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September 25th, 2022

Weatherby Backcountry 2.0 Carbon-Stock Rifle — Under 6 Lbs.

Weatherby ultralight carbon backcountry 2.0 rifle titanium action
Light is Right — Weatherby’s Backcountry 2.0 rifles weigh as little as 4.7 pounds (before optics).

It’s hunting season now. Here’s a rig that should please backcountry hunters looking for a light-weight but very accurate option. Weatherby’s Backcountry 2.0 carbon-stocked hunting rifles weigh well under 6 pounds before optics. There is even one titanium action model series that weighs just 4.7 pounds. The 2.0 series now offers both standard steel receivers or even lighter titanium receivers. And Backcountry 2.0 Carbon models are equipped with a new carbon fiber stock that is the lightest in the industry — weight a mere 20 ounces for standard actions. For further weight savings, some models feature a tensioned carbon fiber-wrapped barrel. But all that high-tech doesn’t come cheap — MSRP for the titanium action carbon barrel model is $3749.00!

Ultralight Carbon Stock — Weatherby’s new Blacktooth stock features a Carbon Link™ bedding system which engages the recoil lug and distributes recoil throughout the stock without the weight of a traditional aluminum bedding block. This makes the overall stock lighter and stiffer.

Weatherby ultralight carbon backcountry 2.0 rifle titanium actionREAD Weatherby Backcountry 2.0 Field Test by Peterson’s Hunting

Along with the new ultra-light elements, these Weatherbys have premium Mark V features: 54-degree bolt lift for fast cycling, fluted bolts, TriggerTech triggers, and Cerakote finish on metal parts. All the Backcountry 2.0 series rifles have a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee.

Weights for Backcountry 2.0 Models range with chamberings:

Backcountry 2.0 – 5.3 lbs (.308 Win) to 6.2 lbs (.257 WBY MAG) (MSRP $2499.00)
Backcountry 2.0 Ti – 4.7 lbs (.308 Win) to 5.6 lbs (.257 WBY MAG) (MSRP $3349.00)
Backcountry 2.0 Carbon – 5.8 lbs (6.5 Creedmoor) to 6.6 lbs (.257 WBY MAG) (MSRP $2999.00)
Backcountry 2.0 Ti Carbon – 5.3 lbs (6.5 Creedmoor) to 6.6 lbs (.257 WBY MAG) (MSRP $3749.00)

Weight Saving Secrets — How Weatherby Achieved Such Light Weights
GunsAmerica Digest reports: “A huge amount of the weight savings comes thanks to the updated carbon fiber Blacktooth stock by Peak 44. This stock uses what they call their Rock Solid Carbon Link bedding system which eliminates the need for a metallic bedding block. The Blacktooth stock weighs less than 20 ounces. The Backcountry 2.0 [series adds] both a carbon fiber stock and either fluted #1 MOD-profile or #2 MOD-profile carbon steel barrels or #4 MOD-profile BSF carbon fiber-tensioned barrel to achieve these light weights.” READ GunsAmerica Review.

Weatherbuy ultralight carbon backcountry 2.0 rifle titanium action

To mitigate recoil Weatherby developed its new 3DHEX® recoil pad — the gun industry’s first production 3D-printed pad. The 3DHEX’s three-dimensional honeycombed design extends the duration of the recoil pulse — taking away the sharp kick. Weatherby explains: “With the same amount of recoil spread out over a much greater time period, felt recoil is greatly reduced[.]” Backcountry 2.0 rifle recoil is also reduced by factory-fitted Accubrakes, contoured to match barrel profile.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 16th, 2022

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

AccurateShooter.com technical articles

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

pillar Bedding

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

Gun Safe Technical Buyers Guide

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

Savage Action Tuning Torque Settings

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

Precision Case Prep for Reloading

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

rifle stock painting and spraying

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

Ultrasound ultrasonic CAse Cleaning

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

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 14th, 2022

Lasers for Handguns — Improve Your Skills with Training Videos

Training with laser sights crimson trace

Are laser sights really useful on a handgun? Yes, and not just in low-light situations. That said, many folks who own laser-equipped handguns do not train effectively with the laser. For many gun-owners, the laser is just a toy, a gimmick that is used a few times and then ignored. Those gun-owners miss out on some of the most important advantages of a laser sights, benefits you can get from formal training with your laser-equipped pistol.

Crimson Trace has produced a series of TRAINING Videos that may change your mind about lasers. If you shoot a handgun you should watch these videos. They show how laser sights can help diagnose and correct common handgun-shooting errors (such as flinching and anticipating the shot). The videos also show how to improve sight alignment and get your sights on target quickly.

Training with Laser Sights, Full 12-minute Video
Covers Muzzle Awareness, Sight Alignment, Target Acquisition, Trigger Control

This video shows how training with laser sights can: 1) improve muzzle direction awareness; 2) aid with sight alignment; 3) speed up target acquisition; and 4) improve trigger control. The video also demonstrates the obvious advantage of laser sights in low light conditions. Numerous firearms experts are featured in this video filmed at Arizona’s Gunsight Academy.

Training With Lasers — Trigger Control
Training with laser sights helps diagnose and improve trigger control errors by showcasing the importance of “surprise break” and follow-through. Lasers quickly diagnose errors such as recoil anticipation, jerking the trigger, and breaking the wrist.

Training with Lasers — Sight Alignment
Training with laser sights can improve/correct alignment. The laser provides a visual indicator of proper sight alignment, allowing shooters to quickly see any errors before taking a shot. Additionally, lasers can enhance sight alignment on popular sub-compact carry guns with small, low-profile sights.

Muzzle Awareness — All-Important for Safe Shooting
Training with laser sights improves a shooter’s muzzle awareness. A daylight-visible laser shows the gun operator where his or her muzzle is pointing at all times. This helps teach proper safety practices.

Permalink - Videos, Optics, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 13th, 2022

Flatlined ShotMarker — Hey What’s Wrong with This Picture?

Adam McDonald Shotmarker sensor wires

A Canadian F-Class shooter (who shall remain nameless) was surprised when he saw this “flat-line” target displayed from a ShotMarker system. That’s 30 shots with almost no vertical at all. So what gives? The ShotMarker uses acoustic sensors to plot shot location. It is normally accurate to within a few millimeters. The shooter posted: “I’ve never had this happen before with a waterline. This is myself and another shooter, 30 rounds total, including four sighters at 900 meters in super strong winds that twitched back and forth every minute.”

So what happened? It turns our that the system’s wires were not connected correctly. AccurateShooter IT expert (and top F-Class Shooter) Jay Christopherson posted: “The wires are connected incorrectly… you’ve got the sensors crossed”. This ShotMarker system error can be diagnosed by doing a “tap test” as explained by Cal Waldner: “Thats a crossed sensor wire! That’s why a tap test needs to be done every time you rig the equipment. If a wire is crossed then you will catch it on the tap test.”

Other folks who viewed this target photo on Facebook said that they have seen a similar problem, so this is NOT an uncommon fault:

“Yup, my club had the same issue (and results) in an early outing with one of our ShotMarker units. The system reads the target area as a horizontal rectangle not as a square.” — Laurie Holland.

“I have seen this exact same result with the sensors plugged incorrectly.” — Dino Christopoulos

“This happened to several people at one match early on. Sensors crossed.” — Jen Bondurant

“I thought I was shooting a great waterline once [but the] wires were crossed — [a mistake from] setting up in the dark.”– Jerry Stephenson

Adam McDonald Shotmarker sensor wires

The ShotMarker System — Technology and Performance

The ShotMarker was invented by Adam McDonald, a brilliant young Canadian who also created the AutoTrickler. The ShotMarker is an advanced system for plotting shot impacts on targets using acoustic sensors placed in the four corners of the target frame. The central Sensor Hub at each target transmits to the Access Point at the firing line using LoRa, a low frequency RF protocol. Unlike Wifi, this power-efficient design works at over 2 miles and provides hassle-free connectivity even without direct line of sight.

Adam McDonald Shotmarker sensor wires

Adam McDonald Shotmarker sensor wires

The sensor unit in each corner of your frame contains two precision MEMS ultrasonic microphones which are capable of measuring a supersonic bullet within 1mm – when the frame is perfectly still.

Adam McDonald Shotmarker sensor wires

Real-world accuracy will be limited by motion of the sensors and the air while shots are being detected. Typically, every shot will be reported within a few millimeters, with ideal performance being realized on a stable frame in calm conditions.

CLICK HERE for more ShotMarker Technical Information »

Original Post Link in F-Class Competition Shooting Facebook Group

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 11th, 2022

The Wind Book — Develop Those Wind-Reading Skills

wind reading book Camp Perry Miller Cunningham

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

Readers often ask us: “Is there a decent, easy-to-comprehend book that can help my wind-reading?” Many of our Forum members have recommended The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters by Linda Miller and Keith Cunningham.

New Edition Released in May 2020
A NEW hardback edition of The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters was released a year ago in May 2020. This 144-page book, first published in 2007, is a great resource. But you don’t have to take our word for it. If you click this link, you can read book excerpts and decide for yourself. When the Amazon page opens, click the book cover photo (labeled “Look Inside”) and another screen will appear. This lets you preview chapters from the first edition, and view some illustrations. Along with the new hardback edition ($17.96), Amazon offers a Kindle (eBook) edition for $14.99.

Other books cover wind reading in a broader discussion of ballistics or long-range shooting, such as Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting by Bryan Litz. But the Miller & Cunningham book is ALL about wind reading from cover to cover, and that is its strength. The book focuses on real world skills that can help you accurately gauge wind angle, wind velocity, and wind cycles.

All other factors being equal, it is your ability to read the wind that will make the most difference in your shooting accuracy. The better you understand the behavior of the wind, the better you will understand the behavior of your bullet. — The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters

The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters covers techniques and tactics used by expert wind-readers. There are numerous charts and illustrations. The authors show you how to put together a simple wind-reading “toolbox” for calculating wind speed, direction, deflection and drift. Then they explain how to use these tools to read flags and mirage, record and interpret your observations, and time your shots to compensate for wind.

I believe this is a must-have book if you are a long-range sport shooter. I compete in F-Class Open and when I first purchased this book and read it from cover to cover, it helped me understand wind reading and making accurate scope corrections. Buy this book, read it, put into practice what it tells you, you will not be disappointed. — P. Janzso

If you have one book for wind reading, this should be it. Whether you’re a novice or experienced wind shooter this book has something for you. It covers how to get wind speed and direction from flags, mirage, and natural phenomenon. In my opinion this is the best book for learning to read wind speed and direction. — Muddler

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 11th, 2022

Parallax Explained — Nightforce Optics TECH TIP

Nightforce Optics Parallax Newsletter Scope Video
Nightforce Optics Parallax Newsletter Scope Video

PARALLAX – What is it and Why is it important?

Nightforce Optics Parallax Newsletter Scope Video

What is Parallax?
Parallax is the apparent movement of the scope’s reticle (cross-hairs) in relation to the target as the shooter moves his eye across the exit pupil of the riflescope. This is caused by the target and the reticle being located in different focal planes.

Why is it Important?
The greater the distance to the target and magnification of the optic, the greater the parallax error becomes. Especially at longer distances, significant sighting error can result if parallax is not removed.

How to Remove Parallax
This Nightforce Tech Tip video quickly shows how to remove parallax on your riflescope.

While keeping the rifle still and looking through the riflescope, a slight nod of the head up and down will quickly determine if parallax is present. To remove parallax, start with the adjustment mechanism on infinity and rotate until the reticle remains stationary in relation to the target regardless of head movement. If parallax has been eliminated, the reticle will remain stationary in relation to the target regardless of eye placement behind the optic.

This Parallax Discussion first appeared in the Nightforce Newsletter. Nightforce also offers a series of Informational Videos covering a variety of topics.

Permalink - Videos, Optics, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
September 10th, 2022

Saturday at the Movies: State-of-the-Art Front Shooting Rests

F-class john front rest review video showcase seb neo-x videos

To shoot tight groups and high scores from the bench, or in prone F-Open competition, a quality front rest is essential. And a good rest is also very valuable when zeroing rifles, testing loads, and shooting varmints from a portable bench. Today’s Saturday video showcase includes multiple video reviews of some of the best front rests on the market — great products from SEB, Rodzilla, 21st Century, Lenzi, and Sinclair Int’l. In addition, the lead-off video from F-Class John covers some of the less expensive rests as well as SEB Joy-Pod coaxial bipods.

Review of Many Popular Front Rests from $250 to $2200

If you are shopping for a front rest, definitely watch this comprehensive 42-minute video from start to finish. This is probably the most informative video about premium shooting rests available on YouTube. Top F-Class shooter and video-maker F-Class John covers a wide selection of front rests, with some observations about coaxial bipods as well. John covers the impressive new SEB NEO-X, the easy-to-transport SEB Mini-X, the excellent Rodzilla Rest, the innovative 21st Century Hybrid Rest, the sleek Italian Lenzi Rest. And at the end of the video John reviews the very affordable Caldwell Fire Control Rest ($249.99 on Amazon), explaining how it can be a decent choice for shooters on a limited budget.

NEW SEB NEO-X — Set-Up in the Field

Still in its final prototype stage, the innovative SEB NEO-X raises the bar for transportable coaxial front rests. An innovative design with hinged legs allows the 20-lb NEO-X to be transported in a small case. Once the legs are extended however, the NEO-X has proven to be very stable. And this new coaxial rest offers very precise, easy-to-use controls. A swivel head speeds up deployment, as the allows you to quickly align the rest top to the target. Users have confirmed the NEO-X works great and is very stable. In the video above ace F-Class shooter Erik Cortina (below) shows how to quickly deploy the NEO-X in the field.

F-class john front rest review video showcase seb neo-x videos

Rodzilla T-Rex — High Quality, Big Footprint, Advanced Features


Rodzilla t-rex trex front rest

The impressive Rodzilla T-Rex front rest offers outstanding stability with smooth, precise performance. Designer/builder Rod Brakhage (the Rod in Rodzilla) started from the ground up to create a user-friendly, match-ready, modular front rest on the market. The T-Rex weighs just over 21 pounds, and the T-Rex has a large footprint, rivaling the largest rests on the market. That provides exceptional stability, even with heavy-recoiling rifles.

The T-Rex boasts an adjustable joystick that extends from 15.5″ to 21″ in length. With this adjustability, no matter what your stock length or design, you can find a comfortable position without having to stretch uncomfortably. Rodzilla delivers the T-Rex in a custom-designed hard carry case that fits it perfectly and still has room for additional feet and accessories. The T-Rex can be ordered with excellent Sand Feet.

21st Century Hybrid-X Front Rest


Hybrid-X rest

Lateral Control Arm, Vertical Elevation Knob
The innovative 21st Century Hybrid-X front rest offers the “best of both worlds”. It allows precise lateral movement (for wind holds) with no elevation change. The entire center section of the rest rotates as one unit for fast, perfect horizontal alignment to target. Then adjust vertical precisely with the rotary knob on the outboard end of the control rod. Our Daily Bulletin Hybrid-X article has a full description with multiple photos of this unique rest. See additional Hybrid-X Video.

Sinclair Int’l Competition Front Rest — Sturdy and Stable Design

F-class john front rest review video showcase seb neo-x videosThe Sinclair Int’l Competition Rest is a classic heavy and very stable rest that works great on the bench. Weighing 30+ pounds, with a 1″-thick steel base, this rest has a very low center of gravity and is ultra-stable. Currently priced at $699.99, the Sinclair Competition Rest is less than half the cost of the more exotic front rests.

Horizontal (windage) movement is controlled with a large rear knob which uses dual sets of twin tapered roller bearings for a non-binding windage operation. Nearly four feet of windage adjustment is offered at 100 yards. Elevation changes are made with the large wheel. With its mass and low COG, this Sinclair Rest is very stable. And because of its ability to hold elevation shot to shot, this rest has been popular with long-range benchrest competitors who often shoot quick strings of 5 or 10 shots.

SEB Mini-X and SEB Mini — Transportable Joystick Tripod Rests

Seb mini-x mini front tripod rest

The original SEB Mini was an innovative collapsible tripod rest with a coaxial top. On its introduction the SEB Mini became immediately popular with varminters, F-TR shooters, and anyone who wanted an affordable, easy-to-transport front rest that offered easy, precise and rapid adjustment of windage and elevation with the Joystick. Building on the success of the original SEB Mini, the new SEB Mini-X offers an improved head design, and new adjustable “ankle” units on all three legs. This makes it easier to level the Mini-X on uneven ground. The Mini-X has proven very successful in competition, winning major F-Open matches. Folding into a very compact package, it is easy to transport in airline luggage. Yet it offers a very stable shooting platform with precise, effortless joystick control of elevation and windage.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 10th, 2022

How to Clean Your AR-15 — Three Good AR Maintenance Videos

Barrel cleaning AR15 bolt carrier carbon Jerry Miculek gas key direct impingement

Let’s face it, AR-platform rifles run dirty, at least compared to typical bolt-action rifles. The AR-15 works by piping gas from the barrel back into the bolt carrier, causing the bolt to unlock and the carrier to move the bolt backward. The “exhaust gas” from the barrel contains soot and carbon. The carbon will form hard deposits on the bolt. In addition, the carbon can combine with lube on the bolt carrier to make a nasty, paste-like sludge. This can be particularly problematic when the black paste pollutes the ejector and extractor recess.

This Editor has inspected dozens of ARs over the years. Other than mag-related malfunctions, the most common cause of AR cycling problems I found was oily gunk in the extractor and ejector areas. Many AR owners overlook these critical areas. Look at an AR that hasn’t been cleaned properly and you’ll probably find black gunk (and small brass shavings) in the ejector and extractor recesses.

If you want to keep your black rifle running smoothly and reliably, you must clean it regularly and follow the correct maintenance procedures. Here are three videos that explain how to properly disassemble and clean AR-platform rifles. And then they cover the essential lubrication ARs need to run reliably.

Take-Down and Full Cleaning of AR15 by Jerry Miculek

Here ace shooter Jerry Miculek takes down and cleans an AR-platform rifle belonging to his daughter Lena. This is a good video because Lena’s rifle was “run hard and packed up dirty” so you can see where carbon and grease build up. This 35-minute video is very thorough. Jerry is one of the nation’s top action carbine shooters, so listen carefully to his advice on cleaning and lubrication.

General AR-15 Maintenance and Lubrication

There are various schools of thought on AR lubrication. Some guys like to run “wet” with lots of CLP, while others choose to focus lubrication on the key spots that receive the most friction and wear, such as the contact point for the bolt carrier. We do advice check the ejector recess and extractor spring recess frequently as gunk can get in there, causing malfunctions. Here is a good video from Pew Pew Tactical — a 7-minute guide to cleaning and lubricating AR-platform rifles. This shows important details for both the upper and the lower.

How to Clean Your AR-15 Bolt Carrier Assembly

This video offers very specific advice on the bolt carrier group, which receives the dirty gas directly from the barrel. Be sure to check the extractor and ejector recesses. That’s where old lube, brass shavings, and carbon accumulate. Follow the directions in this video for lubrication, and don’t over-lubricate the bolt carrier — that will only capture more carbon.

Permalink - Videos, Tactical, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 8th, 2022

6.5 Creedmoor LOAD DATA Collection from Sierra Bullets

6.5 creedmoor load data sierra bullets

Sierra Bullets has released extensive load data for the popular 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. This medium-sized cartridge has become one of the most popular chamberings for tactical and PRS shooters. The 6.5 Creedmoor combines excellent accuracy, good mag-feeding, good barrel life, moderate recoil, and reasonable component cost. That’s why this cartridge has caught on quickly, and is now one of the most popular chamberings in factory rifles.

Sierra Load Data 6.5 CreedmoorDeveloped in 2007 by Dennis DeMille and Dave Emary, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a shortened and improved 30 TC cartridge case that was inspired by the .308 Winchester design. This short action design was created to maximize case capacity and a wide range of loading lengths, while still fitting in standard short action magazines. With the correct twist barrel, the versatile 6.5 Creedmoor can take advantage of the wide range of bullet weights available in 6.5 mm (i.e. .264 caliber). Reloaders should keep in mind that the 6.5 Creedmoor works best with medium to medium-slow powders such as H4350, Varget, Win 760, and RE-17. The light recoil and adaptability of the efficient 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge has already proven itself in high power, precision rifle series and benchrest competitions. Couple that with respectable barrel life and its intrinsic accuracy potential and you have a recipe for success which should insure its legacy for decades to come.

Sierra 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data Manual reloading .264

Here are three tables from the Sierra Bullets Reloading Manual (5th Edition). IMPORTANT — This is just a sample!! Sierra has load data for many other 6.5mm bullet types, including FB, Spitzer, SBT, HPBT, and Tipped MK from 85 grains to 142 grains. To view ALL 6.5 Creedmoor DATA, CLICK HERE.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data MatchKing Tactical
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Two More Great 6.5 Creedmoor Reloading Resouces

Want More 6.5 Creedmoor Load Info? View Starline’s 6.5 Creedmoor Guide by Gavin Gear:

Download full 6.5 Creedmoor Guide at StarlineBrass.com.

PRB 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor Load Survey
The Precision Rifle Blog compiled Load Data from PRS Competitors, for both 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor. This is a good place to start. PRB surveyed the match loads for “173 of the top-ranked precision rifle shooters in the country”. CLICK HERE.

PRB precision rifle blog pet loads what pros use 6.5 Creedmoor 6mm CM

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 3rd, 2022

How to Clear-Coat Laminated Wood Stocks

Laminated wood stocks offer an excellent combination of price and performance, and they can be obtained in a myriad of styles to suit your discipline — hunting, benchrest, tactical, silhouette, or high power. Laminated stocks can be a little trickier to finish compared to a hardwood such as walnut, as laminates are often delivered in bright or highly contrasting colors. Traditional wood finishes can alter the colors. Also, filling the pores in laminated stocks is an issue.

Automotive clear-coat products have become popular for finishing laminated wood stocks because they won’t alter the stock’s colors, and the clear-coat provides a durable weather-resistant finish. Clear-coat is also easy to “touch up” and it fills pores better than some other alternatives. Mike Ricklefs has written a comprehensive article on stock painting that includes a special section on clear-coating over laminated woods. If you want to clear-coat a stock, Mike’s article is a must-read!

In that Stock Painting Article, Mike offers these tips:

1. When finishing laminated stocks with clear-coat, you need to prepare the wood carefully, and build up quite a few thin layers one at a time. Begin by sanding, with progressively finer paper, all the way to 400 grit. Certain laminated stocks are so rough when they come from the stock-maker, that you may have to be very aggressive at first. But be careful with angles and the edges of flats. You don’t want to round these off as you sand.

2. After sanding, use compressed air to blow out all dust from the pores of the wood. This is very important to avoid a “muddy” looking finish. If you don’t blow the dust out with air before spraying the clear it will migrate out as you apply the clear. Also, after each sanding session, clean your painting area to remove excess dust. I also wet down the floor of my spray booth to keep the dust down.

3. Some painters recommended using a filler to close the pores. That’s one technique, but the filler can detract from the clarity of the final finish. Rather than use a pore-filling sealer, I use a high solids or “build” clear for the initial applications. This is slightly thicker than “finish” clear and does a good job of sealing the pores. Three (3) fairly heavy coats of “build” clear are applied. If you get a thick spot or a run in the finish at this point, it is not the end of the world but this does create more sanding work.”

There is a helpful thread in our Shooters’ Forum that discusses the use of clear-coating on laminated stocks. Member BHoges offered this advice: “Stick with Diamont, Glassurit, and Spies. If anyone has questions, I painted cars for a long time.”

Clear-coat Laminated woodForum member Preacher, whose bolt-action pistol is shown at right, states: “I buy my two-part clear-coat from the local NAPA dealer. They recommended Crossfire mixed 4:1. I really like the end results. There are six coats on that stock that were sanded down to bare wood for the first two, and then 600 wet-sanded for the other four coats. Two to three coats would be sufficient if the pores were filled first, but I would rather fill ‘em with the clear as it seems to make it appear deeper and I have the time to devote to it. I have PPG’s Deltron DC 3000 clear-coat on a few stocks of mine, but I like the NAPA better price wise, and it seems to hold up just as good as the Deltron.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
September 1st, 2022

How to Prep Once-Fired Lake City 5.56 Brass for Match Use

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit regularly published a reloading “how-to” article on the USAMU Facebook page. One excellent “Handloading Hump Day” post covered preparation of once-fired 5.56x45mm brass. This article, the first in a 3-part series, has many useful tips. If you shoot a rifle chambered in .223 Rem or 5.56x45mm, this article is worth reading. You can obtain once-fired Lake City 5.56x45mm brass for less than half the cost of premium .223 Rem brass.

This week, Handloading Hump-Day will answer a special request from several competitive shooters who asked about procedures for morphing once-fired GI 5.56mm brass into accurate match brass for NRA High Power Rifle use. The USAMU has used virgin Lake City (LC) 5.56 brass to win National Championships and set National Records for many years. In this 3-part series, we’ll share techniques proven to wring match-winning accuracy from combat-grade brass.

GI brass has an excellent attribute, worth noting — it is virtually indestructible. Due to its NATO-spec hardness, the primer pockets last much longer than most commercial brass when using loads at appropriate pressures.

Preparing Once-Fired GI 5.56 Brass for Reloading (Part 1 of 3)

Assuming our readers will be getting brass once-fired as received from surplus dealers, the following steps can help process the low-cost raw material into reliably accurate components.

1. Clean the Brass
First, clean the brass of any dirt/mud/debris, if applicable. Depending on the brass’s condition, washing it in a soap solution followed by a thorough rinsing may help. [This step also extends the life of the tumbling media.] Approaches range from low-tech, using gallon jugs 1/2 full of water/dish soap plus brass and shaking vigorously, to more high-tech, expensive and time-consuming methods.

cleaning Lake City 5.56 brass

2. Wet-Tumbling Options (Be Sure to Dry the Brass)
When applying the final cleaning/polish, some use tumblers with liquid cleaning media and stainless steel pins for a brilliant shine inside and out, while others take the traditional vibratory tumbler/ground media approach. Degree of case shine is purely personal preference, but the key issue is simple cleanliness to avoid scratching ones’ dies.

If a liquid cleaner is used, be SURE to dry the cases thoroughly to preclude corrosion inside. One method is to dump the wet brass into an old pillow case, then tilt it left/right so the cases re-orient themselves while shifting from corner to corner. Several repetitions, pausing at each corner until water stops draining, will remove most water. They can then be left to air-dry on a towel, or can be dried in a warm (150° F-200° F max) oven for a few minutes to speed evaporation.

Shown below are Lake City cases after cleaning with Stainless Media (STM). Note: STM Case cleaning was done by a third party, not the USAMU, which does not endorse any particular cleaning method.

NOTE: The USAMU Handloading (HL) Shop does not RE-load fired 5.56 brass. We use virgin LC brass with our chosen primer already staked in place. However, our staff has extensive personal experience reloading GI brass for competition, which will supplement the Shop’s customary steps. In handloading, as in life, there are many ways to accomplish any given task. Our suggestions are note presented as the “only way,” by any means. Time for loading/practicing is always at a premium. Readers who have more efficient, alternative methods that maintain top accuracy are invited to share them here.

3. Inspect Every Case
Once dry, inspect each case for significant deformation (i.e., someone stepped on it), damaged mouths/necks and case head/rim damage. Some rifles’ ejectors actually dig small chunks of brass out of the case head — obviously, not ideal for precision shooting. Similarly, some extractors can bend the case rims so badly that distortion is visible when spinning them in one’s fingers. These can be used for plinking, but our match brass should have straight, undamaged rims.

Dented case mouths are common, and these can easily be rounded using a conical, tapered tool, [such as a .223 expander mandrel. A dummy 7.62 or .30-06 cartridge with a FMJ spitzer can also work.] If most of your brass is of one headstamp, this is a good time to cull out any odd cases.

4. Check the Primers Before Decapping
Your clean, dry and inspected brass is now ready for full-length sizing, decapping and re-priming. Historically, primer crimps on GI brass have caused some head-scratching (and vile language) among handloaders. Our next installment will detail efficient, easy and practical methods to remove primer crimp, plus other useful handloading tips. Until next week, Good Shooting!

Accuracy Potential of Mil-Surp 5.56×45 Brass
So, how accurate can previously-fired GI surplus brass be in a good National Match AR-15? Well, here’s a data point from many years ago that might be of interest. A High Power shooter who wrote for the late Precision Shooting magazine took a Bill Wylde-built AR match rifle to a registered Benchrest match. He had no difficulty obtaining consistent 0.5-0.6 MOA accuracy at 200 yards using LC brass and a generic “practice” load that was not tuned to his rifle.

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September 1st, 2022

Create Handy FREE Ballistics Cheat Sheet for Your Rifle

Hornady Ballistics Calculator

Hornady Ballistics CalculatorNeed a simple, easy-to-use drop chart for your rifle? Something you can tape right to the buttstock? Then check out Hornady’s handy Online Ballistics Calculator. This user-friendly calculator will compute your drops accurately, and output a handy “Cheat Sheet” you can print and attach to your rifle.

Here’s how it works. From the Ballistics Calculator Page, simply input G1 or G7 BC values, muzzle velocity, bullet weight, zero range, and a few other variables.

Click “Calculate” to view the full chart (shown below). Then click “View Cheatsheet” and the simpler, 4-line Drop Chart (shown above) appears. Click “Print” and you’re done!

Hornady Ballistics Calculator

Choose Basic Table or Advanced Version with More Variables
The online ballistics caculator is easy to use. You can select the basic version, or an advanced version with more data fields for environmental variables (altitude, temperature, air pressure, and humidity). You can also get wind drift numbers by inputing wind speed and wind angle.

Conveniently, on the trajectory output, come-ups are listed in both MOA and Mils — so this will work with either MOA clicks or Mil-based clicks. There are more sophisticated ballistics solvers available on the web, such as the outstanding Applied Ballistics Online Calculator, but the Hornady Calculator is very simple and easy to use. If you just want a basic drop chart, you may want to check this out.

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August 31st, 2022

DIY DownUnder — Aussie Builds Rail Gun Including Action

Australia Benchrest Bulletin

We know some guys who make their own stocks, and others who do their own chambering. But consider this, Robert Carnell of Australia built his own state-of-the-art, water-cooled, tension-barrel Rail Gun, even including the action. That’s right, Robert designed and crafted his own precision action. This has got to be the ultimate home gunsmithing, do-it-yourself (DIY) project.

Carnell is an accomplished benchrest shooter and past Australian Sporter Class Champion. In 1993 he won a Silver Medal at the World Championships. But Carnell is far more than an ace trigger-puller. Robert is a skilled and creative “home gunsmith” who has crafted his own custom action and built his own railguns from scratch. Robert also runs the Austrialian Benchrest Bulletin website.

Home-Built Rail Gun — Aussie Innovation
Below are photos of one of Rob Carnell’s most amazing builds. This liquid-cooled, tension-barrel rail gun is a great example of self-reliant Aussie engineering. The barrel runs inside a coolent-filled, large-diameter sleeve, much like an old water-cooled machine gun. This is the fourth rail gun that Rob built, and the second fitted with a tensioned barrel.

Australia Benchrest Bulletin

Robert explains: “My railgun design has a 1.75″ barrel under tension inside an aluminium tube filled with radiator coolant. There is nearly a gallon of coolant, and the barrel stays cool no matter how many shots I seem to fire, or how quickly they are shot. The brass nut on the front rides on a nylon bearing and can be tightened to get the best accuracy. I am a believer in the ‘tuner’ idea and this seems to work for me. The main tube is thick-walled aluminium 600mm (24″) long. There is a flange at both ends. The flange at the back fits onto the barrel before the action is screwed on. The front flange is a press-fit into the tube, then there is a brass nut that fits over the barrel and screws against a nylon washer on the front flange. The Railgun’s base is aluminium and has the standard adjustments — windage, elevation and a sighter cam. In addition, there is a 1/10 thou dial indicator for windage. This allows me to zero the indicator and shoot my group. If I need to add a bit of windage for a condition, I can quickly get back to the original position if my condition comes back.”

Home-Built Action Uses Rem Bolt
Rob’s rail gun uses his own home-made stainless action, which features Panda-spec threads and a modified Remington 700 aftermarket bolt. Not bad for a do-it-yourself project we’d say! CLICK HERE to read how Rob designed and built the action.

Australia Benchrest Bulletin

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August 31st, 2022

Speed Up Bore Cleaning Chores by Using Wash Bottles

Wash Bottle

rifle bore cleaner bottle

Small patches are not very efficient at distributing bore cleaning liquids inside your bore. The problem with a tight-fitting patch is that the solvent gets squeezed off in the first few inches. You can switch to a smaller jag, or a bore mop, but there is an even better way to get an ample amount of solvent in your bore. Just spray directly into the bore with a wash bottle, an inexpensive plastic bottle with an L-shaped dispensing neck, tapered at the end.

When using the wash bottle, you can either just plug the breech and spray from the muzzle end (where most copper fouling is), or, alternately, put the wash bottle neck directly in the chamber and spray forward. When spraying from the chamber forward, you may need to use a rubber O-Ring to seal off the action… depending on the bore size and the particular wash bottle’s neck spout diameter. We prefer to plug the breech and squirt from the muzzle.

Bottle Solvent Application Great for Smaller Bores
Using wet patches or wet brushes is an inefficient way to really saturate the tight bores of 17s, 20s, and 22s. Even with a cotton bore mop, most of the solvent will be squeezed out before it gets to the end of the bore, where most copper fouling occurs. For these smaller 17, 20, and 22-caliber bores, you can just take the wash bottle and stick the tapered nozzle right in the chamber. The tapered end will press fit in the throat, sealing off the chamber. With the barrel slightly nose-down, give the bottle a couple good squirts until the solvent mists out the muzzle. In just a few seconds, this will put more solvent in the bore than a half-dozen wet patches.

A solvent-filled wash bottle is also handy for wetting your brushes. It’s much easier to saturate a bore brush (without spilling solvent on your stock), by using the wash bottle. You can get wash bottles from USPlastic.com, Amazon.com, or lab supply stores.

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August 30th, 2022

Look Inside Ammo — Cutaway Cartridge Views

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

Here’s something you don’t see every day — the inside of loaded cartridges, sliced halfway through. This lets you see how bullet core, jacket, cartridge case, powder, and primer all fit together. Give credit to the folks at FOG Ammunition for creating this interesting series of cut-through ammo images. We show four cartridges here: the .308 Winchester, 9mm Luger, 300 BLK, and .50 BMG. You’ll find two more (the .223 Remington and .45 ACP) at www.FogAmmo.com.

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

This .308 Winchester model took on a different approach by only cutting the brass case and displaying the full bullet, primer and powder load. A spec amount of powder was used to create the model powder form. An estimated 10% volume was added during the forming process, along with an undetermined amount of air pockets.

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

This bisection is a 9mm Luger Jacketed Hollow Point round with flake powder held together with super glue. After this self-defense round was cut by a trained professional the round was polished by hand. This might look like stick powder, but those are in fact flakes stacked up in cross-section. Designed in 1901 by Georg Luger, this popular cartridge is used by civilians, military, and law enforcement.

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

For this model of the .300 AAC Blackout (aka 300 BLK), a Dremel tool was used to create a pie cut within the bullet and brass case. A measured amount of power, roughly 65% of spec charge, was placed inside the case with super glue. This cartridge was originally optimized for subsonic use with a suppressor, so the amount of powder used is small relative to the nominal case capacity. That leaves more room for the relatively large .30-caliber bullet.

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

Last but definitely not least is the .50 Caliber BMG round (aka .50 Browning Machine Gun). Famed for its wartime use in the M2 Machine gun, the .50 BMG round is also used in civilian Long Range competitions. A typical .50 BMG cartridge holds over 225 grains of powder. That’s almost ten times the amount in a 5.56×45 NATO Round! To demonstrate the size of the .50 BMG, check out that .223 Rem for comparison.

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