July 20th, 2021

You Only Have One Set of Eyes — Protect Them

Sherri Gallagher
Sherri Jo Gallagher, the second woman in history to win the NRA High Power National Championship, sports Eye Protection at Camp Perry. The first lady HP Champion was Sherri’s mother, Nancy Tompkins.

In response to a Bulletin article about Protective Eyewear, one of our Canadian readers posted a personal story. His account demonstrates the importance of wearing eye protection whenever you shoot — no matter what type of firearm you are using — even air rifles. We hope all our readers take this to heart. All too often at rifle matches we see shooters, even some top competitors, risking their vision by failing to wear eye protection.

Eye and Hearing Protection are now MANDATORY for Highpower Rifle competitors and Pistol shooters in all CMP-affiliated matches. The 2020 CMP Highpower Rifle, Pistol, and CMP Games Rulebooks all contain the following rule: “All competitors and competition officials are required to wear appropriate eye and hearing protection when on shooting range firing lines during highpower rifle or pistol firing. All competitors must comply with this requirement before they can participate in a CMP sponsored or sanctioned competition. Competitors are responsible for selecting their eyewear and hearing protection.”

2020 CMP Civilian Marksmanship program rules Highpower High Power mandatory eye protection

Red Ryder BB Gun safetyEye Protection — Lesson Learned
by Nicholas from Canada
As a boy on a mixed farm on the plains the first shooting stick I owned was a Red Ryder BB gun. My Dad bought it for me as I showed a keen interest in the shooting and hunting sports. I was about 9 years old at the time.

We had literally thousands of sparrows in our large farm yard and they liked to roost on the steel railings in the barn loft. I took to slowly thinning out their ranks by flashlight at night as these little winged pests settled in the farm buildings.

One evening as I slayed sparrow after sparrow in the barn loft — with about a dozen farm cats following me to consume these easy meals, I fired at another bird centered in my flashlight beam.

However, my aim was a bit low — and the copper pellet hit the steel beam square on. Instantly I felt a sharp pain as the BB bounced back and hit me squarely between the eyes on the bridge of my nose ā€“ drawing blood from the partial penetration into the skin. A half inch either way and Iā€™d have lost an eye!

Never, never, never shoot at any target with a steel background with any firearm, even a BB gun ā€“ is the hard lesson I learned, and wear the best shooting glasses that money can buy!

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT!!

Editor’s Comment: Among competitive pistol shooters, the use of safety eyewear is universal. You’ll never see Rob Leatham, Julie Golob, or Jerry Miculek competing without eye protection — for good reason. The handgun sports’ governing bodies effectively enforce mandatory eye protection policies. We wish the same could be said for competitive rifle shooting. We often see benchrest, High Power, and F-Class competitors shooting without eye protection. We’ve heard all the excuses, yet none of them trump the safety considerations involved.

We recommend that all shooters and hunters employ eye protection whenever they use firearms or are at a location where live fire is taking place. You only have two eyes. A tiny bullet fragment or ricochet is all it takes to cause permanent blindness in one or both eyes. As rifle shooters, we place our eyes a couple inches away from a combustion chamber operating at pressures up to 70,000 psi. I know quite a few guys who will religiously put on safety glasses when running a lathe or a drill press, yet the same guys won’t use eye protection when shooting their rifles — simply because it is “inconvenient”. That’s nuts. It doesn’t matter is you are a cub scout or a multi-time National Champion — you should wear eye protection.

Be wise — protect your eyes. To learn more about eyewear safety standards, and to learn about the latest options in ANSI Z87-certified protective eyewear, read our article on Eye Protection for Shooters.

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July 20th, 2021

The Tack-Driving AR — Secrets to AR Platform Accuracy

AR-X AR15 Upper

One Shooters’ Forum member asked: “What makes an AR accurate? What parts on an AR can really affect accuracy — such as free-floating handguards, barrels, bolts, bolt carriers?” He wanted an honest, well-informed answer, not just sales pitches. Robert Whitley posted a very detailed answer to this question, based on his experience building/testing scores of AR-platform rifles. Robert runs AR-X Enterprises, which produces match-grade uppers for High Power competitors, tactical shooters, and varminters.

AR-X AR15 Upper

Building an Accurate AR — What is Most Important

by Robert Whitley
There are a lot of things that can be done to an AR to enhance consistent accuracy, and I use the words “consistent accuracy” because consistency is a part of it (i.e. plenty of guns will give a couple great 5-shot groups, but won’t do a very good 10- or 20-shot groups, and some guns will shoot great one day and not so good on others).

Here are 14 key things we think are important to accuracy.

1. Great Barrel: You’ll want a premium match-grade barrel, well-machined with a good crown and a match-type chambering, true to the bore and well cut. The extension threads must also be cut true to the bore, with everything true and in proper alignment.

2. Rigid Upper: A rigid, heavy-walled upper receiver aids accuracy. The typical AR upper receiver was made for a lightweight carry rifle and they stripped all the metal they could off it to make it light to carry (which is advantageous for the military). The net result are upper receivers that are so thin you can flex them with your bare hands. These flexible uppers are “strong enough” for general use, but they are not ideal for accuracy. Accuracy improves with a more rigid upper receiver.

3. True Receiver Face: We’ve found that truing the receiver face is valuable. Some may argue this point but it is always best to keep everything related to the barrel and the bore in complete alignment with the bore (i.e. barrel extension, bolt, upper receiver, carrier, etc.).

4. Barrel Extension: You should Loctite or glue the barrel extension into the upper receiver. This holds it in place all the way front to back in the upper receiver. Otherwise if there is any play (and there typically is) it just hangs on the face of the upper receiver completely dependent on the face of the upper receiver as the sole source of support for the barrel as opposed to being made more an integral part of the upper receiver by being glued-in.

AR-X AR15 Upper5. Gas Block: You want a gas block that does not impose pointed stress on the barrel. Clamp-on types that grab all the way around the barrel are excellent. The blocks that are pinned on with tapered pins that wedge against the barrel or the slip on type of block with set screws that push up from underneath (or directly on the barrel) can deform the bore inside of the barrel and can wreck the accuracy of an otherwise great barrel.

6. Free-Float Handguard: A rigid, free-float handguard (and I emphasize the word rigid) really makes a difference. There are many types of free-float handguards and a free-float handguard is, in and of itself, a huge improvement over a non-free-float set up, but best is a rigid set-up. Some of the ones on the market are small diameter, thin and/or flexible and if you are shooting off any type of rest, bipod, front bag, etc., a rigid fore-end is best since ARs want to jump, bounce and twist when you let a shot go, as the carrier starts to begin its cycle before the bullet exits the bore.

Robert Whitley AR Accurate accuracy aR15 barrel trigger MSR gunsmithing

7. Barrel Contour: You want some meat on the barrel. Between the upper receiver and the gas block don’t go real thin with a barrel (we like 1″ diameter if it’s workable weight-wise). When you touch off a round and the bullet passes the gas port, the gas system immediately starts pressuring up with a gas impulse that provides vibrations and stress on the barrel, especially between the gas block back to the receiver. A heavier barrel here dampens that. Staying a little heavier with barrel contour through the gas block area and out to the muzzle is good for the same reasons. ARs have a lot going on when you touch off a round and the gas system pressures up and the carrier starts moving (all before the bullet exits the bore) so the more things are made heavier and rigid to counteract that the better — within reason (I’m not advocating a 12-lb barrel).

8. Gas Tube Routing Clearance: You want a gas tube that runs freely through the barrel nut, through the front of the upper receiver, and through the gas key in the carrier. Ensure the gas tube is not impinged by any of them, so that it does not load the carrier in a stressed orientation. You don’t want the gas tube bound up so that when the gas tube pressures up it immediately wants to transmit more force and impulse to the barrel than would normally occur. We sometimes spend a lot of time moving the gas block with gas tube on and off new build uppers and tweaking gas tubes to get proper clearance and alignment. Most gas tubes do need a little “tweaking” to get them right — factory tubes may work OK but they typically do not function optimally without hand-fitting.

9. Gas Port Tuning: You want to avoid over-porting the gas port. Being over-gassed makes the gas system pressure up earlier and more aggressively. This causes more impulse, and increases forces and vibration affecting the top end and the barrel. Tune the gas port to give the amount of pressure needed to function properly and adequately but no more.

10. Front/Back Bolt Play: If accuracy is the game, don’t leave a lot of front/back bolt play (keep it .003″ but no more than .005″). We’ve seen factory rifles run .012″ to .015″ play, which is OK if you need to leave room for dirt and grime in a military application. However, that amount of play is not ideal for a high-accuracy AR build. A lot of front/back bolt play allows rounds to be hammered into the chamber and actually re-formed in a non-consistent way, as they are loaded into the chamber.

11. Component Quality: Use good parts from a reputable source and be wary of “gun show specials”. All parts are NOT the same. Some are good, some are not so good, and some aftermarket parts are simply bad. Don’t be afraid to use mil-spec-type carriers; by and large they are excellent for an accuracy build. Also, remember that just because a carrier says “National Match” or something else on it does not necessarily mean it’s any better. Be wary of chrome-plated parts as the chrome plating can change the parts dimensionally and can also make it hard to do hand-fitting for fit and function.

AR-X AR15 Upper

12. Upper to Lower Fit: A good upper/lower fit is helpful. For quick and dirty fit enhancement, an Accu-Wedge in the rear helps a lot. The ultimate solution is to bed the upper to a specific lower so that the upper and lower, when together, are more like one integral unit. For the upper receivers we produce, we try to get the specs as close as we can, but still fit the various lowers in the market place.

13. Muzzle Attachments: Don’t screw up the muzzle (literally). Leave as much metal on the barrel at the muzzle as you can. People like to thread the muzzle for a flash hider, suppressor, muzzle brake, or some other attachment, but if you really want accuracy, leave as much metal as you can there. And, if you have something that screws on, set it up so that it can be put on and have it stay there without putting a lot of torque and stress on it right where the bullet exits the bore. If you are going to thread the end of the barrel, make it concentric with the bore and make sure what you screw on there is as well. For all muzzle attachments, also ensure that the holes through which the bullet passes through are dead true to the bore. Many aftermarket screw-on things are not so good that way. Anything that vents gas should vent symmetrically (i.e. if it vents left, it should vent equally right, and likewise, if it vents up, it should vent down equally). Uneven venting of gas can wreck accuracy.

14. Quality Ammunition: Ammo is a whole story by itself, but loads that are too hot typically shoot poorly in an AR-15. If you want accuracy out of an AR-15, avoid overly hot loads. Shown below are test groups shot with four (4) different uppers, all with moderate loads. These four uppers all pretty much had the same features and things done to them as explained in this article, and they all shot great.

AR-X AR15 Upper

Robert Whitley
www.6mmAR.com

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July 20th, 2021

Creedmoor Sports Opens Store on Camp Perry’s Commercial Row

Creedmoor Sports Camp Perry

The folks at Creedmoor Sports are reviving a tradition this week — opening an “outlet store” on Commercial Row at Camp Perry. To serve shooters at the National Matches, Creedmoor Sports loaded a large truck with shooting gear and accessories and headed North to the shores of Lake Erie. Over the past few days, Creedmoor’s team has been unpacking the gear and setting it up.

Camp Perry commercial row

The Creedmoor Sports store at Camp Perry opened today July 20, 2021. On Creedmoor’s Facebook Page, the crew posted: “Almost everything is unboxed and we’re on track to open our Camp Perry store[.]”

Creedmoor Sports Camp Perry
Creedmoor Sports Camp Perry
Creedmoor Sports Camp Perry

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Creedmoor Sports Rifle Case

Creedmoor Sports Camp Perry

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Creedmoor Sports Camp Perry
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Creedmoor Sports Camp Perry
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