February 16th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: .22 LR CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stock

Rimfire cross-training allows PRS competitors to build their skill sets without breaking the bank (or burning out nice custom barrels). One great .22 LR option for cross-training is offered by CZ (Česká Zbrojovka), the Czech arms-maker. The TFBTV video below spotlights the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT), a smooth-running .22 LR bolt action. This factory rifle was designed specifically as a training tool for precision long-range competition. It boasts a Manners composite stock and 20.5 or 24-inch heavy barrel. The 0.866″-diameter tube is threaded and suppressor-ready. The model 455 VPT is mag-fed and comes with a crisp trigger that adjusts to two pounds. Street price is around $830.00. That’s pricey for a rimfire — but you’re getting a premium Manners stock that would cost $534 by itself.

Field Testing the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

.22 LR Rimfire from 50 to 300 Yards
CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stockThe CZ 455 VPT proved accurate, recording half-inch groups at 50 yards with SK ammo: “[we] shot CCI standard, Federal match, and SK match through the rifle. It liked the SK ammo the best.” One goal of this test was to see how a .22 LR could perform beyond typical rimfire ranges, so reviewer Joel Wise (Precision Rifle Network) tested this rifle all the way out to 300 yards. Groups were about 1″ at 100 yards, but opened up considerably at 200 and 300. Joel concluded 300 yards was a practical max. We know that some tactical rimfire matches set targets out that far, but we think 200 yards might be a better practical limit for matches run with smallbore rifles. It’s not just the problem of running out of elevation in your scope. At 300 yards the effect of the wind is huge.

CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stock

The CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT) features a mag-fed CZ 455 action, with .866″-diameter heavy barrel, in a rigid, high-tech Manners Composite stock. Feeding was very reliable.

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

The 455 VPT offers the same look and feel of a full-size tactical rifle. This 455 uses a Manners MCS-T4 stock assuring a rock solid platform for the 455 barreled action. The outer shell of the MCS-T4 is made with carbon fiber and fiber glass in multiple layers. The stocks can be custom-ordered with a heavy fill to match your current rifle weight to truly duplicate its feel.

Manners VPT Stock Available for Other Rimfire Platforms
Manners Composite Stocks offers versions of the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer stock design that can be used with other barreled actions: “The 455 VPT stock is based on our MCS-T4 design. We offer this, fully inletted with pillars, for a variety of rimfire actions: Sako Quad, Savage Mark II, CZ 452, CZ 453, along with the 455.”

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

Inletting is complete, so this will be a drop-in solution if you already own one of the listed rimfire rifles. Tom Manners notes: “With this stock, some guys will bed the rear area of their action, but that’s not necessary — you can pretty much bolt ‘em in and go”.

New CZ 457 VPT Replaces 455 VPT — Major Action Changes

Readers take note — the CZ 455 VPT profiled above has been replaced with the new-generation CZ 457 Varmint Precision Trainer, which still boasts a Manners Composite stock, based on the PRS1 design with a more tapered forearm. The new 457 VPT has some very notable upgrades. First, the stamped bottom metal of the 455 is gone, swapped for a two-piece interlocking system. To make scope fitment easier, CZ ditched the 90° bolt rotation in favor of a 60° bolt, allowing for larger ocular bell diameters with lower ring heights. And the 457 VPT now features a trigger adjustable for weight, creep, and over-travel. MSRP for the new CZ 457 VPT is $1144.00, with street price around $990.00.

CZ 457 varmint precision tactical rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR  manners stock

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
February 12th, 2020

Mauser 18 Named American Rifleman’s 2020 Rifle of the Year

Mauser 18 Rifle of Year golden bullseye NRA American Rifleman

This caught us by surprise — NRA’s American Rifleman Rifle of the Year is not a Ruger, not a Weatherby, not a Savage. It is a made-in-Germany Mauser. That’s noteworthy. The Mauser 18 bolt-action rifle has been named 2020 Rifle of the Year by the editors of American Rifleman magazine, as part of the NRA’s annual Golden Bullseye Awards. READ Mauser 18 FULL REVIEW.

Mauser 18 Bolt-Action Rifle is Rifle of the Year
How did the Mauser 18 win top honors? The American Rifleman says it’s because this rifle offers excellent “accuracy and ruggedness at an exceptional price point”. The Mauser 18 is available in both short action and long action types, with a wide variety of chamberings, making it suitable for nearly all types of hunting — from varmints to Big Game. The Mauser 18 is available in .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .270 Win, 7mm Rem Mag, .308 Win, .30-06, and .300 Win Mag. The Mauser 18 is relatively light — rifle weight without optics is 6.4 lbs (standard) and 6.6 lbs (Magnum).

In announcing the M18’s selection, the American Rifleman stated: “…At an MSRP of $699, the Mauser M18 is priced a bit higher than most competing models, but well below any new-production Mauser since the height of the Cold War. While rifles in this class are typically spartan, the M18 offers a few extras along with better-than-expected test results. Purists who can’t separate the brand from its full-length-extractor/controlled-round-feed legacy won’t be fans, but hunters seeking an affordable rifle with reasonable expectations of Mauser performance and durability, likely will be.”

Mauser 18 Rifle of Year golden bullseye NRA American Rifleman

The Mauser 18 features a synthetic stock with a classic American hunter profile (like a Remington 700 stock). There are rubberized grip inlays. The steel receiver has a 3-lug bolt for shorter bolt throw. The rifle boasts a 3-position safety allows hunters to safely carry a round in the chamber without fear of the bolt being nudged out of battery. A five-round magazine offers ample capacity for follow-up shots. The Mauser 18 also features an adjustable trigger allows you to set your own preferred pull weight.

Mauser 18 Rifle of Year golden bullseye NRA American Rifleman

“The Mauser 18 was introduced as ‘The People’s Rifle’, and it has been embraced by hunters throughout the world who want a rugged, reliable, and accurate rifle at a great price. To be recognized as the 2020 American Rifleman Rifle of the Year further validates how exceptional this rifle is in its category.” said Jason Evans, CEO, Blaser Group.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product, News 7 Comments »
February 11th, 2020

Safari Club Int’l Convention Returns to Las Vegas in 2021

SCI Safari Club International convention las vegas 2021

Safari Club International has announced that the 49th International Hunters’ Convention will return to Las Vegas, Nevada, February 3-6, 2021. The event will serve as the kickoff celebration of 50 years of SCI, the leading hunting advocacy organization established in 1971.

The exhibits and daytime activities will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Exhibits will be set up in the central halls of the facility. Meetings and daytime banquets will also all be held at the LVCC. Evening events at the 2021 SCI Convention will be held at Caesar’s Forum, a new venue in the Caesar facilities that is currently under construction.

SCI Safari Club International convention las vegas 2021

“We are pleased to be able to bring the SCI Convention back to Las Vegas in 2021,” said Laird Hamberlin, SCI CEO. “Our exhibitors and members all enjoy the convenience of getting in and out of Las Vegas and the many activities to enjoy there in addition to the Convention. Many people expressed a desire to move the Convention back to Las Vegas with dates in early February. We have worked hard to make it happen.”

SCI Annual Convention

The headquarters hotel will be Harrah’s Casino Hotel. Other block hotels will include the LINQ Hotel and Casino, Flamingo Las Vegas, Bally’s Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood and Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas. All the hotels are in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News No Comments »
February 5th, 2020

Safari Club International Convention February 5-8 in Reno, NV

Safari Club International Convention Reno Nevada NV

Didn’t get enough gun stuff in Sin City during SHOT Show? Then head to Reno, Nevada for the biggest hunting/safari show of the year. The 48th Annual Safari Club International (SCI) Hunters’ Convention kicks off today, Wednesday, February 5, 2018, at the Reno Sparks Convention Center. The big event runs through Saturday, February 8, 2018. Over 20,000 hunters and sportsmen are expected to attend this year. Ask any member who has attended the SCI Convention, and you will likely hear, “You have to go! It is the ultimate hunters’ market/showcase.”

Safari Club International Convention Reno Nevada NV

This year’s convention will have almost 1,100 companies in over 450,000 square feet of exhibit space. Thirty-two countries from six continents are represented under one roof where members come to book hunts, meet outfitters, and shop for guns, hunting equipment, and outdoor gear. There will be dozens of seminars covering hunting techniques, care for gear/equipment, and ways to prepare wild game.

Impressive Selection of Auction Items This Year
The SCI show is famed for its gun, safari, and outdoor art auctions which raise money for the organization. At this year’s Convention, exotic firearms, once-in-a-lifetime hunts, and fine collectibles will be auctioned. Net proceeds from the auctions are used by SCI to promote conservation and game management efforts worldwide. CLICK HERE for Auction Preview Guide.

Here are some of the hunts which will be auctioned:

Safari Club International Convention Reno Nevada NV

And here is one of the most impressive firearms to be auctioned at the 2020 show, a classic “Big Five” Double Rifle from Krieghoff International, valued at $18,690.

Krieghoff double rifle auction Safari Club international SCi

The SCI convention boasts “the largest display of wildlife art at one venue anywhere in the world” according to Ammoland.com. The work of scores of painters, sculptors, and taxidermists will be on display. There will be auctions of wall paintings and sculpture items, such as this Bronze Buck:

Krieghoff double rifle auction Safari Club international SCi

Guided Hunts in Exotic Destinations
At the SCI Convention, hundreds of top guides and outfitter services are showcased in the Outfitters Hall. You will find hunting guides who can literally take you to the ends of the earth to find prize game. From the Arctic to Africa to New Zealand’s Southern Alps, you will find “dream hunts” to pursue.

Namibia Hunting safari
Photo courtesy Namibia Hunting Safaris.

This 6-Day, $54,400 New Zealand Hunt for four persons will be auctioned Saturday 2/8/2020.
Krieghoff double rifle auction Safari Club international SCi

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product, News No Comments »
February 1st, 2020

Varminters’ Debate — Cranking Elevation or Holding Over/Under

IOR Scope elevation knob one revolution

Leuopold Varmint Hunters' ReticleA varmint shooter’s target is not conveniently placed at a fixed, known distance as it is for a benchrester. The varminter must repeatedly make corrections for bullet drop as he moves from closer targets to more distant targets and back again. Click HERE to read an interesting Varmint Forum discussion regarding the best method to adjust for elevation. Some shooters advocate using the scope’s elevation adjustments. Other varminters prefer to hold-over, perhaps with the assistance of vertical markers on their reticles. Still others combine both methods–holding off to a given yardage, then cranking elevation after that.

Majority View–Click Your Scope
“I zero at 100 yards — I mean really zero as in check the ballistics at 200 and 300 and adjust zero accordingly — and then set the scope zero. For each of my groundhog guns I have a click chart taped into the inside of the lid of the ammo box. Then use the knobs. That’s why they’re there. With a good scope they’re a whole lot more accurate than hold-over, with or without hash marks. This all assumes you have a good range finder and use it properly. If not, and you’re holding over you’re really just spraying and praying. Try twisting them knobs and you’ll most likely find that a 500- or 600- or 700-yard groundhog is a whole lot easier than some people think.” — Gunamonth

Varmint hunter 22 BR elevation scope hold-over

“I have my elevation knob calibrated in 100-yard increments out to 550. Range-find the critter, move elevation knob up…dead critter. The problem with hold-over is that it is so imprecise. It’s not repeatable because you are holding over for elevation and for wind also. Every time you change targets 50 yards, it seems as if you are starting over. As soon as I got completely away from the hold over method (I used to zero for 200), my hit ratios went way up.” — K. Candler

“When I first started p-dog shooting, I attempted to use the hold-over method with a 200-yard zero with my 6mm Rem. Any dog much past 325-350 yards was fairly safe. I started using a comeups table for all three of my p-dog rifles (.223 Rems and 6mm Rem). 450-yard hits with the .223s are fairly routine and a 650-yard dog better beware of the 6mm nowadays. An added benefit (one I didn’t think of beforehand) with the comeups table (elevation only), is that when the wind is blowing, it takes half of the variables out of the equation. I can concentrate on wind, and not have to worry about elevation. It makes things much more simple.” — Mike (Linefinder).

“I dial for elevation and hold for wind. Also use a mil-dot reticle to make the windage holds easier. For windage corrections, I watch for the bullet strike measure the distance it was “off” with the mil-dot reticle, then hold that much more the other way. Very fast once you get used to it.” — PepeLP

Varmint Hunting ScopeMinority View–Hold-Over is Better
“I try to not touch my knobs once I’m zeroed at 200 meters. Most of my varmint scopes have duplex reticles and I use the bottom post to put me on at 300 meters versus turning knobs. The reason I try to leave my knobs alone is that I have gone one complete revolution up or down [too far] many times and have missed the varmint. This has happened more than once and that is why I try not to change my knobs if at all possible.” — Chino69

“I have been using the hold over method and it works for me most of the time but the 450 yards and over shots get kinda hard. I moved to a 300 yard zero this year and it’s working well. I do want to get into the click-up method though; it seems to be more fool-proof.” — 500YardHog

Compromise View–Use Both Methods
“I use both [methods] as well — hold over out to 250, and click up past that.” — Jack (Wolf)

“I use the target knobs and crank-in elevation. I also use a rangefinder and know how far away they are before I crank in the clicks. I have a scope with drop dots from Premier Recticle and like it. No cranking [knobs] out to 600.” –Vmthtr

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Optics, Shooting Skills No Comments »
January 31st, 2020

Great American Outdoor Show February 1-9 in Harrisburg, PA

great american outdoor shot harrisburg pa 2020 february wall of guns nra

The Great American Outdoor Show is a nine-day event in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that celebrates hunting, fishing, and outdoor traditions treasured by millions of Americans and their families. Show organizers state this is the “world’s largest outdoor show”.

great american outdoor shot harrisburg pa 2020 february wall of guns nra banquet

The event will feature nine halls of guns, archery equipment, fishing tackle, boats, RVs and more. At booths, there will be more than 400 Outfitters and Boat Captains from around the world. Numerous seminars and special events will be held starting February 1st. A number of Outdoor Celebrities will appear at the Harrisburg Show. In addition, there will be a Rockin’ NRA Country Music concert.

great american outdoor shot harrisburg pa 2020 february wall of guns nra banquet

The NRA Foundation’s Wall of Guns returns to the Great American Outdoor Show this year. At the Wall of Guns, the NRA Gun Raffle will be held. Every day of the Show a winner is drawn for every 100 tickets sold. Winners may choose their firearm prizes from more than 40 different makes and models. With a number of different ticket packages ranging from $10 to $1,000, participants can increase their odds by purchasing multiple tickets. All net proceeds from Wall of Guns Raffles will benefit The NRA Foundation.

great american outdoor shot harrisburg pa 2020 february wall of guns nra banquet

great american outdoor shot harrisburg pa 2020 february wall of guns nra banquetNRA Banquet on Thursday Evening
The Friends of NRA Banquet will be held Thursday, February 6 in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex’s Preferred Ballroom. The night of entertainment begins with doors opening at 6:00 pm. Attendees will have chances to win firearms, merchandise, and tailored hunts. This banquet raises money for national, state, and local programs that support America’s shooting heritage.

See a complete list of Show Activities at GreatAmericanOutdoorShow.org. If you attend the Outdoor Show, we recommend you download the handy Mobile App for your smartphone.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News No Comments »
January 26th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Six Field Rifles from SHOT Show 2020

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM
Volquartsen Summit rifle in Victor Company Titan aftermarket stock in Kryptec Camo.

There were thousands of rifles on display at SHOT Show 2020 in Las Vegas. We saw scores of ARs, and countless metal chassis rifles. But there were plenty of excellent field rifles with more conventional stocks. Here are our Editors’ “Pick Six” — a half-dozen stocked rifles which impressed us with their design, components, features, and “bang for the buck”. Many of these rigs feature aluminum actions and/or carbon-wrapped barrels for weight savings. We’re please to see rifle-makers employing modern materials to reduce weight for hunting rifles carried in the field.

Seekins Precision — Havak Element Super-Light

Seekins Precision Superlight

During Industry Day at the Range we met our friend Stan Pate, an ace F-Class shooter and avid hunter who was on assignment for Guns.com. Stan told us to check out the Seekins Precision Havak Element. This rifle features a high-grade 7075 aluminum action, spriral-fluted barrel, and carbon composite stock. With those components it weighs just 5.5 pounds without optics! The action also has a unique built-in bubble level (see below).

Seekins Precision Superlight

Stan Pate praised the Seekins Havak Element: “One thing I appreciate is quality. There’s something you can tell about a rifle as soon as you put it in your shoulder and cycle the bolt a few times and try the trigger. And then you shoot this rifle… it’s VERY accurate and just a solid hunting rifle. The tolerances [are] tighter than normal production rifles, which gives you a high-end rifle feel. And the accuracy follows through with that perception. The action is quite stout and ‘smooth as butter’.”

Christensen Arms — Ranger 22 Rimfire

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM

At SHOT Show 2020, Christensen Arms showcased an impressive new .22 LR rimfire rifle, the Ranger 22. With an aluminum action, high-quality carbon-composite stock, and 18″ carbon-wrapped barrel, the Ranger 22 is quite light and easy to carry. This would be a great field-carry rifle for small varmints. The Ranger 22 features a Trigger Tech match-grade trigger, and Picatinny scope rail. Weight is 5.1 pounds, and there are a varity of finish options. Christensen Arms offers a sub-MOA 50-yard accuracy guarantee. MSRP is $795.

Browning — X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Max Long Range

Browing Hell's Canyon long range camo hunting rifle 6.5 Creedmoor

One of the more interesting factory rifles at SHOT Show was Browning’s limited edition X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Max Long Range rifle. This Max LR Model features Cerakote Burnt Bronze finish on metal parts, and A-TACS TD-X Camo stock finish. The Heavy Sporter-contour 26″ barrel includes a removable muzzle brake. We like the stock design, which has a flat, straight toe for riding in a rear bag and nice ergonomics with an adjustable comb. Currently this is offered in 6.5 Creedmoor only. We hope other chamberings, such as 6XC or 6mm Creedmoor, will be offered in the future, as we think this could be an excellent long-range varmint platform, with a handy detachable magazine.

Volquartsen Summit Straight-Pull Rifle in .17 WSM

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM

Since it was first introduced as a .22 LR, we liked the straight-pull, toggle-bolt Volquartsen Summit rifle. The Summit action is reliable and the rifles are well-built. In 2019 Volquartsen added the .17 Mach 2 (.17 HM2) to the Summit series. Now, for 2020 Volquartsen is addding the larger .17 WSM cartridge, which offers peak performance for a rimfire rifle. With the addition of the .17 WSM chambering, the Summit is now a bonafied option for small-critter varminting out to 200+ yard. This round has far less drop than a .22 LR and retains critter-busting energy even at 200 yards. The .17 WSM Summit boasts a 1:8.25″-twist 20″ barrel, with threaded muzzle. Conveniently, the Summit takes standard Ruger 6-round magazines. Choose either AS-1 Ambi Stock or Laminated Wood Sporter Stock (shown above). MSRP starts at $1,553.00. NOTE: Volquartsen’s .22 LR and 17 Mach 2 Summits currently list for $1225.00 in Magpul stocks, about $330 cheaper.

Savage 110 UltraLite with Carbon-Wrapped Barrel

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM

Fitted with a Proof Research carbon-wrapped stainless barrel, Savage’s new 110 UltraLite rifle weigh under 6 pounds (without optics). It’s impressive that Savage could deliver a sub-6-pound rifle with 22″ to 24″ barrels. Part of the secret is a skeletonized receiver and fluted bolt. A full selection of chamberings will be offered: .308 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .270 Win, .280 Ackley Improved, 28 Nosler, .300 WSM, and .30-06 Springfield. All 110 UltraLites come with grey AccuFit stocks with adjustable comb height and length of pull (LOP). Depending on the chambering, 110 UltraLite rifles weigh between 5.8 and 6 pounds. MSRP for the 110 UltraLite is $1499. We expect street price to be around $1300.00.

Howa Mini Action Full Dip Camo Rifles

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM

Howa’s Mini Action rifles offer a compact platform and faster cycling for cartridges such as the .223 Rem and 6.5 Grendel. At SHOT Show, Howa displayed Mini Action rifles with “Full Dip” camouflage in three patterns: Kryptek Highlander, Yote, and Kratos. The hydro-dip camo covers the rifle from butt to muzzle, including stock, action, barrel, scope, and even rings. Hunters will appreciate the “full coverage”. Howa Mini Action “Full Dip” camo rifles are currently available in .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, and 7.62×39 chamberings, all with 20″ heavy barrels. Nikko Sterling GamePro 3.5-10×44mm scopes are included on these Howa Mini Action camo rifles, which are guaranteed to shoot sub-MOA. If you’re looking for a light-weight hunting rig for varmints or coyotes, this is a good choice.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product, Tactical No Comments »
January 21st, 2020

Volquartsen Summit — Versatile Toggle-Action Rimfire Rifle

Volquartsen summit .22 LR rimfire 22LR straight pull biathlon toggle action 22Plinkster plinkster video

Ever shot a straight-pull (aka toggle-link) action rifle? We like these action types, which were developed for Biathlon competitors who needed to shoot fast, but were not allowed to use semi-auto actions. The biathlon-style toggle action features a lever on the side of the action. Pull the lever back with your index figure to open the bolt, then push forward with your finger to close the bolt*. It’s fast and efficient. With some practice, you can cycle the action in a couple of seconds — nearly as fast as a semi-auto.

Volquartsen summit .22 LR rimfire 22LR straight pull biathlon toggle action 22Plinkster plinkster video

The Volquartsen Summit .22 LR rifle is based on a concept originally developed by Primary Weapons Systems. Designed for both competition shooting as well as small game hunting, this unique rifle features a straight-pull, toggle-style action with a Ruger 10/22 profile. That means you can run 10/22 magazines, swap into stocks inletted for the 10/22, and even use after-market 10/22 barrels. The CNC-machined receiver features an integral 20 MOA Picatinny Rail. The Magpul stock adjusts for length of pull. Weight is 5.8 pounds, so this is easy to carry in the field.

The Summit features a lightweight carbon fiber-wrapped barrel, threaded 1/2×28 at the muzzle to be suppressor-ready. One of our favorite features on this little rifle is the trigger — which has a light, crisp 1.75-lb pull weight. Watch the video above to see the Summit .22 LR in action. The tester, 22 Plinkster, was impressed with the rifle’s ease of use and accuracy. The Summit delivered a 0.277″ group at 50 yards, shot from the bench.

Volquartsen summit .22 LR rimfire 22LR straight pull biathlon toggle action 22Plinkster plinkster video

Tech Analysis of PWS-designed Action as used in Summit

See the Summit at SHOT Show in Las Vegas
Volquartsen will have the new Summit straight-pull rifle on display, along with a wide variety of rimfire firearms, at its booth at SHOT Show in Las Vegas this week. You’ll find Volquartsen at booth #11129. This year, Volquartsen will unveil a new 17 WSM version of the straight-pull Summit rifle.

Volquartsen summit .22 LR rimfire 22LR straight pull biathlon toggle action 22Plinkster plinkster video


* Biathlon shooters cycle their Fortner toggle actions even faster, using their THUMB to close the bolt. This allows them to get the index finger on to the trigger blade faster. The whole process takes maybe a second — as fast as you can say “snick-snick”. To use the thumb effectively, you need a stock with a more vertical pistol grip. The Magpul stock on the Summit moves your thumb a bit too far back to use comfortably to close the lever without shifting the hand.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product, Tech Tip No Comments »
January 19th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Merkel RX Helix Straight-Pull Hunting Rifle

Merkel RX Helix straight-pull rifle

This Sunday we feature the German-crafted Merkel RX Helix with straight-pull bolt. We shot the Helix a few years back during Media Day at the Range. One notable difference between the German Merkel and the Austrian Strasser, another straight-pull rifle, is the bolt travel. During cycling, the Merkel bolt stays completely inside the action (see video below at 00:30). By contrast the Strasser bolt moves pretty far back, outside the action. For some folks that makes the Helix better for fast follow-up shots. All we can say is that Merkles and Strassers BOTH cycle way faster than conventional bolt-action rifles.

Merkel RX Helix Range Report

One of the most innovative rifles we have ever shot was the Merkel RX Helix, a very impressive piece of rifle engineering. Merkel claims the RX Helix is the fastest-cycling centerfire bolt action in the world. We can’t confirm that claim, but the Helix certainly cycles faster than any other centerfire bolt-gun this Editor has ever tried. (Yes, a Fortner biathlon action can be worked more rapidly, but that’s a rimfire). Both Jason and I really liked Merkel’s RX Helix. It balances well, the action is smooth, the wood is gorgeous, and the overall design thinking that went into this German-engineered take-down rifle is very impressive. The Helix’s universal-sized action lets you shoot anything from a .222 Rem to a .300 Win Mag with the same gun. And — get this — you can really swap barrels (and change bolt heads) in a couple of minutes with no tools, employing a dead-simple bolt-release lever concealed under the push-button-released removable forearm. (Watch VIDEO BELOW to see Barrel Swap procedure).

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifle

Merkel RX Helix rifleRotary 7-Lug Bolt
While the RX Helix is a straight-pull rifle, it retains the strength and safety of a rotary bolt head with seven locking lugs that seat in a barrel extension. Unlike a Blaser, the RX Helix has a fully-enclosed action housing. That’s an important safety feature. Moreover, since the RX Helix employs a closed action, the bolt body doesn’t travel outside that action. This means the shooter can maintain his cheekweld with an eye on the target as he cycles the bolt.

The RX Helix’s linear (back and forth) bolt-handle motion is transmitted to the bolt head through a 1:2 ratio “transmission” gearing system. This allows smooth and fast cycling without the rotational or tipping movement found on other straight-pull, bolt-action rifles, such as the Blaser.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The Merkel linear-movement action cycles exceptionally fast, which allows for faster follow-up shots — a good thing if you’re hunting dangerous game. The RX Helix features a manual cocking lever on the tang and a direct trigger system. And here’s good news for southpaws — though Merkel does not make a dedicated left-hand version, lefties can very easily use their right hand to work the bolt while maintaining cheekweld. That may sound awkward, but with practice, it’s actually pretty efficient.

Fast, Easy Disassembly and Barrel Exchanges
The video below shows how the Helix can be disassembled (for cleaning or transport) in a matter of seconds WITHOUT TOOLS. The forearm slips off with the push of a button. A short lever on the left side of the action holds the barrel. Simply rotate the lever and the barrel (with bolt head) slips off. That’s it — in 30 seconds the rifle is apart, and you don’t even need an allen wrench as with a Blaser.

The RX Helix has a universal action length that covers calibers from .222 Rem to .300 Win Mag. Changing calibers (or chamberings) takes less than a minute with the appropriate barrel, bolt-head and magazine. Weaver rails are integrated into the action, and iron sights with three-dot rear and one-dot front fiber-optic inserts are standard.

Merkel RX Helix rifle

The RX Helix is available with a standard black finish as well as four levels of design — Arabesque, Wild Boar, Spirit, and Deluxe. An all-carbon-fiber version was also available either with or without a carbon-wrapped barrel. The RX Helix comes in a wide range of calibers including .222 Rem, .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5×55 SE, .270 Win, 7×64, .308 Win, .30-06 Sprg., 8×57 IS, 9.3×62, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag. Barrel lengths vary according to caliber, and barrels, bolt-heads and magazines are available for caliber changes. EuroOptic sells the Merkel RX Helix, but most models are back-ordered.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
January 14th, 2020

Great Video Series for Hunters and Long Range Shooters

Thomas Haugland long range shooting hunting hunter norway

There an excellent YouTube channel, THLR.NO, that offers videos for long-range hunters and marksmen. The channel’s creator, Thomas Haugland, is a serious, knowledgeable shooter, who takes his rifles out into the field, in all conditions. The THLR.NO channel offers solid advice on scopes, reticles, wind-reading, field positions, and much more. Haugland’s team puts a wide variety of gear through serious field tests — every thing from suppressors to packs to the latest electro-optical hardware. In addition the THLR.NO channel provides good advice on stalking techniques and hunting skills. Here are some recent videos that can help any rifleman.

How to Shoot Better with a Hunting Rifle

This “must-watch” video has great practical advice for hunters. It illustrates proper hand-hold and head position, and shows how to stay steady when breaking the shot. Even competition shooters can learn a few things. One viewer notes: “This was very informative. The footage through the scope showing how one’s position moves the sight alignment was particularly helpful.”

How to Gauge Wind Speed and Hold Off Using Reticles

This field video shows how to observe natural indicators — trees and vegetation — to estimate wind velocity. Then it shows how to calculate hold-offs using the reticle hash-marks. Thomas shoots a fast-cycling Blaser R93 rifle with Norma 6XC ammunition.

Thomas Haugland long range shooting hunting hunter norway

Thomas Haugland long range shooting hunting hunter norway

If you like these three videos, there are hundreds more on the THLR.NO YouTube channel. In addition, there is an excellent long-format video, Longrange Shooting 2, available on DVD or Vimeo on Demand. This impressive outdoors video features Thomas Haugland and Ulf Lindroth. Here is a preview:

Watch Longrange Shooting 2 on Vimeo:

Longrange Shooting 2 from Lindroth & Norin on Vimeo.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
January 14th, 2020

Forum Member Carves Superb Maple Hunting Stock

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett Minnesota
Believe it or not, this is the first stock Brett M. carved by hand. We’d say he did a darn good job!

AccurateShooter Forum member Brett M. from Minnesota (aka Spitfire_er) recently completed a handsome laminated maple gunstock. This beauty wasn’t produced with a stock duplicator. It was made the old-fashioned way — by hand. After laminating three sections, Brett carved the complete stock with hand tools. You can see the entire carving process, start to finish, in Brett’s time lapse video.

MUST-SEE time-lapse carving video. Every second is one minute in real time. This 15:54 video shows 15.9 hours of carving! Brett says the whole job took nearly 20 hours:

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett Minnesota

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett Minnesota

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett MinnesotaHandsome Maple Blank Was Lumber Yard Return!
Brett reports: “Here’s a stock I carved up over the past year or so. I found this wood as a return at a lumber yard about 7-8 years ago. I asked the guy in the yard about it and he said it had been returned because it had too much figure for the job the customer was working on. First thing I thought was “That would make a nice stock!” I finally got around to finishing it a couple months ago.

I fit it around a 1917 Enfield in .338 WM that I purchased a while back. I usually do all the work on the receiver and barrel, but this one was done up in an OK fashion already.

This stock was almost completely made using hand tools over the course of about a year. This is a piece of laminated 1x8x1″ maple that was glued together. After it sat for about eight years, I finally got around to carving it up. This stock design/shape was from my own ideas and was carved as I went along. It turned out pretty good.”

Maple laminate figured wood carved carving .338 Win Mag rifle stock Brett Minnesota

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
January 9th, 2020

New Wind-Mapping Technology in Trijicon Ventus Rangefinder

Ventus X collimated laser rangefinder wind reading Ballistics app LIDAR Doppler

To be honest, when we read the description of Trijicon’s new Ventus device, we thought it sounded like science fiction. This quad-collimated laser rangefinder/wind-reading gizmo seems like something Captain Kirk would use on Star Trek. According to Trijicon, the Ventus is “the world’s first advanced wind-mapping and range-detecting handheld device.” That’s right folks, this is a rangefinder that also “measures three-dimensional wind velocities at multiple distances out to 500 yards”. Combined with a claimed 5000-yard ranging ability (on reflective objects), Trijicon says its new Ventus gives “shooters and hunters previously unattainable data about their environment for long-range accuracy.”

The Ventus unit is designed with a Doppler LIDAR engine that can measure headwind, tailwind, crosswind and vertical wind components at six different distances, in any weather condition. The higher-end Ventus X Model also includes an onboard ballistics solver which communicates, via Bluetooth, with the Trijicon Ballistics App. This allows Ventus-X users to store shooter and target geographic locations, calculate ballistic solutions, and display wind maps.

Ventus X collimated laser rangefinder wind reading Ballistics app LIDAR Doppler
The Ventus utilizes an advanced Doppler LIDAR engine and four collimated lasers sent out in a cone to measure wavelength interaction with dust particles at up to six different distances.

Four Collimated Lasers Read the Wind via Doppler LIDAR
How does the wind-reading work? Trijicon states: “Thanks to a fiber optic collimated laser capable of returns through dust, fog, sleet, and snow, the Ventus offers extreme, all-weather performance. Four collimated lasers [are] sent out in a cone to measure wavelength interaction with dust particles at up to six different distances. This technology allows the Ventus to calculate for head, tail, cross and vertical wind, giving shooters an incredibly accurate wind reading.”

Ventus X collimated laser rangefinder wind reading Ballistics app LIDAR Doppler

Ventus X Model Includes Advanced Ballistics Solver
The Ventus comes in two models: Ventus and Ventus X. The basic Ventus handles ranging duties. The upgraded Ventus X adds a state-of-the-art, onboard ballistics solver. An onboard sensor suite captures all necessary data — range, wind, atmospheric temperature, stratospheric pressure, and incline angle — to provide a very advanced ballistic solution.

Ventus X collimated laser rangefinder wind reading Ballistics app LIDAR Doppler

The Ventus X also communicates via Bluetooth to the advanced Trijicon Ballistic application, soon to be available for both iOS and Android. The Ballistic App stores shooter and target geographic locations, provides a ballistic solution, and displays a wind map overlay of readings.

DISCUSS HERE in our Shooters’ Forum Ventus Thread »

Price and Availability
Trijicon says both Ventus and Ventus X units should be available in the “Second Half of 2020″. MSRP unknown at this time.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, New Product, News, Optics 6 Comments »
January 7th, 2020

Ammo Reference Book Covers 200+ Cartridge Types

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Do you use factory ammo in your hunting rifles? Perhaps you buy bulk centerfire ammo for your AR15 or varmint rifle. Then this book is for you.

If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 6. This resource book lists over 2,600 different loads for 200+ cartridge types from 17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express, including the most popular centerfire and rimfire cartridges (both rifle and handgun). In this updated-for-2017 Sixth Edition, there are over 3,000 tables covering virtually every caliber and every load for all commercially-loaded hunting ammunition sold in the USA. Tables include velocity, energy, wind drift, bullet drop, and ballistic coefficients up to 1,000 yards.

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Ammo & Ballistics 6 helps you select ammo for a hunt — quickly compare the velocity and knock-down power of various commercial ammo. This book can help you choose a caliber/chambering for your next hunting rig.

Verified Book Purchaser Reviews
“Outstanding reference guide for shooters and ballistic enthusiasts alike. Has data on velocity, energy delivered, Taylor KO index, windage and elevation on numerous loadings for hundreds of [cartridge types]. Each cartridge has all dimensions labeled (i.e rim, case length, neck, etc.), and has an informative description of the cartridges history/relevance.” — S. Step, 2017

“Great heaps of data! This volume has pages and pages of new data for .22LR like the hot Velocitor, and also on the .22 WMR from 30 grains up into the 50s. Most importantly there is lots of range data, drop, windage, kinetic energy, etc. — Terrific reference guide….” — E. Svanoe

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
December 30th, 2019

Bargain Finder 223: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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. Midsouth — End of Year Clearance — Prices Drop Daily

Midsouth Shooters supply sale discount end of year clearance code

Visit Midsouth Shooters right now for big year-end savings. You’ll find great deals on Leupold, Nikon, and Vortex optics, Hornady and RCBS tools, and major-brand bullets and brass (Berger, Hornady, Lapua, Norma, Sierra). Shown above are notable deals — but there are over 1000 products on close-out. We suggest you take your time. Use the Search and Sort functions to find deals by brand (e.g. “Berger”, “Lapua”, or “Leupold”). There are some GREAT deals to be had here! NOTE: The prices go down each day until the sale ends, but inventories are limited. If you wait too long, you may miss out.

2. EuroOptic — Vortex Year-End Scope Clearance

vortex scope sale

Vortex Optics riflescopes and spotting scopes offer excellent value with a truly outstanding warranty. Right now hunters and long-range shooters can save big with EuroOptic’s Year-End Clearance Sale. You’ll find Vortex Viper and Razor scopes are now deeply discounted at EuroOptic.com. You’ll find a wide range of models, zoom levels, and reticles available.

3. Brownells — End-of-Year Year Promo Codes — Big Savings

brownells promo code sale

If you’re like us you might’ve gotten most of what we wanted for Christmas but you still have gift money to spend on toys. Head over to Brownells.com and use the Discount Codes listed above to save money and in some cases get FREE shipping to boot. For example, with CODE M8Y you get $20 off a $200+ order and shipping is free. Be sure to meet the minimums listed for each code to get the maximum savings possible.

4. Precision Reloading — All Berger Products 10% Off

precision reloading berger sale

With the new year coming, it’s a good time to stock up on bullets. Precision Reloading is now offering 10% OFF ALL Berger products. This sale covers both competition and hunting bullets as well as Berger loaded ammo. Berger bullets are proven winners for all forms of centerfire rifle competition and Berger hunting projectiles are also excellent. Visit Precision Reloading to get 10% Off All Berger bullets and loaded ammo. This sale may close very soon.

5. Amazon — Kowa TSN-501 Spotting Scope, $349.00

kowa spotting scope sale

Without question, Kowa’s top-of-the-line Prominar series spotting scopes are some of the best spotters money can buy. Kowa also offers much more affordable spotters that deliver excellent optical “bang for the buck” in compact formats. Check out this Kowa TSN-501 50mm Angled Spotting Scope with Eyepiece. This unit features an ultra-compact design and impressive clarity for under $350.00 including 20-40X Zoom Eyepiece. The TSN-501’s small size and light weight make this unit very handy for hunters or for a prone shooter on the firing line who needs to watch mirage.

6. Bullet Central — Bix’N Andy TacSport Pro

bullet central sale

Bix’N Andy triggers are favored by many top F-Class, benchrest, and long-range competitors for good reason. These trigger have a superb break and excellent adjustability. The TacSport PRO is one of the best triggers you can buy. Up until now it’s been tough to find but Bullet Central now has a supply of TacSport Pro Single-Stage and Two-Stage Triggers in stock. These typically sell out quickly, so grab now while they’re in stock.

7. Grafs — Big Holiday Sale Through 12/31/2019

grafs sale

Like many other vendors, Grafs.com had a big Black Friday Sale. But Graf’s has extended its discounts all the way through the end of the year — 11:59 pm on Wednesday, December 31st. Head over to Graf’s Extended Holiday Sale Page. Save on ammo, reloading tools, optics, and more. We noted the great prices on Lyman products and Nikon Scopes (Nikon close-out sale). You can also get FREE Hazmat with powder/primers purchase of $150.00 or more.

8. Grizzly — Bald Eagle Range and Rifle Case Clearance

bald eagle sale

Bald Eagle range bags and rifle cases offer high quality at very reasonable prices. Sadly, Grizzly is closing these items out so here’s your last chance to grab a Bald Eagle bag or case before they’re all gone. We use the range bags to transport our spotting scopes and they work great for that task — these come in 15″ and 20″ sizes in various colors. The excellent Bald Eagle Rifle cases also come in multiple sizes and colors — but some styles/colors are disappearing quickly, so don’t delay.

9. Palmetto State Armory — Taurus G2c 9mm Pistol, $179.99

Carry pistol $185 bargain Taurus G2C ccw handgun review discount sales

This is a good little compact carry gun at a great price. Palmetto State Armory has the black-on-black Taurus 9mm G2c for just $179.99. But it gets even better — with Taurus Factory Rebate your net cost is just $154.99! That’s one of the lowest prices we’ve ever seen for a big name, reliable 9mm handgun. NOTE: Taurus Rebate Offer expires at 11:59 pm 12/31/19.

10. Midsouth — Pachmayr Shock Shield Gel Recoil Pad, $12.54

pachmayr pad buttpad recoil gel filled

The new Pachmayr Shock Shield gel-filled slip-On Recoil Pad is a simple, handy solution for reducing the felt recoil of your rifles. The one-size design stretches to fit the vast majority of conventional rifle and shotgun buttstocks. WATCH VIDEO to see how the Shock Shield goes on in seconds.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting, Optics No Comments »
December 30th, 2019

Great Rifle for Small Varmints — Savage A17 in 17 HMR

Varmint hunting Savage hunter A17 17 HMR California Varminter

There’s a nice article in the Western Powders Blog that any varminter will enjoy. In this hare-raising tale, gunwriter Jim Waddell explains how he used a self-loading Savage A17 rifle to take care of a serious jack-rabbit problem on a rancho in California. “[My friends] purchased a huge amount of acreage that had some existing alfalfa fields and [surrounding sagebrush]. Sagebrush is home to jack rabbits. Lots of jack rabbits. The previous owner of this property didn’t do any varmint or predator control[.] The ink wasn’t dry on the escrow papers before [my friends] started asking for help shooting rabbits. A problem in taking these critters is it has to be done at night when they come out to feed as they lay low in the bush during the daylight hours.”

Varmint hunting Savage hunter A17 17 HMR California Varminter

Savage A17 Comes to the Rescue
Initially Waddell and some friends took on the jack-rabbit hordes using Ruger 10/22s and a .44 Magnum Marlin lever gun. Neither option was ideal. The .44 Magnum just couldn’t keep up the desired shooting pace (it took too long to reload) ant the .22 LRs were too anemic. So Waddell decided to give the more potent 17 HMR a try. He acquired a Savage A17 and went back for a second bunny-busting session. He came away convinced that the 17 HMR cartridge in the modern semi-auto Savage works great for small varmint control.

Varmint hunting Savage hunter A17 17 HMR California Varminter

Waddell writes: “I wanted more than a .22 after seeing the problems my pals had with their [10/22] bullets not anchoring the rabbits. Armed with my new Savage A17 it was time to head back to the alfalfa fields. This time my hunting partner was Dan, my son-in-law from Seattle. We hunted for four nights. Each night was either raining, windy or both. My question about whether or not rabbits would be out in the weather was answered immediately. They were everywhere. As miserable as the weather was, we got all the shooting we wanted and that Savage rifle was up to the task. We got so many rabbits it was impossible to count.” CLICK HERE for the full account of Waddell’s jack-rabbit adventures on the California rancho. It’s worth a read. Here is a sample:

Wabbits, Wabbits Everywhere — Even Running Right at You
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw a sea of rabbits as far as the lights would shine and when the light beams hit the bunnies, they became confused and as often as not, would run right at the lights so a good percentage of our shots were literally in spitting distance. It was also a new experience shooting at targets that are running TOWARD you. Most of us who’ve done much hunting for game or varmints have experienced moving targets but how many of those targets are coming at you?

Read Full Story on Western Powders Blog »

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
December 29th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Jack O’Connor .270 Winchester Tribute Rifle

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win
“If the hunter does his part, the .270 will not let him down” — Jack O’Connor.

Classic hunting rifles never go out of style. We thought our readers would enjoy this very special high-grade Jack O’Connor Tribute rifle in .270 Winchester. This unique Model 70 was a SHOT Show featured rifle back in 2013. It was auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting hunting and shooting sports. Jack O’Connor, a legendary outdoorsman and hunting writer, would have been proud. In his 1964 classic work The Rifle Book, O’Connor wrote: “I like a handgun. I hold a shotgun in high regard; but rifles — well, I love the darn things…”

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win

Winchester Repeating Arms declared that this 2013 SHOT Show Winchester Model 70 would be the last-ever Jack O’Connor Tribute rifle. The stock for this rifle is AAA grade Claro Walnut with Ebony forearm tip and shadowline cheekpiece. The rifle’s metalwork has been hand-engraved by the artisans at Baron Engraving. The rifle features a featherweight contour, free-floating barrel with target crown. Interestingly, the Leupold 4X Mountaineer riflescope mounted on this rifle is an original 1950s-era Mountaineer from the vaults of Leupold & Stevens.

Click each image to see larger version with detail.

“A good sporting stock should enable the shooter to get a shot off quickly and accurately, and it should also be a thing of beauty. Many fine sporting stocks are handsome but of little aid in accurate shooting. Many others that hold and shoot well are homely and clumsy.

The very best sporter stock design results in a stock with handsome, graceful lines and one which also enables the man behind it to do his best work.” — Jack O’Connor, The Big Game Rifle (1952).

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win

About Jack 0’Connor “Dean of Outdoor Writers”
Jack O’Connor, sheep hunting, and the Model 70 Winchester in .270 are linked in our collective subconscious. In 1939, O’Connor was appointed new guns editor for Outdoor Life, and in 1941, he took over the Arms and Ammunition column. In those days, Coues deer and desert sheep were his passions, and a lot of rifles came and went through his hands. By the end of 1946, O’Connor had hunted enough North American sheep to complete three grand slams.

By 1954, he thought he had his ultimate rifle, a custom Model 70 in .270 Winchester that he had taken to Wyoming for elk, to India for blackbuck, and to Iran for red sheep and ibex. He liked the rifle so much, he called it his No. 1 and set out to build a second to give his favorite a break from testing new bullets and developing loads.

From Outdoor Life magazine Feature Story: Jack O’Connor’s Perfect Model 70.

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win

Jack O'Connor hunting classicsSporting Classics offers a collection of great Jack O’Connor stories from the pages of Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, Petersen’s Hunting and other popular magazines of his day. This 440-page book, entitled Classic O’Connor: 45 Worldwide Hunting Stories, is a sequel of sorts to Sporting Classics’ popular compendium, The Lost Classics of Jack O’Connor.

In this collection, Jack O’Connor recounts his worldwide hunting adventures, during which he pursued everything from ducks to grizzlies, pheasants to kudu. Classic O’Connor presents several of the author’s greatest gun stories and a large selection of never-before-published photographs of the celebrated sportsman and his family on hunting adventures around the world. The book is illustrated with 40+ drawings by acclaimed artist Ron Van Gilder. This excellent O’Connor collection is available on Amazon in hardcover or paperback, starting at $38.99 (used) or $59.98 (new).

The Hunting Rifle by Jack O’Connor
Another O’Connor title worth reading is The Hunting Rifle, still considered one of the definitive works on selecting a hunting rifle and cartridge. One owner of The Hunting Rifle explains:

“It would benefit every hunter to take the time and read this book. It offers a corrective to the spirit of things that have gripped the hunting scene lately. Today, if one reads a hunting magazine, [one is] offered the view that you need the fastest and loudest cartridges, rifles with special finishes and the most expensive of anything. Ole Jack reminds us that many have killed game with ‘lesser’ guns for a very long time, and that these new gimmicks will not make you a more lethal hunter.”

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December 21st, 2019

Vortex Fury HD 5000 Rangefinder Binoculars Field Test

Vortex optics Fury HD 5000 LRF Rangefinder Binocs Binoculars Field Test Review

Vortex Fury HD 5000 LRF Binoculars Review

Field Test by Colton Reid, AccurateShooter Hunting Editor
As a solo backcountry hunter, I try to carry as little weight as possible. Each step is a reminder to bring only the most essential/effective equipment. Each item in my pack must earn its precious backpack real estate. That’s why I favor gear that serves multiple purposes — and binoculars are no exception. In a previous optics review, I field-tested Zeiss Victory RF 10×42 ranging binoculars and the results were beyond expectation — they are outstanding. However, such superior, upper-eschelon ranging optics from Zeiss cost over $3000.00. And Leica Geovid HD-B 3000 ranging binoculars cost around $2500.00.

For those looking for a more affordable option, there are several mid-range binoculars with integrated ranging capability. One popular choice is the Vortex Fury HD 5000 10×42 LRF Binoculars. Priced at around $1200 on Amazon, the Fury HD 5000 is half the price of some European LRF Binoculars. Yet the Fury HD 5000 LRF Binos still combine two optical systems (magnification and laser ranging) into one that is more valuable than the sum of the parts.

Vortex optics Fury HD 5000 LRF Rangefinder Binocs Binoculars Field Test Review

Vortex Fury HD 5000 Look and Feel
The Fury binoculars are compact and relatively light — a modest 2 pounds. They are covered by a rubber armor exterior that feels sturdy enough to survive some hard falls, but is also comfortable to hold. The compact size did offer a challenge in determining how best to place my thumbs (see top photo). The rangefinder controls (Measure, Menu) are easy to access and are distinguishable by the braille-like bumps that cover them. Considering that these buttons are going to be located and pressed without looking at the top of the binoculars each time, it was perhaps a poor design choice to place the raised Vortex logo adjacent to the controls. But after a little practice I was able to quickly locate the measure button when ranging in the field.

The eye cups are comfortable and offer four discrete eye relief positions. The focus and diopter knobs are large and easy to turn but also provide resistance to rotation. Resistance is useful for maintaining the previous positional setting.

Vortex optics Fury HD 5000 LRF Rangefinder Binocs Binoculars Field Test Review

Vortex Fury 5000 — Rangefinding Performance
The Vortex Fury’s rangefinder function, along with its menu, is simple and intuitive. In my humble opinion, simple is better. The display is a red LED projection in the right optic. As noted in another review, the red display can be difficult to distinguish against a tan/brown image, so I used max brightness at all times to ensure display visibility. The display menu covers the core items: distance (line of sight or angle compensated), measurement units (yards/meters), brightness, and the ability to display either the strongest “Best” signal or the “Last Result” to help range objects behind trees or brush. The rangefinder also enables scan mode (continuous ranging) that updates displayed distance every three-quarters of a second as you sweep over the terrain.

In the field, rangefinder performance was good. I could consistently range objects at distances out to around 1500 yards. Beyond that, the rangefinder struggled with hills, trees, and brush. Ranging Longer distances required a rock or something more reflective. I will likely never shoot targets at or beyond 1500 yards, but the ability to range objects at those distances is extremely useful when scouting in the field. I routinely use my rangefinder to measure the distance to my next vantage point or staging area for a stalk, which can be over a mile away.

Optics — How Good is the Glass?
I should first note that it is difficult to quantitatively compare optical systems without objective data from sophisticated scientific measurement systems used in optics labs. Consequently, I must rely on a qualitative comparison with a known reference. In this case I compared the Fury HD against my tried and true Swarovski Habicht porro-prism binoculars.

With that disclaimer, I would rate the Vortex Fury optics as good to very good. In ample daylight, the Fury and Habicht binoculars were comparable. The main difference being that the Fury required a more precise adjustment of the focus knob in order to capture a crisp image. In low light, the Habichts had the advantage. The Fury images appeared slightly darker than the Habichts and the image sharpness in the Fury seemed to degrade more quickly with the fading light.

That may be partially linked to lower light transmission but also to the more sensitive focus knob of the Fury. With that sensitivity it could be difficult to tell which knob position yielded the best image. That being said, I was still able to spot deer with the Furys in low light (see image). What is more, I didn’t have to switch between my binoculars and a rangefinder to determine distance or suffer the reorientation of a different magnification and field of view. That is a huge benefit!

The Verdict
Overall, I was happy with the Vortex Fury’s performance. Both the optics and rangefinder were what I would consider mid-range in terms of performance. But for a street price of about $1200.00, that is a good value. Yes you can do better, but you’ll have to pay more than twice as much. Considering my recommendation is always to buy the best optics you can afford, the Vortex Fury HD 5000 would be a good choice for serious hunters on a budget. These are solidly made. Vortex states the aluminum alloy body is nitrogen-purged, and O-ring sealed to provide a waterproof, fogproof and shockproof product.

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December 20th, 2019

New Lightweight Cross Bolt-Action Rifle from SIG Sauer

Sig Sauer cross hunting PRS precision rifle 3-lug

SIG Sauer has released the new Cross Rifle, a “crossover” rifle for hunting, competition, and long-range shooting. The Cross bolt-action rifle, built for precision, will be offered in .308 Winchester and 6.5mm Creedmoor with .277 SIG Fury Hybrid to follow. The design features a one-piece receiver with free-floating modular handguard and side-folding adjustable stock. Choose Black or First Lite Camo finish.

The Cross has some interesting design features:
— Two-stage Match Trigger adjusts from 2.5-4 lbs.
— Interchangeable flattop system that fits 0-MOA or +20-MOA rails.
— 3-Lug Bolt with 60° throw and interchangeable bolt handle. AI Mags.
— Light-weight 16″ barrel .308 Win version weighs just 6.2 pounds.

SIG designed the Cross series rifles for both hunters and PRS/NRL shooters: “Hunting rifles are typically focused on less weight, and accuracy is secondary. Precision rifles are designed for extreme accuracy, with no weight limitations. What was missing from the market was a true crossover. Our engineers took the best of both worlds and developed the CROSS featuring the characteristics of a hunting rifle, with the accuracy of a precision rifle”, said SIG Executive VP Tom Taylor.

Sig Sauer cross hunting PRS precision rifle 3-lug

Our hunting Editor Colton Reid, has been looking for a modular light-weight hunting rig with a folding stock for easy carry. SIG’s new Cross rifle could fit the bill. In .308 Win with 16″ barrel, the rifle weighs just 6.2 pounds (without optics), and is just 25″ overall with stock folded. That’s short enough to fit easily in a small day-pack. We’ll see if we can get one of these new Cross rifles for testing.

Sig Sauer cross hunting PRS precision rifle 3-lug
Sig Sauer cross hunting PRS precision rifle 3-lug

MSRP is $1779 and Gun Is Made in USA
The SIG Cross rifle retails for $1779.00, so it qualifies for PRS Factory Class. (We expect “street price” to be about $1550). SIG’s Tom Taylor noted that this is truly an “All-American” rifle: “Everything about the Cross from concept to completion… comes directly from our U.S. operations here in New Hampshire.” The Cross rifle was designed and built entirely at SIG Sauer’s New Hampshire facilities.

CROSS Rifle Specs (6.5 Creedmoor):

Overall Length: 35.5″
Folded Length: 27.0″
Barrel Length: 18″
Barrel Twist: 1:8″
Weight (w/o magazine): 6.4 lbs.

CROSS Rifle Specs (.308 WIN / .277 FURY):

Overall Length: 36.5″
Folded Length: 25.0″
Barrel Length: 16″
Barrel Twist: 1:10″ / 1:8.5″
Weight (w/o magazine): 6.2 lbs.

Factory Product Description
The CROSS Precision Bolt-Action Hunting Rifle is a lightweight precision rifle with a push button, foldable SIG precision stock, a one-piece aluminum receiver that eliminates the need for bedding the action, and AI magazines for creating the most accurate precision hunting platform.

The CROSS features a stainless-steel barrel with a free-float M-LOK handguard, a 2-stage match-grade trigger externally adjustable from 2.5 – 4 lbs., ambi-safety, a three-lug bolt design with a 60-degree throw and interchangeable bolt handle. The precision stock is spring-loaded for one-handed operation and can be fully adjusted in the field for length of pull and comb height with no tools. The rifle has a full-length replaceable Picatinny rail that allows for direct optics mounts, 20 MOA, and O MOA. The CROSS is available in 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 WIN, and the soon-to-be-released .277 SIG Fury Hybrid.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 4 Comments »
December 17th, 2019

Hunting — Programs to Strengthen America’s Ranks of Hunters

NRA join hunt hunter hunting education hunting license wildlife training

This report based on story in American Hunter magazine, by J. Scott Olmsted, Editor in Chief

The 2016 report of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, a survey conducted every five years by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, showed that today only about 11.5 million Americans aged 16 or older hunt. That’s only 4.9 percent of adults among a population of 320 million.

Declining Numbers of Hunters — What We Can Do
Too many Americans have left the field; they no longer hunt. Too many current American hunters continue to consider leaving the field. In fact the number of American hunters today is about half what it was 50 years ago, and the decline is expected to continue to accelerate.

Demographers don’t see any uptick on the horizon. Nearly a third of American hunters are baby boomers. The youngest boomers are 54, and trends suggest most hunters stop buying licenses by about 65. So what happens in 11 years when the last of the baby boomers stops hunting?

NRA join hunt hunter hunting education hunting license wildlife training

Indeed wildlife and wildlands are heavily dependent on hunters and fishers to survive and thrive. State agencies, which manage most of the wildlife in America, derive about 59 percent of their collective funding from hunting- and fishing-related activities. A primary source of that funding — hunters — is shrinking. Note that funding doesn’t come from birdwatching or hiking or kayaking, to name a few non-consumptive activities that contribute no funds.

where to hunt map NSSF

Hunter Education Programs from the NRA
The NRA was the first organization to develop a hunter-education course, in 1949 in New York. It became the model. Today, in the digital age, the NRA provides NRA Hunter Education Online.

NRAHE.org offers FREE comprehensive hunter safety information online. The 15-chapter sequence features videos, photos and graphics, audio recordings, interactive modules that prospective hunters may access whenever and wherever they are able to complete it. It provides the best method for teaching future hunters lessons they will remember the rest of their lives.

Let’s not forget our youngest hunters. Since 1985, the NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) has introduced more than 1.2 million young people to safe, ethical hunting. YHEC competitions test participants’ hunting, stalking, and marksmanship skills. To learn more about YHEC, visit Yhec.nra.org.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge

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December 5th, 2019

New Product Showcase — New Guns, Scopes, Gear for 2020

GPO german laser rangefinder 1800

Shooting Industry Magazine reveals scores of new products in its December 2019 issue, which you can read for free online. The 2020 New Product Showcase is a focal point of Shooting Industry’s December issue — with 88 brands represented. View the entire line-up of New-for-2020 products HERE: New Product Showcase.

Here are 10 Cool New Products our Editors spotted in the Shooting Industry New Product Showcase:

CZ 457 Varmint Precision Chassis Model Rimfire

CZ 457 Varmint Precision Chassis Model

The CZ 457 Varmint Precision Chassis pairs CZ’s heavy-barreled 457 action with an aluminum chassis of the company’s own design. Equipped with an adjustable Luth-AR stock, AR-style grip, QD sling sockets, and M-LOK slots, proper fit and customization are made easy. Available in .22 LR with a 16.5″ or 24″ barrel, the CZ 457 Varmint Precision Chassis is threaded for use with rimfire suppressors.

Konus 1-10X Hunting Scope

Konus hunting scope 1-10X

The new 1 to 10-power scope from Konus boasts a class-leading 10X zoom system with a 1 MOA dot reticle. The 1-10x24mm riflescope features 30mm tube, fully multi-coated optics, dual color illumination, glass-etched reticle, removable zoom lever,adjustable locking turrets, and flip-up covers. The 1-10X Konus is waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof.

Christensen Arms Modern Precision Rifle

Christensen Arms steel barrel chassis rifle

Christensen Arms unveiled a Steel-Barreled Modern Precision Rifle. Heavier than Christensen’s signature carbon fiber offerings, the steel-barreled Modern Precision Rifle weighs 8.4 and 9.6 lbs depending on barrel contour/length. The folding chassis features a carbon fiber comb, free-floating carbon fiber handguard, flat match-grade trigger, AR-style grip and a 20 MOA rail.

Flip and Spin Target

flip and spin spinning target

Target Factory is introducing a new target design, the Flip-R-Spin Target. This indoor/outdoor range and retail consumer target is actually a “3 in 1” target, as it can be deployed in several configurations: on the ground, vertical spinning or horizontal spinning target. With its unique 3D 2.5″ diameter “Target Ball” concept, it always self-resets.

Springfield Armory Hellcat Optical Sight Pistol

springfield hellcast osp pistol 9mm

Springfield Armory’s Hellcat is a micro-compact 9mm carry pistol. New for 2020 is a Hellcat Optical Sight Pistol (OSP) configuration. The Hellcat OSP features a removable cover plate to allow direct mounting of a Red Dot optics to the slide. Capacity is 11+1 — best in class. The U-Dot sight system is made of high visibility tritium and a luminescent front sight paired with a tactical rack U-notch rear. A high-hand beavertail and undercut triggerguard situate the pistol low in the hand.

RangeTracker 1800 LRF with Hyperscan and OLED

GPO german laser rangefinder 1800

The new 6X RangeTracker 1800 from German Precision Optics (GPO) incorporates state-of-the-art optical and electronic technology in a compact laser rangefinder built for long-range rifle hunting (up to 1,800 yards). It offers angle correction, Hyperscan (three readings per second), and an outside temperature reading in Fahrenheit or Celsius. The OLED system allows up to 25% more light to get through the optical system, ideal low-light situations.

Powerful Texas Airgun

Texas airforce airgun carbon fiber

Texan air rifles from AirForce Airguns now feature a carbon fiber tank and valve system — capable of energy levels of 750 ft. lbs. with a 520gr projectile. The carbon fiber tank holds 3,625 psi or 250 BAR of air. The power increase allows users to hunt larger game by delivering a heavy projectile to the target with up to 750 ft/lbs of energy.

Firearms Guide 10th Ed. Online Database and Flash Drive

digital online Firearms guide 10th edition

The Firearms Guide 10th Edition is a comprehensive guns and ammo reference guide, available online or on a flash drive. Published since 2009, this Guide offers gun prices, gun schematics, blueprints, and manual. Guns are cross-referenced with the ammunition database. Guns and ammo are presented with prices, tech specifications, features, ballistic information and high-resolution color pictures.

MDT ACC Chassis for CZ 457 Rimfire Actions

Modular Drive Technologies (MDT) ACC chassis cz 457 rmifire

The Modular Drive Technologies (MDT) ACC chassis is now available for the CZ 457 rimfire action, making it a great option for rimfire cross-training or NRL22 competitino. The MDT ACC offers a customizable steel weight system allowing over nine pounds to be added to the buttstock and/or fore-end. The ACC Chassis comes with a SRS-X Elite buttstock with adjustable LOP. A full ARCA rail runs the entire length of the 17.75″ fore-end. This stock can accept variety of pistol grips.

Otis Long-Term Storage Kit

Otis Long-Term Storage Kit rust prevention

The new Otis Long Term Gun Storage Kit provides what you need to protect and store a firearm for an extended period of time corrosion-free. The kit includes Rust Stopper Rust Prevention Gun Storage Bags (pistol and rifle/shotgun), microfiber towels, chamber flags, an all purpose receiver brush, Shooter’s Choice MC-7 bore cleaner (2-oz. bottle), FP-10 Lubricant Elite (4-oz. bottle) and Rust Prevent (6-oz. aerosol).

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