August 31st, 2020

Bargain Finder 258: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

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. Midsouth — RCBS Chargemaster Combo and CM Lite Sale

rcbs chargemaster sale
Classic Chargemaster and CM Lite are both excellent units with good controls

RCBS Chargemaster electronic powder dipsensers are exceptional bargains right now. For a limited time, you can pick up the RCBS Chargemaster Combo for $244.49 after $75 RCBS Rebate. Or get the RCBS Chargemaster Lite for $179.49 after $50 RCBS Rebate. These are crazy low prices with RCBS Rebates. IMPORTANT: This RCBS Buy Green Get Green Rebate expires Monday, August 31, 2020! Purchases on September 1, 2020 or later do NOT qualify for the rebate! Got That?

2. CDNN Sports — T/C Compass $289.99 with 3-9x40mm Scope

thompson compass
Three popular chamberings, killer deal includes scope, rings and sling

Here’s a great deal for a basic hunting rifle. CDNN is offering Thompson Center Compass bolt-action rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, or .300 Win Magnum for only $289.99. That’s a killer deal by itself, but this package includes a FREE 3-9x40mm scope and neoprene sling. Just add ammo to your cart and you’re off to your favorite hunting spot.

3. Amazon — All Teslong Digital Borescopes 20% OFF

teslong borescope sale
Excellent image quality, choose flexible or rod-type borescopes

Teslong borescopes have become the go-to instrument of choice for serious shooters who need to look INSIDE their barrels. Teslongs are affordable yet they produce remarkably clear and sharp images. Teslong now offers a wide selection of borescopes that will work with your computer and mobile devices. SEE the Teslong Borescope Line HERE, including both flex-cable and rigid models. Use Code THXJM15P for 20% SAVINGS on all Teslong models.

4. Graf & Sons — Berger Ammunition and Bullet Sale

berger ammo sale
Berger bullets win matches. Berger loaded ammo is made with Lapua brass

Berger is known for its excellent projectiles. But did you know Berger also produces outstanding hunting and target ammunition. Right now Grafs.com has Berger hunting bullets and ammunition on SALE. You’ll find a wide range of bullet calibers, plus loaded ammo for 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .338 Lapua and other popular cartridge types. Grab a few boxes before your next hunt.

5. Amazon — Chapman Tool Kit with 24 Driver Bits, $49.00

chapman tool kit sale
Very versatile for guns, hobby use, made in USA, nice case

When working on your guns or reloading hardware, you need good drivers. This Chapman 28-piece tool kit boasts 24 bits plus midget ratchet, screwdriver handle, extension, and a handy case with slots for each tool. You get Phillips, Metric, Slotted, and Standard Hex Bits all milled from tool steel in the USA. If 24 drivers isn’t enough, Chapman offers other larger sets with 30 pieces ($59) and 57 pieces ($112).

6. MidwayUSA — Pistol Rack Package, $24.99 (50% Off)

midwayusa snap safe pistol racks hornady hangers
Get three (3) pistol racks, plus barrel hangers for 50% OFF!

If you have a sizeable handgun collection, jump on this great MidwayUSA pistol package deal. For just $24.99 you get one 8-pistol rack, one 6-pistol rack, and one 4-pistol rack — but that’s not all. You also get a 4-pack of Hornady Pistol Hangers. All these safe accessories are made of PVC-coated hardened steel which accommodate heavy 22 caliber and larger handguns. The SnapSafe Pistol rack will hold virtually all pistols and revolvers. The hangers work with shelves that are 1/2 to 1 inch thick. BONUS: If you buy two sets, you get FREE Shipping! MidwayUSA is offering free shipping right now for all orders over $49 Total.

7. Walmart — Ktaxon Quick Access Pistol Safe, $49.99

gun safe sale
Rapid Access, no key required, holds two handguns, bargain price

You want your handguns secure, but also quickly accessible. For home security, a rapid-access gun safe is a good option. Ktaxon Quick Access Pistol Safe is one-third the price of some similar handgun safes. With a programmable 3 to 8 digit finger entry combination code you can instantly open the safe’s spring-loaded door. And yes, this pistol safe can be bolted down for greater security. IMPORTANT: The Walmart page mentions fingerprint recognition. This $49.99 safe does NOT have fingerprint recognition — got that? You need to tap with your fingers on the pads or used the supplied metal key.

8. Amazon — Motion-Sensor LED Interior Light, $14.99

gun safe light vault cabinet motion sensor light motion sensing LED magnet lamp
Activates when door opens, Rechargeable, 3 LED Light Levels

Here’s a great accessory for your Gun Safe or closet. This rechargeable LED lamp turns itself on when you open the door, and off when you close the door. Select three brightness levels: 10LED, 20LED, 30LED. With the supplied 3M adhesive magnetic strip you can easily attach the light to the inner walls of your gun safe. And then quickly remove the unit for charging with a standard USB cord (no batteries to replace!). It works, it’s handy, and it’s inexpensive — just $14.99 on Amazon. These motion-sensor LED lamps can also be used in garages or stairwells. NOTE: this is Amazon’s choice for rechargeable LED Motion-Sensor lights.

9. Amazon — Pro For Sho Shooting Ear Protection, $16.45

berger ammo sale
Very affordable, tapered design, nine color choices

Always wear hearing protection at the shooting range. We recommend double protection — earplugs under a full-protection set of earmuffs. ThePro For Sho Shooting Ear Protection muffs provide good protection at minimal cost. These lightweight earmuffs are tapered for more clearance on your stock. Pro For Sho muffs, with claimed 34 dB noise reduction (not the same as NRR), come in 9 different colors. At this price you can grab muffs for yourself and another backup set for guests.

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August 31st, 2020

Shoulder Bump — Five Cool Tools to Measure Your Bump

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

The Tactical Rifle Shooters Facebook Group recently showcased tools used to measure case headspace before and after “bumping” the shoulder. After a case is fired, hand-loaders who full-length size their cases will typically bump the shoulders back anywhere from .001″ to .0035″, depending on the rifle and application. With our 6mmBR and Dasher cases we like about .0015″ bump.

You want the amount of case sizing and bump to be the same for all your brass. To ensure uniformity, it makes sense to measure your cases before and after the FL sizing process. When we have time, we check every case. Other folks will simply check the first 3-4 cases coming out of the FL sizing die to ensure the FL die setting is correct and delivering desired headspace/bump.

1. Whidden Gunworks Shoulder Bump Gauge

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

There are a variety of tools that can be used to measure shoulder bump. Our favorite is a special cartridge-specific bushing made by Whidden Gunworks. The Whidden Shoulder Bump Gauge enables you to adjust your sizing die to the desired measurement. The bump gauge is attached to your calipers with a set screw and determines the measurement from the base to the shoulder of the case. The photo below, from Tactical Rifle Shooters, shows the Whidden Bump Gauge for the .375 CheyTac cartridge.

2. Dave Manson Vertical Comparator with Dial Read-Out

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson
Background image courtesy Tactical Rifle Shooters; inset photo from Manson Precison Reamers.

Dave Manson states: “This tool was designed to make life easier for the advanced shooter and re-loader by allowing precise measurement of ammunition, case, and chamber headspace. With this information, the re-loader will be able to fine-tune clearances and fits between his ammunition and chamber, with resultant improvements in accuracy and case life.” The functions of the Manson Comparator are:

1. Measure headspace of factory or reloaded ammunition
2. Quantify chamber headspace by measuring headspace of a fired case
3. Ensure minimal shoulder set-back when setting up re-loading dies
4. Compare base-to-ogive length to ensure consistent bullet-to-rifling relationship.

In addition to the Dial Indicator and Stand, the $130.00 Vertical Comparator is supplied with multiple Datum Blocks of precise length and inside diameter (.3300″/.3750″/.4000″/.4375″). MORE INFO HERE — Catalog page 20.

3. Hornady L-N-L Headspace Comparator System

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

Hornady makes comparator gauges matched to the red comparator holder that mounts on your caliper. These Lock-N-Load Headspace Gauges are inexpensive. You can get a set of five gauges for $31.99. Hornady explains: “The Lock-N-Load® Headspace Comparator… gauge measures variations in brass before and after firing or re-sizing. It allows for headspace comparison between fire-formed brass and re-sized brass.” IMPORTANT: Hornady states: “To determine the proper bushing diameter for your cartridge, simply add the neck diameter and the shoulder diameter and divide that number by two. Use the bushing closest to that number.” Hornady offers five: .330″, .350″, .375″, .400″, and .420″.

One tip — We have found the Hornady gauges may vary a little from unit to unit even with the same nominal size. If you have more than one gauge for the same cartridge, test each on your brass — you may then note a slight difference in your bump measurements.

4. L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

If you are looking for precise “bump” measurements without having to mess with calipers and clamp-on gauge blocks, you may want to consider the L.E. Wilson Case Gage Depth Micrometer. This takes very precise, repeatable measurements, but you need to know your starting point. The manufacturer explains: “Every reloader should know exactly how much your Full Length Sizing Die is pushing back the shoulder. With the NEW Case Gage Depth Micrometer you can do just that! It has never been easier to measure you cases headspace before and after sizing. The Depth Mic allows you to slip the micrometer perfectly over the top of the Gage with your case inserted into the Gage and take a measurement. Micrometer has graduations of .001″. The Case Gage Depth Micrometer is set to a zero of .100″ on the scale at our factory. Because of differences in ‘feel’ and temperature, we include a the Gage Block for you to test Zero and to adjust if necessary.”

5. Pistol Brass Case DIY Bump Gauge

Last is a “field expedient” set-up if you do not have any of the comparator tools shown above. A sized .45 ACP case (or other suitable pistol case) can be used to measure shoulder bump. The mouth of the pistol case sits on the shoulder of your rifle cartridge brass.

Make sure the .45 ACP case is trimmed square and that it is round. We recommend you first run it through an expander, then size it, trim it and chamfer. Next, take the .45 ACP case and slip it over the neck of a fired, unsized rifle case with the primer removed. Align the two cases between the jaws of your calipers and note the length from rim to rim (See left photo below).

OK, now you have the length for a fired rifle case BEFORE sizing. Next, take a full-length sized rifle case (without primer) and do the same thing, placing the .45 ACP case over the neck of the FL-sized case (Right Photo). The difference between the two numbers is the amount of “bump” or set-back you are applying to the shoulder. Here the difference is .0015″. The amount of bump you need varies with your chamber and your load, but .0015-.002″ is a good initial setting.

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August 31st, 2020

ELEY Launches New Worldwide Rimfire Competition Series

rimfire masters eley series online global competition

British rimfire ammo-maker ELEY has created a new global match series. Shooters compete at there local ranges, and then scores are compared to other shooters around the world. There will be five Precision Club Masters competitions: Benchrest, Prone, 3-Position, Practical, and Pistol. At the end of the season, the top competitors will receive glory, and, yes, valuable prizes from ELEY.

rimfire masters eley series online global competitionELEY is excited to launch its brand new ELEY Precision Club, allowing competitors from all over the world to compete against each other from their local shooting clubs. Scores will be tallied online through an exciting Masters series of events. Winners can be recognized as a World Champion. In addition, top shooters compete for valuable cash, ammunition, and clothing prizes.

ELEY states: “We love… to connect with shooters across the globe. With an uncertain future, and the current global situation restricting travel, the ELEY Precision Club hopes to provide shooters with a fun, safe alternative for competing. The fun must go on!” The ELEY Precision Club will provide shooters of all ages and abilities from a range of disciplines to compete on a global stage against other shooters internationally.

ELEY Rimfire precision masters series
Here is our friend Joe Friedrich. Joe has set many benchrest records with ELEY .22 LR ammunition.

First Precision Club Event Will Be ELEY Benchrest Masters
The first competition to be hosted on the myELEY.com platform is the ELEY benchrest masters. Competitors will shoot six (6) 25-bull targets at a distance of 50 meters. Scores must be uploaded to the myELEY.com dashboard by 11:59 pm on November 1, 2020 (GMT). That’s just before midnight in the United Kingdom.

eley rimfire precision Club series
Image from National Rimfire Benchrest Association of Ireland (NRBAI).

How to Enter ELEY Precision Club Events
To participate, you first need to register on the ELEY Precision Club homepage. Once you register, ELEY will create a personalised myELEY.com competition dashboard for you and send you login details by email.

To get started: Complete the registration form. Once your competition dashboard is created you will have instant access to any future ELEY online competitions. The myELEY.com personalised dashboard compiles statistics and results and tracks your world ranking. Once your personal dashboard is created, you’ll get instant access to all future ELEY Precision Club online competitions.

To learn more about the 5-discipline ELEY Masters series, or to enter the first benchrest match, go to Eley.co.uk/precisionclub.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, News No Comments »
August 30th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Collins Earns Distinguished Badge No. 2500

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio
William “Tom” Collins earned the CMP’s Distinguished Rifleman Badge #2500 this July. Collins earned his final EIC points at the Washtenaw Sportsman’s Club in Michigan.

One of the highest honors in competitive shooting is earning the Distinguished Rifleman Badge. This Badge was created by the War Department in 1884 to recognize members of the U.S. Army for Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) with the Army’s service rifle. Other U.S. Armed Forces soon adopted a similar program and in 1926 civilians were authorized to participate. This story is about William “Tom” Collins, 50, of Maumee, Ohio, who earned his badge in July 2020. His achievement was a landmark — Civilian Distinguished Rifleman Badge number 2500.

Collins Earns Distinguished Rifleman Badge Number 2500

Story based on Report by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Staff Writer
For over 20 years, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has issued Distinguished Badges to competitors who collect at least 30 Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) “leg” points — earned by placing in the top 10% of an EIC match. This story is about Ohio shooter William “Tom” Collins, who recently earned Distinguished Rifleman Badge number 2500. [Editor: To learn more about the history of the Distinguished Rifleman Badge and what is takes to earn it, read Distinguished Rifleman — the Chase for Excellence by Jonathan Ocab.]

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio

For Collins, this fulfilled a dream to join generations of elite marksmen before him. “The Distinguished Rifleman Badge has been a goal of mine since I learned about it,” Collins said. “I like to think back on the history of the badge … It makes me proud to be a part of that.”

Collins earned Distinguished Rifleman Badge #2500 in July. “Shooting is almost like meditation to me”, Collins said. “You really can’t think about anything other than the current shot. It’s very relaxing.”

He gives simple advice to other competitors hoping to one day earn a Distinguished Badge of their own: “Anyone working on it – quit thinking about it. Just shoot.”

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio
Collins is congratulated by his friend Jamie Root after “going Distinguished”.

Collins has been shooting most of his life. Growing up in rural Ohio, he received his first BB gun around seven years old and his first .22 at age 11. It wasn’t until he joined the Army Reserves in 1987 that he received any formal marksmanship training. After he left the Reserves nine years later, he started looking toward organized shooting sports.

One day, back in 2014, he picked up his rifle and took the 45-minute drive to Fremont, Ohio, to fire in his first GSM (Garand-Springfield-Modern/Vintage Military) Match at the Sandusky County Sportsmen’s Club. It was there that he met Jesse Bragg, who was running the event.

Jesse Bragg, a retired staff sergeant from the Marine Corps Reserve Rifle Team, took Collins under his wing and showed him the ropes. Collins says Bragg seemed to want to teach more than run the match. In fact, Bragg was the one who introduced Collins to the idea of pursuing a Distinguished Badge. Collins admits that he had no clue what “going distinguished” meant. Bragg went over the terms – legging out, finishing “first leather” and other related expressions.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio
Photo courtesy photographer Jonathan Ocab, who himself earned the Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

In 2015, Collins went to the National Matches at nearby Camp Perry, Ohio, and fired in his first President’s Rifle Match. Watching the elite shooters take their final shots inspired Collins: “Learning about the Distinguished Badge, learning about the President’s Match — I just knew that I had to get this Distinguished Badge on my way to, hopefully, getting into the President’s 100 or even the Top 20.” So Collins began traveling to GSMM competitions with his match rifle in tow, just to get in a little extra practice. It became his main focus. In June 2019, he earned his first set of six leg points at the CMP Viale Range 800 Aggregate and EIC Service Rifle Match at Camp Perry. It was a breakthrough.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio

When I first started, I was shooting the Garand and the M1A. [But] once I realized I wanted to get my Distinguished Badge, I said, “None of the wood guns. It’s all my match rifle until I go Distinguished”.

He went on to earn eight points at his next match in July, followed by eight more in August. With one more match left in 2019 and only seven points away from the required 30 to earn a badge, his goal was within sight. But it wasn’t until the EIC match at the Washtenaw Sportsman’s Club in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in July 2020 that he was able to conquer his nerves and earn his final points: “The most rewarding thing – it’s when you get there. When you finally earn it, everybody knows it. Everybody at the range celebrates with you. All of your friends are there with you. It’s just rewarding in itself. You’re part of that tradition that spans three centuries.”

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio

Friendships Made on the Road to Distinguished
More so than the time, effort, and skill it took to earn the badge, the journey to become Distinguished was almost as rewarding as the badge itself for Collins, given the relationships he’s made along the way:

“These guys I’ve met and hung out with — we’ve given jobs to each other, we celebrate each other’s birthdays, we know each other’s families. It’s just been a great group of guys. You always are rooting for your friends, regardless of how well you’re doing. If you’re doing bad, you root for them even more.”

Distinguished Badge-Earning Marksmen Will Be Honored in 2021 at Camp Perry
Part of the tradition of earning a Distinguished Badge is walking across the stage at Camp Perry during the National Matches award ceremony. There, badge winners are formally pinned by their peers on a stage that has felt the footsteps of prominent marksmen for over a century.

“Last year, when I got the first points, I told myself, ‘I’m going to walk this stage at Perry next year'”. Collins and all others who earned a Distinguished Badge in 2019 or 2020 will still have the opportunity to take the stage next year at the 2021 National Matches — and that’s just what Collins plans to do.

(more…)

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August 30th, 2020

Four Vital Ammo Checks You Should Always Do Before Shooting

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Here’a useful article by Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager Carroll Pilant. This story, which originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog, covers some of the more common ammo problems that afflict hand-loaders. Some of those issues are: excessive OAL, high primers, and improperly-sized cases. Here Mr. Pilant explains how to avoid these common problems that lead to “headaches at the range.

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

I had some gentlemen at my house last fall getting rifle zeros for an upcoming elk hunt. One was using one of the .300 short mags and every 3rd or 4th round would not chamber. Examination of the case showed a bulge right at the body/shoulder junction. These were new cases he had loaded for this trip. The seating die had been screwed down until it just touched the shoulder and then backed up just slightly. Some of the cases were apparently slightly longer from the base to the datum line and the shoulder was hitting inside the seating die and putting the bulge on the shoulder. I got to thinking about all the gun malfunctions that I see each week at matches and the biggest percentage stem from improper handloading techniques.

One: Check Your Cases with a Chamber Gage

Since I shoot a lot of 3-gun matches, I see a lot of AR problems which result in the shooter banging the butt stock on the ground or nearest solid object while pulling on the charging handle at the same time. I like my rifles too well to treat them that way (I cringe every time I see someone doing that). When I ask them if they ran the ammo through a chamber gage, I usually get the answer, “No, but I need to get one” or “I didn’t have time to do it” or other excuses. The few minutes it takes to check your ammo can mean the difference between a nightmare and a smooth running firearm.

A Chamber Gauge Quickly Reveals Long or Short Cases
Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Size Your Cases Properly
Another problem is caused sizing the case itself. If you will lube the inside of the neck, the expander ball will come out a lot easier. If you hear a squeak as the expander ball comes out of a case neck, that expander ball is trying to pull the case neck/shoulder up (sometimes several thousandths). That is enough that if you don’t put a bulge on the shoulder when seating the bullet … it can still jam into the chamber like a big cork. If the rifle is set up correctly, the gun will not go into battery and won’t fire but the round is jammed into the chamber where it won’t extract and they are back to banging it on the ground again (with a loaded round stuck in the chamber). A chamber gage would have caught this also.

Bad_Primer_WallsOversizing cases also causes problems because the firing pin doesn’t have the length to reach the primer solid enough to ignite it 100% of the time. When you have one that is oversized, you usually have a bunch, since you usually do several cases at a time on that die setting. If the die isn’t readjusted, the problem will continue on the next batch of cases also. They will either not fire at all or you will have a lot of misfires. In a bolt action, a lot of time the extractor will hold the case against the face of the breech enough that it will fire. The case gets driven forward and the thinner part of the brass expands, holding to the chamber wall and the thicker part of the case doesn’t expand as much and stretches back to the bolt face. If it doesn’t separate that time, it will the next time. When it does separate, it leaves the front portion of the case in the chamber and pulls the case head off. Then when it tries to chamber the next round, you have a nasty jam. Quite often range brass is the culprit of this because you never know how many times it has been fired/sized and in what firearm.’Back to beating it on the ground again till you figure out that you have to get the forward part of the case out.

Just a quick tip — To extract the partial case, an oversized brush on a cleaning rod [inserted] and then pulled backward will often remove the case. The bristles when pushed forward and then pulled back act like barbs inside the case. If you have a bunch of oversized case that have been fired, I would dispose of them to keep from having future problems. There are a few tricks you can use to salvage them if they haven’t been fired though. Once again, a case gage would have helped.

Two: Double Check Your Primers

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Another thing I see fairly often is a high primer, backwards primer, or no primer at all. The high primers are bad because you can have either a slam fire or a misfire from the firing pin seating the primer but using up its energy doing so. So, as a precaution to make sure my rifle ammo will work 100% of the time, I check it in a case gage, then put it in an ammo box with the primer up and when the box is full, I run my finger across all the primers to make sure they are all seated to the correct depth and you can visually check to make sure none are in backwards or missing.

Three: Check Your Overall Cartridge Length

Trying to load the ammo as long as possible can cause problems also. Be sure to leave yourself enough clearance between the tip of the bullet and the front of the magazine where the rounds will feed up 100%. Several times over the years, I have heard of hunters getting their rifle ready for a hunt. When they would go to the range to sight in, they loaded each round single shot without putting any ammo in the magazine. On getting to elk or deer camp, they find out the ammo is to long to fit in the magazine. At least they have a single shot, it could be worse. I have had hunters that their buddies loaded the ammo for them and then met them in hunting camp only to find out the ammo wouldn’t chamber from either the bullet seated to long or the case sized improperly, then they just have a club.

Four: Confirm All Cases Contain Powder

No powder in the case doesn’t seem to happen as much in rifle cartridges as in handgun cartridges. This is probably due to more handgun ammo being loaded on progressive presses and usually in larger quantities. There are probably more rifle cartridges that don’t have powder in them than you realize though. Since the pistol case is so much smaller internal capacity, when you try to fire it without powder, it usually dislodges the bullet just enough to stick in the barrel. On a rifle, you have more internal capacity and usually a better grip on the bullet, since it is smaller diameter and longer bearing surface. Like on a .223, often a case without powder won’t dislodge the bullet out of the case and just gets ejected from the rifle, thinking it was a bad primer or some little quirk.

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

For rifle cases loaded on a single stage press, I put them in a reloading block and always dump my powder in a certain order. Then I do a visual inspection and any case that the powder doesn’t look the same level as the rest, I pull it and the one I charged before and the one I charged after it. I inspect the one case to see if there is anything visual inside. Then I recharge all 3 cases. That way if a case had powder hang up and dump in the next case, you have corrected the problem.

On progressive presses, I try to use a powder that fills the case up to about the base of the bullet. That way you can usually see the powder as the shell rotates and if you might have dumped a partial or double charge, you will notice as you start to seat the bullet if not before. On a progressive, if I don’t load a cartridge in one smooth stroke (say a bullet tipped over sideways and I raised the ram slightly to reset it) Some presses actually back the charge back adding more powder if it has already dumped some so you have a full charge plus a partial charge. When I don’t complete the procedure with one stroke, I pull the case that just had powder dumped into it and check the powder charge or just dump the powder back into the measure and run the case thru later.

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August 30th, 2020

How to Kill a Barrel in One Afternoon — Firing Rate and Heat

barrel life test rapid fire cooling

Can sustained rapid-fire shooting with no cool-down period wear out a quality barrel more quickly? The answer is “Yes” according to Forum member LCazador, who did an interesting comparison test with two .243 Winchester barrels. He started off with two, identical, match-grade HV taper stainless barrels. Both were NEW at the start of testing, and LCazador shot the same load through each: 95gr match bullets with 38 grains of Hodgdon Varget. After giving both barrels the same, gentle 20-round break-in, 300 rounds were then fired through each barrel — in very different ways. Barrel condition and wear were monitored with a borescope.

Barrel One — Slow Fire, Cool Down Periods, Cleaning Every 50 Rounds
At the end of the 300-round test, Barrel One looked brand new. There was none of the severe fire cracking found in Barrel Two. This barrel was shot no more than 10 times without a cool down and firing was done at a much slower pace. Cleaning for this barrel was done every 50 shots.

Barrel Two — Fast Firing, No Waiting, Cleaning Every 100 Rounds
The second barrel, which received hard use and minimal cleaning, was severely damaged with severe fire cracking at the leade and throat. As a result, the barrel had to be re-chambered. This barrel was shot 100 rounds at time without cleaning and was shot up to 20 times in succession without a cool down.

LESSON LEARNED — Heat Kills Barrel Life
Don’t let your barrel get too hot, and keep it clean. One afternoon can ruin a barrel!

Hawkeye Borescope imageMonitoring Barrel Wear with Borescope
Some folks worry too much about what their borescopes reveal — many barrels do not have to be “squeaky clean” to perform well. In fact some barrels run better after ten or more fouling shots. However, a borescope can be very helpful when your barrel starts losing accuracy for no apparent reason. Forum member FdShuster writes:

“A borescope is a positive way of backing up your suspicions when the rifle starts to throw an occasional (soon followed by more frequent) wild shot. Using the scope is also an excellent way to determine that the cause is barrel wear and not simply a need for a concentrated cleaning session to remove built up copper and more importantly, carbon fouling.

I’ve had a few barrels that gave every indication of being shot out. But I ‘scoped them out and found the cause to be nothing more than requiring a good cleaning. They then returned to their usual performance. There’s no guessing involved when you are able to get ‘up close and personal’ using the scope. The borescope also provides an excellent view of the all-important condition of the crown. My borescope is one of the most valuable investments I’ve ever made.”

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August 29th, 2020

The Black Rifle — Is Time Running Out?

palmetto psa stripped lower ar aR15 receiver
Saint Victor AR-15 from Proven Arms & Outfitters.

With the 2020 Presidential election just 65 days away, and more riots in the streets, it may be time to think about getting that AR-platform rifle. Getting it while you still can. Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden and his VP candidate Kamala Harris both support banning of AR-type rifles. And Biden and Harris have praised Canada’s sweeping semi-auto gun ban carried out by Prime Minister Trudeau through dictatorial executive action (without parliamentary approval). The official Democratic Party Platform includes these provisions:

— Banning the manufacture and sale of ARs and modern sporting rifles
— Halting and criminalizing online firearm and ammunition sales
— Forcing states to require licenses for owning any firearms
— Instituting delay processes for background checks
— Criminalizing private firearm transfers

gun control AR15 black rifle biden harris beto confiscation second amendment

And during her Presidential campaign (before she was selected as Biden’s VP), Kamala Harris declared: “Upon being elected … I will give the United States Congress 100 days to get their [sic] act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws. And if they fail to do it, then I will take Executive Action”. That’s a chilling threat…

Got the message? The Dems want your guns. And the first guns they want to take away are the “evil” black rifles. As Robert “Beto” O’Rourke said famously: “Hell yes we’re going to take your AR15″.

gun control AR15 black rifle biden harris beto confiscation second amendment

AR Purchase Option — Lower Receiver

The restricted part of an AR15 is the lower receiver. This is the section that must be purchased through an FFL, with a background check. You can later add an upper (or multiple uppers), which can be purchased directly from a supplier. But the lower is what you need. If you’re short on cash, but want to get an AR, grab a lower and then add a complete upper receiver later.

One leading vendor of AR lowers is Palmetto State Armory (PSA). PSA has plenty of stripped lowers and complete lower receivers in stock right now at attractive prices. Here are two offers on 8/29/2020:

Complete AR15 Lower Receiver — $209.99

palmetto psa stripped lower ar aR15 receiver

This complete Palmetto State Armory lower receiver is fully assembled and ready for your complete Upper. This unit is machined from 7075-T6 Aluminum Forgings, hardcoat anodized. The lower comes with M4 Stock and Standard Carbine Buffer. The bolt and carrier fit .223 Rem/5.56×45 case heads.

Stripped AR15 Lower Receiver — $74.99

palmetto psa stripped lower ar aR15 receiver

This PSA Stripped Lower Receiver is machined from 7075-T6 Aluminum Forgings, hardcoat anodized. It does NOT include trigger group and pins for operation. You must purchase those items separately. This is just the bare lower receiver.

How an AR15 Works — 3D Animation

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August 29th, 2020

Gun Control by Government Fees and Taxes — New Jersey Plan

Phil Murphy new jersey governor gun taxes second amendment
This story is based on an article by Larry Keene of the NSSF

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has a new plan to deny the Second Amendment rights of NJ citizens — hit them in their pocketbooks, and hit them hard. Using the COVID-19 Pandemic as a pretext, Gov. Murphy, a Democrat, is calling for a massive increase in fees, taxes, and surcharges on gun owners:

1. Raise cost of Handgun Purchase Permit from $2 to $50 — 2400% increase.
2. Raise cost of Firearm ID Card from $5 to $100 — 1900% increase.
3. Raise cost of Handgun Carry Permit from $50 to $400 — 700% increase.
4. Raise fee for firearms manufacturer from $150 to $1500 — 900% increase.
5. Raise fee for firearms Retail Dealer License from $50 to $500 — 900% increase.

This shows how government taxes and fees can be aggressively used to restrict gun ownership. In California, another blue state run by a corrupt Democratic governor who likes to rule by Executive Order, we have myriad gun-related fees and taxes, and now must pay for a license in order to purchase ammo. This is how Democrats intend to use state taxing powers to defeat the Second Amendment.

Gun Control by Tax in New Jersey

Commentary by Larry Keene, NSSF
Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is… proposing “stronger gun control” in the Garden State. This time, he’s using the COVID-19 pandemic to raise taxes on law-abiding gun owners and those wishing to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Now it will be up to the state legislature to approve or reject his new antigun proposals. New Jersey residents shouldn’t hold their breath as antigun Democrats control both chambers by wide margins.

More gun control has been a pillar for Gov. Murphy since he took office in 2018. In his first two years in office, he pushed for and signed into law 10 more-stringent gun control laws in a state already known for having some of the strictest gun laws in the country. In 2020, the spreading Coronavirus pandemic gave him an opportunity to do even more[.]

Five Million New Gun Owners in the USA in 2020
Nearly 5 million Americans … purchased a firearm for the first time this year. The reasons were all around us. Reports of local law enforcement becoming stretched thin, criminals being released from jails and quickly committing violent crimes again, and now more recently violent riots and looting in cities and cries of “defund the police” have increased.

Gov. Murphy, who now wants to levy more fees and taxes to close the COVID budget gaps, actively worked to keep gun buyers out of stores. He shut down firearm retailers and related businesses, deeming them “non-essential” at a time when they were most essential. He faced immediate backlash and lawsuits, leading him to backtrack and allow retailers to open again. Gov. Murphy tried explaining his reasoning, stating “I wasn’t thinking about the Bill of Rights”.

Phil Murphy new jersey governor gun taxes second amendment

Raising Taxes as Means for More Gun Control
New Jersey is already known as a high-taxed blue state operating in the red. Now, to address next year’s budget shortfall and seeing an opportunity to further squelch the Second Amendment, Gov. Murphy proposed massive taxes and fees on firearms and ammunition[.]

Gov. Murphy’s proposed antigun increases include raising the handgun purchasing permit fee 2400 percent from $2 to $50; the cost of a firearm ID card by 1900 percent from $5 to $100; the price of a handgun carry permit 700 percent from $50 to $400; the fee for a gun retail dealer license by 900 percent from $50 to $500; and the fee for a firearm manufacturer 900 percent from $150 to $1,500. There are, or course, additional fee increases as well.

Anti-Gun Birds of a Feather
Gov. Murphy isn’t alone in using the pandemic to infringe on the constitutional rights of lawful Americans. Gov. Murphy’s northern neighbor, New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, behaved similarly as did New Mexico Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. These three governors have something else in common. They all forced gun stores to close during the pandemic despite the Department of Homeland Security saying gun stores are essential business.

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August 29th, 2020

Smart Reloader — Die Shims For Full-Length Sizing Dies

Sinclair Die Shims

When your cases become hard to extract, or you feel a stiff bolt lift when removing a cartridge, it’s probably time to full-length size your cases, and “bump” the shoulder back. Short-range benchrest shooters, running high pressures, typically full-length size every load cycle, bumping the shoulder .001-.002″. The vast majority of mid-range and long-range F-Class shooters also full-length size every time. High Power shooters with gas guns should definitely full-length size every time, and may need to bump the shoulders .003″ or more to ensure reliable feeding and extraction.

Use Shims for Precise Control of Shoulder Bump
Some shooters like to set the “default” position for their full-length die to have an “ample” .003″ or .004″ shoulder bump. When they need less bump, a simple way to reduce the amount of shoulder movement is to use precision shims in .001″ (one-thousandth) increments. Sinclair Int’l offers a set of seven (7) shims for your standard 7/8-14 FL sizing dies for $14.99.

Sinclair explains: “Each shim is notched for easy size identification. Just set your die using one of the middle thickness shims. Adjustments can be made easily by changing shims to increase or decrease die depth without changing the stem setting. This is a great upgrade for non-micrometer adjustable dies.”

Here are reports from Forum members who use the shims:

“Great product. I have my die lock ring(s) adjusted for the shortest headspace length on my multiple chambers 6BRs and 6PPCs. When needing a longer headspace, I just refer to my notes and add the appropriate shim under the lock ring. Keep it simple.” — F.D. Shuster

Mats Johansson writes: “I’ve been using [shims] since Skip Otto (of BR fame) came out with them. I set up my dies with the .006″ shim, giving me the option of bumping the shoulder a bit more when the brass gets old and hardens while still having room to adjust up for zero headspace, should I have missed the original setup by a thou or two. Hunting rounds can easily be bumped an extra .002-.003″ for positive, no-crush feeding. Being a safety-oriented cheapskate, I couldn’t live without them — they let me reload my cases a gazillion times without dangerous web-stretching. Shims are a must-have, as simple as that.” — Mats Johansson

Sinclair Die ShimsBrownells offers the seven-piece set of Sizing Die Shims that let you adjust the height of your die (and thereby the amount of bump and sizing) in precise .001″ increments. Sinclair explains: “Some handloaders will set their die up to achieve maximum sizing and then progressively use Sinclair Die Shims between the lock ring and the press head to move the die away from the shellholder. Doing this allows you to leave the lock ring in the same position. These shims are usually available in increments of .001″ and work very well.”

Seven Shims from .003″ to .010″
For use with 7/8-14 threaded dies, Sinclair’s $14.99 Die Shim Kit (Sinclair item 22400 or Brownells Code 749-001-325WB) includes seven shims in thicknesses of .003, .004, .005, .006, .007, .008, and .010. For ease of use, shim thickness is indicated by the number of notches cut in the outer edge of each shim. Even without looking you can “count” the notches by feel.

NOTE: These shim sets can also be use to adjust bullet seating depth for dies that lack micrometer adjustment. Use the same 7/8-14 shims with your non-micrometer seating dies.

Sinclair Die ShimsShims for Arbor Dies

Do you seat with an Arbor Press? No problem…

Brownells offers a $14.99 10-shim Arbor Die set for use with L.E. Wilson seating dies employed with arbor presses. Frankly we prefer micrometer-top Wilson dies, but if you have the standard Arbor dies, these shims come in handy. Order either Brownells Code 749-001-370WB (.22 to .243 caliber) or Brownells Code 749-001-326WB (.25 to .30 caliber).

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August 28th, 2020

High Demand Powders — Where You Can Find Them

Reloading powder hodgdon H4350 Varget reloder 16 reloader H1000

Thanks to our Forum members, we’ve found sources for some of the most popular reloading powders for rifle accuracy cartridges. Handloaders know that powders such as Varget, H4350, H4895, H4831SC, H1000, Reloder 16, Reloder 23, and N150 are often in short supply. And it seems like Varget has been near impossible to find in recent months. As of Friday, August 28, 2020, here are some sources for many of these hard-to-find powders.

Hodgdon Varget 1-pound
Source: Powder Valley
NOTE:
Varget 1-lb in stock; 8-pounders still out of stock

UPDATE 8/29/20: SOLD OUT — Our Members got the last of it.

Hodgdon H4350, 1-pound and 8-pound
Source: Powder Valley
Source: Midsouth Shooters
NOTE:
Powder Valley has BOTH the 1-lb and 8-lb H4350 containers in stock. Midsouth has the 1-lb H4350 only.

Alliant Reloder 16 1-pound
Source: Powder Valley
NOTE:
Reloder 16 1-lb in stock; RL16 8-pounders still out of stock

Hodgdon H4831SC, 1-pound and 8-pound
Source: Powder Valley
NOTE:
Powder Valley has BOTH the 1-lb and 8-lb H4831SC containers in stock.

Hodgdon H1000 1-pound
Source: Powder Valley
NOTE:
H1000 1-lb in stock; H1000 8-pounders still out of stock

Vihtavuori N150 1-pound and 8-pound
Source: Powder Valley
Source: Midsouth Shooters
NOTE:
Powder Valley has N150 1-lb and 8-lb in stock. Midsouth has the 1-lb N150 only.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 3 Comments »
August 28th, 2020

Kevin Nevius — Smallbore and LR Champion and Gun Builder

On the Shooting Sports USA website, there’s a great profile of Kevin Nevius, one of America’s leading competitive marksmen. Kevin is best known for his smallbore success — Kevin won smallbore National Championships in 2008, 2010, and 2014. Kevin also has also an impressive record in long-range centerfire competition. He won the NRA 2018 Long Range Championship, while in 2005 and 2006 he won the Sierra Trophy at Camp Perry in 1000-yard competition. This story, penned by gunwriter Hap Rocketto, covers Kevin’s career, which has included multiple championships and many records.

“My brother got me into long range varmint hunting and I started building my own guns very early,” Nevius told Dan Holmes in a Pronematch.com interview. “I had a hunting friend who shot indoor smallbore who started me in three position and I was hooked.”

NRA Long Range National Championship Kevin Nevius Lapua 6.5x47 .308 Win Palma Camp Atterbury Indiana David Tubb Bob Gill John Whidden

At the 2018 NRA Long Range Championships, Kevin Nevius went head to head against the nation’s top long-range aces this past week, and emerged on top. Besting the likes of past multi-time Long Range Champions David Tubb and John Whidden, Kevin Nevius shot superbly at Camp Atterbury to win his first NRA National Long Range Championship.Kevin built his own rifles for the match, using Kelbly centerfire actions in a Grunig & Elmiger smallbore stock. Here is Kevin’s first-hand report of his 2018 LR Championship victory.

Smallbore shooting is where I learned to build a good position, and so much of that carries forward to Long Range High Power. It was a huge shock though, the first time I looked at a 44” aiming black through aperture sights at 1000 yards! Smallbore aiming blacks are twice as big, at one tenth the distance — the fact that we can hit something at 1000 yards with that sight picture still amazes me!

» READ Kevin Nevius Profile in Shooting Sports USA

Here are highlights from Hap Rocketto’s Profile of Kevin Nevius:

Shooting Sports USAChampion shooter Kevin Nevius grew up in a household that did not allow firearms, an unlikely beginning for one of the United States’ premier prone rifleman and gunsmiths. Once out on his own he fell in with his brother who enjoyed long-range varmint hunting. His natural bent for things mechanical (he is a professional structural engineer) soon had him tinkering with rifles, which eventually led him to building his own.

Everything fell into line for him in smallbore during the 2008 season. After shooting a series of training matches in which he was most successful, he arrived at Camp Perry at the peak of performance and won his first National Smallbore Rifle Conventional Prone Championship. Kevin came back strong in 2010, winning the inaugural individual National Smallbore Rifle Metric Prone Championship, as well as the team title at Bristol, IN. [Kevin then won the Smallbore Conventional Prone Championship in 2014 with a practically perfect score of 4799-390X (LINK).]

Along the way, Nevius has won some impressive national records. In conventional competition he co-holds the 1200-shot metallic sight aggregate record of 1200-102X. He was just one shot short of perfection in the 480 aggregate, where he holds the civilian record of 4799-412X, just one point behind, and 11 Xs ahead of, Joe Hein’s 4800-401X open record.

Kevin Nevius hopes to build a smallbore rig capable of 3/8-MOA at 100 yards.
Kevin Nevius smallbore gunsmith

Building the Ultimate Rimfire Prone Rifle
Kevin is not just a great trigger-puller. He also smiths his own rifles. His current goal as a gunsmith is to build a rimfire rifle that will shoot 3/8″ groups at 100 yards. That’s a big challenge — 3/8-MOA represents very good accuracy for a centerfire rifle with handloaded ammo. But if any rimfire smith can build a rifle that will shoot that well at 100, it’s probably Kevin.

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August 28th, 2020

Arizona Collegiate Marksmen Teach New Shooters

University Arizona Wildgats NSSF new shooter
Top photo taken before COVID-19 pandemic. Now training is conducted with face masks and social distancing protocols as shown in lower photo.

Arizona SASP Team Introduces New Shooters With First Shots Program
The Wildgats is the University of Arizona’s talented Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP) Team. The Wildgats team got its start in 2015 thanks to an NSSF grant, and now the Wildgats members are training new shooters in conjunction with the NSSF’s First Shots and +ONE initiatives. With August being declared National Shooting Sports Month, the Wildgats conducted a training session on August 22, 2020. The event was hugely successful — drawing a “full house” of 127 trainees.

“We had a 127 sign up in one hour before we could announce that it was full,” said WildGats Head Coach, Bill Perkins. “Talking to our guests, I was surprised. At our first five events, we have had about 50% new shooters. When I asked for a show of hands at our latest First Shots event, aLL the hands went up in all three groups. We also saw very high participation by women. I would guess over 80% this year.”

University Arizona Wildgats NSSF new shooter

The training sessions began with a body temperature check for health compliance. Then there was a First Shots powerpoint session followed by gun safety rules. From there, the University of Arizona WildGats athletes taught new shooters the fundamentals of grip, stance, sight alignment, and trigger squeeze with visible laser SIRT trainers. After this instruction, First Shots participants were taken to the live fire range, receiving one-on-one guidance with a Coach, Instructor, or RSO.

The Wildgats have run First Shots events for several years. With partners Southeast Regional Park Shooting Range and Pima County Parks & Recreation, the WildGats hosted a successful event in August, 2020.

About the Wildgats SASP Team
The WildGats squad is the University of Arizona collegiate shooting team for the Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP). The team’s Facebook page declares: “We are proud to represent the University of Arizona at the collegiate level in rimfire and centerfire pistol, as well as rimfire rifle divisions. We regularly practice steel shooting in timed courses of fire, emphasizing on safety and accuracy for both beginners, intermediate, and advanced athletes. The Wildcats team members are University of Arizona students who are committed to improving their shooting skills through regular training and personal responsibility. With the same dedication we apply to our studies, we work on the fundamentals of marksmanship, seeking new ways to gain more accuracy, speed, and consistency.”

University Arizona Wildgats NSSF new shooter

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August 27th, 2020

Lapua and RCBS Rebate Programs Expiring Soon

RCBS buy green promotion lapua brass bullets sizzling summer rebate program

Folks — August is almost, and that means you need to act soon. Two great rebate programs are drawing to a close, so you may want to start shopping. You can save 10% on outstanding Lapua cartridge brass and bullets. Or get huge rebates on RCBS presses, powder dispensers, tools, and accessories (e.g. spend $400 and get $100 back — details below).

Lapua Sizzling Summer Savings Rebate Program

lapua brass bullets sizzling summer rebate program

Need brass or bullets? Then take advantage of Lapua’s Sizzling Summer Savings Rebate Program. For purchases from July 15 through August 31, 2020 you get 10% Cash Back on qualifying Lapua Scenar bullets and cartridge cases. With this Summer Rebate you can get up to $200 back on your Lapua bullet and brass purchases. Note, to qualify, you must purchase at least TWO boxes of Lapua Scenar bullets or TWO boxes of Lapua rifle cartridge cases (brass). All sizes and configurations are eligible for 10% rebate.

» CLICK HERE for LAPUA REBATE information

Lapua brass is used by top shooters in all disciplines, and Lapua Scenar bullets show outstanding accuracy and consistency. We’ve had superb results with Scenar bullets in multiple rifles. Scenars are a popular tangent ogive, HPBT design that is extremely accurate with excellent base-to-ogive and weight uniformity.

Lapua products must be purchased from July 15 through August 31, 2020

You MUST include proof of purchase – original online order receipt or retailer cash register receipt showing retailer name and date of purchase.

For purchases made from July 15 through August 31, rebate request must be submitted by September 30, 2020.

RCBS Buy Green, Get Green Promotion

Bergara B-14 HMR

RCBS Buy Green Get Green promo is simple — buy ANY RCBS products worth $100.00 or more and you qualify. There’s no restricted list of “qualifying” products. Yes this applies to reloading presses, electronic powder dispensers, ultrasonic machines, beam scales, dies — everything RCBS makes. Buy from Midsouth or other retailer. The more you spend, the more you get back — up to $100.00 total.

» CLICK HERE for RCBS REBATE information

Buy at least $400 worth of RCBS Products and get a big $100.00 rebate. Spend $250-$399 to get a $75.00 rebate. Purchase $100-$249 and get $50 back. If you are considering purchasing a single-stage press, electronic powder dispenser, progressive press, or a reloading kit, save big with this promo. It’s good for purchases now through August 31, 2020. Submit RCBS Rebate Forms HERE.

Product must be purchased between 7/9/2020 through 8/31/2020.

DEADLINE for mail-in or online submission is 10/31/2020

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August 27th, 2020

Gun Safe Great Debate — Electronic Vs. Dial Locks

Cannon EMP dual lok
Dual-Lock Technology: Cannon offers an innovative combined digital/mechanical lock system. This dual-access lock provides the rapid access of an electronic lock backed up by the assurance of a manual (rotary dial) combination lock.

Electronic (Keypad) Lock vs. Manual (Rotary) Lock

Smart gun owners know they need a good, solid gun safe. But when choosing a gun safe, what kind of lock should you select — electronic or mechanical? Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. This article will help you make the right choice for your needs and also get the most reliable performance from either type.

gunsafe gun safeGunsafes can be fitted with either an electronic keypad-style lock, or a conventional dial lock. In our Gunsafe Buyer’s Guide, we explain the important features of both dial and electronic lock systems. Many safe-makers will tell you that consumers prefer electronic locks for convenience. On the other hand, most of the locksmiths we’ve polled believe that the “old-fashioned” dial locks, such as the Sargent & Greenleaf model 6730, will be more reliable in the long run.

Here is the opinion of RFB from Michigan. He is a professional locksmith with over two decades of experience servicing locks and safes of all brands and types:

What a Professional Locksmith Says:
For the convenience of quick opening, the electronic locks can’t be beat. However, for endurance and years of trouble-free use, the electronics can’t compare with the dial lock.

I’ve earned my living, the past 22 years, servicing locks of all types. This includes opening safes that can’t otherwise be opened. I do warranty work for several safe manufacturers (including Liberty). What I’ve learned in all those years is that manual dial locks have very few problems. The most common is a loose dial ring which can shift either left or right, which will result in the index point being in the wrong place for proper tumbler alignment. This is simple to fix.

Electronic locks, however, can have all kinds of issues, and none (except bad key-pad) are easy to fix, and when one goes bad, it must be drilled into to open it. IMO, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ an electronic lock will ultimately fail, but a matter of ‘when’ it will fail. Over the past 10 years or so, since electronics have become more and more prevalent, I’ve had to drill open bad electronic locks vs. bad manual dial locks on a ratio of about 20-1.

My professional opinion is to get the manual dial lock, unless you’ve got a good friend who is a locksmith/safecracker.

How Secure is Your Lock?
RFB tells us that both dial and electronic locks offer good security, provided it’s a good quality lock made by LaGard, Sargent & Greenleaf, Amsec, or Kaba/Ilco. However, RFB warns that “Some of the ‘cheaper’ locks (both manual and electronic) however, are very simple to bypass.

An electronic lock that’s glued or ‘stuck’ to the door with double-sided tape, and has its ‘brain’ on the outside of the lock in the same housing as the keypad, and merely sends power to an inner solenoid via a pair of wires through the door, is a thief’s best friend. The good ones have the brain inside the safe, inaccessible from the outside.

No amateur can ‘manipulate’ either a good manual or electronic lock. Both give you a theoretical one million possible combinations. I say ‘theoretical’ because there are many combinations that cannot, or should not, be used. You wouldn’t set your combo on a dial lock to 01-01-01 etc., nor would you set an electronic to 1-1-1-1-1-1, or 1-2-3-4-5-6.”

Tips for Dial Locks
RFB notes that “The speed, and ease of use, of a manual dial lock can be improved upon, simply by having your combo reset using certain guidelines. Avoid high numbers above 50. Having a 1st number in the 40s, 2nd number anywhere from 0-25, and 3rd number between 25 and 35 will cut dialing time in half, without compromising security. (For mechanical reasons I won’t get into here, the 3rd number of a good manual dial lock cannot — or should not — be set to any number between 95 & 20).”

Tips for Electronic Locks
Electronic locks can have the combination changed by the user much more easily than dial locks. That should be a good thing. However, RFB explains: “That can be a double-edged sword. More than a few times I’ve had to drill open a safe with an electronic lock that has had the combo changed incorrectly by the user, resulting in an unknown number that nobody can determine. Also, don’t forget that electronic locks have a ‘wrong-number lock-out’. I would NOT rely on the normal quickness of an electronic 6-number combo in an emergency situation. If for any reason (panic etc.) you punch in the wrong number several times, the lock will shut down for a 5-minute ‘penalty’.

Replace Electronic Lock Batteries Every Year
To get the most life out of any electronic (keypad Lock), you should change the battery at least once a year, whether it needs it or not. Low voltage won’t necessarily shut down the lock, but using it in a low voltage situation is bad for the electronics, and eventually will cause lock failure. So, If you do nothing else to maintain your digital-lock safe, replace the battery every year. And get a fresh battery (with a release date) from the store — don’t just pull a battery out of a storage bin, even if it’s never been used. Old batteries can degrade, even when in storage.

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August 27th, 2020

More Women Than Ever Are Buying Guns for Self-Defense

Girl and gun nssf firearms female ladies survey civil disorder riots
Range photo from Athena Gun Club in Houston, TX. Athena has 26-lane indoor shooting range.

A Girl & A Gun (AG&AG) is a club by women shooters for women shooters. With a network of instructors and affiliated ranges, AG&AG operates training clinics and competition events thorughout the country. AG&AG recently sponsored a nationwide survey of 6000 club members. This survey revealed interesting trends in gun purchases by females. By way of background, a previous survey by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) estimated that about 40% of 2020 gun sales are to first-time buyers, and that roughly 40% of those first-time gun buyers were women.

Girl and gun nssf firearms female ladies survey civil disorder riots

AG&AG did a follow-up survey of club members who were first-time gun buyers. This showed that the leading motivator in gun acquisition were concerns over riots and civil unrest. This was followed by worries over the upcoming election and possible future gun bans.

Girl and gun nssf firearms female ladies survey civil disorder riots

» READ MORE HERE — AG&AG Survey Results

There were some very interesting comments by AG&AG members, who expressed their personal reasons for buying guns and seeking firearms training:

Kathryn in Texas: “I’m a trauma surgeon and have treated a fair share of gunshot victims in Chicago and Houston. I have been pretty ‘anti-gun’ as a result up until COVID. At that point, I figured I might as well get comfortable with at least handling firearms in case I had to use one.”

Theresa in Nevada: “I’ve never felt the need to own a gun or want a one. However, with the extreme levels of crime, every individual should learn to protect themselves. With our political leaders allowing the police to be torn apart, this made me feel the need to step up and take measures for my protection.”

Jan in Michigan: “As a history teacher with 35 years of teaching experience I know that the first thing revolutionaries and tyrants do upon seizing power is to take away the public’s guns. As a child my family lived in inner city Detroit in the heart of the 1967 riots….More recently, the rioters came down my street after their burning and looting rampage downtown in my city of Kalamazoo, Michigan. I decided that I have to defend myself and not allow myself to be a sitting duck. “

Anonymous in Connecticut: “I [was] interested in joining A Girl & A Gun Club for a while and in the wake of the protests and defunding of police I thought this was extremely important. Being from the Northeast it is difficult to find others with the same ideals so I thought this would be the best place to start.”

Girl and gun nssf firearms female ladies survey civil disorder riots

About A Girl & A Gun
AG&AG is now moving into its 10th year of educating women on the safe use and storage of firearms, and promoting women’s interest and participation in training and competitive and recreational shooting sports. The club’s mission is especially relevant today and the organization is stronger than ever.

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August 26th, 2020

IBS Match Report: 2020 100/200 Meter Score Nationals

IBS Score Nationals 100 200 yard benchrest championship mid-carolina orangeburg south carolina

2020 has been a challenging year for the shooting sports. The CMP National Matches at Camp Perry and NRA National Championships at Camp Atterbury were cancelled due to Pandemic health concerns. Other major matches have been dropped from the calendar due to COVID-19. That’s why we are pleased to report that the IBS was able to conduct the 2020 Benchrest for Score 100/200 Meter National Championships. Attendance was solid, and competitors had a good time. Here is the match report from IBS member Todd Payseur.

IBS 100/200 Score Nationals at Mid-Carolina Gun Club

Report from Todd Payseur
The morning light breaks and shooters begin to set the final touches on their wind flags. Yes, it’s time for the Nationals! For what has been a crazy COVID-impacted year with a lot of cancelled matches, dates being changed, and some states still not able to hold matches, many shooters had cabin fever for the Nationals.

IBS Score Nationals 100 200 yard benchrest championship mid-carolina orangeburg south carolina

Several people had concerns beforehand with even having a match in August at the Mid-Carolina Gun Club because of how brutal our summers can be, but Mother Nature really blessed us with a calm weekend. Saturday started with overcast skies and projected highs around 87 degrees, which for August is almost unheard of. A few showers during the day, but nothing that really amounted to much or effected any of the relays. The winds stayed calm and 20 VFS shooters stayed clean and 2 Hunter guns went for 250-10X with Peter Hills creedmooring Ronnie Milford for the top 6-power at 100 meters. In VFS a familiar face, Wayne France shot a great 250-21X edging out rookie shooter Will Till at 250-20X.

IBS Score Nationals 100 200 yard benchrest championship mid-carolina orangeburg south carolina
Lisa Moore, grandmother of Gage and Remy Logsdon, prepares for the next relay with bolt removed.

This is Will’s second season in VFS and he has steadily improved. His second place finish at 100 meters is the start of many great finishes ahead for this young man. Speaking of young people, I’m pleased to say we had a great showing of Junior shooters this year and they all deserve to be mentioned. Defending rookie of the year Tori Allen (below right) was the top junior, followed by first-year rookie Remy Logsdon. Gage Logsdon rounded out the top three junior shooters. With such young talents coming into the benchrest game, we are very optimistic about the future of our sport.

IBS Score Nationals 100 200 yard benchrest championship mid-carolina orangeburg south carolina
Wayne France (Left) with 100-yard 1st Place Agg patch. Tori Allen (Right) was the top Junior shooter.

Sunday at 200 meters was the Lin Smith show! Lin shot both a Heavy and a Light Varmint rifle and turned in a very impressive 500-17X for the day. This fine work led him to two of the top three places at 200 meters and a first and fourth in the Grand Agg. I can’t say enough about how happy everyone is for Lin. He is one good man that those of us in the southeast region are honored to compete with and call a friend.

IBS Score Nationals 100 200 yard benchrest championship mid-carolina orangeburg south carolina
Grand Agg winner Lin Smith really put on a display of fine shooting this weekend.

In the 6-power Hunter Rifle class, Jim Cline turned in an impressive 249-5X at 200 meters for the win and that led him to his first place finish in the Grand Agg followed by a solid 245-4X by Ronnie Milford who took second-place in the Grand Agg.

IBS Score Nationals 100 200 yard benchrest championship mid-carolina orangeburg south carolina
Here are all the winners with their wood. Left to Right: Will Till, Gage Logsdon, Lee Martin, Tori Allen, John Bosley, Lin Smith, Peter Hills, John Ridgeway, Remy Logsdon, Wayne France, Jim Cline and Ronnie Milford.

CLICK Chart for Full Spreadsheet with Results for ALL Shooters
IBS Score Nationals 100 200 yard benchrest championship mid-carolina orangeberg south carolina

IBS Score Nationals 100 200 yard benchrest championship mid-carolina orangeburg south carolina
View back to the benches from the 100-meter targets at Mid-Carolina Gun Club. the Orangeburg swirl is lurking in those trees… just waiting to push bullets where they just shouldn’t go!

Great Competition, Great Food, Great Location
Overall we had a good turnout with 35 VFS guns and 8 V/VH guns on Saturday and 34 and 7 on Sunday. Competitors came from as far away as Maine and Michigan and everywhere in between. The food was outstanding with meals available both Friday and Saturday evenings at the range along with lunches Saturday and Sunday. One thing is for certain, if you enjoy great food and great company, then the IBS VFS circuit is something you should come check out, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

About the Mid-Carolina Gun Glub in South Carolina
CLICK HERE for more information on the Mid-Carolina Gun Club in Orangeburg, South Carolina. This club boasts a great facility with plenty of room for cleaning/loading, plus a large, covered eating area with serving line. There is also parking for campers on the club property. I would like to personally thank Jim Cline and the whole Mid-Carolina Crew for another great weekend and cherished memory!

IBS Score Nationals 100 200 yard benchrest championship mid-carolina orangeburg south carolina
Jerry Powers from the Ashe County gang setting up a SEB MAX. SEB rests, both MAX and NEO, are very popular with score BR shooters.

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August 26th, 2020

Watch and Learn — Five Great Shooting USA Videos

Shooting USA video parallax wind reading Sherri Gallagher scope mounting AR cleaning field-stripping

For decades, ShootingUSA has been a leading video resource for the shooting sports and hunting. This popular cable TV show covers shooting matches, and provides expert information on precision shooting, gun maintenance, optics, and defensive firearms use. Here are five interesting videos all worth watching. Learn about wind-reading, gun maintenance, and optics.

1. Reading the Wind — SGT Sherri Jo Gallagher of USAMU

Sergeant Sherri Jo Gallagher of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) shows us how to read the wind in given conditions, and how to apply your wind assessment when aiming down-range. During her time with the USAMU, Sherri won the National High Power Championship, and was the first woman in history to earn the U.S. Army “Soldier of the Year” honors. Sherri comes from a legendary family of shooters — she was raised by Ace Marksman Mid Tompkins and mother Nancy Tompkins, the first female to win the NRA National High Power Championship.

2. Field-Stripping and Cleaning AR-Platform Rifles

Let’s face it — Black Rifles run dirty. On AR-platform rifles, the gas system blows carbon and powder residues back into the action and bolt carrier group. Accordingly, you need to clean ARs early and often, and you should fully disassemble the bolt carrier to access parts and recesses which accumulate greasy lube and hard carbon. This helpful video shows how to field-strip and clean AR-platform rifles. If you own an AR, this is definitely worth viewing. With over 1.9 million views, this is the #1 most-watched video on Shooting USA’s YouTube Channel.

2. MOA Defined — Jim Scoutten Explains Minute of Angle

Minute of Angle (MOA) — this is the most common measurement of group size, and hence rifle accuracy. You hear about shooters hoping to shoot 1 MOA or “half-MOA”, but many folks could not give you a precise definition. In fact MOA is an angular measurement that equates to one-sixtieth of one degree of Arc. In this video, host John Scoutten defines MOA. He then demonstrates how MOA translates to accuracy on target. He demonstrates one-half-MOA accuracy with a Les Baer Custom rifle. This company offers a three-shot, half-MOA guarantee for its rifles.

4. How to Adjust for Parallax

Most precision rifle scopes have parallax adjustment, typically a knob on the left side of the scope. but what exactly is “Parallax” and why do you need to adjust optics to ensure the parallax setting is optimal? In this Shooting USA video, John Paul of JP Rifles defines parallax and explains why you need to set parallax correctly for the distance to your target. The video then shows how to adjust parallax correctly, a process which should start with the scope’s ocular focus.

5. How to Mount a Riflescope

When mounting a scope you want to use quality rings, and ensure that the scope is leveled properly. In addition, you need to adjust the fore/aft position of the scope so that eye relief is correct. Ideal scope position may be different when shooting from the bench vs. shooting prone. In this Shooting USA video John Paul of JP Rifles reviews scope mounting basics.

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August 26th, 2020

Father and Son — Memories of Reloading Together

Herters Press Sierra Bullets Reloading Prisendorf Father son

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf has written a nice essay about how reloading can become a life-time hobby, a rewarding pastime that can bring together a father and son…

Memories of My Father — Reloading As a Life-Time Hobby

by Gary Prisendorf
For as long as I can remember I have been around reloading. I have tons of childhood memories of my father reloading and shooting. I remember how he would let me help him load his ammunition, by letting me clean primer pockets or wipe the sizing lube off of his cases. I really thought I was doing something. Well, I guess I was, I was spending quality time with my father doing something that would become a great hobby and eventually land me a great job working for Sierra Bullets.

If you are a reloader, teach someone. You may just give them a hobby for the rest of their life and who knows, you could help them find an enjoyable career, doing something that they love. — Gary Prisendorf

Herters Press Sierra Bullets Reloading Prisendorf Father son

I remember watching my father sizing cases on his Herters press, dropping his powder charges with a Belding & Mull powder measure and weighing powder charges with his Texan scales. Heck, I can even remember when he would buy powder at a local pawn shop, and they would weigh it out and put it in a paper sack. He would save his empty powder cans, wrap them with masking tape and write what the powder was on them with a black magic marker.

When I was in Junior High, I got my first shotgun, a 20 gauge Mossberg 500 and within a couple of weeks my father came home with a 20 gauge Lee Load-All and a pound of Blue Dot. He gave me a crash course on how to use it, and got me up and running with a couple of safe loads. I put a lot of shells through that old 20 gauge.

From that day forward I was hooked. If I got a new gun, I was loading ammunition for it. I don’t buy factory ammunition unless I just want to shoot it up so I can get some once fired brass. I reload everything that I shoot, except for rimfire stuff, and if I could figure out how to do that safely, I would probably load that too.

Through the years I have learned to appreciate things — such as once-fired military .30-06 cases that can be converted to obscure cartridge types. And I know the value of a five-gallon bucket of lead wheel weights that will be melted down and cast into bullets.

I remember finding 19 once-fired Norma 7.7×58 Arisaka cases laying on the ground at a public shooting range, and it was like Christmas came early. I must have looked for that 20th case for about thirty minutes, but I never did find it.

I can’t thank my father enough for getting me started in reloading, he gave me a great hobby, many wonderful memories and taught me the skills that gave me a career doing something that I love.

Herters Press Sierra Bullets Reloading Prisendorf Father son

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August 25th, 2020

Rule Out “Driver Error” — Test Accuracy with Multiple Shooters

When a rifle isn’t shooting up to it’s potential, we need to ask: “Is it the gun or the shooter?” Having multiple shooters test the same rifle in the same conditions with the same load can be very revealing…

When developing a load for a new rifle, one can easily get consumed by all the potential variables — charge weight, seating depth, neck tension, primer options, neck lube, and so on. When you’re fully focused on loading variables, and the results on the target are disappointing, you may quickly assume you need to change your load. But we learned that sometimes the load is just fine — the problem is the trigger puller, or the set-up on the bench.

Here’s an example. A while back we tested two new Savage F-Class rifles, both chambered in 6mmBR. Initial results were promising, but not great — one gun’s owner was getting round groups with shots distributed at 10 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 5 o’clock, 8 o’clock, and none were touching. We could have concluded that the load was no good. But then another shooter sat down behind the rifle and put the next two shots, identical load, through the same hole. Shooter #2 eventually produced a 6-shot group that was a vertical line, with 2 shots in each hole but at three different points of impact. OK, now we can conclude the load needs to be tuned to get rid of the vertical. Right? Wrong. Shooter #3 sat down behind the gun and produced a group that strung horizontally but had almost no vertical.

Hmmm… what gives?

Shooting Styles Created Vertical or Horizontal Dispersion
What was the problem? Well, each of the three shooters had a different way of holding the gun and adjusting the rear bag. Shooter #1, the gun’s owner, used a wrap-around hold with hand and cheek pressure, and he was squeezing the bag. All that contact was moving the shot up, down, left and right. The wrap-around hold produced erratic results.

Shooter #2 was using no cheek pressure, and very slight thumb pressure behind the tang, but he was experimenting with different amounts of bag “squeeze”. His hold eliminated the side push, but variances in squeeze technique and down pressure caused the vertical string. When he kept things constant, the gun put successive shots through the same hole.

Shooter #3 was using heavy cheek pressure. This settled the gun down vertically, but it also side-loaded the rifle. The result was almost no vertical, but this shooting style produced too much horizontal.

A “Second Opinion” Is Always Useful
Conclusion? Before you spend all day fiddling with a load, you might want to adjust your shooting style and see if that affects the group size and shape on the target. Additionally, it is nearly always useful to have another experienced shooter try your rifle. In our test session, each time we changed “drivers”, the way the shots grouped on the target changed significantly. We went from a big round group, to vertical string, to horizontal string.

Interestingly, all three shooters were able to diagnose problems in their shooting styles, and then refine their gun-handling. As a result, in a second session, we all shot that gun better, and the average group size dropped from 0.5-0.6 inches into the threes — with NO changes to the load.

That’s right, we cut group size in half, and we didn’t alter the load one bit. Switching shooters demonstrated that the load was good and the gun was good. The skill of the trigger-puller(s) proved to be the limiting factor in terms of group size.

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August 25th, 2020

Smart Advice on Powder Storage — What You Need to Know

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

SUMMARY: Powder can have a very long shelf life. You need to watch for changes in smell and color. A reddish tinge, almost like rust on the powder, is a bad sign, as is a foul odor, not to be confused with a normal chemical smell. Either of these signs indicate it is time to dispose of your powder by means other than shooting.

Ever wondered about the stability of the propellants in your reloading room? There are some important things you should know about powder storage, to ensure consistent powder performance and safety. On its website, Western Powders (vendors of Accurate, Norma, and Ramshot powders) published an informative Q & A series entitled Dear Labby: Questions for our Ballistics Lab. Here are some excerpts that pertain to powder storage and shelf life. Worried that your powder may be too old? Western’s experts explain how to check your propellants for warning signs.

Proper Powder Storage

Q: I live in southern Arizona where it is very hot. I am told powders will become unstable if stored in an area not air-conditioned. My wife says no powder or primers in the house. Can powder be stored in a refrigerator? What about using a fireproof safe? I would appreciate your ideas. — M.C.

Lab Answer: SAAMI guidelines are pretty clear on issues of storage. They recommend storing smokeless powder in containers that will not allow pressure to build if the powder is ignited — ruling out gun safes and refrigerators.

CLICK HERE to Read SAAMI Guidelines for Powder Storage (PDF)

In their original containers smokeless powder’s lifespan is quite long, even in your hot, arid climate, typically longer than the average handloader would need to store them. Stored safely in a garage or outbuilding, your powder should last years. If you see the powder developing a reddish tint, or giving off a foul odor, it is time to discard it.

Clumps in Powder Container

Q: I ordered some of your Accurate 1680 powder back about in December. I just now opened it … and it is full of clumps. My knowledge tells me that means moisture. Am I wrong? I just now broke the seal and it has been stored in a ammo can with desiccant packs around it and a dehumidifier running 14-16 hours a day. I can’t imagine this being my fault, if this does indicate moisture. I don’t know if the pink part on the label is suppose to be red or not, but it is definitely pink, so if it was red I am wondering if I was shipped an old container? I hope that this isn’t bad and I am stuck with it…

Lab Answer: All powder contains a certain amount of moisture. When the powder is stored or during shipping, it can go through temperature cycles. During the cycling, the moisture can be pulled to the surface and cause clumping. Clumping can also be caused by static electricity if too dry or the powder has limited graphite content. You can break up the clumps before metering and they shouldn’t be a problem. This will not affect the powder performance, so your product is fine. Accurate 1680 labels are designed in Pink. As a side note, specification for testing powder is at 70° F and 60% humidity.

Shelf Life and Packaging Dates

Q: Does powder ever get to old to use and what identifying marks does your company put on the canister for when it is made, You have helped me out a while ago when I asked about keeping my cowboy shooting under 950 fps and it works great less stress on the hand and the recoil is very minimum. — R.B.

Lab Answer: On one pound bottles, the number is on the corner in a silver box. If the powder was poured today, it would read 012815 followed by a lot number. The whole number would look something like 012815749. Eight pound bottles have a sticker on the bottom with an obvious date code. The lot number appears above the date.

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

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