December 10th, 2019

Ultimate Reloader Reviews Hawkeye Borescope Systems

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Hawkeye borescope video capture slide

Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently tested Hawkeye Borescopes from Gradient Lens Corp., along with the impressive Hawkeye Video Slide System. Gavin observed: “When it comes to gunsmithing, gun inspection, and gun maintenance, a borescope can tell you things that nothing else can. And that’s why a borescope is an invaluable tool for gunsmiths, competition shooters, and gun enthusiasts.”

UltimateReloader.com MUST WATCH Video — See What Hawkeye Borescope Reveals:

READ Hawkeye Borescope Review on UltimateReloader.com »

A good borescope reveals the reality inside your barrel(s). There’s no more guesswork. All the issues associated with barrel will be revealed — carbon build-up, copper fouling, fire-cracking and more. Within a few seconds you can judge the state of your bore, and diagnose problems such as copper fouling and fire-cracking. Check out these two images. On the left is a brand new hand-lapped barrel. On the right is a barrel with heavy fire-cracking.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Hawkeye borescope video capture slide

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Hawkeye borescope video capture slideGavin tested both 7″ and 17″ versions of the Hawkeye Borescope. He tested straight versions, and both long and short borescopes with a 90° eyepiece. For most tasks we prefer the 90° eyepiece. In addition to these systems, Gavin tested the the Hawkeye Video Slide and video image acquisition system, shown below.

The features are: 1. Video Slide support system; 2. Pistol barrel being inspected; 3. Borescope with quick-coupler equipped Sony camera; 4. Windows 10 PC Laptop running Hawkeye App with VIDEO Feed; 5. LED illumination for borescope.

Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader Hawkeye borescope video capture slide

“The Hawkeye Video Slide and video image acquisition system are not intended for consumers. They are primarily used by laboratories, gun OEMs, and other commercial customers,” Gavin notes. He used the Video Slide to provide the “next best thing” to viewing through the Hawkeye itself.



What You Can See with a Hawkeye Borescope

This Gradient Lens video shows how to correctly borescope your barrel:

Hawkeye borescope POV lensA precision optical borescope is a pricey tool, but it performs critical tasks for gun-owners, and a Hawkeye’s rigid optic tube offers some important advantages over a cheap endoscope on a flexible cord. To learn how a Hawkeye borescope can help you diagnose barrel issues, you should read a Rifle Shooter magazine feature story, What the Eye Can See.

In this article, writer Terry Wieland shows how to inspect for defects in new barrels, how to recognize different kinds of fouling (in both barrels and brass), and how to spot throat erosion in its early stages. Terry uses a Gradient Lens HawkEye BoreScope. The current generation of HawkEyes can be attached to a still or video camera to record digital images. The most interesting part of the article is on the second page. There, author Wieland provides photos of various types of internal flaws that can appear in barrels. This will help you spot pitting, excessive land wear, rust damage, and damage from corrosive primers.

Wieland notes that BoreScopes aren’t just for barrels: “The borescope has other uses as well. It can be used to examine the interior of a cartridge case to look for the beginnings of a case separation or to examine the interior of a loading die that is giving you trouble. When you consider the number of tubular objects that play such an important role in rifle shooting, it is a wonder we were ever able to function without such a method of studying bores.”

Hawkeye borescope POV lens

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December 9th, 2019

Don’t Let Rust and Corrosion Attack Your Guns This Winter

gun storage bag silicone fleece anti-corrosion safe protection

Wintertime is here, the season of cold and damp… and RUST. There’s snow on the ground in many parts of the country. If you want your fine firearms to remain pristine and rust-free through the winter months, it’s wise to protect then while they are stored in a safe. You should protect blued surfaces with a rust-blocker. In addition, we recommend storing guns in protective sleeves. Our take on Bore-Store Gun sleeves is simple: They work great, so buy them and use them — for ALL your valuable firearms.

These thick, synthetic-fleece sacks cushion your guns, preventing nicks and scratches. The breathable fabric wicks away moisture, and the fibers are coating with corrosion inhibitors. I personally use Bore-Stores for in-safe storage with all my guns, and I have never had one of my guns rust inside a Bore-Store, even when I lived a stone’s throw from the ocean.

Bore-Store Gun Sacks
Photo from Pistoleer.com, a Bore-Store vendor.

Bore-Stores are offered in a wide range of sizes, so you can find something to fit everything from a Snub-nosed revolver to a 32″-barrelled 50 BMG. Rifle-size Bore Stores can be purchased for $13.00 – $22.00 from Brownells. For long F-Class or tactical rifles, we recommend the 10″x52″ Scoped Shotgun Bag, Brownells item 132-000-003WB. You can also order direct from the Bore-Store manufacturer, Big Spring Enterprises, www.BoreStores.com. Big Spring will also craft custom sizes on request.

Consider Military-Style, Triple-Layer Bags for Long-Term Storage
While we prefer Bore-Stores for regularly-used guns, if you have heirloom firearms that will be kept in storage for very long periods without seeing any use, you may want to grease them up and place them in the thin, but rugged three-layer storage bags sold by Brownells. The bags are made from a three-layer laminate of polyester, aluminum, and polyethylene film, with a shiny silver exterior. Though the laminate is thin, the Brownells storage bags are puncture-resistant, and have a 0% moisture transmission rating so moisture can’t get inside. These bags are also resistant to petroleum-based chemicals and they won’t break down even in contact with soil or moisture.

3-layer Brownells storage bagHere’s one VITAL bit of advice for using these bags. Be absolutely sure, before you seal up the bags, that your guns are DRY and that all metal surfaces have been coated with an effective anti-corrosive, such as BoeShield T9 or Eezox. Brownells’ storage bags are inexpensive. A three-pak of 12″x 60″ rifle sacks (item 083-055-003WB) costs just $22.99 — under eight bucks a gun. That’s cheap insurance for rifles and shotguns that may cost thousands of dollars.

Get Your Guns Out of Foam-lined Cases — They Are Rust Magnets
Just about the worst thing you can do in the winter (short of leaving your rifle outside in the rain) is to store firearms in tight, foam-padded cases. The foam in these cases actually collects and retains moisture from the air, acting as the perfect breeding ground for rust.

Foam-lined hard caseRemember, those plastic-shelled cases with foam interiors are for transport, not for long-term storage. Don’t repeat the mistake of a wealthy gun collector I know. He stored four valuable Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolvers in individual foam-padded cases, and locked these away in his gun safe. A year later, every one of his precious SAAs had rusted, some badly.

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December 8th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: The Modern F-Open Rifle

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Emil Kovan is one of the top F-Class shooters in the world. He won the 2014 United States F-Open Championship, and finished second in F-Open Division at the 2016 Canadian National F-Class Championship in Ontario. He is a great shooter and a great gun-builder as well.

The Anatomy of a Modern F-Class Open Rifle

Report by Emil Kovan
Kovan Match Rifles LLC, www.matchrifles.com

“What are the best components for an F-Open class rifle, and why?” That’s a question that I get asked all the time and will try to answer in this article. Two months ago, I was contacted by Duane, a gentleman I met at the 2015 F-Class Nationals. He was interested in building a rifle with the new Master Class Low Profile F-Open Stock, created by Carl Bernosky and Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks.

I have known Alex Sitman for many years, and use his stocks exclusively, but was not very familiar with his new Low Profile F-Open stock. After a brief conversation with Alex, I placed an order, and had the stock inletted and bedded at my shop in a month. My first impression was “Wow that’s a long stock” — the forearm is significantly longer than on the original Master Class F-Class prone stock. I bolted the barreled action in, and squeezed the end of the forearm and barrel together, the stock flexed a little bit, but not as much as other designs that I have tested. I think that’s due to having “more meat” in the receiver area. The full stock depth continues farther forward that on some other “low profile” designs. That makes the stock stiffer in the vertical plane, reducing the hinging effect forward of the action. The stock was finished in gloss black per the customer’s request. Interestingly, I found that the multiple layers of paint and clearcoat stiffened the stock up quite a bit.

CLICK IMAGE below for full-screen version
.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Low Center of Gravity Tames Torque
Compared to the original Master Class F-Open stock, the barrel sits about an inch lower. Lower center of gravity equals less torque, and that is very important when shooting heavy bullets in fast twist barrels. Another significant improvement is that the toe of the stock is flat and parallel to the forearm. I added a 3/4″ track rail in the rear, and milled the underside of the fore-end to create two parallel “rails” in the front to help the stock track better.

One of the biggest reasons why I like Master Class stocks, is the pistol grip. I don’t shoot “free recoil” and a comfortable pistol grip is super important to me when selecting a stock. The new Master Class Low Profile stock shares the same grip as the old model. This allows the stock to accommodate either a “hard hold” style or a more free-recoil style of shooting — whatever the rifle’s owner prefers. This design versatility is one reason I recommend Master Class stocks. Shooters may experiment with either shooting style to find what suits them best.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Cartridge Choice — A 40° .284 Win Improved
Duane decided to have the barrel chambered for my 284 KMR IMP (Improved) wildcat. What is .284 KMR IMP and why choose it over the straight .284 Winchester? Improved by definition means “made better”, I took a great cartridge, and modified it to increase capacity, reduce pressure, and increase brass life.

There are many “improved” variants of the original .284 Winchester: 7mm Walker, .284 Shehane, .284 Ackley and so on. My version, the 284 KMR IMP, shares the .010″ blown-out sidewalls of the .284 Shehane, but I have further increased the case capacity by changing the shoulder angle from 35 to 40 degrees. The 284 KMR IMP allows you to almost match magnum cartridge velocity in a standard-bolt-face action. If you want to run 180gr-class 7mm bullets over 2900 FPS, it is cheaper and more convenient to have a barrel chambered in 284 KMR IMP than to spend $650 for a magnum bolt.

Tuning Loads for the .284 Win Improved Cartridges
The 284 KMR IMP seems to have two nodes, one around 2820 fps and other at 2940 fps. My match load clocks at 2935 fps with single-digit ES. Note –I selected that load based on accuracy, NOT raw speed. A lot of novice (or hard-headed) shooters make the mistake to push their cartridges to the max, and disregard more accurate loads at lower velocity.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

The sport of F-Class is rapidly growing, and the equipment used is improving constantly. I remember that only few years ago, an F-Open rifle that could shoot sub-one-inch of vertical at 300 yards was considered competitive. Now, we are pursuing sub-one-inch vertical at 600 yards! It takes a great rifle to approach that goal, but it is also up to the shooter to learn and experiment as much as possible in order to achieve success.

Dies for an Improved .284 Win Cartridge
One of the biggest challenges in campaigning a wildcat cartridge has been obtaining great dies. When searching for custom dies, it almost seems like that the odds are stacked against us. The most common problem is wait-time — custom die orders can take months to be completed. Also, most custom die makers want you to send them two or three cases, each fire-formed three times. I find that funny because if could somehow properly size the cases for three fire-forming cycles, I would not need a sizing die.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Custom-made dies should size the case just right, but sometimes the die’s internal dimensions are slightly off, and this leads to problem number two: dies sizing too much (or even worse) too little. I had a one “custom” die that would not size the bottom of the case enough. This made the extraction of fired cases very difficult. I feel that the best option (if available) for shooters interested in wildcat chambers is to have their gunsmiths make the dies. I offer that die-making service in addition to barrel chambering.

BAT Machine “M” Action
Duane decided to use a BAT M action for this rifle, and I think that he could not have made a better choice. We are blessed with many good match-quality receivers: Barnard, BAT, Borden, Kelbly, Nesika, and Stiller just to mention a few. These are all very well-made and suitable for F-Class. Among BAT Machine Co.actions, I like BAT models M, MB, and 3LL best. I prefer these because because of their size (large bedding footprint) smoothness, timing, options available, and last but not least visual appearance.

Trigger: I recommend and use Jewell triggers. Other good options are: Kelbly, CG Jackson (good 2-Stage) Anschutz (best 2-Stage for Bat and Kelbly actions), Bix’N Andy, and David Tubb.

Barrel: Duane made another good choice here. He decided to go with a Brux 1:8.5″-twist, 4-groove cut-rifled barrel. If you look at the F-Class and Long Range benchrest equipment lists, you will see that cut-rifled barrels are currently dominating. Many records have been shot with both button-rifled, and cut-rifled barrels. I have shot both, and prefer cut-rifled barrels. I am not saying that button-rifled barrels are not capable of shooting as well as cut-rifled barrels, but on average, in my experience, four out of five cut-rifled barrels (from top makers) will shoot well, vs. three out of five buttoned barrels. YMMV, but this is what I’ve observed.

Brux Barrels is not the only company that produces very accurate cut-rifled barrels. We know that Krieger, Bartlein, Satern, and Hawk Hill Custom all make fine cut-rifled barrels as well.

Scope: Duane’s rifle was fitted with a Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition scope with DDR-2 reticle. This optic is ultra clear, reasonably lightweight (28 oz.), super reliable, and has 1/8 MOA clicks — what you want for long range F-Class competition. In this 15-55X NF model, I like the DDR-2 reticle best, because fine cross hairs (FCH) are hard to see in heavy mirage. The DDR-2 has a heavier horizontal line, with a center dot. March scopes are also very popular and very well-made.

.284 Win F-Class F-Open Rifle Emil Kovan Brux BAT M Master Class Bernosky

Thanks for reading, and keep ‘em in the middle…

Emil Kovan F-Class competition bio photoEmil Kovan Competition History:

– 2014 F-Class Open National Champion

– 2016 F-Class Open Canadian Championship, Silver Medal (tied for first on score)

– 2015 F-Class Open National Championship, Silver Medal

– F-Class Open National Championship Teams, 2015, 2014, 2013, Shooting Team Member

– Over 15 wins in Regional and State Championships in Palma, F-TR, F-Open

– 2013 U.S. National Team Member

– 2017 U.S. National Development Team Member

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December 8th, 2019

FREE Targets for Load Development, Training, and Fun Shooting

AccurateShooter Free downloadable print targets shooting paper PDF

Here’s an early Christmas present to our readers — a selection of FREE printable precision and fun targets. You can download these targets as PDF files and then print them out on 8.5×11″ heavy paper.

AccurateShooter.com offers a cool page with over 50 FREE downloadable targets. You’ll find all types or FREE targets — sight-in targets, varmint targets, rimfire targets, bullseye targets, tactical targets, load development targets and more. CLICK HERE for all our free targets, including our LOAD DEV target.

FREE Accuracy Precision Rifle Shooting Target
Right-Click target image to download printable PDF.

We created the above target a decade ago. Since then it has been used by tens of thousands of shooters. It has proven very popular as a load development target, since all your load data fits neatly in the boxes under each target. In fact this target is being employed by both rifle-makers and barrel-makers (including Criterion) to test their products. The target was designed for aiming efficiency. The diamonds have 1/2″ sides and you can align your cross-hairs on the horizontal and vertical lines. It is a clean design that is easy to see even at 200 yards with a 20X scope. When we test, we usually crank in a little elevation, setting the point-of-impact higher, so that our shots fall in the gray circles. That way you leave the squares intact for precise aiming.

Load Development and OCW Target

AccurateShooter Free downloadable print targets shooting paper PDF
Right-Click target image to download printable PDF.

Versatile Targets with Multiple Aiming Points
We use the two targets below for load development and precision practice. For the left target, use the corners of the diamonds to align your cross-hairs precisely. The circle dot target (on the right) can also be used for informal rimfire competition at 50 yards. Right-Click Each Target to Download Printable PDFs.

FREE Accuracy Precision Rifle Shooting Target FREE Accuracy Precision Rifle Shooting Target

Know-Your-Limits Target for Rimfire Training & Fun Matches

Here’s a rimfire training target with “big to small” target circles. Start with the largest circles, then move to the smaller ones in sequence. This systematic drill provides increasing challenge shot-by-shot. Novices often are quite surprised to see their accuracy improve as they move from bigger to smaller aiming points. That provides positive feedback — always a good thing.

Right Click and “Save as” to download printable PDF versions of target.

FREE NSSF Fun Targets — Dartboard, Golf, Billiards, Bowling Etc.

To help our readers have more fun during National Shooting Sports Month, here are a dozen FREE Targets from the NSSF. Along with Bullseye targets, there are some very cool specialty targets here, including a Golf Course Target, Baseball Diamond Target, Billiards Target, Light Bulb Target, Bowling Pin Target, and even a Windmill Target. Enjoy the myriad possibilities with these 12 fun targets.


» CLICK HERE to Get All 12 NSSF Targets in .ZIP Archive

August National Shooting Shoot sports month celebration NSSF

Quality Paper Stock Is Important
If you want your self-printed targets to show shots cleanly (and not rip when it gets windy), you should use quality paper stock. We recommend card stock — the kind of thick paper used for business cards. Card stock is available in both 65-lb and 110-lb weights in a variety of colors. We generally print black on white. But you might experiment with bright orange or yellow sheets. Forum Member ShootDots report: “They sell cardstock at Fed-Ex Kinko! I use either Orange or Yellow. That makes it easy to see bullet holes clearly.”

Printing Targets card stock heavy paper benchrest

Here are some Target-Printing Tips from our Forum members:

“Staples sells a 67-lb heavy stock that I have settled on. I use the light grey or light blue, either of these are easy on the eyes on bright days. I have used the 110-lb card stock as well and it works fine. It’s just a little easier to print the lighter stuff.” (JBarnwell)

“Cardstock, as mentioned, works great for showing bullet holes as it doesn’t tear or rip like the thin, lightweight 20-lb paper. I’ve never had a problem with cardstock feeding in the printer, just don’t stick too many sheets in there. If I need three targets, I load only three card stock sheets”. (MEMilanuk)

“20-lb bond works pretty well for me if I use a spray adhesive and stick the entire back of the paper’s surface to the backer board.” (Lapua40X)

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December 7th, 2019

Jerry Miculek Tours CMP Warehouse with 80,000+ WWII Garands

Jerry CMP M1 Garand video

Legendary shooter Jerry Miculek recently visited the CMP where he looked at the vast inventory of military rifles, including 80,000+ M1 Garands recently received from the Philippines. CMP tech staff showed Jerry some rare Garands that had never been issued. If you’re interested in classic military arms, you should definitely watch Jerry’s video:

Gina Johnson, CMP’s general manager, told Guns.com that: “We have roughly 86,000 rifles from the Philippines and roughly 13,000 rifles from Turkey in our possession”.

The arrival of these 99,000 M1 Garands is great news for rifle collectors. Garands have been in short supply in recent years, as the Obama administration opposed repatriation of surplus military rifles from overseas allies. Garands were getting harder to acquire from the CMP. In fact, over the past two years, many common Garand varients have been “sold out” on the CMP site.

CMP Marksmanship Program M1 Garand Philippines Turkey Rifles repatriated vintage military

The CMP Moves Tens of Thousands of M1 Garands into CMP Warehouses:
CMP Marksmanship Program M1 Garand Philippines Turkey Rifles repatriated vintage military

While we’ve known about the Philippine Garands for quite some time, Guns.com reports that collectors were surprised to learn about the Turkish Garands: “The Philippino guns have been on the radar for months while CMP has kept the news on the Turkish M1s closer to the vest. The influx of vintage rifles…is one of the biggest stockpiles the [CMP] has received in recent years.”

Garand Turkish Turkey Philippines

CLICK HERE for Garand Ordering Information | CLICK HERE for Garand Grading Information

How to Order an M1 Garand from the CMP
To purchase an M1 Garand through the CMP, you must be an adult U.S. Citizen, and a member of an affiliated organization who has participated in a “Marksmanship Activity”. This basically meas you need to join a a gun club and participate in a clinic or match. Proof of club membership and citizenship is mandatory for all ages. However, the marksmanship requirement is waived for those over 60 years. Garands must be ordered by mail or through official CMP Auctions. CLICK HERE to Start Order.

This popular Tips and Tricks Video has been viewed over 500,000 Times on YouTube.

Recommended M1 Garand Manual
Among the many M1 Garand manuals available, we recommend the CMP’s U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1: ‘Read This First’ Manual. This booklet covers take-down, reassembly, cleaning, lubrication, and operation. The manual comes with CMP rifles or can be purchased for $3.50 from the CMP eStore. The author of Garand Tips & Tricks says: “It’s one of the best firearms manuals I’ve seen and I highly recommend it.” The CMP also offers many other M1 Garand print resources including:

M1 Garand Owner’s Guide (125 pages, Scott Duff)
M1 Garand Complete Assembly Guide (155 pages, Walt Kuleck & Scott McKee)
Complete Guide to M1 Garand and M1 Carbine (296 pages, Bruce Canfield)

M1 Garands at CMP Retail Store in Anniston, Alabama.
Garand CMP Sales

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December 7th, 2019

“A Date Which Will Live in Infamy” — December 7, 1941

December 7 1941 pearl harbor

On this day 78 years ago….

Today, 78 years later, it remains important to remember what took place at Pearl Harbor, and to honor those soldiers, sailors, marines (and civilians) who lost their lives in the surprise attack. The tragic memory of Pearl Harbor reminds us that our nation should never be lulled into complacency. The world remains a dangerous place. The nation must remain alert to all dangers, and be prepared to respond to all threats, both known and unknown. As Wendell Phillips said famously: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

December 7 1941 pearl harbor

Thoughts on Pearl Harbor, by Dennis Santiago
When I think of December 7th, I remember it is the day my elders began the most difficult four years of their lives. I have seen in their eyes the fear, anger and resolve that come from experiencing what it was like to survive in territory occupied by the Empire of the Rising Sun. My mother had never heard of Pearl Harbor. For her, World War II began on the same day seeing the Japanese bomb a U.S. naval installation called Cubi Point, at the entrance to Manila Bay in the Philippine Islands.

My maternal grandfather never spoke of what horrors he had seen on the Bataan Death March or his years in the prison camps. When I look at my father, I think of my other grandfather’s memories of his son — my father — hanging off the side of a Japanese patrol boat in Subic Bay with an Arisaka pointed at him, forced to give up the catch needed to feed his family….

Time has passed but the poignancy has not faded. Each December 7th, I’m thankful my elders survived because I would not be here to muse about it, had they not. The echoes of their ordeal drive me deeply to make sure that such a thing will never happen again. Whether called the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere or some other name made up by the contemporaries of my day, the evil that lurks underneath those who believe their ideas justify the horrors they impose must always be confronted and defeated.

December 7 1941 pearl harbor
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December 7th, 2019

How To Read Mirage — Expert Advice with Diagrams

South Texas Mirage Reading article

This was one of our 25 Most Popular Articles in 2017. We’re repeating it for those of you who may have missed it the first time around. Diagrams from SouthTexasShooting.org.

South Texas marksmanship trainingThere is an excellent article about Mirage on the South Texas Marksmanship Training Center (STMTC) website. This article explains what causes mirage and how mirage can move the perceived aiming point on your target. Most importantly, the article explains, in considerable detail, how you can “read” mirage to discern wind speeds and wind directions.

Mirage Is Your Friend
While hot days with lots of mirage can be frustrating, mirage can reveal how the wind is flowing (and changing). If you learn how to recognize and read mirage patterns, you can use that information to shoot higher scores. That’s why many leading long-range shooters tell us: “Mirage is your friend.” As the STMTC article explains: “A mirage condition is not a handicap, since it offers a very accurate method of perceiving small wind changes[.]”

CLICK HERE to Read Complete Mirage Article

Mirage Illustrated with Diagrams
With simple but effective graphic illustrations, this is one of the best explanations of mirage (and mirage reading) we have found on the internet. This is a “must-read” for any serious competitive shooter. Here is a brief sample from the article, along with an illustration. NOTE: the full article is six times longer and has 8 diagrams.

South Texas Mirage Wind Diagram displacement

The term “mirage” as used by the shooter does not refer to a true mirage, but to heat waves and the refraction of light as it is bent passing through air layers of different density. Light which passes obliquely from one wind medium to another it undergoes an abrupt change in direction, whenever its velocity in the second medium is different from the velocity in the first wind medium; the shooter will see a “mirage”.

The density of air, and therefore its refraction, varies with its temperature. A condition of cool air overlaying warm air next to the ground is the cause of heat waves or “mirage”. The warm air, having a lower index of refraction, is mixed with the cooler air above by convection, irregularly bending the light transmitting the target image to the shooter’s eye. Figure 1 shows (greatly exaggerated) the vertical displacement of the target image by heat waves.

South Texas Mirage Reading article

Heat waves are easily seen with the unaided eye on a hot, bright day and can be seen with spotting scope on all but the coldest days. To observe heat waves, the scope should be focused on a point about midway to the target. This will cause the target to appear slightly out of focus, but since the high power rifle shooter generally does not try to spot bullet holes, the lack in target clarity is more than compensated by clarity of the heat waves.

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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December 5th, 2019

Gun Ownership — 43% of Americans in Gun-Owning Households

Gun ownership BATFE NSSF report statistics

Yes Americans cherish their Second Amendment rights. Despite what the Mainstream Media may say, gun ownership is alive and well in America, as 30% of U.S. adults say they personally own a gun, while a larger percentage, 43%, report living in a gun household. This is according to a recent Gallup Poll Survey. The same survey reveals that 40% of Conservatives own a firearm vs. 28% of Moderates and 18% of Liberals. 43% of Republicans own guns vs. 16% of Democrats — that’s a big gap. And more men than women own firearms, by a large margin. 43% of men polled say they own at least one gun, compared to 17% for women.

Gun Production Figures — 423 Million Civilian Guns in America
Based on Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) records, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), now says there are nearly 423 million guns owned by civilians in the United States. The estimated total number of firearms in civilian possession from 1986-2018 is 422.9 million, according to data from the BATFE’s Firearms Commerce Report in the United States 2019 report and preliminary 2018 Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Exportation Report (AFMER) figures.

While Gun Ownership Rises, Crime Rates Have Fallen
The NSSF’s 2017 Firearms Production Report also notes that as lawful firearms ownership in America continues to grow, criminal and unintentional misuse of firearms is falling. During the 25-year period covered in this report (1993–2017) the violent crime rate has decreased by 48.6 percent and unintentional firearm-related fatalities have declined by 68 percent.

gun crime rates

Black Rifles Are Big Sellers — 17,740,000 Modern Sporting Rifles in Private Ownership
There are some very interesting figures in the NSSF’s 2017 Firearms Production Report. One telling finding is that 17.74 million AR-Type Modern Sporting Rifles are now privately owned in the United States. Yes black rifles remain very popular — More than half (54%) of all rifles produced in 2017 were modern sporting rifles. Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President states: “The Modern Sporting Rifle continues to be the most popular centerfire rifle sold in America today and is clearly a commonly-owned firearm with more than 17 million in legal private ownership today.”

Gun ownership BATFE NSSF report statistics

7.66 Million Firearms Were Produced or Imported in 2018
An interim 2018 estimate showed a total 7,660,772 total firearms were produced and imported. Of those 4,277,971 were pistols and revolvers, 2,846,757 were rifles and 535,994 were shotguns. These interim reports will be updated as complete information becomes available.

8.1 Billion Rounds of Ammunition Produced Last Year for the U.S. Market
An estimated 8.1 billion rounds, of all calibers/gauges, were produced in 2018 for the U.S. market. Firearms-ammunition manufacturing accounted for nearly 12,000 employees producing over $4.1 billion in goods shipped in 2017.

Story tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

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December 4th, 2019

Important Rules for Firearms Gift Transfers

firearm gun gift law rules NSSF
Image Courtesy NSSF. This story is based on an NSSF Article.

‘Tis the season of gift-giving — Christmas is just 3 weeks away. Perhaps you’re considering giving a a first rifle to your grandson or perhaps a carry pistol to a spouse. When making a gun gift to a friend or family member, however, there are some very important legal considerations. Also the rules on firearms gift transfers vary from state to state. Bottom line here — you need to know the law BEFORE you deliver that shiny new firearm to a family member, close friend, or relative.

firearm gun gift law rules NSSF

The first thing to remember if you’re thinking about giving someone a gun is that … it’s a gun! You already know that ownership of a firearm brings with it some serious legal and ethical obligations that other consumer products don’t. So let’s look at some questions you may have about giving a firearm as a gift.

firearm gun gift law rules NSSF
Image Courtesy NSSF

ATF Firearms gun giftsThe first question you have to ask is whether the intended recipient can legally own the firearm where he or she lives. With more than 20,000 different gun laws on the books, even the kinds of firearms that law-abiding citizens can own vary from place to place. For example, juveniles (under age 18) generally speaking are precluded by law from possessing a handgun. Check out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website for an overview of local laws and, whatever you do, don’t forget that you can never under any circumstances transfer a firearm to someone you know — or have reasonable cause to believe — legally can’t own one. That’s a federal felony, so be careful.

There’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend who lives in your home state. Abramski v. United States, a recent Supreme Court decision involving a “straw purchase” of a firearm did not change the law regarding firearms as gifts. The following states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington State) and the District of Columbia require you to transfer a firearm through a local firearms retailer so an instant background check will be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun. Maryland and Pennsylvania require a background check for private party transfer of a handgun. There are exceptions, so it’s important to check the law of your state or ask your local firearms retailer.

ATF Firearms gun giftsConsider a Gift Card Instead of Direct Gift
The ATF recommends that if you want to give someone a new firearm, rather than going to a gun store and buying the gun on your own, consider instead purchasing a gift certificate/card from your favorite gun retailer. Then give that gift card as the present. That way the recipient can choose the exact gun he or she wants, and there’s no question about who is “the actual buyer of the firearm,” which is a question any purchaser must certify on the Federal Form 4473 at the time of purchase. The Gift Card option avoids any “straw purchaser” issues.

Intra-Family Transfers and Antique Arms
What if you want to give “Old Betsy,” your favorite old deer rifle, to your son or daughter as a college graduation gift? Again, in most states, there’s no law that says you can’t, but some states require even intra-family transfers to go through a licensed dealer. Remember, you can never transfer a firearm directly to another person who is a resident of a different state. In that case, you must transfer the firearm through a licensed dealer in the state where the person receiving the gift resides. Using a gift certificate from a firearms retailer near where the recipient lives might be a good solution. Pre-1898 antique firearms are generally exempt from the dealer requirement. [But check with the laws in your jurisdiction]. Be safe and check with your dealer or local law enforcement before you hand over your prized possession.

Regulations on Firearms Shipping to Third Parties
When you intend to transfer a gun, there are important rules on interstate shipping*. Generally speaking, you can only ship a handgun by common carrier (but not U.S. Mail) and a long gun by U.S. Mail or common carrier to a federally licensed dealer, but not to a non-licensed individual. With all carriers, federal law requires you to declare that your package contains an unloaded firearm. To be safe, always consult your carrier in advance about its regulations for shipping firearms. Also check your state laws on transfers.


*Different rules may apply to shipping to parties IN-STATE or shipping firearms to yourself in temporary care of others. Always consult your own state laws, but here are some FAQs copied directly from the ATF.GOV website:

(more…)

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December 3rd, 2019

F-Class — Best Cartridge Options for Mid-Range and Long Range

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Covan

Cartridge Choices for F-Class Competition

By Emil Kovan
Kovan Match Rifles LLC, www.matchrifles.com

There are hundreds of cartridge types capable of winning in F-Open. For F-TR you can shoot either the .223 Rem or .308 Win, but you have many load options. This article will focus on proven choices, currently used by the top F-Class shooters in the world. Our discussion will analyze cartridge selection based on the four different F-Class sub-disciplines: Open Mid-Range, Open Long-Range, F-TR Mid-Range, and F-TR Long Range.

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Kovan
Click image to view full-screen photo.

Mid-Range F-Open Cartridges

For starters, a .300 WSM is certainly capable of winning mid-range matches but it is not ideal. So what is ideal, and why? F-Class Mid-Range matches usually are usually shot at 300, 500, or 600 yards — or all three. At those distances the 6mm and 6.5mm cartridges rule. In moderate conditions, the 6mm Dasher is unbeatable. Its low recoil along with its super grouping ability and good ballistics make it my number one choice for Mid-Range.

Best bullets for the 6mm Dasher are: Vapor Trail 103gr, Berger 105 Hybrid, 108 BT, and 105 VLD (hunting). Best powders are: Varget, H4895, and Reloder 15.

Choices for Mid-Range in Tougher Conditions:
We all know that conditions are not always “moderate” that’s why something a little bit bigger will save you a “Nine” or two. The 6.5X47 Lapua was designed for 300-meter competition, but as soon as it was released, it was adopted by F-Class, benchrest, and tactical shooters. It offers great ballistics with very low recoil and big “accuracy window”. Lapua makes great brass for it (no surprise there) and Berger makes great bullets: 130gr VLD, 140gr VLD, 140gr Hybrids. Best powders in most barrels are Varget and H4350, I don’t use double-based powders such as Reloder 17 and the Vihtavuori N500 series because of their unpredictable performance day to day (greater temp sensitivity).

The 6.5X47 Lapua necked down to 6mm is also a great option for mid range matches. I was able to easily get 3200 fps with 105 hybrids and H4350.

Choice for Long-Range F-Open Competition

In Long-Range F-Open Class (out to 1000 yards), the big, high-BC bullets rule. If I had to pick one cartridge for F-Class (both mid- and long-range) I would pick the .284 Winchester or one of its variants. The .284 Win is currently dominating in F-Open competition. It offers great barrel life, it is super-easy to tune and its recoil is very manageable. The best bullets for it by far (in my opinion), are the Berger 180 Hybrids. But Sierra’s new 183gr MK bullet (with factory-uniformed meplats) seems to perform very well as does the Berger 180 VLD. Best powders for the .284 Win are H4350 and H4831SC.

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Covan

Long-Range Only F-Open Cartridge
As much as I like the .284 Win, for long-range competitions I like the .300 WSM even more. If you look at a .300 WSM and a 6mm Dasher side by side, they appear almost identical in geometry — the .300 WSM looks like an “super-sized” Dasher. Both cartridges are currently the “darlings” of long-range benchrest due to their extraordinary grouping ability and huge “node’’ windows. Big accuracy windows allow loads to perform well in different conditions and geographical locations. That’s obviously very important if you travel to compete. The .300 WSM loaded with Berger 215gr or 230gr Hybrids is very tough to beat at long range, and it is currently my number one choice.

The 7mm RSAUM is another outstanding long-range round. It resembles a 6BR on steroids and it is almost as easy to tune. Best bullets for it are Berger 180gr Hybrids, 195gr EOLs, and Sierra’s 183gr MatchKing. Best powders for the 7mm RSAUM are: H4350, H4831SC, and VV N160.

Top Caliber/Bullet Combos for F-TR

In F-TR competition, the choice is clear — a .308 Win throated for Berger 185gr BTLRs and 200gr Hybrids will win in mid-range AND long-range comps. Many championships have been won, and many records set with those two bullets in the .308 Win. To quote Danny Biggs (a two times FTR National Champion) “The 185 BTLR is the best bullet for .308 Win ever made”.

The Berger 215gr Hybrids have been used to win many competitions including recently the 2015 F-Class Nationals. Bryan Litz won both the Mid-Range and Long-Range 2015 Championships using 215s. Bryan’s rifle is shown below:

Bryan Litz F-TR 2015 National Championship rifle

I recommend chambers throated for the 185/200 grain projectiles over the 215/230 grain bullets. The reason is that if you have your barrel throated out for the 215s or the 230s, you could have a “slow” barrel and max out on pressure before the desired velocity is reached. Optimum freebore for the 230s is too long for the 185/200s, so you would be limited to using only 215/230gr bullets in that barrel.Furthermore, the recoil increase with heavier bullets is substantial, causing the rifle to be more difficult to shoot.

.223 Remington Cartridge Diagram.223 Rem — Not A Competitive Option
I would stay away from the .223 Remington. On paper the 90gr VLD will shoot inside most .308 Win loads even at a 1000 yards. But in reality, on average, the .223 Rem, regardless of what powder/bullet combo is used, cannot compete with the .308 Win. [Editor: The equipment lists at major F-TR matches will confirm Kovan’s conclusion here.]

Conclusion (and Other Options)
This article covers only the (currently) most popular cartridge/bullet combos for F-Class (F-Open and F-TR). As I said in the beginning, many cartridge types are capable of winning but are not listed due to their low popularity, case design, or lack of quality components. All of the above information is based on my personal experience and it is meant to help new shooters choose the right cartridges for F-Class matches. Thanks for reading and good luck — Emil Kovan

Emil Kovan F-Class competition bio photoEmil Kovan Competition History:

– 2014 F-Class Open National Champion

– 2015 F-Class Open National Championship, Silver Medal

– F-Class Open National Championship Teams, 2015, 2014, 2013, Shooting Team Member

– Over 15 wins in Regional and State Championships in Palma, F-TR, F-Open

– 2013 U.S. National Team Member

– 2017 U.S. National Development Team Member

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December 1st, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Dennis Builds an Eliseo Tubegun Palma Rig

Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals

Our friend Dennis Santiago is a talented Service Rifle shooter, who normally competes with an AR shooting the .223 Rem cartridge. Recently he decided to go over to the “dark side”, putting together a Palma (fullbore) rifle chambered for the .308 Winchester. Dennis selected a Competition Machine (Gary Eliseo) R1 Chassis for the project. Here’s Santiago’s account of his “true blue” Palma build…

Palma Rifle Report by Dennis Santiago
“Here’s my new project — a .308 Win Palma rifle with an Eliseo R1 chassis, Rem 700 action (blue-printed with PT&G upgrades), Jewell trigger, Boots Obermeyer 1:11″-twist barrel, and Phoenix sights holding Gehmann apertures. Next comes chassis and sling set-up, initial mechanical zeroing, and load development. Yup, I have a bunch of Peterson small primer .308 brass, Sierra #2156 155gr MKs, and Varget to get started with. I’m told I can drive 155gr pills to stay supersonic to 1K. Should make for an interesting 2020. My goal is to be cozy with this blue beast by the time the Berger Southwest Nationals kick off in February 2020. Hey, you gotta have goals!”

Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals

Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals
CLICK Image for full-screen photo with more detail.

Pinning the Picatinny — For a Super-Solid Mount
Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals

One of the key parts of the build, Dennis explains, is mounting the top rail with pins: “Once the rail is aligned using a spin-centered optic, it locks down with three 3/16″ roll pins. That way there is no reliance on screws that can come loose. Above is a photo of the top of the Eliseo tube chassis showing the three, 3/16″ roll pins that unitize the Picatinny rail. You can also see the four brass screws that just kiss the action to fully stabilize it in the tube. The recoil ring buttresses completely around the action with metal to metal contact. There are a million details hidden inside a Gary gun.”

Phoenix Sights Front and Rear
Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals

Rise of the Phoenix — Here are the sights for the Eliseo R1. There are very few manufacturers left making these kinds of ultra-precise and repeatable iron sights.

Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals

These Ray-Vin tools help set mechanical zero on the sights. Dennis notes: “Finally a reason to pull out the Ray-Vin calibration paraphernalia to set up a mechanical zero. This photo is for all of you who still remember that those barrel flats and screws in our sight towers actually had a purpose once upon a time.”

Sling ‘N Irons — Classic Palma Configuration
Dennis Santiago Eliseo Competition Machine Tubegun Chassis .308 Win Rifle Berger Southwest Nationals
Dennis plans to use an Eric Hollis sling with his new blue Palma rifle.

Peterson Small Primer .308 Win Brass for Santiago’s Rig
Berger southwest SW Nationals

Dennis plans to use Peterson Cartridge Small Rifle primer .308 Win brass. Peterson offers a “Select” version weight-sorted and length-sorted at the factory. All Select casings (in a 50ct box) are guaranteed to be within 1 grain in weight and .001″ in OAL. Peterson Select brass is available for 20 different cartridge types, including .308 Win both small primer/small flash hole and large primer/large flash hole.

Getting the Blue Rifle Ready for the 2020 Berger SW Nationals

Berger southwest SW Nationals

Dennis plans to campaign his rifle at the 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). He may shoot iron sights, or fit a scope and shoot in the “Any Sights” category. That’s not yet decided. The week-long Berger SWN is the biggest rifle match in the Western United States. Hundreds of shooters compete in both individual and team events. The SWN begins with the Mid-Range Nationals at 600 yards. Then the Long-Range matches are held, with targets out to 1000 yards. Watch the video to see the Ben Avery facility, home of the Berger SWN:

Chassis-maker Gary Elesio at the 2017 Berger SW Nationals. Gary shoots what he sells:

Gary Eliseo Chassis Dennis Santiago Palma .308 Win

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December 1st, 2019

Common Misconceptions about Twist Rate and Stabilization

FirearmsID.com barrel rifling diagram

Understanding Twist: Bullet Stabilization

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box for Sierra Bullets Blog.

Based on the questions we get on a daily basis on our 800 (Customer Support) line, twist is one of the most misunderstood subjects in the gun field. So let’s look deeper into this mystery and get a better understanding of what twist really means.

When you see the term 1:14″ (1-14) or 1:9″ twist, just exactly what does this mean? A rifle having a 1:14″ twist means the bullet will rotate one complete revolution every fourteen inches of the barrel. Naturally a 1:9″ turns one time every nine inches that it travels down the barrel. Now, here’s something that some people have trouble with. I’ve had calls from shooters thinking that a 1:14″ twist was faster than a 1:9″ because the number was higher with the 1:14″. The easiest way to remember this is the higher the number, the slower the twist rate is.

Now, the biggest misconception is that if a shooter has a .223 with a 1:8″ twist, his rifle won’t stabilize a 55gr bullet or anything lighter. So let’s look at what is required. The longer a bullet is for its diameter, the faster the twist has to be to stabilize it. In the case of the .223 with a 1:8″ twist, this was designed to stabilize 80gr bullets in this diameter. In truth the opposite is true. A 1:8″ will spin a 55gr faster than what is required in order to stabilize that length of bullet. If you have a bullet with good concentricity in its jacket, over-spinning it will not [normally] hurt its accuracy potential. [Editor’s Note: In addition, the faster twist rate will not, normally, decrease velocity significantly. That’s been confirmed by testing done by Bryan Litz’s Applied Ballistics Labs. There may be some minor speed loss.]

FirearmsID.com barrel rifling diagram
Many barrel-makers mark the twist rate and bore dimensions on their barrel blanks.

Think of it like tires on your truck. If you have a new set of tires put on your truck, and they balance them proper at the tire shop, you can drive down a street in town at 35 MPH and they spin perfect. You can get out on the highway and drive 65 MPH and they still spin perfect. A bullet acts the same way.

Once I loaded some 35gr HP bullets in a 22-250 Ackley with a 1:8″ twist. After putting three shots down range, the average velocity was 4584 FPS with an RPM level of 412,560. The group measured .750″ at 100 yards. This is a clear example that it is hard to over-stabilize a good bullet.

Twist-rate illustration by Erik Dahlberg courtesy FireArmsID.com. Krieger barrel photo courtesy GS Arizona.
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November 29th, 2019

Tech Tip: Input Key Variables for Your Ballistics Apps

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPad

“Garbage In, Garbage Out.” You have to input key variables with precision if you want your Ballistics Apps to deliver reliable long-range trajectories. So says Tom Beckstrand, Field Editor for Guns & Ammo magazine. A former U.S. Army Special Forces Officer, and avid long-range competitor, Beckstrand knows the importance of using your ballistic calculator correctly. Here are his tips on how to achieve the best results using Ballistics Calculators.

Key Variables: Muzzle Velocity, Ballistic Coefficient, Sight Height

“The most important inputs to make any ballistic calculator work correctly are muzzle velocity, ballistic coefficient, and sight height,” says Beckstrand.

Ascertain Accurate Muzzle Velocity with a Good Chronograph
“Cheap chronographs will not give an accurate muzzle velocity, so the serious shooter needs to spend the money on a quality chrono.” When you chronograph, make sure to measure the distance from the muzzle to the chrono unit. That input is also important to your Ballistic calculations.

Use Reliable G1 and G7 Ballistic Coefficients
Beckstrand added, “Ballistic Coefficients are available from ammunition and bullet manufacturers, and most of these coefficients the manufacturers provide are really quite accurate.” Ballistic Coefficient or BC, is a number that reflects how well a bullet cuts through the air. The higher the BC, the less the bullet is affected by air drag.

Measure Sight Height Correctly Using Calipers
Beckstrand has found that many shooters aren’t inputting sight height or they are guessing at the correct height. As target distance increases, just a half-inch of sight height inaccuracy can mean several inches up or down.

“Sight height is the input most often overlooked and is usually the source of greatest error. I think a lot of shooters, especially those new to long-range shooting, simply don’t understand the importance of this input.”

Sight height is the distance from the centerline of the scope to the centerline of the bore. Some shooters, Beckstrand believes, just “eye it up” and estimate the distance. “Really, you should use a set of calipers to measure the sight height distance … within 0.1 inch”.

This Video Explains How to Set Up and Use Ballistic AE:

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPadNeed a top-notch Ballistics App for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod? Start with Ballistic AE, the number 1 (i.e. most installed) App for iOS systems. Ballistics AE (Advanced Edition) is the most popular iOS ballistics program for many good reasons. Full-featured and easy to use, Ballistics AE has been refined over many years, and it supplies rock-solid solutions derived from JBM Ballistics solver (created by James B. Millard). Unlike some other Apps, Ballistics AE is STABLE on iPhones (with various OS levels). What’s cool is that Ballistics AE is now on sale for $12.99.

We’ve used the Ballistic AE program on an iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, and iPad, and it performed well. Here are some of the features we liked:

  • 1. Mirrors output from online version of JBM Ballistics we often use for initial calculations.
  • 2. Controls are simple to use and (mostly) intuitive.
  • 3. Handy comparison feature lets you compare ballistics for different projectiles side by side.
  • 4. Advanced Wind Kit allows you to account for complex wind situations.
  • 5. Projectile and BC Databases are very comprehensive.
  • 6. Software is regularly updated to match Apple OS changes.

Ballistic-AE App for iPhone, $9.99 | Ballistic-AE App for iPad, $9.99

Ballistic AE Moble App Ballistics Program solver JBM iphone, iPod, iPad

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November 28th, 2019

BLAZING AMMO — The Great SAAMI Ammo Fire Test

This important video shows what really happens when loaded ammunition burns. You will probably be surprised. Contrary to Hollywood notions, the ammo doesn’t ignite in a massive explosion. Far from it… basically the rounds “cook off” one by one, and the bullets release at relatively low velocity. We’ve featured this SAAMI research project before, but it is worth reprising for those who have not yet seen the burn tests.

A couple years back, SAAMI released an important video concerning ammo and fire. With professional fire-fighters standing by, over 400,000 rounds of ammo were incinerated in a series of eye-opening tests. If you haven’t had the chance to view this video yet, you should take the time to watch it now

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) has produced an amazing 25-minute video that shows what actually happens to sporting ammunition involved in a fire. This video shows the results of serious tests conducted with the assistance of professional fire crews. We strongly recommend you watch this video, all the way through. It dispels many myths, while demonstrating what really happens when ammunition is burned, dropped, or crushed.

Watch SAAMI Ammunition Testing Video

Video Timeline

  • 2:10 Impact Test (ignited outside firearm)
  • 3:40 65-foot Drop Test
  • 5:08 Bullet Impact (.308 Win firing)
  • 7:55 Blasting Cap Attacks
  • 9:55 Bulldozer and Forklift Tests
  • 12:20 Boxed Ammo Bonfire
  • 15:37 Bonfire without Packaging
  • 17:21 Retail Store Simulation Burn
  • 20:55 Truck Trailer Burn

Over 400,000 rounds of ammunition were used in the tests. Some of the footage is quite remarkable. Testers built a bonfire with 28,000 rounds of boxed ammo soaked in diesel fuel. Then the testers loaded five pallets of ammo (250,000 rounds) in the back of a semi-truck, and torched it all using wood and paper fire-starting materials doused with diesel fuel.

The video shows that, when ammo boxes are set on fire, and ammunition does discharge, the bullet normally exits at low speed and low pressure. SAAMI states: “Smokeless powders must be confined to propel a projectile at high velocity. When not in a firearm, projectile velocities are extremely low.” At distances of 10 meters, bullets launched from “cooked-off” ammo would not penetrate the normal “turn-out gear” worn by fire-fighters.

We are not suggesting you disregard the risks of ammo “cooking off” in a fire, but you will learn the realities of the situation by watching the video. There are some amazing demonstrations — including a simulated retail store fire with 115,000 rounds of ammo in boxes. As cartridges cook off, it sounds like a battery of machine-guns, but projectiles did not penetrate the “store” walls, or even two layers of sheet-rock. The fire crew puts out the “store fire” easily in under 20 seconds, just using water.

Additional Testing: Drop Test, Projectile Test, Crush Test, Blasting Cap Test

Drop Test
The video also offers interesting ammo-handling tests. Boxes of ammo were dropped from a height of 65 feet. Only a tiny fraction of the cartridges discharged, and there was no chain-fire. SAAMI concludes: “When dropped from extreme heights (65 feet), sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. If a cartridge ignites, it does not propagate.”

Rifle Fire Test
SAAMI’s testers even tried to blow up boxes of ammunition with rifle fire. Boxes of loaded ammo were shot with .308 Win rounds from 65 yards. The video includes fascinating slow-motion footage showing rounds penetrating boxes of rifle cartridges, pistol ammo, and shotgun shells. Individual cartridges that were penetrated were destroyed, but adjacent cartridges suffered little damage, other than some powder leakage. SAAMI observed: “Most of the ammunition did not ignite. When a cartridge did ignite, there was no chain reaction.”

Bulldozer Crush Test
The test team also did an amazing “crush-test” using a Bulldozer. First boxes of loaded ammo, then loose piles of ammo, were crushed under the treads of a Bulldozer. A handful of rounds fired off, but again there was no chain-fire, and no large explosion. SAAMI observed: “Even in the most extreme conditions of compression and friction, sporting ammunition is unlikely to ignite. [If it does ignite when crushed] it does not propagate.”

Blasting Cap Test
Perhaps most amazingly, the testers were not able to get ammunition to chain-fire (detonate all at once), even when using blasting caps affixed directly to live primers. In the SAAMI test, a blasting cap was placed on the primer of a round housed in a large box of ammo. One cartridge ignited but the rest of the boxed ammo was relatively undamaged and there was no propagation.

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November 24th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Teen Queen — 18-Year-Old Rifle Ace Katie Ezell

Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition
Katie poses in high school graduation cap and gown with her Walther LG400 Alutec Air Rifle.

Hard work and tenacity do pay off. Smallbore/Air Rifle ace Katie Ezell is proof.

Story based on article by Serena Juchnowski, CMP Feature Writer
Hailing from Denver, North Carolina, Katie Ezell, 18, is a rising talent. Katie graduated Summa Cum Laude from High School in 2019 and now attends Ohio State University, where she competes on the OSU Rifle Team. At the age of 10, Katie’s parents introduced her to marksmanship, wanting their daughter to have hands-on instruction in firearm safety. Thus began a love affair that has only evolved since then.

“The first time I ever went shooting, I knew this was something that I would want to continue to do.”

One of Katie’s match rifles is a Walther LG400 Alutec Competition Air Rifle:
Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition

Since she was so young and unable to join the teenage pistol team at her club, Katie applied to the women’s team, which had no specific age restrictions, and proceeded to compete with those far older and more experienced. Katie accredits much of her competitive drive and how she handles match pressure to pursuing the competition venture at such a young age.

After pistol came skeet, in which Katie traveled to national and international competitions. Thinking about the future, Katie soon realized that a shooting scholarship would allow her to continue in the shooting sports while funding her education. Precision rifle appeared to be the best avenue for this, leading Ezell to move into rimfire sporter for four months before making the jump into precision air rifle.

Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition

Ezell cites her greatest accomplishment as “getting accepted to be on The Ohio State [University’s] rifle team after shooting for a year and a half”. While Ezell had been shooting for eight years, she had only been training and competing in precision rifle for 18 months when she was accepted onto the team, where she made her dream a reality.

Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition

After joining the Ohio State team, Katie’s first competition was the Junior Olympics, which added some extra pressure to the already prestigious event. This was not the only special part of the occasion. Katie’s father, a deployed military member, was in town, and this was the first time he could watch her compete in person, since his deployment makes attending matches difficult.

Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition
Katie Ezell at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center in 2018 for Winter Air Gun.

Katie notes that after she set the nervousness aside, she found herself excited and shot a personal best in smallbore. She had hoped to shoot better with her air rifle, but she knows that being part of a college team will help her to improve her skills.

Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition
Katie excels at Smallbore. Here she aims a .22 LR Walther rifle at the 2018 Nationals at Fort Benning, GA. She shot a personal best at the Junior Olympics.

With Coaching, Katie Has Achieved Personal Bests in Both Ari Rifle and Smallbore
Katie is nearing the end of her first semester at Ohio State and has surpassed her previous bests in Smallbore and Air Rifle. Her coach has changed some of Katie’s positions, and she is improving.

“Marksmanship has taught me a lot about self-control. If the shot does not look right, then I reject it and try again. I have learned that failure is okay….” Katie recognizes that failure can inspire one to do better and to learn. She advises competitors “to not be afraid to fail”. Katie started into precision shooting at a much later age than most, especially those who end up with a college shooting career. Though it took time, she learned to appreciate the experience and to not bury herself in expectations.

Katie Ezell ohio state junior olympics smallbore air rifle shooting competition

Walther LG400-E Expert with Electronic Trigger
The E-trigger ensures wear-free operation and exact trigger settings for many shots. The LED-indicator and the installed rechargeable battery ensure readiness to fire as well as easy and quick loading.

· Trigger pull weight can be reduced to 15 grams
· Wear-free operation and exact trigger settings over many years
· Choice between two-stage mode and direct trigger mode
· Realistic dry-firing conditions (dry-firing trigger)
· Rechargeable battery via mini-USB
· LED indicators for system readiness and battery charge level
· Automatic e-trigger turnoff when not in use

Credit The First Shot CMP Newsletter, story by Serena Juchnowski, CMP Feature Writer.

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November 23rd, 2019

Suppressor Basics — How to Get One and How They Work

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB
Map courtesy SilencerShop.com.

Q & A: TOP TEN Questions about Suppressors Answered HERE »

You’d like to protect your hearing, and maybe you’re a little curious about how your rifle might shoot suppressed. So you’re thinking of buying a suppressor (aka “can”, “moderator”, “silencer”). You can’t just get one off the shelf at Walmart. Acquiring a suppressor requires filling out paperwork and paying a Federal $200 Tax Stamp. Plus there is typically a pretty long wait. However, the good news is that suppressor ownership is now legal in 42 of the 50 American states — that’s 84%! For most American adults, getting a suppressor is legal, provided pass the required background checks.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Allowed
Currently, the following 42 states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.

Note: Even if you live in one of the states listed, you should still verify that owning a suppressor is legal in your area. Some states may have municipal- or county-based restrictions.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Prohibited
Unfortunately, there are still eight (8) States that forbid private ownership of suppressors. The eight No-Go States are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island. In these eight states, private ownership of suppressors (aka “silencers”) is forbidden. Hopefully that a few of those eight hold-out states will change their laws in the months ahead.

Looking Inside a Suppressor in Action
Popular YouTube Channel Smarter Every Day recently released a cool video featuring rifle suppressors with see-through acrylic sleeves. The team filmed shots through the suppressors using ultra-high-speed (110,000 frame per second) cameras. When played back in super-slow-motion, you can see the flame propagate through the suppressor and the bullet move through each baffle before it exists the muzzle. Watch the results in the video below — it’s mesmerizing:

See Through Suppressor in Super Slow Motion (110,000 fps) — Click Arrow to Watch:

Suppressors, On Average, Reduce Noise Levels about 30 Decibels
In an article for Ammoland, gunwriter Sam Hoober says that you can expect about 30 decibels (dB) of noise reduction from the average suppressor: “Looking at a few different products, SilencerCo attests their suppressors reduce the sound pressure of a 9mm gunshot to anywhere from 125.7 dB to 131.5 dB, depending on the model. Advanced Armament Co, another popular supplier, attests a 23 dB to 33 dB reduction or down to 127 dB. Liberty Suppressors, another manufacturer, attests a reduction of 24 dB to 38 dB, depending on model and other factors. In short, we can presume something on the order of 30 dB of attenuation as an average.”

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB

Using that 30 dB number you can quickly discern that you’ll still need hearing protection — good hearing protection — when shooting any suppressed firearm (even a .22 LR). “Spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly”. Source: NRA Blog.

Story idea by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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November 23rd, 2019

Over-Shooting the Berm Is All Too Easy — Five Degrees of Doom

Gun Angle long range

In our Shooters’ Forum, there was an discussion about a range that was threatened with closure because rifle over-shoots were hitting a farm building over two miles from the firing line. One reader was skeptical of this, asking “how’s that possible — were these guys aiming at the stars?” Actually, you may be surprised. It doesn’t take much up-angle on a rifle to have a bullet land miles down-range. That’s why it’s so important that hunters and target shooters always orient their barrels in a safe direction (and angle). Shooters may not realize how much a small tilt of the barrel (above horizontal) can alter a bullet’s trajectory.

How many degrees of muzzle elevation do you think it would take to hit a barn at 3000 yards? Ten Degrees? Twenty Degrees? Actually the answer is much less — for a typical hunting cartridge, five to seven degrees of up-angle on the rifle is enough to create a trajectory that will have your bullet impacting at 3000 yards — that’s 1.7 miles away!

Gun Angle long range

Five degrees isn’t much at all. Look at the diagram above. The angle actually displayed for the up-tilted rifle is a true 5.07 degrees (above horizontal). Using JBM Ballistics, we calculated 5.07° as the angle that would produce a 3000-yard impact with a 185gr .30-caliber bullet launched at 2850 fps MV. That would be a moderate “book load” for a .300 Win Mag deer rifle.

Here’s how we derived the angle value. Using Litz-derived BCs for a 185gr Berger Hunting VLD launched at 2850 fps, the drop at 3000 yards is 304.1 MOA (Minutes of Angle), assuming a 100-yard zero. This was calculated using a G7 BC with the JBM Ballistics Program. There are 60 MOA for each 1 degree of Angle. Thus, 304.1 MOA equals 5.068 degrees. So, that means that if you tilt up your muzzle just slightly over five degrees, your 185gr bullet (2850 fps MV) will impact 3000 yards down-range.

Figuring Trajectories with Different Bullets and MVs
If the bullet travels slower, or if you shoot a bullet with a lower BC, the angle elevation required for a 3000-yard impact goes up, but the principle is the same. Let’s say you have a 168gr HPBT MatchKing launched at 2750 fps MV from a .308 Winchester. (That’s a typical tactical load.) With a 100-yard zero, the total drop is 440.1 MOA, or 7.335 degrees. That’s more up-tilt than our example above, but seven degrees is still not that much, when you consider how a rifle might be handled during a negligent discharge.

Think about a hunter getting into position for a shot. If careless, he could easily touch off the trigger with a muzzle up-angle of 10 degrees or more. Even when shooting from the bench, there is the possibility of discharging a rifle before the gun is leveled, sending the shot over the berm and, potentially, thousands of yards down-range.

Hopefully this article has shown folks that a very small amount of barrel elevation can make a huge difference in your bullet’s trajectory, and where it eventually lands. Nobody wants to put holes in a distant neighbor’s house, or worse yet, have the shot cause injury. Let’s go back to our original example of a 185gr bullet with a MV of 2850 fps. According to JBM, this projectile will still be traveling 687 fps at 3000 yards, with 193.7 ft/lbs of retained energy at that distance. That’s more than enough energy to be deadly.

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November 20th, 2019

Don’t Get Busted — Learn the Gun Laws in America’s 50 States

Gun Laws by State PewPewtactical.com Pew Pew Byran Ciyou attorney book

Gun Laws by State PewPewtactical.com Pew Pew Byran Ciyou attorney bookWill you be traveling to other states this winter? Are you concerned about the laws that might apply when you are transporting firearms across state lines? Or are you puzzled about the requirements for obtaining a carry permit in your own state? If you have any of these questions, you should definitely get expert guidance on State statutes and regulations controlling firearms. To do that, you can purchase Attorney Bryan Ciyou’s Gun Laws by State reference book. This is worth the money, and the $20 cost also includes access to an online legal database and other services.

Free State Law Summaries Online
If you don’t want to spend the twenty bucks, there is a good FREE alternative. There’s a very helpful set of State Law Summaries on the web, presented by PewPewTactical.com. Despite the silly name, the PewPewTactical website has an abundance of information that is particularly beneficial for pistol shooters and CCW holders.

One of the best features of PewPewTactical.com is the Gun Laws by State online reference guide. We looked through four of these State Law Summaries and were impressed by the depth of the coverage. But we caution — if you have specific legal questions, particularly with recently-enacted statutes, you should consult a licensed attorney for your state (or the state to which you will travel). In addition, some of the State Law Summaries have not been updated for a year or two. But they are still a good place to start. Below are links to state law articles from PewPewTactical.com. To access any State summary, simply click the State name below:

Gun Laws by State — FREE Summaries

CLICK state name to access each article.

Alabama Gun Laws

Alaska Gun Laws

Arizona Gun Laws

Arkansas Gun Laws

California Gun Laws

Colorado Gun Laws

Connecticut Gun Laws

Delaware Gun Laws

Florida Gun Laws

Georgia Gun Laws

Hawaii Gun Laws

Idaho Gun Laws

Illinois Gun Laws

Indiana Gun Laws

Iowa Gun Laws

Kansas Gun Laws

Kentucky Gun Laws

Louisiana Gun Laws

Maine Gun Laws

Maryland Gun Laws

Massachusetts Gun Laws

Michigan Gun Laws

Minnesota Gun Laws

Mississippi Gun Laws

Missouri Gun Laws

Montana Gun Laws

Nebraska Gun Laws

Nevada Gun Laws

New Hampshire Gun Laws

New Jersey Gun Laws

New Mexico Gun Laws

New York Gun Laws

North Carolina Gun Laws

North Dakota Gun Laws

Ohio Gun Laws

Oklahoma Gun Laws

Oregon Gun Laws

Pennsylvania Gun Laws

Rhode Island Gun Laws

South Carolina Gun Laws

South Dakota Gun Laws

Tennessee Gun Laws

Texas Gun Laws

Utah Gun Laws

Vermont Gun Laws

Virginia Gun Laws

Washington Gun Laws

West Virginia Gun Laws

Wisconsin Gun Laws

Wyoming Gun Laws

Washington, D.C. Gun Laws

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November 19th, 2019

The Mother of All Muzzle Brake Tests — PRB’s Epic Research

Cal Zant Precison Rifle Blog AccurateShooter Muzzle Brake Test Noise Recoil Reduction Video

Are you looking for a muzzle brake for your rifle? Then you MUST check out the epic Muzzle Brake Test performed a few seasons back by PrecisionRifleBlog.com. This massive, data-driven field test was organized by PRB head honcho Cal Zant. Over a period of months, Cal and his team tested 20+ muzzle brakes designed for 6mm, 6.5mm, and .30-caliber precision rifles. Hundreds of hours went into this research, which provided vital new insight and empirical data for several aspects of muzzle devices. Cal put a huge amount of labor/engineering into these tests and his findings deserve to be widely read.

Sound Level Test | Recoil Reduction Overview | Staying on Target | Muzzle Blast Test Results

Cal Zant Precison Rifle Blog AccurateShooter Muzzle Brake Test Noise Recoil Reduction VideoThe Muzzle Brake Overview Article covers designs, specs, and prices of 20+ brakes. Then separate, detailed PRB articles cover sound levels, recoil reduction results, ability to stay on target, muzzle blast/ground effects and more. SEE PRB Muzzle Brake Test Results SUMMARY.

GO TO PRB Muzzle Brake Test SUMMARY »

PRB muzzle brake test

Recoil Reduction
Cal created a system to directly measure the entire recoil force signature of each muzzle brake using high-speed sensors. Although the recoil cycle happens very quickly (around 1/100th of a second), his test equipment could record up to 1,000 force data points during a single recoil cycle! He fired over 1,000 rounds of match-grade ammo through four different rifles: 6XC, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, and the monster .300 Norma Magnum. He literally spent thousands of dollars on this part of the test, to ensure he got it right.

Cartridge Types Tested: 6XC, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, and .300 Norma Magnum

Cal Zant Precison Rifle Blog AccurateShooter Muzzle Brake Test Noise Recoil Reduction Video

Ability To Stay On Target
David Tubb helped Cal develop this part of the test, because David believes this is the most important aspect of a muzzle brake. Using a laser and high-speed camera, Cal was able to objectively quantify how well each design helped you stay on target.

Noise Level
Muzzle brakes are loud, but some are louder than others … three to four times as loud. Cal enlisted the help of an expert from the suppressor industry to precisely measure how much louder each muzzle brake made a rifle. Each brake was tested in accordance with MIL-STD-1474D using calibrated military-approved equipment, and the noise level was also tested at the shooter’s position.

Cal Zant Precison Rifle Blog AccurateShooter Muzzle Brake Test Noise Recoil Reduction Video

Recoil Reduction Summaries by Caliber
In the detailed summaries of recoil reduction test results, PRB provides hard data that might surprise a few people and even dispel a few myths. Particularly interesting is Zant’s comparison of recoil reduction with a suppressor compared to muzzle brakes. How do you think the suppressor performed compared to the brakes? You may be surprised.

Here are brake test findings for 6mm and 6.5mm. Click image for Test Results.

Cal Zant Precison Rifle Blog AccurateShooter Muzzle Brake Test Noise Recoil Reduction Video

Here are brake test findings for .308 Caliber. Click image for Test Results.

Cal Zant Precison Rifle Blog AccurateShooter Muzzle Brake Test Noise Recoil Reduction Video

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November 19th, 2019

Eye on Optics — How Riflescopes and Spotting Scopes Work

Accurateshooter.com optics rifle scope Swarovski

The Swarovski Optik website features a blog with interesting technical articles. In the “On Target” series of blog stories, Swarovski has provided a handy explanation of how optics systems work, with exploded diagrams of rifle scopes, spotting scopes, and binoculars. CLICK HERE for Swarovski Optics Blog.

Accurateshooter.com optics rifle scope Swarovski

Scope Terminology
Focusing Lens
The focusing lens is an adjustable lens inside the optical system for focusing the image at different distances…. In the case of rifle scopes, apart from focusing, the focusing lens also facilitates parallax compensation.

Diopter Adjustment
For rifle scopes, the reticle can be focused using the diopter adjustment on the eyepiece, thereby correcting any visual impairment. [Editor’s Note: Movable eyepiece diopter adjustment is not offered on all rifle scopes. It is a useful feature on Swarovski and other premium scopes. This allows shooters who need eyeglasses to get a sharply focus image even without wearing corrective lenses. Of course shooters should always wear ANSI-certified eye protection. With the diopter, folks who need correction can use inexpensive, non-Rx safety eyewear instead of expensive prescription safety glasses.]

Reversal System
The purpose of the reversal system is to reverse the image by means of prisms in binoculars and telescopes, and lenses in rifle scopes….The lens reversal system is needed in rifle scopes to control the variable magnification and move the exit pupil[.]

Resource tip by EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
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