 points
4th: Ken Schroeder, 33 points
5th: Jay Cutright, 34 points (tiebreaker- higher finish in 12 tgt grp)
6th: Robert Hoppe, 34 points
7th: Lou Murdica, 38 points
8th: Connie Murdica, 40 points
9th: Bruce Bangeman, 41 points
10th: John Crawford, 44 points

2 Gun Score Champion: Pete White 798 7x
2 Gun Group Champion: Jay Cutright 3.291

2011 Light Gun Score Champion: Bruce Bangeman, 280-7X (Pending World Record)
2011 Light Gun Group Champion: Jay Cutright, 2.670″
2011 Heavy Gun Score Champion: Connie Murdica, 535-3X
2011 Heavy Gun Group Champion: Jay Cutright, 3.912″

1000-Yard NBRSA National Championship

National 2-Gun 1K Champion: Bruce Bangeman, 23 points
2nd: Bob Hoppe, 26 points
3rd: Bruce Duncan, 32 points
4th: Billy Copelin, 37 points (won tiebreaker)
5th: Lou Murdica, 37 points
6th: Jay Cutright, 37 points
7th: Gary Gagliano, 42 points
8th: Greg Wilson, 44 points
9th: Curt Mendenhall, 51 points
10th: Everet Smith, 52 points

2 Gun Score Champion: Jay Cutright, 781-3X
2 Gun Group Champion: Bruce Bangeman, 8.279″

2011 Light Gun Score Champion: Gary Gagliano, 271-3X
2011 Light Gun Group Champion: Bruce Bangeman, 6.690″
2011 Heavy Gun Score Champion: Jay Cutright, 534-3X
2011 Heavy Gun Group Champion: Bruce Bangeman, 9.869″

F-Class Benchrest Match
In addition to the 600-yard Nationals and 1K Nationals, this year the Folsom Shooting Club conducted something relatively new — an “F-Class Benchrest” event. On Friday, a benchrest match for F-Class rifles was held. This allows the F-TR guys and the F-Open shooters with their 22-pounders to shoot from a seated position. Jerry Tierney reports: “The Friday F-Class Bench match was won by Tom Price (right) with a 386. In second place was Charles Greer with a 386 with less Xs.” Jerry finished in 3rd place “with a lot more Xs but only 385 points”. The first match was fired on the F-class target. The second match was on the slightly smaller 1000-yard bench rest target.

Shooters Pick 1K Benchrest Targets for Future F-Bench Matches
There was a vote on which target to shoot on for F-Class bench match and it was a close vote. Bob Hoppe observed that any range holding an F-bench match will have the 1000-yard Benchrest targets, but may not have F-Class 1000 yard targets. Another vote was taken and the 1000-yard Benchrest targets will be used for F-Bench matches.

Match photos courtesy Lou Murdica.
Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »
April 26th, 2011

New Series of Firearms Safety Videos from MidwayUSA

MidwayUSA SafetyMidwayUSA is releasing a new series of Firearm Safety Videos. These can be viewed free at, or you can Download the Videos for later playback.

These professionally-produced, High-Def videos teach safe handling and use of firearms. Each 90-second video covers one or more Basic Firearm Safety Rules. “Firearm Safety, Gun Safety or Hunter Safety; it doesn’t matter which term you use, this is a very important topic for everyone who spends time around guns – whether as a collector, a shooter or a hunter,” says Larry Potterfield, Founder and CEO of MidwayUSA. Potterfield will announce the new Videos on Saturday, May 30, at 1:30 pm at the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburg, PA.

MidwayUSA Safety

MidwayUSA VIDEO Downloads: Right click and “save as” to download to your computer.

All videos are in Movie (MOV) format. The latest version of QuickTime Player is required to play videos. Download QuickTime Player Now »

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April 25th, 2011

Evaluating Pressure Signs in Reloaded Cartridge Brass

Selection from BARNES BULLETS’ Tips, Tools, and Techniques
by Ty Herring, Barnes Consumer Service
The purpose of this month’s Tip from Barnes is to make you aware of valid pressure signs in most centerfire rifle cartridges so you can keep yourself out of hot water. Following the Barnes Manual should do exactly that. Below are photos of cartridges that definitely had too much pressure. Fortunately [they] were fired in controlled circumstances and no one was injured. But this shows what can happen if you are not careful….

High-Tech Pressure Testing Equipment
At Barnes Bullets, we use some of the best equipment when we develop load data for you. Ours is state-of-the-art with a specialized “conformal” pressure system. This set-up uses a high-tech SAAMI-spec pressure barrel with a hole bored into the chamber area and a piezoelectric transducer is installed. As the pressure peaks under firing, the gauge that is specially calibrated reads the pressure and sends a signal to the control box where a technician can see the results.

For many years hand loaders have used the old fashioned trial and error method, hoping that by adding another grain of powder you don’t blow yourself up. Certain “guidelines” have been the standard — such as when the primer gets flat, or when the bolt locks up — you should stop and reduce the charge. These methods have worked for many, but some of them are more myth than reality. I’d like to go over some of these common pressure signs to help you avoid the pitfalls.

Pressure Signs That May Be Unreliable or Deceptive
When I first started hand loading centerfire rifle cartridges, I was told that when the primer flattens I should back the load down. This is one of those semi-myths. Some primers will flatten under high pressure and others will not. I’ve had some Remington primers that have blown right out of the case without ever showing any sign of flattening and on the other hand I’ve had Winchester primers that flatten with only a starting charge. I believe this to be a function of the thickness and hardness of the primer cup. The other myth that seems common is primer “cratering”. Cratering of the primer can be caused by a hot load. But it can also be a result of a slightly large firing pin hole in the bolt or a firing pin that is a bit too long or excessive headspace. Split or cracked cases are another area where it’s assumed that high pressure is the cause. Again this is only myth. Although it can be a result of high pressure — split or cracked cases are more likely caused due to a flaw in the case, improper head space or just simply from being sized and fired repetitively.

[Editor’s Note: Flattened Primers, Primer Cratering, and Cracked Cases CAN DEFINITELY BE CAUSED by excessive pressure. Accordingly, you SHOULD be careful when you see any of these conditions. If you see very flat primers or deep cratering be alerted that you may have exceeded safe pressures. Ty Herring simply makes the point that these telltale pressure signs may sometimes occur even when pressure levels are “normal” or moderate — due to the presence of other problems. Hence these indicators may be misleading. Nonetheless — all these signs (flattened primers, cratered primers, split cases) CAN be valid warnings. If you see these conditions, exercise caution because you may, in fact, have excessively hot loads.]

Valid Pressure Signs You Should Understand
So what are valid pressure signs? I’d say the most common and repeatable pressure sign that one can visually see is the “ejector groove mark”. It shows itself on the bottom of the case [between the edge of the rim and] the primer. It is caused when the pressures within the chamber force the case against the bolt face. On most bolt faces there is a round spring loaded ejector pin. On others there is a rectangular groove to eject the spent round. Under very high pressure the brass case will flow into this groove thereby causing the “ejector groove mark”. If and when you see this mark, it is a sure sign of high pressure. Some of the new high pressure cartridges such as the WSMs are made to run at these higher pressures and some factory loads will manifest the ejector groove mark even though they are within their pressure specification.

Older-Generation Cartridges
Some cartridges have very low maximum pressure ratings such as the 45-70, 30-30, 416 Rigby along with many others that will never show an ejector groove mark. Or should I say, they should never show one. By the time you reach that high of pressure in one of these rifles, it is likely the gun will be in pieces and the bolt may become part of you.

Sticky Bolt Lift and Difficult Extraction
Another common and very real high pressure sign is heavy or sticky bolt lift or extraction. This is caused due to the brass flowing and swelling in the chamber under tremendous pressure. However heavy bolt lift is not always a sign of high pressure. It may be caused by a variety of other issues. Knowing your gun and how it usually extracts a cartridge will be a clue as to whether or not you are actually getting high pressure.

This article appears courtesy Barnes Bullets. The article originally appear in the June 2011 Barnes Bullet-N Newsletter. Story tip from Edlongrange.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 7 Comments »
April 24th, 2011

1005-yard Groundhogs. Rich and Roy’s Amazing Adventure.

A couple seasons back, Gunsmith Richard Franklin and his shooting partner Roy both achieved a varmint hunter’s dream — nailing a groundhog at 1000+ yards. The guns that did it were two of Richard’s 300 Varminters. These are 300 WSMs that push a 125gr bullet through 32″, 15-twist barrels to achieve velocities approaching 4000 fps. Here is Richard’s report, condensed for the Bulletin.

Richard's Custom Rifles

The 1005-Yard Groundhog Adventure, by Richard Franklin
September 20th found Roy and I on our last groundhog hunt of the year. Bow season for Deer begins Oct. 4th and we wanted time to ready ourselves. Roy had killed 99 hogs so far this year and I had killed 97. In the morning, we headed over to the Overstreet farm leased by our good friend Richard Ruff. We set up the shooting trailer on top of a hill where we had a good view of several brush piles around the pasture. In the first ten minutes Roy put a hog in the air about four feet at 497 yards with his 300 Varminter, giving Roy an even 100 hogs for the year. I shot hogs at 180 yards, 506 yards, and 456 yards. That gave me a total of 100 for the year.

Richard's Custom RiflesThen we decided to go up to Danny’s and Bill’s hard rock dairy farm. We set up on the top of a high hill and shoot over the farm buildings to another mountain where there is a huge pasture with large rock piles. We scanned this pasture for about an hour and a half. Roy has a pair of Ziess 8-power binocs and I use a pair of the Leica 10-power Geovids with built-in laser rangefinder. I also have a “Big Eyes” set-up — two 22-power Kowa spotting scopes mounted on a bracket and used on a sturdy tripod. After some time searching the field for hogs and seeing none, we decided to pack up and go to a farm owned by Donnie Campbell. Over the years we have shot many a hog here. Roy once shot one here at 905 yards and my longest shot on this farm was 714 yards. Most kills here are made at over 400 yards. There’s a perfect place to shoot hogs from a single firing position. At the back property line was a big hill about 400 feet higher than the surrounding pastures and we could see and shoot about 200 degrees around us all the way out to 1,200 yards.

Setting Up the 1005-yard Shot
I had the first shot and nailed an easy one at about 140 yards. He was thinking he was hidden from view. Wrong! BLAM…POOF. Roy nailed a hog at 469 yards under an old pear tree. Roy nailed another hog at 522 yards by a big log pile where we had killed about ten hogs this summer. Roy was looking through the Big Eyes and called out, “Hey Rich…I got you one way over there on the next farm by the edge of the woods.” I ranged the hog with the Geovids four times, registering 1003, 1007, 1006 and 1005 yards. I decided on the 1005 as the distance. Checking my chart, I clicked up to 18 and 1/4 minutes. We had a very stiff wind blowing left to right. I have a Nightforce 8-32 power scope with the MLR reticle. I held the fourth windage dot and touched one off. I see the bullet strike nearly in line with the hog but low. I click up another minute and a half making a total of 19 3/4 minutes. Roy is watching all this through the Big Eyes and can see better than I can. He confirms where the first bullet strike was. I hold the same windage and touch off another round in my Bat-actioned, 32″, 15-twist Bartlein-barreled 300 Varminter. The hog was standing up for this shot. Through the scope I see the bullet’s vapor trail going straight for the hog. I lost the vapor trail before the bullet got there but I saw the hog flip over.

Hot damn, what a shot! After Roy shakes my hand and slaps me on the back, I walk over to the Big Eyes for a better look. “Roy, there’s another hog trying to fight that dead one,” I say. This hog (evidently both are males) is biting and dragging the dead hog. He is really going at it. Both hogs were evidently eating fallen acorns from the huge White Oak tree at the edge of the woods.

Richard's Custom Rifles

Roy Gets His Chance
I tell Roy, “Get up there on your bench and try that hog, I’ll spot for you.” Roy clicks up to 19 1/2 minutes and holds three feet for windage. Roy lets it go and I see the vapor trail going in on the hog. It hits a foot to the right and low. “Hey Roy”, I say, “click up two more minutes and hold one more foot of wind.” The hog ran in under the tree at the bullet’s impact but was back within 30 seconds. Roy is now clicked up and lets the second round go. I see the vapor trail dropping in on the hog but the bullet impacts dead in line, but still a bit low. “Roy — give it another minute and a half and hold the same wind”. I can hear Roy furiously working the bolt and chambering another round, then POW, and I see the vapor trail again. It looks like it’s gonna be in the middle of the hog but it drops right in under his neck, nearly hitting him. The hog vacates back under the tree for an instant but decides he is winning the fight against the dead hog and comes right back. Roy lets the fourth round go with the same hold as the last shot. I see the vapor trail of the 125 grain Ballistic Tip dropping right in on the hog, catching him perfectly in the shoulder. The live hog flips up and falls on top of the dead hog, his tail coming up stiff as a poker as he flags us that he is instantly dead.

Two 1000+ Yard Hits. A Record for Roy, Near-Record for Richard.
This was Roy’s longest shot ever. His previous record was 905 yards. This was my second longest shot, as I had killed a hog at 1018 yards seven years ago about 40 miles from this spot. I tell Roy that I’m putting up my hog rifle for the year. I’ll let this long shot register in my memory as the last Groundhog kill of 2008. Roy says “That’s fine, I’m gonna do the same.” Hog hunting is officially over for 2008. Now it’s time for Deer.

CLICK HERE to Visit Richard Franklin’s website and learn more about this ‘Hog hunt.

[Editor’s Note: Richard’s rifle has a BAT action and is able to drive the 125 Nosler at about 3975 fps. Roy has a Remington action on his 300 Varminter. The Rem doesn’t take high pressures as well as the BAT, so Roy’s load is down-loaded to about 3825 fps. Roy also uses a “boosted” Leupold rather than a Nightforce. Because of the difference in scopes, and the lower velocity, Roy needed more elevation clicks to reach the 1005-yard distance.]

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting 5 Comments »
April 22nd, 2011

Advice for Buying and Selling Products in Forum Classifieds

If you want to buy or sell rifles, stocks, barrels, reloading equipment, cartridge components, and shooting accessories, you’ll find an active Marketplace area in our Shooters’ Forum. If you are a registered Forum Member, you can post Classified Ads for FREE — that’s right, there’s no charge. With over 14,100 members in the Forum now, buyers will find plenty of bargains, and sellers will find a receptive audience for their products.

As the number of transactions in the Forum Marketplace has grown dramatically, we’ve seen some misunderstandings arise, despite the many guidelines we have in place. When there is a problem, most of the time it relates to shipping delays or damage in transit. But there have also been issues involving description of a sale item, or confusion over the terms of the deal.

To help avoid disappointments or misunderstandings when using the Marketplace, this article provides tips on buying and selling through the Classifieds. Follow our advice, and you should have a good experience with our online Classified Ads. And the steps we suggest should serve you equally well when purchasing gun stuff on other firearms forums.

Five Most Important Tips for Buyers –

1. Don’t buy expensive items if the seller does not provide good photos or a complete description. Copy the text of the ad and write down any additional communications with the seller.

2. Check the seller’s feedback and ask plenty of questions. Absolutely do NOT purchase any item from a seller who will not provide a valid return address or phone number.

3. With rifles, stocks, used optics, and electronic items, insist on a reasonable inspection period. Three to five business days is reasonable for a gun or stock.

4. Insist that the item is insured and tracked. Make sure you understand whether buyer or seller pays for shipping, insurance, and tracking.

5. Don’t go ballistic if you post “I’ll take it” and you don’t get the deal. The seller may have received other offers by Private Message, email or other mode of communication. The seller also has the right to evaluate details of the transaction (and your offer) before committing to sell. Remember — if you never paid anything you don’t have a loss. Man up and move on.

Advice For Marketplace BUYERS

Know What You’re Buying! – Make sure there are good product photos and a complete description of the product. For example, with a rifle, make sure the chambering, twist rate, barrel length etc. are fully explained. Copy the text of the advert, and KEEP RECORDS of everything the seller tells you! That way, if the item you receive is different than what was advertised you’ll have “evidence” to support your return request. I would say that in two-thirds of the “problem transactions” that have come to my attention, the buyer never saved a copy of the original advert, and failed, as well, to save his email interchanges with the seller. I’ve seen situations where a buyer claimed to be entitled to extra parts along with a gun, but he had no evidence that such items were ever part of the deal.

Check the Seller’s Credentials and Trade History – Check out the Trader Feedback on the seller of the product. In our Marketplace section, both buyers and sellers can leave feedback on a transaction. Check out the seller’s credentials before you buy.

Do Your Pricing Homework – Find out the “ballpark” value of an item before you agree to purchase. That way you’ll protect yourself from paying too much, AND you’ll have an early warning on possible scams. The old adage is still true: “if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is”.

Ask for an Inspection Period – By all means, negotiate an inspection period for expensive items. I personally would never purchase a gun, barrel, stock, action, or used optic without some inspection period. I cannot over-stress the importance of the inspection period. Most sellers will allow an inspection period on an expensive item. Just make sure you understand which party must pay return shipping if you decide to send the item back. The inspection period gives you a chance to take a close look at the product. That is key. I would say 95% of the disputes presented to me as Forum Boss (other than late delivery questions) would have been eliminated if the buyer had asked for an inspection period. I recall one situation where the buyer complained because a gun’s barrel turned out to be shorter than it appeared in a photo. With an inspection period, he would have protected himself.

Insist on Insurance and Tracking – If you’re paying more than $50.00 or so for an item, tell the buyer to include insurance and insist on shipment tracking. It’s a sad truth, but expensive stuff gets lost, delayed, and damaged ALL the TIME. Among deliveries we’ve received ourselves, we’ve seen damaged stocks, bent barrels, and broken optics. The process of package delivery can cause some serious damage, believe me.

Be Patient and Don’t Freak Out if Items Are Delayed – It is not that uncommon for packages to take as much as three weeks to make it across the country — even when shipped “three-day” or priority mail. Unfortunately all the carriers — USPS, Fedex, and UPS — will have a badly stalled shipment now and then. I frequently get frantic emails from Forum Members saying “the item I bought off the classifieds hasn’t arrived. The seller is a crook and I want you to burn down his house — right now!” In some cases such messages arrive only a few days after the ship date. I tell these members to initiate tracking and wait three weeks before going ballistic. In 99.5% of these situations, the goods eventually arrived. Of course, once it appears an item is really delayed, get in touch with the seller and have him chase down the problem. If, after a month has passed with no delivery, instruct the seller to file an insurance claim. If the seller refuses to do so, or it really appears he failed to ship, contact the Forum Boss. He will contact the seller, and, if necessary, turn the matter over to the authorities.

Use Secure Payment Methods – Never send cash in a mailed envelope, not even certified mail. Certified mail is really not that secure. For major items, we suggest using postal money orders, delivered via Fedex. This does give you some recourse in the event of a fraudulent sale — though it is certainly not easy to get the USPS to go to bat for you. If you purchase from a business, use a credit card if possible. The major credit card companies can reverse the charges if you fail to receive an item you’ve paid for, or if the seller refuses to take back a defective item.

“I’ll Take It” vs. “Meeting of the Minds” – Many buyers are disappointed when they post “I’ll take it” and the deal doesn’t go through, or the item sells to someone else. What buyers need to realize is that there must be a “meeting of the minds” of BOTH buyer AND seller as to all the material (important) terms of the transaction before the seller is obligated to sell. Price is only one term. There are many other factors that may need to be worked out. For example, the gun may not be legal to ship to a particular jurisdiction. Or, the cost of shipping may exceed what the would-be buyer is willing to pay. While it is always disappointing to lose a good deal, shoppers can avoid disappointment (and keep their blood pressure at safe levels) if they realize that simply posting “I’ll take it” does not, normally, close the deal.

Five Most Important Tips for Sellers –

1. Provide a thorough product description and multiple quality photos. Always disclose any noteworthy flaws in the product before you take the buyer’s money.

2. NEVER ship valuable items before receiving payment.

3. Always insure valuable items, and get tracking for your shipments.

4. Check out the buyers’ feedback, and make sure you agree to the proposed method (and timing) of payment.

5. Reserve the right to evaluate multiple offers, and state clearly that you are NOT committing to do the deal until all important concerns are worked out. Tell buyers that you retain the right to say “no deal” if a buyer is not qualified, or if you and he fail to agree on essential terms such as method of payment, insurance, and inspection period.

Advice For Marketplace SELLERS

Provide Plenty of Good Photos and Disclose Defects – Good photos are really important. Good photos will help you sell your product faster, and get the best price. Moreover, clear, sharp photos eliminate potential misunderstandings. You don’t want to post a fuzzy photo and then have the buyer balk because the real stock appears different than the picture. If there is a major ding in the stock — show that in a photo. Under our Forum rules, you are required to disclose damage or defects that would affect the utility or the value of the product. Don’t be sly and try to cover something up — that’s unethical and it only results in eventual conflict with the buyer.

Qualify Your Buyers – You are not obligated to accept the first offer, if you state you reserve the right to approve potential buyers. If an offer comes in, check out the potential buyer’s feedback on the Forum, and you might check on other sites as well. A little research can save you big headaches later.

Ship Promptly — After receiving payment, try to pack and ship the item within four (4) days of the payment, and no later than one week. If you are paid by check, ship within four (4) days of the check successfully clearing your bank. The number one complaint among Marketplace buyers is that the goods they purchased did not arrive in a timely fashion.

Insure Your Shipment – For any item worth more than $50.00 we would insure the shipment. This will protect against a lost shipment and will compensate for damage that may occur in transit. Recently we’ve seen too many rifle stocks damaged in shipment. You can safeguard against this by double boxing and carefully padding the item, but your ultimate recourse is via insurance. Be sure to insure for true replacement cost.

Include Insurance Costs – Because we consider insurance essential for nearly all items, you should include the cost of insurance in your asking price. This way, if the buyer foolishly refuses to pay for insurance, you can still afford to purchase coverage. If you don’t include insurance in the asking price, have a statement such as this in your ad: “Buyer is responsible for actual shipping cost, including insurance and tracking fees.”

Get Tracking for Your Package – With some modes of shipment, tracking is an optional extra. Fedex tracks everything by default. But if you ship USPS, you may have to pay extra to get tracking. Again, we recommend you always get package tracking for items worth $50.00 or more. Include the price of tracking in the statement of shipping costs. If you don’t build that into the asking price, then at least include the following in your advert: “Buyer is responsible for actual shipping cost, including insurance and tracking fees.”

Pack the Item Securely – If you want to avoid disputes with purchasers, pack your items very securely. You should pack items to survive a 12-foot drop and an afternoon in the rain. If you are sending extra parts (such as scope rings) with a gun, bubble wrap them separately and secure them in the box so they will not shift around. I had one nice blued revolver come back from a smith. The smith had tossed in the old trigger parts he had replaced along with the gun in a foam-padded box. During shipment, the trigger parts scraped back and forth on the gun, ruining the high-gloss blued finish. Stocks are particularly vulnerable. We suggest placing a stock between heavy foam layers, or make a cardboard “splint” to protect the exterior, and to shield the forearm tip and the vulnerable wrist area. Then bubble-wrap the entire stock and put it inside a heavy shipping box. When sending a rifle, we strongly recommend you ship the gun in a plastic hard case, then place the case inside a second, heavy-duty cardboard box. Before shipping, make sure the buyer understands who is paying for the shipping box. We recommend stating right in your advert: “In addition to actual shipping costs, I will charge $XX for a shipping box.”

Disclose Concurrent Listings – Buyers get upset if they see an item, post “I’ll take it”, then find that the item has already sold. For this reason it is MANDATORY for all Marketplace sellers to disclose if the item is for sale elsewhere. What does that mean? Well if you are listing the gun on, or on another shooting Forum, or if you even have it up for sale in your local club newsletter, you need to disclose that. This eliminates misunderstandings.

Reserve the Right to Say ‘No’ to Any Offer – Even if a buyer posts “I’ll take it”, there are many potential reasons why you may not want to sell to that party: 1) he may not be eligible to own the item; 2) he may not agree to an acceptable mode (and schedule) of payment; 3) he may have negative feedback, or otherwise have a bad reputation; 4) after discussion, you may conclude your product is really not suitable for the buyer, despite what the buyer may think; 5) the buyer may try to change the terms of his offer during negotiation. As the seller, you are entitled to say “no deal” in these (and many other) circumstances. But this will upset some buyers and they will complain. To avoid complaints, you should include language in your advert that gives you an “out” when the offer is flawed or the buyer is not qualified. In your ad you should include a line saying that you reserve the right to consider multiple offers, and that no deal is final until you review the buyer’s qualifications, and until both parties agree to all important aspects of three transaction.

Here is language you might use: “This item remains for sale until ALL arrangements are finalized with a buyer I deem, in my sole discretion, to be qualified. I reserve the right to consider multiple offers, and no offer will create a binding contract until I am satisfied with buyer qualifications, mode and terms of payment, and until all details of shipping (including insurance, packaging requirements, shipping costs, and risk of loss) are worked out. [Optional: This item is offered for sale on other internet sites.]”

Or, if you want something less legalistic, you can simply state: “No deals are final until we work out all the details over the telephone. Be aware there may be multiple offers on the table.”

Permalink - Articles, Hot Deals 3 Comments »
April 22nd, 2011

Out-of-Battery Firing Injures Big-Bore Shooter

As posted in the a while back, there was a nasty out-of-battery firing incident involving a BOHICA Arms .510 DTC AR15 upper. The cause of the out-of-battery firing is not certain but it appears that the ammo was not sized properly and the firing pin may have been stuck in the extended position. As a result, the round went off before the bolt was closed with the lugs seated. In the process, the bolt handle broke off, as the bolt retracted violently, actually ending up outside the bolt raceway.

The shooter was badly injured, with multiple broken bones and ligament damage to his left hand and tissue damage to his right hand. The shooter was holding the rifle with his left hand near the front of the chamber where a gas vent was located. Gas and shrapnel existed the vent hole causing the severe injuries to the left hand.

From range reports, it appears that the shooter had been struggling to chamber previous rounds, and was having trouble closing the bolt. After talking with one of the rangemasters, a poster on reported: “The guy was using new reloads that weren’t exactly fitting well into his chamber. [The shooter] was slamming the bolt handle with his palm trying to get the cases to lock in. The guy was also slamming the bolt forward full force from the rearmost position back and forth trying to ram the cases into chamber in an attempt to squeeze the rounds in so the bolt could close. Finally, on one of the attempts … the possibly stuck firing pin rams into the primer and explodes the round when he slams the bolt forward (zero lug engagement hence the KB) and shooter puts himself into a world of hurt.”

Lessons Learned — Don’t Try to Force Oversize Ammo into a Chamber
By all reports, the shooter’s ammo wasn’t fitting his chamber properly. In an effort to force the ammo into the chamber, he worked the bolt with excessive force. That MAY have caused the firing pin to extend or the hammer to fall without the trigger being pulled. One theory is that the trigger system may have been modified, allowing the hammer to fall from the force of slamming the bolt forward. Others have speculated that the firing pin may have failed to retract because the bolt handle was over-torqued — a safety issue listed in the BOHICA manual.

Whatever caused the out-of-battery firing, it appears that improperly-sized ammo (or a poorly-cut chamber) was the root cause of the problems. If you go to a range and find your bolt does not close easily over the ammo — STOP SHOOTING — don’t try to force the issue. Disaster may result. To paraphrase Johnnie Cochran: “If the ammo doesn’t fit, it’s time to quit”.

Photos by Wildcard, originally posted on

Permalink News, Tech Tip 19 Comments »
April 22nd, 2011

Hornady Bullets on SALE, Plus FREE Shipping & Handling

hornady bullet is running a big sale right now on Hornady Bullets with many very popular projectiles marked down 12%.

And to sweeten the deal, for the next week, is waiving its $4.95 handling/insurance fee on any orders worth $60.00 or more. Graf’s already offers free shipping on most products, so this is a good deal, even if you’re only going to buy a couple boxes of bullets. Here are some of the Hornady Bullet Discounts:

  • 20gr V-MAX BULLET (.172, 100/box)
    $15.39 on sale, 12% savings
    Item #RN21710
  • 40gr V-MAX BULLET (.224, 100/box)
    $15.39 on sale, 12% savings
    Item #HRN22241
  • 50gr V-MAX BULLET (.224, 100/box)
    $15.39 on SALE, 12% savings
    Item #HRN22261
    • 58gr V-MAX BULLET (6mm, 100/Box)
      $17.79 on sale, 10% savings
      Item #HRN22411
    • 120gr A-MAX BULLET (6.5mm, 100/box)
      $23.59 on sale, 8% savings
      Item #HRN26172
    • 168gr BTHP MATCH BULLET (.308, 100/box)
      $23.99 on sale, 10% savings
      Item #HRN30501

    FREE Freight and No-Charge Handling/Insurance with $60 Purchase will waive the handling and insurance charge ($4.95 value) when you order at least $60 worth of in-stock merchandise. Freight is ALWAYS prepaid to the 48 states on regular ground service only except for target load ammo (see terms of service for details). Offer excludes closeout items and target loads. Offer expires Thursday, April 28th at midnight CST. NOTE: Hazmat and other special fees are NOT included. Call 800-531-2666 for any questions. shipping promotion

    Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »