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June 30th, 2013

RCBS Summit Press Works Great in the Shop and in the Field

Gear Review by Mark LaFevers
RCBS Summit Press accurateshooter.comWith its innovative “moving die/static cartridge” design, the new RCBS Summit Press definitely demonstrates “out of the box” thinking. Unlike other presses, the case does not move. Rather, the reloading die comes down to the case. We are happy to report that this unique “upside-down” reloading press works great.

We have tested the new RCBS Summit Press in the workshop and in the field. We’ve now loaded hundreds of rounds with the press. It is smooth, solid, and easy to use. The spent primer ejection/capture system works great (our testers preferred the Summit’s simple, foolproof primer capture to the Rockchucker’s capture system). Most importantly, the Summit produces very straight ammo that gave excellent results on the target in actual matches.

We compared ammo loaded with the Summit with ammo loaded on an RCBS Rockchucker press. The Summit gave up nothing to the bigger press. Cartridge base-to-ogive measurements of Summit-loaded ammo were just as tight as with ammo loaded on the Rockchucker. Run-out, measured with a concentricity gauge, was the same or better (about .002 or less on bullet nose). Most importantly, the Summit loads accurate ammo. In fact, at one match, scores shot with Summit-loaded .284 Win ammo were actually better than scores shot (in the same gun) with ammo loaded on a Rockchucker:

Rockchucker .284 Win Loads (Day 1): 188-2X
Summit .284 Win Loads (Day 2): 192-5X

Despite its small footprint, the Summit is very stable — it doesn’t tip, wobble, or rock. The two front mounting bolts hold it firmly in place — the Summit doesn’t need a rear anchor. This, combined with the fact that the Summit has no overhang, makes the new press ideal for a mobile application. For field use (at the range), our tester Mark LaFevers mounted the Summit press on a small platform secured to his trailer hitch (on top of a steel post). This set-up worked great, as you can see in the video below:

Watch Reloading (Sizing/Decapping, Expanding, Bullet Seating) with Summit Press

Photo shows Redding Micrometer Seating Die and .284 Win Cartridge
RCBS Summit Press trailer hitch Mark Lafevers

Mark tells us: “I think the Summit press worked out sweet mounted on the hitch pedestal. The receiver hitch pedestal I made will switch tools between a heavy barrel vise I made and the Summit press. Instead of securing the pedestal with a standard 5/8″ hitch pin, I drilled and tapped for 1/2″-13 bolt to draw the insert up tight against the receiver, eliminating wobble. For charging rounds, I bought 150 plastic test tubes with caps and racks so I can avoid weighing powder charges in the field, unless I want to make changes on the fly.”

RCBS Summit Press accurateshooter.comThe new Summit Press features a rugged cast-iron frame with all-steel linkages. The press is very strong with minimal flex and slop. This allows you to “bump” your case shoulders and seat bullets with great precision and repeatability. The handle can be switched from right to left side (good for southpaws), and the open-front design provides good access, facilitating quick die changes*. The 4.5-inch opening allows you to work with tall cases. Beneath the shell-holder is a spent primer catcher (not shown in photos). The new Summit press has a beefy 2-inch diameter ram, with compound linkages for plenty of leverage. A zerk fitting is included for easy lubrication. The press will accept larger bushings for oversize 1-inch dies.

Summit Press Retails for $207.94
The new Summit Press (RCBS item #09290) lists for $269.95. However, Midsouth Shooters Supply offers the Summit Press for $207.94. An optional short handle from RCBS costs $15.27 at Midsouth ($19.95 MSRP).

RCBS Summit Press trailer hitch Mark Lafevers

*To permit his dies to be swapped from Rockchucker to Summit (and back again), with no locking ring adjustments, Mark LaFevers fabricated a new shell-holder base which positions the shell-holder .088″ higher relative to the Summit’s die port. This keeps Summit-mounted dies in the same position relative to the shell-holder as dies mounted in a Rockchucker. So, Mark can swap dies from his Rockchucker to his Summit and maintain exact COAL (when seating) and correct shoulder bump (when sizing). While Mark’s custom shell-holder base lets him swap dies quickly from one press to another, this is NOT a necessary modification. Most folks will simply re-set the locking rings.
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June 30th, 2013

Body and rifle positioning for prone shooting

by Kelly Bachand
Prone from above[Editor: If you have been watching the Top Shot All-Stars TV series this season you’ve noticed that our Buddy Kelly Bachand has been “kicking a** and taking names”. On last week’s episode Kelly was the only shooter to place multiple rimfire rounds through the center of a CD without touching the plastic. Most of the other Aall-stars in this challenge couldn’t send even one shot through the CD without breaking plastic. Shooting offhand, Kelly went three-for-three. That’s impressive. Though you know him best from Top Shot, Kelly is one of America’s leading young long-range prone shooters. Bachand has been a Top Five finisher in many major matches, and he has won the Canadian Open Target Rifle Championship, shooting his Barnard-actioned Palma Rifle.]

In this article, I’ll share what works for me in the prone shooting game. However, I recognize that every shooter/rifle combination is unique. So, the best way to find out what will really work best is by practicing and putting some rounds down range. But hopefully you’ll find some suggestions in this story that prove helpful.

The Rifle, Sling, Arms, and Hands
I keep my sling high on the pulse pad of my Creedmoor Sports shooting jacket which turns out to be at the top of my bicep muscle. The sling is tight enough that, with my forward hand against the hand stop and the stock firmly in my shoulder, the rifle is fully supported without any noticeable muscle use. As my coaches have recommended, placing my forward elbow as close to directly under the rifle as possible often yields a more stable position. My trigger hand does not support the rifle but rather grips it without disturbing its aim. If the rifle can be held level and stable with just the forward hand and sling, then one knows a good prone position has been found.

Head, Torso, Hips, and Legs
As with shooting off hand, when shooting prone, I find it best to keep my head as close to perfectly vertical as possible. While swaying is not a typical problem in the prone position, if a vertical head position grants me more stability, I will work to have one. My torso in particular bends in a way that may be uncomfortable for other prone shooters. My left hip and some of the left side of my stomach touch the ground but the majority of my chest and diaphragm are off the ground while I shoot prone. By minimizing the contact my stomach and chest have with the ground I can also minimize the effect my breathing has on my hold. (Also breathing is much easier when each breath isn’t lifting one’s torso weight). Below my waist my left leg extends almost perfectly straight out and sometimes falls asleep while shooting. My right leg is cocked and my right knee is brought up almost even with my right hip. This is what allows me to get so much of my torso off the ground.

Prone position

The Finished Product
In the prone shooting game we shoot at distances from 300 to 1000 yards using iron sights (and sometimes scopes). When I have a good prone position, and my breathing is correct, there are a few seconds right before I take a shot when I feel as if my rifle is being supported on a bench. This sort of stability is only needed for the few seconds it takes to squeeze the trigger. It can, however, very consistently produce sub-minute groups with iron sights from the prone position at any range from 100-1000 yards.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 8 Comments »
June 30th, 2013

First-Time Gun Buyers Shoot Regularly, Study Shows

A study commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reveals that most first-time gun buyers are active in one or more shooting activities and that women purchase their first firearm predominately for personal defense. The study is based on online surveys of consumers aged 22 to 65 who bought their first firearm during the spring of 2012. Key findings include:

— The majority of first-time buyers (60.3%) tend to be active, using their gun once per month or more, with one in five reporting usage of once a week or more.

— Target shooting is by far the most popular shooting activity among first-time gun owners. 84.3% of respondents used their firearms for this purpose, followed by hunting (37.7%), plinking (27.4%), practical pistol shooting (17.3%) and clay-target shooting (14.6%).

— First-time gun owners who have participated in hunting (53.2%), practical pistol shooting (46.3%), clay-target sports (44.0%) and gun collecting (42.4%) said they want to increase their participation in these activities.

First-Time Buyers Acquire Guns for Defensive Use as Well as Sporting Use
The top-ranking factors driving first-time gun purchases are home defense (87.3%), self-defense (76.5%) and the desire to share shooting activities with family and friends (73.2%). Women, in particular, are highly focused on personal defense and self-sufficiency.

Fear of Gun Bans Motivates Older Buyers
Older first-time buyers–the 55 to 65 age group–indicated concern that firearms may no longer be available to them was one of many reasons for their purchase. [Note: The surveys were conducted in March and April of 2012, before the recent wave of anti-gun legislation. We expect that, if the survey was taken in 2013, all age groups would express concerns about restrictions on sales of firearms.]

Many Buyers Make Repeat Gun Purchases
Most first-time buyers purchased their guns through local gun shops (43.6%) and mass retailers such as Walmart and Cabela’s (33.6%). First-time gun buyers spent an average of $515 for their first gun and nearly as much as for accessories ($504). Apparently, one gun is not even for many buyers. Nearly a quarter of first-time buyers bought at least one more firearm within the first year after their first purchase spending more, on average, on the later purchase.

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June 29th, 2013

New Phoenix Rest Feet for F-Class from 21st Century Shooting

When you’re shooting an F-Class match, the last thing you want is for your fancy front rest to sink into soft ground, hop on hard ground, or otherwise move around from shot to shot. And with more F-Open shooters shooting heavy (180gr+) bullets these days, F-Class front rests have to cope with more torque and recoil than ever before. Well, our buddy John Perkins from 21st Century Shooting has a solution. The new 21st Century Phoenix Foot features unique, bell-style geometry. This allows your rest to sit securely in turf and the feet are very stable even on loose soil or gravel. The Phoenix Foot, shown here with 21st Century’s Front Rest, is compatible with a variety of front pedestal rests with 1/2″-diameter adjustment legs. The bell-shaped foot design (narrow at the bottom and flaring at the top) makes it easy to level the rest front-to-back and side-to-side. Price for a set of three (3) Phoenix feet is $99.00.

21st Century Shooting F-Class Feet Front Rest Phoenix review

21st Century’s Impressive Crank-Windage Front Rest
Also shown in the photo is 21st Century’s impressive new Front Rest, proudly CNC-machined in the USA from aircraft aluminum and stainless steel billet barstock. This big boy, which retails for $1095.00, features a super-large-diameter mariner’s wheel for elevation adjustment, and an ultra-smooth crank adjustment for windage (horizontal). Finish and function are impressive. Elevation and windage can be easily adjusted with fingertips (this is made possible by the ball screw design). This “Rolls Royce of rests” is made to last — all aluminum parts are anodized and the base is machined from 1″-thick 6061 T6 aircraft billet aluminum. If you’re interested, call 21st Century at (260) 273-9909. When production permits, rests usually ship out 3-6 weeks after an order is placed.

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, New Product 2 Comments »
June 28th, 2013

Firearm Finish Comparison Testing in Salt Chamber

When evaluating firearm finishes, one should consider hardness, chemical resistance, lubricity, abrasion resistance, and color. However, none of these factors are as critical as corrosion protection. The average firearm owner deals with corrosion more than any other finish-related problem. Accordingly, when selecting an exterior finish for the metal components of your guns, you should look for a product with superior corrosion resistance. Thanks to Cerakote, we now have some science to help you make that decision….

How well do various firearm finishes resist corrosion?
Watch the video below to find out.

Eight Gun Finishes Tested — With Surprising Results
Eight (8) various finishes are tested, including Blueing, Cerakote, DuraCoat, FailZero, Ion Bond, KG Gun Kote, NiBX, and Phosphate (Parkerizing). Eight metal firearm components (each with a different finish) are placed into the salt chamber to see how long it takes for each finish to show initial signs of corrosion. To provide a baseline for comparison, a “naked” 416 stainless steel barrel was also placed inside the test chamber. The test was started, and for each coating, the time was recorded when corrosion started to appear. FYI, if you thought “stainless steel” can’t rust, think again. The stainless barrel sample (along with the blued metal sample) showed visible corrosion after just 24 hours!

After 24 Hours in Salt Chamber
Cerakote salt chamber corrosion test

After 48 Hours in Salt Chamber
Cerakote salt chamber corrosion test

After 172 Hours in Salt Chamber
Cerakote salt chamber corrosion test

Salt Chamber Testing — 5% Salt Concentration at 95°F
According to ASTM B117-03, the Corrosion Test provides a controlled corrosive environment which has been utilized to produce relative corrosion resistance information for specimens of metals and coated metals exposed in a given test chamber. The salt chamber is set to a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit with a 5% salt concentration. Salt Chamber testing is used to draw a comparison between metals and finishes and does not correlate to a specific number of hours of real world use.

Cerakote salt chamber corrosion test

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
June 28th, 2013

Magpul Gives Away 1500 Magazines in Colorado Protest

On Saturday, June 29, 2013, just two days before Colorado’s new anti-gun laws go into effect, Magpul Industries will give away 1,500 30-rd AR-platform magazines. Magnul is giving away the magazines as a protest against the new legislation. The give-away will take place at the “Farewell to Arms” event to be held Saturday in Glendale, Colorado. The event is being sponsored by Free Colorado, a non-profit organization advocating for the rights of gun owners. New Colorado laws take effect on July 1st limiting magazine capacity to 15 rounds. Magpul announced: Magpul give-awayAttention Colorado
Come on out and join the festivities at Infinity Park in Glendale, CO, this Saturday, June 29, celebrating FREEDOM on the last weekend before the unconstitutional mag ban takes effect, and get your last shot at purchasing PMAGs. We’ll be there, and we’ve ponied up a LOT of PMAGs. The first 1500 attendees through the gate over the age of 18 will receive a free Magpul Gen M2 MOE 30rd magazine featuring either the Free Colorado or Boulder Airlift design, courtesy of Magpul Industries Corp. Proceeds from mag sales go towards the legislative and legal fight for Second Amendment rights in CO. There will be food, live music, and a helo-borne aerial delivery of PMAGs. Get tickets and pre-purchase PMAGs at: Magpul give-away

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June 27th, 2013

IBS Match Report: Piedmont 600-Yard Benchrest Match

In the spring of 2004, IBS 600-yard benchrest competition was born. Piedmont Gun Club in Rutherfordton, NC was one of the three initial ranges across the country to host this new competition. Bridgeville (DE) and the Bench Rest Rifle Club of St. Louis (MO) were the other two. 600-yard benchrest was the brainchild of several IBS and club officers, Dave Tooley and Joe Goforth among them. The idea was to have a new competition at a distance far enough that short-range cartridges would not dominate, but not so far that the new mid-range discipline would duplicate 1000-yard competition. After initial “test matches” at 500 yards, in late 2003, officers at Piedmont Gun Club decided to push the targets out another 100 yards. That was the beginning of the 600-yard benchrest game.

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

IBS 600-Yard Match at Piedmont Gun Club (June 8, 2013)
Report for IBS by Sam Hall
Piedmont Gun Club is a legendary venue in the 600-yard Benchrest game because so many records have been set at this range. Throughout the 600-yard seasons at Piedmont Gun Club, June has been one of the best months for shooting small groups and high scores. Most all records have been shot there in the summer months of June, July, and August. And speaking of records, more records have been set, broken, and re-broken at Piedmont than all other IBS 600-yard ranges combined! I know of 29 separate records that have been set by just three shooters. Joel Kendrick, Terry Brady, and myself, Sam Hall. Many, many more records have been broken there also.

After a couple of rainy days, the weather cleared up for our June 8, 2013 match. It was to be one of Piedmont’s IBS 600 Yard “Shooter of the Year” points matches also. 35 seasoned veterans showed up… plus a new shooter, Jimmy Norman. There were high expectations for more records to fall. Although the weather was fair with sun and the occasional cloud, a light wind, switching from right to left, kept any records from being set this day. Many small groups were shot in the morning in the Heavy Gun session, but the switching wind picked up in the afternoon during the Light Gun competition and the groups showed it.

Piedmont Match Results 6/8/13 (.XLS, 133kb) | Piedmont Results with Photo (.XLS 1.9 MB)

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Thomas Parker Wins HG with a Rem-Actioned Rifle
The day started with Heavy Gun shooting first at 09:00 sharp. The wind was very light from left to right at 2-3mph with temps about 70 degrees. Thomas Parker showed us that a Remington actioned benchrest rifle can still whip the all-out custom “Race Guns” in the hands of a good shooter. Thomas won the Heavy Gun overall placing first in score (193) and second in group (1.965″) for four targets. Note: a group Agg (or aggregate) is the 4 target groups added together and averaged (divided by four). Sam Hall snuck in the small group of the day 0.986″ to help him win the HG Group Aggregate with a 1.820″. This was the only first place that Thomas did not capture. Thomas shot the standard 6mmBR cartridge, pushing Berger 105gr Hybrid bullets. His rifle featured a Remington 700 action, Brux barrel, and a custom wood benchrest stock.

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Watch Heavy Gun Winner Thomas Parker Shoot at Piedmont

Mike Hanes Captures Light Gun and Sam Hall Takes the Two-Gun
After the Heavy Gun segment concluded, as always, a great lunch was served by a local church group. Lunch is held in Piedmont’s new club located just beside the 600-yard range.The club house also has bathroom facilities for men and women, a kitchen and large banquet room. Light Gun (LG) started just after the break for lunch. The winds had picked up to 5-8 mph and switching left to right now. Temps were 80-84 degrees for the rest of the day. Groups were sure not as good as they were in the morning for Heavy Gun. Mike Hanes (2012 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year) had small single target group of 1.423″ in LG to help him win LG Group Agg with a 2.371. Mike had second place in score with a 184 to help give him the “Overall” LG win. Mike was shooting a custom 6mm Dasher “Race Gun”. It featured a BAT dual port action, Shehane fiberglass ST-1000 stock, Jewell 2 oz. trigger, Brux barrel.

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Sam Hall won the Two-Gun Overall with 8 rank points. Thomas Parker finished second in the Two-Gun with 29 rank points with Steve Jordan finishing a close third with 30 rank points. Sam said the match was great, and he invites readers to join the fun: “Come on out to Piedmont with us and give 600-yard benchrest a try. I guarantee you will be welcomed and will have a great time!”

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Piedmont Gun Club — Home of the Record-Breakers
Piedmont has seven IBS 600-yard matches a year from March though September. Five matches are IBS “Shooter of the Year” matches where IBS points can be accumulated. Piedmont also has its own Shooter of the Year. All Piedmont’s 600-yard matches count toward it. They give a very nice standing trophy to the winner at the end of the year. Attendance at Piedmont for 600-yard competition is usually 30 to over 40 shooters. Most guys are regulars and have been at the 600-yard game for years. The competition is tough! I have heard many shooters say that shooting at Piedmont is like shooting at the Nationals every match. The atmosphere is very friendly though. We welcome new shooters. There is always someone there to help you when needed, whether it be a fellow shooter or range officer. On many occasions I have witnessed a fellow shooter lend his own rifle to a new shooter who wants to give it a try, someone who forgot ammo, or had equipment failures.

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Not only does Piedmont Gun Club have IBS 600-yard competition, but the Club also hosts several other shooting disciplines. Piedmont has a 50-yard pistol range, trap and skeet range, 25-50-75-100 meter small bore silhouette rifle range and 50-600 yard rifle range. Piedmont hosts NRA Smallbore Rifle and 22 Cowboy Silhouette matches in March and ending in October. Piedmont also hosts three IBS 100/200 yard VFS (Varmint For Score) Benchrest matches a year including a NC State match in September 2013. They have 16 covered benches at their VFS range and 16 separate covered benches for their 600 yard range. Tommy Williams is the Club President and also is match director of the 600-yard matches to boot! Piedmont Gun Club is located in the beautiful foothills of western North Carolina.

Hardware Choices — Sam Hall Talks about 600-Yard Rigs
Over the years, 600-yard equipment has evolved. We now have a good idea of what works the best in 600-yard competition. Several varieties of long-range stocks work well so long as the geometry of the key surfaces in the fore-end and butt are parallel (or very close). Custom actions are desirable, with dual port (right bolt, left load port, right eject) or drop-port for faster shooting. The standard 6mm BR or any of its improved versions seem to be equally competitive and accurate at 600 yards. You’ll want a match-grade, stainless barrel, 26-30 inches in length, with a 1:8″ to 1:8.5″ twist rate (depending on your bullet and velocity).

IBS Benchrest Piedmont Rutherfordton 600 yards Sam Hall

Do you really need a true Heavy Gun? Both Mike Davis and I experimented with true Heavy Guns in 2007. Mine was a 61-pound, 6 Dasher built with a Shehane Aluminum Maxi-Tracker stock. Mike shot a 50-pound, 6 BRX in a massive, aluminum Bruce Baer stock. Both these “true heavies” (Mike’s and mine) had dual-port BAT actions and Brux 1:8″-twist barrels. Mike set the HG 4-target group aggregate record that year with a 1.467″ Agg and I set the HG 4-target score record with a 197. These true Heavy Guns shined when the mirage and/or wind were really bad. If they are tracking back on target well, you can rip off 5 shots in mere seconds! That said, I don’t think a “true heavy” is needed to be competitive.

Folks have certainly experimented with exotic equipment in the 600-yard game. But, for a new shooter it is good to know that fancy, ultra-expensive rifles are not necessary to win at 600 yards. You can shoot one rifle and do just as well as the man with several long-range rifles. You don’t need a separate rifle for Light Gun and Heavy Gun. Just look at what Richard Schatz has done over the years with one rifle. As the saying goes, beware of the man with one gun! To boot, matches are still being won with affordable, factory-actioned rifles. Never count out a skilled shooter with an accurate Remington- or Savage-actioned benchrest rifle — he may beat you! That was the case at our most recent match at Piedmont.

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June 27th, 2013

New Lyman E-Zee Case Trimmer System (Manual or Power)

Lyman E-Zee case trimmer pilotLyman’s new E-Zee Trim Case Trimmer allows you to easily trim cases by hand or with an electric drill (for power). With both pistol and rifle brass, a cartridge-specific pilot affixed to the cutter head slips into the case. Case trim length is set by the length of the pilot. You need a different pilot for each cartridge type you intend to trim. Pilots are offered in rifle sets and pistol sets, or pilots can be purchase individually for $4.95 each. For $29.95 you can get a complete kit (for either rifle or pistol cases) that includes: case-locking device, cutter, five (5) trim-to-length pilots, and both hand and power trimming adapters.

The Lyman E-Zee system is versatile. Using the same case-holder, you can trim-to-length manually, or use the included power-adapter fixture to drive the cutter with a cordless drill (you still hand-hold the case). We think power is the way to go. Your hands get tired after manually trimming just a handful of cases. The trimmer comes with a case locking device, cutter, trim-to-length pilot, cutter head and both hand and power trimming adapters. The trimmer works with any standard shell-holder including Lyman, Redding, RCBS, Hornady & Lee Precision.

Lyman E-Zee case trimmer pilot

Editor’s Comment: With this system you have very limited control over cut length. OAL is preset based on the pilot dimensions. Also the cutter blades are not as sharp as those you’ll find on a Forster or Wilson trimmer. And there are only ten (10) types of rifle pilots — no 6mmBR, no PPC, no 6XC, no 6.5×47, no .284 Win. For these reasons, we wouldn’t select a Lyman E-Zee system as a primary rifle case-trimming system (though we can see how it might appeal to .223 Rem and .308 Win shooters).

Lyman E-Zee case trimmer pilotOn the other hand, with the inexpensive set of pistol pilots, you can trim ALL the most popular handgun cartridge types: 9mm, .38 SPL, .357 Mag, .40 SW, .44 Mag, and .45 ACP. Having a pre-set trim length isn’t a problem for pistol brass. In fact it’s normally a good idea to trim all your brass (of a particular cartridge type) to the same length so that you get a uniform crimp on every case. The complete handgun E-Zee Trimmer kit, with pilots for 9mm, 38 SPL, .357 Mag, .40 SW, 44 Mag, and 45 ACP costs just $29.95. If you reload pistol ammo and don’t yet own a power-capable case-trimmer, Lyman’s E-Zee Trim may be a good choice. For under $30.00, the E-Zee Trim is definitely worth considering for handgun brass trimming chores.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 26th, 2013

Speedy Builds a Low-Profile F-Classer for Bret Solomon

Bret Solomon Speedy Thomas Gonzalez hydraulic recoil reduction F-Class F-Open accurateshooter.comOn his Facebook page, Hall-of-Fame shooter and ace gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez unveiled an impressive new F-Open rifle built for Bret Solomon. The rifle features Speedy’s new low-profile F-Class stock.

Bret’s gun is chambered for his 300 Solomon wildcat, shooting heavy 210gr bullets, so it can can be a real shoulder-buster, without some kind of buffer. The stock is fitted with a Ken Rucker’s Bump Buster hydraulic recoil reduction system to tame the recoil. The Bump Buster was originally designed for shotguns and hard-hitting, big game rifles. It is interesting to see this hydraulic buffer adapted to an F-Open rig.

Bret Solomon Speedy Thomas Gonzalez hydraulic recoil reduction F-Class F-Open

Here you can see Bret shooting the gun, coached by Nancy Tompkins and Michele Gallagher:

Bret’s gun features a stainless Viper (Stiller) action, barrel tuner, and an innovative Speedy-crafted wood stock. Speedy says this stock design is all-new: “It is a true, low Center-of-Gravity F-Class stock, not a morphed Palma stock merely cut out on the bottom”. See all the details in this short video:

Stock Features: Glue-in or Bolt-In and Optional Carbon Pillars and Cooling Ports
Speedy explained the features of the new stock design: “Terry Leonard and I started working on an F-Class version of his stocks last year during the F-Class Nationals and came up with what he and I consider the first true low-CG stock in the sport. As you can see by the videos, there is very little torqueing of the stock during recoil. I add the carbon fiber tunnel underneath the forearms to save Terry some time. This bonds very well to his carbon fiber skeleton within the stock adding addition stiffness to the forearm to support the heavy barrels found on the F-Class rigs. We are playing with both glue-ins like we benchresters use and bolt-ins as well. The rifles on the videos are glue-ins. Bret just took delivery today of his first bolt-in employing carbon fiber pillars and the first Leonard stock ever to have cooling ports.”

Need for Recoil Reduction Follows F-Class Trend to Bigger Calibers and Heavier Bullets
In recent years we have seen F-Open competitors move to bigger calibers and heavier bullets in pursuit of higher BC. There is no free lunch however. Shooting a 210gr .30-caliber bullet is going to produce much more recoil than a 140gr 6.5mm projectile (when they are shot at similar velocities). Does this mean that more F-Open shooters will add hydraulic buffers to their rigs? Will a recoil-reduction system become “de rigueur” on F-Open rifles shooting heavy bullets?

Our friend Boyd Allen observes: “You may imagine that shooting a short magnum, or even a .284 Win with heavy bullets, involves a fair amount of recoil, and in the prone position this can be more than a little wearing. It can in fact beat you up over the course of a match. Some time back, Lou Murdica told me about having a hydraulic recoil absorbing device installed on one of his F-Class rifles, chambered in .300 WSM. Lou is shooting heavy (210-215gr) bullets so the recoil is stout. According to Lou, the hydraulic recoil-reduction system made all the difference.”

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Videos, Competition, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
June 26th, 2013

Impossible Shots TV Features Late, Great Bob Munden

Bob Munden Impossible ShotsBob Munden, one of the greatest trick shooters ever, passed away in December of last year. If you never had a chance to see Bob work his magic with a six-gun (or other firearm), here’s your chance. Tonight’s edition of Shooting USA’s Impossible Shots, features some of Bob Munden’s “greatest hits” from over the years. Before his passing, Bob was a regular on the Impossible Shots TV show.

On tonight’s episode, Munden flicks coins with his Peacemaker, making them spin like a top. Bob was famous for this and other tricks — like splitting playing cards in mid-air, and shooting the fletching off an arrow. Munden was famous both as a trick shooter and as a speed-draw specialist, with fast-draw records listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Air times for the Bob Munden episode on Shooting USA’s Impossible Shots are listed below. The show airs Wednesday Nights on the Outdoor Channel, and is repeated late Friday/Saturday:

Impossible Shots Wednesday:
Eastern Time: 2:30 PM, 7:00 PM
Central Time: 1:30 PM, 6:00 PM
Mountain Time: 12:30 PM, 5:00 PM
Pacific Time: 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM
Impossible Shots Friday/Saturday:
Eastern Time: 1:00 AM SAT
Central Time: 12:00 AM Midnight
Mountain Time: 11:00 PM
Pacific Time: 10:00 PM

Bob Munden Impossible Shots

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June 25th, 2013

New Low-Cost Auction Site for Guns, Ammo, and Accesories, an all-new auction website for guns, ammo, and gear, has just opened for business. This new site boasts “no listing fees ever”. Unlike, AmmoBammo has a very simple payment structure. There is no “up-front” listing fee, and no membership fee. If an item sells, AmmoBammo takes 2.5% of the proceeds — no matter what the price. That makes it easy to figure out what it will cost to sell your gun or gear. If nobody bids, or the bids don’t reach your thresh-hold reserve price, you pay nothing. If your product sells, you pay a flat 2.5% final value fee. That seems reasonable to us. Read detailed terms of sale here.

To celebrate its launch, is offering a special promotion. Now through July 15, 2013, AmmoBammo is Waiving ALL Fees on auction listings, including the normal 2.5% final value fee. So, for the next couple of weeks you can sell your stuff, and not pay a penny. ammobammo gun auction site

Since this site is brand new, listings are sparse to say the least. As of June 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm, not a single gun was listed for sale (though there were many ammo listings). Hopefully the AmmoBammo site will gain traction as more sellers list their merchandise in the weeks and months ahead. ammobammo gun auction site

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 1 Comment »
June 25th, 2013

ProGrade Ammunition Builds Loaded Ammo with Premium Bullets

ProGrade Ammunition Montana

A new ammunition manufacturer has started up in Stevensville, Montana. ProGrade Ammunition will be offering a wide spectrum of ammo products, with components selected for particular types of shooting. Prograde will eventually offer nine separate types of pistol and rifle ammunition: Defense Grade, Varmint Grade, Cowboy Grade, Hunter Grade, Bear Grade, Range Grade, Match Grade, Safari Grade and Tactical Grade. Our readers will probably be most interested in the “Match Grade” and “Varmint Grade” lines. The Match Grade ammo features mostly Berger bullets (with some Noslers and Sierras), while Varmint Grade ammo is loaded with Barnes, Hornady, and Nosler bullets.

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We have no idea whether ProGrade Ammunition will shoot well and prove reliable. We don’t know what brass, powders, or primers ProGrade will be using. In a recent press release, ProGrade touts its Match Grade products: “Match Grade rounds are all hand-loaded in the United States and use premium components that are held to higher standards of consistency, leaving little room for inaccuracy. Match Grade means every element is made to be as uniform as possible in weight, primer pocket and neck size. This means everything — from bullet weight and powder weight to brass thickness and case length — is as precise as possible.”

ProGrade Ammunition Montana

Time (and rounds on target) will determine if ProGrade ammo is good stuff. But in this period of shortages, with ammunition of all kinds being hard to find, it is good to see a new domestic ammo-maker getting into the business, and producing cartridges with high-quality projectiles. We wish the folks at ProGrade success in their endeavor. To learn about ProGrade’s full line of ammunition, call (435) 865-5995, or visit

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 3 Comments »