October 14th, 2019

Learn All About the Cut Rifling Process — Watch Krieger Video

Krieger Barrels Cut Rifling Cut-Rifled Barreling

How Krieger Builds Barrels

This video shows the process of cut-rifled barrel-making by Krieger Barrels, one of the world’s best barrel manufacturers. Krieger cut-rifled barrels have set numerous world records and are favored by many top shooters. The video show the huge, complex machines used — bore-drilling equipment and hydraulic riflers. You can also see how barrels are contoured, polished, and inspected.

For anyone interested in accurate rifles, this is absolutely a “must-watch” video. Watch blanks being cryogenically treated, then drilled and lathe-turned. Next comes the big stuff — the massive rifling machines that single-point-cut the rifling in a precise, time-consuming process. Following that you can see barrels being contoured, polished, and inspected (with air gauge and bore-scope). There is even a sequence showing chambers being cut.

Click Arrow to Watch Krieger Barrels Video:

Here is a time-line of the important barrel-making processes shown in the video. You may want to use the “Pause” button, or repeat some segments to get a better look at particular operations. The numbers on the left represent playback minutes and seconds.

Krieger Barrel-Making Processes Shown in Video:

00:24 – Cryogenic treatment of steel blanks
00:38 – Pre-contour Barrels on CNC lathe
01:14 – Drilling Barrels
01:28 – Finish Turning on CNC lathe
01:40 – Reaming
01:50 – Cut Rifling
02:12 – Hand Lapping
02:25 – Cut Rifling
02:40 – Finish Lapping
02:55 – Outside Contour Inspection
03:10 – Engraving
03:22 – Polish
03:50 – Fluting
03:56 – Chambering
04:16 – Final Inspection

Krieger Barrels

Pratt & Whitney Cut rifling hydraulic machine

“At the start of World War Two, Pratt & Whitney developed a new, ‘B’ series of hydraulically-powered rifling machines, which were in fact two machines on the same bed. They weighed in at three tons and required the concrete floors now generally seen in workshops by this time. Very few of these hydraulic machines subsequently became available on the surplus market and now it is these machines which are sought after and used by barrel makers like John Krieger and ‘Boots’ Obermeyer. In fact, there are probably less of the ‘B’ series hydraulic riflers around today than of the older ‘Sine Bar’ universal riflers.” — Geoffrey Kolbe, Border Barrels.

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October 9th, 2019

How’s Your Headspace? Four Tools to Measure Shoulder Bump

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

The Tactical Rifle Shooters Facebook Group recently showcased tools used to measure case headspace before and after “bumping” the shoulder. After a case is fired, hand-loaders who full-length size their cases will typically bump the shoulders back anywhere from .001″ to .0035″, depending on the rifle and application. With our 6mmBR and Dasher cases we like about .0015″ bump.

You want the amount of case sizing and bump to be the same for all your brass. To ensure uniformity, it makes sense to measure your cases before and after the FL sizing process. When we have time, we check every case. Other folks will simply check the first 3-4 cases coming out of the FL sizing die to ensure the FL die setting is correct and delivering desired headspace/bump.

1. Whidden Gunworks Shoulder Bump Gauge

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

There are a variety of tools that can be used to measure shoulder bump. Our favorite is a special cartridge-specific bushing made by Whidden Gunworks. The Whidden Shoulder Bump Gauge enables you to adjust your sizing die to the desired measurement. The bump gauge is attached to your calipers with a set screw and determines the measurement from the base to the shoulder of the case. The photo below, from Tactical Rifle Shooters, shows the Whidden Bump Gauge for the .375 CheyTac cartridge.

2. Dave Manson Vertical Comparator with Dial Read-Out

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson
Background image courtesy Tactical Rifle Shooters; inset photo from Manson Precison Reamers.

Dave Manson states: “This tool was designed to make life easier for the advanced shooter and re-loader by allowing precise measurement of ammunition, case, and chamber headspace. With this information, the re-loader will be able to fine-tune clearances and fits between his ammunition and chamber, with resultant improvements in accuracy and case life.” The functions of the Comparator are:

1. Measure headspace of factory or reloaded ammunition
2. Quantify chamber headspace by measuring headspace of a fired case
3. Ensure minimal shoulder set-back when setting up re-loading dies
4. Compare base-to-ogive length to ensure consistent bullet-to-rifling relationship.

In addition to the Dial Indicator and Stand, the $130.00 Vertical Comparator is supplied with multiple Datum Blocks of precise length and inside diameter (.3300″/.3750″/.4000″/.4375″). MORE INFO HERE.

3. Hornady L-N-L Headspace Comparator System

shoulder bump headspace gauge comparator tool whidden manson

Hornady makes comparator gauges matched to the red comparator holder that mounts on your caliper. These Lock-N-Load Headspace Gauges are inexpensive. You can get a set of five gauges for $31.99. Hornady explains: “The Lock-N-Load® Headspace Comparator… gauge measures variations in brass before and after firing or re-sizing. It allows for headspace comparison between fire-formed brass and re-sized brass.” IMPORTANT: Hornady states: “To determine the proper bushing diameter for your cartridge, simply add the neck diameter and the shoulder diameter and divide that number by two. Use the bushing closest to that number.” Hornady offers five: .330″, .350″, .375″, .400″, and .420″.

One tip — We have found the Hornady gauges may vary a little from unit to unit even with the same nominal size. If you have more than one gauge for the same cartridge, test each on your brass — you may then note a slight difference in your bump measurements.

4. Pistol Brass Case DIY Bump Gauge

Last is a “field expedient” set-up if you do not have any of the comparator tools shown above. A sized .45 ACP case (or other suitable pistol case) can be used to measure shoulder bump. The mouth of the pistol case sits on the shoulder of your rifle cartridge brass.

Make sure the .45 ACP case is trimmed square and that it is round. We recommend you first run it through an expander, then size it, trim it and chamfer. Next, take the .45 ACP case and slip it over the neck of a fired, unsized rifle case with the primer removed. Align the two cases between the jaws of your calipers and note the length from rim to rim (See left photo below).

OK, now you have the length for a fired rifle case BEFORE sizing. Next, take a full-length sized rifle case (without primer) and do the same thing, placing the .45 ACP case over the neck of the FL-sized case (Right Photo). The difference between the two numbers is the amount of “bump” or set-back you are applying to the shoulder. Here the difference is .0015″. The amount of bump you need varies with your chamber and your load, but .0015-.002″ is a good initial setting.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
October 7th, 2019

Thermal Optics for Hunters — Leupold LTO Tracker 2 and HD

Leupold stevens hunting hunter Thermal Optic Imager LTO heat source spotter

Were in prime hunting season now. Here’s an advanced product that can help you track down a prize buck. The Leupold Thermal Optics (LTO) Tracker 2 is a hand-held, heat-detection device designed as a hunting tool for game observation and game recovery. A high-performance 7X thermal spotter, the LTO Tracker 2 can detect heat sources out to 600 yards. The advanced thermal imaging engine fires up in less than five seconds and offers fast 30hz frame rates and 240×204 display resolution. The LTO Tracker 2 is compact and weighs just 7 ounces. It is listed as 100% waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof.

The hand-held unit features a 14-degree field of view and 7x digital zoom. Five different thermal filters provide multiple viewing options. The LTO’s CR123 lithium battery provides more than 10 hours of continuous use. A user-controlled reticle allow the user to quickly pinpoint a game animal or other thermal source. The latest LTO Tracker 2 is $526.14 on Amazon, while Leupold’s High-Definition (HD) LTO Tracker 2 HD unit retails for around $950.00.

Leupold stevens hunting hunter Thermal Optic Imager LTO heat source spotter
Photo shows original model LTO Tracker. The newer Tracker 2 is 7X vs. 6X magnification.

Use LTO Tracker 2 Thermal to Track Animals and Guide your Hunt
From checking your ingress path to your stand, to helping track wounded animals, the LTO Thermal can perform many tasks. Hunters can use the LTO Tracker 2 to spot their quarry’s heat trail and efficiently recover the downed animal. Using the LTO Tracker 2, hunters can also plan their walk to their stand or blind with minimal risk of scaring off game. Where legal, varmint or feral hog hunters can use the LTO Tracker 2 to identify their quarry, leading to more successful hunts.

Verified Purchaser Field Test Review:
“I have a night vision scope I use for hunting hogs and it works well up to about 150 yards. I purchased the Leupold LTO Tracker 2 hand-held thermal monocular for scanning and identifying critters outside the range of the night vision scope. The first night I used the device, I was able to see rabbits playing at 200 yards, two deer eating in a soybean field 315 yards, and I was able to see hogs at 150 yards (5 yards inside the woods before they came out into the open field). Without this device, I would not have known the hogs were there and would have moved to another location. It is somewhat pricey, but good equipment is not cheap. This is a good product and you do not need a degree from MIT to use it.” — Wm. Thompson (Amazon Buyer).

“We see thermal as a vital tool in any hunter’s kit, just like binoculars or laser rangefinders,” said Tim Lesser, vice president of product development for Leupold & Stevens, Inc. “For observation and recovering downed game, the LTO Tracker will help hunters find success in the field.”

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October 2nd, 2019

Smart Reloader — Die Shims For Full-Length Sizing Dies

Sinclair Die Shims

When your cases become hard to extract, or you feel a stiff bolt lift when removing a cartridge, it’s probably time to full-length size your cases, and “bump” the shoulder back. With a hunting load, shoulder bumping may only be required every 4-5 loading cycles. Short-range benchrest shooters, running higher pressures, typically full-length size every load cycle, bumping the shoulder .001-.002″. High Power shooters with gas guns generally full-length size every time, and may need to bump the shoulders .003″ or more to ensure reliable feeding and extraction.

Use Shims for Precise Control of Shoulder Bump
Some shooters like to set the “default” position for their full-length die to have an “ample” .003″ or .004″ shoulder bump. When they need less bump, a simple way to reduce the amount of shoulder movement is to use precision shims in .001″ (one-thousandth) increments. You can get a set of seven (7) shims for your standard 7/8-14 FL sizing dies for just $11.99.

Here are reports from Forum members who use the shims:

“Great product. I have my die lock ring(s) adjusted for the shortest headspace length on my multiple chambers 6BRs and 6PPCs. When needing a longer headspace, I just refer to my notes and add the appropriate shim under the lock ring. Keep it simple.” — F.D. Shuster

Mats Johansson writes: “I’ve been using [shims] since Skip Otto (of BR fame) came out with them. I set up my dies with the .006″ shim, giving me the option of bumping the shoulder a bit more when the brass gets old and hardens while still having room to adjust up for zero headspace, should I have missed the original setup by a thou or two. Hunting rounds can easily be bumped an extra .002-.003″ for positive, no-crush feeding. Being a safety-oriented cheapskate, I couldn’t live without them — they let me reload my cases a gazillion times without dangerous web-stretching. Shims are a must-have, as simple as that.” — Mats Johansson

Sinclair Die ShimsBrownells offers a seven-piece set of Sizing Die Shims that let you adjust the height of your die (and thereby the amount of bump and sizing) in precise .001″ increments. Sinclair explains: “Some handloaders will set their die up to achieve maximum sizing and then progressively use Sinclair Die Shims between the lock ring and the press head to move the die away from the shellholder. Doing this allows you to leave the lock ring in the same position. These shims are usually available in increments of .001″ and work very well.”

Seven Shims from .003″ to .010″
Sinclair’s $11.99 Die Shim Kit (item 22400 or 749-001-325WB) includes seven shims in thicknesses of .003, .004, .005, .006, .007, .008, and .010. For ease of use, shim thickness is indicated by the number of notches cut in the outer edge of each shim. Even without looking you can “count” the notches by feel.

NOTE: Brownells also offers a 10-shim set for use with L.E. Wilson seating dies used with arbor presses. Frankly we prefer micrometer-top Wilson dies, but if you have the standard dies, these shims come in handy. Order Brownells Code 749-001-326WB, $12.99.

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October 1st, 2019

Get FREE Lapua Ballistics App and User Guide HERE

Lapua Ballistics App 6DOF degrees of Freedom solver doppler radar bullet BC Apple iOS Android OS mobile smartphone iphone

Lapua offers a sophisticated FREE Ballistics App for iOS and Android smartphones and mobile devices. This state-of-the-art App has many great features — much more than you’d expect for a free App. If you do much shooting past 300 yards, or use a wide variety of bullets and/or cartridge types, we recommend you download the App and give it a try. This article, written by a Lapua technician, explains how to use the App. This article is definitely worth reading — there are many important concepts and procedures discussed here that apply to all Ballistics calculators, not just the Lapua App. For more details, read the Lapua Ballistics App User Manual.

The Lapua Ballistics App is available for Android and iOS smart phones and mobile devices free of charge. For more info, visit https://www.lapua.com/resources/lapua-ballistics-app/.

Watch Video for Explanation of Lapua Ballistics App Features

Lapua Ballistics App Basics — How to Get Started

Lapua bullets trajectory 6DOF Ballistics App Hunting G1 G7

Article by Matti Paananen
As smartphones and tablets are constantly developed, ballistic software and Apps are also improving, and with their help our ability to hit targets can improve significantly. This is a short introduction on why and how to use a ballistic calculator, namely the Lapua Ballistics App, and a few pointers that will help you use the App effectively.

CLICK HERE for FREE Lapua Ballistics App USER GUIDE

Ballistics software and Apps are designed to help shooters and hunters make calculations to hit distant targets or take down game in the field by offering ballistic solutions. Lapua Ballistics is the first App utilizing the 6DOF calculation model.

Toying around with ballistics apps is always fun, but effective use of ballistic software requires general understanding of how they work. The App gets information from the user and by using mathematical formulas it provides the solution that will give the user a solid starting point to hit the target.

However, it is also important to remember that the App can’t think — it only calculates a solution based on your parameters. You will not know the error until you have already fired the shot.

1. SET UP YOUR SCOPE RETICLE AND RIFLE
Scope manufactures use different units per click, so it’s important that you use the correct unit in the App. For example, in your scope, one click can be 0.1 mil, 1/4 MOA, [or 1/8 MOA depending on the model]. You can find this information in your scope manual and also usually from the scope turrets. Setting your scope reticle is very important, partly because if you use the wrong unit in the App, the ballistic solution will not match your scope. To set up your scope reticle in Lapua Ballistics, go to Manage Rifle / Cartridge Data –> Add Rifle Cartridge Data (or choose to edit a Rifle/Cartridge combo you’ve already set up) –> Reticle –>.

Lapua 6DOF Ballistics App Hunting G1 G7

Another thing to setup in Lapua Ballistics is your scope height, i.e. Line of Sight to Bore in the Manage Rifle / Cartridge Data window. This is the distance between the center of the scope and the center of the bore. The default height is 45mm but with tactical rifles, the height can be even 70mm. So check! The height is easy to measure with a ruler. Then there’s also the twist rate of your rifle to set up — look it up in the rifle manual, it can also be stamped on the rifle barrel. The rifle twist rate is needed to calculate spin drift and bullet stability. Spin drift should be taken into account with longer distances, and it can be enabled or disabled in Lapua Ballistics.

2. SET UP YOUR BULLET CHOICE
You can add your bullet of choice from the bullet library, where you find all Lapua bullets. It is also possible to add information manually. In this case, you will need bullet weight, the ballistic coefficient BC and muzzle velocity. The Ballistic coefficient can be given in G1 or G7 values. G7 is designed for low-drag bullets with a boat tail and G1 is used for more traditional flat base bullets. Lapua on the other hand uses Doppler radar-based data to calculate a more accurate ballistic trajectory for Lapua bullets by 6DOF model. Anyway, it is good to remember that the ballistic coefficient changes with velocity, so all changes in a flight path cannot be predicted.

The following thing you will need to set up is the bullet’s actual muzzle velocity. You can reverse engineer the number based on your drop or by using a chronograph. It is good to remember that more rounds you shoot, the better average velocity you will get.

Lapua Bullets 6DOF Ballistics App Hunting G1 G7

Because temperature affects muzzle velocity, it would be good to shoot velocities in different temperatures and write them down. Those notes can be used with Lapua Ballistics as it is possible to set up the powder temperature variation in the App.

3. SET UP WEATHER CONDITIONS
Lapua Ballistics has settings for temperature, air pressure, and humidity. All these affect the ballistic solution and the chance to hit the target. In a nutshell, temperature affects the powder’s burn speed and in that way the bullet velocity. Air pressure and humidity also affect bullet drag.

If you are shooting approximately on sea level, you do not need to change air pressure values, but if you are shooting or hunting in mountain areas or where there is lot of elevation difference, you might want to check the air pressure. On sea level, the atmospheric pressure is 1013 hPa. The higher you go, the less air pressure you will have and thus less bullet drag. Some like to use handheld weather and wind meters that have a function to get actual air pressure and humidity, however the Get Current Weather function in Lapua Ballistics will give you the air pressure reading from your local and most close weather station, provided that your app is allowed to use your location data.

Lapua Bullets 6DOF Ballistics App Hunting G1 G7

Temperature is an important variable. To understand how velocity change in different temperatures, only way is to shoot and keep notes. Some ballistic software and apps have values for muzzle velocity in different temperatures. The user needs to input muzzle velocity in different temperatures in order to software to calculate the effect. More velocities in different temperatures the user adds, the more accurate the calculation will be.

4. SET UP A BALLISTIC SOLUTION
After we have set up our own rifle / cartridge data, there are few things that need to be taken into account when shooting: the distance to the target, the wind and our shooting skills. Distance can be measured for example with a laser rangefinder and then put in. Wind can also be measured with a wind gauge but it is important to remember that the wind in the target area can be very different from that in the shooting position. Lapua Ballistics gives a ballistic solution based on stationary wind, so in the end, the shooter’s task is to estimate how much the wind factor will be.

It’s good to remember that Lapua Ballistics is a starting point and designed to assist the shooter. Software and apps have ways of helping us adjust the sight and predict the ballistic solution but they will not replace the shooter. We still have to pull the trigger and record our range data. By keeping good range notes and with the support of good ballistic software like Lapua Ballistics, we should be able hit in all environments.

Article Find by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions
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October 1st, 2019

Don’t Ruin Primer Pockets — Adjust Your Decapping Rod Properly

One of our Forum members complained that he wasn’t able to set his primers flush to the rim. He tried a variety of primer tools, yet no matter what he used, the primers still didn’t seat deep enough. He measured his primers, and they were the right thickness, but it seemed like his primer pockets just weren’t deep enough. He was mystified as to the cause of the problem.

Well, our friend Boyd Allen diagnosed the problem. It was the decapping rod. If the rod is adjusted too low (screwed in too far), the base of the full-diameter rod shaft (just above the pin) will contact the inside of the case. That shaft is steel whereas your case is brass, a softer, weaker metal. So, when you run the case up into the die, the shaft can actually stretch the base of the primer pocket outward. Most presses have enough leverage to do this. If you bell the base of the primer pocket outwards, you’ve essentially ruined your case, and there is no way a primer can seat correctly.

The fix is simple. Just make sure to adjust the decapping rod so that the base of the rod shaft does NOT bottom out on the inside of the case. The pin only needs to extend through the flash hole far enough to knock the primer out. The photo shows a Lyman Universal decapping die. But the same thing can happen with any die that has a decapping rod, such as bushing neck-sizing dies, and full-length sizing dies.

Universal decapping die

Whenever you use a die with a decapping pin for the first time, OR when you move the die to a different press, make sure to check the decapping rod length. And it’s a good idea, with full-length sizing dies, to always re-check the height setting when changing presses.

Lee Universal Decapping Die on SALE for $10.96
Speaking of decapping tools, Midsouth Shooters Supply sells the Lee Universal Decapping Die for just $10.96 (item 006-90292), a very good deal. There are many situations when you may want to remove primers from fired brass as a separate operation (prior to case sizing). For example, if your rifle brass is dirty, you may want to de-cap before sizing. Or, if you load on a progressive press, things will run much more smoothly if you decap you brass first, in a separate operation.

Lee universal decapping die

NOTE: Some Euro Small Flash Holes are 1.5mm or 0.059″.

The low-cost Lee Universal Decapping Die will work with cartridges from 17 Fireball all the way up to big Magnums. However, NOTE that the decapping pin supplied with this Lee die is TOO LARGE for LAPUA 220 Russian, 6mmBR, 6.5×47, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win (Palma) and Norma 6 PPC flash holes. Because the pin diameter is too large for these brass types, you must either turn down the pin, or decap with a different tool for cases with .059″ flash-holes. Otherwise, the Lee Decapping Die works well and it’s a bargain.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 26th, 2019

Airline Travel with Firearms — What You Need to Know

Tom McHale flying with firearms guns TSA
Airport photo by Politikaner under Creative Commons License.

With hundreds of readers traveling home this week from the 2019 F-Class Nationals in Raton, NM, and many others planning hunting trips out of state, we thought we’d repeat an article providing important information about air travel with firearms. If you will be flying with firearms this fall, you should read this article. You need to familiarize yourself with current Federal Regulations on gun transport before you get anywhere near an airport. Thankfully, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a web page that states the important requirements for airline passengers traveling with firearms* and/or ammunition.

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

Here are the TSA’s key guidelines for travel with firearms:

Tom McHale flying with firearms guns TSA

More Airline Travel Tips from Tom McHale
Tom McHale has written an excellent article for the Beretta Blog, Ten Things You Need to Know about Flying with Guns. We suggest you visit the Beretta Blog to read this informative story. Here are two of Tom McHale’s Travel Tips:

Weigh your gun case and ammunition
Most airlines will allow up to 11 pounds of ammunition. And, like any luggage, you will be charged more for any baggage weighing more than 50 pounds. This sounds like a lot, but when traveling to the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun competition last year, my case with shotgun, rifle, pistol and ammunition tipped the scale past the 50 pound mark.

Pack ammo in the same locking case
This is another area that’s misunderstood and full of internet myth. Your ammo just needs to be stored in some type of safe container and not loose. Technically, you can keep ammunition in magazines, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It meets the letter of the law storage requirement, but too many airline and TSA agents will give you grief. Use a plastic ammo box or original cardboard packaging and you’ll be fine carrying that in the same lockable case as your gun.

Tom McHale flying with firearms guns TSA

*SEE United States Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44. A “firearm” is defined as: any weapon (including a starter gun) which will, or is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; the frame or receiver of any such weapon; any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; and any destructive device. As defined by 49 CFR 1540.5 a loaded firearm has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm.

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September 25th, 2019

How to Make a Modified Case for Measuring Length-to-Lands

Hornady Stony Point Tool OAL O.A.L. gauge bullet seating length ogive checker

Our friend Gavin Gear has just released an excellent video showing how to make a threaded Modified Case for use with the Hornady Lock-N-Load Overall Length Gauge. You can watch Gavin make a Modified Case start to finish in the video below:

Video Shows How to Drill and Tap Modified Case

Gavin has some clever tricks. First he uses a sizing die to hold the cartridge case during the threading process. Second he uses two drill bits in sequence — a smaller bit to ream out the primer pocket, and then a larger “M” bit to increase the hole diameter before threading the brass. Finally he leaves the threading tap IN the brass, locks the tailstock, and then “gently pulls on the quill” to remove the brass from the die held in his lathe (See 5:46 timemark).

Get the Right 5/16″-36 RH Tap
Unfortunately, Hornady has selected an uncommon thread type for OAL Gauges. You probably won’t be able to buy the correct 5/16″ – 36 RH HSS Tap at your local hardware store. However you CAN order this special tap from Amazon for $9.99.

Modified Case Gavin Gear Ultimate Reloader

Why do I need a Modified Case?
Every serious reloader should have a Modified Case for each cartridge type they shoot. The reason is that this allows you to get very precise measurements of the length-to-lands in your chamber. When used with the Hornady OAL Gauge, with some practice, you should be able to get repeatable length-to-lands measurements within about 0.015″. We generally do 4-5 measurements with the OAL Gauge and usually 3 or 4 will be “on the money”. NOTE: We recommend a gentle, easy pressure on the plastic pusher rod. Don’t push too hard or you will jam the bullet hard into the lands, which produces inconsistent results.

Can’t I Just Buy a Modified Case?
Hornady makes a variety of Modified Cases sold on Amazon and through retailers such as Midsouth. While Hornady makes modified cases for many standard cartridges, if you shoot a wildcat such as the 6mm Dasher or .284 Shehane, you’ll need to create a custom modified case. And even if you shoot a standard cartridge such as the .308 Win, you can get more consistent measurements with a custom Modified Case.

If you do decide to make your own modified case, you’ll want to start with a case that’s been fired in your rifle. That way you get the best fit to YOUR chamber. Also, you won’t need to expand the neck to provide bullet clearance. Then you need to drill out the primer pocket and tap the base of the case to match the threads on the Hornady OAL Gauge tool. Make at least two modified cases, as you’ll probably misplace one at some point.

Erik Cortina Makes a Modified Case

If you want to learn more about making Modified Cases, top F-Class shooter Erik Cortina has also created a helpful video showing the process he uses to make modified cases. In Erik’s video, he shows how he taps a case to work with the Hornady Lock-N-Load Overall Length Gauge (formerly the Stoney Point Tool). Erik also explains how to get the best results when using the Modified Case to measure length to lands.

MORE INFORMATION: Want to learn more? We published a much longer story in which Erik explains in greater detail how to made the Modified Case. That article illustrates the 5/16″ – 36 RH HSS Tap required and shows how to set up the lathe to drill and tap your case. If you are serious about making your own Modified Cases, you should Read the Full Article.

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September 25th, 2019

Rimfire Resource: The Small-Bore Rifles Book

If you are shopping for a new rimfire rifle, particularly a .22 LR, you may want to pick up a copy of Small-Bore Rifles: A Guide for Rimfire Users by C. Rodney James. This provides a detailed history of rimfire cartridges and provides a look at a variety of rimfire rifles for various applications — target, plinking, varminting. SSUSA.org explains this book covers “every aspect of rimfire shooting, from a detailed history of its calibers and platforms, to a discussion of proper maintenance and expected accuracy[.]” American Rifleman Editor-in-Chief, Mark Keefe, writes: “This little book is the most useful treatment of the [.22 Long Rifle] I have read, and it is highly recommended for anyone serious about being a rimfire rifleman.”

You can view a 40-page sample of this book, including the index, on Amazon. CLICK HERE, then, when the page opens on Amazon.com, click the “LOOK INSIDE” link above the book cover image.

This book focuses primarily on the .22 LR (Long Rifle) cartridge. However, it does include extensive information on other rimfire chamberings, including .17 PMC/Aguila, .17 HMR, and .22 WMR. Here’s part of the 22 WMR section:

Here are reviews by recent verified purchases of the book:

“Everything you could ever want to know about the development of the .22 round, the ballistics of the same and the history of early bolt-action .22 rifles are presented in an easy-read style by a very knowledgeable author. There are plenty of color photographs and a lot of useful maintenance information throughout the book. I do have one complaint… the book has almost no information on semi-automatics.” — K. Greene

“A must-read book for the rimfire enthusiast. Much accurate information presented in an enjoyable format. From the earliest rimfire rounds to the latest 17s [are] all are covered in this book. Bolt actions, semi-autos and single-shot rifles are covered with the pros and cons of each. What makes for accuracy from the rifle to the cartridge is well covered.” — Ken Cook

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September 24th, 2019

Wind Wizardry — How to Use a Kestrel Correctly

Kestrel Wind Meter Direction Vane Applied Ballistics

A lot of folks use a Kestrel Wind Meter every time at the range. That’s a good thing. However, many Kestrel owners may not be employing the Kestrel properly when seeking wind direction.

A Kestrel Wind Meter will record wind speed with its impeller wheel. However, to get the most accurate wind velocity reading, you need to have your Kestrel properly aligned with the wind direction. To find wind direction, first orient the Kestrel so that the impeller runs at minimal speed (or stops), and only then turn the BACK of the Kestrel into the wind direction. Do NOT simply rotate the Kestrel’s back panel looking for the highest wind speed reading — that’s not the correct method for finding wind direction. Rotate the side of the Kestrel into the wind first, aiming for minimal impeller movement. The correct procedure is explained below by the experts at Applied Ballistics.

How to Find the Wind Direction with a Kestrel Wind Meter

Here is the correct way to determine wind direction with a Kestrel wind meter when you have no environmental aids — no other tools than a Kestrel. (NOTE: To determine wind direction, a mounted Wind Vane is the most effective tool, but you can also look at flags, blowing grass, or even the lanyard on your Kestrel).

Step 1: Find the wind’s general direction.

Step 2: Rotate the Wind Meter 90 degrees, so that the wind is impacting the side (and not the back) of the wind meter, while still being able to see the impeller.

Step 3: Fine-tune the direction until the impeller drastically slows, or comes to a complete stop (a complete stop is preferred). If the impeller won’t come to a complete stop, find the direction which has the lowest impact on the impeller.

Step 4: Turn the BACK of the Kestrel towards the direction from which the wind is blowing. Then press the capture button, and record your wind speed.

Do NOT simply point the Kestrel’s back into the wind until you get the highest wind speed — that’s not the correct method.

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September 22nd, 2019

Mobile Power — Chargers for Phones, Laptops, Tablets, LabRadars

LabRadar FosPower USB Battery pack charnging LED

Today’s precision shooter is connected. He or she is likely to bring a number of electronic items to the range, such as a smartphone, tablet computer, Kestrel, LabRadar chronograph, and more. These digital devices all require electricity to operate. Unfortunately, most ranges don’t include convenient charging stations for your gadgets. Therefore you need to bring battery back-up. Here are three good options, with storage capacities from 10200 mAh to 42000 mAh. The first unit is fully weather-proof, so it is good for hunters and tactical shooters exposed to the elements. The largest power pack, with AC outlet, is quite versatile and works well on car-camping trips.

1. FosPower 10200 mAh Waterproof Charger, $29.99

FosPower USB Battery pack waterproof shockproof LED

When you’re at the range or on a hunt, it’s smart to have a USB-output battery pack for smart phone, target-cam monitor, even a LabRadar. There are many battery packs available, but most are fairly fragile, with exposed ports. This “ruggedized” FosPower 10200 mAh charger is different. It is waterproof, dust-proof, and shock-proof. (IP67 certified: dust and water resistance for up to 3ft/1m for 30 minutes under water.) It can handle all that a PRS competitor or hunter can dish out. It even has a handy LED light. Right now it’s priced at $29.99 with FREE Shipping (on orders over $25.00).

2. EasyAcc 20000 mAh Battery Pack with Fast Charging, $37.99

USB

If you want to charge multiple devices, such as a tablet and a LabRadar, you need serious capacity. The EasyAcc 20000 mAh battery pack can charge up to four devices simultaneously. Notably, this $37.99 Battery Pack charges faster than most other 20K packs. It has two power input ports, allowing it to fully charge in 6-7 hours. (We have another 20000 mAh battery unit that takes over 16 hours to fully charge!). This unit will charge an iPhone 7 six times, a Samsung S8 four times or an iPad Mini two times. Note, 77% of Amazon purchasers rated this unit Five Stars (with 13% Four-Star reviews).

3. Webetop 42000 mAh USB, 12v DC, 110v AC Power Station, $108.99

USB

Many folks have asked us “How can I use a laptop, chronograph, or electronic powder dispenser that requires 110 volt AC power when I’m at the range?” Sure you can take power from your car’s 12 volt cigarette lighter jack, but you’ll still need a very long cable and a 12 volt to 110 volt step-up transformer. If you run a cable from the parking lot to the bench or shooting bay you’ll have to leave a window open in your vehicle and fellow shooters can trip over the long cord.

A better solution is to get a portable, combo 12 volt + 110 volt power unit. This versatile 42000 mAh Webetop Power Station will drive a 110v device, plus charge a tablet and cellphone, all at the same time. You can run a LabRadar for days with this power-pack. It will also power CPAP machines and other 12V devices. One nice feature is rapid charging. Before your range session or camping trip, plug this into the wall. It will get fully charged in 7-8 hours. It’s a bargain right now for $108.99 on Amazon.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 20th, 2019

AR, Garand, M1A — Six Rules for Gas Gun Reloading

Reloading for Service Rifles
SFC Lance Dement as featured in CMP’s First Shot Online.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has published a great series of reloading “how-to” articles on its Facebook Page. This post covers key factors to consider when loading ammunition for Match Rifles and Service Rifles, with a particular focus on self-loading “gas guns”. Visit the USAMU Facebook Page each Wednesday for other, helpful “Handloading Hump-Day” tips.

We offer some “cardinal rules” to help new gas-gun handloaders with safety and efficiency. These address both Match Rifle and Service Rifle versions of the AR15, M1 Garand, M1A, and M110. However, they can also improve safe reloading for many other auto-loaders such as M1 Carbines, FALs, SIGs, etc. The author distilled these principles many years ago to help focus on the essential aspects of these rifles.

RULE ONE: Service Rifles Are Not Benchrest Rifles
Gas-guns require a relatively loose fit between ammunition and chamber (vs. bolt actions) for safe, smooth operation. Many techniques, such as neck sizing and keeping cartridge headspace quite tight, are popular in the extreme bolt gun accuracy realm. However, they are of little value with Service Rifles, and some could even be hazardous. Before adopting a specialized technique, seriously consider whether it is appropriate and beneficial in a gas-gun.

RULE TWO: Never Compromise Safety to Obtain Accuracy
Example: If choosing a brand of great, but ultra-sensitive match primers offers possibly better accuracy at the risk of slam-fires in your design of rifle, don’t do it! You are issued exactly two eyes and ten fingers (best-case scenario). Risking them trying to squeeze 0.25 MOA better accuracy out of an M1A, etc. simply isn’t worth it.

Reloading for Service Rifles

RULE THREE: Tailor the Precision to Your Individual Skill and Your Rifle’s Potential
This has been addressed here before, but bears repeating for newcomers. If you are struggling to break out of the Marksman Class, or using a CMP M1 “As-Issued,” then laboriously turning the necks of your 600-yard brass is a waste of time. Your scores will improve much faster by practicing or dry-firing. On the other hand, if the reigning champions anxiously check your scores each time you fire an event, a little neck-turning might not be so far-fetched.

Verifying Load Improvements — Accuracy hand-loading involves a wide variety of techniques, ranging from basic to rather precise. Carefully select those which offer a good return on investment for your time and labor. In doubt? Do a classic pilot study. Prepare ammo for at least three or four ten-shot groups with your new technique, vs. the same with your standard ammo. Then, pick a calm day and test the ammo as carefully as possible at its full distance (e.g. 200, 300, or 600 yards) to verify a significant improvement. A little testing can save much labor!

RULE FOUR: Be Your Own Efficiency Expert
Serious Service Rifle shooters generally think of ammunition in terms of thousands of rounds, not “boxes”, or even “hundreds”. Analyze, and WRITE DOWN each step in your reloading process. Count the number of times each case is handled. Then, see if any operations can be dropped or changed without reducing safety or accuracy. Eliminating just two operations saves 2000 steps per 1000 rounds loaded. Conversely, carefully consider any measurable benefits before adding a step to your routine.

RULE FIVE: In Searching for Greater Accuracy with Efficiency, Look for System Changes
For example, instead of marking your 300-yard rounds individually to differentiate them from your 200-yard ammo, would a simple change in primers work? If accuracy is maintained, using brass-colored primers for 200 and silver for 300 provides an indelible indicator and eliminates a step! Similarly, rather than spending hours selecting GI surplus brass for weight and neck uniformity, consider splurging on some known, high-quality imported match brass for your 600-yard loads. Results should be excellent, time is saved, and given limited shooting at 600 yards, brass life should be long.

RULE SIX: Check All Your Primers Before Packaging Your Loaded Ammo
This seems simple and even intuitive. However, many slam-fires (which were much more common when M1s and M1As were the standard) are due, at least in part, to “high” primers. Primers should be seated below flush with the case head. The USAMU has addressed this at length in a previous column, but each round should be checked for properly-seated primers before they are packaged for use.

Reloading for Service Rifles

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September 18th, 2019

Too Fast or Too Slow — What’s Your Optimal Twist Rate?

Glen Zediker Twist Rate .223 Rem Barrel Top Grade Ammo Midsouth
Here’s an extreme range of .224-Caliber bullets: 35gr varmint bullet and 90gr match bullet. Of course, along with bullet length/design, you need to consider MV when choosing twist rate.

Even with the same caliber (and same bullet weight), different bullet types may require different rates of spin to stabilize properly. The bullet’s initial spin rate (RPM) is a function of the bullet’s muzzle velocity and the spin imparted by the rifling in the barrel. You want to ensure your bullet is stable throughout flight. It is better to have too much spin than too little, according to many ballistics experts, including Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics. Glen Zediker has some basic tips concerning barrel twist rates and bullet stability. These come from his latest book, Top Grade Ammo.

Choosing the Right Twist Rate
I’d always rather have a twist too fast than not fast enough. Generally… I recommend erring toward the faster side of a barrel twist decision. 1:8″ twist is becoming a “new standard” for .224 caliber, replacing 1:9″ in the process. The reason is that new bullets tend to be bigger rather than smaller. Don’t let a too-slow twist limit your capacity to [achieve] better long-range performance.

Base your next barrel twist rate decision on the longest, heaviest bullets you choose to use, and at the same time realize that the rate you choose will in turn limit your bullet choices. If the longest, heaviest bullet you’ll shoot (ever) is a 55-grain .224, then there’s honestly no reason not to use a 1:12″. Likewise true for .308-caliber: unless you’re going over 200-grain bullet weight, a 1:10″ will perform perfectly well.

Glen Zediker Twist Rate .223 Rem Barrel Top Grade Ammo Midsouth

Bullet Length is More Critical than Weight
Bullet length, not weight, [primarily] determines how much rotation is necessary for stability. Twist rate suggestions, though, are most usually given with respect to bullet weight, but that’s more of a generality for convenience’s sake, I think. The reason is that with the introduction of higher-ballistic-coefficient bullet designs, which are longer than conventional forms, it is easily possible to have two same-weight bullets that won’t both stabilize from the same twist rate.

Evidence of Instability
The tell-tale for an unstable (wobbling or tumbling) bullet is an oblong hole in the target paper, a “keyhole,” and that means the bullet contacted the target at some attitude other than nose-first.

Glen Zediker Twist Rate .223 Rem Barrel Top Grade Ammo MidsouthIncreasing Barrel Length Can Deliver More Velocity, But That May Still Not Provide Enough Stability if the Twist Rate Is Too Slow
Bullet speed and barrel length have an influence on bullet stability, and a higher muzzle velocity through a longer tube will bring on more effect from the twist, but it’s a little too edgy if a particular bullet stabilizes only when running maximum velocity.

My failed 90-grain .224 experiment is a good example of that: I could get them asleep in a 1:7″ twist, 25-inch barrel, which was chambered in .22 PPC, but could not get them stabilized in a 20-inch 1:7″ .223 Rem. The answer always is to get a twist that’s correct.

These tips were adapted from Glen’s newest book, Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth. To learn more about this book and other Zediker titles, and read a host of downloadable articles, visit ZedikerPublishing.com.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 15th, 2019

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 12th, 2019

Dollars and $ense — Bargain 9mm Ammo Vs. Handloading

Sig Sauer P210 Legend

Everyone should have a 9mm Luger (9x19mm) pistol. The 9mm Luger round feeds/cycles great, recoil is moderate, and a vast array of excellent 9mm handguns are available. And, perhaps most importantly, quality factory ammo is affordable. In fact because 9x19mm ammo is produced in such quantity, it is some of the cheapest centerfire pistol ammo you can buy. Today we’ve found some great 9mm Luger ammo deals for you, with big-name factory stuff for under 18 cents per round.

At that price, it may not be worth reloading. Consider this — typical 9mm component costs easily approach fifteen cents per round even with free brass: Bullet ($0.08 – $0.10), Powder ($0.02), and Primer ($0.04). Given the costs of bullets, powder, and primers, it may not be worth reloading 9mm Luger, especially if you value your precious time!

Hudson H9 9mm pistol

Should You Reload 9mm Ammo? Run the Numbers, Then Decide…
While this Editor reloads almost all his .45 ACP and .44 Magnum ammo, I generally shoot factory ammo in my 9mm Luger pistols. Why? When you give some reasonable value to the time you spend setting-up and operating your reloading press, it is hard to beat factory ammo at around $10 per 50-count box (i.e. $0.20/round). While once-fired 9mm brass is plentiful (and cheap), you can easily spend 15-16 cents per round just on bullet, powder, and primer. So reloading may only save you 4 or 5 cents per round. Hence if you load 200 rounds per hour (including set-up time), you only recoup $8 to $10 per hour (at best) for all your effort. You may decide, as I did, that my time was worth more than that.

Great Deals on 9mm Luger (9x19mm) Factory Ammunition

Sellier & Bellot 115gr FMJ at Brownells
$189.99 for 1000-rd Case
$15 OFF + Free S/H with CODE NCS
Net Cost: $174.99 for 1000 rounds

9mm 9x19mm factory ammo deal sale bargain

Browning 9mm 115gr FMJ at Grafs.com
$109.99 for 500 rds ($10.99 per 50-rd box)
Flat Rate Shipping $7.95

9mm 9x19mm factory ammo deal sale bargain

Fiocchi 9mm 115gr FMJ at Natchez
$8.49 per 50-rd box ($0.17/rd)
Shipping Extra

9mm 9x19mm factory ammo deal sale bargain

CCI Blazer Brass 9mm 115gr at MidwayUSA
$10.99 for 50 rds ($0.22/rd)
$209.99 for 1000 rds ($0.21/rd)
Shipping Extra

9mm 9x19mm factory ammo deal sale bargain

HK H&K Heckler Koch P7 PSP P7M8 9mm Luger pistol

HK H&K Heckler Koch P7 PSP P7M8 9mm Luger pistol

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 9th, 2019

Movie Monday — Five Great Shooting USA Videos

Shooting USA video parallax wind reading Sherri Gallagher scope mounting AR cleaning field-stripping

For decades, ShootingUSA has been a leading video resource for the shooting sports and hunting. This popular cable TV show covers shooting matches, and provides expert information on precision shooting, gun maintenance, optics, and defensive firearms use. Here are five interesting videos all worth watching. Learn about wind-reading, gun maintenance, and optics.

1. Reading the Wind — SGT Sherri Jo Gallagher of USAMU

Sergeant Sherri Jo Gallagher of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) shows us how to read the wind in given conditions, and how to apply your wind assessment when aiming down-range. During her time with the USAMU, Sherri won the National High Power Championship, and was the first woman in history to earn the U.S. Army “Soldier of the Year” honors. Sherri comes from a legendary family of shooters — she was raised by Ace Marksman Mid Tompkins and mother Nancy Tompkins, the first female to win the NRA National High Power Championship.

2. Field-Stripping and Cleaning AR-Platform Rifles

Let’s face it — Black Rifles run dirty. On AR-platform rifles, the gas system blows carbon and powder residues back into the action and bolt carrier group. Accordingly, you need to clean ARs early and often, and you should fully disassemble the bolt carrier to access parts and recesses which accumulate greasy lube and hard carbon. This helpful video shows how to field-strip and clean AR-platform rifles. If you own an AR, this is definitely worth viewing. With over 1.9 million views, this is the #1 most-watched video on Shooting USA’s YouTube Channel.

2. MOA Defined — Jim Scoutten Explains Minute of Angle

Minute of Angle (MOA) — this is the most common measurement of group size, and hence rifle accuracy. You hear about shooters hoping to shoot 1 MOA or “half-MOA”, but many folks could not give you a precise definition. In fact MOA is an angular measurement that equates to one-sixtieth of one degree of Arc. In this video, host John Scoutten defines MOA. He then demonstrates how MOA translates to accuracy on target. He demonstrates one-half-MOA accuracy with a Les Baer Custom rifle. This company offers a three-shot, half-MOA guarantee for its rifles.

4. How to Adjust for Parallax

Most precision rifle scopes have parallax adjustment, typically a knob on the left side of the scope. but what exactly is “Parallax” and why do you need to adjust optics to ensure the parallax setting is optimal? In this Shooting USA video, John Paul of JP Rifles defines parallax and explains why you need to set parallax correctly for the distance to your target. The video then shows how to adjust parallax correctly, a process which should start with the scope’s ocular focus.

5. How to Mount a Riflescope

When mounting a scope you want to use quality rings, and ensure that the scope is leveled properly. In addition, you need to adjust the fore/aft position of the scope so that eye relief is correct. Ideal scope position may be different when shooting from the bench vs. shooting prone. In this Shooting USA video John Paul of JP Rifles reviews scope mounting basics.

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September 9th, 2019

Kid-Sized Hearing Protection for Infants and Small Children

Walker's baby child kids earmuff ear muffs

Here’s a product we’re pleased to see on the market. Walker’s, a major supplier of hearing protection for shooters, offers smaller-sized NRR 23 ear muffs specifically designed for infants and small children from six months to eight years of age. Walker’s Baby & Kids Muffs provide protection for infants and children against dangerous loud noises. The muffs are designed to fit smaller heads properly, and protect the sensitive hearing of youngsters. Priced under $10.00 on Amazon, these are so affordable that there’s no excuse not to protect your childrens’ hearing.

The adjustable headband on these muffs is designed for the smaller heads of kids up to age 8. These Baby & Kids Muffs have a 23 NRR noise reduction rating. We wish that were at least 25 NRR, but this can be supplemented with foam plugs for extra protection (plugs under the muffs). The important thing is that these muffs are sized right for youngsters and fit properly (for a good sound-seal). Walker’s® Baby and Kids muffs start at $14.99 MSRP and come in four color choices: blue, pink, green and camo.

Baby BANZ for Children 0-2 Years
Walker's baby child kids earmuff ear muffsParents of very young infants should consider Baby BANZ Muffs, which are designed for infants 0-2 years. These small-sized muffs can protect toddlers’ hearing during rock concerts, when loud machinery is running, during fireworks displays, or other noisy activities. With an impressive NRR 31 dB rating, these really work for tiny tots and toddlers.

One mother reports: “I bought these for my two-month old and they work great! He’s never fought us putting them on. He’s now falling asleep with them. He’s slept through a demolition derby and a rowdy wedding reception. I’m ordering another pair for my nephew.” Another mom says: “We bought these when we took our four month-old to a loud event. They fit her head well and were well-padded. She looked very comfortable, so comfortable in fact that she slept for most of her first rock concert. I’d say they worked exceptionally well!”

Baby BanZ ear muffs kids
Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 8th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: 6mm Dasher Winner From Forum Classifieds

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

With the 6mm Dasher cartridge becoming popular with PRS/NRL competitors as well as the benchrest crowd, we thought it was time to re-visit a special rifle chambered for the 6mm Dasher wildcat. This gun has a great story behind it. Forum member Bob A. (aka “Killshot”) used his “Forum Classifieds Special” to beat all comers in the F-Class Division in the American-Canadian Match and the Long Range Regional Match in 2013 in Sacramento, CA.

Bob’s 6mm Dasher sports a blue-printed Rem 700 action. Who says you need a high-dollar custom action to run with the big dogs? In fact, this same gun, built with components sourced from AccurateShooter Forum Classified Ads, set a Sacramento F-Class range record of 200-17X a few years back. In this story, Bob talks about the build, and he explains his methods for loading ultra-accurate Dasher ammo.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

Bob’s Budget-Build Dasher F-Classer
I wanted to build a proper rifle for F-Open but needed to keep it simple and, well, cheap. I found a solid “base” to build on in the form of a Dave Bruno-built, “pre-owned” 6-6.5×47 Lapua that I located in the AccurateShooter Forum classifieds in late 2011. The base action was a trued and blue-printed Remington 700 receiver circa 1971 with a spiral-fluted bolt. It was in a Shehane ST1000 stock painted sky blue and had a Jewell 1.5-oz BR trigger. I sent the bolt to Greg Tannel (Gretanrifles.com) to have the firing pin hole bushed and sleeved, the ejector removed and the hole filled and the face trued. I upgraded to Tannel’s Light Steel firing pin assembly while it was out.

Having the working bits completed, I needed a barrel. So I went to the AccurateShooter classifieds again and found a 1:8″-twist, 30″ x 1.25″ (diam.) Bartlein with a 0.236″-land bore. I called Dave Kiff and explained my pursuit and he recommended his PT&G “world record” 6 Dasher reamer (.2704″ no-turn neck and .104″ freebore). A month or so later the reamer and gauges arrived.

I had the barrel chambered by Marc Soulie of Spartan Precision Rifles (510-755-5293, Concord, CA). Marc is a great builder and I’m pleased to call him a friend.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

The rifle got its good looks from a Pennsylvania artist named Kenny Prahl. His Prahl Designs shop (724-478-2538) added the white ghost-flames over the existing sky blue metallic paint.

Looks Great, Shoots Better
Fire-forming showed great promise — ten-shot groups of half an inch at 200 yards were typical. I lost only one case to a split neck and the “blow lengths” are good and consistent. This was followed up with load development which saw 100-yard, five-shot groups in the .1s and .2s as the rifle showed its preference for Reloder 15 over Varget powder, and for CCI 450s over all other primers. The bullet of choice was the ever-popular Berger 105gr Hybrid Target.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness

In February 2012 I began shooting the Dasher in monthly club matches at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center, the home range of a number of excellent F-Class, Benchrest and High Power shooters. Using a Farley Coaxial rest up front (also picked up from a WTB ad on AccurateShooter’s Forum) and an Edgewood bag in the back, I gradually improved my gun-handling to the point where I could shoot a respectable score. This was very different from the bipod shooting I’d done in the past in F/TR.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March Madness


Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March MadnessDasher Loading Tips
My chamber is set up for blue box Lapua 6mmBR brass. My case preparation is straight-forward. I fire-form with virgin cases right out of the box. I don’t size them but I will give the primer holes a good look and clean up the flash hole with a .058″ bit in a pin vise. To fire-form, I seat a Berger 108gr BT .030″ into the lands over a standard 6mmBR load of Varget.

For match loads, I use Alliant Reloder 15. While Varget is less sensitive to temp changes, RL15 has given me lower extreme spreads and better long range control. [Bob acknowledges that every barrel is unique, so a different powder, such as H4895 might work better for you.]

I clean my fired cases with stainless steel media in a Thumler’s rotary tumbler after every firing. I anneal after every other firing using a Bench-Source machine which is very well made and easy to operate. I use a Whidden full length bushing die with Redding bushings for sizing.

After sizing, I chamfer the inside of the neck with the K&M tool which has a pilot rod centered in the flash hole. Then I’ll give the neck and mouth a “once over” with some 0000 steel wool. I finish loading off with a Redding Competition Seating Die with the micrometer top.

Bob A. 6mm Dasher Sacramento F-Class March MadnessI use a carbide ball on the expander rod of the full length sizing die. I use a .266″ TiN-coated bushing and the ball just kisses the inside walls of the sized neck. I get very consistent neck tension this way and have had no issue with split necks.

Seating Depth Considerations
With fire-formed brass, the junction of the bullet’s bearing surface and boat-tail is above the neck/shoulder junction of the case, so I have no issues with donuts. You can see how a loaded round looks in the photo at left. For occasional trimming, I use a very nice little Possum Hollow trimmer that indexes on the case shoulder.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
September 6th, 2019

Making Modified Cases, SEB Rest Upgrades, ChargeMaster Tuning

Erik Cortina Video SEB Rest NEO Upgrade coaxial Lambang Modified Case Hornady Length gauge RCBS Chargemaster

Erik Cortina is one of the nation’s top F-Class shooters. A member of Team Lapua-Brux-Borden, Erik has been a top performer at National and World F-Class Championships. Erik is also a very smart guy and a skilled toolsmith who has upgraded his shooting equipment in interesting ways. Today we feature three “How-To” videos from Erik. These show how to upgrade a SEB Coaxial Rest, how to improve the performance of an RCBS Chargemaster, and how to create your own Modified Case for measuring length to lands. Watch and learn…

1. How to Make a Modified Case for the Hornady OAL Tool

Hornady Stony Point Tool OAL O.A.L. gauge bullet seating length ogive checker

In this video, Forum member Erik Cortina shows how to create a custom modified case for use with the Hornady Lock-N-Load Overall Length Gauge (formerly the Stoney Point Tool). While Hornady sells modified cases for many standard cartridges, if you shoot a wildcat such as the 6mm Dasher or .284 Shehane, you’ll need to create a custom modified case. And even if you shoot a standard cartridge such as the .308 Win, you can get more consistent measurements if you make a custom modified case from a piece of brass fired in your chamber.

MORE INFORMATION: Want to learn more? We published a much longer story in which Erik explains in greater detail how to made the Modified Case. That article illustrates the 5/16″ – 36 RH HSS Tap required and shows how to set up the lathe to drill and tap your case. If you are serious about making your own Modified Cases, you should Read the Full Article.

2. How to Upgrade your SEB Co-Axial Joystick Rest

Erik Cortina Joystick SEB Rest accessory f-class feet holder

Joystick (coaxial) rests are used by top shooters in benchrest and F-Open disciplines. With coaxial rests, you can adjust both vertical and horizontal aim instantly in one fluid movement — there are no mariner wheels to spin or knobs to turn. Just gently stir the joystick to move up, down, or sideways. Erik Cortina explains: “If you want to get into F-Class (Open) and want to win, you should get a SEB rest. SEB makes an excellent product, but the one thing we upgrade automatically … is adding the F-Class feet. These have a bigger footprint and a spike on the bottom [so you can] dig the feet into the ground and make your rest a lot more stable.” In this video Erik installs a set of Blake Machine Co. F-Class feet. These feature a set-screw, so they are easy to attach and then remove for travel (no Loctite!). “Simple yet effective” declares Erik.

In the second half of the video (starting at 5:30), Erik installs a Dan Bramley Joystick Holder. This features two clamp-on cradles that hold the joystick crosswise below the top (see photo). This handy accessory ensures your handle always remains with the rest (and doesn’t get left at home when you travel to a big match). This joystick holder has been popular with competitors. Erik says, “The Bramley Joystick holder is $60.00 — money well spent.” To order, email Dan at dbramley [at] yahoo.com.

3. How to Make the RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 Work Better

Erik Cortina has been fiddling around with his RCBS ChargeMaster and he discovered something interesting. Through a series of tests he determined that the ChargeMaster dispensed slightly more precise charges when he trickled the last few 10ths of a grain on to the RCBS pan. Erik wasn’t expecting this result, but he confirmed there may be a slight benefit to this trickling method (as opposed to allowing the ChargeMaster to dispense the full charge). You can see Erik’s test procedure in this video:

We should note that Erik’s preferred method of weighing powder is to first dispense a slightly lower charge with the RCBS, transfer the pan to a laboratory-class Sartorius magnetic force restoration scale, then trickle up with his Omega (Dandy Products) Powder Trickler. However, if you don’t have a $800+ laboratory-grade scale, you might just try trickling on to the ChargeMaster pan.

MORE INFORMATION: We have published a more lengthy Bulletin Article that covers Erik’s Chargemaster Performance Findings in greater detail. That article has more photos plus a clever, bonus “Beep Defeat Tip”. If you own a Chargemaster, we recommend you READ the Full Article.

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September 5th, 2019

Most Comprehensive Rimfire Ammo Test Ever — 55 Ammo Types

rimfire ammunition test

We first featured this story in 2010, but the results of this rimfire ammo test have been of such widespread interest that we try to bring the test to readers’ attention every year.

In 2010, the staff of AccurateReloading.com Forum completed a massive .22LR Rimfire Ammunition Testing Project. Some 55 different types of ammo were tested, using a highly-accurate Swiss-made Bleiker rifle, with a 2-stage trigger. All ammo varieties were tested at 50 yards, 75 yards, and 100 yards, shooting five, 5-shot groups at each distance. Though these tests were completed some time ago, many readers have requested a “reprint” of the ammo rankings, so we’ve republished this data below.

The results are fascinating to say the least (and perhaps eye-opening). The tester observed: “I got some amazing groups, and some which are, frankly, absurdly bad! This has re-enforced what I had experienced with 22 ammo in the past — that is being consistently inconsistent.”

While we strongly caution that .22LR rimfire ammo may work well in one gun and not another, and ammo performance can be improved through the use of barrel tuners, the AccurateReloading.com research provides invaluable guidance for smallbore shooters. Overall, the testers burned through over 4,000 rounds of ammo, and you can see the actual test targets online. To read all the test reports, and view target photos visit AccurateReloading.com.

Bleiker .22LR Rifle

The lists below rank the average accuracy (by brand) of five, 5-shot groups shot at 50, 75, and 100 yards. CLICK HERE for Complete Test Results with target photos.

50-Yard Results 75-Yard Results 100-Yard Results
0.162 Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS
0.164 Lapua Midas Plus
0.177 Lapua Polar Biathlon
0.187 Eley Match EPS
0.193 Eley Match
0.203 Lapua Midas M
0.215 Lapua Center X
0.216 Western Value Pack
0.229 Lapua Signum
0.241 Lapua Master L
0.243 Eley Pistol Match
0.256 Olin Ball
0.256 Akah X-Zone
0.261 Lapua Midas L
0.261 Lapua Master M
0.263 Eley Tenex Semi Auto
0.270 Lapua Super Club
0.272 Eley Tenex
0.303 Lapua Standard Plus
0.312 CCI Standard Velocity
0.319 RWS R 50
0.319 Eley Standard
0.328 SK High Velocity
0.339 Eley Club Xtra
0.340 Winchester T22
0.356 Federal Champion
0.362 Eley Subsonic HP
0.371 CCI Mini Mag
0.376 Federal American Eagle
0.377 Norinco Target
0.380 Sellier & Bellot Club
0.384 Eley Club
0.387 Eley Sport
0.388 Totem
0.392 Swartklip Match Trainer
0.398 Federal Gold Medal
0.403 Swartklip HV
0.409 Eley Match Xtra Plus
0.424 Sellier & Bellot Std
0.443 Remington Target
0.461 Lapua Crow HP
0.475 Eley Silhouex
0.479 Magtech
0.498 Eley High Velocity
0.513 Winchester Super X
0.516 Kassnar Concorde
0.539 CCI Blazer
0.560 Winchester Supreme Pistol
0.576 Norinco Pistol Revolver
0.593 SK Standard
0.611 Sellier And Bellot HP
0.626 SK Standard HP
0.686 Logo HV
0.956 Pobjeda Target
0.274 Lapua Center X
0.283 Lapua Standard Plus
0.295 Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS
0.307 Lapua Midas M
0.329 Lapua Master M
0.346 Eley Match
0.373 Lapua Polar Biathlon
0.399 RWS R 50
0.432 Lapua Midas L
0.448 Eley Tenex Semi Auto
0.467 Eley Match EPS
0.474 Lapua master L
0.491 Eley Match Xtra Plus
0.494 CCI Standard
0.496 Eley Subsonic HP
0.507 Eley Sport
0.512 Federal American Eagle
0.513 SK High Velocity
0.514 Eley Standard
0.516 Eley Tenex
0.516 Lapua Crow HP
0.532 Western Value Pack
0.533 Fed. Champion Target
0.535 Lapua Midas Plus
0.564 Akah X Zone
0.566 Olin Ball
0.573 Eley Club Xtra
0.616 Lapua Signum
0.631 Winchester T22
0.639 Swartklip HV HP
0.641 Eley Club
0.642 Eley Silhouex
0.647 CCI Mini Mag
0.679 Eley Pistol Match
0.682 Swartklip Match Trainer
0.690 Federal Gold Medal
0.692 Remington HV
0.703 Lapua Super Club
0.720 Winchester Super X
0.738 Eley High Velocity
0.759 Kassnar Concorde
0.765 Sellier And Bellot Club
0.770 Winch. Supreme Pistol
0.770 Norinco target
0.775 CCI Blazer
0.802 Norinco Pistol Revolver
0.841 LVE Logo HV
0.855 Sellier & Bellot Std
0.871 Magtech
0.923 Sellier & Bellot HP
0.934 SK Standard HP
1.017 Remington Target
1.257 Totem Standard
1.442 SK Standard
1.578 Pobjeda target
0.455 Eley Match
0.510 Lapua Midas Plus
0.549 Lapua Midas M
0.611 Lapua Polar Biathlon
0.611 Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS
0.619 Eley Match EPS
0.622 Eley Club
0.630 Lapua Center X
0.631 RWS R50
0.679 Eley Tenex Semi Auto
0.694 Lapua Midas L
0.729 Eley Tenex
0.739 Lapua Master L
0.753 Lapua Super Club
0.785 Lapua Master M
0.831 Eley Sport
0.851 Eley Match Xtra
0.859 Lapua Standard Plus
0.867 Akah X-Zone
0.877 Eley Pistol Match
0.907 Norinco Target
0.924 Eley Silhouex
0.939 CCI Standard
0.952 Eley Subsonic HP
0.963 Magtech
0.970 Olin Ball
0.978 Kassnar Concorde
0.995 Eley Club Xtra
1.009 Western Value Pack
1.032 Federal Champion
1.087 Norinco Pistol Revolver
1.100 CCI Mini Mag
1.112 Lapua Crow HP
1.143 Winchester T22
1.142 Federal Gold Medal
1.144 federal American Eagle
1.156 Swartklip Hollo Point
1.165 Lapua Signum
1.170 Swartklip Match Trainer
1.175 Fed. Champion Value Pk
1.182 SK high Velocity
1.201 Totem
1.224 Winchester Super X
1.358 Eley Standard
1.367 Remington High Velocity
1.375 CCI Blazer
1.414 Eley High Velocity
1.450 Remington Target
1.504 LVE Logo
1.813 SK Standard
1.879 S&B Club
1.947 S&B Hollow Point
2.073 SK Standard HP
2.221 S&B Standard
2.266 Pobjeda Target

EDITOR: Note to the trolls, whiners, and nay-sayers. Yes, this test is nearly a decade old. Yes, some newer types of ammo are missing. Yes, it would be nice to shoot the ammo in other rifles (we all know that different rifles can have different ammo preferences). That said, this is still the most comprehensive, thorough rimfire ammunition test ever conducted and the results are invaluable. We are grateful that the AccurateReloading.com team put the time and effort into this “Mother of All Rimfire Ammo Tests”. The rimfire shooting community should acknowledge AccurateReloading.com’s testers for their hard work.

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