May 16th, 2021

Don’t Kill Yourself — Bore Obstructions Cause Nasty Accidents

Obstructed Barrel Explosion Accident kaboom
Above is a sectioned barrel showing an 80gr Sierra that was fired in a .223 bolt action with a cleaning rod in the bore. Both the bullet and the rod are still in the bore.

A Negligent Shooter Gets Lucky
“Here we have a story so filled with negligent acts that I can only marvel that the shooter survived the experience. The photo and narrative were provided by the gunsmith who took in the repair job, my comments are in italics. It’s worth reading, we can’t get enough safety warnings in our hobby.” — GS Arizona, Rifleman’s Journal

Description of Incident (with Commentary)
The shooter had a stuck case in his .223 chamber. The stuck case was actually a loaded round that didn’t fire. It wouldn’t extract because it was a .222 case that got mixed in with his .223 brass. [He had loaded the wrong brass.] I saw the loaded round with an 80gr bullet in it and a light primer strike. Negligent Act #1: Wrong brass was mixed in with the brass being reloaded.

The shooter removed the stuck case with a 3-piece aluminum rod. Negligent Act #2: Hammering out a loaded round with a cleaning rod. People have been killed doing this as the round can fire and drive the cleaning rod right into you. I remember one such incident about 5 years ago, the shooter was pounding out a stuck round, the cleaning rod went right through him, he didn’t survive.

The shooter didn’t notice only two segments of the cleaning rod came out when he removed it. Negligent Act #3: If you put anything at all down the barrel of a rifle you’d better make darn sure you got it all out before doing anything else!

He then chambered another round and fired it. Negligent act #4: If you’ve had a barrel obstruction of any kind, and if you’ve put something in the barrel, look through the barrel before proceeding! Within the past two years I know of an incident in which a benchrest shooter was killed in exactly this manner. The pressure built up and the rifle bolt came out of the receiver and into his chest.

The shooter is ‘OK’, but did not escape unscathed. He said there was a huge explosion and after regaining his senses found he was bleeding heavily from his forehead. The blood was thick enough that it ran in his eyes and he couldn’t see. In his words “I thought I was going to die”.

He has what looks like a pretty deep cut about an inch long on the side of his head, right in line with his right eye starting where the eye socket turns out to the side of the skull. And no telling what he’s got in the way of brass particles embedded in his forehead.

He was shooting on private property, and was alone when this happened. Negligent Act #5: Don’t shoot alone! Accidents happen, this is just one more example. If we could predict accidents, we wouldn’t have them. Always shoot with at least one other person.

He managed to get the bleeding stopped, or at least under control, packed his car and drove himself home without seeking immediate medical attention. Negligent Act #6: This one could have cost him his life after being lucky enough to survive the incident. There’s no way to know what’s happened just after an incident like this. He should have been at a hospital getting checked for shrapnel in the head.

The rod and slug could not be driven out. Since the barrel had a high round count there was no point in trying to salvage it. Note that the aluminum rod is expanded to a tight fit in the bore for the first couple inches. The base of the bullet is a little over 2″ from the mouth of the chamber.

What we’ve seen here is negligence and an absolute indifference to the established rules of safe reloading and gun handling, from start to finish, capped off with the shooter’s foolish avoidance of medical treatment. This shooter is lucky to be alive, but he’s surely used up all his luck. Don’t assume you’ll be so fortunate.

This article originally appeared in the Rifleman’s Journal website, which is no longer available.

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May 15th, 2021

Great .22 LR Rimfire Ammo Comparison Test — 31 Types Tested

Shooting Sports USA .22 LR 22LR Rimfire ammunition test subsonic hi-velocity lead-free hyper velocity suppressor match ammo plinking varmint hunting

Here’s a “must-read” article for .22 LR rimfire shooters. The October 2018 issue of Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA) includes a great article with data on thirty-one (31) different types of popular .22 LR rimfire ammunition. The line-up includes low-speed, standard, and Hi-Velocity types, plus choices for plinking, varminting, and target applications. Brands tested include: Aguila, American Eagle, CCI, Federal, Fiocchi, Lapua, Remington, and Winchester. The slowest ammo, CCI Quiet-22 Lead RN, clocked 727 FPS. The fastest ammo, CCI Short-Range Green Lead-Free HP, ran 1735 FPS, 2.4 times the speed of the Quiet-22.

SSUSA .22 LR Rimfire Ammo TEST | SSUSA October 2018 Issue

For each ammo type, SSUSA lists the bullet weight, velocity (FPS), and average of two, 5-shot groups at fifty yards. The most accurate ammo was Lapua Center-X LRN, with a 0.37″ average 50-yard group size. Second best was Lapua X-ACT LRN at 0.42″. Ammo was tested from a bench with a Cooper Model 57-M rifle fitted with 3-9x33mm Leupold VX-2 scope. The ammo offerings were grouped into three categories: (1) Varmints/Small Game; (2) Target; and (3) Plinking. (See ammo tables below.)

Shooting Sports USA .22 LR 22LR Rimfire ammunition test subsonic hi-velocity lead-free hyper velocity suppressor match ammo plinking varmint hunting
Click for larger page-view.

Different types of .22 LR (Long Rifle) rimfire ammo have different applications. Subsonic ammo, typically, is best for 25m to 50m target work with precision rimfire rigs. Hi-Velocity .22 LR ammo provides a flatter trajectory for longer ranges. SSUSA explains: “The array of .22 LR loads… turns a person’s head every which way. Subsonic target loads are the key to decisive accuracy on targets, while hyper-velocity cartridges provide striking bullet expansion on small varmints. In between, standard and high-velocity .22 LRs are loaded with a variety of bullet weights and styles for everything from small-game hunting to plinking[.]” READ Full SSUSA .22 LR Rimfire Ammo Story.

Rimfire Ammo Article tip from EdLongrange.
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May 14th, 2021

6BR Ackley Revival for Benchrest Rifle from 1990s

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

Updating Benchrest Rifle from the 1990s

by James Mock
After owning three different rifles with BAT actions, I have become a loyal fan of BAT Machine quality and customer service. Back in 2009, I traded my BAT/Scoville for the BAT/Leonard that I currently shoot. This rifle has a long history and Terry Leonard told me that “Old 87″ (as I have named it) was one of the earlier BATs that he stocked. He wrapped the stock in fiberglass and used 2-part epoxy back then. I must say that this rifle has held up remarkably well since it dates back to the 1990s. The action is a RB/LP/RE octagon Model B with .308 bolt-face.

Rifle Has Multiple Barrels for Multiple Disciplines
With this gun, I have shot several barrels of different calibers (.22 PPC, .22 PPC-short .095, 6mm PPC, 6XC, 6mm Dasher, .30BR, and will soon have a 6 BR-AI). It has been an exceptionally accurate rifle in several disciplines. In the hands of previous owners, it earned several Hall-of-Fame (HOF) points, and a “middle-of-the-pack” shooter (me) even received a HOF point with this rifle.

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

For most of its life, Old 87 served as a short range benchrest rifle, but I have used it for the last few years as a 600-yard rifle with the 6mm Dasher barrel. I was lucky enough to earn the Shooter of the Year award at the Prince Memorial Range in Louisiana for 2016.

After shooting my two Dasher barrels for last eight years, I have noticed a drop-off in accuracy at 600 yards. A decision had to be made — get a new barrel or sell the rifle and retire from competition. I am in my late 70s and my competition days are limited due mainly to a chronic neck problem. After mulling over the decision to retire or not, I decided to give Old 87 one more year. Here is the story of how we upgraded the old war-horse.

Old 87 REBORN — Upgrading with New Components

I prefer cut-rifled barrels with four lands and grooves and have had success with .236 bore diameters and 1:8″ twist in long range rifles. I searched for barrels meeting those parameters and found a suitable BRUX at Bugholes.com (Southern Precision Rifles).

The 6BR-AI Option — Easy Fire Forming
I thought about having Billy Stevens chamber it for the Dasher, but decided to try something new. There seems to be a lot of interest in the 6BR-AI and I said, “Why not?” Well, I bought a shortened Dasher die from Harrell’s and will use my Wilson Dasher seating die. Bart Sauter was kind enough to let me use his reamer for chambering.

Fitting a New Roller-Type Cocking Piece on Older BAT Action
Since I was into the project this deep, I called Mike Ezell and ordered one of his Tungsten powder-dampened tuners. Since Old 87 had thousands of rounds since the firing pin spring has been replaced, I decided that it was probably needed. Well, I got to thinking (very dangerous) and asked Daryle Thom if it would be feasible to put a roller-type cocking piece and a new firing pin spring on such an old action.

The folks at BAT are very accommodating and they said that it would be no problem with such a conversion. While my bolt was in Idaho, the barrel with Ezell tuner arrived and I could not shoot it. However, my friend Jeff Turner loaned me his BAT bolt to see if it would work. Although the rifles differ in age by 15 or more years, the borrowed bolt worked perfectly in my rifle. This is a testimony to the great machine work performed at BAT Machine.

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

New Bolt Roller Tail-Piece Makes a Big Difference in Cocking Effort
With the borrowed bolt I managed to fire-form 50 rounds and get them ready for our 600-yard match on September 16. The folks at BAT quickly fixed my bolt by replacing the mainspring and ejector spring, polishing the ejector, and replacing the tail-piece with their roller type. Pictured below is this tail piece that makes a remarkable difference in the force needed to cock the action. It is amazing what this little wheel can do… even when placed in a 25+ year old action.

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

Working with the Ezell Barrel Tuner — Small Increments Work Best
Also, I would like to congratulate Mike Ezell on his new tuner which contains powdered Tungsten. It is easy to set up and Mike will help a buyer get maximum effectiveness from the unit. Just give him a call. Below is a picture of the tuner. I was lucky enough to have some time to “play” with it before the match.

Talking about the tuner, Mike writes: “Our new barrel tuners… PDT stands for particle dampening technology. The science is there, we just applied it to a barrel tuner. The advantages are a wider tune window and more efficient control of barrel harmonics…in a tuner design that actually looks good.”

Mike advised me to set the tuner by turning it all the way into the shoulder and then come out to zero or the second time zero comes up if there is not at least half of a turn between the shoulder and the first zero. It is best to start with a proven load and adjust the tuner from that load. As unlikely as it seems, a rifle can go from a good tune to a very poor tune with only 5 marks (.005”) and vice versa.

James Mock BAT Action Terry Leonard Stock old 87

Mike cautions those who use his tuner to NOT make adjustments which are too large. As a matter of fact, he recommends adjustments of .001 inch at a time. Ezell’s tuners are screwed onto the barrel with .900” by 32 threads per inch and has 32 marks on the circumference of the tuner. Therefore, each mark moves the tuner in or out by .001 inch. There are three set screws with Teflon tips which provide friction for the tuner on the threads. Do not tighten the screws so tight as they damage the fine threads.

If you want the smoothest bolt possible for your BAT, call or e-mail Daryle or Bruce Thom at BAT Machine and discuss your needs with them. I am sure glad that I did. If you want a state-of-the-Art tuner for your barrel, give Mike Ezell a call or visit his Ezell Custom Rifles Facebook Page.
— Good shooting, James Mock

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May 10th, 2021

Rodzilla’s Impressive New T-Rex Front Rest — Product Review

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

Meet the new T-Rex front rest from Rodzilla. In the world of front rests there have been many innovations over the past decade, but this new front rest from Rodzilla really represents significant innovation. The new T-Rex offers impressive capabilities that can truly take your shooting experience to the next level.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

At first glance the new T-Rex may resemble some other coaxial front rests. The T-Rex has a joystick, three points of ground contact, and a platform for the rifle. But look closer and you’ll see this isn’t your typical rest. Designer/builder Rod Brakhage (the Rod in Rodzilla) has started from the ground up to create the most user-friendly, match-ready, modular front rest on the market. The new T-Rex is already in high demand, but currently Rodzilla has been fulfilling orders in about 8 weeks. T-Rex MSRP ranges from $1895.00 to $2305.00 depending on options.

The T-Rex weighs just over 21 pounds — about the same as many mid-sized rests. However the T-Rex has a large footprint, rivaling the largest rests on the market. Rod tells us: “The T-Rex has a similar footprint to the SEB MAX… 12.5″ wide X 11.25″ front to back. However, at just over 21 lbs. my rest weighs less than a SEB NEO.” This combination (wide base with moderate weight) allows for an incredibly stable platform that is still quite portable.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

Rugged Carry Case Makes Transport Easy
Rodzilla delivers the T-Rex in a custom-designed hard carry case that fits it perfectly and still has room for additional feet and accessories. This sturdy case makes taking the T-Rex to matches easy. The case is strong enough that I can stack things on top of it in my truck. One side note, if you plan on storing your rest in the case between matches, it’s wise to put a desiccant pack in the case to absorb moisture.

The T-Rex boasts an adjustable joystick that extends from 15.5″ to 21″ in length. With this adjustability, no matter what your stock length or design, you can find a comfortable position without having to stretch uncomfortably. And you won’t have to shop for a joystick extension.

Using the T-Rex is a pure pleasure when shooting prone F-Class or from the bench. That’s because of its revolutionary ability to make large vertical adjustments without getting out of position. This is accomplished with a detachable arm/handle you can actuate while behind the gun. (This is the long T-handle on the right side of the rest).

The simplest way to show why this is a game changer is to consider when you’ve just left the 800-yard line during a match. You head up to the 900-yard line, get all set up, the range officer calls a hot line and suddenly realize you didn’t adjust your elevation for the new yardage. Normally you’d have to turn your scope dials then get up from your position to adjust your front rest, or at best stretch uncomfortably in hopes of reaching your rest adjustments. With the T-Rex, you simply turn the right-side gross elevation handle while still in position, move to your new hold point, and begin firing.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

This same principal applies to other situations that require adjusting vertical without breaking your shooting position. All of this is accomplished in conjunction with an incredibly sensitive, yet easy-to-adjust counterbalance system. Once set, the counterbalance ensures that smooth and fluid motion occurs in any direction without any resistance or fear of backlash that might affect your shots.

Very Wide Horizontal Range is Useful in Matches
When it comes to looking downrange, the T-Rex can deliver nearly twice the range of horizontal motion as that of some other rests. (In high ratio mode, there is about 70 MOA of horizontal travel.) This means you can quickly scan a wide expanse of targets/flags without having to change magnification or go to your spotting scope. The huge field of view is a great help when shooting in a condition that is switching and you want to view targets on either side.

Rodzilla T-Rex Configuration Options: Tops, Colors, Feet

Rodzilla offers a number of options for the T-Rex. The first choice is the top. Select the Rodzilla 5-Axis roller top or the new 5-Axis IBS-legal sandbag top. Or, if your budget permits, you can order both — they are easily interchangeable in minutes. The video below shows the easy top-swap procedure:

This video explains how to exchange tops on the Rodzilla T-Rex

5-Axis Top Advantages
Rod Brakhage tells us: “This innovative new 5-Axis top rotates independently of the base plate so no matter how the rest is set on the line you only need to move your rear bag to pan across the row of targets with no binding of the rifle. Also, the sides of the rifle run against vertical Delrin rollers.”

Color Choices for Rodzilla T-Rex Base
In addition to the choice of tops, there are four (4) standard colors on the website, but for an additional fee you can have it made in just about any color you want, which is pretty cool.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

Choose Standard Feet, Sand Feet, or Both
When you order a T-Rex, you can choose standard bench feet or large, gorgeous sand/dirt feet. Or order them both, as I did. I use the bench feet at my regular club where I shoot from wood and concrete platforms, but the sand feet are great for matches held on dirt, gravel, sand, or grass. These sand feet provide an incredibly stable platform on the ground.

Rodzilla T-Rex front rest shooting F-Class benchrest review

Linear Bearings Allow Ultra-Smooth and Precise Adjustments
Rodzilla’s Rod Brakhage is a smart, innovative designer committed to improving the shooter’s experience. One of Rod’s key innovations in the T-Rex is the use of linear ball bearings for both X and Y axis: “The horizontal/vertical assembly, or X-Y block, moves on 6 double-sealed ball bearings that travel on hardened shafts for effortless movement”.* This system delivers a smooth, fluidity of movement that lets you aim quickly and efficiently. Gone are the days of having to move PAST your aim point and then come back (to get the aim right), or resetting your joystick position after every shot. With the T-Rex, you make one smooth, precise move and your aim is set. And it stays set after the shot.

The T-Rex allows you to position your crosshairs with pinpoint precision every time and if you need to move them just a hair, you can do it with ease. In F-Class, we often hold between the target’s scoring lines to correct for wind variations (without touching the scope’s windage knob). With the T-Rex, I could make those holds quickly and precisely without wasting time bouncing back and forth.

Overall, I’ve come to really enjoy the repeatable confidence the T-Rex has given me whether I’m doing load development, practicing at the range, or shooting a match. So, if you’re in the market for a superb front rest that just might give you an edge or, at minimum, make your life easier, head over to TheRodzilla.com and learn all about the impressive, new T-Rex Front Rest.


* Rod Brakhage explains: “The bridge travels up and down on double-sealed ball bearings on 1” hardened shafts. My design utilizes a rack and pinion with an 18″-long drive shaft for adjusting the height of the bridge. This system allows you to stay in shooting position and looking through the scope while adjusting the vertical placement of your crosshairs. Precisely dial your vertical to the center of your target with the joy stick at the exact height you prefer. A 1/4 MOA movement is very easy to accomplish with this design. Also, there is no need to lock the bridge as there is an adjustable clutch to hold the vertical position. The long drive shaft utilizes a scalloped hand wheel on the shooters side and a quick coupling adapter on the rest side. Once adjusted you merely pull back on the drive shaft and remove it or just set it on your shooting mat out of the way. The geared rack and pinion can be placed on the right for right-handed shooters or on the left.”

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May 9th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Tactical Twins – SFC Brandon Green’s PRS Rigs

SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks

What does a three-time High Power National Champion choose for PRS comps? A set of twins. Twin rifles that is. SFC Brandon Green of the USAMU is one of America’s best marksmen. He’s excelled in Service Rifle and High Power disciplines, and now he’s getting very serious about the Precision Rifle Series (PRS). Brandon recently took delivery of “Twins” — two impressive rifles optimized for PRS competition. Green told us: “The Twins are ready for business! The silver one is a 6XC and the black one is a 6.5×47 Lapua”. Both rifles feature Impact Precision actions (with AICS-type mags), 24″ Proof stainless barrels, and Fat Bastard muzzle brakes. Rifle work was done by Stuteville Precision (Wade Stuteville) and Exodus Rifles (Joe Walls).

SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks
In the 6XC, Brandon runs Berger 105gr VLDs in Norma 6XC brass. For the 6.5×47 Lapua he shoots 140gr Berger Hybrids or 143gr Hornady ELD-Xs in Lapua brass. Both rifles have stainless steel Proof barrels, but the 6.5x47L has a matte black Cerakote finish.

Brandon loves his new Twins. He said he likes the “feel” of the guns with the Foundation stocks: “These rifles weigh around 17 pounds with optics. They feel very solid under recoil — without the ‘tuning fork’ vibration you can get with a metal-chassis gun. They feel like a good wood-stocked gun, but the material is stronger and more rigid than wood. I’ve heard that guys are having success with these Foundation stocks with the actions installed without pillars or conventional bedding.” Currently Brandon is running both guns without action-screw pillars. He did have one skim-bedded, but he doesn’t think that was really needed. “Both rifles hammer now”, Brandon tells us.

Green Runs Vortex Razor HD Gen II 4.5-27x56mm FFP scopes on both rifles:
SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks

High-Tech Micarta Stock Material
At first glance, those stocks may look like wood, but they are actually a special “Micarta” material that is strong, durable, and stable. Micarta, often used for knife handles, is a “a brand name for composites of fiberglass, carbon fiber, or other fabric in a thermosetting plastic.” The stock-maker, Foundation Stocks, says Micarta offers some distinct advantages over laminated wood or conventional fiberglass: “The solid block of material gives us a dense, homogenous material that is absent of any voids or air pockets commonly found in composite stocks. The high compression strength of the material allows us to build an action/DBM specific stock that requires no bedding or pillars. The material is very durable and stable in extreme environments. We use advanced CAD software to design and model our stocks, working in conjunction with action manufacturers and rifle builders to provide exact fitment.”

Here is a close-up of a Foundation Stock showing the distinctive Micarta texture:
SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks

Tactical Competition vs. NRA High Power Competition
Brandon says PRS competition is tough: “PRS can be pretty humbling, but it’s been a lot of fun and a great challenge. For a shooter (like me) with a Service Rifle/High Power background, the variations in stages combined with the time limits can be very challenging. And the unusual shooting positions put a new spin on things. PRS is definitely a different ball game, but I really enjoy it.”

SFC Brandon Green 2015 High Power National Championship
SFC Brandon Green honored as the 2015 High Power National Champion. Brandon also won the HP Championship in 2013, and in 2018.

Life before the Twins… Here is Brandon, with his previous PRS rig, at the MasterPiece Arms Precision Rifle Shootout, a PRS event at the CORE Shooting Solutions Range in Florida:

SFC Brandon Green PRS Rifle Micarta Foundation Stocks

SFC Brandon Green
Three-time National High Power Champion SFC Brandon Green (left above) set four new National Records at Camp Perry in 2017, when he won the Service Rifle Championship.

When He’s not Competing in PRS, Brandon Excels with his Service Rifle
This video shows SFC Brandon Green shooting his modern AR Service Rifle in the off-hand (standing), prone (2:20 time), and sitting (3:25 time) positions in competition.

SFC Brandon Green is a shooting superstar. Green won his third NRA National High Power Rifle Championship in 2018 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. He dominated the High Power Championship cycle, finishing eight points and ten Xs ahead of his nearest competitor. Brandon also won High Power National Championships in 2015 and 2013. And in 2017 he set new records at the CMP’s National Trophy Matches at Camp Perry, winning the Service Rifle title. One of the greatest marksmen in the nation’s history, SFC Green excels at all positions, both rapid-fire and slow-fire.

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May 9th, 2021

A Message for All on this Mother’s Day

Mothers' day mother's holiday grizzly video

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” — Rudyard Kipling

mother mother's day 2020Today, May 9, 2021, is Mother’s Day. There are more than 85 million mothers in the United States, and today is the day we recognize all those ladies who brought life into the world.

With the continuing effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic it can be particularly difficult for mothers in late life. Those living in senior facilities are at high risk. Do all you can for mom, particularly in these trying times.

Be good to your mother, cherish her, and love her without fail… always. In her latter years, attend to her needs, help her with her health, and take time to bring brightness (and laughter) into her life. Let her know that you appreciate all the sacrifices she made, and that you are grateful for all that she did for her children and family.

This Mother’s Day tribute was created by a man who had lost his mother. It will help all of us appreciate all the things our mothers did for us.

Here are some quotes for Mother’s Day:

“Only mothers can think of the future — because they give birth to it in their children.” — Maxim Gorky

“Men are what their mothers made them.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Such a mysterious business, motherhood. How brave a woman must be to embark on it.” ― M.L. Stedman

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” ― Abraham Lincoln

Photo credit to Grizzly Industrial.
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May 8th, 2021

Long-Term Powder Storage — What You Need to Know

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

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

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

Proper Powder Storage

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

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

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

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

Clumps in Powder Container

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

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

Shelf Life and Packaging Dates

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

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

Western Powders Blog SAAMI Storage

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May 5th, 2021

Tuning Tips for RCBS ChargeMaster — And EZ Straw Tweak

RCBS Chargemaster Powder dispenser tuning software plastic straw

Do you own an RCBS electronic powder dispenser? If you do, take the time to watch this ChargeMaster Tuning video from 8541 Tactical. This nine-minute video demonstrates how to re-program your ChargeMaster to “tune” the dispensing process. The video shows the exact programming procedures to follow, step-by-step. Some folks want a faster powder flow — others tune their machines for a more reliable drop (with fewer over-runs). One cheap and popular modification is to insert a 1″-long section of a McDonald’s plastic straw in the ChargeMaster’s silver dispensing tube. This works surprisingly well to smooth kernel drop and prevent “clumping” that can cause an over-charge. The McDonald’s straw MOD is demonstrated in this video, starting at the 6:22 mark.

Large-Diameter Dispensing Tube Mod
Many folks have had success with the McDonald’s straw modification demonstrated in the above video. However, some folks would like to get even better flow performance (with virtually no clumping). Forum Member Frank B. has come up with a new option using a brass hose fitting with a large outside diameter. The hose fitting (with tape wrapped around the barbed nose section) is placed inside the RCBS dispensing tube (have some kind of wrap — you don’t want metal-on-metal). Here’s how the unit looks installed:

ChargeMaster tuning tweak brass fitting powder dispenser

Frank tells us: “I have found a cure for the over-throw problem. It is a simple 1/4″ barbed hose nipple. I wrapped a couple layers of tape around the barbed end for a snug fit. With this in place, I have thrown 100+ charges of Varget without a single overthrow. The ID of the barbed end needs to be approximately 3/16″ to feed a steady flow. This works because of the larger ID at the drop.”

Frank adds: “You can see in the photo that the powder is not stacking up. You can watch it drop one grain at a time. Hope this will take the aggravation out of your case charging.” For best performance with this brass fitting MOD, we recommend de-burring and smoothing out the front edge of the brass fitting over which the kernels drop.

Brass fitting mod suggested by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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May 3rd, 2021

Neck-Turning 101 — Basic Steps to Follow When Turning Necks

neck-turning basics reloading salazar

On our main AccurateShooter.com site, you’ll find a good article by GS Arizona on the Basics of Neck Turning. If you’re new to the neck-turning game, or are just looking for good tips on improving your neck-turning procedures, you should read that article. Below we offer some highlights and photos from the article, but you’ll need to read the whole story to view all the illustrations and follow all the procedures step by step.

Why Should You Consider Neck Turning?
Let’s assume that your rifle doesn’t have a tight neck chamber that requires neck turning; if you have a tight neck chamber, of course, the answer to the question is “because you have to”. For the rest of us, and that includes the vast majority of Highpower shooters, neck turning isn’t a requirement, but it can be a useful way to bring your ammunition a small but meaningful step closer to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: perfection. I’m not talking about a theoretical improvement, but a real one, an improvement that lies in equalizing and optimizing the neck tension of your loaded rounds. Inconsistent neck tension is a real contributor to increased muzzle velocity variance which itself is a significant factor in increased elevation dispersion at long range. So there’s our basic reason for neck turning: to equalize and optimize neck tension in order to reduce elevation dispersion.

The Tools of the Trade
Here you see everything I use and a bit more. The press, a cordless screwdriver (always plugged in, turning is tough on the old battery), a couple of K&M neck turners (one set up for 6mm, the other for .30 caliber) an expander for each size, some Imperial lube, an old toothbrush or two to keep the cutter clean, a handle with a caseholder (for those emergencies when the screwdriver dies and there’s just one more case to go!), steel wool and a tubing micrometer finish the list of tools. Hey, I left the dial calipers out of the picture! They’re always handy, keep them around, but they are useless for measuring neck thickness, so don’t try. I usually use an Optivisor magnifier while I turn necks, very handy for a clear view of what’s happening on the neck.

neck-turning basics reloading salazar

Expanding the Neck
Put some lube on the inside of the case neck and run it into the expander. Really, this isn’t hard. I prefer to expand each case immediately before turning it as opposed to expanding all the cases and then turning them. Brass is somewhat springy and will tend to go back toward its original size; therefore, by expanding and turning immediately, you are more likely to have all cases fit the mandrel with the same degree of tightness and to get a more consistent depth of cut.

Cutter Adjustment for Cut Depth and Length
All the tools I’ve seen have pretty good adjustment instructions. The only thing they don’t tell you is that you should have five to ten spare cases to get it right initially. Anything of the right diameter will do while you learn, for instance, just use that cheap surplus .308 brass to do initial setup and save the precious .30-06 for when you know what you’re doing. Be patient and make your adjustments slowly; you’ll need to set the cutter for thickness as well as length of cut (just into the shoulder). The depth of cut (brass thickness) takes a bit of fiddling, the length of the cut is generally easy to set.

The Finished Product — A Perfectly Uniform Neck
If you read the whole article, and follow the procedures using quality tools, you should get very good results — with a little practice. To demonstrate, here’s an example of my finished, neck-turned brass. You’ll see there is a perfect, 0.0125″ thick neck. It’s very uniform around the circumference, usually I only see 1 or 2 ten-thousandths variance. Now, with the necks uniformed like this, we can select the bushing size that will give us our preferred neck tension and experiment with various levels of tension, secure in the knowledge that all of the cases will actually have the desired neck tension.

neck-turning basics reloading salazar

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May 3rd, 2021

Tunnel Vision — Amazing Accuracy in Sierra’s Test Tunnel

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrels
NOTE: There are ten (10) shots in the group, but for simplicity we are only displaying five (5) shot circles. Adding more circles won’t change the measurement because the two most distant shots, which determine group size, ARE included.

What kind of 200-yard accuracy can you get in an enclosed, underground test range? Would you believe 0.162 MOA at 200 yards with a .338? Have a look at these test targets from Sierra Bullets. Like most bullet manufacturers, Sierra does live-fire bullet testing to ensure that Sierra projectiles perform as promised, with repeatable accuracy. Sierra tests bullets in its own underground test complex. Sierra’s 300-meter test range is the longest, privately-owned underground bullet test facility in the Western Hemisphere.*

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrels

Day in and day out, various bullet types are tested using a big collection of barreled actions. These barreled actions are clamped in stout, return-to-battery test fixtures. These big, heavy test fixtures provide near-perfect repeatability (with no human-induced holding or aiming errors).

Sierra Bullets 10-Shot Groups at 200 yards
Check out these 10-shot test groups shot at the Sierra Test Range at 200 yards. Note that the numbers listed on each sample are actual measurements in inches. To convert to MOA, cut those numbers in half (to be more precise, divide by 2.094, which is 1 MOA at 200 yards). For example, the 0.340″ middle group works out to 0.162 MOA at 200 yards.

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrels

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrelsScan-Verified 0.162 MOA Accuracy at 200 Yards
To verify the accuracy of Sierra’s measurements, we measured the middle (.338 caliber) 10-shot group with our On-Target Group Measurement software. We registered a group size reading of 0.339″ — within one-thousandth of the Sierra measurement. The calculated group size in MOA (Minute of Angle) is 0.162.

That’s amazingly good for ten rounds of big .338 caliber bullets. A FIVE-shot 0.162 MOA group at 200 would be considered excellent at any benchrest match. But remember this target has TEN shots. The current, one-target IBS world record for ten shots at 200 yards is 0.245″, set by Ed Watson in 1999.

Bevy of Barreled Actions for Bullet Testing
Sierra Bullets uses dozens of barreled actions for testing bullets in its enclosed, 200-yard test range. Each barrel has its own logbook to track the barrel’s usage.

Sierra Bullets indoors testing barrels
Click Photo to Zoom


*Even Longer Test Tunnels Exist in Europe: At Stadeln in Germany, RWS (now part of RUAG) owns a 500 meter tunnel (above ground level) which has existed for decades. In Thun, Switzerland, RUAG has a fully-instrumented 500 meter underground tunnel. Near Ulm, Germany, there is a 5-lane 300 meter underground shooting range that is open to the public.

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May 2nd, 2021

Sunday GunDay: World’s Lightest AR Rifle — 3.8-Lb OIP Gen 2

GunsAmerica Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

One of the most radical black rifles ever created wowed the crowd at the SHOT Show Range Day back in 2019. At the Boulder Rifle & Pistol Club outside Las Vegas, Battle Arms Development showcased a true “UltraLight AR”. With Titanium and carbon fiber components, the Battle Arms OIP Gen 2 AR-platform rifle weighs just 3.8 pounds unloaded. Compare that to 7.5 pounds (or more) for a typical AR-15.

Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight
Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

Battle Arms 3.8-Lb Titanium/Carbon OIP 2 — World’s Lightest AR

At the Boulder City Range GunsAmerica Digest Managing Editor True Pearce talked with one of the Battle Arms gun designers who helped created this unique rifle, claimed to be the world’s lightest AR (yes it is lighter than ARs with polymer lowers). READ GunsAmerica Battle Arms OIP 2 Review HERE.

In the video below, True Pearce shows the key features of the $3290.00 Battle Arms OIP 2. Then he tests its function shooting offhand at steel targets. Despite its low mass, and exotic components, the Battle Arms OIP 2 AR carbine performed flawlessly.

The video above features the Battle Arms OIP GEN 2 AR that weighs just 3.8 pounds. To save weight, this carbine features a carbon fiber handguard and various titanium parts including a Titanium muzzle brake. Look carefully at how even small controls have been modified to save ounces.

GunsAmerica reported: “Battle Arms has done a lot of work to find all the ounces that can be spared to make this gun as light as possible.” Even at just 3.8 pounds, the gun is very controllable during rapid fire. Despite a steep $3290.00 MSRP, the first run of Battle Arms’ sub-4-lb GEN 2 OIP sold out. That proves that “light is right”, as least in the AR carbine market.

2019 shot show Battle Arms development 0.I.D. Gen 2 AR chassis system rifles
Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight
Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

Pew-Pew Tactical Review of Battle Arms OIP 2

GunsAmerica Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

The team at Pew-Pew Tactical also field-tested the Battle Arms OIP Gen 2 rifle. The reviewers were impressed, finding that felt recoil was very manageable, even given the rifle’s very low 3.8-lb weight:

Pew-Pew Tactical Battle Arms OIP Gen 2 Review

The Concept Behind the OIP — Why Go Ultra-Light

Recoil Magazine featured an earlier model OIP rifle back in 2016 (Issue 21). This design was later refined into the current OIP Gen 2 version. Recoil’s writers explained the concept behind this unique design:

Battle Arms OIP Rifle — How Low Can You Go…

“The OIP had its genesis as a simple idea to build a lightweight gun that just plain worked. Dave Lake and Matt Babb of Bentwood Gunsmithing spent years perfecting the concept, incorporating the latest components where they existed and working with companies to customize parts that didn’t. They wanted a well-balanced gun with an optimized operating system and literally no excess — to be as light as humanly possible.

Bentwood didn’t want to utilize polymer receivers and worked with Battle Arms Development to develop a super lightweight receiver set with intricate machining to shave as much weight as they could. They investigated some more exotic material choices, but found them to be prohibitively expensive.”
— Source: RecoilWeb.com

Battle Arms OIP 2 Owner’s Review on TFB

Last year, The Firearm Blog (TFB) published an extensive review of the Battle Arms OIP 2. TFB writer/tester Rusty S. had purchased this OIP 2 rig with his own funds — making a serious $3290.00 investment.

After using the rifle in the field, Rusty concluded: “Objectively, the Battle Arms Development OIP 2 is a very well put together, reasonably accurate and very lightweight rifle. It has proven to be reliable, durable, and soft shooting despite its lightweight configuration. Subjectively, the OIP 2 has proven to be the rifle I most often bring with me into the backcountry with the exception of during deer and elk hunting season. It’s nice to have a 500-yard-capable rifle with me that weighs so little. All that being said, the amount that the OIP2 will lighten one’s wallet by will be a real sticking point for most prospective buyers.” Rusty added: “At this price point, I would appreciate some sort of ultra lightweight flip-up iron sights. I also don’t think the rear of the buttstock is as ergonomically optimal as it could be.”

GunsAmerica Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

Product Description from Battle Arms
[The Battle Arms OIP 2 is] the lightest, purpose-built, no compromise, production ultralight survival carbine[.] It took years in R&D, engineering and multiple U.S. Patents to create the most robust and reliable lightweight AR platform on the market. Building something that is not only lightweight but all the while not sacrificing strength and performance is the ultimate secret of the Battlearms OIP.

Every component, shy of a few detents and springs, are custom built and designed to work together as a complete system. No, you will not find a parts gun here….The OIP utilizes a patented OIP buffer system in conjunction with a lightweight titanium bolt carrier with ArmorTi finish for durability. It is balanced with a custom mid-length gas system and a specially designed titanium THUMPER compensator.

New in Gen 2 is the user-configurable M-LOK carbon fiber handguard and a carbon-fiber pistol grip that weighs barely one ounce. A new titanium billet CNC-machined bolt catch and a lightweight single-side Clutch charging handle are just a couple more of the new upgrades to the OIP. The rifle was designed to be an optics-ready carbine, providing a single stretch of Picatinny rail in the optimal spot for a red dot sight while eliminating the unnecessary weight of the rail elsewhere. The patented, lightweight 7075-T6 billet aluminum receivers are not simply skeletonized and hollowed out but is carefully engineered with structural consideration. The technology and engineering that foes into the OIP® Ultralight Rifle bring forth the next evolution of the AR platform.

Want to learn more? Check out this review of the Battle Arms OIP 2 Carbine on DefenseReview.com.

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May 2nd, 2021

Need Work? Quality Gun Industry Jobs Listed on NSSF Website

NSSF gun industry jobs employment center openings hire work

Firearms Industry JobsA number of interesting jobs in the firearms industry have become available in recent weeks. The NSSF maintains a regularly-updated listing of employment opportunities with gun-makers and shooting sports organizations. On the NSSF’s job board right now there are financial openings, account manager positions, engineering jobs, sales and marketing positions, and media/digital markeing opportunities. Here are some of the jobs we found this week posted on the NSSF Website. CLICK HERE to visit the NSSF Career Center with all current listings

NSSF gun industry jobs employment center openings hire work

Firearms Industry Jobs — Current Openings

Partial selection — SEE MORE JOBS HERE

Vice President of Sales — Webster, Texas
U.S. Law Shield, 3 Days Ago

Digital Marketing Coordinator — Kansas City, Kansas
CZ-USA, Inc. 4 Days Ago

Field Sales Support Specialist — Nationwide USA
Leica Sport Optics, 5 Days Ago

Sales Operations Coordinator — Allendale, New Jersey
Leica Sport Optics, 5 Days Ago

Director of Mfg. Engineering — Fort Smith, Arkansas
Walther Manufacturing, 4 Days Ago

Director of Marketing — Accokeek, Maryland
Benelli USA, 3 Weeks Ago

Winchester Product Management Specialist — East Alton, Illinois
Olin Winchester, 3 Weeks Ago

Director of Government Program & Sales — Houston, Texas
Primary Arms, LLC, 2 Weeks Ago

Customer Service Reloading Specialist — Anniston, Alabama
Creedmoor Sports, 2 Weeks Ago

Sales Coach — Prescott, Arizona
Davidsons, 1 Week Ago

eCommerce Website Manager — Fort Smith, Arkansas
Umarex USA, Inc., 2 Weeks Ago

Field Operations Manager — West Bend, Wisconsin
Delta Defense, 3 Weeks Ago

Product Manager — Cheyenne, Wyoming
Stag Arms, 4 Weeks Ago

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May 1st, 2021

Double Wooden Shooting Bench — Impressive DIY Project

do it yourself shooting bench 6.5 Creedmoor

We like well-executed DIY (Do-It-Yourself) projects. You can save money with DIY projects, and often create something unique and special that can’t be purchased from any vendor. That’s the case with this very cool double shooting bench built by Jacob D., a pilot and 6.5 Creedmoor shooter. The design of the bench is smart — it allows two right-handed shooters, but it can also handle a right-hander and a left-hander. (The lefty sets up in the right half of the bench.)

Jacob, who flies for Arizona’s Mesa Airlines, built his own side-by-side benchrest shooting bench. He then posted photos of this on the 6.5 Creedmoor Group Facebook Page. We like this — very nice work Jacob!

do it yourself shooting bench 6.5 Creedmoor

Jacob writes: “Sighting in my new Ruger Precision Rifle with Leupold VX3i LRP 6.5-20x50mm and Burris tactical rings, using my benchrest table I built. Very happy with the combo!”

There is plenty of room for two shooters and two rifles on Jacob’s big and sturdy DIY shooting bench.

do it yourself shooting bench 6.5 Creedmoor
do it yourself shooting bench 6.5 Creedmoor

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April 30th, 2021

Alexander Hamilton’s Flintlock Pistols to Be Auctioned May 14

Alexander Hamilton flintlock pistol epaulettes auction rock island company RIA

Alexander Hamilton flintlock pistol epaulettes auction rock island company RIATwo historic pistols will be auctioned on May 14, 2021. These two flintlocks belonged to Col. Alexander Hamilton, whose image is now on the U.S. $10 dollar bill. The Rock Island Auction Company says: “These pistols are universally recognized as being among the most historically significant weapons known to exist. Few firearms owned and used by founding fathers during the American Revolutionary War survive, and none that we know of (other than this pair) remain in private hands. Only two founders, Washington and Hamilton, served in the Continental Army with distinction.”

Projected bid range for the two pistols (plus epaulettes worn by Hamilton) is $1,000,000 to $3,500,000. SEE Hamilton Pistols Auction Page, RIA 5/14/21 Auction Lot #125.

Pistols May Command the Highest Price Ever for Auctioned Firearms
“These pistols… transcend arms specific collecting. They are an American institution in and of themselves” stated Rock Island Auction President Kevin Hogan. According to RIA, the War Pistols of Alexander Hamilton are the “most historically significant item ever offered by Rock Island Auction Company. Items from the era rarely survive, let alone those of Founding Fathers. Given these pistols’ rarity, significance, and provenance, they may very well set the world record price for a firearm offered at auction.”

Alexander Hamilton flintlock pistol epaulettes auction rock island company RIA

A matched pair, the pistols have smoothbore, multi-stage barrels with light scroll engraving. The wrist escutcheons have the significant initials “A H” inscribed for Alexander Hamilton and border engraving. The early banana profile locks are convex and have floral scroll engraving and non-bridled pans. The furniture is all brass. The side plates have pierced centers and light floral engraving.

Along with the two flintlock pistols, the auction, set for next week, will include two epaulettes worn by Hamilton as a Continental soldier. The Guns America Digest noted: “The pistols were presented to Hamilton, when he was a Colonel, by his father-in-law General Philip Schuyler [after the historic Battle of Saratoga]. They were passed down through the family until they were sold in 1942. Included with the pistols are Hamilton’s epaulettes from his Colonel’s uniform, which he wore while serving with General George Washington during the American Revolution.”

Alexander Hamilton flintlock pistol epaulettes auction rock island company RIA

Hamilton Pistols Will Be Featured on Gun Talk Radio, Sunday 5/2/21
These historic Hamilton pistols will be discussed this Sunday on Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk Radio. Host Tom Gresham will discuss these historic arms in an interview with Kevin Hogan, President of Rock Island Auction Company. On May 14, 2021 RIA will have Alexander Hamilton’s flintlock pistols and epaulettes on the auction block. Find out more at RockIslandAuction.com.

Alexander Hamilton flintlock pistol epaulettes auction rock island company RIA

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April 30th, 2021

Tactical Titles — Five Books for PRS/NRL Competitors

PRS NRL precision rifle training book print resource manual gun handling instruction

Are you looking to get started in PRS and NRL practical precision rifle competition? Or perhaps you’d like to advance your skill set so you can place higher in big matches (and get your hands on those prize table items)? Of course there is no substitute for trigger time in the field, but there ARE some great print resources. These five books can help you select the right equipment, improve your shooting skills, make better wind calls, increase your fitness level, and develop a more efficient between-match training program.

Tactical Practical PRS Precision Rifle Series NRL NRL22 good books

1. Precision Rifle Marksmanship: The Fundamentals

Frank Galli, $21.57 Paperback, $15.99 Kindle

Frank Galli rifle marksmanship PRS NRL precision rifle training book print resource manual gun handling instruction

Frank Galli (aka “LowLight”) is the founder/head honcho of SnipersHide.com, the most active tactical community on the internet. Galli is also a retired USMC scout-sniper. Practical Precision Rifle shooting is one of the hottest trends in competitive shooting today. PRS and NRL matches draw big turn-outs and boast impressive prize tables. Galli’s Precision Rifle Marksmanship book covers the fundamentals of precision marksmanship with easy-to-understand methodology. The book uses the same instruction process that Galli uses in his live marksmanship classes.

As Sniper’s Hide guru Frank Galli explains, there is no voodoo when it comes to precision rifle marksmanship, but there are techniques that, when practiced, make the difference between good marksmanship and great marksmanship. Understanding the reasons that a bullet hits or doesn’t hit its intended target at ultra-long distances is a crucial element to learning. Galli’s explanations of how to understand and compensate for wind speed and direction are excellent — Galli offers great wind-reading advice.

Published in 2020, this 272-page well-illustrated book covers the latest equipment (scopes, LRFs, chassis systems, mags, bags, bipods, tripods) favored by tactical competitors in PRS/NRL type matches.

2. Long Range Shooting Handbook

Ryan Cleckner, $19.85 Paperback, $9.99 Kindle

Ryan Cleckner’s Long Range Shooting Handbook is the best-selling modern book on practical rifle skills. A former U.S. Army sniper instructor, Cleckner is knowledgeable, and his text is well-organized and chock full of good information. You can view Sample Chapters on Amazon.com.

Ryan Cleckner’s highly-regarded Long Range Shooting Handbook is designed as an intro to important fundamental 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. This book will benefit any long-range shooter, not just PRS/NRL competitors.

3. IMPACT! — Training and Preparing for Precision Rifle Matches

Rodney Maze, $14.99 Paperback, $4.99 Kindle

PRS NRL precision rifle training book print resource manual gun handling instruction

Impact!, by PRS competitor Rodney Maze, is an entry/intermediate level guide to preparing yourself and your equipment to compete in precision rifle type matches. It will also benefit anyone looking to learn about practical-style long range and precision shooting. We recommend you check it out for yourself — there are 20 Pages of free sample content on Amazon. Topics covered include:

— Rifle, optic, and equipment selection
— Setting up your rifle, bags, tripods for PRS/NRL matches
— Understanding ballistics and how to record and use ballistic data
— Techniques for using holdovers for multi-target stages
— Gun skills, rapid fire techniques, clearing malfunctions
— Shooting off of barricades, and specialty stages
— Effects of wind and how to improve your wind calls
— Tips for live fire and dry fire practice
— Preparing yourself and your equipment for a match
— Mental strategies and techniques

Impact! is illustrated with plenty of photographs. Topics are divided logically, and concepts are explained in clear language. Also included is an extensive glossary of terms used in precision shooting and a list of additional resources you can use to further pursue your precision shooting knowledge. This book also includes a handy Appendix with formatted pages for recording data about your rifle, scope, and ammunition. There is also a Wind table for recording your rifle “dope” and wind hold-offs. Lastly, Impact! has a useful table of unit conversions.

4. Practical Shooter’s Guide

Marcus Blanchard, $19.99 Paperback, $9.99 Kindle

Marcus Blanchard Practical Shooter's Guide

Thinking of getting started in the Practical/Tactical shooting game? Looking for ways to be more stable when shooting from unconventional positions? Then you may want to read Marcus Blanchard’s Practical Shooter’s Guide (A How-To Approach for Unconventional Firing Positions and Training). Unlike almost every “how to shoot” book on the market, Blanchard’s work focuses on the shooting skills and positions you need to succeed in PRS matches and similar tactical competitions. Blanchard provides clear advice on shooting from barricades, from roof-tops, from steep angles. Blanchard says you need to train for these types of challenges: “I believe the largest factor in the improvement of the average shooter isn’t necessarily the gear; it’s the way the shooter approaches obstacles and how they properly train for them.”

5. Official U.S. Army Sniper Training and Operations Manual

From U.S. Army Sources, $17.59 paperback.

PRS NRL precision rifle training book print resource manual gun handling instruction

This U.S. Army Sniper Training Manual is a very comprehensive resource, with over 450 pages of information in a large 8.5″x11″ format. NOTE: Unlike other editions on Amazon, this is NOT the basic, outdated FM 23-10. This is the completely-overhauled 450+ page edition (FM 3-22.10). Heavily illustrated, this is a very useful resource for tactical/practical precision shooter. Employed as the “textbook” for the U.S. Army Sniper School at Fort Benning, GA, this big manual explains ranging methods, rifle handling, optics selection and operation, and rifle maintenance.

There is also extensive discussion of ballistics, wind reading, and weather effects. Practical competitors will appreciate the discussions of moving targets, range estimation, and range safety procedures. One reviewer explains: “This book contains the distilled wisdom of the Sniper School’s instructors and expert marksmen, giving you over 450 pages of unique insight into the long range combat shooter’s art.”

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April 29th, 2021

8.4 Million New American Gun Owners Drive Demand for Ammo

Ammunition shortage gun sales 2020

With reloading components and factory-loaded ammunition still in very short supply, gun owners are justifiably concerned. Every day, in our AccurateShooter Forum, members ask “Where are the primers?”, “Why can’t I get loaded ammo?”, “Why have component prices doubled or tripled?”. The answer is complex. Yes there have been production shortfalls (with the Remington Bankruptcy and some raw material shortages), yes there has been a reaction to the Biden election (causing panic buying), and yes there have been hoarding and profiteering (just look as the prices of primers on Gunbroker — over $300 per 1000!).

But probably the number one factor in the supply shortages has been the increase in gun owners in the past year, fueled in part by concerns over the BLM/Antifa led riots and social unrest, and Democratic Party attacks on gun rights. And, according to the NSSF, roughly 8,400,000 Americans purchased their first firearm in 2020. If each of these new gun owners purchased just two, 50-round boxes of ammo, that equates to 840,000,000 rounds of ammo. Think about that…the gun industry would have to produce an additional 2.3 million rounds of ammo EVERY DAY just to fill the demands from new gun owners. There are consequences for this increased production. Primers are in short supply because much of the available inventory is being used in loaded ammo.

Ammunition shortage gun sales 2020

This NSSF Infographic helps explain the situation. Among gunshops/dealers nationwide, there was a 95% increase in gun sales for the first half of 2020 (compared to 2019). And ammunition sales rose by 139%.

Ammunition shortage gun sales 2020

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April 27th, 2021

Illustrated History of Firearms — Great Book for Collectors

Illustrated History of Fireams NRA museum 320 page 1700 photos

Looking for a superb illustrated coffee table book about guns? Yes there is such a thing, a great book we highly recommend — The Illustrated History of Fireams (2nd Edition). This full-color 320-page hardcover book features more than 1,700 photos compiled by NRA Museums curators Jim Supica, Doug Wicklund, and Philip Schreier. This Second Edition includes 300 photos more than the original, plus dozens of new profiles of important persons who influenced firearms development.

This follow-up to the best-selling original NRA Museums book is loaded with great images, historical profiles, and technical data on old, new, and currently-manufactured firearms that have changed history. Covering the earliest matchlocks to modern match-grade superguns and everything in between, The Illustrated History of Firearms provides a fascinating education on how guns evolved, where they originated and how they worked.

The Illustrated History of Firearms, 2nd Edition

– Authored by the experts at the NRA Firearms Museums

– Published by Gun Digest Books

– 9 ½ x 11 1/2 inches, hardcover with dust jacket

– 1,700 full-color photos

– 320 Pages

– Price: $39.99 (MSRP); $24.78 on Amazon

The Illustrated History of Firearms, 2nd Edition is available from Amazon direct for $24.78. Amazon also lists the book starting at $24.75 with free delivery from a variety of other book vendors. You’ll also find the book at major bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, but it’s probably easier to purchase online.

Historic American Arms — Teddy Roosevelt’s Lever Guns
These two lever action rifles, owned by President Theodore Roosevelt, are part of the NRA Museum collection. First is a Winchester 1886 rifle known as the tennis match gun because Roosevelt used winnings from a tennis match to buy it. Below that is a suppressed Winchester model 1894 rifle. Roosevelt liked to shoot varmints around Oyster Bay (Long Island, NY) with this gun so he wouldn’t disturb his neighbors — the Tiffany and Du Pont families.

Roosevelt NRA Museum lever gun suppress 1886 1894
Roosevelt NRA Museum lever gun suppress 1886 1894

About the NRA Museums
The NRA opened the original National Firearms Museum at its Washington DC Headquarters in 1935. In 2008 the Francis Brownell Museum of the South West opened at the NRA’s Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Then, in 2013, the National Sporting Arms Museum opened at the Bass Pro Shops store in Springfield, MO. Every year, at these three museum facilities, over 350,000 persons visit to see the impressive exhibits and many of America’s most famous firearms. For more information, visit www.NRAMuseum.org.

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April 25th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: The Rifle that Shot Smallest 1K Group in History

Mike Wilson IBS 1000-yard light gun record 50-5X world's smallest 1000-yard Group

Look and be amazed. What you are seeing is the smallest 5-Shot group ever shot in 1000-yard competition. And it is also perfectly centered for a 50-5X max score, yes ALL Xs. Brilliant! This amazing group was shot by Mike Wilson in July of 2018 with his 17-lb Light Gun, chambered for a 6mmBR wildcat he calls the 6 BRAW (BR Ackley Improved Wilson). This spectacular feat of accuracy demonstrates the potential of the 6BR family of cartridges even at 1000 yards. For his record group, Mike shot Vapor Trail 103-grain bullets in Lapua 6mmBR fire-formed brass. He loaded Hodgdon H4895 powder with CCI 450 primers. The action was a BAT, the barrel a Brux.

The Best 5-Shot 1000-Yard Group in History

Story based on report by Sam Hall
Look at that target by Mike Wilson. This is one of the most remarkable displays of accuracy (and precision) in the history of long range shooting. This past weekend, Mike (aka “GA. Dawg” in our Forum) drilled a truly spectacular 1.087-inch, 5-shot group at 1000 yards, all centered up in the X-Ring. Yes, you read that right, a group barely over an inch at 1000, shot in competition at an official IBS benchrest match on July 21, 2018. Note, the group was measured at the range at an even smaller 1.068″ (see target). However, as certified by the IBS as a IBS Light Gun World Record, the group is listed as 1.087″.

How small is that in angular measurement? Well 1 MOA at 1000 yards is 10.47 inches, so Mike’s 50-5X masterpiece is 0.1038 MOA! Yes that is an IBS group size AND score World Record. And it is also smaller than the current NBRSA 1000-yard 5-shot LG world record, 1.473″ by Bill Schrader in 2002. This best-ever 1K group* was shot at an IBS registered 1000-yard match at Hawks Ridge Gun Club in North Carolina. Other records have been shot at Hawks Ridge in the past, but this is the most jaw-dropping.

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches
Sam Hall (left, green shirt) holds record target by Mike Wilson (right, white shirt).

Sam Hall, past IBS National Champion and IBS 600-Yard Shooter of the Year, was stunned by Wilson’s accomplishment: “This is a truely awesome marksmanship feat — one of the best in history. I think I would trade all 14 of my 600-yard records for that one!”. Mike’s amazing target will be submitted for approval as new Group Size and Score IBS World Records. Official approval is pretty much a certainty. The previous 5-shot, 1000-yard IBS record is 1.397″ (50 score) by Tom Sarver in 2007. (The NBRSA 1000-Yard 5-shot LG record is 1.473″ by Bill Schrader in 2002.)

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches

Posting on our Shooters’ Forum, Mike wrote: “Thanks everyone for the kind words. As humbling as this game is, when it comes together makes it all worthwhile! A very special THANK YOU to my traveling buddy, my son, Blake, and my wife Debra for allowing me to enjoy this crazy game.” Mike also wanted to thank his smiths and component suppliers.

Mike Wilson IBS 1000-Yard Light Gun Specifications

Action: BAT ‘B’ 1.550 Melonited Action with Jewell Trigger
Barrel: Brux HV 28″ Finished Length, 1:8″ Twist Rate
Chambering: 6 BRAW (6mmBR Ackley Improved Wilson), Chambered by Darrell Jones
Chamber Specs: 0.272″ No-turn Neck with 0.135″ Freebore
Stock: Shehane ST 1000 Fiberglass Stock (with stock work by Larry “Bullet” Archer)
Optics: Nightforce 12-42x56mm Benchrest NP-2 DD

LOAD Specs: Lapua 6mmBR brass (formed to 40° Ackley Improved), Vapor Trail 103gr bullets, Hodgdon H4895 powder, CCI 450 primers.

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches
Leonard Baity front rest with Protektor Bag. Italian Lenzi bag in rear.

World Record-Setting Cartridge and Load
Mike was shooting a 40-degree Improved version of the 6mmBR Norma cartridge. Long popular with Benchrest and 300M shooters, the 6mmBR was the original inspiration for this website. Yep, we started as www.6mmBR.com. The Improved version has extra capacity, allowing about 100 FPS more velocity when chambered with a long throat. For his record group, Mike shot Vapor Trail 103-grain bullets in Lapua brass. He loaded Hodgdon H4895 powder with CCI 450 (small rifle magnum) primers.

Praise from Fellow Competitors
Here are some reactions to Mike’s amazing group by our Forum members:

“Amazing target Mike Wilson! Your group might last forever as ‘the goal’ of 1000-yard Benchrest! Heck that’s a great target even at 600 yards.” — Mike J.

“Think about this for a second. That group was barely larger than the size of your index finger’s first digit and he printed it at 1000 Yards.” — Carlos

“Unbelievable!! Doing that under chosen prime conditions is an amazing feat but to do that in competition and to have everything to come together is just unbelievable. Amazing how far skill, precision, knowledge, and the products of this sport have come. Never thought we would see a group this small and well placed especially in the hills of North Carolina where the wind always blows. Congratulations. A true lifetime achievement.” — Yote Hunter

“I think that one will stand for a while. Hard work does pay off, but it don’t hurt to be one of the givers in the sport. Mike, you are ‘The Man’!” — Bill Shehane

“Awesome, awesome. Now the goal is to shoot UNDER an inch!” — Alex Wheeler

For more comments, read this AccurateShooter Forum Thread.

The 6mmBR Ackley Improved
Mike Wilson shot his spectacular group with a 40° Improved version of the 6mmBR cartridge with less body taper than a standard 6BR — the design is 0.463 at the body/shoulder junction (vs. 0.460 for standard 6BR). Mike calls his version of the 6BR Ackley a 6BRAW (“W” for Wilson). Sam Hall explained: “The 6BRAW is pretty much the same as a 6BRA or 6BR-AI (Ackley Improved). I sold the reamer to Mike last year. This has a 0.272 ‘No-Turn’ chamber with a 0.135 Freebore”.

6mmBR Ackley Improved 6BRA 6BRAI 6BRAW Mike wilson Tom Mousel

This photo shows a 40° 6mmBR Ackley Improved (6BRA), as used by Tom Mousel in Deep Creek, Montana. Mike Wilson’s 6BRAW may be very slightly different. For Mousel’s 6BRA with 28″ Krieger barrel, the accuracy node is about 2980-2990 fps, so this gives up only 30-50 fps compared to typical Dasher velocities. Mike Wilson’s load runs about 2980 fps also.

In the past couple of years, the 6BR Ackley-type cartridges have been hugely successful in 600-yard and 1000-yard Benchrest. Sam Hall notes: “This year the little 6BR-AI has shot the smallest groups ever fired in 600-yard and 1000-yard competition. Back in April 2018, bullet-maker Bart Sauter, using a 6BRA, shot a 0.311″ 50-score 5-Shot group at 600 yards.” (Read Sauter Story). Bart’s stunning 0.05 MOA group is now the 600-yard IBS HG World Record.(Note: Bart’s target was originally measured at 0.282″ but was later IBS-certified at 0.311″.)

Mike Wilson IBS Hawks Ridge 1000-yard benchrest 1000 record 1.086 inches
Mike used an Italian Lenzi rear bag. Mike says the super-slick nylon on the ears of this high quality rear bag make for better tracking. The ears provide support but don’t “grab” the stock, reports Mike.

More Comments by Fellow Shooters:

“Truly an amazing feat. The 5X was the icing on the cake! Many shooters would be very happy with that group size at 200 yards.” — Mr. Zero

“Words cannot adequately express how many of us feel about your magnificent accomplishment at 1000 yards. Congratulations — that is terrific!” — Gene Beggs

“Truly amazing … well done on a great achievement… RESPECT!” — Elardus

“Bravo Mike pour ce tir incroyable. Ton exploit est sur le forum de tir longue distance en France bonne continuation.” — Frederic Riso


* There are two North American sanctioning bodies for 1000-Yard Benchrest, the IBS and the NBRSA. The previous 5-shot, 1000-yard IBS record is 1.397″ (50 score) by Tom Sarver in 2007. The existing NBRSA 1000-Yard 5-shot Light Gun record is 1.473″, shot by Bill Schrader in 2002.

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April 25th, 2021

Get Smart — Access AccurateShooter.com’s Tech Articles Archive

AccurateShooter.com technical articles

AccurateShooter.comReaders who have just recently discovered the Daily Bulletin may not realize that AccurateShooter.com has hundreds of reference articles in our archives. These authoritative articles are divided into multiple categories, so you can easily view stories by topic (such as competition, tactical, rimfire, optics, shooting skills etc.). One of the most popular categories is our Technical Articles Collection. On a handy index page (with thumbnails for every story), you’ll find over 120 articles covering technical and gunsmithing topics. These articles can help you with major projects (such as stock painting), and they can also help you build more accurate ammo. Here are six popular selections from our Technical Articles archive.

pillar Bedding

Stress-Free Pillar Bedding. Richard Franklin explains how to do a top-quality bedding job, start to finish.

Gun Safe Technical Buyers Guide

Gun Safe Buyers Guide. Our comprehensive Safe Buyers Guide examines the key features to consider in a safe — Wall Thickness, Volume, Shelving, Fire Rating, Lighting, Weight and more. We also explain the Pros/Cons of Dial vs. Digital (Keypad) locking systems.

Savage Action Tuning Torque Settings

Savage Action Tuning. Top F-TR shooter Stan Pate explains how to enhance the performance of your Savage rifle by optimizing the torque settings of the action screws.

Precision Case Prep for Reloading

Complete Precision Case Prep. Jake Gottfredson covers the complete case prep process, including brass weight sorting, case trimming, primer pocket uniforming, neck-sizing, and, case-neck turning.

rifle stock painting and spraying

Stock Painting Instructions. Step-by-step guide for stock painting by expert Mike Ricklefs. Mike shows both simple coverage and fancy effects.

Ultrasound ultrasonic CAse Cleaning

Ultrasonic Case Cleaning. This article reviews the recommended process for cleaning cartridge brass with ultrasonic cleaning machine. We cover the right liquid solutions, processing times, and case drying options.

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April 24th, 2021

Is Your Twist Rate OK? Use Berger Twist Rate Stability Calculator

Berger twist rate calculator

Berger Twist-Rate Stability Calculator
Berger twist rate calculatorOn the Berger Bullets website you’ll find a handy Twist-Rate Stability Calculator that predicts your gyroscopic stability factor (SG) based on mulitiple variables: velocity, bullet length, bullet weight, barrel twist rate, ambient temperature, and altitude. This cool tool tells you if your chosen bullet will really stabilize in your barrel.


CLICK HERE to Go to TWIST RATE CALCULATOR PAGE »

How to Use Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator
Using the Twist Rate Calculator is simple. Just enter the bullet DIAMETER (e.g. .264), bullet WEIGHT (in grains), and bullet overall LENGTH (in inches). On its website, Berger conveniently provides this info for all its bullet types. For other brands, we suggest you weigh three examples of your chosen bullet, and also measure the length on three samples. Then use the average weight and length of the three. To calculate bullet stability, simply enter your bullet data (along with observed Muzzle Velocity, outside Temperature, and Altitude) and click “Calculate SG”. Try different twist rate numbers (and recalculate) until you get an SG value of 1.4 (or higher).

Gyroscopic Stability (SG) and Twist Rate
Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator provides a predicted stability value called “SG” (for “Gyroscopic Stability”). This indicates the Gyroscopic Stability applied to the bullet by spin. This number is derived from the basic equation: SG = (rigidity of the spinning mass)/(overturning aerodynamic torque).

Berger twist rate calculator

If you have an SG under 1.0, your bullet is predicted not to stabilize. If you have between 1.0 and 1.1 SG, your bullet may or may not stabilize. If you have an SG greater than 1.1, your bullet should stabilize under optimal conditions, but stabilization might not be adequate when temperature, altitude, or other variables are less-than-optimal. That’s why Berger normally recommends at least 1.5 SG to get out of the “Marginal Stability” zone.

In his book Applied Ballistics For Long-Range Shooting (3rd Ed.), Bryan Litz (Berger Ballistician) recommends at least a 1.4 SG rating when selecting a barrel twist for a particular bullet. This gives you a safety margin for shooting under various conditions, such as higher or lower altitudes or temperatures.

Story idea from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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