August 8th, 2020

New Rodzilla 5-Axis Top for SEB Rests — Superb Functionality

Rod Brakhage Rodzilla SEB Rest Neo Max Mini 5-axis top new field test review F-Class John

Rodzilla 5-Axis Top for SEB Rests

Review by F-Class John
Walk the line at any F-Class or Benchrest match and you’ll see plenty of SEB rests — for good reason. SEB produces some of the most popular competition shooting rests available today. With their ease of use and smart design, it is no wonder why SEB rests are so popular. But as good as they are, there are ways SEB rests can be made even better — such as making them easier to align precisely to the target during set-up. It was while shooting with his SEB NEO one day that inventor, fabricator, and competitive F-Class shooter Rod Brakhage decided to make a better mouse trap — to improve the SEB series of rests. He identified aspects of the NEO/MAX rests and SEB Mini tripod rest that could be enhanced and he then set out to improve their already great performance.

Rod Brakhage Rodzilla SEB Rest Neo Max Mini 5-axis top new field test review F-Class John
This photo shows the new Rodzilla 5-Axis top installed on a SEB Mini tripod rest. There are also Rodzilla tops for the SEB NEO and MAX two-column front rests.

Nearly a year and countless prototypes later, Rod unveiled his new Rodzilla 5-Axis Top to a select group of shooters to test and it’s been a wild ride ever since. Best of all, his top is drilled and tapped so that it can be fitted to a SEB NEO, MAX, or Mini front rest without altering the rest base in any way. To make things easy, if you don’t want to install it yourself, you can send just the bridge from your NEO/MAX or top from a Mini and Rod will install the 5-Axis unit. You pay for the Rodzilla top, and Rod will install it for free. The Rodzilla NE0/MAX tops currently sell for $549.00, while the Rodzilla Mini top is $584.00.

Watch Video to See All Features of Rodzilla 5-Axis Rest Top:

Rodzilla Top Swivels Independently of Rest Base
The first thing Rod did was allow the top to swivel independently of the base. On a NEO this makes a HUGE difference because you can now set your rest down in the general direction of your target and make final adjustments once you’re down behind the gun. This is a huge departure from the normal procedure where you find yourself moving your NEO repeatedly until it’s just right. You can do the same thing on a Mini which is actually a nice feature despite the head already swiveling because you can now lock down the Mini head and make your final adjustments behind the gun as well. This is probably the feature that stood out the most to me when I first set it up. Being able to lock the front end down and get comfortable immediately behind the gun without having to get up again was a time-saver. This also left me feeling very confident in my gun alignment to the target.

Rod Brakhage Rodzilla SEB Rest Neo Max Mini 5-axis top new field test review F-Class John

Delrin Rollers on Side Guide Stock during Recoil
The second major innovation is the addition of Delrin rollers along the side. The unit has two easily adjustable jaws that each contain a set of rollers. These rollers allow for as much or little contact as you want along the sides of your stock and provide a smooth if not near frictionless experience whether during recoil (breakaway) or when returning the gun to battery. the departure from traditional sandbags on the side quite revolutionary, and yes it is legal under NRA rules. Current NRA High Power F-Class rules have no limits on what material contacts the sides of the stock. As someone who has owned a number of front rests and filled countless small sandbags this comes as a welcome relief! The Rodzilla’s rollers give me confidence that I’ll have consistent contact with the stock without the side bags constantly shifting and needing my attention during a match.

Rod Brakhage Rodzilla SEB Rest Neo Max Mini 5-axis top new field test review F-Class John

Small, Separate Sandbags Provide Consistent Contact at Any Gun Angle
Another major Rodzilla advancement is the design of the left and right sandbags. Conventional sandbags are stationary and oriented to the rest itself meaning that if you’re shooting uphill or downhill then you may not have stock contact with the full bag surface or the stock may be at a weird angle to the sandbag. Plus, with time, conventional front sand bags can form crowns or lumps that require attention. Those problems are solved with the Rodzilla’s tilting mini-sandbags. Rod’s sandbags are very small yet still meet NRA High Power guidelines as they are filled with sand and can be visibly deformed when pushed. But otherwise, they are unlike anything you’ve seen before. Each bag is mounted on a pivoting arm allowing the gun to always keep consistent contact with each bag regardless of the angle of your rest. This provides confidence that your stock is always riding on the same amount of sandbag no matter how the rest has been placed, or the ground angle relative to target.

Rod Brakhage Rodzilla SEB Rest Neo Max Mini 5-axis top new field test review F-Class John

CONCLUSION: The Rodzilla 5-Axis Top is a Game-Changer
If you have a SEB Rest You will Definitely Want This
The innovative design features of the Rodzilla 5-Axis Top make SEB rests work even better. The Rodzilla Top delivers an incredibly smooth and repeatable shooting experience. Recoil seems smoother, and it is easier to align the rest on target during set-up. If you own a SEB rest and are looking to make your set-up on the line easier and faster, have near-zero breakaway force on each shot, and have consistent follow-up shots to your point of aim, then give the Rodzilla 5-Axis Top a try.

This Video shows how to install the Rodzilla 5-Axis Top on SEB Mini tripod rest:

This Video shows how to install the Rodzilla 5-Axis Top on SEB NEO or MAX Rest

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August 6th, 2020

Hot Rod Ruger — Customized Purple RPR in 6.5 Creedmoor

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod
Check out that bolt assembly. It features a fluted stainless bolt body, laser-engraved Titanium shroud, and Titanium dragon-scale bolt knob with polished stainless handle.

You haven’t seen a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) like this before. Forum member TerryH has customized his Second-Gen 6.5 Creedmoor RPR with a wicked purple finish, snazzy stainless/titanium bolt, and slick HDPE (polymer) bag-riders front and rear. The mods on this Hot Rod Ruger don’t stop there. Terry added a Seekins hand rail, Timney trigger, ergonomic grip, and more…

For his Hot Rod Ruger, Terry has the right skill set, learned on the job: “I work in a body shop and have pretty much custom-painted all my stuff for many years. For this 6.5 CM RPR, colors of choice are House of Kolor PBC-65 Passion Purple and black covered with Cerakote MC-161 matte clear.” Terry even painted his Bald Eagle rest purple to match his Hot Rod RPR.

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod

Terry reports: “I’m shooting an RPR in 6.5 CM. It has a Patriot Valley Arms 26″ barrel. Josh at PVA is making a thread protector for me so I can remove the Mad Scientist brake. The butt stock has a V-Tab adjustable butt plate and Wiebad check rest pad. Glass is a currently a Vortex Gen I PST 6-24x50mm but I have a Golden Eagle on layaway”. To learn more about this rifle or ask TerryH questions about the build, visit this Shooters’ FORUM THREAD.

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod

Ruger Precision Rifle Modifications:
Chassis and Handguards Painted Passion Purple
Patriot Valley Arms 26″ Barrel with Brake
Timney Trigger with Ambi Safety
Custom HDPE (Polymer) Bag-Riders front and Rear
V-Tab adjustable butt plate and Wiebad cheek-pad
Seekins Rail

Good Accuracy with Factory Ammunition
Terry reports: “The RPR is shooting .3 MOA @ 100 with factory Fed American Eagle 140s.” Terry plans to start handloading for the rifle with the goal of shooting F-Class matches next year: “I’ve successfully shot steel out to 1140 yards on the range but [I don’t know] if that will actually translate well in a match. I’m committed to practicing as much as I can and starting to shoot some matches in 2018.”

Front and Rear Bag-Riders with Protektor Rear Bag and Upgraded Bald Eagle Rest
Terry has engineered a slick set-up for F-Open competition and load testing. Up front is a Bald Eagle rest upgraded with windage knob mod, stainless F-Class feet, and longer adjusters. Terry also “changed the hardware to all stainless and added a couple of levels”. In the rear, Terry runs a Protektor Doctor rear bag with 1″ ear spacing.

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod

Impressive additions are the custom HDPE bag-riders Terry crafted himself: “I realized that the butt stock wasn’t going to cut it on the rear bag and even though I got the 2 1/4″ front bag and the Seekins rail is 2″ wide and flat that it wasn’t as stable or smooth as I’d like.” So Terry made his own front and rear bag-riders from HDPE, a material similar to Delrin. Currently the front unit is 2.25″ wide, but Terry will be changing that to a 3″-wide front sled: “I decided that I’d get a 3″-wide front bag and mill a new front bag-rider. I’m going to recess the center to fit around the hand guard and I’ll mill a recess on the bottom of that one.”

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod

Shown below is the Hot Rod Ruger before Terry added the HPDE Bag-Riders front and rear. Terry says the rifle now handles much better with the bag riders, and he plans to upsize the front sled to 3″ width.

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod

Bling’s the Thing. Below is the Hot Rod Ruger’s bolt assembly. It features a custom flat-fluted bolt shaft, laser-engraved Titanium shroud and Titanium dragon-scale knob with polished stainless handle. Terry confesses: “I simply can’t resist anything shiny!”

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor Purple Hot Rod

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August 4th, 2020

Brownells Videos on PRS, Handloading, Ammo Storage and More

Brownells video archive youtube channel AR15 reloading .22 LR cleaning

Brownells is a well-known retailer of guns, gun parts, tools, accessories, ammo, and pretty much everything gun related. What you may not know is that Brownells has a very active video production department that releases new “how-to” and product information videos every week. These videos offer helpful advice on gun cleaning/maintenance, reloading, as well as selecting/assembling components for various kinds of rifles. And every week Brownells serves up a new products video. There now over 1000 videos on the Brownells YouTube Channel, this really is a remarkable resource.

Here are six of our favorite recent videos from Brownells. AR owners will find some good advice on spare parts, new reloaders can learn how to use the OAL tool, and all gun owners should watch the video on ammunition storage.

Introduction to PRS Competition

In this video, Tom Beckstrand, former Special Forces Sniper Team Leader and Guns & Ammo magazine staffer, looks at the Precision Rifle Series (PRS). Tom covers the types of stages in a typical PRS match using unconventional, real-world shooting rests. He also discusses the equipment you’ll need including bag supports, bipods, tripods, and optics. As most ranges aren’t set up for PRS, Tom offers tips on how to train at your local range.

How to Use Hornady OAL Tool and Hornady Bullet Comparator

Gun Tech Steve Ostrem explains how to properly use Hornady’s Overall Length Gauge to determine length-to-land precisely. The OAL Gauge uses a “Modified Case” that theads onto the tool and holds a bullet. Push on the back of the gauge until you feel the bullet just touch the rifling. (We do this gently at first, tapping the rod a couple time to ensure the bullet is aligned correctly). Once you’ve got the length, then use the tool with a comparator on your calipers to get the lenght-to-lands. NOTE: We recommend taking the measurement 3-4 times in a row to get a reliable number. With a little practice your should be able to get repeatable measurements within .0015″.

New Bog Pod Tripod and Caldwell Electronic Muffs

Brownells staffer Paul Levy showcases the impressive new DeathGrip Tripod from Bog Gear. The DeathGrip’s adjustable jaws clamp firmly to the rifle’s forearm. This is a useful device for both PRS shooters and hunters. The head assembly has 25-deg front/rear tilt and 360-deg swivel. And the jaws’ non-slip, rubberized padding won’t scratch that stock. The legs snap open to three pre-set hard stops, and there’s plenty of length extension. Easily switch between rubber feet and steel spikes without removing a single part from the trippod. This video also features Caldwell’s E-Max™ Pro noise-cancelling electronic muffs. These affordable 23 dB NRR units boast dual microphones and digital volume controls, and two sizes are offered — Youth and Adult.

How to Store Ammunition Safely and Securely

Notably, this is the single most popular Brownells video this year, with 494,000 views since March 2020. Here’s the deal — ammunition WILL keep for a long time if you store it properaly. DO store ammunition in a cool, dry place that doesn’t have wide temperature swings. Temperature cycling will also degrade primers and powder. Put it in airtight ammo cans to keep out the moisture. Tupperware containers will work too. Brownells also recommends putting moisture-absorbing silica packs in your ammo containers. DON’T just keep ammo in factory cardboard factory boxes stacked in the basement, attic, or garage — especially not on the floor! The ammunition boxes will absorb moisture which will degrade primers and powder and corrode the brass cases. Yes, sealed military ammo will usually handle this kind of storage for quite a while, but it’s still not wise.

Must-Have Spare Parts for AR-Platform Rifles

This is one of Brownells most popular recent videos, with 154,000 views in just four months. Two gun technicians answer the question: “What spare parts should I keep on hand for my AR-15?” On the list are: Gas Rings, Buffer Spring, Extractor Spring and Pin. NOTE: You may want to try the one-piece spiral gas ring rather than the standard rings which require alignment. The cotter pin and cam pin can also easily get lost when the Bolt Carrier Group is disassembled for cleaning. On the lower receiver you’ll want spare springs and detents for the pivot/takedown pins. If you’re using lighter-power springs, keep standard-power spares on hand. If your rifle stops working, swap in the factory-spec springs to find out if the problem is the gun or your ammo. Also, if you have upgraded your trigger, always keep the original trigger as a backup.

Cleaning Advice for .22 LR Rimfire Rifles

Gun Techs Steve Ostrem and Caleb Savant debunk some myths about cleaning .22 LR barrels. One myth is that cleaning will harm the accuracy of a .22 LR barrel. Caleb thinks this myth is the result of people cleaning a barrel from the muzzle and damaging the muzzle crown, which CAN diminish accuracy. If it’s done right, cleaning won’t damage the bore. However, you certainly do NOT have to clean your 22 LR’s bore every time you go to the range. But DO clean the action every time you shoot the rifle, especially on a semi-auto. What about shooting a lot of lead bullets? Won’t that lead up the bore? The guys give us the straight skinny on lead fouling, too. When you see your .22 LR rifle’s groups opening up, you may want to consider cleaning.

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August 4th, 2020

Bullet Tip Touches Comparator Body Before Ogive Reaches Insert

Bullet ogive comparator gauge tool drill fix hybrid ogive bullet

Bullet ogive comparator gauge tool drill fix hybrid ogive bulletDo you shoot long, pointy Hybrid Ogive bullets? If so, you may need to modify the Hornady L-N-L Bullet Comparator tool commonly used to measure the distance from bullet base to bullet ogive.

With modern, high-BC match bullets, so much of the bullet may extend forward of the ogive that the bullet tip actually contacts the inside of the red comparator body BEFORE the bullet’s ogive contacts the gray caliber-specific insert ring attached to the red body. When this happens you will NOT get an accurate Base-to-Ogive (BTO) measure. And likewise you will not get a proper Cartridge-Base-to-Ogive (CBTO) measurement with loaded rounds.

Watch this video — it shows exactly how this measurement “fail” can happen with a .338-caliber Berger Elite hunter bullet. The tester was getting a false bullet Base-to-Ogive reading of 1.175 (0:25 timemark) before modifying his tool. The true BTO measurement, with the bullet actually contacting the gray comparator ring, is 1.121 (1:25 timemark):

How to Fix the Problem
What’s the fix? With a drill, you must relieve the back “wall” inside the red comparator holder bore. This will provide more clearance for the bullet tip. With more clearance the bullet ogive will seat properly on the gray, caliber-specific insert. The tip will no longer bottom out on the red clamping half of the tool.

The maker of this helpful video, EuLRH explains: “As we all know the CBTO (Cartridge Base to Ogive) measurement is [more useful than] COAL (Cartridge Overall Length). There are lots of products that can do this. One of them is Hornady L-N-L bullet comparator. Attention! With modern long range bullets it is possible that the bullet tip is touching the comparator body instead of the bullet ogive touching the gauge.” In this example, EuLRH worked with the 300gr Berger elite hunter bullet in .338 Caliber.

Why You Need to Check with Your Own Loads
If your bullets have this “tip touching” issue, when you measure your loaded rounds you will be seeing COAL instead of the Cartridge Base to Ogive (CBTO) length. Take a moment, test with your own bullets and your comparator to determine if you have this measurement problem. If you do, try the drilling solution shown in the video.

Credit Boyd Allen for finding EuLRH Video.

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August 2nd, 2020

Sunday GunBlast Gunday: Tribute to Jeff Quinn, Gunblast Founder

Sunday Gunday Jeff Quinn Gunblast gunblast.com lever gun pistol youtube

Jeff Quinn, founder of GunBlast.com, was a good-hearted, southern country boy who loved firearms. Sadly he passed away on July 27, 2020. He will be missed. His reviews were always honest and thoughtful. Notably, Jeff was a true internet pioneer. With help from his brother Boge Quinn, Jeff created Gunblast.com back in 2000. He was one of the first independent writers publishing gun reviews on the internet. And he also was one of the very first to release gun test videos on YouTube. Over the past two decades the GunBlast YouTube channel has racked up over 64 million views. Jeff Quinn led the way for popular YouTube video hosts such as 22Plinkster and Hickok 45.

Sunday Gunday Jeff Quinn Gunblast gunblast.com lever gun pistol youtube

This Sunday Gunday, to mark Jeff’s passing and recognize his influence in the world of firearms videos, we are reprising six of his videos from the past decade. There are a wide selection here — both rifles and pistols, rimfire and centerfire. We’ve even included a special video where Jeff tests a pre-WWI era Maxim machine gun.

The Patriot — Accurate .22-250 AI Benchrest Rifle

While Jeff Quinn focused on factory handguns, hunting rifles, and defensive shotguns, he did occasionally sample accurate custom rifles. Here he tested a unique “Patriot” .22-250 AI rig built on a sleeved Remington 700 action. This handsome rifle boasts a custom-painted, thumbhole benchrest stock with a stars-and-stripes motif. One side says “In God We Trust”, while the other side carries the message “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms”. This “Patriot” rifle delivered three-shot ragged-hole groups at 100 yards.

Sunday Gunday Jeff Quinn Gunblast gunblast.com lever gun pistol youtube

Tales from the Vault — Winchester 1895 Lever Gun

Along with his regular field tests, Jeff hosted videos that focused on the historical heritage of some of his favorite firearms. In the “Tales from the Vault” episode, Jeff showcases a prized example from his personal gun collection. This is an original Winchester Model 1895 lever-action rifle chambered in 30 Army, also known as 30-40 Krag.

Sunday Gunday Jeff Quinn Gunblast gunblast.com lever gun pistol youtube

Smith & Wesson Performance Center M629 .44 Magnum

Smith & Wesson builds some of the best wheelguns on the planet, and Performance Center models are the top of the S&W lineup. This Editor owns two S&W Performance Center revolvers, and they are both outstanding, with great triggers and accuracy that puts most semi-auto handguns to shame. In this video, Jeff Quinn tests a Performance Center six-shot Model 629 Hunter Revolver with a 8 3/8″ fluted barrel. S&W includes a Weaver-type optics rail with this capable wheelgun.

Shooting the Savage A17 in 17 HMR

The Savage model A17 delayed-blowback semi-auto in .17 HMR is one of our favorite budget varmint rifles. It is affordable, reliable, and surprisingly accurate with good .17 HMR ammo. Here Jeff Quinn tests the basic A17. We like the upgraded version with a laminated thumbhole stock, shown below. But both versions utilize the same well-designed action. This is a good choice for small varmints, such as ground squirrels, out to 200 yards.

Sunday Gunday Jeff Quinn Gunblast gunblast.com lever gun pistol youtube

Ruger GP100 .22 LR 10-Shot Revolver

We believe every gun enthusiast should have a good rimfire revolver, and Jeff Quinn would concur. The small size of the .22 LR cartridge allows modern wheelguns to have 10-round cylinder capacity. That’s great for target shooting, fun plinking, and gun games. Here Jeff reviews the sturdy .22 LR GP100 from Ruger. Jeff says this pistol offers “a good tight barrel/cylinder gap” and “positive ejection that kicks spent cases out really well.” He noted that this pistol was “amazingly accurate”. He tested 9 different ammo types and got 1.5″ average TEN-shot groups at 25 yards. (See video at 2:40 for targets.)

BONUS Video — Maxim Machine Gun (1914 Vintage)

The Maxim machine gun was one of the earliest successful fully-automatic weapons. Many of its revolutionary design features are still used in modern machine guns. Here Jeff Quinn tests a belt-fed, wheeled-carriage Maxim with Joe Meaux of Aklys Defense from Aklys Defense.

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July 31st, 2020

Vortex Diamondback HD — New Affordable Spotting Scopes

Vortex diamonback spotter spotting scope HD

Vortex’s new Diamondback® HD series of spotting scopes offer impressive performance for the price. While you can spend $2500 or more for a premium Fluorite Glass spotter, Vortex’s new HD spotting scopes cost $500-$600 MSRP. These new Diamondback spotters could be affordable options for competitive shooters and hunters. The Diamondback HD line of spotting scopes include both angled and straight body types in 16-48x65mm and 20-60x85mm configurations.

Vortex diamonback spotter spotting scope HD

The new Diamondback HD spotters employ an HD optical system with multi-coated lenses. Vortex claims these spotters offer greater light transmission, reduced chromatic aberration, better color fidelity, and enhanced sharpness. Vortex says the “crisp resolution, brighter images, and edge-to-edge sharpness [can reduce] eye strain during long glassing sessions.” We hope to test the 20-60x85mm model to confirm these claims. HD glass should deliver greater low-light performance and clarity.

These new Diamondback HD models boast design upgrades to make them more like Vortex’s higher-end Viper HD Spotting Scopes (which start at $1049.99 MSRP). The big change is the new full-diameter focus ring as you would see on a Swarovski spotter. Vortex says: “[We] took a fresh approach to the spotter’s exterior, introducing a streamlined, snag-free profile. The helical focus wheel provides fast, fine adjustments, and an Arca-Swiss compatible foot means the Diamondback® HD mounts quickly to compatible tripod heads without additional plates. Plus, a neoprene cover comes included, keeping your spotter protected in the field.” The video below reviews the main design features of the new spotters:

Vortex diamonback spotter spotting scope HD

Which model should you choose? The 16-48x65mm ($499.99 MSRP) is smaller and lighter, making it easier to pack or move around the firing line. The angled 16-48X spotter OAL is 14.25″ and weight is 49.8 oz., making this a good choice for competition shooters looking for an affordable spotter to watch mirage and shot markers. For hunters and other shooters seeking enhanced low-light performance and magnification, the 20-60x85mm ($599.99 MSRP) offers more light-gathering for just $100.00 more. OAL is 16.0″ and weight is 60.9 oz., about 3/4 pound heavier than its smaller brother. You make the choice.

Vortex diamonback spotter spotting scope HD

Vortex diamonback spotter spotting scope HD

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July 28th, 2020

Rossi RS22 on Sale $109.99 — Surprisingly Good Budget Rifle

Rossi rs22 RS 22 .22 LR training rifle Mossberg

Looking for a very affordable first rifle for a young family member? Here’s one of the best low-cost options you can find among .22 LR rimfire rigs. The Rossi RS22 is a reliable, semi-auto rifle that comes equipped with barrel-mounted iron/fiber optic sights. There are also dovetails on the receiver for mounting scope rings. The RS22 also takes most Mossberg 702 magazines.

The Rossi RS22 features an 18″ free-floating barrel, adjustable fiber optic sights and a synthetic Monte Carlo stock. For added accuracy, 3/8″ dovetail mounts allow the mounting of a scope or other optic.

Rossi RS22 Specifications:

Model: RS22 Semi-Auto, .22 LR
Barrel: 18″ Free-floating
Stock: Black Monte Carlo Synthetic Stock
Overall Length: 36.25″
Weight: 4.1 lbs.
Scope Mount: 3/8″ Dovetail
Sights: Fiber Optic Front & Rear
Safety: Manual Cross-Bolt Safety
Magazine: 10-rd Detachable Box Mag


NOTE: The Rossi RS22 on sale has a matte black stock.

Rossi rs22 RS 22 .22 LR training rifle MossbergTwo Video Reviews of Rossi RS22
The above video review of the Rossi RS22 confirms its reliability and build quality. The reviewer praised the fiber-optic iron sights and liked the magazines. After fitting a scope to the rifle’s built-in dove-tail, the tester got excellent accuracy with CCI ammo at 25 yards. Ten shots basically formed one half-inch hole. (See video 8:24 – 8:50 and target at right.) That’s good enough for an NRL22 match. Pretty impressive for a $110 rifle!

Gunblast.com also tested the Rossi RS22. This “dandy little rifle” performed great, with flawless semi-auto feeding and cycling for hundreds of rounds. Accuracy was quite good. The tester praised the fit and feel of the stock and noted it has sling swivel studs and well-protected sights. The RS22 can also use 25-round Mossberg magazines.

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July 26th, 2020

Cool Tools — RCBS Rebel Press, Case Prep Trio, Lee Lock Rings

Lee precison die lock ring spline clamp O-ring

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com often gets to test the latest and greatest reloading tools before they hit the market. He does a good job showing the features of new products with informative videos. Today we present three interesting products that Gavin has reviewed. First off is the impressive new RCBS Rebel reloading press. Next is the versatile three-head Case Prep Trio machine from Hornady. Third, Gavin reviews new Die Lock Rings and Breech Lock Die Bushings from Lee Precision.

RCBS Rebel Single-Stage Reloading Press

RCBS Rebel Press primer ejection reloading

Most hand-loaders have used an RCBS Rock Chucker press at one time or another. Recently RCBS unveiled its new Rebel single-stage press. Like the Rock Chucker, the Rebel has a Cast Iron frame, but with a bigger base and taller arch (for a larger opening). The most important change is that this new Rebel press ejects primers out the bottom of the ram. This a big deal — just put a bin under the press to collect spent primers. However — take note — the Rebel has no on-press priming. You need to prime your cases separately. That’s not really a major issue, as we know the majority of our readers prime separately using hand or bench priming tools.

In this video Gavin loads ammo on the new the Rebel single-stage press and explains its notable features, including the primer ejection through the ram.

Note, RCBS is currently running a Buy Green Get Green Rebate Program. The Rebel Press qualifies for a $50.00 Rebate. And right now, MidwayUSA has the Rebel Press on sale for $186.99. So your net cost, after RCBS Rebate, is just $136.99. That’s a great deal on an excellent press.

Hornady Lock-N-Load Case Prep Trio

RCBS Rebel Press primer ejection reloading

Hornady’s compact Case Prep Trio machine (item 050160) packs a lot of functionality in a small package. This triple-threat tool has a small footprint, yet it can perform three tasks as well as much more expensive, tower-style case prep units.

Gavin Gear does a nice job explaining the features of the Case Prep trio. Watch this video to see how it can help you perform chamfering, deburring, and pimer pocket uniforming tasks more efficiently.

With three active stations, you can chamfer, deburr and clean primer pockets without having to change tools. The Case Prep Trio ships with inside chamfer, outside chamfer, and deburr tools. You can also use the machine with other optional 8/32 threaded accessories such as primer pocket reamers and case neck brushes. We’ve used this machine and it works well. The only negative is that you will get metal shavings on your bench (unlike some of the larger case prep centers). We’ve seen some guys put a small pan under the power head — then you can just dump the shavings out of the pan.

New Lee Die Lock Rings and Spline Drive Breech Lock Bushings

Lee precison die lock ring spline clamp O-ring
New basic lock ring in left hand. Older non-splined ring in right hand.

Lee precison die lock ring spline clamp O-ringIn this recent video Gavin Gear reviews three types of die accessories from LEE. These work for virtually all standard dies, not just LEE-brand reloading dies. The new LEE basic silver-finish die lock rings now feature splines for enhanced grip and compatibility with LEE’s new die lock ring wrench (photo right). They still boast a rubber 0-Ring that helps “float” the die for improved cartridge concentricity.

LEE’s new Ultimate Die Lock Rings have two major improvements — a colorful anodized finish, and a split-ring design with a tensioning screw, that allows these rings to be clamped securely to your dies. Available as a set, this package includes three ultimate die lock rings, and a plastic die lock ring wrench.

Gavin also reviews Lee’s new Spline Drive Breech Lock Bushings for use with presses fitted with LEE’s Breech Lock system. These new Breech Lock bushings allow rapid change-out of dies without modifying the setting. The colorful new bushings feature splines on top that work with the new Lee Lock ring wrench shown above. In addition, the Breech Lock Bushings have a clamp to preserve die depth setting.

Lee precison die lock ring spline clamp O-ring

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July 26th, 2020

Six Handy Items You Can Really Use — All Under $20

cheap tricks under $20 gear

Some top-flight components for a great-shooting rifle surely aren’t cheap — like a custom action ($1200 and up). And a premium, match-grade scope could set you back two grand or more. But there are still some great items that cost under $20.00 that can benefit any gun-owner. Here are our selection of six great shooting accessories under twenty bucks. Many of these are top-selling items on Amazon. The first item, a motion-sensitive light for your gun safe, has been a big hit with our readers.

1. Amazon — Motion-Sensor LED Interior Light, $15.99

gun safe light vault cabinet motion sensor light motion sensing LED magnet lamp

Here’s a great accessory for your Gun Safe or closet. This rechargeable LED lamp turns itself on when you open the door, and off when you close the door. Select three brightness levels: 10LED, 20LED, 30LED. With the supplied 3M adhesive magnetic strip you can easily attach the light to the inner walls of your gun safe. And then quickly remove the unit for charging with a standard USB cord (no batteries to replace!). It works, it’s handy, and it’s inexpensive — just $15.99 on Amazon. These motion-sensor LED lamps can also be used in garages or stairwells. NOTE: this is Amazon’s choice for rechargeable LED Motion-Sensor lights.

2. Amazon — Jialitte 30mm/1″ Scope Level, $10.99 (30mm)

Optical Rifle Scope bubble level Discovery 30mm 1 inch 34mm Amazon

If you shoot long range, you need a scope level. The best way to avoid inconsistent rifle canting is to use a bubble level fitted to rail or scope. One very affordable and versatile product is the Jialitte Scope Bubble Level. This features a 30mm milled inside diameter, plus an inner insert ring so it will also fit 1″-diameter main tubes. The Jiaalitte unit is nicely radiused, and has a low profile in the middle. User reviews have been very positive. This costs just $10.99. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product: 89% of verified buyers rated this four or five stars.

3. Home Depot — Low-Profile Muffs + Shooting Glasses, $14.72

Walker low profile ear muffs eye protection glasses sale

Every shooter should have an extra set of shooting muffs and protective earwear. These will provide vital protection for friends/guests you bring to the range. And let’s face it, sooner or later you’ll forget your own muffs, so it’s wise to keep an extra set in your vehicle at all times. Home Depot offers a great deal on Walker’s NRR 22 Muffs + ANSI Z87.1-rated Shooting Glasses. Get both as a Combo Set for just $14.72. Midsouth shooters also has this combo for $19.12.

4. Midsouth Shooters — Lee Universal Decapping Die, $10.95

Lee Universal Decapping die

Midsouth sells the Lee Universal Decapping Die for just $10.95 (item 006-90292), a very good deal. There are many situations when you may want to remove primers from fired brass as a separate operation (prior to case sizing). For example, if your rifle brass is dirty, you may want to de-cap before sizing. Or, if you load on a progressive press, things will run much more smoothly if you decap you brass first, in a separate operation. The Lee Universal Decapping Die will work with cartridges from 17 Fireball all the way up to 45-70. However, NOTE that the decapping pin supplied with this Lee die is TOO LARGE for LAPUA 6.5×47, 6BR, 220 Russian, and Norma 6 PPC flash holes. Because the pin diameter is too large for these brass types, you must either turn down the pin, or decap with a different tool for cases with .059″ flash-holes. Otherwise, the Lee Decapping Die works well and it’s a bargain.

5. Midsouth — Lyman Bleacher Loading Blocks, $6.14

Max NRR 33 db ear plugs

Lyman’s new Bleacher Block stepped cartridge holders are great. Use the different levels for sorting brass. Or, migrate the brass from top to bottom as you proceed through case prep stages. Made of durable polymer, Bleacher Blocks are molded in three sizes. The smallest size (with 0.388″-diam holes) fits .223 Rem-size case heads. The middle size (with 0.485″-diam holes) fits .308 Win-size case heads. The biggest Bleacher Block has 0.565″-diameter recesses for magnum-size cases. All three cartridge block sizes hold fifty (50) rounds. Purchase any size for just $6.14 per Block at Midsouth.

6. MidwayUSA — TEKMAT 36″ x 12″ Rifle Cleaning Mat, $9.99

AR AR16 rubber cleaning neoprene gun mat

TEKMAT makes great products for cleaning long guns. This large 36″ x 12″ vulcanized rubber mat includes a full parts diagram for AR-platform rifles, available in gray, black, and green. Or choose a cool-looking cutaway AR15 illustration on black background. Get either type of 36″ x 12″ mat for just $9.99!. That’s 50% OFF the normal $19.99 price — a GREAT Deal. The oil- and water-resistant surface helps protect your firearm from scratches while the diagrams help with take-down and reassembly. This deal won’t last long.

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals 1 Comment »
July 25th, 2020

Double-Decker Shooting Ranges in USA, Switzerland, Netherlands

Double-Decker Florida Shooting Range Lotus

Bet you’ve never seen anything like this before — a “double-decker” indoor shooting range. Lotus Gunworks of Jensen Beach, Florida, operates a super-sized twin-level indoor shooting range featuring a two-story-high steel funnel bullet trap. Nicknamed the Lotus 8/11 for the number of steel panels used to create it (eight panels on the bottom slope and 11 panels on the top slope), this version of Action Target’s Total Containment Trap is the first of its kind. “No one has ever seen a range like this before” noted Lotus Gunworks’ Robbie Abell.

Double-Decker Florida Shooting Range Lotus

Abell came up with the two-story concept when it became clear that the new Lotus building in Jensen Beach was not wide enough for two side-by-side ranges AND a gun store. Necessity was the mother of invention… Lotus wanted at least two ranges, so the only option was to make a double-decker range where both levels shot into the same bullet trap.

Indoor ranges require ventilation to remove potentially hazardous dust and lead particles. The sheer size of the double-decker range presented a unique challenge, but Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation installed a system that can completely replace all the range air every 80 seconds.

Other Multi-Level Shooting Ranges

While the Lotus Range may have the first two-story bullet trap, it’s not really the first-ever double-decker indoor shooting range. Other multi-level ranges exist, they just don’t have the giant bullet trap. In fact, some of the multi-level ranges in Europe are bigger and even more sophisticated.

Brünig Indoor facility — Multi-Level Range Underground
Switzerland boats a popular shooting facility built completely underground. The large, deluxe Brünig Indoor facility includes a 300m underground range with multi-level shooting stations.

Brünig Indoor shooting range Tunnel Switzerland

This video shows centerfire rifle practice on the upper level of one of Brünig Indoor’s shooting tunnels:

Dutch Double-Decker Range
Here’s a Dutch Double-Decker Range. Check out Schietsportvereniging (SSV) Katwijk, a great twin-level range in Holland featuring electronic targets with displays at each shooting station (on both levels):

Holland SSV Katwijk

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July 23rd, 2020

6mm ARC Cartridge — SAAMI Specs, Build Requirements, Videos

6mm ARC brownells bolts cartridge loaded ammunition hornady

In June 2020, Hornady introduced the 6mm ARC, a new SAAMI cartridge optimized for AR-platform rifles*. The new 6mm ARC is basically a 6.5 Grendel necked down to 6mm, with the shoulder moved back around .030″. That pushed-back shoulder does reduce case capacity (and velocity), but we assume Hornady did that to create a shorter, proprietary chamber so people could not simply neck-down Lapua 6.5 Grendel brass, as has been done for years with Robert Whitley’s outstanding 6mm AR wildcat.

CLICK Image for official SAAMI Specifications:
6mm ARC brownells bolts cartridge loaded ammunition hornady

If you are intrigued by the 6mm ARC, you’ll find the products you need at Brownells — uppers, barrels, bolts, and magazines. Brownells also sells Hornady-made 6mm ARC factory-loaded ammo, but most varieties are out-of-stock right now, as is the 6mm ARC brass. More brass and ammo should arrive soon. Midsouth is also taking brass/ammo backorders. For general information, see 6mm ARC Info Page.

What Is the 6mm ARC Cartridge?
6mm ARC brownells bolts cartridge loaded ammunition hornadyThe 6mm ARC cartridge is a new SAAMI-spec cartridge based on the 6.5 Grendel case necked down for 6mm bullets, with the shoulder moved back 0.030. Yes it is designed to run in AR15-platform rifles. You’ll need a new barrel, bolt, and mags. If you already have an AR chambered in 6.5 Grendel, the ONLY thing you need to change is the barrel. Everything else — bolt, magazines, gas system – is compatible with 6mm ARC.

▶ Official SAAMI Cartridge (not wildcat)
▶ Fits standard AR15-platform rifles
▶ Fits Short/Mini action bolt rifles
▶ Efficient short, fat case design
▶ 30-degree case shoulder

For more INFO, see 6mm ARC Info Page.

What Do I Need To Shoot the 6mm ARC?
Faxon and Ballistic Advantage are already producing barrels, with more manufacturers sure to follow. All the other required components are already on the market for 6.5 Grendel rifles. Aero Precision already offers complete 6mm ARC uppers.

If you’re converting a standard 5.56×45 mm (.223 Rem) AR15 upper to shoot 6mm ARC, you’ll need a 6mm barrel, a Type II 6.5 Grendel bolt carrier group, and new magazines. Some folks have suggested standard AR mags will work, but trust us, you want the magazines that have been designed for 6.5 Grendel. All the hardware you need is currently available at Brownells. And Brownells also sells complete Aero Precision 6mm ARC Uppers, starting at $749.99.

6mm ARC brownells bolts cartridge loaded ammunition hornady

6mm ARC Videos from Hornady (18 Total)

6mm ARC: Overview
6mm ARC: Handloading
6mm ARC Initial Offerings
6mm ARC: AR-15 vs AR-10
6mm ARC vs. 6.5 Grendel
6mm ARC vs the Creedmoors
6mm ARC: 6.5 Creedmoor of the Gas Gun World
6mm ARC vs 308 WIN
6mm ARC: How it started

6mm ARC: What is it
6mm ARC: Military Application
6mm ARC vs. 6.8 SPC
6mm ARC: Bolt Gun Application
6mm ARC: Cartridge Design
6mm ARC: Best AR-15 Cartridge
6mm ARC: Hunting
6mm ARC: Match
6mm ARC: Barrel Length


* While 6-6.5 Grendel shooters are known to run stout pressures, the new 6mm ARC cartridge has a relatively moderate Maximum Average Pressure (MAP) rating of 52,000 psi according to the official SAAMI specifications. For a variety of reasons, is wise to keep pressures in a semi-auto rifle moderate. Don’t chase the velocities you might get in a bolt-action gun.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product, News 4 Comments »
July 22nd, 2020

Pistol Laser Systems from Viridian — Instant-On Capability

veridian pistol green red laser night carry ccw

If you carry a handgun for self-defense after hours, you may want to equip your pistol with a laser beam aiming system. Pistol lasers can significantly improve your ability to get on target in low-light conditions. Watch this video to learn how to best use a laser-equipped pistol:

Viridian Weapon Technologies is one of the leading makers of laser aiming system, laser/light units, and compact gun-cameras. Right now Viridian is offering great savings on laser systems for Ruger pistols.

veridian pistol green red laser night carry ccw

Viridian makes lasers for a wide variety of popular handguns, including compact revolvers. You can choose between red lasers and green lasers. Experts say the green lasers have some advantages. The light is stronger and the green beam itself is more visible. Veridian lasers are the choice of leading pistol-makers for factory-installed frame- or grip-mounted laser systems. And Viridian offers an industry-leading 7-Year Warranty plus a 30-day Money-Back Guarantee.

Verdian Green Series ruger laser sights

Instant-On Laser System
INSTANT-ON® is now part of most Viridian products, offering ultra-fast laser activation when desired. Just pre-set the Viridian mode, slide your gun into your INSTANT-ON equipped holster, and the INSTANT-ON system is armed and ready. The instant the gun leaves the holster, the Viridian laser is illuminating. Yes, you can also de-activate this feature, so that the laser only comes on when you push a button.

The Viridian C Series, X Series Gen 2 and Gen 3, and Reactor Series are equipped with INSTANT-ON technology and activate

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July 21st, 2020

Burris Signature Zee Rings — Great Value, Great Performance

Burris Signature Zee rings

Burris Signature Zee ringsMore and more folks are using Burris Signature Rings these days. These unique rings feature polymer inserts. That allows you to pre-load some elevation in your scope set-up, or you can center-up the windage. Additionally, the polymer inserts hold your scope securely without leaving marks on the tube. Lastly, some folks believe that Signature rings may offer advantages for benchrest competition. Rodney Wagner shot a world-record 600-yard group using Burris Signature Zee Rings (“Zee” denotes the Weaver-rail model). James O’Hara set multiple IBS 1000-yard records using Burris Signature Zee Rings. James will tell you he thinks “all his guns seem to shoot best with these rings”.

IBS World Record Set with Signature Zee Rings
Are Signature Zees good enough for competition? Absolutely. Some folks scoff at these Burris rings, given their low price. A set of 1″-diameter Sig Zees cost just $36.40 at Midsouth. But consider this, in 2013 Rodney Wagner shot the then-smallest 600-yard group in history, a 0.336″ 5-shot stunner, using Signature Zee Rings on his IBS Light Gun. It took five years for a smaller 600-yard group to be shot, a 0.311″ by bullet-maker Bart Sauter, using his IBS Heavy Gun. (See IBS 600-yard Records.) Here’s Rodney with his record-setting rifle, fitted with affordable Signature Zee 30mm rings.

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Vendors Have Burris Signature Rings in Stock Now
Various models of Burris Signature Rings are available from many online vendors. NOTE: You may have to check with more than one seller to get the exact size, height, and model you prefer. But right now these vendors have pretty good selections of Signature Zees, including the hard-to-find 30mm High and Extra High models. If you check all three sellers, you’ll probably find what you need.

Midsouth Shooters Grafs.com Amazon.com

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Permalink Competition, Gear Review, Optics No Comments »
July 21st, 2020

New M1 Garand Book by Jim Thompson is Excellent Resource

Jim thompson m1 garand essential practical historical guide book

Do you own an M1 Garand, or have you always wanted to acquire one of these legendary semi-auto battle rifles? Well then here is a valuable new resource: The Essential M1 Garand: A Practical and Historical Guide for Shooters and Collectors. This new book by Jim Thompson covers the history of the M1 Garand, and offers practical advice for Garand owners, along with complete parts lists. The book includes annotated military and National Match manuals, a troubleshooting chart, and a section on hand-loading for the Garand. The final Section addresses common questions about the rifle and offers detailed instructions for maintaining this wartime classic. First published in February, 2020, The Essential M1 Garand is available in Print Paperback and Kindle eBook versions. View Table of Contents.

M1 Garand match instruction video War Department

Recommended M1 Garand Manual
Along with The Essential M1 Garand book by Jim Thompson, there are many other good M1 Garand print resources. Among the many M1 Garand manuals available, we recommend the CMP’s U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1: ‘Read This First’ Manual. This booklet covers take-down, reassembly, cleaning, lubrication, and operation. The manual comes with CMP rifles or can be purchased for $3.25 from the CMP eStore. The CMP also offers many other M1 Garand print resources including:

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

Here are recommended M1 Garand commercial titles available through Amazon:

This Video (with 5.7 million views) Explains How to Load the M1 Garand Correctly.

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July 18th, 2020

Tuner TECH — POI Shift with Barrel Tuner Position Changes

Tuner Pascal Bukys Point of Impact shift test 6 PPC benchrest

6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine waveHave a good look at the photos below — this may be one of the most noteworthy target strings we’ve ever published. What you can see is the effect of barrel tuner position on point of impact (POI). You can clearly see that the tuner position alters the up/down POI location in a predictable fashion.

This remarkable 15-shot sequence was shot by French benchrester Pascal Fischbach using his 6 PPC fitted with a CG (Carlito Gonzales) action and a Bukys barrel tuner.

Pascal reports: “After [bullet] seating and load validation, I put the Bukys tuner on, screwing it out 10 turns. According to Carlito, the CG’s super stiff action-to-barrel fit gives a faster vibration modulus that is detrimental below 10 turns [position of the tuner].” Pascal’s procedure was to screw out the tuner 1/4 turn progressively from one shot to the next. He shot one bullet at each tuner position, with a total of 15 shots.

15-Shot Sequence with Tuner Changes
6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave
CLICK HERE to SEE Large Version of Complete Test Strip (All 15 shots in a row).

Left Half of Target Strip (shots with 1/4 rotation change of tuner in sequence)
6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave

Right Half of Target Strip (shots with 1/4 rotation change of tuner in sequence)
6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave

Pascal observed: “Note the point of impact displacement [from shot to shot] tracks clearly along a sinusoide (sine wave curve).” This is indeed notable and significant! This shows how the tuner’s ability to change barrel harmonics can alter the position of the muzzle as each bullet exits, resulting in a higher or lower POI. Pascal sent his results to Carlito Gonzales in Argentina for analysis.

Pascal poses this question to readers: “Guess which three positions Carlito recommends to try?”

Editor’s Note: While this target sequence clearly shows how tuner position can alter bullet point of impact, this, by itself, does not tell us which tuner position(s) are best for accuracy. That will require further multi-shot group testing, involving careful experimentation with tuner position (and powder charge weights). But for those folks who doubt that a tuner can make a difference on a short, fat barrel, just take another look at the photos. The up/down changes are undeniable, and noteworthy in the wave pattern they follow.

Shooting Set-up and Test Conditions:
Pascal did this test at an outdoor range under very good conditions: “This was shot at my home range, outdoors, with four Smiley flags. The range is a narrow cut in high woods. Wind was consistent with readable flags. I started testing the tuner from 10 turns out and on to 15. I recently… found a sweet spot very close to the rearmost position of the tuner, so the rigidity provided by this super long tenon (just short of 70mm) was not a reason to overlook the recommended Bukys tuning procedure.”

6PPC Pascal Fischbach Bukys Barrel Tuner sine wave

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
July 17th, 2020

Traveling by Air with Firearms — What You Need to Know

Airport security travel bag check-in O'hare TSA

Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic, we know that many readers will be traveling by air this summer to attend major matches. If you plan to fly commercially in the weeks ahead, you need to be careful when transporting firearms through airports both in the USA and in other countries. It is important that you comply with all Homeland Security, TSA, and Airline policies when transporting guns and ammunition. Following the rules will help ensure you (and your gear) make it to your destination without hassles, delays or (God forbid), confiscations.

TSA Air transport safety locked bag declare firearm

You’ll want to visit the TSA Firearms and Ammunition webpage, and read it start to finish. In addition, before your trip, you should check the regulations of the airline(s) with which you will fly. Some airlines have special requirements, such as weight restrictions.

TSA Guidelines for Travel with Firearms

Firearms Guidelines
• When traveling, comply with the laws concerning possession of firearms as they vary by local, state and international governments.

• If you are traveling internationally with a firearm in checked baggage, please check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information and requirements prior to travel.

• Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply.

• Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm. Only the passenger should retain the key or combination to the lock unless TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm container to ensure compliance with TSA regulations. You may use any brand or type of lock to secure your firearm case, including TSA-recognized locks.

• Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.

• Replica firearms, including firearm replicas that are toys, may be transported in checked baggage only.

• Rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.

Ammunition Guidelines
• Ammunition is prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.

• Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm. Read the requirements governing the transport of ammunition in checked baggage as defined by 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8).

• Small arms ammunition (up to .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge) must be packaged in a fiber (such as cardboard), wood, plastic, or metal box specifically designed to carry ammunition and declared to your airline.

• Ammunition may be transported in the same hard-sided, locked case as a firearm if it has been packed as described above. You cannot use firearm magazines or clips for packing ammunition unless they completely enclose the ammunition.

• Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be boxed or included within a hard-sided, locked case.

• Please check with your airline for quantity limits for ammunition.

NOTE: The above TAS guidelines are reprinted directly from the TSA web page here: TSA.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition.

Important TSA Tips on Firearms and Flying

Good Advice from an Airport Police Officer

To help our readers comply with rules and regulations for air travel, we offer these guidelines, courtesy “Ron D.”, a member of our Shooters’ Forum. Before he retired, Ron D. served as a Police Officer assigned to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Here Ron offers some very important advice for shooters traveling with firearms and expensive optics.

gun transport caseFirst, Ron explains that airport thieves can spot bags containing firearms no matter how they are packaged: “Don’t think you’re safe if your guns are placed in cases designed for golf clubs or trade show items. Baggage is X-Rayed now and cases are tagged with a special bar code if they contain firearms. It doesn’t take long for bad guys to figure out the bar coding for firearms.”

Carry-On Your Scopes and Expensive Items
Ron advises travelers to avoid placing very expensive items in checked baggage: “When traveling by air, carry on your rangefinder, spotting scope, rifle scope, medications, camera, etc. You would be surprised at the amount of people that carry-on jeans and shirts, but put expensive items in checked baggage. Better to loose three pairs of jeans than some expensive glass.”

Mark Bags to Avoid Confusion
Ron notes that carry-on bags are often lost because so many carry-on cases look the same. Ron reports: “People do accidentally remove the wrong bag repeatedly. I frequently heard the comment, ‘But it looks just like my bag.’ When de-planing, keep an eye on what comes out of the overhead that your bag is in. It’s easy to get distracted by someone that has been sitting next to you the whole flight. I tie two streamers of red surveyors’ tape on my carry-on bag.” You can also use paint or decals to make your carry-on bag more distinctive.

General Advice for Air Travelers
Ron cautions: “Keep your hands on your items before boarding. One of the most often heard comments from theft victims was, ‘I just put my computer down for a minute while I was on the phone.’ Also, get to the baggage claim area quickly. If your family/friends can meet you there, so can the opportunists. Things do get lost in the claim area. Don’t be a Victim. Forewarned is forearmed.”

Choosing a Rifle Transport Case
Ron advises: “Buy the best [rifle case] that you can afford. Don’t cry when your $3,000+ Benchrest rifle has a cracked stock or broken scope. Think about what it would be like to travel across the country (e.g. to Montana or the Cactus Classic) and arrive with a damaged rifle. Remember the Samsonite commercial. (For you younger shooters, it shows a monkey throwing the suitcase around in his cage at the zoo.) Baggage handling is NOT a fine art. There is no guarantee that your rifle case will be on top of all the other baggage. Then there is shifting of baggage in the belly of the plane. Ponder that for a while. Rifle and pistol cases must be locked. It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out that a simple pry tool will open most case locks. There is not much that you can do to disguise a rifle case. It is what it is, and opportunists know this. Among thieves, it doesn’t take long for the word to get around about a NEW type of case.”

Plano Two-Gun Tactical Case

Plano Double Rifle Case Amazon Airport security travel bag check-in O'hare airline approved AW2TSA
This Plano Double Scoped Rifle Case offers the functionality and durability of an SKB-type hard case for HALF the money. This is now just $116.65, while the equivalent SKB is around $300.00.

This Plano AW2 two-gun case is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in wheeled, heavy-duty firearms cases. This is offered in three sizes: 36″, 42″, and 52″. We like the biggest 52″ version, as it is long enough inside to fit most scoped match rifles. Alternatively, if you have a really long F-Class, ELR, or Palma rig, you can detach the barreled action from the stock, and run the two sections in the shorter 42″ case. This case is strong enough for airline travel, meeting FAA requirements for checked baggage. This Plano case offers a good balance between strength and weight, all for a reasonable cost — $116.65 on Amazon

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July 17th, 2020

Summer’s Here — Monitor Barrel Heat with Stick-on Temp Strips

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

You never want your barrels to get too hot, which can happen more quickly in summertime. Accuracy suffers when barrels over-heat, and excessive heat is not good for barrel life. So how do you monitor your barrel’s temperature? You can check if the barrel is “warm to the touch” — but that method is not particularly precise. There is a better way — using temperature-sensitive strips. McMaster.com (an industrial supply house) offers stick-on temp strips with values from 86° F to 140° F. A pack of ten (10) of these strips (item 59535K13) costs $12.77. That’s a mere $1.28 per barrel for strips — cheap insurance for your precious barrels. For best barrel life, try to stay under 120 degrees F.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

NOTE: On the McMaster.com website, you’ll need to scroll down to the multi-use “Temperature Indicating Labels”. Then click on the horizontal label and select item 59535K13, as shown below.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr
Click image for large view.

Forum member Nomad47 says: “I have temperature strips (bought at McMaster-Carr) on all my barrels. I try not to shoot when the barrel gets to 122 degrees or higher[.]” Here are photos of the McMaster-Carr temp strips on Nomad47’s customized Savage.

Barrel Heat Temp Temperature gauge strip McMaster Carr

Bad things can happen if your barrel gets too hot. First, with some barrels, the point of impact (POI) will shift or “walk” as the barrel heats up excessively. Second, even if the POI doesn’t change, the groups can open up dramatically when the barrel gets too hot. Third, if the barrel is very hot, the chamber will transfer heat to your loaded cartridge, which can lead to pressure issues. Finally, there’s considerable evidence that hot barrels wear out faster. This is a very real concern, particularly for varmint shooters who may shoot hundreds of rounds in a day. For this reason, many varminters switch among various guns, never letting a particular barrel get too hot.

Neconos.com offers Bar-L Temp Strips that visually display heat readings from 86 to 140 degrees. Think of these strips as compact, unbreakable thermometers. With adhesive backing, they can also be used to monitor barrel heating.

Put a strip on the side of the barrel and the barrel’s temp will be indicated by a stripe that changes from black to green. There is also a “general purpose” strip that reads to 196 degrees (see bottom row). The Benchrest strip (86°F to 140°F) is in the middle. These Bar-L temp strips cost $9.00 each, or $25.00 for a 3-pack.

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July 17th, 2020

New Carbon-Fiber Bipod with Balljoint (Pan, Tilt, Roll)

Truglo carbon fiber tacpod tilting bipod

Here is a new bipod with very useful features for hunters and tactical shooters. The new TruGlo TAC•POD™ Carbon Pro Bipod is lightweight and compact. With carbon fiber legs, it is lighter than typical metal bipods. Additionally, it employs a universal balljoint at the top. This allow the user to pan, tilt, and/or roll with one movement, and then lock the bipod in place. So, you can traverse left/right, AND adjust the barrel angle up down, AND rotate around the bore axis (to adjust for uneven ground). The new bipod is quite affordable, with MSRPs of $82.99 for 6-9″ model and $94.99 for 9-13″ model. NOTE: This bipod is so NEW that it is not yet in stock at retailers. But be patient — it should arrive later this summer.

Constructed from carbon fiber and aluminum, the TAC-POD Carbon Pro offers maximum strength with minimum weight. The mount quickly attaches to Picatinny-style rails and has a rotating design for easy shooting angle adjustment without repositioning the legs. Padded rubberized feet provide positive grip and the pivoting base offers quick leveling on uneven surfaces.

The ball-joint design allows the TAC-POD Carbon Pro to pan, tilt, and roll for various shooting positions. Users can then lock the bipod in place to maintain its position. A push-button leg lock provides smooth deployment — locking the legs in the up or down position. A twist-lock length adjustment allows each leg to independently extend. Padded rubberized feet provide positive grip retention and the pivoting base offers precision leveling on uneven surfaces.

TRUGLO TAC-POD Carbon Pro Bipod Specifications:

Model: TG8903S (6-9 inch legs, MSRP $82.99)
Model: TG8903L (9-13 inch legs, MSRP $94.99)
Pivoting base for precision leveling on uneven surfaces
Rapid, Easy Deployment/Movement with Balljoint
Carbon fiber and aluminum construction
Mounts to Picatinny rail
Padded rubberized feet

Truglo carbon fiber tacpod tilting bipod

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product No Comments »
July 15th, 2020

Protect Your Eyesight — Smart Advice about Safety Eyewear

Safety Eyewear 6.5 Guys 65guys.com

Proper eye protection is ‘must-have’ gear for shooting sports. In addition to providing reliable impact protection, good shooting glasses should be comfortable, fog-free, and not interfere with your preferred hearing protection. Those who require corrective lenses also need to consider the various options available. In a past episode of their Weekly Gear Review, the 6.5 Guys discuss a variety of shooting glasses they have tried, including examples from DeCot, Oakley, and Wiley-X. Ed and Steve outline the key considerations when choosing eye protection, and then review practical aspects of eyewear design and construction that enhance comfort and functionality in the field.

READ FULL ARTICLE ON 65Guys.com »

The 6.5 Guys (Ed and Steve) offer a number of smart tips consider safety eyewear, helping you select the most effective safety glasses at an affordable price. Here are the 6.5 Guys’ KEY Take-aways when choosing shooting glasses, including prescription eyewear:

Key Things To Consider When Choosing Eye Protection

1. Avoid polarized lenses or lenses that reduce light transmission significantly (except for action shooting in very bright conditions with large, close targets).

2. Avoid frame designs that interfere with prone shooting.

3. Avoid designs that easily fog.

4. Avoid frame designs with thicker temples that are uncomfortable to wear underneath hearing protection.

5. Select lenses with an appropriate degree of ballistic protection. CLICK HERE to learn more about eyewear safety standards.

6. When you get your prescription, be sure your ophthalmologist includes the interpupillary distance. This is a critical measurement particularly for heavier prescriptions.

7. If you have a complicated prescription select a vendor who will actually spend time with you to address any concerns.

Safety First — Your Eyes Are Irreplaceable
Safety Eyewear 6.5 Guys 65guys.comAccurate shooting begins and ends with the human eye. Your career as a marksman could be cut short if you don’t use good eye protection every time you go to the range and/or handle a firearm.

Every year, 1,000,000 people suffer serious eye injuries. Shooting is hazardous; it is estimated that there are 30,000 firearms-related eye injuries each year (if you include paintball sports.) After paintball, general hunting accidents comprise most firearms-related eye injuries.

Quality eye protection need not be expensive. You can find comfortable, ANSI Z87.1-certified shooting glasses for under $10.00.

If you select shooting glasses carefully, and ensure that your eyewear is safety-certified, inexpensive shooting glasses can perform very well. But you need to avoid cheap, soft-plastic lenses that claim “impact resistance” without satisfying a testing standard.

For more comprehensive information on safety eyewear, read the AccurateShooter’s Guide to Eye Protection for Shooters.

Permalink Gear Review, Optics, Tech Tip No Comments »
July 14th, 2020

What is Your #1 Favorite Reloading Equipment Item?

Wilson hand die arbor press Sierra Bullets

Sierra Bullets asked a few hand-loaders to reveal their favorite reloading tool or accessory: “What is your favorite ‘don’t know how you ever lived without it’ piece of reloading equipment?” Some of the answers are listed below. We were interested to see some high-tech, micro-processor items mentioned, such as the AMP Annealer, and the AutoTrickler powder dispenser. Old standbys, such as the rugged RCBS Rockchucker and Dillon 650, also made the favorites list. You can nominate your own favorite reloading hardware in the comments section of the Sierra Bullets Blog.

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin answered: “A comparator gauge to measure from the base of a case to the ogive of the bullet. This bypasses the tip of the bullet, so I can repeat the same seating depth the next time I visit a specific combination.”

Forster Co-ax press

Bill, Editor of Rifleshooter.com, answered: “I have so many favorite reloading tools, it’s hard to pick one. But if I had to, it would be my Forster Co-Ax press. I like the ease [with which] you can change dies and that it doesn’t require traditional shell holders. It’s a great tool to have!”

Forster Co-Ax Press

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks answered: “I don’t know that you would actually call this equipment, but the item that comes to mind would be my reloading room/shoot house. I had always had to squeeze everything into a corner or even an unheated shed. After we bought our current house, I built a garage and placed it so that I had a window looking down a 250-yard range. I built a dedicated room with heat and A/C. It contains my reloading bench and a shooting bench. The shooting bench lets me slide open the window and shoot down the range. It is very handy to not have to load everything up to go to the range. It also makes load development a lot simpler and efficient. I don’t know how I ever got along without it.

I also wonder what I did before I acquired the Lyman 1200 DPS Powder Dispenser. This has made the process so much simpler and much easier. I also have a Lee Precison Universal Decapping Die that I would gladly spend the money on again. This may be a small thing, but it certainly is handy. The Lee would accommodate some very large cases that some of the others were too small for.”

Jon Addis answered: “Putting an A&D FX-120i scale with AutoTrickler and Auto-Throw on the bench has changed the way I reload. It’s kernel accurate in about 15 seconds. Saves time and reduces a variable. And of course, the system is made better by the Area 419 Billet Adjustable base for the trickler and Billet Powder Cup.”

This video shows the AutoTrickler V2 and Auto-Throw Combo:

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Carroll Pilant answered: “Dillon 550 and 650 presses.”

Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Paul Box answered: “The Lee Precison hand priming tool.”

Sierra Bullets Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd answered: “A brass annealing machine and a RCBS Chargemaster complimented with a Sartorious scale.”

RCBS RockchuckerSierra Bullets Ballistician Gary Prisendorf answered: “RCBS Rock Chucker Press, it’s built like a tank, and it will last me a lifetime.”

Sierra Bullets Production Manager Chris Hatfield also answered: “RCBS Rock Chucker single-stage reloading press.”

Jeremy Kisner answered: “My Giraud trimmer has taken [three operations] and combined them into one easy task. I can now size my brass and then sit down and trim, chamfer, and debur to a 0.001″ tolerance in one motion.”

Dan Blake answered: “My Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) annealer. With consistent neck tension being one of the largest contributions to small Extreme Spread on muzzle velocities, I believe this induction annealer is truly the best on the market.”

This manufacturer-produced video shows how the AMP annealing machine operates:

Trevor Aldinger answered: “Area 419 Master Funnel Kit. In the past I’ve used plastic funnels and even other metal ones. This system fits case necks and flows much better than any others I’ve used, and there is no static since it’s metal. We spend a lot of time and money to get precise charges, I don’t want to lose or miss a kernel because of a cheap funnel.”

Area 419 Master Funnel kit

Tyler Riley answered: “My RCBS bench primer (priming tool). It has a lot more leverage than a hand primer and still has a good feel to how tight primer pockets are. Makes it much easier on my hands to prime large runs, especially new brass with tight pockets.”

Craig Arnzen answered: “My Annealeez [annealing machine] is one of the best tools in my reloading room. Neck tension is SO important, and annealing every firing really helps with that. This is an inexpensive tool that can anneal a lot of cases at once, and help me produce more consistent ammo.”

Josh Temmen answered: “Time is critical for me so my RCBS Chargemasters are indispensable (pun intended.) They cut down on time at my reloading bench while maintaining the weight tolerances required for long range shooting.”

Josh Bartlett answered: “I have my Dillon 650 set up with Whidden floating tool heads to do decapping and sizing on my match ammo. The case feeder and progressive function of the press save me a TON of time when doing lots of several hundred rounds.”

Ryan Brandt answered: “… A quality set of calipers. My reloading room is full of very nice equipment but little does more to satisfy my perfectionism than a good check with the calipers.”

Sierra Bullets

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading 2 Comments »