July 29th, 2021

.308 Win Velocity vs. Barrel Length — 28″ to 16.5″ Cut-Down Test

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

With barrels, one wonders “Can a little more length provide a meaningful velocity gain?” To answer that question, Rifleshooter.com performed an interesting test, cutting a .308 Win barrel from 28″ all the way down to 16.5″. The cuts were made in one-inch intervals with a rotary saw. At each cut length, velocity was measured with a Magnetospeed chronograph. To make the test even more interesting, four different types of .308 Win factory ammunition were chronographed at each barrel length.

This is a very useful test is you’re thinking about building a .308 Win hunting rifle, or perhaps thinking of going shorter for your F-TR rifle to save weight.

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

READ RifleShooter.com .308 Win Barrel Cut-Down Test Article.

Test Barrel Lost 22.7 FPS Per Inch (.308 Win Chambering)
How much velocity do you think was lost, on average, for each 1″ reduction in barrel length? The answer may surprise you. With a barrel reduction from 28″ to 16.5″, the average speed loss of the four types of .308 ammo was 261 fps total. That works out to an average loss of 22.7 fps per inch. This chart shows velocity changes for all four ammo varieties:

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

Summary of Findings:
The average velocity loss per inch, for all four ammo types combined, was 22.7 FPS. By ammo type, the average FPS loss per inch was: 24.6 (Win 147 FMJ), 22.8 (IMI 150 FMJ), 20.9 (Fed GMM 168gr), and 22.5 (Win 180PP).

Interestingly, these numbers jive pretty well with estimates found in reloading manuals. The testers observed: “The Berger Reloading manual says for the 308 Winchester, ‘muzzle velocity will increase (or decrease) by approximately 20 fps per inch from a standard 24″ barrel’.”

How the Test Was Done

The testers described their procedure as follows: “Ballistic data was gathered using a Magnetospeed barrel mounted ballistic chronograph. At each barrel length, the rifle was fired from a front rest with rear bags, with five rounds of each type of ammunition. Average velocity and standard deviation were logged for each round. Since we would be gathering data on 52 different barrel length and ammunition combinations and would not be crowning the barrel after each cut, we decided to eliminate gathering data on group sizes. Once data was gathered for each cartridge at a given barrel length, the rifle was cleared and the bolt was removed. The barrel was cut off using a cold saw. The test protocol was repeated for the next length. Temperature was 47° F.”

rifleshooter.com barrel .308 win cut-down test saw ammo GMM velocity magnetospeed

CLICK HERE to Read the Rifleshooter.com Test. This includes detailed charts with inch-by-inch velocity numbers, multiple line charts, and complete data sets for each type of ammo. Rifleshooter.com also offers ballistics graphs showing trajectories with different barrel lengths. All in all, this was a very thorough test by the folks at RifleShooter.com.

Much Different Results with 6mmBR and a Longer Barrel
The results from Rifleshooter.com’s .308 barrel cut-down test are quite different than the results we recorded some years ago with a barrel chambered for the 6mmBR cartridge. When we cut our 6mmBR barrel down from 33″ to 28″, we only lost about 8 FPS per inch. Obviously this is a different cartridge type, but also our 6mmBR barrel end length was 5″ longer than Rifleshooter.com’s .308 Win start length. Velocity loss can be more extreme with shorter barrel lengths (and bigger cartridges). Powder burn rates can also make a difference.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
July 29th, 2021

BLING Tactical — Red Hot Savage 10 BA Stealth

Savage 10 BA Stealth Red black custom 6.5 Creedmoor

On the 6.5 Creedmoor Facebook page we found an eye-catching Savage Model 10 BA Stealth. Rifle owner Derek P. has done some important upgrades, starting with a wicked, spiral-fluted McGowen barrel with red-painted flutes. The red theme was carried over to the chassis which combines fire-engine red with matte black in the middle. The scope rings and even the magazine were painted red to match as well. The whole effect is very striking, as you can see.

Savage 10 BA Stealth Red black custom 6.5 Creedmoor

The barrel is a 29-inch 1:8″-twist McGowen. The optic is a 4.5-27x56mm Vortex Razor HD GenII with sunshade. That supper-stable rear sandbag is a Protektor DR Bag, one of our favorites. The front sandbag is also a Protektor. The front Rest is the new Protektor Aluminum Rest with Mariners Wheel. Look carefully and you’ll see a flat 2.5″-wide block on the underside of the forearm. That improves stability and tracking.

Savage 10 BA Stealth Red black custom 6.5 Creedmoor

What we really like is the upgraded rear buttstock section. This is NOT standard by any means. Rifle owner Derek has fitted an aftermarket XLR Tactical Lite Buttstock that sits properly in that Protektor DR rear bag. This unit combines an adjustable buttpad with a nice cheek-rest (with upgraded pad from Tactical Works). And, very importantly, the XLR can be fitted with a “tactical bag rider” or you can easily make your own bag rider.

Savage 10 BA Stealth Red black custom 6.5 Creedmoor

As the Savage 10 BA Stealth Comes from the Factory
This video shows a box-stock Savage 10BA Stealth. Note how different the stock buttstock/cheekpiece assembly is compared to Derek’s Red Hot Savage.

Savage 10 BA Stealth Red black custom 6.5 Creedmoor

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Tactical No Comments »
July 28th, 2021

2021 Mid-Range Champions: Mayhall F-Open and Rutherford F-TR

NRA F-Class F-Open F-TR National Championship Camp Atterbury

The 2021 NRA Mid-Range F-Class Championships are complete, with the Long-Range competition running right now. We commend the new Mid-Range Champions who both shot spectacular matches. Roger Mayhall didn’t drop a point in F-0pen, finishing with 1800-131X to win F-Open. That’s a brilliant performance.

In F-TR division, Drew Rutherford topped a competitive field with 1791-96X. Hail the new Champions!

Roger Mayhall Wins F-Open Mid-Range with Stunning 1800-131X

NRA F-Class F-Open F-TR National Championship Camp Atterbury

NRA F-Class F-Open F-TR National Championship Camp Atterbury6mm Dasher Rifle Takes F-Open Title
Roger shot a 6mm Dasher, a wildcat based on the 6mmBR cartridge. Roger said his rifle was a tack-driver: “I think I owe my gunsmith a beverage or two!” Roger did a superb job of wind-reading to finish 3 days without dropping a point.

On the F-Class Competition Facebook Group, other shooters praised Roger’s amazing 1800-131X performance:

“I’ve known Roger for over 5 years. Great man, always willing to help a fellow shooter. Shooting clean all three days with an incredible X-count. Well done! So much for the claim that a 6mm can’t win an Aggregate!” — Jason Simes

“Good job buddy — I told you those Dashers could shoot. Just outstanding shooting.” — Chris Ford

“Awesome shooting Roger! Chalk up a national championship to the 6mm.” — Dan Bramley

About Roger Mayhall’s Championship-Winning Dasher
Posting on Facebook, Roger wrote: “I’ve had a few people ask about the equipment I used in the Mid-Range at Nationals. Here are the particulars:

The gun was a 6 Dasher, supported by a Defiance Deviant action, Bix ‘N Andy trigger, Alex Wheeler LBR F-Class stock, Sightron SV ED 10-50x60mm scope, Dan Bramley tuner on a 30″ Krieger [1:8″-twist] barrel. Also used were a SEB NEO front rest, Dima Rifle Systems Rear Bag with a Dead Bottom Bag. My load consisted of the 105gr Berger Hybrid in a fire-formed 6BR Lapua case propelled by Varget powder and a CCI 450 primer. Barrel work was done by Dan Bramley[.]”

Drew Rutherford Wins F-TR Mid-Range Championship

NRA F-Class F-Open F-TR National Championship Camp AtterburyDrew Rutherford put on a strong performance to win the F-TR Mid-Range Championship. Rutherford was using Eliseo R1 Tubeguns fitted with SEB JoyPod coaxial bipod. Chassis-maker Gary Eliseo noted: “Congratulations to Drew Rutherford, national midrange FTR champion! Drew used his .223 Rem and .308 Win R1 rifles to win the Mid-Range Championship, well done Drew!”

The Competition Machine (Eliseo) R1 Chassis is a very versatile system. As fitted with rear bag-riders and SEB JoyPods, Drew used his R1s with great success. But the same chassis, less bag-rider and bipod, can be used for “hard-holding” Palma Matches, or even High Power competition.

NRA F-Class F-Open F-TR National Championship Camp Atterbury

2021 NRA F-Open Mid-Range TOP TEN
Mid-Range F-TR National Championship
2021 NRA F-TR Mid-Range TOP TEN
Mid-Range F-TR National Championship


F-Open Mid-Range Full Results | F-TR Mid-Range Full Results



Solomon Sets New Nat’l F-Open 1-Day Record with 600-53X

Finishing second in the F-Open Mid-Range Championship was Bret Solomon with 1798-135X. That was notable because Bret posted the high X-Count, AND set a single-day National Record in the process. Gunsmith Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez posted: “Congratulations to my friend Bret Solomon on shooting a 200-20X and then setting a new [1-Day] 600-yard National Record of 600-53X at the U.S. F-Class Nationals. Bret was shooting the Lil’ Red Devil in 7mm RSAUM with a new Bartlein 4-groove barrel I forced him to shoot!”

Brett Solomon Lil' Red Devil F-Open Rifle

Here are photos of Bret Solomon’s Lil’ Red Devil rifle as previously featured in our Daily Bulletin.

Brett Solomon Lil' Red Devil F-Open Rifle

Christened the “Little Red Devil” by Speedy, this ruby red, flame maple-stocked beauty is chambered in .284 Winchester. It features a Melonited BAT 3LL action with two bolts (regular and magnum bolt face). The stock is crafted by Will McCloskey using advanced CNC machines, allowing ultra-precise tolerances for improved tracking and perfect geometry.

Torrefied Wood from Yamaha, CNC-Milled to Perfection
This wood is very special — the flame maple was sourced from Yamaha which used a torrefaction process to stabilize the wood and prevent warping. Yamaha’s proprietary ARE process was developed by Yamaha for musical instruments. Speedy explained that Yamaha uses heat and pressure (we think) to stabilize the wood and dampen vibrations. During torrefaction, the sap in the wood actually crystallizes.

F-Open rifle Bret solomon

For this rifle build, the torrefied wood blank was CNC-milled by Will McCloskey to “best-in-industry” tolerances. A special red-tone polyester finish Lee Garver, a noted guitar painter. This very hard, yet glossy finish makes the stock “pretty nearly scratch-proof” according to Speedy.

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, News 1 Comment »
July 27th, 2021

TECH REVIEW: Kestrel 5700 Elite with Applied Ballistics Software

Kestrel Wind Meter F-Class John Applied Ballistics

The 2021 NRA F-Class National Championships are underway right now at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. The Mid-Range Nationals concluded yesterday with the Team Match, and the Long-Range F-Class Nationals commence today, July 27, 2021 and run through Friday, July 30th. For F-Class competitors, making the right wind call is a vital skill. Many shooters and team wind coaches will be using Kestrel Wind Meters, widely regarded as the best on the market.

Camp Atterbury F-Class Championships

This article reviews the advanced Kestrel 5700 Elite Wind Meter with sophisticated ballistics capabilities. Our review features three videos by F-Class John that show how the Kestrel 5700 Elite works with Applied Ballistics APP software and LiNK connection.

Kestrel Wind Meter F-Class John Applied Ballistics

This Part I Video starts with a basic Kestrel Anemometer (blue case, 00:00-00:40) wind meter. Then reviewer F-Class John looks at the “smart” Kestrel 5700 Elite with Applied Ballistics functionality and LiNK Bluetooth connectivity. John explains the many features of the Kestrel 5700 and how it holds a powerful ballistics calculator in the convenient, easy-to-tote Kestrel package. With the Kestrel 5700 Elite, once you enter data about your bullets, velocity, zero, and rifle, the Kestrel can calculate come-ups and wind corrections. If you don’t yet own a Kestrel, we highly recommend you watch this series of videos that explains advanced Kestrel features in detail.

This Part II Video shows the key features of the advanced software APP used by the Kestrel 5700 Elite unit with Applied Ballistics. The Kestrel 5700 can “talk” to a mobile device that runs the Applied Ballistics software APP that contains bullet databases and allows you to enter key information such as muzzle velocity, bullet BC, zero distance, velocity, wind, and environmental factors (altitude, temperature etc.). There are also gun-specific factors such as scope height over bore and barrel twist rate. The video also explains how “range cards” are created and how to view them with your Elite Ballistics-enabled Kestrel. John notes: “The APP is great because you don’t have to fiddle with the Kestrel’s buttons. It’s much easier to enter data and change settings with the APP.”

This Part III video shows how to determine true wind direction by aligning the SIDE of the unit into the wind. You essentially want to set the unit 90 degrees to the wind direction so the impeller runs as slowly as possible. Then, after you set your target distance (See 3:03), the unit can give you precise come-ups for your intended target (10.28 MOA for 559 yards here). The Kestrel then calculates the cross-wind correction as well (See 3:12).

DISCLAIMER: This video and description contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, the video author may receive a small commission. This helps support F-Class John’s YouTube channel and allows him to continue to make videos like this.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
July 27th, 2021

Reloading Manuals — Good Choices for Handloaders

reloading hand-loading reload data manual sierra berger hornady lyman

It’s great to be able to access online load data for your cartridges. You can quickly get load data for a particular powder and bullet weight. However, there are times when we prefer to consult old-fashioned printed/bound load manuals. The primary reason is that manuals produced by bullet- and tool-makers will, for a particular cartridge, include data for powders from multiple manufacturers. Having a single source can save you time and trouble. For example, if you want to find 6.5 Creedmoor loads using H4350 (Hodgdon), Reloder 16 (Alliant), and N150 (Vihtavuori) you would have to visit three different powder-maker websites, one after another. OR you can pick up a modern load manual and find everything in one place.

There are many excellent printed load manuals on the market. We have used the Berger Manual, Sierra Manual, Speer Manual, Lyman Manual, and Hornady Manual. We like the Berger and Sierra manuals for match rifle cartridges, and the Lyman and Hornady manuals for hunting loads and pistol cartridges. Unfortunately, the popular binder-format Sierra Manual is currently back-ordered. Get one if you can.

The Lyman Reloading Manuals have earn praise over the years:
“Every other reloading book I’ve used favors their own bullets over every other manufacturers. With Lyman you get an honest representation of a wide variety of different… manufacturers. [Lyman has] a ton of reloading data on just about any bullet style you can imagine. I’ve tried a wide range of their recipes and everyone I’ve tried has been spot on. The overall breadth of information this book covers is impressive.” Review by RangetoReal.com.

reloading hand-loading reload data manual Nosler 9 guide sierra berger hornady lymanNosler #9 Manual Features New Cartridges
If you are looking for up-to-date cartridge/bullet/powder information, in late 2020 Nosler released the Nosler Reloading Guide #9, the latest in a respected series of Nosler load manuals.

This 800-page guide covers 101 cartridge types. New in this edition you’ll find the popular 6mm Creedmoor, 6mm XC, 6.5 PRC, and 7.62×39, along with 20 Nosler, 22 Nosler, 24 Nosler, 27 Nosler and 33 Nosler. This manual is a good resource for PRS shooters and hunters. The Nosler #9 book draws from thousands of hours in the Nosler Ballistic Lab, along with the experience of many respected experts.

The book is available for $24.99 at Midsouth or $24.95 on Amazon. Keep in mind that much of the book’s latest load data is available for free on the Nosler.com online LOAD DATA Center. But to get ALL the data, PLUS all the technical articles, you’ll need to buy the book.

Along with the new Nosler #9 Manual, here are four other recommended Reloading Manuals:

Here Are Four General Instructional Books That Cover Reloading Procedures:

POWDER BURN RATE TABLE

Here is the most recent powder burn rate chart from Hodgdon/IMR that we could find. Click links below to access printable PDF. Note, some readers have suggested a couple powder ranking issues in the table. However, this is the latest official version from the IMR website, released in November 2019.


POWDER BURN RATE TABLE from HODGDON.COM

Hodgdon IMR Winchester Burn Rate Powder speed table relative table chart

CLICK HERE to Download Chart as PDF File »

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
July 25th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: Will Shaner Wins Air Rifle Olympic Gold Medal

William Shaner 10m Air Rifle NBC 2021 Tokyo Olympics Gold Medal shooting

20-Year-Old William Shaner just won the USA’s second Gold Medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The University of Kentucky marksman captured Gold in the 10-meter (10m) Air Rifle, setting an Olympic record in the process. Shaner scored 251.6 points in the 10m final to set a new Olympic Record that’s just 1.2 points shy of the world record. Will scored 10.5 or above on 13 of his 24 shots in the final. At the Tokyo Games, William was shooting a Walther Air Rifle.

William hails from Colorado Springs, Colorado. He started his shooting career at age nine in a 4H program in the appropriately named town of Rifle, Colorado.

Watch Will Shaner capture Gold with a stellar shooting performance, broadcast by NBC Sports:

William Shaner 10m Air Rifle NBC Yahoo News 2021 Tokyo Olympics Gold Medal shooting
CLICK HERE for Yahoo News Video about William Shaner Gold Medal in 10M Air Rifle.

Young Will Shaner Was Calm After Record-Setting Victory
USA Today reported: “Will Shaner reacted like someone who could not wrap his head around the idea he’d won a Gold Medal. There were no yells, no fist pumps, no jumping, as Shaner captured U.S. Shooting’s first-ever Gold Medal in the men’s 10 meter air rifle. Hardly a wave, even. If he was smiling, you couldn’t tell, as a massive Nike Team USA mask covered almost his entire face.

“Still trying to believe it”, he said afterward. “It’s been a long time, though, growing up in the sport, progressing. To finally have (the gold medal), it’s amazing.”

“Yesterday, [was] a little bit of a slow start for everyone,” he said, as Team USA went without a medal on the first day of competition for the first time in nearly 50 years. “Today, to (help) finally get it moving, it’s amazing. It’s really an honor.”

Will Shaner Becomes Social Media Star After Winning Gold Medal

Team USA Tweeted news of Shaner’s Gold Medal-winning performance to fans around the world. Because Will set a new Olympic Record, one respondent called him the “GOAT” (greatest of all time). Well, that may be hyperbole, but Shaner did achieve the greatest 10m Air Rifle final score in Olympics history.

William Shaner 10m Air Rifle NBC 2021 Tokyo Olympics Gold Medal shooting

William Shaner 10m Air Rifle NBC 2021 Tokyo Olympics Gold Medal shooting

William Shaner 10m Air Rifle NBC 2021 Tokyo Olympics Gold Medal shooting20-year-old Will Shaner earned the second Gold Medal of the Tokyo Olympics for the United States. Will, who hails from Colorado Springs, CO, won the men’s 10-meter air rifle on Sunday with a final round score of 251.6 at the Asaka Shooting Range, edging out China’s Sheng Lihao, 16, by 0.7. China’s Yang Haoran took the bronze medal, finishing just 0.4 behind Sheng.

— Shaner set a new Olympic record with a score of 251.6

— The 20-year-old is a mechanical engineering student at the University of Kentucky

— The silver medal winner, Sheng Lihao of China, is only 16 years old

— Shaner’s victory was the first Gold Medal ever won in this 10m event by the United States

— Shaner first started his marksmanship training at Age 9 at a 4H Program in Rifle, Colorado

Watch Shaner Win Gold and stand on podium on NBC4 New York:
William Shaner 10m Air Rifle NBC 2021 Tokyo Olympics Gold Medal shooting
CLICK PHOTO to watch video on NBC 4 New York.

Will Shaner — From Colorado, to Kentucky, to Olympic Glory

William is one of two University of Kentucky (UK) Rifle athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics. As one of the nation’s top prospects coming into college, he was named NCAA Rookie of the Year his freshman year and was an All-American First Team member in air rifle and smallbore. William finished second in the NCAA Air Rifle individual championship in addition to winning the team gold with Kentucky his sophomore year. He repeated this exact feat with again with UK his junior year.

Will has done well in international competition. Shooting Sports USA noted: “Foreshadowing his Olympic performance … earlier this year Shaner won a gold medal at the ISSF World Cup Croatia.”

William Shaner 10m Air Rifle NBC 2021 Tokyo Olympics Gold Medal shooting

William started in shooting sports when he was 9 years old at a small 4-H program in Rifle, Colorado. From there, he moved on to shooting monthly preliminary tryout (PTO) events at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center until he could start qualifying for major matches. He won his first Junior Olympic Gold Medal at age 11 in 50m prone and made the Junior National Team at age 14 which propelled him into the international circuit. Fast forward less than a decade and William is, according to known USAS records, the youngest U.S. Men’s Olympic Rifle Qualifier.

William Shaner also shoots Smallbore Rifle (.22 LR) for the University of Kentucky:
William Shaner 10m Air Rifle NBC 2021 Tokyo Olympics Gold Medal shooting
CLICK PHOTO to view full-screen image of Shaner with Bleiker .22 LR Rifle.

Driven by the pursuit of perfection and appreciation for his small-town roots, Will strives to be a role model for the next generation of shooting athletes. He credits his successes to coaches and support from the National Training Center Shooting Club (NTCSC), USA Shooting, and the University of Kentucky.

Team USA Rifle Shooters at 2021 Tokyo Olympics

USA Shooting has sent 20 Olympians to the Tokyo Olympic Games to represent the United States in the able-bodied shooting sports (there is a separate Paralympic shooting team). Our athletes have earned 8 quotas for the shotgun disciplines, 8 quotas for the rifle disciplines, and 6 quotas for the pistol disciplines (22 total). Here are the 8 Rifle Competitors, the four Air Rifle shooters and four Smallbore shooters:

Team USA William Shaner 10m Air Rifle 2021 Tokyo Olympics Gold Medal shooting

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, News, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
July 24th, 2021

Savage 110 Elite Precision — $1750 Rig for PRS Production Class

Savage Arms model 110 Elite Precision rifle PRS NRL ELR tactical modular rifle

Looking for a match-worthy PRS/NRL rig for under $1750.00? Check out Savage’s Elite Precision Model 110. GunsAmerica Digest recently did a very thorough test of the 110 Elite Precision, declaring that this modern Savage is “Competition-Ready Out of the Box.” The Savage’s $1750 price is well under the PRS $2500 Production Division limit.*

Is this an outstanding deal at $1750? Absolutely. Consider this, the recently-released Proof Research MDT Chassis Rifle, which shares the SAME MDT ACC Chassis, has a $5699.00 MSRP! For that amount of hard-earned cash, you could buy THREE Savage Elite Precisions AND have $449 left over ($1750 x 3 = $5250)! Put the $3949 saved into optics and reloading gear (or a couple mortgage payments).

The Savage 110 Elite Precision has many notable features:

1. Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) Adjustable Core Competition (ACC) Chassis
2. Trigger adjusts from 1.5-4.0 pounds
3. Barrel comes with timed muzzle brake from factory
4. MDT ACC Chassis easily accepts Weights and Accessories
5. Takes AICS-compatible Magazines
6. Titanium Nitride coated bolt body

This rifle boasts an excellent MDT ACC modular chassis. GunsAmerica stated: “Combined with the excellent trigger, an AR-compatible vertical grip, flared magazine well, and AICS mag system (along with a host of additional features), the 110 Elite Precision comes with everything you need [for PRS/NRL matches].” The stock has ARCA rails on the fore-end and M-LOK mounting points for accessories and/or weights. You can add an additional 9 pounds of steel to customize the balance/mass of the rifle to improve stability and minimize recoil.

Savage Arms model 110 Elite Precision rifle PRS NRL ELR tactical modular rifle
The Cheekpiece and Buttpad are adjustable, along with Length of Pull (LOP).

Another reviewer noted that the 110 Elite Precision has important accurizing tweaks from the factory: “Key upgrades include a blueprinted action … Savage squared the receiver face and cleaned up the receiver threads to ensure they’re concentric with the barrel’s bore. This combination goes a long way in eliminating the occasional flyer that can ruin a good group or cause a miss in a match.” Source: GunsandAmmo.com.

Accuracy with Factory Ammo
What kind of accuracy can you expect? Decent for a factory barrel and factory ammo. With Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, shooting off a sled, the test rifle delivered 1.1-MOA average groups. We would expect considerably better accuracy using a proper front rest with a bag-rider fitted to the fore-end. Likewise, the gun would almost certainly shoot better with handloads with Lapua brass and Berger bullets. Handling was good: “The Elite Precision is about as shootable as it gets. The 12.6-pound rifle produces very little recoil with the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge, and … the ACC chassis can be weighted to control recoil even further.” NOTE: We have discussed accuracy with other Savage 110 Elite Precision owners, who have reported considerably better accuracy. But as with most large-maker factory rifles, the accuracy of the barrel is unpredictable. If you want a half-MOA guarantee, you’ll need to spend more (see footnote).

Savage Arms model 110 Elite Precision rifle PRS NRL ELR tactical modular rifle

Actual owners have been impressed with the 110 Elite Precision. One buyer posted: “You couldn’t build a complete PRS rifle that is this good of a platform for even close to the price!” GunsAmerica tester Jordan Michaels concurred that this rig is a great choice for PRS/NRL factory-class: “If you’re in the market for a rifle to compete in a long-range competition, the Savage 110 Elite Precision is an excellent choice.”


* The PRS “Production Class” price limit is now $2500.00 as stated in the 2021 PRS Rulebook (Rule 2.3.1). To qualify as Production Class, the rifle must have that manufacturer’s stamp on the barrel, so you can’t cheat and slip a Krieger or Bartlein on the Savage (Rule 2.3.11). Another under-$2500 alternative is the newly-introduced MasterPiece Arms MPA BA PMR Pro Rifle II (Product Match Rifle) priced at $2499.00. This rifle, which comes with a Half-MOA Accuracy Guarantee, has been approved for use in PRS Production Division. The MPA includes many competition-related features while staying under the $2,500 price limit for this class. It is available in either a Black or Tungsten Cerakote® finish. It uses a MPA/Curtis Short Action with Lothar Walther hand-lapped barrel. MORE INFO.

PRS Production Division MPA BA PMR Pro Rifle II $2500

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Tactical 1 Comment »
July 20th, 2021

You Only Have One Set of Eyes — Protect Them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT!!

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

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

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

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
July 20th, 2021

The Tack-Driving AR — Secrets to AR Platform Accuracy

AR-X AR15 Upper

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

AR-X AR15 Upper

Building an Accurate AR — What is Most Important

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robert Whitley AR Accurate accuracy aR15 barrel trigger MSR gunsmithing

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

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

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

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

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

AR-X AR15 Upper

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

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

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

AR-X AR15 Upper

Robert Whitley
www.6mmAR.com

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tactical 1 Comment »
July 19th, 2021

Bargain Finder 304: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Amazon — LongShot LR-3 Target Camera System, $724.08

burris eliminator III laser ranging scope 4-16x50mm $400 savings discount MAP
Best Long Range Target Camera you can buy — save $75 now

This superb Longshot LR-3 Camera system combines a high-definition camera with a special receiver. This set-up delivers sharp, live images at distances up to two miles with excellent 2688 x 1512 HD resolution. Integrated software lets you mark your shots. This is a good deal — other vendors are selling the LR-3 for $799.00. NOTE: If you want the BulletProof Warranty, we recommend you buy direct from LongShot. You can get the LR-3 System WITH Warranty for $838.00. We do recommend purchasing the BulletProof Warranty — that way LongShot will repair or replace your unit if it is damaged by gunfire or other hazard.

2. Midsouth — LEE 60th Anniversary Challenger Kit, $197.58

lee 60th Anniversary Kit Challenger Kit sale
Excellent kit with Press, Priming Tool, Powder Measure, and much more

It’s been a while since we’ve seen reloading gear both in-stock and at reasonable prices especially for starting kits. Check out this LEE 60th Anniversary Challenger Kit which features a Breech Lock Challenger Press with Large and Small Primer Lever Arms, Deluxe Perfect Powder Measure, Safety Powder Scale, Modern Reloading 2nd Edition, Deluxe Quick Trim, Bench Prime, Priming Tool Shell Holder Kit, Case Conditioning Kit, Powder Funnel and some Lee Case Lube. This is really a great starting kit for anyone looking to get into reloading and probably won’t last long. This is great bargain — the Press alone is worth $100, and the priming tool and powder measure both worth very well.

3. Brownells — Blackhawk Gun Case and Holster Sale

blackhawk gear sale
Significant discounts on quality Gun Cases, Mats, Holsters

If you’re in the market for shooting gear head over to Brownell’s for their sitewide Blackhawk Sale. Blackhawk has been an industry leader for decades and for good reason. They make everything from gun cases to holsters to slings. With this sale, you’ll find significant discounts on very good gun cases, and we like the multi-functional Blackhawk Stalker Drag Mat. This double-duty item works as a rifle carry case AND a padded shooting mat — great product.

4. Roger’s — Federal XM193 5.56x45mm Ammo, 400rd $279.99

.223 5.56 bulk ammo sale
Quality mil-spec AR15 ammo at good price with ammo can

Bulk .223 Rem (5.56×45) ammo has been hard to find these days at reasonable prices. But Roger’s Sporting Goods now has Federal XM193 5.56×45 ammo on sale. Get 400 rounds of 55gr XM193 NATO Rifle Ammunition for just $279.99 ($.70/rd). This is high-quality, ultra-reliable new production ammo shipped in a military-grade metal ammo can. XM193 is rated at 3165 FPS.

5. Sportsman’s WHSE — Savage 6.5 CM Rifle + Scope, $359.99

savage rifle sale
With scope included, it’s like getting rifle for $220!

Here’s a stellar deal on a decent 6.5 Creedmoor hunting rig. Get the rifle PLUS the scope for just $359.99. Sportsman’s Warehouse is selling the Savage Axis XP Scope Combo for only $359.99. The rifle comes complete with a Bushnell 4-12x40mm scope. The rifle boasts a rugged black synthetic stock and is fitted with a carbon steel, 22″ sporter-contour, button-rifled barrel chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. This package rifle is ready to shoot, right out of the box, thanks to the mounted and bore-sighted Bushnell optic.

6. Amazon — EZ-Aim Targets, Grid or Bullseye, 13pk $1.46/$1.49

paper target sale
Incredible deal on 13-packs of Grid or Bullseye targets

This may be the deal of the year on quality targets. Why print targets at home and waste your ink when you can pick up a 13-pack of these EZ-Aim Sight-in Grid Targets for only $1.46! These are nicely sized 12″x12″ grid targets with a large center bull and 4 other orange aim points in the corners. These targets are great for sight-in and/or load development as the 1″ grid provides a quick reference for scope clicks and group sizes. If you prefer multiple small bulls, try the EZ-Aim 11-Spot Target Pack. There are 11 orange bulls on each 12″x12″ sheet. A 13-pack costs $1.49.

7. EuroOptic — 15% OFF Holosun Sights

holosun sights sale
Significant 15% discount on All Holosun Sights at EuroOptic.com

It’s hard to deny the impact that holosights have had on the pistol market. They’re lightweight, easy to use. and help shooters get on target faster and more accurately than ever. If you looking to upgrade a pistol, consider Holosun sights. Right now, at EuroOptic, you can get 15% off with code HOLO15. Features include Holosun’s Green Super LED with up to 50k hours battery life, Multi-Reticle System, Solar Failsafe, and Shake Awake.

8. Graf & Sons — Nikon Laser Rangefinder Sale

rangefinder sale
Good, reliable basic rangefinders on SALE 12-22% Off

Knowing how far you’re shooting is critical both when hunting and target shooting. Thankfully, you don’t need to spend big money on a Laser rangefinder. Right now Graf & Sons has slashed prices on Nikon Laser Rangefinders. There are a variety of models starting at just $149.95 for the Prostaff 1000 6x20mm. The yellow body Forestry Pro II model can range and then display the angles of multiple targets.

9. Amazon — Front and Rear Shooting Bags Set, $12.92

ace hunter front rear bag rest
Handy low-cost bags for varmint work or NRL22 competitions

ace hunter sandbags front rearSometimes all you need is a simple front bag rest and squeeze bag in the rear and we found a great deal. These bags will suffice for basic varmint duties, sight-in for a hunting rifle, or barricade work in an NRL22 match. The Ace Hunter Front and Rear Bag Combo is available in 3 colors (Black, Green, and Camo). For just $12.92 you get both front and rear bags, which can be linked for transport.

These bags ship unfilled so must add your preferred fill material (depending on application) — try lighter fill such as rice for field carry, with heavier sand for bench work.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
July 19th, 2021

Tech Tips for Priming Cases More Efficiently and Safely

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool
The anvil is the tripod-shaped thin metal piece protruding above the bottom of the primer cup. Getting the primer sitting fully flush on the bottom of the case primer pocket, without crunching it too much, requires some keen feel for the progress of primer seating.

top grade ammo book Glen Zediker

Sadly, Glen Zediker passed away on October 1, 2020. But his technical insights and helpful advice live on thanks to his written works — his books and articles. In two informative Midsouth Blog articles, Glen Zediker presented helpful advice on priming. First he examined what happens to the primer itself as it is seated in the cup. Glen then explained why some “crush” is important, and why you never want to leave a high primer.

Glen also reviewed a variety of priming tools, including his favorite — the Forster Co-Ax Bench Primer Seater. Then he offers some key safety tips. Glen provides some “rock-solid” advice about the priming operation. You’ll find more great reloading tips in Glen’s Top-Grade Ammo book.

Priming Precision vs. Speed
Glen wrote: “The better priming tools have less leverage. That is so we can feel the progress of that relatively very small span of depth between start and finish. There is also a balance between precision and speed in tool choices, as there so often is.”

Benchtop Priming Tools — The Forster Co-Ax
Glen believed that the best choice among priming options, considering both “feel” and productivity, may be the benchtop stand-alone priming stations: “They are faster than hand tools, and can be had with more or less leverage engineered into them. I like the one shown below the best because its feeding is reliable and its feel is more than good enough to do a ‘perfect’ primer seat. It’s the best balance I’ve found between speed and precision.”

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool

Load Tuning and Primers
Glen cautioned that you should always reduce your load when you switch to a new, not-yet-tested primer type: “The primer is, in my experience, the greatest variable that can change the performance of a load combination, which is mostly to say ‘pressure’. Never (never ever) switch primer brands without backing off the propellant charge and proving to yourself how far to take it back up, or to even back it off more. I back off one full grain of propellant [when I] try a different primer brand.”

Primer Forster Co-ax priming tool

Priming Safety Tips by Glen Zediker

1. Get a good primer “flip” tray for use in filling the feeding magazine tubes associated with some systems. Make double-damn sure each primer is fed right side up (or down, depending on your perspective). A common cause of unintentional detonation is attempting to overfill a stuffed feeding tube magazine, so count and watch your progress.

2. Don’t attempt to seat a high primer more deeply on a finished round. The pressure needed to overcome the inertia to re-initiate movement may be enough to detonate it.

3. Keep the priming tool cup clean. That’s the little piece that the primer sits down into. Any little shard of brass can become a firing pin! It’s happened!

These Tips on Priming come from Glen’s excellent book Top-Grade Ammo, available at Amazon.com.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Reloading No Comments »
July 18th, 2021

Sanoski Wins Precision Rifle Challenge Shooting 6 Dasher

6mmBR 6 Dasher Ken Sanoski MDT magazine PRS NRL

Berger-sponsored shooter Ken Sanoski claimed the top spot at the 2021 Hornady Precision Rifle Challenge (PRC) Match, winning the Open Division with the highest overall score. The 2021 Hornady PRC event was held July 9-10 outside of Evanston, WY on Hornady’s private ranch. Sanoski competed with an Exodus rifle chambered in 6mm Dasher with Berger 109gr Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT) projectiles loaded in Lapua brass (fire-formed to 6mm Dasher).

“The Hornady PRC precision rifle series was exactly what you expect from a national-level 2-day match. Strong winds, small targets, and a stacked field of shooters”, commented Sanoski. “My Exodus Rifles in 6mm Dasher using Lapua fire-formed brass and Berger 109gr LRHTs were the winning combination to put me at the top of the leaderboard.”

Berger’s Long Range Hybrid Target projectiles feature an optimized hybrid-ogive design which easily tunes to your rifle, offers superior exterior ballistics, and high Ballistic Coefficients (BCs). Berger BCs are Doppler-verified with less than 1% BC variation. That verified BC helps make ballistic calculations ultra-precise for a high hit percentage.

6mm Dasher — A Winning Wildcat

6mmBR 6 Dasher Ken Sanoski MDT magazine PRS NRLThe 6mm Dasher has long been a winning wildcat in the 600-yard and 1000-yard benchrest game. This efficient 6mmBR Improved cartridge, with a 40-degree shoulder, has also been adopted by many top PRS/NRL shooters.

The Dasher, quite simply, offers a winning combination of accuracy, low ES/SD, and moderate recoil. You can run a 105-109gr 6mm bullet at a very accurate 2950 fps node (or even higher in some barrels). And with its 40-degree shoulder, the brass is very stable. The cartridge that wins in benchrest now also wins in PRS.

The only downside to shooting a 6mmBR or 6 Dasher in PRS/NRL were issues with magazine-feeding due to the relatively short Cartridge OAL, compared to a 6mm Creedmoor or 6XC. Thankfully, that feeding issue has been solved via dedicated shorter-length actions and redesigned magazines.

As the practical/tactical game has evolved, with low recoil and high accuracy becoming ever more important, many top competitors have moved to smaller cartridges such as the 6mm Dasher and its parent, the 6mmBR Norma. These cartridges deliver outstanding accuracy plus good barrel life. However, the “short, fat” 6BR/Dasher design doesn’t feed optimally in magazines designed for the .308 Win family of cases. But now there is a turn-key solution from MDT (Modular Driven Technologies) — a magazine perfect for 6BRs and Dashers.

MDT Magazine for 6 Dasher, 6mmBR and Short Cartridges
PRS NRL magazine mag 6BR 6mmBr Norma 6 BRA Dasher BRX tactical short cartridge MDT

MDT’s 6mm Dasher/BR magazine fits the parent 6mmBR cartridge and all the popular variants including the 6 BRA, 6 Dasher, and 6 BRX. MDT says this new 12-round magazine is a “one-step solution [delivering] smooth, reliable feeding for the most popular rifle cartridges in precision rifle competitions.”

MDT built this AICS-pattern mag for PRS/NRL competitors and anyone wanting to run 6mmBR-family cartridges in mag-fed actions: “The limiting factor for competitors running 6mm BR variants has been feeding. Until now, the only option has been to purchase an AICS-pattern magazine plus an additional kit to make the magazines work with the shorter cartridges. This solution costs upwards of $100 or more and can require additional tuning to work in most rifles.”

Primal rights PRS NRL magazine mag 6BR 6mmBr Norma 6 BRA Dasher BRX tactical short cartridge MDT

If you can’t afford MDT’s complete $89.99 6mm/Dasher AICS magazine, you can get a mag conversion kit from Primal Rights for half the price — $45.00. This is offered in 4+1 round or 10-round versions. Primal Rights states: “The 6BR AICS Magazine Conversion [delivers] reliable feeding of short standard bolt face cartridges such as the 6BR, 6.5 Grendel, 6 Dasher, and 6BRX. If you have ever tried to run a 6BR [or Dasher] out of a standard un-modified AICS magazine, you were probably met with the same disappointment the rest of us were… unreliable feeding.”

The Primal Rights 6BR AICS Mag Conversion Kit has been tested extensively with 6BR, 6.5 Grendel, 6 Dasher, and 6BRX. For these short cartridges, Primal Rights has logged “thousands of rounds of trouble-free operation” with the Mag mod kit.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gear Review, News No Comments »
July 16th, 2021

Tool Time with F-Class John — Eight Great Video Reviews

 F-Class john tool youtube video reviews lyman primer hydro press

Forum member F-Class John is an avid F-Class competitor and expert handloader. John reviews reloading hardware and shooting-related products for his popular F-Class John YouTube Channel, which now boasts 220+ videos. John also does important product testing for AccurateShooter.com. Through his YouTube channel, John has reviewed many of the latest and greatest reloading tools and accessories. For today’s Video Showcase, we selected eight F-Class John tool and reloading product reviews.

If you like these selected videos, consider joining F-Class John’s Patreon Channel for live video meetings, more in-depth videos, and detailed explanations.

21st Century Hydro Press and Standard Arbor Press

John notes: “You can’t really talk about precision reloading without taking about inline dies and arbor presses. For my money there’s nothing better than the lineup from 21st Century Shooting. They offer the Hydro Seater which is hands-down the best manual seater out there as well as their standard arbor press which is great for taking on the road to push back bullets as needed.”

Primal Rights Competition Priming Seater (CPS) Review

If there is a Ferrari of priming tools, it has to be the Primal Rights Competition Primer Seater (CPS). This impressive bench-mounted tool allows very precise control over primer seating depth. A vertical tube holds primers ready for insertion. The action is smooth and precise. John believes that this is definitely the best priming tool on the market, though it may not be for everyone given its premium $600.00 price.

Lyman Powered Case Trimmer Review

The Lyman Case Trim Xpress is an efficient, precise unit that allows easy adjustment of trim length with a click-adjustable collar. The trimmer comes with a set of cartridge-specific bushings that index off the case shoulder. One nice feature is a variable speed control. For the price, $154.99 on Amazon, this trimmer delivers excellent performance. F-Class John has another video review of the Lyman Case Trim Xpress which shows set-up and operation.

Dillon 750 Tips and Tricks

The Dillon XL 750 is a favorite of high-volume reloaders. With the optional case feeder, the XL 750 offers high output with great reliability. And Dillon offers one of the best warranties in the business. In this video, F-Class John features upgrades including the Armanov tool-head holders from Europe. These are drilled and tapped for all FIVE stations allowing the user to put threaded dies in any station.

Gunsmithing Torque Wrench Comparisons

When you are working on custom rifles that might cost $5000+, and mounting scopes that can run $3000 (or more), you need to use very high-quality tools. Precise torque settings are essential, both to avoid damage to valuable parts, and to have the rifle and optic perform optimally. In this video, F-Class John looks at a variety of torque wrenches suitable for gunsmithing duties.

Concentricity Checking with Accuracy One Gauge

Every serious hand-loader needs a quality concentricity gauge. The Accuracy One Concentricity Gauge boasts a smart design that delivers precise, repeatable results. We like the unit’s easy adjustability and its ability to work in a variety of configurations. The Accuracy One Gauge measures internal and external neck runout of cartridge cases as well as seated bullet runout. It can also measure the runout of the ogive, bearing surface, and boat-tail of individual bullets. And it can even measure your primer pocket runout.

Teslong Rigid (Shaft) Borescope with Monitor

Seeing inside your barrel can provide clues to how well you’re cleaning and the bore’s overall health. One of the best tools on the market is the Teslong Rigid Borescope. This features a solid rod for easy use in barrels. Plus it comes with a self-contained high-definition viewing monitor so no smartphones or WiFi tablets are needed. If you’re looking for something more portable and a bit more versatile, try the Teslong Flexible Borescope, $99.99 including monitor. John was impressed with the new rigid Teslong he tested, and he likes having a dedicated monitor (no WiFi required).

Zero Turret Press with Whidden Sizing Die

The new Zero Press from Area 419 is arguably the best turret press ever crafted. It offers unrivaled precision, along with the highest-capacity turret head with NINE die/tool stations. Milled from billet aluminum and stainless steel, this press moves with the help of 14 bearings. In this video, F-Class John shows how to use a Whidden Gunworks full-length sizing die on the Zero Press. And John has two other video reviews of the $1200 Zero Press: 1. Zero Press First Thoughts Video; 2. Loading on a Zero Press.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
July 15th, 2021

Great Grid Targets for Load Development and Sight-In

sight=in target amazon EZ-AIM shoot-n-cee box to bench grid bullseye

AccurateShooter.com offers a dozens of free, printable targets in our Target Collection. However, we know that sometimes shooters may prefer a commercially-printed specialty target. These may offer unique designs, hi-viz colors, splatter effect, or special functions (such as scope checking). Here are a variety of excellent commercial grid targets you can buy via Amazon or the target-maker’s website.

EZ-AIM 12″x12″ Grid with Orange Bullseyes — $1.46 for 13-pack

sight=in target amazon EZ-AIM

We like this EZ-Aim Sight-in Grid Target for sighting-in, load development. and general practice. The full 12″x12″ target is covered with a precise black-lined grid on white background. There is a large center orange bullseye, plus four additional bulls, one in each corner. Right now this target is a bargain. You can get a 13-pack of targets for just $1.46. That’s right, less than $1.50. This is a steal.

Freedom Targets — Bullseye Sight-In Grid Target, 25 for $15.99

freedom gun target bullseye bull grid target

Here’s a great Bullseye Sight-in Grid Target. This target provides a central bull on a 1″ grid pattern. There 8 additional small orange dot aim points, plus helpful numbers on the central vertical and horizontal lines. The outer four orange aim points are set inside heavier black lines to help align your scope crosshairs. This target is nicely printed, with sharp lines and bright orange circles. You get a pack of 25 targets for $15.99 — that’s $0.64 per target.

Birchwood Casey Grid — Black on White Splatter, 10 for $11.70

Sight-in 12

We’ve all seen conventional splatter targets with a black bullseye or grid. When a shot hits the target, a halo (usually neon yellow) appears around the bullet hole. Here is another kind of splatter target that creates a black circle on a white background. This can be very effective for spotting your hits at long range. This Birchwood-Casey White Grid Target is $11.71 for a 10-pack. These Shoot-N-C Sight-In Targets have a self-adhesive backing, making for easy put up and take down. In addition, the target pack comes with corner pasters to cover holes or use as additional aim points.

High-Viz Option — Yellow on Black Grid with Yellow Halos

If you prefer seeing ultra-high-contrast yellow/green “halos” for your hits, Birchwood Casey also makes adhesive grid targets with five yellow-edged diamonds. Red circles provide precise aiming points in the middle of each box. You can quickly estimate group size or dial-in your zero using the hi-viz yellow 1″ grid lines. These yellow-on-black targets are available in three sizes: 8″ square, 12″ square, and 17.5″ square. These yellow-on-black grid targets start at $6.99 for an 8″ six-pack.

shoot-n-c sight-in-target white black halo

B-2-B Precision LR Load Dev & Scope Tracking Target — 3 for $22

Box 2 Bench Precision B2B target dots Milrad Mil Scope checking target

Here is one BIG target that handles a myriad of important tasks at the range: Zeroing, Load Development, Click Value Verification, and Click Tracking Repeatability Tests. Box to Bench Precision (B2B) offers the most versatile (and biggest) precision targets ever developed. With precise grid geometry, and razor-sharp printing, B2B’s targets are probably the most advanced shooting targets ever created.

B2B’s 100 Yard Long Range Load Development and Scope Tracking Target performs many functions. This big, 30″ x 23.5″ target has specific aiming points for various tasks. In the upper left, there are 11 small orange circles for precision load testing. Over on the upper right are 7 more small, orange circles for doing a Seating Depth Comparison test. The bottom half of the target has larger black-on-white circles that serve multiple functions. Use the corner circles to do a “Box Test” to confirm scope tracking. On the bottom row is one B/W circle to confirm zero and another to use for velocity testing. There’s another great feature on this target — running up the center of the target is a tall line that shows elevation in both MILs and MOA. That helps you confirm the TRUE click values of your optic. Get a precision 100-yard 3-Pack for $22.00, or the 100m version 3-Pack for $13.00.

Splatterburst — 12″ x 12″ Splatter Grid Targets, 10 for $10.99

Sight-in 12

This 12″x12″ Splatterburst Target combines splatter shot marking with a grid background, with five aiming points. The bright neon shot circles make it easy to see your shots. And the handy grid lets you quickly estimate your group size. Get a 10-pack for $10.99, or a 25-pack for $18.99 (better deal). This particular target has earned rave reviews — 87% of verified buyers gave this a FIVE-Star rating. One example: “Excellent quality and durability. The adhesive is really strong and the splatter contrast is [great].”

This video shows how Splatterburst Targets work:

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals, Shooting Skills No Comments »
July 14th, 2021

MTM Gun Cleaning Patch Catcher — Effective and Easy to Use

MTM patch catcher

Performs as Promised — Prevents Mess at Home or at Range
When cleaning rifles, wet and dirty patches can make a real mess. And solvent spray from the muzzle is another issue. Here’s a solution — the MTM Gun Cleaning Patch Catcher. Simply slip it over your barrel to contain all the patches pushed out the muzzle. No more mess and stains on your bench/table. When cleaning tasks are done, simply remove the Patch Catcher and dump the contents into the trash.

We’ve tried this product and it definitely helps keep your work surfaces and floors clean. No more messes on the bench or spray from solvents. Purchasers really like this product — it has 80% five-star reviews on Amazon (current Price $9.03). Watch the video to see how the MTM Patch Catcher works.

MTM patch catcher

Here are product reviews from actual MTM Patch Catcher purchasers:

“This box straps over the muzzle end of a barrel and keeps the mess completely contained. Excess cleaning solvents collect in the bottom. Patches fall off the jag and are captured as well when the cleaning rod is withdrawn. It also completely contains the splatter burst when a bore brush exits the muzzle of whatever firearm is being cleaned.” — D.J. Bradley

“This little device is more than a patch catcher. It also contains that dirty, smelly spray when a bore bristle exits the barrel. With the top open, it will also catch spray cleaners and lubes when used on small parts. It takes a little work to mount it on a railed over/under, but it gets the job done there too.” — TwoBoxer

“This does exactly what it claims. It keeps the table or floor clean while you are cleaning barrels. It is easy to use and easy to clean. If you are cleaning guns outside on a range, then you probably don’t need this. If you cleaning them in your garage, then buy this. Your garage and workbench will love you.” — DDDnotes

Q: Does this fit securely if you have a standard muzzle break?
Answer: Yes, I regularly use this product on all of my rifles including my Savage 111 Long Range Hunter with a factory brake. It really keeps the smell down with the top closed. Also stops the splatter of a stiff brush exiting the muzzle. Great Product! — Iklwa

Q: Has anyone used this with an AR15?
Answer: It works quite well — goes on and off easily. Slide it on the barrel until you can tighten the strap behind the flash suppressor.” — Cactus

MTM patch catcher

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hot Deals, Tech Tip No Comments »
July 13th, 2021

Get Brass Ultra-Clean with Ultrasonic Machines

Ultrasonic Cleaning RCBS Ultrasound .308 Winchester 7.62x51 brass casings

Tumblers and walnut/corncob media are old school. These days many shooters prefer processing brass rapidly with an ultrasonic cleaning machine. When used with the proper solution, a good ultrasonic cleaning machine can quickly remove remove dust, carbon, oil, and powder residue from your cartridge brass. The ultrasonic process will clean the inside of the cases, and even the primer pockets. Tumbling works well too, but for really dirty brass, ultrasonic cleaning may be a wise choice.

READ FULL UltimateReloader.com Article on Ultrasonic Case Cleaning »

Our friend Gavin Gear recently put an RCBS Ultrasonic cleaning machine through its paces using RCBS Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Solution (RCBS #87058). To provide a real challenge, Gavin used some very dull and greasy milsurp brass: “I bought a huge lot of military once-fired 7.52x51mm brass (fired in a machine gun) that I’ve been slowly prepping for my DPMS LR-308B AR-10 style rifle. Some of this brass was fully prepped (sized/de-primed, trimmed, case mouths chamfered, primer pockets reamed) but it was gunked up with lube and looking dingy.”

UltimateReloader.com Case Cleaning Video (7.5 minutes):

Gavin describes the cleaning exercise step-by-step on UltimateReloader.com. Read Gavin’s Cartridge Cleaning Article to learn how he mixed the solution, activated the heater, and cycled the machine for 30 minutes. As you can see in the video above, the results were impressive. If you have never cleaned brass with ultrasound before, you should definitely watch Gavin’s 7.5-minute video — it provides many useful tips and shows the cleaning operation in progress from start to finish.

Ultra Dry Necks After Ultrasonic Cleaning — Some Suggestions
The Ultrasonic cleaning process gets cartridge brass so “squeaky clean” that increased force may be required to seat your bullets, or they may “grab” as they go in the necks. To reduce bullet-seating effort, you may benefit from adding a little dry case lube inside the case-neck before loading (use a nylon brush). Another trick is adding a teaspoon of Ballistol lube to the cleaning solution. That provides a trace lubricant inside the necks, but does not interfere with powder ignition in any way.


The latest Gen2 RCBS ultrasonic cleaning machine has a large 6.3-quart capacity. That’s nearly 100% larger than the first generation machine in Gavin’s video. The Gen2 machine, $385.49 on Amazon, features a second ceramic heater and transducer to better clean brass cases and firearm parts. The LED is easily programmable, and the timer can be set for up to 30 minutes of cleaning. The original 3.2 quart-capacity RCBS ultrasonic machine, as shown in Gavin’s video, is still available for $180.72 at Midsouth Shooters.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
July 13th, 2021

Locate Shooting Ranges with FREE Where to Shoot Mobile App

where to shoot mobile app nssf range locator software

The Where To Shoot Mobile App quickly locates shooting ranges near you, drawing on North America’s most comprehensive directory of shooting ranges. Users can search by current location, state, or zip code. Once you locate a range, you can view activities offered along with a summary of range facilities. You can even get driving directions.

CLICK for FREE Apple iPhone/iPad App | CLICK for FREE Android App

Where to Shoot App for Android

where to shoot mobile app nssf range locator software

The app is modeled after NSSF’s popular WhereToShoot.org® website and is updated frequently with range information for every U.S. state and Canadian province. Once you’ve located a place to shoot, the App can provide directions to the range. The App also includes video tips for shooters, news, and firearm-safety information.

Where to Shoot iOS App for iPad

where to shoot mobile app nssf range locator software

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
July 12th, 2021

Barrel End Threading — Bigger Diameter is Better

Barrel Threading AR15 ARX Robert Whitley bartlein

Our friend Robert Whitley of ARX Enterprises LLC has learned, through careful measurement and testing, that some barrels threaded 5/8″ x 24 TPI at the muzzle may not deliver optimal accuracy. The reason is that the end of the barrel can bell out slightly, like a trombone, because too much steel has been removed. This is particularly true with .30-caliber barrels, but it can also be a problem with smaller caliber barrels (even 6mm). Robert demonstrates this phenomenon in the video below. All gunsmiths, and anyone considering threading a barrel, should watch the video. At 1:00 – 1:30 Robert gauges a 5/8″ x 24-threaded .30-Caliber barrel. You can see the belling effect clear as day.

Barrel Threading AR15 ARX Robert Whitley bartlein

“When setting up a commercial barrel in the lathe, we noticed that the maximum-sized bushing that would fit in the bore at the chamber end was almost .0015” smaller [than what would fit] at the muzzle. That precipitated my pin-gauging of a number of different commercial barrels that were threaded for 5/8” x 24 tpi. What I found is what’s shown on the video.” – R. Whitley

Solve Problem with a Larger Thread Diameter
If 5/8″ x 24 threading is potentially harmful to accuracy, is there a solution? Yes, you simply need to leave a little more steel on the barrel. (See Video starting at 02:40.) Frank Green of Bartlein barrels states: “We get these questions all the time. I say run the largest thread diameter that is possible.” Robert Whitley has found that a 3/4″ x 28 TPI threading does not cause the “belling effect”. Accordingly Robert recommends 3/4″ x 28 if you need to thread your barrel for a muzzle brake or suppressor. Robert explains: “We only make 3/4” x 28 TPI muzzle brakes and that’s what we recommend to customers.”

Barrel Threading AR15 ARX Robert Whitley bartlein

“See how much meatier the 3/4″ threading is vs. the 5/8″. The 3/4″ threading offers a lot more metal around the bore. There’s a lot less opportunity for the bore to become bell-mouthed…” – Robert Whitley

Barrel Threading Diameter — What’s Important to Know

By Robert Whitley
In truth, the 5/8” x 24 TPI threading never came out of any accuracy-based think tank or set-up, it’s a military .30-Cal threading for barrels that someone has to carry around (they needed to keep the barrel weight down so it was smaller in diameter and the threading had to work with that situation). People have somehow assumed because the military uses that threading for certain things that it must mean that it’s also fine for a highly accurate rifle too, but that’s not really correct.

I don’t think there is any better and realistic option than the 3/4″ muzzle threading, and we also do it so there is no relief cut behind the threads on the barrel (i.e. put the relief cut on the brake or jam nut, don’t chop down on the muzzle of the barrel). For some reason many have a hard time grasping that the metal at the muzzle end of a rifle is “sacred” and you should not cut it down any more than absolutely necessary. A little threaded pencil diameter nub on the end of a barrel is not ideal for accuracy especially if it’s threaded and you need to torque on it. I cringe when I see a barrel with something like an MTU or Heavy Varmint contour, only to have an itty-bitty pencil thin threaded nub right at the muzzle so someone can “screw on a can” or a muzzle brake.

Lessons Learned Over the Years
A number of years ago I did a 30BR rifle project with Craig Kostyshyn who was big in the 30BR game and he made some of the best 30BR rifle barrels for benchrest competition. When I did the project I wanted a medium-heavy Palma type contour barrel I could use and also have a muzzle turndown for a front sight band. When he found out I was going to have the muzzle turned down he said “whoa, I need to provide for that when I make the barrel because if you turn the front down later you’ll be shooting a trombone” (i.e. the muzzle bore dimension would open up).

What he did was rough contour the barrel with the turndown (about .010” oversize) before he lapped the barrel, then when he lapped the barrel he took it easy in the muzzle area and worked the back of the barrel more. I thought he was a little bit excessive in his concerns but the barrel shot great and I wasn’t going to argue with him, after all he was shooting groups in the ones. I kind of just filed that away and never thought about it until recently when I went to have Fred from Sabreco do some chamber re-work on a commercial .30-caliber barrel I had. When setting up the barrel in the lathe and indicating things Fred noticed that the maximum-sized bushing that would fit in the bore at the chamber end was almost .0015” smaller [than what would fit] at the muzzle and he mentioned it to me. That precipitated my pin-gauging of a number of different commercial barrels I had that were threaded for 5/8” x 24 TPI. What I found is what’s shown on the video.

NOTE: This is a copyrighted article. Do not reproduce or re-link more than 75 words without written permission from AccurateShooter.com.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
July 11th, 2021

Sunday Gunday: Multi-State Varmint Adventures with Bill White

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
This photograph and all images for this story are by Bill White, aka “CT10Ring” in our Forum.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 RugerAccurateShooter Forum member Bill White (aka “CT10Ring”) is not your typical member. For 37 years, Bill worked in NYC as a studio photographer specializing in still lifes and products. A neighbor visiting Bill’s home in Connecticut with a .270 Sako inspired Bill to revive his interest (obsession?) with shooting after a 25-year drought. And he owns a few Sakos now! With his gun hobby renewed, for many years Bill drove to the Western USA to shoot long range steel and a LOT of prairie dogs in season. He loved the life of the varminter, so it made sense for him to move West after retiring. He choose Idaho as his new home.

From his Idaho base, Bill enjoys long-range target shooting. But his favorite gun pastime has been varmint hunting in nearby states — the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming. Bill found prairie dog shooting rewarding and mapped out a western circuit route of ranches and National Grasslands in SD, ND, MT, and WY. Every year he loads up his truck and hits the road, often doing a grand circle route, visiting prairie dog havens in multiple states. In this article we feature photos from Bill’s annual “grand circle” varmint safari.

For his many cartridge types, Bill learned about reloading methods, loads, and vendors (and more) primarily from AccurateShooter.com. We start today’s story with the biggest caliber rifle he shoots regularly, his 6.5-284 Winchester. Bill favors this rig for his long-range steel shooting. He also uses it for prairie dog shooting, but only “sparingly”, because he wants to preserve barrel life, and he has many other dedicated varmint rigs.

6.5-284 for Long Range Steel Targets (and Sometimes Varmints)

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

In his home state of Idaho, Bill likes to shoot steel at long range. For distance work, Bill favors his McMillan-stocked 6.5-284 Win. This rifle was crafted in 2012 by Bob Green of York, PA, using a 1:8″-twist 28″ Krieger HV barrel (.298″ neck). The trued Rem 700 action was purchased from Long Rifles in Sturgis, SD. Bill did the Cerakote and bedded the action. For his 6.5-284, Bill loads 139gr Lapua Scenars, H4831sc powder and BR2 primers. He shoots both steel and varmints with this rifle, but the varmint work is limited because the 6.5-284 cartridge tends to be a barrel burner. The photo below from an Idaho range was taken near a 500-yard target, looking back at the firing line.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

In the Varmint Fields — Traveling Light

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Once situated, Bill (shown above) prefers to walk to Prairie Dog towns with a shooting mat, two bipod-equipped rifles slung up, rear bag, water, and his trusty Leica 10X42 GeoVid binoculars. While he has used a portable bench, he prefers to shoot from bipod, firing down from a mound if possible. This allows him to set up a line-of-fire that minimizes cross-wind effects. Bill notes: “While I often start early, end-of-day shooting has worked worked well for me. A setting sun shows targets better, the wind is usually down, and it’s not so hot. Often you can spot the bullet trace and that’s fun.”

Eight Great Varmint Cartridge Types — .204, .224, .243 Calibers

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Here is one of Bill Reid’s 6mmBR (6BR) rigs. Like his Sako 6 PPC, this is exceptionally accurate.

Bill has a large rifle collection, most of which see duty in the varmint fields of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Here are his key “take-aways” for his eight favorite varmint chamberings: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, .22-250, .22 BR, .22-243, 6 PPC, 6mmBR, and 6-6.5×47 Lapua (aka 6×47).

.204 Ruger — This delivers great velocity with the little .20-caliber bullets, with mild recoil. The .204 Ruger easily reaches out to 400 yards, but heavier winds do move the tiny bullet around. Tremendous splat factor under 250 yards. I use Sierra 39gr bullets with IMR 8208 XBR in a Sako 75. Even now, .204 Ruger ammo is relatively easy to find.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

.223 Remington — Probably the most popular centerfire rifle round in the USA, the .223 Rem offers inexpensive brass, and is a great choice for AR-15 owners. If you run short on ammo, you can find it nearly everywhere. I often bring one AR-15 and one .223 Rem bolt gun on varmint safaris. My Rem 700 5R 1:9″-twist barrel likes 53gr V-Max bullets.

.22 BR — My .22 BR is my first choice for most prairie dog missions. Accuracy is superb with necked-down 6mmBR Lapua brass — quarter-MOA and blazing fast. With the right twist rate, this chambering can shoot anything from 40gr FB bullets to 80gr VLDs. Load development is easy. Below is my .22 BR ammo for another varmint trip. I use 55gr Sierra BlitzKings with Varget in my 1:12″-twist Shilen-barreled rifle. 60gr Bergers are very accurate with a fairly flat trajectory for useful distances.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

.22-250 Rem — A classic varmint cartridge, the .22-250 with 50gr V-Maxs delivers spectacular hits. If three P-Dogs happen to be lined up, I’ve witnessed one .22-250 shot take ‘em all out with a triple hit. I currently have five .22-250-chambered rifles: 3 Sako 75s, one Rem 700, and a single shot Nesika that shoots tiny groups. I favor the very deadly Berger 52gr Varmint HP. Making a custom .22-250? With a 1:8″-twist barrel you can use the full weight range of .22-cal bullets, while spinning the lighter bullets fast for “red mist” effect. Remember this cartridge can be a barrel burner. Don’t shoot too many rounds too quickly.

.22-243 Win — This wildcat is even more potent than the .22-250, delivering devastating results on P-Dogs. Run a .243 Win case slowly through a full-length .22-243 die, with plenty of lube to form the brass. I start with Lapua .243 Win brass. There can be some issues necking-down the brass. Watch for donuts forming at the neck-shoulder junction. I bought my .22-243 rifle not sure how it would perform. But now I love shooting it. My .22-243 delivers half-MOA groups with 41.0 grains RL-22 and Hornady 75gr Amax bullets. With those 75-grainers, it’s great in the wind and good to 600 yards easily.

6 PPC — You may consider the 6 PPC a benchrest competition cartridge only, requiring fire-forming. However I have an original Sako 75 single-shot 6 PPC rifle that I load with Sako-headstamp 6 PPC brass (see below) so no fire-forming is required. This Sako 75 came with a test target that measured 0.113″! With my 6 PPC Sako, I found that 58gr V-Maxs, pushed by Vihtavuori N133, are potent out to 300 yards.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6PPC 6 PPC Sako 75 Ruger

6mmBR — The 6mmBR Norma (6BR) offers a nearly unbeatable combination of accuracy, efficiency, and tunability. With the 6BR and a fast twist barrel, you can shoot everything from 40gr flat-base bullets to the latest 105-110gr match bullets. I load Lapua brass, Vihtavuori N135, and Hornady 58, 65, and 75gr bullets for my Krieger 1:14″-twist HV barrel. While this cartridge is capable of long-range accuracy, I usually limit my 6BR shots to 350-400 yards.

6-6.5×47 Lapua — In this story’s lead photo is my 6-6.5×47 Lapua varmint rifle, with Surgeon action and Manners stock. I Cerakoted the barreled action and then bedded the action. Shown below is 6-6.5×47 ammo I loaded for recent testing. Note how I separated different bullets and powder loads into multiple, labeled bags. Hodgdon H4350 is a great choice for this cartridge — 39 grains H4350 with 105gr Amax was the winner here, but 88gr Bergers also shot well. This cartridge has tremendous “critter dismantling” abilities out to 600-700 yards.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Six Tips for Novice Long Range Varmint Hunters

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

1. Take twice as much ammo you think you may need. The fields could be particularly rich, or, because of wind or other variables, you may have far more misses than expected.

2. When possible, set up with the wind at your back (or, alternatively, directly ahead). This will minimize the effect of cross-winds. Set up a stake with a ribbon to show wind direction.

3. Bring at least two rifles. Ideally one would be a low-recoil rifle with cheaper components for the closer shots. Then bring a rifle with higher-BC bullets for longer shots where wind is a bigger factor.

4. Check the weather before you head out. Prairie dogs like sunshine and calm conditions. If a cloudy, very blustery day is predicted, considering staying in town and cleaning the rifles.

5. Bring plenty of water on a trip. An adult male should be drinking at least 64 ounces of water (or other liquid) every day — more if it’s very hot or you are sweating a lot.

6. Preferably always hunt with a companion. If you do go out solo, have a Garmin inReach SatComm/GPS for emergencies if there is no cell coverage in your location.

Veteran Varmint Hunter Shares his Secrets

Where to Find Abundant Prairie Dogs — Generally, black-tailed P-Dogs are found in the Western high desert, in the same states/areas where cattle are raised. You’ll find good hunting in Montana, North and South Dakota, Colorado, and Wyoming. There are good hunting grounds on private ranches, BLM tracts, and U.S. National Grasslands. To find specific locations, I’d suggest calling the USFS, BLM, and State Fish & Game. Some have lists of ranches that allow P-Dog shooting. Give the agencies a call before your trip and then check in with ranchers. IMPORTANT: You need a current hunting license in some states.

How to Connect with Ranch Owners– A good varmint adventure can begin with a local connection. Stop into the local Ag/feed store and the town breakfast spot. I bet you’ll find some retired ranchers having coffee together who may direct you to a place that needs rodents thinned out. Let’s say you’re in Roundup, Montana. Stop by a local store and ask what ranchers allow PD shooting. Keep in mind that ranchers may be wary of allowing a total stranger to sling lead on their place. Show respect and if you had a good experience, send a thank-you note. A guided shoot is worth considering — the outfitter will know where the P-Dogs are and he has arrangements with landowners. He may even supply benches. I’ve taken two guided trips, with excellent results, one near Sturgis, SD, and the other on Sioux tribal land near Rosebud, SD.

Getting Set Up — I start early in the a.m. to mitigate mirage. Plus there is usually less wind at that hour. I prefer to drive to within half mile or so of a PD town, then walk and shoot prone. Most shooters like to set up a rotating bench on a knoll. This is a tried-and-true way to shoot long distances accurately, especially if you are on top of a hill and can shoot 360 degrees. I once shot from a rotating bench, but I prefer walking now. Some country is quite stunning and that’s half the fun — being out in nature. But yes there are negatives to shooting prone — ground hazards and tall grass can impede your vision.

Equipment for a Serious P-Dog Safari — In the field, I normally carry two rifles with Harris 9-13″ bipods, backpack, a rolled-up shooting mat, at least two liters of water, food, ammo, two rear bags, and binoculars. A good laser rangefinder comes in handy. If you prefer shooting from a bench you may want to have a front rest and a spotting scope. Many guys will shoot prone from the bed of a truck. That gets you off the ground without the need to haul around a heavy bench. But some locations restrict vehicles. Before a P-Dog trip, I make a detailed pack list and check off as I load my truck and camper. I would suggest bringing waterproof rubber or muck boots. June in South Dakota can be cold and wet, and the mud there is not to be believed. Don’t attempt to drive off road in it!

It’s good insurance to bring an extra 5 gallons of fuel for your vehicle in a jerry can and 2 gallons of H20. There may be NO shade for miles and dehydration is a real possibility. Having a couple heavy duty tarps will provide a sun shade and cover your gear in a rainstorm. I bring a 16″ X 20″ plywood target backer, a stand, and paper targets. This allows me to check zero on each rifle before I head out to the Dog Town.

Western Varmint Country Vistas

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger
Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Taking Photos on Shooting Adventures

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 RugerBill knows a thing or two about taking pictures, having been a professional photographer in NYC for many decades. He uses modern digital cameras for both his outdoor and indoor work. Most photos in this story were taken with a Canon EOS 5DSR MKIV. We asked Bill for some tips on taking good photos. Here are his FIVE Top Tips for Photography:

1. Take photos in the early a.m. and later p.m. when the light has definition. Mid-day results will not be so nice.
2. Use the highest-resolution camera available that fits your budget. Yes lens quality, focus, and exposure controls make a big difference.
3. When feasible, shoot using a manual setting with the lens wide open (for shallow focus). Set the focus on the most important object/subject in the frame.
4. Photoshop is useful, especially when RAW images need to be corrected to show the scene more faithfully, or enhance it.
5. After you take a picture, before you post it on social media, learn to crop the image, straighten the horizon, and do other basic fixes. This can make a big difference.

Bill white varmint hunting North South Dakota Wyoming 6x47 6.5-284 22BR .204 Ruger

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
July 11th, 2021

How Long Will Barrels Last? Dan Lilja Lists Factors to Consider

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Barrel-maker Dan Lilja’s website, RifleBarrels.com has an excellent FAQ page that contains a wealth of useful information. On the Lilja FAQ Page you’ll find answers to many commonly-asked questions. For example, Dan’s FAQ addresses the question of barrel life. Dan looks at factors that affect barrel longevity, and provides some predictions for barrel life, based on caliber, chambering, and intended use.

NOTE: This article was very well-received when it was first published. We are reprising it for the benefit of readers who missed it the first time.

Dan cautions that “Predicting barrel life is a complicated, highly variable subject — there is not a simple answer. Signs of accurate barrel life on the wane are increased copper fouling, lengthened throat depth, and decreased accuracy.” Dan also notes that barrels can wear prematurely from heat: “Any fast varmint-type cartridge can burn out a barrel in just a few hundred rounds if those rounds are shot one after another without letting the barrel cool between groups.”

Q. What Barrel Life, in number of rounds fired, can I expect from my new barrel?

A: That is a good question, asked often by our customers. But again there is not a simple answer. In my opinion there are two distinct types of barrel life. Accurate barrel life is probably the type most of us are referencing when we ask the question. But there is also absolute barrel life too. That is the point where a barrel will no longer stabilize a bullet and accuracy is wild. The benchrest shooter and to a lesser extent other target shooters are looking at accurate barrel life only when asking this question. To a benchrest shooter firing in matches where group size is the only measure of precision, accuracy is everything. But to a score shooter firing at a target, or bull, that is larger than the potential group size of the rifle, it is less important. And to the varmint hunter shooting prairie dog-size animals, the difference between a .25 MOA rifle or one that has dropped in accuracy to .5 MOA may not be noticeable in the field.

The big enemy to barrel life is heat. A barrel looses most of its accuracy due to erosion of the throat area of the barrel. Although wear on the crown from cleaning can cause problems too. The throat erosion is accelerated by heat. Any fast varmint-type cartridge can burn out a barrel in just a few hundred rounds if those rounds are shot one after another without letting the barrel cool between groups. A cartridge burning less powder will last longer or increasing the bore size for a given powder volume helps too. For example a .243 Winchester and a .308 Winchester both are based on the same case but the .308 will last longer because it has a larger bore.

And stainless steel barrels will last longer than chrome-moly barrels. This is due to the ability of stainless steel to resist heat erosion better than the chrome-moly steel.

Barrel Life Guidelines by Caliber and Cartridge Type
As a very rough rule of thumb I would say that with cartridges of .222 Remington size you could expect an accurate barrel life of 3000-4000 rounds. And varmint-type accuracy should be quite a bit longer than this.

For medium-size cartridges, such as the .308 Winchester, 7×57 and even the 25-06, 2000-3000 rounds of accurate life is reasonable.

Hot .224 caliber-type cartridges will not do as well, and 1000-2500 rounds is to be expected.

Bigger magnum hunting-type rounds will shoot from 1500-3000 accurate rounds. But the bigger 30-378 Weatherby types won’t do as well, being closer to the 1500-round figure.

These numbers are based on the use of stainless steel barrels. For chrome-moly barrels I would reduce these by roughly 20%.

The .17 and .50 calibers are rules unto themselves and I’m pressed to predict a figure.

The best life can be expected from the 22 long rifle (.22 LR) barrels with 5000-10,000 accurate rounds to be expected. We have in our shop one our drop-in Anschutz barrels that has 200,000 rounds through it and the shooter, a competitive small-bore shooter reported that it had just quit shooting.

Remember that predicting barrel life is a complicated, highly variable subject. You are the best judge of this with your particular barrel. Signs of accurate barrel life on the wane are increased copper fouling, lengthened throat depth, and decreased accuracy.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Benchrest Barrel Life — You May Be Surprised
I thought it might be interesting to point out a few exceptional Aggregates that I’ve fired with 6PPC benchrest rifles with barrels that had thousands of rounds through them. I know benchrest shooters that would never fire barrels with over 1500 shots fired in them in registered benchrest matches.

I fired my smallest 100-yard 5-shot Aggregate ever in 1992 at a registered benchrest match in Lewiston, Idaho. It was a .1558″ aggregate fired in the Heavy Varmint class. And that barrel had about 2100 rounds through it at the time.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Another good aggregate was fired at the 1997 NBRSA Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona during the 200-yard Light Varmint event. I placed second at this yardage with a 6PPC barrel that had over 2700 rounds through it at the time. I retired this barrel after that match because it had started to copper-foul quite a bit. But accuracy was still good.

Lilja Rifle Barrels barrel life 3-groove AR15 Barrel heat

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »