March 2nd, 2021

Never Do This! — Gun Preserving Advice from Jerry Miculek

Jerry Miculek gun video handling safety error garand sks AR15 revolver

Jerry Miculek is the best action revolver shooter who has ever lived. Miculek is also a true master with rifle and shotgun. This guy shoots hundreds of thousands of rounds every year in all types of firearms. Through that process, he has discovered common mistakes many shooters make. Those mistakes can harm the guns, or threaten the safety of the operator. Here Jerry offers some vital gun handling and safety advice in his “Never Do This” video series.

Jerry Miculek has won multiple revolvers championships, and has set amazing records for revolver speed shooting (with reloads). Yes Jerry, “Mr. Revolver”, knows a thing or two about wheelguns. In this video, Jerry explains how you can damage your revolver by using the wrong methods to open and close the cylinder and extract ammo. Jerry shows what NOT to do, and then he very carefully explains the proper procedure to release the cylinder, and swing it out of the frame. In addition, Jerry shows how best to swing a loaded cyclinder back into place. If you own a revolver, ANY revolver, you should definitely watch this video.

In this second video, Jerry explains common mistakes people make when handling and shooting three classic, semi-auto firearm types — the M1 Garand, the SKS carbine, and the M1911 pistol. Jerry shows handling faults that can cause out-of-battery detonation or early primer strikes, or cause jams in the Garand and SKS. Then Jerry explains why you should never release the slide on a M1911 pistol with a round already in the chamber. This is a must-watch video for Garand owners.

Here Jerry demonstrates of the most common jams that can happen with AR-platform rifles. Miculek reveals the cause of the issue and then shows how to prevent it. Jerry notes: “This is one of those malfunctions that you won’t see coming! I’ve seen it … on the range and it can be devastating to your time in a match. All ammo used in the video were dummy rounds and intentionally loaded for training without powder or primers.”

Jerry Miculek gun video handling safety error garand sks AR15 revolver

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March 1st, 2021

Five Great Products for Serious Handgun Shooters

Jessie Harrison Pistol ammo aiming

While this site focuses primarily on accurate rifles, we know that most of our readers also own pistols (and many shoot them competitively). After rimfire pistols, probably the most popular handguns in America are 9mm semi-auto pistols. Here are five products we use with our favorite 9mm semi-autos — H&K P7M8 and SIG Sauer P226. You’ll find a great carry case, high-quality electronic muffs, a pistol “range station”, affordable 9mm ammo, and two cool training targets.

1. Mantis Systems — X2 for Dry-Fire, $99.99

Mantis X2 dry fire monitor system
Mantis X2 dry fire monitor system

Built for dry-fire use only, the Mantis X2 ($99.99) provides real-time, shot-by-shot feedback for both pistol and rifle users. You can track multiple training sessions with data-driven insights, and monitor your progress. This unit has earned high user reviews such as: “As a new gun owner the Mantis X is a game changer for me. I have not been able to get to the range during the lockdowns and being able to practice at home [is great].” And another: “Easy to install[.] The App is free and easy to use.”

The Mantis X2 is a good value. The manufacturer states: “There is nothing at this price point that will give you this level of feedback for dry fire.” There are actually four Mantis models: X2 ($99.99), X3 ($169.99), X7 Shotgun ($199.99) and X10 Elite ($249.99). The X3 adds live fire functionality. MORE INFO HERE.

2. CaseCruzer Handgun Cases

CaseCruzer gun pistol case revolver magnum 6-pack 5-pack 4-pack 3-pack

A California company, CaseCruzer, makes the nicest multi-pistol hard cases we’ve ever seen. With capacities from 3 pistols to 6 pistols, these lockable range cases hold handguns securely in angled “quick-draw” slots. In addition to the molded pistol carriers, there are slots for magazines together with a separate compartment for muffs, ammo, and other accessories. Starting at $240.00 MSRP for the Quick Draw 3-Pack, these boxes are expensive, but they offer great protection with great usability. Water-tight and dust-proof, CaseCruzer cases are airline approved (ATA 300).Now that you’ve spent thousands of dollars on the new benchrest, PRS, ELR, or hunting rifle (and thousands more on optics), how are you going to get it to the range or hunting grounds? It’s important to transport your valuable firearms in very high quality gun cases. Good padded soft cases can work, but for long-distance hauling (and all air transport), we recommend hard cases with quality foam inside.

3. Impact Pro Electronic Muffs 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30When shooting pistols indoors we recommend quality muffs with earplugs underneath, offering double protection. When inside an enclosed range, with other shooters blasting away right next to you, you really need effective hearing protection. But you also need to hear range commands and be able to communicate with your fellow shooters. That’s why we recommend electronic muffs with good foam plugs underneath. That gives you serious hearing protection during live fire, with the ability to hear voices and converse.

For pistol shooting, we like the latest Howard Leight Impact Pro Muffs. These offer an impressive 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), an exceptional NRR. In addition, these muffs are pretty comfortable and offer Headphone Functionality so you can connect to your smartphone, MP3 player, or other device. These quality muffs are currently $62.23 on Amazon.com.

4. MTM AC4C Ammo Crate with 4 Ammo Boxes

MTM Ammo Carrier Crate Box

The versatile MTM AC4C Ammo Carrier features four lockable polymer ammo cans in a fitted, four-slot 23.5″ x 11.3″ x 7.5″ carry crate. This makes it easy to haul four full ammo cans. Actual purchasers have raved: “Moments after I received this storage box set I ordered another. Very well-built and great design — a steal at the price.” This popular product is available now at Midsouth for $32.66. The system includes four lockable, O-Ring 11.3″ x 7.2″ x 5″ ammo cans (AC30T) for multi-caliber ammo storage. The crate even includes tie-down points for transport in a cart or ATV.

5. High Contrast Pistol Training Targets

pistol training target

Here are two of our favorite pistol targets. The Splatterburst 12″ x 12″ sight-in target works great for handguns in indoor ranges. Bullet holes appear as bright neon yellow halos. And the contrasting grid lines let you quickly estimate your group size. Each target has five diamonds, and the top of each diamond provides a precise aim point for your front sight. The 12″ Bullseye Pistol Diagnostic Target diagnoses common problems based on shot impact zones. While this target is designed for righties, left-handed shooters can use the target too. Just observe the opposite tips.

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March 1st, 2021

Protect Firearms with Bore-Stores and 3-Layer Storage Bags

Bore-Store Gun Sacks

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-Stores are offered in a wide range of sizes that fit everything from a Snub-nosed revolver to a 33″-barrelled Black Powder Rifle. Bore-Stores can be purchased for $9.97 – $28.97 from Borestores.com. For most scoped rifles, we recommend the 10″x46″ SCR-1 case. The Bore-Store manufacturer, Big Spring Enterprises will also craft custom sizes on request. For a long-barreled F-Class or ELR rig you may need a custom length. Or you can remove the scope and use the 7″x60″ MUS-1 Musket Bore-Store.

Bore-Store Handgun Cases | Bore-Store Rifle Cases | Bore-Store Shotgun Cases

Get Your Guns Out of Foam-lined Cases — They Are Rust Magnets
Just about the worst thing you can do for long-term storage (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. Even in warm summer months, humid air can leave moisture in the foam.

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.

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.

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February 28th, 2021

Sunday Gunday: “Red Rocket” .284 Win F-Open Match Rifle

Martin Tardif  Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Forum member Martin Tardif (aka “Killick” in our Forum) competes with a very accurate .284 Win F-Open rig fitted with a Barnard action, Brux barrel, and Eliseo F1 chassis. Unlike some F-Class shooters, Martin has tried many disciplines over the years, including service rifle and Mid-Range and Long Range sling competition. But he told us, “After experiencing arthritis in my hands and wrists, I decided I would dabble with F-Class. And that has turned into a happy obsession.” Today’s story features the object of that happy obsession — Martin’s tack-driving .284 Win he calls the “Red Rocket”.

F-Open Match Rifle — .284 Winchester “Red Rocket”

by Martin Tardif
This is the story of the new “Red Rocket”, my new F-Open rifle. It’s chambered in .284 Winchester (.317″ neck, .220″ freebore). This rifle features Barnard P action, Barnard single-stage trigger (4 oz.), and Brux 30″ one-inch straight-taper, 1:8.5″-twist barrel fitted with Blake Tuner. The barreled action rides in a Gary Eliseo Competition Machine (CMI) F1 F-Open metal chassis with Marine Corps Red powder coat. On top is March 48x52mm fixed-power High Master scope. In a previous incarnation, this same Barnard action served in a wood-stocked F-Class rig, a Red Retromod built from a modified Anschutz stock. I still have the Barnard action (and trigger), but mostly everything else is new.

Martin Tardif  Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo
Here’s the .284 Win “Red Rocket” with CMI F1 Stock, Barnard action, Brux barrel, and Blake Tuner on my SEB Mini at Burbank Rifle and Revolver Club in SoCal.

My previous F-Class rifle started out as a Palma rifle back around 2008. With a modified Anschutz prone stock, that .308 Win Palma sling gun served me well, helping me earn the 2009 California State Palma Championship. Much later I grafted more wood on and whittled that same stock into an F-Open specimen (shown below). That did get me to Long Range High Master but it definitely had limitations. For one it had annoying flex in the fore-end and the buttstock was not aligned with the barrel channel.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

I wanted to upgrade my stock to get a more consistent, better-shooting F-Open performer. So in April of 2020 I contacted Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine and ordered one of his streamlined, F1 “boom-stick” chassis units. These feature a very low Center of Gravity. I sent Gary my Barnard action and had Brux send him a barrel that I had won at the 2020 SWN raffle.

This video shows Martin shooting the “Red Rocket” in California

This rifle has been a success from the very start. At its first big match, the 2020 California State Championships, the Red Rocket tied for First Place on points but finished second overall on X-count.

Martin tells us: “The new red Eliseo stock is phenomenal and far surpasses the old red stock on my RetroMod project previously featured on the Daily Bulletin. The three things I like best about this Eliseo F1 chassis system are:

1. The lean, clean, efficient engineering and styling.
2. Easy manipulation of buttstock and cheek piece adjustments, ease of bolt removal.
3. Inherent confidence in its straightness and the durability of all the parts and finish.”

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

“I’m extremely impressed with the potential of this rig and I have still yet to fiddle with the tuner and test some of my Wolf/KVB primers. It’s all gravy now.” — Martin Tardif

I received the finished rifle in September and was impressed with its stark and consummate functionality and there is no doubt as to that function. The collinear aspect from any angle suggests a Red Rocket Car on the Bonneville Salt Flats, so that’s what I call this rig.

Martin Tardif  Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Reloading Methods and Load Development
My virgin brass prep starts with a .284 neck mandrel with the occasional squirt of WD-40, then to the drill press to turn the necks to 0.014″ wall thickness with my PMA Model B turner. After a quick dip in the media tumbler I run the whole batch through my DIY cake pan annealer and they’re ready for sizing. I like the Whidden Gunworks full length bushing dies. I use a .310″ bushing and a loaded round measures .312″. After sizing, I run the cases through the tumbler for 10-15 minutes to clean them up and then they are primed. I’m using my stash of S&B primers with an RCBS benchtop primer seater with a Holland Perfect Primer Seater add-on. I do point my 180-grain Berger Hybrid bullets with a Hoover die (see below).

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Here is Martin’s reloading bench. From left to right: A&D FX-120i Force Restoration Scale with Auto-Trickler V3, Hoover Bullet-Tipping Die, Whidden .284 Win FL Sizing Die with PMA click-adjust lock ring, Hodgdon H4350 powder. Martin reports: “I’m also using some of F-Class John’s Auto Trickler Methods — using two powder cups to speed up the process, hash marks on Auto Trickler gear drive, and minimal openings on FX-120i wind guards. These all improve the powder measuring.

Load Development and Accuracy Testing in Competition
I started load testing in November 2020. I tried both H4831sc and H4350 at 100 yards. I usually have excellent results with H4831sc but the Brux tube stubbornly preferred H4350. So I took a preliminary recipe (52.2 grains) to the California Long Range Championship and tied for First Place on points but got beat on Xs. Having seen a little too much vertical at the state match, I went with a lighter load that looked good for vertical at 100 yards (51.8 grains — see photo below). That load got me an overall win at our 1000-yard club match.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

I wanted to fine tune that load so I started a seating depth test. I did a final head to head test, comparing .015″ jump (away from first lands contact) and .018″ jump at 1000 yards. The .015″ jump load was the clear winner. This 15-round group was shot at 1000 yards with no flags on an overcast day with no mirage.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

The ShotMarker screenshot above shows 15 shots at 1000 yards with bullets seated .015″ out, switching winds and no flags, just watching the mirage. I added .25 MOA up after the first round ‘9’ (me fighting a clean barrel on first shot) and went to town.

Advice for New F-Class Shooters — by Martin Tardif

1. Watch a Top Competitor — Find a good shooter that you respect and watch and take note of their equipment, how they set up to shoot, how they shoot, what conditions they shoot in or don’t. Ideally you should ask to be squadded with them (if possible) so you can score for them. That way you’re not dividing your attention from the shooter you’re supposed to be scoring for. Be mindful not to pester them while they are setting up. Best to wait until they have finished shooting and try to ask questions off the firing line, others still shooting need to concentrate.

2. Cartridge Selection for F-Open– Go to Accurate Shooter’s 7mm Cartridge Guide and scroll to the .284 Winchester section by Charles Ballard. You can read further about the 7mm WSM and 7mm SAUM but for a caliber that’s not fussy you should stick with the .284 Win.

3. Reloading Equipment — To win, you really need ammo as perfect as you can make it. You should be able to find out everything you need to know about reloading equipment via the Accurateshooter Forum’s Reloading and Competition areas. It’s a one-stop shopping brain trust for everything F-Class, Sling, and Benchrest. And the Forum Marketplace is literally a never ending ‘Gun Show’ of For Sale items. It’s a great place to buy quality used stuff for newbies.

As a final bit of advice — BELIEVE the wind — it’s smarter than you are!

Commentary on Metal Chassis vs Wood Stock
I previously had a wood F-Class stock so flexible you could easily pinch the barrel to the fore-end with one hand and hold it there. My Eliseo metal chassis is MUCH more rigid. I don’t think there is any argument that a metal stock is more rigid than wood. I also think a metal stock with its monolithic properties has a more consistent cross-sectional density along its length than a wood stock would have due to the vagaries of grain structure. However I have no experimental data to support that theory, or how that might positively affect shot to shot consistency. I CAN say that the gun shoots better, with smaller groups and higher scores, than the previous wood stock version.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

The CMI F1 chassis has three main sections: rear assembly, main assembly, and fore-end. The main assembly is a 27″-long solid billet section with milled cavities for the rear assembly and trigger group. This also supports the action V-Block which cradles the full length of the action. The V-Block is mated to the top of the billet in a milled channel but doesn’t touch the sides to avoid uneven harmonics. The rear assembly hold the LOP-adjustable butt pad/bag rider and “easy off” cheek piece. The 3-piece fore-end is fitted to the main section with screws. The complete F1 chassis with grip and cheek piece weighs 6 pounds.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo
Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

F1 Chassis Maker Gary Eliseo Talks about His Design
The F1 was designed to incorporate the most important features needed in an F-Open rifle system. Top priority was placed on how the rifle tracked. The chassis had to be perfectly straight, and immune to weather so it will stay straight. On the F1, the fore-end is designed to keep the centerline of the barreled action as low as possible. This super-low center of gravity, along with the tall vertical sides, keep torque to a minimum, so the gun doesn’t twist or hop, but instead comes straight back.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

The F1 chassis can be fitted with bedding blocks to accommodate any action. These action bedding blocks are carefully epoxy-bedded to the chassis so the customer’s barreled action is perfectly in line with the central axis of the chassis. In addition to optimizing tracking, I also took a look at how the shooter interfaced with the rifle. I wanted the cheek piece to be narrow so that the shooter would not be forced into applying side pressure on the stock to get their eye behind the scope. The cheek piece is also easy to remove for those who shoot without one. This also facilitates bolt removal.

If you’re interested in an F1 F-Open Chassis, contact Gary via the Competition Machine eMail page. The current price for an F1 Chassis with Cerakote finish (any color) is $1150.00. Lead time is about 12 weeks.

Martin Tardif Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Chassis Gary Eliseo

Martin Tardif Eliseo Competition Machine F1 Stock F-Class F-Open Hollands Gunsmithing Perfect Primer Seater

Green Tools for Red Rocket — Martin uses an RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage press on an Inline Fabrication UltraMount. Primers are seated with an RCBS Bench Primer fitted with Holland’s Gunsmithing Perfect Primer Seater Adapter. This provides ultra-consistent primer seating.

F-Class Match Strategies for California Ranges
My strategy for a match clearly depends on the specific location. For instance, at my home range, the Burbank Rifle and Revolver Club, which has several cuts and gullies crossing the canyon, the wind comes primarily from NNE and since the range faces slightly NNE the predominant condition will be a head or right wind so I’m looking for R to L mirage and left angled flags.

By contrast, Coalinga CA is a much more open/exposed range which can make it much more challenging. When you see all the flags going against the mirage for the majority of the string (after you’ve gone for record of course) that can be tough. So I like to watch the wind while I’m scoring and for a few minutes during sighters and shoot them in a few ‘looks’ if I can get them. But sometimes you have to go with your gut if your sighters whisper “go-for-record-you-knucklehead” and so it’s off to the races. It often seems like I should have just chased the spotter when I’m waiting out a fishtail or let-up there.

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February 28th, 2021

Experiment with Fore and Aft Rifle Position on Rest and Bag

Benchrest stock

To get the best accuracy out of any benchrest rifle, you need to find the optimal position of front rest and rear bag. The important point to remember is that each rig is different. One gun may perform best with the front rest right at the tip of the forearm (Position ‘D’ in photo), while another gun will work best with the rest positioned much further back. This Editor’s own 6mmBR rifle has a laminated stock that is pretty flexy in the front. It shoots best with the front rest’s sandbag located a good 6″ back from the forearm tip (position ‘A’).

Here’s some benchrest advice that can help you reduce vertical and shoot tighter groups… without spending another penny. Many benchrest shooters spend a fortune on equipment and devote countless hours to meticulous handloading, but they never experiment with their rifle’s position/balance on the bags. This article explains why you should test your rifle in various positions. What you learn may surprise you (and improve your scores).

Next time you go to the range, experiment with the position of your rifle on the front rest, and try a couple different positions for the rear bag. You may find that the rifle handles much better after you’ve made a small change in the placement of your gun on the bags. Recoil can be tamed a bit, and tracking can improve significantly, if you optimize the front rest and rear bag positioning.

front rest Sally benchrest IBS
This competitor has the front rest positioned fairly far forward but not all the way out. Note the stop on the front rest — this limits forward stock travel.

A small change in the position of the forearm on the front rest, or in the placement of the rear bag, can make a big difference in how your gun performs.

Balance Your Gun BEFORE You Spend Hours Tuning Loads
In the pursuit of ultimate accuracy, shooters may spend countless hours on brass prep, bullet selection, and load tuning. Yet the same shooters may pay little attention to how their gun is set-up on the bags. When you have acquired a new rifle, you should do some basic experimentation to find the optimal position for the forearm on the front rest, and the best position for the rear bag. Small changes can make a big difference.

Joel Kendrick

Joel Kendrick, past IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, has observed that by adjusting forearm position on the front rest, he can tune out vertical. He has one carbon-fiber-reinforced stock that is extremely rigid. When it was placed with the front rest right under the very tip of the forearm, the gun tended to hop, creating vertical. By sliding the whole gun forward (with more forearm overhang ahead of the front sandbag), he was able to get the whole rig to settle down. That resulted in less vertical dispersion, and the gun tracked much better.

stock position benchrest forearm sandbag front rest
Fore/aft stock position is important even with very wide fore-ends.

Likewise, the placement of the rear bag is very important. Many shooters, by default, will simply place the rear bag the same distance from the front rest with all their guns. In fact, different stocks and different calibers will NOT behave the same. By moving the rear bag forward and aft, you can adjust the rifle’s overall balance and this can improve the tracking significantly. One of our shooters had a Savage 6BR F-Class rifle. By default he had his rear bag set almost all the way at the end of the buttstock. When he slid the rear bag a couple inches forward the gun tracked much better. He immediately noticed that the gun returned to point of aim better (crosshairs would stay on target from shot to shot), AND the gun torqued (twisted) less. The difference was quite noticeable.

A small change in the position of the forearm on the front rest, or in the placement of the rear bag, can make a big difference in how your gun performs. You should experiment with the forearm placement, trying different positions on the front rest. Likewise, you can move the rear bag back and forth a few inches. Once you establish the optimal positions of front rest and rear bag, you should find that your gun tracks better and returns to battery more reliably. You may then discover that the gun shoots smaller groups, with less vertical dispersion. And all these benefits are possible without purchasing any expensive new gear.

Rifle photo courtesy Johnson’s Precision Gunsmithing (Bakersfield, CA).

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February 28th, 2021

Wow Factor: Muzzle Brake Blast Patterns Revealed

Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Test Blast Powder

A while back, the Precision Rifle Blog conducted a fascinating study of Muzzle Brakes. PRB figured out a way to show the actual “blast pattern” of gasses ejecting from the ports of muzzle brakes. The result was a fascinating (and eye-catching) series of images revealing the distinctive gas outflows of 20+ different types of muzzle brakes. If you are considering buying and installing a muzzle brake on your rifle, you should definitely review this important PRB Muzzle Brake Test.

GO to PRB Muzzle Brake Blast Pattern TEST PAGE »

For a prone shooter, particularly on dusty, dirty or sandy ground, muzzle blast is a major bummer. Muzzle blast can be very disturbing — not just for the trigger-puller but for persons on either side of the gun as well. Some muzzle brakes send a huge shockwave back towards the shooter, and others send blast towards the ground, kicking dirt and debris into the prone shooter’s face. If there was a way to illustrate those factors — shockwave and debris — that might help shooters select one brake design over another.

Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Test Blast Powder

Cal Zant at PrecisionRifleBlog.com applied a unique blend of creativity and resourcefulness to try to answer that question for 20+ muzzle brakes. Using high-speed photography and household products, he captured the blast pattern of 20+ different brake designs for easy side-by-side comparison. Can you figure out how Cal managed to show muzzle brake blasts so clearly? His “hi-viz” solution, revealed in the article, is very clever. See the eye-opening results for 20+ brakes, with illustrative photos, by visiting the Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Ground Signature Test Page.

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February 27th, 2021

Gear Review: Lyman Reloading Press Stand — “It’s a Keeper”

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I absolutely love using this press stand. I use it with my Forster Co-Ax as well as my Dillon 550. The stand mounts those presses at the right height to minimize fatigue and maximize torque. Some products I merely review and return but this one is a keeper and won’t be leaving my bench anytime soon. — F-Class John

Lyman Universal Press Stand REVIEW

Product Review by F-Class John
Positioning your press at the optimal height is one of the oldest problems in reloading. Most presses sit low off the edge leading to uncomfortable arm strain or inconsistent pressure being applied while using. Lyman has set out to fix that problem with a reasonably-priced ($54.99 at Midsouth) press riser that works with the vast majority of reloading presses. This unit will raise just about any press up off your bench securely, allowing you to working more comfortably from a standing position. This also frees up vital bench space UNDER the press. Unfortunately this press stand is so popular it is back-ordered at most vendors.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

I have used a variety of presses over the years. At times I’ve run into issues mounting a press at a level that doesn’t promote arm or hand strain during normal operations. In the past I’ve used blocks of wood or even tried other brands’ proprietary stands. But I had very limited success with those options. Accordingly, I was very excited to give the Lyman Universal Press Stand a chance.

Lyman’s Universal Press Stand comes complete with side plates, two different top plates, and a large collection of mounting hardware. The two top plates are pre-drilled for numerous popular Single Stage or Progressive presses. Helpful diagrams and instructions show which side of the top plate you need to use. The pre-drilled holes accommodate a variety of presses from RCBS, Dillon, Lyman, Redding, and Hornady. But surprisingly, the plates are not pre-configured for the Forster Co-Ax Press.

CLICK to WATCH VIDEO Showing Lyman Universal Press Stand

Setting up the stand was very simple. The two sides bolt to the lower shelf unit at which point you attach the top plate. All the supplied bolts made this a breeze and once everything was snugged down, I was able to place it on my bench where I wanted it and mark the drill holes to mount it. After securing the stand to my bench it was time to mount my press.

Lyman Universal Press Stand with Dillon 550 Press

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Adapting Lyman Universal Press Stand for Forster Co-Ax
At the time of testing I was primarily using a Forster Co-Ax press. With no pre-drilled Co-Ax configuration for either Lyman top plate, I decided to customize the blank side of one of the top plates. I opted to position the mounting holes so that the press could sit 100% on top of the mounting plate and not just off one edge. I found this process simple to execute. Mark your drill holes, then drill the plate. This can easily be done with regular drill bits although using a step-bit worked faster and cleaner to help enlarge the holes just a little when I needed some extra clearance.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Universal Press Stand Is Stable and Strong
Once set-up, I found the stand to be incredibly stable. The design allows for full force to be applied to the press no matter what the operation. Having used this Lyman Press stand regularly over the past few months with both my Co-Ax and a Dillon 550c, I still find myself loving it. The height is perfect and allows me to load as much as I like without straining my arm or getting fatigued. With an attractive price point (under $55.00 street price) and a simple design, I feel this is a great system for those looking for a secure and raised platform for their reloading presses.

The Universal Press Stand comes with two plates. If you have different presses that fit each plate you could easily swap presses just by changing plates while leaving the presses attached. It’s less functional if you have two presses that share one plate and would require removing one press before installing the next one.

lyman universal press stand review Dillon 550 Forster Co-Ax bench lift reloading

Lyman Press Stand Unboxing and Set-Up (KFW Video Review):

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February 26th, 2021

Hodgdon Powder Update — Why Are There Shortages?

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortage

As any handloader knows, popular reloading powders have become difficult to find. And when you do locate the powder you want, the price might be twice what you paid a year ago (or even more on auction sites). Across the nation, shooters are asking “What gives? Why are powder prices so high? And when are the shortages going to end?”

Hodgdon Powder Company (“Hodgdon”), supplier of Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders*, has attempted to answer these questions with a “Powder Update” posted yesterday. Along with addressing the shortage issues, Hodgdon explains the challenges involved in increasing production in the USA and/or increasing imports from overseas. The ultra-popular H4198, H4895, Varget, H4350, and H4831 family of powders are produced by ADI in Australia**. So Hodgdon can’t ship more Varget or H4350 in the USA unless Hodgdon can get more from Australia.

In the Powder Update reprinted below, Hodgdon answers many key questions, and debunks some misconceptions. For example, Hodgdon is NOT selling its powders on auction sites such as Gunbroker. That is completely false.

POWDER UPDATE from Hodgdon Powder Company

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortageWHY CAN’T HODGDON SHIP MORE POWDER?
The current powder situation is due to a record demand for all reloading components and NOT a reduction in the supply of powder. With long-time handloaders looking to stock up and new gun owners looking for ammunition, there is an unprecedented demand for powder and other reloading components. We shipped a record amount of powder in 2020 and will ship even more in 2021. We are doing everything in our power to get the most powder into consumer hands this year. We are running overtime in our facilities, have hired additional staff and have leveraged relationships with shipping partners to add new shipping options.

WHY CAN’T HODGDON BUILD ANOTHER POWDER PLANT?
The “normal” powder demand for the United States would not support an additional plant. Hodgdon, like most companies, cannot afford to build a new production facility then have it sit idle until demand spikes.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER TO THE GOVERNMENT?
Hodgdon does NOT sell powder directly to the government. We sell some powder to manufacturers making ammunition for our military, but that is a small part of our business.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER TO AMMUNITION MANUFACTURERS?
The heart of our business is smokeless powder for the handloading enthusiast. Yes, we sell some powder to ammo manufacturers, but that is a small part of our business. Every day, we receive calls from potential OEM customers looking for powder to load in ammunition. We politely decline so we can focus on our long-term, handloading customers.

WHY IS HODGDON SELLING POWDER ON AUCTION SITES?
We don’t. Period. We recently began selling a limited amount of powder on our OWN websites but prioritize our shipments to our traditional sales channels to maximize powder availability at sporting goods and gun shops. [Editor: If you see Hodgdon powder on auction sites, that is listed by third party vendors.]

WHY IS THE PRICE OF POWDER SO HIGH ON THE INTERNET?
We do not set sale prices or MSRPs for the price of our powders at retail, nor do we encourage any of our retailers or dealers to sell on auction sites, but we cannot control what happens AFTER we sell to our traditional sales channels.

Hodgdon Powder report supply pricing shortage


* Hodgdon also sells certain Ramshot, Accurate, and Blackhorn powders along with Goex black powder.
** Here’s a list of ADI to Hodgdon Powder equivalents from the ADI FAQ Page:

ADI / Hodgdon Propellants Equivalents
ADI Powder Hodgdon/IMR Name
Trail Boss
AR2207
AR2219
BM2
Bench Mark 8208
AR2206H
AR2208
AR2209
AR2213H/AR2213SC
AR2217
AR2225
AR2218
Trail Boss
H4198
H322
Benchmark
8208 XBR
H4895
Varget
H4350
H4831 / H4831SC
H1000
Retumbo
H50BMG
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February 26th, 2021

7 SAFE: Seven Vital Safety Tips for Reloaders

seven reloading safety tips powder primers brownells manual

You can never be too safe when hand-loading your own ammunition. This helpful Brownells video outlines the Seven Fundamental Reloading Safety Tips. This is important information for novice hand-loaders and a good refresher for those with reloading experience!

Summary of the Seven Safety Tips:

1. Store your reloading supplies in a safe and dry location, away from children and away from any possible source of ignition. It is also smart to keep your powder and primers separate.

2. Get and use respected reloading manuals, especially for new cartridges. Start low and work up slowly while watching for warning signs of pressure and/or case fatigue.

3. Locate your reloading activity where you will not be distracted. If you get interrupted, stop. (Distractions will eventually lead to mistakes.)

4. Do NOT mix powders. Keep your powders clearly marked and dated. You can use masking tape to write the date on the container.

5. If you load the same cartridge type for different firearms, make sure your ammo headspaces properly in each gun.

6. Check cases frequently. Look for split necks, case head separation or other signs of fatigue and excessive pressure.

7. If reloading military brass, be aware that case capacity is usually reduced, and initial loads should be at least 10-15% lower than published data.


Here are some other tips that will help your avoid making costly mistakes (such as using the wrong powder, or undercharging a case):

  • Powder Type — Always double-check the label on your powder containers. After placing powder in the powder measure, put a piece of tape on the measure with the powder type written on it. Some guys write the powder type on a card and place that right in the hopper.
  • Scale Drift — Electronic balances can drift. If you are using a digital powder scale, calibrate the scale with a test weight every 50 rounds or so.
  • Case Fill — If you throw more than one charge at a time, look INSIDE every case before seating a bullet. Squib charges can be dangerous if you don’t notice them before firing the next round.
  • Progressive Presses — When using a progressive press, consider using an RCBS Lock-Out Die. This will detect a low charge and stop the machine. These dies will work with RCBS, Hornady, and Dillon progressives.

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February 25th, 2021

Canadian Gun Confiscation Starting Soon

Canada Trudeau AR-15 gun confiscation government Larry Keene

The Great Northern Gun Grab is About to Begin
Article By Larry Keane, NSSF Gen. Counsel and Sr. VP (Gov’t Affairs)

New Gun Control Measures
Prime Minister Trudeau fulfilled his ill-advised promise by announcing the introduction of a bill in Canada’s Parliament, labeled C-21, that would usher in crushing gun restrictions. Included in the bill is everything from a provision to allow anyone to petition a police chief to revoke a firearm license and the courts to seize firearms for up to 30 days. The bill includes a magazine ban for handguns with a capacity greater than 10 rounds and centerfire rifle magazines with a capacity greater than five rounds. It would impose a strict regimen for those who choose not to participate in the confiscation program with onerous and nearly impossible requirements to keep their firearms. A two-year amnesty period for owners of these now-banned firearms will expire in April 2022.

Canada Trudeau AR-15 gun confiscation government Larry Keene

Canada Trudeau AR-15 gun confiscation government Larry KeeneGun Confiscation
The biggest concern of this gun control push is the outright confiscation of firearms by the government. Prime Minister Trudeau and his allies are labeling it as a government “buyback.” However, this is using Canadian taxpayer funds for the government to buy back something it never owned in the first place.

More shocking is that no government official will put a price tag on what this would cost. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said the government will have a better picture of the cost when it knows how many owners want to “sell” their firearms and for how much, according to a Canadian Broadcasting Channel (CBC) report. Minister Blair guessed it would run between $300-400 million if 150-200,000 gun owners demand $1,300 per firearm. Minister Blair earlier pegged the cost at $600 million.

Critics argue the cost would be much higher. Those critics were right about Canada’s previous gun registration scheme being a colossal failure with an enormous price tag. That was pitched at costing only $2 million but ran over $2.7 billion before being scrapped. The same critics are pointing to New Zealand’s confiscation model and [estimate] the Canadian cost at $1.6-$5 billion in just the first year. That’s just administrative costs, not including the bounty Prime Minister Trudeau would pay for each firearm.

Noncompliance — Are There Alternatives?
Canadians who don’t participate in surrendering their firearms to the government will be forced to endure a rigorous set of rules and inspections to keep their firearms – while they can and while they’re alive. Those who don’t hand over their firearms could keep them under strict conditions to not use, import, further acquire, sell or bequeath them. Those individuals would also be required to complete the Canadian Restricted Firearm Safety Course and upgrade their licenses to a “Restricted Possession and Acquisition Licence.” Of course, this would incur all associated course and license fees, along with registering any firearms with the Firearms Registrar, complying with enhanced storage requirements and periodically providing information on firearm storage to ensure compliance.

But Wait, There’s More
The proposed confiscation law would be so much more than just a gun grab. It would also give municipalities the option of enacting their own local ban on handguns. Some local laws might not go that far. Local laws might only regulate home storage of handguns, requiring them to be stored at shooting clubs and ranges. This would create a patchwork of differing gun control laws and pitfalls for Canadian gun owners. Enforcement would become a nightmare.

Matt DeMille of Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, told the CBC, “Adopting measures across the province in a patchwork is going to be very difficult for people to understand.” Conservative public safety critic Shannon Stubbs added, “This part of the bill doesn’t address the major problem, which is the illicit use of illegal guns in crime.”

Another provision in the bill would make it illegal to advertise a firearm that depicts violence against a person. Read strictly, that would make it a crime to advertise a gun as a self-defense tool. Instead of taking on the criminals who misuse firearms, Prime Minister Trudeau would lock up advertisers who tell his citizens they don’t have to be willing victims and can use firearms to defend themselves.

“Gun ownership in Canada is a privilege… not a right.” — Public Safety Min. Bill Blair

This sounds like a dystopian fairy tale, but the reality is this is happening on the doorstep of the United States. Minister Blair made it clear why Prime Minister Trudeau is able to get away with it: “Gun ownership in Canada, in this country, is a privilege and not a right,” Minister Blair explained to Canada’s Global News. It’s a privilege that’s predicated on the strict adherence to our laws, our regulations, and our restrictions.”

Opposition to Confiscation Program
That’s not stopping opponents from saying Prime Minister Trudeau is overstepping. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police said it won’t support a plan for handgun bans. Vancouver police chief Adam Palmer heads the organization and previously said there are laws against the illegal use of handguns. Further gun control laws won’t solve this problem.

Manitoba Premier Brian Palliste said the handgun ban is “not going to work.” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is critical of Prime Minister Trudeau’s gun grabs. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney denounced the moves for targeting law-abiding gun owners and not criminals. Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford said the national government should focus on enforcing laws and putting criminals behind bars, not seizing guns from law-abiding citizens.

In light of President Joe Biden’s gun control wish list, it’s worth nothing the importance of the 27 words of the Second Amendment. It’s also worth watching the cost of dollars and rights an out-of-control gun control agenda can do to a nation’s citizens.

Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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February 25th, 2021

Shiraz Balolia Book Recounts Remarkable Business Success Story

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly Industrial F-Class

If you are a F-Class competitor or use machine tools, chances are you know Shiraz Balolia. Shiraz is one of America’s top F-Class shooters, an all-star competitor who has won major titles, including three straight Canadian F-Open National Championships. Shiraz also owns Grizzly Industrial Inc., a large, successful enterprise he founded in 1983. For 38 years, Grizzly has provided quality tools to wood-workers and metal workers. Grizzly’s catalog is now over 700 pages.

Shiraz’s life story is an interesting one. He came to the USA from Kenya, and then became a very successful businessman, building Grizzly Industrial into a major player in the tools/parts/machinery business. Shiraz also founded Bullets.com, which sold firearms accessories and reloading components for some years. Shiraz’s effort to start Bullets.com was an outgrowth of his desire to “give back” to the shooting sports, the hobby he loves.

To cover his noteworthy business career and life, Shiraz has written an impressive 288-page autobiography, entitled A Bad Case of Capitalism (referring to his love for the world of selling products). This book covers Shiraz’s early years though the present, providing a “tale of travel through war-torn countries, courtroom battles, success, failure, and everything in between.” It explains the challenges of starting direct-to-consumer businesses, first via mail-order and then adapting to the new online world.

We enjoyed the book because it provides a clear inside look at the challenges of starting a business. And we are grateful that Shiraz, through his businesses, has been a strong supporter of AccurateShooter.com for more than a decade. Balolia’s autobiography has been described as “equal parts business primer, history, and collection of life lessons”. The book shows how vision and determination can create a true American success story.

Readers have enjoyed the book and the lessons it offers on how to build a business:

“As someone who loves to create things with his hands, I was immediately drawn to this book, as Mr. Balolia is basically the father of machinery for woodworkers like me. It’s a great read that opens your eyes to a place and time I’d never heard of before, and it paints a great picture of determination and grit…. This book is certainly a motivating tale, and it shows that with a supportive family and vision (and a ton of hard work) you can do anything you dream.” — Jameson H.

“This is as much a story of Mr. Balolia as it is of Grizzly Industrial. In this book, and probably real life, the two are inseparable. From humble beginnings to a substantial empire of industrial equipment you have to admire and applaud the success story and this chronicle of hard work and perseverance. Impressive, very impressive.” — Own One

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly

Shiraz Balolia biography book Grizzly

Grizzly Lathes for Gunsmiths

In this video, Shiraz talks about Gunsmithing Lathes sold by Grizzly.com:

Shiraz Uses the Machines That He Sells
Shiraz is not just a talented business leader and ace marksman. He is also a very skilled fabricator and woodworker. He has crafted guitars, and worked on his own gunstocks. This shows an F-Class Stock Shiraz upgraded using Grizzly Industrial machinery. The modified stock has a significantly lower Center of Gravity, riding 1/2″ lower in the front bag. Shiraz says the modified stock performed great.

Shiraz Balolia biography book

Shiraz Balolia lathe press tools stock

Shiraz Balolia (left) and Norma Managing Director Paul-Erik Toivo.
Shiraz Balolia

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February 23rd, 2021

Practical Tactical — Training Video Series with Ryan Cleckner

practical PRS NRL shooting tactical rifle videos ryan cleckner

Former Army Ranger sniper instructor Ryan Cleckner is the author of the best-selling Long Range Shooting Handbook. Cleckner hosts a series of videos that cover shooting techniques appropriate for tactical and PRS-type disciplines. Here are five short videos that cover various aspects of shooting techniques and rifle set-up. We think PRS/NRL competitors (and long-range hunters) can benefit from these videos.

“Consistency is the key to accuracy.

You need to think about a system of how you’re going to shoot that is not only comfortable, but [is] repeatable when you’re shooting.” — Ryan Cleckner

In this first video, Cleckner explains proper scope position. Ryan finds that some shooters place the scope too far forward or too far rearward. If the scope is too far back you may have issues with eye relief and stock reach to shoulder. If it is too far forward, you may have cheek-weld problems or get neck strain.

Cleckner offers a simple method to check your scope position: “To see if your scope is set up properly … close your eyes, lay your head on your gun, get completely comfortable, and only when you are set-up, then open your eyes. If you can’t see clearly through your scope, CHANGE something [such as comb height or scope position]”. “When you open your eyes, if you see some scope shadow [i.e. the black ring around the edge of the scope picture], figure out which way you need to move your head to get rid of that shadow, and then make adjustments to either your position, the rifle, or the scope.”

Cleckner prefers shooting off a bag when in the prone position, when that is practical. The bag provides a more stable support than a small Harris-type bipod, doesn’t require pre-loading the rifle, and there is less bounce or hop on recoil.

Former Army Ranger sniper team leader Ryan Cleckner explains how important it is to keep your rifle straight up and down when long-range precision shooting. Cleckner demonstrates with an AR-10 modern sporting rifle how slight cant to your rifle can cause a miss over long distances.

Here Cleckner covers some of the basic points of trigger control on tactical-style rifles. These basic principles apply to both single-stage and two-stage triggers. NOTE: For benchrest rigs, with ultra-light pull weights, more refined techniques may be appropriate.

In tactical events, when you’re shooting on the clock and loading from a detachable magazine, you should manipulate the bolt smoothly but strongly. Here Cleckner demonstrates how to cycle a tactical-type rifle. He says, “You should be running the bolt on your rifle with authority. Run it like you mean it!” NOTE: Completely different techniques are appropriate for custom benchrest rifles that manually feed.

Long Range Shooting Handbook — A Good Resource
Cleckner’s Long Range Shooting Handbook covers a wide range of topics important for precision marksmanship — both shooting skills and technical matters. You can view Sample Chapters from Ryan’s Book on Amazon.com. Cleckner’s book is designed as an intro to key concepts such as MOA vs. Mils, External Ballistics, and Environmental Effects. Included are personal tips and advice based on Cleckner’s years of experience as a sniper instructor and special operations sniper.

The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter.

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February 23rd, 2021

Fitness and Cardio Training for Marksmen — It Makes a Difference

In the archives of The First Shot (the CMP’s Online Magazine), SGT Walter E. Craig of the USAMU discusses physical conditioning for competitive shooters, particularly High Power competitors. Fitness training is an important subject that, curiously, is rarely featured in the shooting sports media. We seem to focus on hardware, or esoteric details of cartridge reloading. Yet physical fitness also matters, particularly for High Power shooters. In his article, Craig advocates: 1) weight training to strengthen the Skeletal Muscle System; 2) exercises to build endurance and stamina; and 3) cardiovascular conditioning programs to allow the shooter to remain relaxed with a controlled heart beat.

SGT Craig explains: “An individual would not enter a long distance race without first spending many hours conditioning his/her body. One should apply the same conditioning philosophy to [shooting]. Physical conditioning to improve shooting skills will result in better shooting performance[.] The objective of an individual physical training program is to condition the muscles, heart, and lungs thereby increasing the shooter’s capability of controlling the body and rifle for sustained periods.”


» CLICK HERE to READ FULL FITNESS ARTICLE

In addition to weight training and cardio workouts (which can be done in a gym), SGT Craig advocates “some kind of holding drill… to develop the muscles necessary for holding a rifle for extended periods.”

For those with range access, Craig recommends a blind standing exercise: “This exercise consists of dry-firing one round, then live-firing one round, at a 200-yard standard SR target. For those who have access only to a 100-yard range, reduced targets will work as well. Begin the exercise with a timer set for 50 minutes. Dry-fire one round, then fire one live round and without looking at the actual impact, plot a call in a data book. Continue the dry fire/live fire sequence for 20 rounds, plotting after each round. After firing is complete, compare the data book to the target. If your zero and position are solid, the plots should resemble the target. As the training days add up and your zero is refined, the groups will shrink and move to the center.”

Brandon Green
Fitness training and holding drills help position shooters reach their full potential.

Training for Older Shooters
Tom Alves has written an excellent article A Suggested Training Approach for Older Shooters. This article discusses appropriate low-impact training methods for older shooters. Tom explains: “Many of the articles you will read in books about position shooting and the one mentioned above are directed more toward the younger generation of shooters in their 20s. If you look down the line at a typical high power match these days you are likely to see quite a few folks who are in their middle 30s and up. Many people in that age range have had broken bones and wear and tear on their joints so a training program needs to take that into account. For instance, while jogging for an extended period for heart and lung conditioning may be the recommended approach for younger folks, it may be totally inappropriate for older people.”

READ FULL ARTICLE by Tom Alves

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February 22nd, 2021

AR-15 Critical Failure — Bolt Breaks into Two Pieces

AR15 AR-15 Bolt failure Broken AR Bolt Police Department

A while back, our friend Dennis Santiago was conducting training for a Southern California Police Department. During a training session one of the unit’s AR15s stopped functioning. The problem — the bolt in the AR rifle broke in half. Dennis states: “They ran the gun dry, broke for lunch, shot it again. They don’t like that. I personally like to flood the bolt wet with lube on training days. It prevents stuff like this. Given that, it’s a simple remove-and-replace fix.”

AR15 AR-15 Bolt failure Broken AR Bolt Police Department

Here are some of the more interesting comments about this parts failure — an AR bolt that literally sheared in half:

“If I was a betting man [the steel] wasn’t made by Carpenter Steel. They are one of the few companies that use the correct [milspec-steel, C-158] called out on the drawing which they coincidentally developed. Most of the other companies that make [AR Bolts] use different steel with the same heat treat specification as what is called out which gives them the potential of being a little on the brittle side at the upper end of the tolerance. When it comes to the AR platform, bolts are probably the only part of the entire gun where I must admit to being a little bit of a brand snob.” David O’N.

[Editor’s Note: Actually Carpenter Steel does not make AR bolts. They are a steel supplier, and yes Carpenter did develop the original C-158 steel for AR bolts. Here is a contrary view, claiming that AISI 9310 Steel is actually stronger than milspec Carpenter C-158: 9310 Steel for AR Bolts.]

“Dry bolt and carrier shouldn’t cause that. Looks like a big pressure spike. What kind of ammo…?” Guy G.
Reply from Dennis: “55gr factory ammo. Piles of it.

“Is that the new two-piece bolt everyone’s been talking about LOL?” — Darren R.

“Let me guess…the PD called you in cause they didn’t know why it stopped going ‘pew pew’?” — Jim O.
Reply from Dennis: “I was there today for qualifications. It broke during the rifle phase. Simple enough to fish the bolt parts out of the action. The training didn’t miss a beat. I have an armory full of the things.”

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February 21st, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Eight Great Forum Favorite Varmint Rifles

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA 6mmBR Dasher 22-250 20 Vartarg rifle

Spring is coming soon, and that means it’s time to get ready for early varmint season. Here are eight great rifles from our Shooters’ Forum Favorite Varmint Rifles Thread. You’ll see a variety of action types and stock designs, both custom and factory. And we’ve featured a wide range of chamberings, from 17 Fireball up to a .243 Super Rock Chucker (aka 6mm-06). The common factor is serious accuracy. All these rigs are great shooters that have brought smiles to their owners while bringing doom to varmints.

1. Rem 700 in 20-222 — with Birthday Gift Barrel from Dad

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday Pacnor .222 Remington 20-222 Plain Jane varmint Rem 700 remington rifle

This is proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great varmint rig. Forum member JDS Holler posted: “Here’s my baby, ‘Plain Jane’. I took a $500 birthday check that my Dad gave me, and ordered a great barrel from PacNor, chambered in 20-222. I got busted up in a fall, and had four months down time to accumulate the components to add to my old .222 Rem 700 donor action. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. That old Bushnell has been replaced by a Vortex Viper, and this rifle just flat shoots.”

2. 6 BRA with Krieger Barrel from Alex Wheeler

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA 6mmBR Dasher 22-250 20 Vartarg rifle

Alex Wheeler of Wheeler Accuracy knows a thing or two about accurate rifles, having built many match-winning benchrest rifles. For varmint work he likes the 6 BRA (BR Ackley) wildcat cartridge: “My favorite varmint setup is this 6mm rifle with BAT SV action in a Nesika bay varmint stock with a 1:8″-twist Krieger HV contour barrel chambered for 6 BRA. I like the 6mmBR and variants (Dasher, BRX, 6BRA) with zero freebores.” He gets great results with 55-60 grain Sierras and Noslers with H322 powder: “I shot 55 Sierra Blitzking, 55 Nosler Ballistic Tip, and 60gr Sierra Varminter HP. H322 was the best powder. Jam ‘em 10 thou in the rifling — and of them — and man they were like magic.” Alex also feels the 6mm rifles are easier to tune than 22-caliber varmint rigs and the 6mm barrel throats last longer. He often puts an older 6mm match barrel on a varmint gun and it still holds quarter-MOA.

Alex recommends sticking with a 1:8″-twist even when shooting light 6mm bullets. The extra RPM makes the bullets MUCH more explosive on critters: “I’ve done one 1:13.5″-twist and I’ll never do that again. I’m not kidding, with the 8-twist it’s twice as energetic. It can lift those ground squirrels 20 feet in the air. With the 13.5-twist it’s not half that.”

About the Suppressor — The rifle is wearing a “can” in the photo. However, Alex tells us that he now avoids suppressors for most varmint work: “I didn’t like the suppressor — it put off so much heat that the mirage was terrible. With the heat mirage, after 5-10 shots you couldn’t see. I learned my lesson. I pulled that sucker off after the first time I shot it.”

3. 6mm Dasher in Convertible Laminated Stock

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA 6mm Dasher BAT richard franklin laminated stock benchrest Brux hunting rifle

The 6mm Dasher has won many benchest matches, and it’s also an ultra-accurate varminting cartridge. This Dasher belong to Forum member MTLager who posted: “Here’s my baby — 6 Dasher with BAT SV action. First one built. Serial number PT1.” This impressive rig features a tack-driving, 1:8″-twist Brux Heavy Varmint contour barrel. This rig is “Smokin the 75gr V-Maxs” reports MTLager. The stock is very interesting. MTLager explains: “This is a Richard Franklin laminated blank made into a stock by J.T. Barber. It has a 3″-wide fore-end for varmint shooting. But I can change the front to 4″-width and a rear section can be removed.” The angled rear “toe” of the buttstock can be taken off, allowing a flat, straight bottom for benchrest competition.

4. Slick 17 Fireball with BAT Action and Stunning Stock

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA 17 Fireball exhibition-grade walnut V-Max hunting rifle

This rifle is almost too pretty to carry out into the varmint fields. Look at that wood! This handsome small-caliber varminter belongs to Forum member “20 TAC”. Chambered for the 17 Fireball wildcat (.221 Fireball necked down), this rig features a BAT Action, Jewell Trigger, and a custom exhibition-grade walnut stock sporting a true ebony fore-end cap. The checkering is exceptional. Owner 20 Tac report this rig “shoots 20 grain V-Max bullets with H4198 very well.” That’s a Nightforce scope on top.

5. 6mmBR in McMillan Stock with Krieger Barrel

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA 6mmBR Dasher 22-250 20 Vartarg rifle

This website stated 17 years ago as 6mmBR.com, so we had to include a classic 6mmBR Norma in today’s varmint rifle line-up. Forum member Powderbrake posted: “Here is my favorite varmint rifle — [a 6BR with] Stiller Predator V RBLP action, bedded in a McMillan stock.” This accurate varminter features a 1:8″-twist 6mm Krieger barrel and Jewell trigger. Up top is a Nightforce NXS 8-32x56mm scope. Below are the owner’s key gear items: Leica Laser-Rangefinding Binoculars, Smartphone with Applied Ballistics software, and Kestrel Weather Meter. Powderbrake told us he recently upgraded to a Model 5700 Kestrel with ballistics software and LiNK. (Editor: The $399.00 Kestrel 5700 has ballistics software, but if you want the full Applied Ballistics suite, order the $699.00 Kestrel 5700 Elite).

6. Efficient 20 Vartarg for Prairie Dog Adventures

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA .243 Win Urban Rifleman hunting rifle south dakota

The .20 Vartarg is based on the .221 Fireball case, necked down to .204 and slightly modified for extra capacity. This very efficient cartridge offers low recoil and great accuracy. It’s one of our first choices for ground squirrels and P-dogs out to 300 yards. 20 Vartarg here belongs to Forum Member DogBuster, an avid varminter based in Utah. He posted: “If I recall, I had a hot spot in this location — probably kilt 150+ prairie dogs that morning. The hay wagon helped too, offering added elevation.”

7. Long-barrel SAKO Action Varminter in .243 Super Rock Chucker

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA .243 .25-06 super rock chucker sierra bullets Prairie dog hunting rifle south dakota

Here is another .243 wildcat, chambered for the .243 “Super Rock Chucker”. This long-barreled rig belongs to Forum member MikeGaiz. The rifle features a SAKO action fitted with a 30″ Kreiger barrel chambered for the .243 Super Rock Chucker. From what we have read, the .243 Super Rock Chucker is a .25-06 cartridge necked down to .243 (6mm). Yes this is a barrel burner, but it can definitely “reach out and touch” varmints at VERY long range. Owner Mike reports hits at 1275 yards on prairie dogs in South Dakota. This cartridge drives Sierra 6mm 85gr HPBTs at 3440 FPS. That’s serious speed for an 85-grainer.

8. AR-10 Custom in .243 Winchester

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA .243 Win Urban Rifleman hunting rifle south dakota

Forum Member Urban Rifleman calls this .243 AR10-platform rifle the “Goblin Killer”. This Gen 2 DPMS rifle features a Craddock Precision Bartlein 1:8″-twist 5R barrel chambered in .243 Winchester with a Tubb assymmetrical muzzle brake. Up front is the unique Tubb Bipod which reduces hop. The buttstock is a Magpul PRS Gen 2. The scope is a Leupold VX-3i LRP 6.5-20x50mm FFP TMR. We’re told this rig “will easily shoot 1/2 MOA, sometimes much smaller”.

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 6BRA .243 Win Urban Rifleman hunting rifle south dakota

Urban Rifleman produces a variety of great gun accessories sold through TheUrbanRiflemanStore.com. That green grip is his Urban Rifleman/Tubb ergonomic grip.

Parting Shot from Groundhog Country, SW Pennsylvania

favorite Varmint rifle Sunday Gunday 22-250 Remington 40 XB tripod varmint rifles
This nice tripod with rifle mount (and Rem 40XB 22-250 on top) belongs to Forum Member Snert.

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February 21st, 2021

Firearms Transfers — Gifts and Sales — What You Need to Know

Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell

Are you planning to purchase or sell a gun? Or perhaps you want to give one to a family member. Maybe you want to transfer a gun to a friend out of state. These are all situations that demand you understand the law before you buy, sell, or transfer a gun. Thankfully the NRA Blog has a series of helpful articles that can guide you through firearms transfers and transactions. Do note that laws on private transfers vary from state to state.

Here are five articles providing key facts you need to know.
Click each title to read the specific article.

Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell


Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell gift giving


Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell gift family


Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell private gift

Firearms straw sale transfer buy sell private gift

IMPORTANT: All five of these articles reference general rules that apply nationally and in MOST states. However, some states, such as California, New Jersey, and New York (and others) have very special rules and regulations on gun transfers. If you have ANY questions about gun transfers in your state/region, you should consult an attorney familiar the laws of YOUR state and municipality.

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February 21st, 2021

Erratic POI? Check Your Scope — But It Could Be a Loose Barrel

loose barrel vortex scope optics point of impact change fix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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February 20th, 2021

Improve Your Shooting Skills with Multi-Discipline Training

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Guest Article By Michelle Gallagher, Berger Bullets
Let’s face it. In the world of firearms, there is something for everyone. Do you like to compete? Are you a hunter? Are you more of a shotgun shooter or rifle shooter? Do you enjoy running around between stages of a timed course, or does the thought of shooting one-hole groups appeal to you more? Even though many of us shoot several different firearms and disciplines, chances are very good that we all have a favorite. Are we spreading ourselves too thin by shooting different disciplines, or is it actually beneficial? I have found that participating in multiple disciplines can actually improve your performance. Every style of shooting is different; therefore, they each develop different skills that benefit each other.

How can cross-training in other disciplines help you? For example, I am most familiar with long-range prone shooting, so let’s start there. To be a successful long-range shooter, you must have a stable position, accurate ammunition, and good wind-reading skills. You can improve all of these areas through time and effort, but there are other ways to improve more efficiently. Spend some time practicing smallbore. Smallbore rifles and targets are much less forgiving when it comes to position and shot execution. Long-range targets are very large, so you can get away with accepting less than perfect shots. Shooting smallbore will make you focus more on shooting perfectly center shots every time. Another way to do this with your High Power rifle is to shoot on reduced targets at long ranges. This will also force you to accept nothing less than perfect. Shoot at an F-Class target with your iron sights. At 1000 yards, the X-Ring on a long range target is 10 inches; it is 5 inches on an F-Class target. Because of this, you will have to focus harder on sight alignment to hit a center shot. When you go back to the conventional target, you will be amazed at how large the ten ring looks.

Michelle Gallagher Cross Training

Also, most prone rifles can be fitted with a bipod. Put a bipod and scope on your rifle, and shoot F-TR. Shooting with a scope and bipod eliminates position and eyesight factors, and will allow you to concentrate on learning how to more accurately read the wind. The smaller target will force you to be more aggressive on your wind calls. It will also help encourage you to use better loading techniques. Nothing is more frustrating than making a correct wind call on that tiny target, only to lose the point out the top or bottom due to inferior ammunition. If you put in the effort to shoot good scores on the F-Class target, you will be amazed how much easier the long-range target looks when you return to your sling and iron sights. By the same token, F-Class shooters sometimes prefer to shoot fast and chase the spotter. Shooting prone can help teach patience in choosing a wind condition to shoot in, and waiting for that condition to return if it changes.

Benchrest shooters are arguably among the most knowledgeable about reloading. If you want to learn better techniques about loading ammunition, you might want to spend some time at benchrest matches. You might not be in contention to win, but you will certainly learn a lot about reloading and gun handling. Shooting F-Open can also teach you these skills, as it is closely related to benchrest. Benchrest shooters may learn new wind-reading techniques by shooting mid- or long-range F-Class matches.

Michelle Gallagher Cross TrainingPosition shooters can also improve their skills by shooting different disciplines. High Power Across-the-Course shooters benefit from shooting smallbore and air rifle. Again, these targets are very small, which will encourage competitors to be more critical of their shot placement. Hunters may benefit from shooting silhouette matches, which will give them practice when shooting standing with a scoped rifle. Tactical matches may also be good, as tactical matches involve improvising shots from various positions and distances. [Editor: Many tactical matches also involve hiking or moving from position to position — this can motivate a shooter to maintain a good level of general fitness.]

These are just a few ways that you can benefit from branching out into other shooting disciplines. Talk to the other shooters. There is a wealth of knowledge in every discipline, and the other shooters will be more than happy to share what they have learned. Try something new. You may be surprised what you get out of it. You will certainly learn new skills and improve the ones you already have. You might develop a deeper appreciation for the discipline you started off with, or you may just discover a new passion.

This article originally appeared in the Berger Blog. The Berger Blog contains the latest info on Berger products, along with informative articles on target shooting and hunting.

Article Find by EdLongrange.

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February 19th, 2021

Long Range Grad School Podcast with Bryan Litz & Emil Praslick

Long Range Grad School Podcast Guns magazine Bryan Litz Emil Praslick III Wind coaching ballistics

Applied Ballistics Founder Bryan Litz and Former USAMU and Team USA coach Emil Praslick III share their wisdom in an informative Guns Magazine Podcast. Along with being a true ballistics guru, Bryan Litz is an outstanding competitive shooter, having won F-TR National Championships, and both Sling and F-TR divisions at the Berger SW Nationals, along with many other matches. Emil is considered one of the world’s great wind-readers and team coaches, having coached 20+ championship teams.

Guns Magazine podcast host Brent Wheat asks Bryan and Emil about multiple topics including: exterior ballistics, bullet design, wind reading, ballistic solvers, BC myths, and more.

Brent reports: “Together, Bryan and Emil understand what happens from the time a bullet leaves the muzzle until it impacts the target, including the atmospheric affects along the way. Grab a pencil, listen in, and get ready to take notes.”

This Long Range Grad School podcast features Berger’s Chief Ballistician, Bryan Litz, and Berger’s Emil Praslick. Both have extensive long range competitive shooting experience, with championship titles (as shooter and/or coach) in a multitude of long range disciplines. CLICK arrow below to start podcast audio:

Long Range Grad School Podcast Guns magazine Bryan Litz Emil Praslick III Wind coaching ballistics

Emil Praslick (left) confers with Bryan Litz (right) at King of 2 Miles ELR Event.
Bryan Litz KO2M ELR podcast wind reading

In this Video Emil Praslick explains his methods for determining wind direction.

Bryan Litz coaching Team USA in Canada using a WIND PLOT.

Bryan Litz at 2011 World Long Range (Palma) Championships in Brisbane, Australia
Long Range Grad School Podcast Guns magazine Bryan Litz Emil Praslick III Wind coaching ballistics

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February 19th, 2021

Blast from the Past — Old Prices on Powder and Primers

Powder low price history flashback inflation

Yes we miss the good old days… when reloading components were readily available and very affordable. Today, on Gunbroker, a single 1000-count box of primers may sell for well over $300. And some vendors are asking $90 for a single pound of powder that sold for $30 per pound just last year.

We can’t change prices for you, but we can offer a “sentimental journey” back to the “good old days” via a Flashback Thread in our Shooters’ Forum. There, Forum members have posted some items from their collections, with the original prices.

What is the best deal you can remember? How about $1 per pound forty-six years ago — member STS posted: “It was probably 1975 when I bought 100 pounds of H335 from Bruce Hodgdon for $100. It came in cardboard boxes with black trash bags inside. I shot every flake of it at prairie dogs.”

Reloder Powder from Hercules (Now Alliant) for $3.80 per Pound

Powder low price history flashback inflation

CCI and Winchester Primers, $16.30 and $13.00 per Thousand

Today some CCI primers are selling for over $300 per thousand on Gunbroker. Member JayHHI6818 said: “Found these the other day in a shoe box in our bedroom closet!”. Nice find Jay!

Powder low price history flashback inflation

Hodgdon H4350 for $10.87 per Pound

H4350 remains one of the most popular powders with competitive shooters. It’s ideal for many midsized cartridges, offering great accuracy and temp stability. Today it’s hard to find this powder at ANY price!

Powder low price history flashback inflation

Remington 2 1/2 Primers for $1.50 per Hundred

Remington Arms folded. However Remington primers will be produced by Vista Outdoor after the collapse and bankruptcy of Remington Arms. Vista Outdoor, which owns CCI and Federal, will take over the Remington ammunition production facilities.

Powder low price history flashback inflation

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