January 24th, 2020

SHOT Show Day Three — Video Showcase

Shot show 2020 video product show demo

There is so much to see at SHOT Show, with nearly 2000 exhibitors showcasing tens of thousands of products. SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world, attracting 60,000+ attendees from more than 100 countries.

Many teams of reporters and camera crews covered SHOT Show this year. Collectively they’ve now posted a wide selection of video reports. In today’s SHOT Show video showcase, we feature eight of our favorite video reports from SHOT Show 2020, plus one great video “Blast from the Past”.

SIG Sauer Cross Bolt-Action Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor and .277 Fury

Sig reveals its new Cross precision rifle. This features user-swappable barrels, folding stock, adjustable cheekpiece and buttplate, plus a quality adjustable trigger. Hunters take note — the Cross weighs under 7 lbs. without optics. Initially this rifle will be offered in 6.5 Creedmoor and the new .277 Fury chamberings.

New Scopes from March Optics

March Optics has some very impressive products for 2020. In this video, Stuart Elliot from Australia covers the features of the March 4.5-28x52mm PRS scope, the March 5-42x56mm Long Range scope, and several other premium optics.

The Reborn Colt Python — Vickers Tactical Report

Larry Vickers discusses the return of the Colt Python with Colt representative Justin Baldini. We shot the new stainless Colt (4″ barrel version) on Monday 1/20 and were very impressed, the fit/finish is really excellent. The trigger was precise, and the accurate was superb.

New Volquartsen Summit in 17 WSM Rimfire

This Brownell’s video showcases Volquartsen’s new Summit rifle chambered for the .17 WSM (Winchester Super Magnum) rimfire cartridge. The Summit features a coated stainless toggle-bolt action (with 20 MOA rail. There a crisp, 1.75-lb pull trigger, choice of stainless steel or lightweight carbon fiber barrel (both with threaded muzzle). The Summit uses reliable Ruger rotary magazines.

New MP5 Clone and Other New Rifles from Palmetto State Armory

Palmetto State Armory (PSA) reveals new rifles. First is the Jackal, an innovative AR variant with monolithic upper and gas piston. Then PSA show the long-awaited PSA5, a semi-auto HK MP5 clone. Also features is the Jackal. The video also covers multiple AK type rifles and the PS9 DAGR pistol (at beginning of video).

G.A. Precision New Products for 2020

G.A. Precision’s Founder George Gardner reviews new options for 2020. A major force in the Tactical/PRS world, G.A. Precision builds excellent rifles and sponsor major PRS events. George is one of the creators of the new 6GT cartridge. This video showcases both hunting rigs and tactical rifles.

Vortex 1-10x24mm Scope for Hunting and Tactical Comps

Vortex’s new 1-10x24mm scope has been creating a lot of buzz. We checked it out at the Vortex booth and think this scope is a good choice for competitors who sometimes need a very wide field of view, and for hunters who can quickly scan at 1-3X and then sight their prey at higher power. AT 1X power this illuminated scope works like a red dot for close ranges. And then 10X is plenty for game hunting.

New SOG Knives for 2020

According to KnifeCenter.com, SOG has some very impressive new products for 2020. The reviewers praised the XR Lock, as well as an assisted version. Many updated older “fan favorites” will also be available in 2020. Nearly 15 minutes long, this video covers a wide selection of blades.

Blast from the Past…

This last video is from 2017, but it’s still well worth watching. With a cool soundtrack, the video is entertaining and features lots of pretty ladies!

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January 24th, 2020

FREE SHOT Show Daily Editions — Packed with Products

FREE SHOT Daily Magazine issuee digital edition

GET ALL ISSUES HERE » SHOT Show Daily 2020

FREE Digital Editions of SHOT Show Daily
Below are links for FREE digital editions of the SHOT Show Daily, the print publication handed out at SHOT Show. Packed with stories and photos, each edition has a special new products theme. The daily news of the 2020 Las Vegas SHOT Show is produced by Bonnier Corporation and NSSF®. These SHOT Daily editions are definitely worth checking out — there are hundreds of photos of new products.

SHOT Daily DAY ONE

SHOT Show Daily Day One
Click Image to Read Day 1 Issue.

SHOT Daily DAY TWO

SHOT Show Daily Day Two
Click Image to Read Day 2 Issue.

SHOT Daily DAY THREE

SHOT Show Daily Day Two
Click Image to Read Day 3 Issue.

SHOT Daily DAY FOUR

SHOT Show Daily Day Two
Click Image to Read Day 4 Issue.

FREE SHOT Daily Magazine issuee digital edition

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January 24th, 2020

Precision Handloading — TEN Important Steps — Start to Finish

Sinclair Precison Reloading summery tech tips

Sinclair International has created a series of helpful articles on rifle cartridge reloading. Today’s feature lists ten basic steps for precision hand-loading, with links to longer, detailed Sinclair Int’l technical articles providing more complete information. There’s a lot of helpful info here guys, if you click all the links to access the ten “long form” articles.

Tying It All Together: 10 Steps To Precision Handloads

Feature based on article by Roy Hill, Brownells/Sinclair Copywriter

Sinclair International offers a series of detailed articles on hand-loading precision rifle ammunition. The articles are included in Sinclair’s GunTech Articles Archive, but sorting through the index to find each article takes time. To help you access all these articles quickly, here’s a handy summary of ten key topics, with links to longer articles covering each subject in detail.

Part 1: The first step in making high-quality handloads is to carefully choose the best brass for your application. You need to know how to identify the different types of brass and how to choose the best kind for the ammo you want to load. CLICK HERE for Part 1.
Part 2: Even high-quality brass can have burrs around the flash hole that can interfere with the primer flame and cause inconsistent ignition – which can lead to shot groups opening up. Flash hole deburring is a critical step in making sure primers ignite powder consistently. CLICK HERE for Part 2.
Part 3: The next step is to make sure the primer pockets are square and uniform. Like flash hole deburring, primer pocket uniforming may reduce variations in primer ignition by ensuring more consistent primer seating. CLICK HERE for Part 3.
Part 4: Making sure all your cases are precisely the same length is crucial, especially when you use cases that have been fired before. Case trimming is the way to get there. CLICK HERE for Part 4.
Part 5: After trimming, cases still have to be resized. In order for them to work through the resizing die, they have to be lubricated. The case lube method you choose is crucial to making precision handloads. CLICK HERE for Part 5.
Part 6: Now it’s time to choose the dies that will resize your cases. There are several important options to consider in selecting the right sizing dies. CLICK HERE for Part 6.
Part 7: Wait! You’re not quite ready to start sizing yet. There’s yet more to consider before you start cranking cases through the press. Learn more about setting up and adjusting your sizing dies. CLICK HERE for Part 7.
Part 8: Once the cases are completely prepped, it’s time to start putting fresh components back into them. We start off by seating primers. CLICK HERE for Part 8.
Part 9: After the primers are seated, it’s time to drop in the powder. There are several tools that will help you handle powder for precision handloads. CLICK HERE for Part 9.
Sinclair Precison Reloading summery tech tips Part 10: The final step in the process is carefully seating the bullet to just the right depth. And then… you’re ready to try your loads at the range. CLICK HERE for Part 10.
Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
January 24th, 2020

Ammo Automation — How .223 Rem Ammunition is Made

Fog Ammunition .223 Remington Rem Ammo loading machine Sierra BlitzKing

Here’s an entertaining video from Fog Ammunition. Starting with boxes of bullets and bags of cartridge brass, this video shows how components are bulk-sorted, then .223 Rem ammunition is produced on a modern, linear multi-stage loading machine. In assembly-line fashion, cases are primed, powder is added, bullets are placed, final seating depth is set, and then the case is crimped.

If you’ve never seen an automated loader in action you should definitely watch this video. With this kind of machine, a new round is produced every second or so (see video 1:15 to 1:55). The .223 Remington ammunition featured in this video is loaded with Sierra BlitzKing bullets. Fog offers both rifle and pistol ammo loaded with quality components.

Video Shows Automated Loading Process Start to Finish (Worth Watching):

Fog Ammunition .223 Remington Rem Ammo loading machine Sierra BlitzKing

Fog Ammunition .223 Remington Rem Ammo loading machine Sierra BlitzKing

Fog Ammunition .223 Remington Rem Ammo loading machine Sierra BlitzKing

Fog Ammunition .223 Remington Rem Ammo loading machine Sierra BlitzKing

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January 23rd, 2020

SHOT Show Day Two — Cool Products on Display

shot show 2020 rifles pistols specials

There are tens of thousands of products on display at SHOT Show, the world’s largest firearms industry trade show. On Day Two of the event, we visited many manufacturers to see their featured items, and new products for 2020. The vendors included McMillan Fiberglass Stocks, Forster Products, ELEY, G.A. Precision, Tikka/Sako, Gunwerks, Sierra Bullets, and more. Here are some interesting products as well as some eye-catching product displays.

Ballistic-X App Guru at SHOT Show

Cutting Edge .22 LR Ammo

At the McMillan Fiberglass Stocks booth we met Jonathan Roberts, the talented computer wiz who created Ballistic-X software. This iOS/Android smartphone App quickly and easily calculates group sizes. Take a photo of your target, set some values (such as bullet diameter and distance to target), then use the touchscreen to place circles around each hole. The App will calculate group size (in MOA or Mils), distance to point of aim, and provide all the info in an overlay. Then click “save” to record your group for posterity!

ballistic-x software app

Bright Red Record-Setting Rimfire Rifle

eley killough dan benchrest .22 LR red rifle

At the ELEY booth, we saw a stunning red rimfire rifle that belonged to our friend Dan Killough of Killough Shooting Sports. Dan used this rimfire benchrest rifle to win many matches and set a range record or two over the years. That is Dan in the upper left in the photo below.

eley killough dan benchrest .22 LR red rifle

David Tubb’s 33XC and 37XC — Big Cartridges for Big Guns

Tubb 33XC 37XC ELR rifle Ammo

David Tubb, 11-time NRA Nat’l High Power Champion and 6-time NRA Nat’l Long Range Champion, had his ELR rifle on display. Using this rifle, David won the 2019 NRA ELR Heavy Gun Championship. David was at SHOT promoting some long-range cartridges — the 33XC and 37XC. In the video below, David Tubb, shooting his 33XC Tubb rifle, makes three consecutive hits at 2200 yards on a 36″x36″ steel plate at Valdina Ranch on 12/2/2018. In March 2019, the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA) recognized this as an ELR (Extreme Long Range) World Record.

.22 LR Ammo for Extreme Long Range (ELR)

Cutting Edge .22 LR Ammo

ELR Rimfire? That may seem like an oxymoron, but actually there are guys now shooting the little .22 LR cartridge at 300 yards and well beyond. You have to cope with some serious drop and drift at that distance, which makes this a good challenge, and great training for centerfire shooting at true Extreme Long Range. Cutting Edge Bullets will be producing .22 LR ammo with higher-BC projectiles optimized for the .22 LR rimfire long-range shooting disciplines.

Very Versatile Tikka T3x UPR

Sako Tikka UPR T3X

At the Beretta/Sako/Tikka booth, we liked the Tikka T3x UPR Stainless in 6.5 Creedmoor ($1500 MSRP). We liked the stock very much, and thought this was a very versatile gun that could be used for target shooting off bipod, hunting, even PRS, given its detachable magazine. The stock is very ergonomic and feels good. Tikka states the UPR’s stock “features an extra layer of carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass for increased rigidity and accuracy. The stock is coated with a rough surface for the best grip in any condition… choose between single stage or set trigger.”

Stunning Engraved Pistols from Baron Engraving

Cutting Edge .22 LR Ammo

We stopped in our tracks at the Baron Engraving booth. There, in a glass showcase we saw an amazing selection of engraved pistols — 1911s and Browning High Powers. It’s great to see that the Art of Engraving is still alive and well. Baron engraving also does great work on revolvers and long guns.

Day Two Parting SHOT Photo

Chuck Norris The Hulk Lou Ferrigno

TV and film legends Chuck Norris and Lou (“The Incredible Hulk”) Ferrigno teamed up at SHOT Show. Norris drew a huge crowd of fans at the Glock booth.

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January 23rd, 2020

6.5 Creedmoor Load Data — Charts From Sierra Bullets

Sierra Load Data 6.5 Creedmoor

Sierra Bullets has released very complete load data for the popular 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. This medium-sized cartridge has become one of the most popular chamberings for tactical and PRS shooters. The 6.5 Creedmoor combines excellent accuracy, good mag-feeding, good barrel life, moderate recoil, and reasonable component cost. That’s why this cartridge has caught on quickly.

Sierra Load Data 6.5 CreedmoorDeveloped in 2007 by Dennis DeMille and Dave Emary, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a shortened and improved 30 TC cartridge case that was inspired by the .308 Winchester design. This short action design was created to maximize case capacity and a wide range of loading lengths, while still fitting in standard short action magazines. With the correct twist barrel, the versatile 6.5 Creedmoor can take advantage of the wide range of bullet weights available in 6.5 mm (i.e. .264 caliber). Reloaders should keep in mind that the 6.5 Creedmoor works best with medium to medium-slow powders such as H4350, Varget, Win 760, and RE-17. The light recoil and adaptability of the efficient 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge has already proven itself in high power, precision rifle series and benchrest competitions. Couple that with respectable barrel life and its intrinsic accuracy potential and you have a recipe for success which should insure its legacy for decades to come.

Sierra 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data Manual reloading .264

Here are three tables from the Sierra Bullets Reloading Manual (5th Edition). IMPORTANT — This is just a sample!! Sierra has load data for many other 6.5mm bullet types, including FB, Spitzer, SBT, HPBT, and Tipped MK from 85 grains to 142 grains. To view ALL 6.5 Creedmoor DATA, CLICK HERE.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Two More Great 6.5 Creedmoor Reloading Resouces

Want More 6.5 Creedmoor Load Info? View Starline’s 6.5 Creedmoor Guide by Gavin Gear:

Download full 6.5 Creedmoor Guide at StarlineBrass.com.

PRB 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor Load Survey
The Precision Rifle Blog compiled Load Data from PRS Competitors, for both 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. This is a good place to start. PRB surveyed the match loads for “173 of the top-ranked precision rifle shooters in the country”. CLICK HERE.

PRB precision rifle blog pet loads what pros use 6.5 Creedmoor 6mm CM

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January 23rd, 2020

The “Remage” Project — Building Rem 700 with Pre-Fit Barrel

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel Rifleshooter.com 6BR 6mmbr
Barrel nut system allows “Pre-Fit” barrel installation on a Remington action. CLICK photo to zoom.

REMAGE Project Report by Bill, Rifleshooter.com Editor
Installing a new barrel on your Remington 700 (especially without a lathe) may seem like a daunting task, but thanks to companies like McGowen Precision Barrels, there are easier alternatives. By adopting a Savage-style barrel nut on a 1 1/16″ thread for a Remington 700 receiver, pre-chambered (aka “pre-fit”) barrels can be easily swapped with just a few hand tools. This system is sometimes called a REMAGE conversion (for “REMington savAGE”). With simple tools a “Pre-fit” 6mmBR-chambered barrel was installed on the author’s Remington action — no machining or lathe-work required.

Remage Savage Remington Rebarrel Rifleshooter.com 6BR 6mmbr

Using a few tools from Brownells: Remington 700 Action Wrench, Barrel Vise, Go and No-Go Gauges, Recoil Lug Alignment Tool, and a Savage Barrel Nut Wrench, I was able to swap the .308 Winchester barrel off of my Remington 700 short action and install the new McGowen pre-fit, pre-chambered barrel, converting it to a tack-driving 6BR (aka 6mmBR Norma).

The existing barrel is simply removed from the action (normally the hardest part) and the new barrel is screwed on with the Go Gauge in place. After headspace is verified with the Go Gauge, the barrel nut is tightened against the action and you are off to the range. It takes all of the machine work out of the barreling process.

Note: Because barrel nut has a slightly larger diameter, some stocks may require minor inletting. Also, if you are shooting fired brass from another rifle with the same chambering, you should FL-size the brass before loading it for your new pre-fit barrel. And always check the set-up with a dummy round loaded to normal cartridge length BEFORE you head to the range. With Pre-Fits, the freebore should be adequate for your cartridge, but always check and adjust your seating depth as needed.

remage 6mm BR 108 berger best group 360

My McGowen Remage barrel looks and shoots great. I’ve written two longer articles that provide greater detail about this project. To learn more about how the barrel was installed, read: Rebarrel a Remington 700 without a lathe: McGowen’s Remage barrel conversion. To see how the rifle performed at the range, read: McGowen Remage Barrel Review: Spoiler Alert — It Shoots!.

Bill has been a serious shooter for over 20 years. A former Marine Corps Sergeant, he’s competed and placed in High Power Rifle, ISPC, USPSA, IDPA, 3-Gun, F-Class, and precision rifle disciplines. In addition to being an NRA-certified firearms instructor and range officer, Bill has hunted big game in North America, South America, and Africa. Bill writes extensively about gunsmithing, precision rifles, and the shooting sports on his blog, Rifleshooter.com.

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January 22nd, 2020

SHOT Show 2020 — Day One Opener

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

SHOT Show 2020 kicked off Tuesday, with tens of thousands of exhibitors, media members, and invitees streaming into the Sands EXPO Center in Las Vegas. This firearms industry trade show just gets bigger every year. We visited many of our favorite vendors including Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori), ATK Outdoors (Alliant, Federal, RCBS, Bushnell etc.), Hornady, Leica, SIG Sauer, and Smith & Wesson.

Here are some quick highlights from Day One of SHOT Show, a little bit of everything: Rifles, Pistols, Reloading Tools, and new optics.

Capstone Precision Group: Berger, Lapua, SK and Vihtavuori

Lapua brass ammo SK bullets scenar Capstone Precision shot show 2019

Capstone Precision Group showcased new products from its four companies: Berger Bullets, Lapua, SK, and Vihtavuori. The big news was the arrival of new Berger Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT) bullets and hunting bullets and a new Vihtavuori powder N533.

Berger now offers some seriously big LRHT Bullet. Before the show, Berger annouced the 7mm 190gr LRHT. At SHOT on Tuesday Berger showcased two new High-BC .30-Caliber LRHTs — the new 208gr and 220gr projectiles. All these LRHTs feature formed meplats for ultra-consistent BCs. In addition Berger unveiled two new heavy-for-caliber hunting bullets: The 6.5mm 156gr EOL Elite hunter and the .30 Cal 245gr EOL Elite hunter. In this video, Emil Praslick III explains the features of the new LRHT projectiles.

The other big news from Capstone was Vihtavuori’s new N555 powder, an advanced new propellent in the same relative burn range as H4350/RL16. Along with having a suitable burn rate for popular accuracy cartridges such as 6.5 Creedmoor and .284 Winchester, Vihtavuori’s new N555 is formulated for “clean burning characteristics and insensitivity in extreme weather conditions”. Complementing its temp stability, N555 includes an anti-fouling agent to keep barrels cleaner. Initial testing has been VERY promising. If you are shooting H4350 now, you should try N555.

Berger bullets ELR solid match projectiles Capstone Precision shot show 2020

From SIG Sauer — New Cross Rifle and New .277 Fury Cartridge

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

We visited the SIG Sauer booth and talked with top 3-gun ace Daniel Horner, formerly of the USAMU. Dan showed us the new SIG Sauer Cross bolt-action rifle. This is a chassis rifle that has many advanced features yet weighs under 7 lbs. before optics, making is suitable for hunting as well as tactical competitions. The Cross was very impressive, with nice balance and a very good adjustable trigger.

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

The .277 Fury, developed for the U.S. Military, used a hybrid case with a brass body and harder alloy metal case head. This design allows the cartridge to run very high pressures. Horner told us it would be SAAMI-rated to 80,000 PSI. Dan said “When the handloaders get hold of this brass, it will be a game-changer for sure.” We envision this cartridge could be necked down to 6.5 mm and it would dramatically out-perform the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Sig Sauer .277 Fury Hybrid cartridge hunting precision military

Sig Sauer .277 Fury Hybrid cartridge hunting precision military

Big Rifle for Little Lady

walther rifle .22 smallbore

At the Walther booth, Top Shot’s Gabby Franco showed the Walther KK500 3-position .22 LR smallbore rifle. With its long barrel, the KK500 dwarfed the petite Ms. Franco. Also at the Walther booth we noted the new Walther Monotec competition Air Rifle. This features a free-floating action — a block connects the chassis to the barrel forward of the action.

walther rifle .22 smallbore

New Savage 110 Ultralite Hunting Rifle

Savage 110

There were plenty of new hunting rifles on display at SHOT 2020. Savage showcased a new 5.8-lb Model 110 Ultralite rig. This features a Proof Research carbon-wrapped barrel. CLICK HERE for a full Guns.com review of the new Savage 110 Ultralite.

NEW Reloading Presses, Powder Dispensers, and Tools

RCBS had two notable new products on display. First, RCBS has a new single-stage press, called the Rebel. This looks similar to the venerable Rock Chucker, but it has a larger base and taller arch. The most important change is that this new Rebel Press ejects primers straight down the ram — just put a waste bin under the press to collect all your spend primers. However — take note — the Rebel has NO PRIMING function. You need to prime your cases separately.

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

RCBS also showcased its impressive new MatchMaster Power Scale/Dispenser. This features twin dispensing tubes, and can be set to deliver 1- or 2-kernel precision in the slower, more precise “Match Mode”. This is an impressive new machine, but it represents a significant investment. MSRP for the MatchMaster is $1123.95 with street price around $899.00 (MidwayUSA).

MatchMaster RCBS

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

Hornady unveiled a new Auto Charge Pro Powder Dispenser, along with a Precision Measurement Station. The new powder measure features a touch-screen ABOVE the powder tray. We’re not sure if that enhances usability, but it does allow for a smaller footprint on your reloading bench. This Auto Charge Pro offers customizable trickle speeds for different powders. Hornady claims the unit is “accurate to within 0.1 grain”.

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

Handguns from Walther, Smith & Wesson, and Ruger

Huge 25-foot high displays were promoting Walther’s steel-framed Q4 pistols. These handguns balanced well and the trigger was nicer than you’ll get on most semi-autos these days.

Walther Q4 Steel Frame Walther Q4 Pistol

Wheelguns and more from Smith & Wesson
Smith and Wesson hand a big display of revolvers and carry pistols. We liked a new .22 LR semi-auto on display with a suppressor.

smith wesson revolver shot show 2020

Ruger Super GP100 Revolver in 9mm Luger (9x19mm)

Ruger adapted its existing Super Redhawk frame for this Super GP100 9mm Luger (9x19mm) revolver, which features a stubby 8-round PVD-coated cylinder to better fit the 9x19mm round. According to Guns.com the 9mm GP100 “uses a cylinder and extractor cut for moon clips to speed up reloading [and] sports a 6-inch half-lug sleeved and shrouded barrel with an 11-degree target crown[.]”

Ruger 9mm 9x19mm luger Revolver GP100 Super GP 100 competition pistol

DAY ONE Parting Shot Photo

smith wesson revolver shot show 2020
This is a side view of an Action Target Vortex Bullet Trap.

Permalink - Articles, Handguns, New Product, Optics 1 Comment »
January 22nd, 2020

Black Rifle Blow-Ups — Shocking AR 15 Kaboom Collection

AR15 AR-15 Kaboom explosion pistol powder accident catastrophic destroyed
AR15 Kaboom big photo
This shocking photo of destroyed AR-15 bits and pieces was posted on Facebook by William Walter, a firearms instructor. William said this was “The worst AR-15 blow-up I have ever seen. The case head literally atomized …you can see the brass residue on the parts. The bolt was split in two also.”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with AR-platform rifles (well, except that they run dirty). Over the past six decades Eugene Stoner’s semi-automatic design has proven its merits in military and civilian applications. You may not know, but the original AR from 1955 was a .30-caliber. The Armalite AR-10 shot the 7.62×51 cartridge. Later, at the request of the U.S. Military, Armalite created a smaller version that became the M16/AR15. The rest was history. Now there are millions of AR “black rifles” in the hands of soldiers and sportsmen.

With so many ARs in circulation, it’s no surprise that some get used by folks who don’t know how to hand-load or otherwise fail to follow safe gun practices. The AR is actually a pretty sturdy rifle, but when it’s fed bad ammo, or abused, bad things can happen. Very bad things… commonly known as Kabooms.

Black Rifle Duplex Kaboom

The American Shooting Journal (ASJ) has compiled a set of particularly extreme AR Kabooms. Compiling the “evidence” from various web sites, ASJ has published nine (9) of the most Unbelievable AR-15 Fails. Here are two of the worst “AR-15 Fails”. CLICK HERE to see them all.

Nothing but busted parts after this catastrophic Kaboom…
AR AR16 m16 AR-10 AR-16 kaboom failure catastrophic reloads American Shooting Journal

Notice the bolt is still stuck in the barrel extension … with the rest of the gun in pieces.
AR AR16 m16 AR-10 AR-16 kaboom failure catastrophic reloads American Shooting Journal

Another view of this sad blow-up…
AR AR16 m16 AR-10 AR-16 kaboom failure catastrophic reloads American Shooting Journal

These catastrophic AR failures are eye-openers, that’s for sure. ASJ cautions: “Any weapon can fail if given the wrong ammunition, faulty reloads or a plugged barrel. Always be aware of what can happen at anytime if you fail to follow common sense and gun safety rules.”

ASJ Sources: Photobucket, Armory Blog, Pinterest, Northeastern Arms, Eric Nestor

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Tactical, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
January 22nd, 2020

TECH TIP — Check Barrel Tightness If POI Shifts Erratically

loose barrel vortex scope optics point of impact change fix

Are you seeing unpredictable changes in Point of Impact on your target? Think you may have a scope issue? Well maybe not — when was the last time you checked your BARREL?

Yes scopes do fail, and scope bases/rings do get loose. But sometimes problems with erratic POI shifts are caused by a LOOSE BARREL. This issue came up recently in our Shooter’s Forum. One member complained that his zero was shifting from day to day — by as much as two inches at 100 yards. He was convinced he had a scope problem, based on erratic POI:

“I think my scope loses 1 to 3 MOA per day. When I shot my rifle Monday it was dead on. On Tuesday it was 1″ low. Then on Wednesday it was 1 or 2″ lower. I don’t get it. — the elevation knob never touched. Scope will track and return to zero that day perfect. Yes EVERYTHING has been checked, nothing loose. What is the chance the erector tube spring has gone south? For the record this is a Vortex GE. Never had a bad scope, but this has me wondering”. — LB

On Forum member told LB to send the scope right back to the manufacturer. Two other members suggested mounting the scope on a different rifle to test. Good advice. That’s generally a smart strategy before you conclude a scope has gone bad…

Could Problem Be the Scope Base?
Two Forum members, ExPiper and Dickn52, suggested checking the scope base, recounting their past experiences with troublesome bases. This was intelligent — anyone with a POI problem should check all the optics attachments:

“Went crazy one day chasing my impacts on a 100-yard target. Shots would group fine for three then go nuts for 4-5. I cranked and un-cranked for about an hour. Then I reached up and the base wobbled on the rifle. Removed scope, tightened base screws and back in business.” — Dickn52

“Years ago I had a problem [where] shots were climbing with almost every shot. I was blaming the scope. However, when removing the scope I noticed that the 20 MOA base was cracked and getting wider with every shot. Needless to say I replaced the base and the problem was solved. — ExPiper

Eureka Moment — The problem was the BARREL, not the Scope

There were many helpful suggestions, but member PirateAmmo steered LB to the real problem — a loose BARREL: “We had a problem on a home-built AR-platform rifle once, barrel was loose a tad…”

Member Snert chimed in: “Yep — I had a PPC that suddenly went 19″ low. Picked up gun off bench by barrel and felt a wiggle. I tightened the barrel and the POI went 19 inches up”.

Problem Solved — Barrel Tightened up and POI Back to Normal
The gentleman with the POI problem took the advice of PirateAmmo and checked his barrel. BINGO! Low and behold, the barrel WAS loose.

LB posted: “Barrel loose by about 2%, checked it twice before and didn’t find it the first two times”.

After LB re-tightened his barrel, his rifle started shooting normally again. No more shooting low by 1-2 inches. Problem solved. The fix didn’t cost a penny and now LB doesn’t have to send a perfectly good optic back to the manufacturer.

Lesson learned? Check ALL the variables before you assume a scope has gone bad. Along with the barrel, also check your action screw tension, and of course the scope base and rings.

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
January 21st, 2020

Industry Day at the Range 2020 — Highlights

SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

20th Day of the 2020th Year!
For folks in the gun industry, the third Monday in January is the best day of the year. Held in conjunction with SHOT Show, Industry Day at the Range lets us try out dozens of new rifles and pistols, as well as meet top gun designers and friends in the shooting sports. We saw some very great new products this year. Here are some of the most interesting “take-aways” from Industry Day at the Range, held in Bolder City, Nevada on January 20, 2020.

SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

New Guns + Old Friends on 1/20/20
Meeting old friends, and shooting new guns. That’s what Monday was all about at the annual Industry Day at the Range, a “hands-on” preview the day before SHOT Show opens in Las Vegas. At the crack of dawn your Editor met with Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com and headed out to the Boulder City (NV) range. There we met up with GunsAmerica Editor True Pearce, F-Class aces Stan Pate and Matt Schwartzkopf, Down Range TV host Michael Bane, Top Shot’s Dustin Ellerman, and many other friends in the industry.

We were not disappointed — there was plenty to see this year. On display were a bunch of new precision rifles, some nice new revolvers, and some very exotic optics. SEE Exhibitor List.

Cool New Rifles and Chassis Systems

SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

There is a definite trend towards metal modular chassis systems. We saw many more metal stocks than fiberglass stocks on the firing line. One of the most interesting chassis rifles was showcased by Advanced Shooting Analytics (ASA). This features a STEEL alloy center section that holds the steel rifle action. The thinking behind this is that aluminum expands as it gets hot at a different rate than steel. That can stress the steel action. Having “steel on steel” eliminates those stresses say the designers — providing an advantage compared to an all-aluminum chassis.

SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

We tested the new Savage 110 Elite Precision, an impressive new rifle boasting an advanced aluminum chassis crafted by MDT. Part of Savage’s new Precision Series, this is clearly aimed at the PRS crowd. Savage also showcased its new rimfire precision rifles. See below:

SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

The innovative, patented FightLite SCR® (Sport Configurable Rifle) blends the utility and accuracy of an AR15 with the classic lines of an American sporter. Importantly, this rifle is 50-state legal! The old-fashioned stock design of the SCR permits shipping to FFLs in all 50 states.

SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

Cadex Defense showcased its CDX-R7 Sheepdog hunting rifle. A departure from the metal-chassis rifles. The Sheepdog features a comfortable outer skin and a very ergonomic design. Here’s a video preview:

The Cadex CDX-R7 sported a bright red RifleKuhl barrel fan from Magnetospeed.

SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

Wild-Looking AR Rifles — Vivid Colors and Ports
Bling is the thing in 2020. There were some wild-looking AR-platform rifles with exotic finishes. One AR, used by the Eotech folks to showcase their Vudu optics, had a radically ported upper.

SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

Optics — New Scopes and Electro-Optics

Media Industry Day at Range SHOT 2019 Optics
Actual view through Schmidt & Bender scope. Great glass — sharp and bright to the edge

Media Industry Day at Range SHOT 2019 Optics
Zeiss displayed some impressive Second Focal Plane scopes.

SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range

Here is the impressive Charlie TARAC prism unit from TacomHQ, set up on an ELR rifle with a massive barrel. The prism designer John Baker showed us new prototype units that allow the user to dial the amount of elevation increase.

Media Industry Day at Range SHOT 2019 Optics
Media Industry Day at Range SHOT 2019 Optics

One tripod sported an array of hardware, with a rangefinder and a big Swarovski Spotting scope fitted what appeared to be a Phone Skope adapter. This allows through-the-eyepiece viewing/recording.

Handguns — Rimfire and Centerfire

Industry day range january 2019

This striking image is from GunsAmerica’s Range Day Report on the new Colt Python. This report by Levi Sim features a video and many photos.

Industry day range january 2019

We viewed dozens of pistols, but were most impressed with a couple updated rimfires, and two ultra-accurate wheelguns — the Ruger Super 100 9mm and the “reborn” Colt Python, a stainless beauty. Show above are both 4″ and 6″ versions. The workmanship was superb — as was the accuracy.

We also tested a updated version of the classic Browning Buckmark .22 LR semi-auto pistol with a ported barrel shroud. This balanced great and had a very nice trigger pull.

Industry day range january 2019

Ammunition — Big News from Sierra and True Velocity

Industry day range january 2019

Sierra displayed one of the most noteworthy innovations in loaded ammunition. The new Sierra/True Velocity Composite Ammo features a POLYMER case. This allows a very significant weight savings — at least 35% compared to conventional ammunition. Sierra and True Velocity are partners in this project. Initial offerings of hunting ammunition should be available in late 2020.

New TECH — Shot-Locating Steel Target Plates from Israel

Israel’s A.D.L. Smart Solutions LTD. displayed an innovative shot location plotting system. This measures shot location and hit rates via a sensor module on the BACK (reverse side) of a thick armored steel plate. The designers tell us the armored plates have survived 7000+ rifle shots without a problem. The sensor unit transmits shot locations wirelessly back to a laptop which runs Apple or Windows software. The software can also keep profiles of different rifles/cartridge types with ballistics for each.

Industry day range january 2019
Industry day range january 2019

About Industry Day at the Range

With two dozen shooting bays, plus an elevated shooting station with targets out to 400 yards, there is plenty of action. Here’s the layout:

Industry day range 2020 shot show boulder city nevada NV exhibitor list

Next best thing to being there — this video shows 2020 Industry Day highlights. It’s a great overview featuring a wide variety of rifles, pistols and shotguns. The biggest commercial, hands-on “live fire” gun demonstration in the world, Industry Day at the Range is attended by over 1700 journalists and buyers.

Media Industry day at range shot show 2019 Boulder City Nevada

Permalink - Videos, Handguns, New Product, News, Tactical 1 Comment »
January 21st, 2020

Volquartsen Summit — Versatile Toggle-Action Rimfire Rifle

Volquartsen summit .22 LR rimfire 22LR straight pull biathlon toggle action 22Plinkster plinkster video

Ever shot a straight-pull (aka toggle-link) action rifle? We like these action types, which were developed for Biathlon competitors who needed to shoot fast, but were not allowed to use semi-auto actions. The biathlon-style toggle action features a lever on the side of the action. Pull the lever back with your index figure to open the bolt, then push forward with your finger to close the bolt*. It’s fast and efficient. With some practice, you can cycle the action in a couple of seconds — nearly as fast as a semi-auto.

Volquartsen summit .22 LR rimfire 22LR straight pull biathlon toggle action 22Plinkster plinkster video

The Volquartsen Summit .22 LR rifle is based on a concept originally developed by Primary Weapons Systems. Designed for both competition shooting as well as small game hunting, this unique rifle features a straight-pull, toggle-style action with a Ruger 10/22 profile. That means you can run 10/22 magazines, swap into stocks inletted for the 10/22, and even use after-market 10/22 barrels. The CNC-machined receiver features an integral 20 MOA Picatinny Rail. The Magpul stock adjusts for length of pull. Weight is 5.8 pounds, so this is easy to carry in the field.

The Summit features a lightweight carbon fiber-wrapped barrel, threaded 1/2×28 at the muzzle to be suppressor-ready. One of our favorite features on this little rifle is the trigger — which has a light, crisp 1.75-lb pull weight. Watch the video above to see the Summit .22 LR in action. The tester, 22 Plinkster, was impressed with the rifle’s ease of use and accuracy. The Summit delivered a 0.277″ group at 50 yards, shot from the bench.

Volquartsen summit .22 LR rimfire 22LR straight pull biathlon toggle action 22Plinkster plinkster video

Tech Analysis of PWS-designed Action as used in Summit

See the Summit at SHOT Show in Las Vegas
Volquartsen will have the new Summit straight-pull rifle on display, along with a wide variety of rimfire firearms, at its booth at SHOT Show in Las Vegas this week. You’ll find Volquartsen at booth #11129. This year, Volquartsen will unveil a new 17 WSM version of the straight-pull Summit rifle.

Volquartsen summit .22 LR rimfire 22LR straight pull biathlon toggle action 22Plinkster plinkster video


* Biathlon shooters cycle their Fortner toggle actions even faster, using their THUMB to close the bolt. This allows them to get the index finger on to the trigger blade faster. The whole process takes maybe a second — as fast as you can say “snick-snick”. To use the thumb effectively, you need a stock with a more vertical pistol grip. The Magpul stock on the Summit moves your thumb a bit too far back to use comfortably to close the lever without shifting the hand.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product, Tech Tip No Comments »
January 21st, 2020

“Mirage Is Your Friend” — How Mirage Can Reveal the Wind

South Texas Mirage Reading article
Diagram from SouthTexasShooting.org.

Mirage as a Wind Indicator

Read FULL ARTICLE in Midsouth Shooters Blog

by Glen Zediker
Most good shooters use mirage as their leading indicator to spot changes in the wind. With well-designed stand, the scope can be set it up where you can see the wind with the left eye and see the sight with the right without anything more than a visual focus shift. That gets the shooter back on the trigger with the least chance of missing another change. In the photo below e you can see 11-time National High Power Champion David Tubb using a spotting scope set up for his left eye.

wind mirage spotter spotting scope
David Tubb sets up his spotting scope so he can easily see through it with his LEFT eye, without shifting his head and body position.

There are resources that give clues or evidence of wind direction and strength: wind flags, observation of grass and trees, and mirage.

Almost always I use mirage as my leading indicator. Mirage (heat waves) is always present but you’ll need a scope to read it. For 600 yards I focus my scope about halfway to the target. Mirage flows just like water and the currents can be read with respect to wind speed as well, but it’s not clearly accurate beyond maybe a 15 mph speed. The thing is that mirage shows changes, increases or decreases, and also direction shifts, really well.

A couple more things about mirage flow: when mirage “boils,” that is appears to rise straight up, either there’s no wind or the scope is dead in-line with wind direction. And that’s a quick and accurate means to determine wind direction, by the way, move the scope until you see the boil and note the scope body angle. Here’s another tip — the boil can predict when a “fishtail” wind is about to change, a boil precedes a shift.

wind mirage spotter spotting scope

You don’t need to spend big bucks for an effective spotting scope to view mirage. You can get the Vortex 20-60x60mm Diamondback angled spotting scope for just $399.99 from Midsouth. That’s complete with 20-60X zoom eyepiece. Though inexpensive, the Vortex Diamondback is popular with many competitive shooters and hunters. No, it doesn’t offer the sharpness of an 80mm Kowa Prominar or Swarovski spotting scope, but you’ll pay $2400+ just for the body of those high-end optics.

Choice of EyePiece — Wide-Angle LERs Work Well
I use a long-eye-relief 20X to 25X wide-angle eyepiece. That setup shows the flow best. And pay attention to where the wind is coming from! See what’s headed your way, because what’s passed no longer matters. That’s true for any indicator. Right to left wind? Read off the right side of the range.

Once I get on target then all I am doing is watching for changes. It’s really uncommon to make a big adjustment between shots. The fewer condition changes you are enduring, the easier it is to keep everything on center. That’s why I shoot fast, and why I start at the low point in a wind cycle.

sighters spotting scope mirageMaking Corrections with Limited Sighters
Here’s a Tip for NRA High Power matches where only two sighters are allowed: “Make a full correction off the first sighting shot location! Even if there are minor changes afoot, that’s how to know how well you assessed condition influence pre-shot. Don’t second-guess. After the second sighter you should be on target and then simply watching for changes. Pay attention, correlate visible cues to the results of prior shots, and if in doubt, click into the wind.”

Information in this article was adapted from material in several books published by Glen Zediker and Zediker Publishing. Glen is an NRA High Master who earned that classification in NRA High Power Rifle using an AR15 Service Rifle. For more information and articles visit ZedikerPublishing.com.

Permalink - Articles, Optics, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
January 20th, 2020

Bargain Finder 226: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. EuroOptic — Free Kestrel 5700 with Leupold Mark 5HD Scope

Leupold Mark 5 HD sale Free Kestrel 5700

If you don’t own a Kestrel yet, this is a fantastic deal. Right now at EuroOptic, if you purchase a Leupold Mark 5 HD scope, you get a FREE Kestrel 5700 with Hornady 4DOF, a $499.00 value. Choose from a variety of Leupold Mark 5HD models, MOA or MRAD: 7-35x56mm, 5-25x56mm, and 3.6-18x44mm. That Kestrel 5700 includes an advanced Ballistics App.

2. Cabela’s — Savage 12 FV and Ruger American Rifles on Sale

Cabela's rifle sale cabin fever january 2020

Looking for a great deal on a basic hunting rifle? Cabela’s is offering big discounts on Savage 12FV and Ruger American rifles now through 11:59 pm on January 22, 2020. The Savage 12FV is marked down to just $369.97 while the Rugers are 10% Off. Along with rifle bargains, Cabela’s Cabin Fever Sale includes great deals on hunting clothing, camping gear, and ammo.

3. Brownells — CCI .22 LR Ammo, $22.99 for 500 rounds

CCI rimfire .22 LR standard velocity ammo discount sale free shipping brownells $10 off

Here’s a great deal on big-name, rimfire ammo. Right now you can get a 500-round pack of CCI Standard Velocity 40gr LRN ammo for just $22.99. That works out to just four-and-a-half cents per round. That’s a great deal on reliable CCI ammo. But it gets even better. If you purchase at least four 500-rd packs (2000 rounds total), and add a small item to get the order over $99.00, you also get $10.00 Off and FREE shipping and with Discounnt CODE MDX. There is also a CCI Ammo Rebate if you buy a new rimfire firearm in 2020.

4. Sportsman’s Warehouse — Ruger 9mm SR9 Pistol, $249.95

ruger sr9 9mm compact pistol handgun

We’ve shot the Ruger SR9 9mm pistol and we like the ergonomics MUCH better than a Glock. The SR9 is comfortable with a slim, ergonomic grip, reversible backstrap, and narrow stainless slide. The Ruger SR9 also includes ambidextrous manual safety and magazine release, built-in Picatinny rail, and adjustable high-viz 3-dot sight system. If you are looking for a standard 9x19mm pistol (4.14″ barrel), this is a great value — $249.95 at Sportsman’s Warehouse

5. Amazon — ADDTOP Power Bank with Solar Panels, $39.99

Power bank battery USB charger solar panels remote charging

Power — modern shooters need mobile battery power to run a LabRadar, charge a Tablet monitoring a Target Camera, or charge you smartphone running a Ballistics App. Here’s one of the best compact USB-port batteries you can buy. This offers 25000 mAh of energy, PLUS it has four solar panels (one built-in, three external). This ADDTOP Power Bank is on sale now for $39.99 on Amazon, a good deal.

6. Walmart — EZShoot Rifle Case with Shoulder Straps, $38.59

EZShoot Rifle carry case varmint carry straps shoulder

We like this versatile bag for hunting and varmint trips. The 47.2″ EZshoot gun case provides good protection for scoped rifles with up to about 27″ barrels. The large pockets will hold binoculars, laser rangefinder, windmeter, ammunition, and other gear. The big bonus is this inexpensive carry case includes comfortable, adjustable shoulder straps. That makes it easy to carry everything from your vehicle to your shooting area. You get all this functionality for under twenty-five bucks. Walmart currently offers this 47.2″ case for just $38.59 with FREE shipping to your residence.

7. Amazon — Padded Shooting Mat, $37.99

redneck roll-up padded shooting mat

Are you new to prone shooting or tired of using an old worn out mat? Grab one of these Redneck Convent padded shooting mats and you shoot in style and comfort all day long. These pads are weather, chemical and water resistant and the durable PVC material is easy to clean and maintain. Best of all it rolls up for easy storage and transport.

8. Field Supply — Huge Discounts on Gerber and Other Knives

gerber winchester sog knife blade discount sale

Gerber makes excellent fixed- and folding-blade knives. Right now at Field Supply you can save up to 72% on Gerber and other popular knife brands. The multi-function Gerber Bear Grylls Grandfather is just $9.68, while the Gerber 3-Knife Pursuit Hunting Kit (Kukri Machete, Saw, Fixed Blade) is now $37.13, marked down from $92.00. That’s a superb blade trio for hunters. There are also great deals on Winchester knives. For example, Winchester Fine Edge Folders are just $9.66.

9. Amazon — Bore-Snake Two-Pack, $7.99

Bore-Snake stocking stuffer two kit

While bore cleaning should be done with a good cleaning rod and fitted bore guide, there are times when Bore-Snakes can be handy, such as when cleaning pistols and 10/22s. Now on Amazon you can get two (2) convenient GogoKu Bore-Snakes for just $7.99. Get two of the same diameter (.22 up to 12ga), or choose a Kit with both .223 and .308 sizes. Handy item for your range bag. For a limited time you may be able to get 20% OFF by using code 20ZFXQ3W at checkout.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
January 20th, 2020

Plug-In Impeller Makes Smart-Phone Work as Wind Meter

weatherflow wind meter anemometer wind gauge turbine smart phone iphone app

Gear Report by Kip Staton
Shooters in the market for an accurate anemometer that doesn’t break the bank need to take a hard look at the WeatherFlow Wind Meter, which retails on Amazon.com for just $39.89. Even though it is inexpensive, owner reviews have been generally very positive (so long as the software is compatible with your device). One Amazon reviewer says the WeatherFlow measures wind velocity as accurately a dedicated anemometer.

A big part of the reason the WeatherFlow Wind Meter is so inexpensive is that you’ve probably already got the brains of the system in your pocket. Yes, it connects to and communicates with any standard smartphone or tablet, in either iOS or Android flavors. Users simply download the free WeatherFlow Wind Meter app to their smart device, insert the anemometer into the headphone jack, and can immediately start measuring the wind.

weatherflow wind meter anemometer wind gauge turbine smart phone iphone app

weatherflow wind meter anemometer wind gauge turbine smart phone iphone appOf course, the first question any serious shooter will ask is “How accurate is this thing?” Pretty dang accurate, as it turns out. The device was calibrated by the University of Florida’s Aerospace Engineering Department, and the unique design allows it to consistently report to within a half a percentage point of the true wind value, even if the breeze is up to 15 degrees off-axis to the meter.

Wind speeds are measurable from as slow as two miles per hour to as high as 125 MPH. The Wind Meter outputs average, lull, and gusts windspeed data to your phone, with velocities indicated in 0.1 MPH increments. Furthermore, a hard-sided protective case is included for safe transportation.

Naturally, since the WeatherFlow Wind Meter is App-based, it’s connectable to a variety of social media websites and distribution sources. This makes saving and sharing information about climate conditions a breeze.

To read more gear reviews by Kip Staton, visit KipStaton.com.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals, New Product No Comments »
January 19th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Merkel RX Helix Straight-Pull Hunting Rifle

Merkel RX Helix straight-pull rifle

This Sunday we feature the German-crafted Merkel RX Helix with straight-pull bolt. We shot the Helix a few years back during Media Day at the Range. One notable difference between the German Merkel and the Austrian Strasser, another straight-pull rifle, is the bolt travel. During cycling, the Merkel bolt stays completely inside the action (see video below at 00:30). By contrast the Strasser bolt moves pretty far back, outside the action. For some folks that makes the Helix better for fast follow-up shots. All we can say is that Merkles and Strassers BOTH cycle way faster than conventional bolt-action rifles.

Merkel RX Helix Range Report

One of the most innovative rifles we have ever shot was the Merkel RX Helix, a very impressive piece of rifle engineering. Merkel claims the RX Helix is the fastest-cycling centerfire bolt action in the world. We can’t confirm that claim, but the Helix certainly cycles faster than any other centerfire bolt-gun this Editor has ever tried. (Yes, a Fortner biathlon action can be worked more rapidly, but that’s a rimfire). Both Jason and I really liked Merkel’s RX Helix. It balances well, the action is smooth, the wood is gorgeous, and the overall design thinking that went into this German-engineered take-down rifle is very impressive. The Helix’s universal-sized action lets you shoot anything from a .222 Rem to a .300 Win Mag with the same gun. And — get this — you can really swap barrels (and change bolt heads) in a couple of minutes with no tools, employing a dead-simple bolt-release lever concealed under the push-button-released removable forearm. (Watch VIDEO BELOW to see Barrel Swap procedure).

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifleRotary 7-Lug Bolt
While the RX Helix is a straight-pull rifle, it retains the strength and safety of a rotary bolt head with seven locking lugs that seat in a barrel extension. Unlike a Blaser, the RX Helix has a fully-enclosed action housing. That’s an important safety feature. Moreover, since the RX Helix employs a closed action, the bolt body doesn’t travel outside that action. This means the shooter can maintain his cheekweld with an eye on the target as he cycles the bolt.

The RX Helix’s linear (back and forth) bolt-handle motion is transmitted to the bolt head through a 1:2 ratio “transmission” gearing system. This allows smooth and fast cycling without the rotational or tipping movement found on other straight-pull, bolt-action rifles, such as the Blaser.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The Merkel linear-movement action cycles exceptionally fast, which allows for faster follow-up shots — a good thing if you’re hunting dangerous game. The RX Helix features a manual cocking lever on the tang and a direct trigger system. And here’s good news for southpaws — though Merkel does not make a dedicated left-hand version, lefties can very easily use their right hand to work the bolt while maintaining cheekweld. That may sound awkward, but with practice, it’s actually pretty efficient.

Fast, Easy Disassembly and Barrel Exchanges
The video below shows how the Helix can be disassembled (for cleaning or transport) in a matter of seconds WITHOUT TOOLS. The forearm slips off with the push of a button. A short lever on the left side of the action holds the barrel. Simply rotate the lever and the barrel (with bolt head) slips off. That’s it — in 30 seconds the rifle is apart, and you don’t even need an allen wrench as with a Blaser.

The RX Helix has a universal action length that covers calibers from .222 Rem to .300 Win Mag. Changing calibers (or chamberings) takes less than a minute with the appropriate barrel, bolt-head and magazine. Weaver rails are integrated into the action, and iron sights with three-dot rear and one-dot front fiber-optic inserts are standard.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The RX Helix is available with a standard black finish as well as four levels of design — Arabesque, Wild Boar, Spirit, and Deluxe. An all-carbon-fiber version was also available either with or without a carbon-wrapped barrel. The RX Helix comes in a wide range of calibers including .222 Rem, .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5×55 SE, .270 Win, 7×64, .308 Win, .30-06 Sprg., 8×57 IS, 9.3×62, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag. Barrel lengths vary according to caliber, and barrels, bolt-heads and magazines are available for caliber changes. EuroOptic sells the Merkel RX Helix, but most models are back-ordered.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
January 19th, 2020

TOP TEN Methods to Dry Cartridge Brass after Wet Cleaning

Wet Tumbling Brass Drier

Many shooters these days clean their cartridge brass ultrasonically, or wet-tumble their cases with stainless media (above). Both methods get brass clean and shiny, inside and out. However, when those wet-cleaning processes are completed, you’re left with a pile of soaking wet brass. How do you dry your brass quickly and efficiently, without unsightly water spots? Read on for some great answers…

In our Shooters’ Forum, Forum Gold Member Terry asked: “How do you dry your brass after Ultrasonic cleaning?” In an interesting Reloading Forum Thread, many smart suggestions were posted. A dozen fellow members outlined a variety of effective case-drying procedures, which work equally well for both wet-tumbled brass and ultrasonically-cleaned cases. Here are the Top 10 brass-drying suggestions from our Forum members.

TOP TEN Ways to Dry Cartridge Brass After Wet Cleaning

1. Food Dehydrator — Shake the brass in towel to get the bulk of water off. Next leave in the food dehydrator for 45 minutes or until there are no signs of moisture inside the cases. — Lawrence97

2. Lyman 5-Level Case Dryer — Rinse off cleaning solution(s), then load brass by type into racks in Lyman Cyclone Case Dryer. This is easier to load/unload than food dehydrators and holds more cases.

Lyman Cyclone Case Drier

3. Hot Water + Compressed Air — Rinse all your cases as a batch using scalding hot water from the kitchen sink. Hot water evaporates off of brass very very quickly. Then hit them with compressed air. Takes 10 minutes. Simple. — SG4247

4. Oven Dry in Pre-Heated Oven — After pre-heating to 200° or so, turn off oven and put brass inside on a tray. Most important! Tell your wife what you are doing so she doesn’t crank it up to 425 to heat pizza! — MClark

NOTE: Many other members suggested oven drying at 150-200°. We recommend turning OFF the oven so you don’t cook your brass if you forget to remove the cases.

Dry Cartridge Brass heat gun5. Towel Dry then Warm with Heat Gun — Roll brass in a towel until no more water shakes out. Lay out on cardboard box top and blow off with Harbor Freight heat gun. $9.99 on coupon. Two minutes of heated air and about half hour of wait and they are good to go. This is with primers removed. — Shaggy357

6. Compressed Air, then Sun Dry Outside – I rinse the brass, then blow them out with compressed air. Then, dependent on the time of year, lay them on a towel in the sun. — HogPatrol

7. Dishwasher on Dry Cycle – In the winter, I drop my wet brass cases neck-down on the rack pegs in the dishwasher, then turn on the dry cycle. In the summer…well, I’m in Texas. They go to the porch for a bit. — Toolbreaker

8. Alcohol Rinse then Air or Oven Dry — Rinse in 90% Isopropyl alcohol and either let air dry or stick in 175° oven for half an hour. Alternatively, use a dehydrator. — Zipollini

9. Slow Air-Dry in Loading Blocks — I have a reloading block with holes drilled in it. I simply load the block up and let it air-dry in the cupboard for a couple of days. — JCS

10. Wipe with Towel Then Anneal Normally — This thread is stirring my OCD side. Seems complicated for just drying — my brass dries just fine when I anneal it. This entire process can’t take an hour per batch. When finished, the brass is cleaned, annealed, and ready to size. — CHLuke

  • Deprime, then tumble brass with stainless media, water, Lemishine, and dish detergent.
  • Shake them easily in a strainer to knock out most media then grab 4-5 pieces, shake them over the bucket for the last of the media then inside a towel.
  • Finally blow out the primer pockets and wipe with a towel, load in the Annealeez.

Wet Tumbling Brass Drier

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 7 Comments »
January 19th, 2020

Headed to SHOT Show? Download Free 2020 Mobile App

SHOT Show 2019 Mobile App iOS Apple Android smartphone iphone

Headed to SHOT Show in Las Vegas? Then you should download the FREE SHOT Show Mobile App. Available for all mobile devices, this App really makes it easier to plan your SHOT Show schedule, and navigate the floor of the Sands Convention Center. The 2020 SHOT Show Mobile App is now available for download on Apple, Android, and Windows smartphones and devices. Apple users will find the app in the App Store, Android users will find their version in the Google Play Store. Windows users can access via the WEB Dashboard. Learn more at SHOTmobile.com.

Visit SHOTmobile.com | GET FREE Apple (iOS) App | GET FREE Android OS App

SHOT Show 2019 Mobile App iOS Apple Android smartphone iphone

Handy Interactive Map
The App includes an interactive map that can direct you from your current location to your next destination. Arrange your meetings with a handy scheduling calendar. And you can search for any SHOT exhibitor by name or product category. In addition, the App lists major show events as well as important new products.

SHOT SHOW 2020 APP FEATURES
— Locate Exhibitor Booths with searchable Vendor Database/Floor Map
— Build a personalized Schedule and bookmark Exhibitors
— Visit bookmarked Exhibitors with Quick Route Feature
— Multi-Device Sync for smartphones, tablets, laptops
— Up-to-date Exhibitor, Speaker, and Event information

The 2020 SHOT Show takes place January 21-24 at the Sands EXPO in Las Vegas, Nevada. Media Day at the Range takes place Monday the 20th in Boulder City. To learn more about SHOT Show, including seminar times, educational resources, event listings, and hotel/travel information, visit SHOTShow.org.

Permalink New Product, News No Comments »
January 18th, 2020

Accuracy Vs. Precision — They Are Not the Same Thing

Applied Ballistics Accuracy Precision
This image is from Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting, Volume 2.

The next time a shooter comes up to you at the range, and says: “My rifle shoots one-third MOA all day long”, challenge him to put a first-round hit on a 1/2 MOA plate at 1000 yards. There’s a difference between shooting small groups at close range (Precision) and “on-target” Accuracy at long range.

Article by Applied Ballistics, LLC
Just how much better is a 0.5 MOA rifle vs. a 1 MOA rifle? Is it worth chasing quarter-MOA if you have half-MOA rifle? This is an important question. If you look across Facebook you will find scores of shooters posting 1/3-MOA or 1/4-MOA shot groups [usually at 100 yards]. Some of those guys are spending countless hours trying to chase that golden quarter-MOA group.

Don’t take this statement the wrong way, having a good, consistent rifle is a key to success. But accuracy is extremely important to long range shooting. Having a precision (0.5 MOA) rifle, but not having put the time in to practice accuracy (hitting a 0.5 MOA plate first shot at 1000 yards) is counter-productive. [Editor: By this, we mean that you can have a rifle capable of shooting small groups at 100 yards, but you won’t see that gun’s full potential unless you can practice and perfect the skills of long-range shooting. Successful long range shooting demands more than precision alone.]

What if, your goal was to produce 5-shot, sub-half-MOA groups at 1000 yards instead of 100 yards? Think about how much more you would be including in the learning process, especially that all-important factor: managing the wind! Here is a good article that talks about Precision vs. Accuracy: Hitting Targets at Long Range.

This is not intended to say that precision is not important; rather it is intended to show that balance is important. You can use WEZ to do your own studies on this very subject, and it might be surprising to the shooter just how much you don’t gain by chasing precision over accuracy. Two books which cover this subject really well are Accuracy and Precision for Long Range Shooting and Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting Vol 2.

Here’s a stunning combination of Precision (small group) WITH accuracy (centered on target). Yep that’s ten shots at 1000 yards, all in the middle of the target:
Scott Nix Dasher Record

Video Demonstrates Amazing 1000-Yard Accuracy AND Precision

Watch the video. You can see the group form up, shot by shot. It’s pretty amazing. Scott’s first shot (at the 45-second mark of the video) was right in the X-Ring, and four of Scott’s first five shots were Xs. That’s drilling them!

Comments

“Accuracy with precision is the route for me. It is not an either/or game. If I have a precision rifle (0.25 MOA or less) and I practice to be accurate, then high scores will be the result — Jim Borden

“I would agree for PRS, hunting, and to a certain extent F-Class. However, for 1000-yard IBS benchrest competition, 0.5 MOA groups in good conditions will almost always loose the relay.” — James B

“Another thought is that [at 1000 yards] a 1 MOA gun with single-digit standard deviations [may] out shoot a 0.5 MOA rifle with standard deviations of 20+ fps.” — Beard Owens

“Both… you need both: Accuracy AND Precision. I competed in varmint matches — we shot small silhouettes at 600 yards. I started with a factory .260 Rem rifle that was 0.8 MOA on a good day. I typically hit 8-9 of 20 targets, but rarely nailed the small chickens — which had a hit zone just 4″ in diameter. I then started using a semi-custom 6mmBR rifle that could reliably deliver 1/4 MOA at 100 yards (honest). My hit count on the silhouettes zoomed to 15-18, and suddenly the chickens were going down. In that game — small targets at 600 yards — there was no substitute for precision.” — Paul McM

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
January 18th, 2020

Flash-Hole First Aid — Clearing Obstructions in Flash-Holes

Flash-hole reamer

Even with high-quality brass from Lapua, Norma, and RWS, occasionally you may find one or two cases per box which have a small flake or obstruction in the flash-hole. This will appear like a thin crescent on one side of the flash hole (see photo). You should inspect ALL new brass before loading to identify any pieces with a partially-obstructed flash hole. It’s a good idea to remove any flake or thin crescent left as an artifact of the flash-hole forming process. Because the flash-hole itself is normally centered and of the correct diameter, it is not necessary to ream the flash-hole to a larger diameter. All you really need to do is remove the small obstruction(s). This can be done quickly with inexpensive tools.

Use a Small Pin Vise to Remove Flash-Hole Obstructions
Folks have asked if there is a tool that can remove obstructions from a Lapua small, BR-sized flash hole without opening the hole size. The Lapua PPC/BR flash hole is spec’d at 1.5mm, which works out to 0.059055″. Most of the PPC/BR flash-hole uniforming tools on the market use a 1/16″ bit which is nominally 0.0625″, but these often run oversize — up to 0.066″.

If you want to just clear out any obstructions in the flash hole, without increasing the flash hole diameter, you can use an inexpensive “pin vise” with an appropriate drill bit. For $0.99, eHobbyTools.com sells a 1.5mm drill bit, item 79186, that matches the Lapua flash hole exactly. Other vendors offer a #53 pin vise drill bit that measures .0595″ or .060″ (depending or source). An 0.0595″ bit is close enough. You can find pin vises and these small-diameter drill bits at hobby stores.

Pin vises Lapua Flash hole

For quite some time, Sinclair Int’l has sold a similar device for small (PPC and BR-size) flash holes. Like the 07-3081 unit for large flash holes, the 073000 Reamer for small flash holes works from the outside, so it can index off the primer pocket. It reams to .0625″, and also costs $29.99. The standard dimension for Lapua 220 Russian and 6mmBR flash holes is 1.5mm or .0590″. This tool will permit standard-size decapping rods with .0625″ tips to work without binding. However, note that both Forster and Redding normally supply .057″ decapping pins with their PPC and BR dies. So, it is NOT necessary to ream your Lapua BR/PPC flashholes, unless you prefer to do so for uniformity. It IS, however, a good idea to check BR/PPC flash holes for burrs before loading the first time.

AccurateShooter Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer

NOTE: If you purchase either the 073081 or 073000 Sinclair Flash Hole Reamer tools, we recommend you mic the cutter tip before you process a bunch of cases. Sometimes a tip comes through that is oversize. This will ream the flash holes larger than you may intend.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 2 Comments »