July 30th, 2021

Fire-Forming .284 Improved Cases with Water-Cooled Railgun

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly Fire-forming railgun water cooled barrel

In the video below, Shiraz Balolia takes you through the essentials of fire-forming brass with his custom-made, water-cooled benchrest railgun. Shiraz is a current Team member (and former Team Captain) of the U.S. F-Class Open Rifle Team. Shiraz has competed on the National and World level for more than two decades, and has won multiple major International championships in 1000-yard shooting. In this video he will walk you through fire-forming cartridges in .284 Shiraz, a wildcat based on the .284 Winchester.

Fire-forming properly is a pre-requisite for accuracy in a match rifle. Done right, fire-forming can improve cartridge consistency shot to shot. Creating a fire-forming fixture like this, or even a more basic design, can save you time and potential frustration on the range, Shiraz explains. The key is getting the initial case expansion to match your competition chamber quickly but without generating excessive heat. Follow along as Shiraz takes you through the methodology of fire-forming both in his work shop and on the range.


Here Shiraz Balolia takes you through the essentials of fire-forming brass with his custom-made, water-cooled benchrest railgun.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly Fire-forming railgun water cooled barrel

Along with running the successful Grizzly Industrial enterprise, Shiraz is a top competitor and member of the U.S. F-Open team. He has competed in three world championships. In recent years he captured three straight Canadian National F-Class Championships (READ 3-Peat STORY). So, this guy knows his stuff.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly Fire-forming railgun water cooled barrel

Shiraz shows fellow shooters how to fire-form cases efficiently without burning precious match barrel life. In the video above he uses a custom-designed railgun that employs water cooling for the barrel. This is done with hoses running from a sink, so that cool water is constantly flowing through the barrel jacket.

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly Fire-forming railgun water cooled barrel

Shiraz says the fired cartridge are actually cool to the touch because the water-jacketed barrel keeps everything at a moderate temperature. (See video at 8:00)

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly Fire-forming railgun water cooled barrel

Shiraz Balolia Grizzly Fire-forming railgun water cooled barrel

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July 29th, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How the Test Was Done

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

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

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

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

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July 27th, 2021

TECH REVIEW: Kestrel 5700 Elite with Applied Ballistics Software

Kestrel Wind Meter F-Class John Applied Ballistics

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

Camp Atterbury F-Class Championships

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

Kestrel Wind Meter F-Class John Applied Ballistics

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

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

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

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

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July 27th, 2021

Polish Inside of Seating Stems to Avoid Ring Marks on Bullets

Seating Stem Reloading Tip Sierra Bullet .223 Remington compressed loads

Here’s a helpful hint for hand-loaders from Sierra Bullets. While this article focuses on Sierra’s new Tipped Match-King bullets, the recommended solutions apply to other bullet types as well. The article explains how sharp edges on a seating stem can cause a ring to be pressed into the bullet jacket — especially with compressed loads that resist downward bullet movement. Here Sierra technician Rich Machholz diagnoses the problem and provides a solution.

Seating Stem Reloading Tip Sierra Bullet .223 Remington compressed loads

Solutions for Ring Marks Caused by Seating Stems

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz
Now that the new Tipped MatchKing® (TMK) bullets are being shipped and shooters are putting them to use I have received several calls regarding marking on the bullet ogive from the seating stem.

The cause can be traced to one of several things. In the .223 and especially with the long, 77 grain TMK seated at 2.250” or even 2.260” most loads of Varget® and Reloder® 15 are compressed loads, sometimes heavily compressed. This puts a great deal of pressure on the bullet through the seating stem. The result of all this pressure is a mark of varying depth and appearance on the ogive of the bullet. [Editor: We have seen this issue with a variety of other bullet types/shapes as well, including non-tipped VLDs. The solution is profiling the internal cone of the seating stem to match your bullet shape.]

Some older seating stems might even bear against the tip of the bullet which can make a slight bulge in the jacket just below the junction of the resin tip and the copper jacket in a compressed load. If this is the case there is not a ready fix other than calling the die manufacturer and requesting a new deeper seating stem.

Polish Your Seating Stem to Remove Sharp Internal Edges
If the seating stem is of proper depth the culprit most generally is a thin sharp edge on the inside taper of the seating stem. This is an easy fix that can be accomplished by chucking a spare 77 grain bullet in your drill, coating it with valve grinding compound or even rubbing compound or in a pinch even tooth paste.* Remove the seating stem assembly from the seating die. Turn the drill on and put the seating stem recess over the spinning bullet with the polishing compound to break or smooth the sharp edge that is making the offending mark. This might take more than one application to get the proper polish depending upon what you use, but the more you polish the better the blend of angles which will [ensure the stem matches the bullet contours, not leaving a sharp ring].

If the above is a little more than you care to tackle you might try very fine emery cloth twisted to a point that can be inserted into the mouth to the seating stem and rotated to polish the inside to eliminate any sharp edges that might be present.

Load Advice for 77gr TMKs in the .223 Rem
And last but certainly not least. Actually, even though we don’t say you need additional data for the TMKs, remember you are dealing with heavily-compressed loads in some cases because of the additional bullet length. Due to the additional length of these new bullets and in the interest of gaining some room in the case you might consider trying a slightly faster extruded powder like BenchMark or the 4895s or an even more dense powder like the spherical H335®, CFE223 or TAC. The extra room will allow for trouble free bullet seating also.

Good luck and remember we are no further away than your telephone: 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Match-King Reloading Bullet Seating

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 7 Comments »
July 25th, 2021

5 Degrees of Doom — The Real Risk of Unintended Down-Range Impacts from Slightly Elevated Muzzles

Gun Angle long range

In our Shooters’ Forum, there was an discussion about a range that was threatened with closure because rifle over-shoots were hitting a farm building over two miles from the firing line. One reader was skeptical of this, asking “how’s that possible — were these guys aiming at the stars?” Actually, you may be surprised. It doesn’t take much up-angle on a rifle to have a bullet land miles down-range. That’s why it’s so important that hunters and target shooters always orient their barrels in a safe direction (and angle). Shooters may not realize how much a small tilt of the barrel (above horizontal) can alter a bullet’s trajectory.

How many degrees of muzzle elevation do you think it would take to hit a barn at 3000 yards? Ten Degrees? Twenty Degrees? Actually the answer is much less — for a typical hunting cartridge, five to seven degrees of up-angle on the rifle is enough to create a trajectory that will have your bullet impacting at 3000 yards — that’s 1.7 miles away!

Gun Angle long range

Five degrees isn’t much at all. Look at the diagram above. The angle actually displayed for the up-tilted rifle is a true 5.07 degrees (above horizontal). Using JBM Ballistics, we calculated 5.07° as the angle that would produce a 3000-yard impact with a 185gr .30-caliber bullet launched at 2850 fps MV. That would be a moderate “book load” for a .300 Win Mag deer rifle.

Here’s how we derived the angle value. Using Litz-derived BCs for a 185gr Berger Hunting VLD launched at 2850 fps, the drop at 3000 yards is 304.1 MOA (Minutes of Angle), assuming a 100-yard zero. This was calculated using a G7 BC with the JBM Ballistics Program. There are 60 MOA for each 1 degree of Angle. Thus, 304.1 MOA equals 5.068 degrees. So, that means that if you tilt up your muzzle just slightly over five degrees, your 185gr bullet (2850 fps MV) will impact 3000 yards down-range.

Figuring Trajectories with Different Bullets and MVs
If the bullet travels slower, or if you shoot a bullet with a lower BC, the angle elevation required for a 3000-yard impact goes up, but the principle is the same. Let’s say you have a 168gr HPBT MatchKing launched at 2750 fps MV from a .308 Winchester. (That’s a typical tactical load.) With a 100-yard zero, the total drop is 440.1 MOA, or 7.335 degrees. That’s more up-tilt than our example above, but seven degrees is still not that much, when you consider how a rifle might be handled during a negligent discharge.

Think about a hunter getting into position for a prone shot. If careless, he could easily touch off the trigger with a muzzle up-angle of 10 degrees or more. Even when shooting from the bench, there is the possibility of discharging a rifle before the gun is leveled, sending the shot over the berm and, potentially, thousands of yards down-range.

Hopefully this article has shown folks that a very small amount of barrel elevation can make a huge difference in your bullet’s trajectory, and where it eventually lands. Nobody wants to put holes in a distant neighbor’s house, or worse yet, have the shot cause injury.

Let’s go back to our original example of a 185gr bullet with a MV of 2850 fps. According to JBM, this projectile will still be traveling 687 fps at 3000 yards, with 193.7 ft/lbs of retained energy at that distance. That’s more than enough energy to be deadly.

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July 23rd, 2021

How to Select and Set Up a Decapping Die

universal Decapping die sinclair lee redding

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.

There are a variety of decapping dies currently on the market, with models available from Lee, Lyman, Hornady, RCBS, Redding, and Sinclair Int’l.

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

Decapping Dies for Cases with Smaller Flashholes

TAKE NOTE: Some Euro Small Flash Holes are spec’d at 1.5mm or 0.059″, and max out at about .062″, so these need a smaller die pin.

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-.062″ flash-holes.

Sinclair Int’l offers a Stainless Decapping Die that comes with both .080 and .060 Pins. The $39.99 die ships with three decap pins for standard .080″ flash holes, and two pins for .060″ flash holes

Redding makes a Universal Decapping Die with an optional smaller-diameter decapping rod for the smaller .059-.062″ flash holes found on the BR and PPC cases. The use of this die is explained in the video below:

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July 23rd, 2021

Dry Lube Inside Case Necks for Smoother Bullet seating

Forster original caseneck case neck brass dry mica lube lubricator system

If you want smoother bullet seating, inside neck lube can help. Forum member Ackleyman II likes to add a little Mica powder inside his case necks before seating bullets. This is easily done with the Forster three-brush neck lube kit. Ackleyman tells us: “Many loads that I have will not shoot well with a dry neck compared to a neck that is cleaned and lubed with this [Forster Dry Lubricator] — the best $15 you have ever spent.”

The Forster Case Neck Lubricator features three brushes attached to a tough, impact-resistant case with holes for bench mounting. The brushes accommodate all calibers from 22 to 35 caliber. The kit includes enough “motor mica” to process 2000 to 3000 cases and has a cover to keep dust and grit from contaminating the mica. By moving the case neck up and down on the correct mica-covered brush, the neck can be cleaned and lubricated at the same time.

Function: Lubricate case necks for easier resizing
Contents: Kit with base, lid, and three nylon brushes
Lubricant: Includes 1/10 oz. of Motor Mica, enough to process 2000-3000 cases

Neck Lubrication After Ultrasonic Cleaning or Wet Tumbling with Pins
If you wet-tumble your cases with stainless media and solvents or ultrasonically clean your brass, you may find that the inside of the case necks get too “squeaky clean”. The inside surface of the neck looses lubricity. In this situation, applying a dry lube can definitely be beneficial. CLICK HERE to see story about ultrasonic cleaning.

Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning

ultrasonic brass cleaning neck lubricant moly dry lube

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July 21st, 2021

Take Better Range and Gun Photos with Daylight Fill Flash

camera daylight fill flash shootingWe know you guys like taking photos of your rifles at the range. And, if you’re selling a rifle, scope, front rest, or rear bag, you need good photos to post in our Forum classifieds. Here’s a basic photography tip that can help you produce dramatically better photos. Use your camera’s ability to add “fill flash” even in daylight.

There’s plenty of light on a bright day. But bright light also means strong shadows. The shadows can leave parts of your subject literally in the dark. Daylight flash will help fill in those dark spots. In addition, if you are on a covered firing area, and want to include the range in your photo, you can benefit from using flash. This will prevent the foreground subject from being too dark while the downrange background is much too bright.

Photo without Flash

The photo above was taken without flash. As you can see, the rifle is too dark so details are lost. At the same time, the background (downrange) is over-exposed and washed out. The second photo below is taken with daylight flash. The difference is dramatic. Now you can see details of the rifle, while the background is exposed properly. Note how much easier it is to see the the targets downrange and the colors of the front rest. NOTE: these two photos were taken at the same time — just seconds apart.

Photo with Daylight “Fill-Flash”

Be sure to click on the larger versions of each photo.

How to Activate Daylight Flash
Most digital cameras have daylight flash capability. Some cameras have a separate setting for “auto fill flash”. On other cameras, you’ll have to set the camera to aperture priority and stop down the aperture to force the flash to fire. Read your camera’s manual. On many Canons, a menu that lets you set the “flash output”. For “fill flash” we like to set the flash at 30% to 50% output. This fills in the shadows sufficiently without “killing contrast” or creating too much reflection on shiny metal. Below is a photo taken with 30% flash output. Note the rich colors and how the exposure is balanced between foreground and background. Without flash the sky and target area would be “washed out”.


Here’s another tip for Canon owners. If you like deep, rich colors, use the “Vivid” setting in the effects menu. This punches up saturation and contrast.

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July 21st, 2021

Changing Primer Type CAN Alter Pressure and Velocity

Primer Wolf CCI Federal Muzzle velocity FPS reloading

We are often asked “Can I get more velocity by switching primer types?” The answer is “maybe”. The important thing to know is that changing primer types can alter your load’s performance in many ways — velocity average, velocity variance (ES/SD), accuracy, and pressure. Because there are so many variables involved you can’t really predict whether one primer type is going to be better or worse than another. This will depend on your cartridge, your powder, your barrel, and even the mechanics of your firing pin system.

BE SAFE: Be cautious when changing primer types. Glen Zediker recommended decreasing your load ONE FULL GRAIN when changing to a different primer type, one that you haven’t used before.

Interestingly, however, a shooter on another forum did a test with his .308 Win semi-auto. Using Hodgdon Varget powder and Sierra 155gr Palma MatchKing (item 2156) bullets, he found that Wolf Large Rifle primers gave slightly higher velocities than did CCI-BR2s. Interestingly, the amount of extra speed (provided by the Wolfs) increased as charge weight went up, though the middle value had the largest speed variance. The shooter observed: “The Wolf primers seemed to be obviously hotter and they had about the same or possibly better ES average.” See table:

Varget .308 load 45.5 grains 46.0 grains 46.5 grains
CCI BR2 Primers 2751 fps 2761 fps 2783 fps
Wolf LR Primers 2757 fps 2780 fps 2798 fps
Speed Delta 6 fps 19 fps 15 fps

You can’t extrapolate too much from the table above. This describes just one gun, one powder, and one bullet. Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) as they say. However, this illustration does show that by substituting one component you may see significant changes. Provided it can be repeated in multiple chrono runs, an increase of 19 fps (with the 46.0 grain powder load) is meaningful. An extra 20 fps or so may yield a more optimal accuracy node or “sweet spot” that produces better groups. (Though faster is certainly NOT always better for accuracy — you have to test to find out.)

WARNING: When switching primers, you should exercise caution. More speed may be attractive, but you have to consider that the “speedier” primer choice may also produce more pressure. Therefore, you must carefully monitor pressure signs whenever changing ANY component in a load. Glen Zediker recommends decreasing your load ONE FULL GRAIN when changing to a different primer type, one that you haven’t used before.

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July 20th, 2021

You Only Have One Set of Eyes — Protect Them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT!!

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

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

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

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
July 16th, 2021

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

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

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

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

21st Century Hydro Press and Standard Arbor Press

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

Primal Rights Competition Priming Seater (CPS) Review

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

Lyman Powered Case Trimmer Review

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

Dillon 750 Tips and Tricks

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

Gunsmithing Torque Wrench Comparisons

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

Concentricity Checking with Accuracy One Gauge

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

Teslong Rigid (Shaft) Borescope with Monitor

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

Zero Turret Press with Whidden Sizing Die

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

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July 14th, 2021

MTM Gun Cleaning Patch Catcher — Effective and Easy to Use

MTM patch catcher

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

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

MTM patch catcher

Here are product reviews from actual MTM Patch Catcher purchasers:

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

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

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

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

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

MTM patch catcher

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July 13th, 2021

Get Brass Ultra-Clean with Ultrasonic Machines

Ultrasonic Cleaning RCBS Ultrasound .308 Winchester 7.62x51 brass casings

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

READ FULL UltimateReloader.com Article on Ultrasonic Case Cleaning »

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

UltimateReloader.com Case Cleaning Video (7.5 minutes):

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

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


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

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July 13th, 2021

Locate Shooting Ranges with FREE Where to Shoot Mobile App

where to shoot mobile app nssf range locator software

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

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

Where to Shoot App for Android

where to shoot mobile app nssf range locator software

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

Where to Shoot iOS App for iPad

where to shoot mobile app nssf range locator software

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July 12th, 2021

How Guns Work — Great 3D Animation of Pistol Firing Sequence

GECO Ruag Ammotec RWS ammo 3D animation video

Here’s a very cool 3D Animation showing pistol rounds being fired. Computer-generated graphics provide a look inside the cartridge at the moment of ignition as the primer fires and the flame front moves through the ignited powder. It’s really kind of mesmerizing. If you’ve every wondered just what happens inside your cartridges the moment that firing pin strikes, then watch this video…

Watch Video to See Handgun Ammo Being Chambered and Fired:

Mute Enabled — Click Speaker Icon to Hear Audio. Firing Sequence Starts at 1:28.

GECO Ruag Ammotec RWS ammo 3D animation videoThis animated video from German ammo-maker GECO (part of the Swiss RUAG group of companies) reveals the inside of a pistol cartridge, showing jacket, lead core, case, powder and primer. Employing advanced 3D rendering and computer graphics, the video shows an X-ray view of ammo being loaded in a handgun, feeding from a magazine.

Then it really gets interesting. At 1:28 – 1:50 you’ll see the firing pin strike the primer cup, the primer’s hot jet streaming through the flash-hole, and the powder igniting. Finally you can see the bullet as it moves down the barrel and spins its way to a target. This is a very nicely-produced video. If you’ve ever wondered what happens inside a cartridge when you pull the trigger, this video shows all. They say “a picture’s worth a thousand words”… well a 3D video is even better.

GECO Ruag Ammotec RWS ammo 3D animation video

GECO Ruag Ammotec RWS ammo 3D animation video

GECO Ruag Ammotec RWS ammo 3D animation video

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July 11th, 2021

Fit More Long Guns in Your Safe with Rifle Rod Kits

Gun Storage Solutions Rifle Rod Kit

Running out of space in your gun safe? Here’s a clever product that will allow you to store more long guns in your current vault. The plastic Rifle Rods from Gun Storage Solutions slip in long-gun barrels and then grip the shelf above using Velcro pads. This allows you to nestle your rifles and shotguns much closer together than with the conventional racks provided with most gunsafes. The rods are offered in bright orange or basic black. We prefer the safety orange rods (shown above with the Velcro “receiver” shelf liner provided with the Rod Kit).

Gun Storage Solutions Rifle Rod Kit

Rifles with narrow furniture (such as lever guns) can be placed very close together, saving lots of space. For benchrest or varmint rifles with wider fore-ends, you won’t benefit as much. Note that, in the photo above, all of the guns are fairly slim — none have wide fore-ends. Still we think these Rifle Rods could open up 12″ or more horizontal clearance in a medium-sized safe — that could easily allow you to store six (6) more guns in two rows, as shown.

Rifle Rod Kits Starting at $21.70
A kit with 5 Rifle Rods and fabric shelf liner costs $21.70 on Amazon.com, while the 10-Rod Kit with liner costs $34.70 on Amazon. That’s a lot cheaper than buying a new safe. A six-pack of additional rods is $19.95 from StoreMoreGuns.com. NOTE: Some Amazon kits have black rods. To get the bright orange rods you may have to pay a few dollars more and order directly from Gun Storage Solutions.

WARNING: Always REMOVE Rod from barrel before taking gun to the range. Never place live ammunition in a gun with storage Rod in the barrel!

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July 9th, 2021

Protect Your Kids — Hearing Protection Designed for Youngsters

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 small children from six months to eight years of age. Walker’s basic Kid’s Folding Muffs provide protection for children against dangerous loud noises. The muffs are designed to fit smaller heads properly, and protect the sensitive hearing of youngsters. Priced under $15.00 on Amazon, these are very affordable so 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 Kids’ Folding 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 Kids’ Folding Muffs start at $14.99 MSRP and come in seven color choices: Coral, Highlighter Yellow, NEXT Camo, Blue, Green, Orange, and Pink. (Other colors are offered on Amazon including Purple and Black.)

In addition, Walker’s has a new series of Youth and Infant Muffs, designed expressly for smaller kids. These fit the smaller heads of youngsters and have comfortable padding so the young ones will tolerate them for longer periods. There is an Infant Muff for children 0-2 years, and a larger Youth Muff for kids 3-7 years. CLICK HERE for Product Info.

Walker's baby child kids earmuff ear muffs

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
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July 9th, 2021

Forster Co-Ax Press — Video Shows How It Functions

Forster Co-Ax Coax Reloading Press Grafs Grafs.com Sale Co-Axial rockchucker

Forster Co-Ax reloading press videoIn recent months, Forster Co-Ax® presses have been hard to find, as demand has out-stripped supply. But the folks at Forster Products are working hard to get these excellent presses out to vendors. Be patient, check with multiple sellers, and you should be able to find one.

If you are not yet familiar with the many unique features of the Forster Co-Ax, we recommend you watch the video embedded below. This shows how the press operates and highlights the design elements which set the Co-Ax apart from every other reloading press on the market.

Video Shows Special Features of Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press

Forster Co-Ax Press Video Review
This is a very thorough review of the Forster Co-Ax done by Rex Roach. This 14-minute video shows the key Co-Ax features, explaining how the floating case-holder jaws work (3:30 time-mark), how the dies are held in place (4:40 time-mark), how spent primers are captured (6:10 time-mark), and how to set the primer seating depth (10:00 time-mark). We’ve used a Co-Ax for years and we still learned a few new things by watching this detailed video. If you are considering purchasing a Co-Ax, definitely watch this video start to finish.

Forster Co-Ax Coax Reloading Press Grafs Grafs.com Sale Co-Axial rockchucker

The Co-Ax case-holder features spring-loaded, floating jaws. These jaws have two sets of openings, small and large. This allows the system to adapt to various rim diameters. The jaw plates can simply be reversed to switch from small jaw to large jaw. In the photo above, the Co-Ax is configured with the large jaw openings in the center.

Photos are screen shots from Forster Co-Ax Review by Rex Roach on YouTube.

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July 8th, 2021

Air Travel Advice — How to Fly Safely with Firearms

Airport security travel bag check-in O'hare TSA

We know that many of our readers will be heading to Indiana soon to attend the F-Class National Championships at Camp Atterbury July 22-30. If you’ll be flying to Indiana this month, or venturing to another destination by air, you need to be careful when transporting firearms through airports both in the USA and in other countries. It is important that you comply with all Homeland Security, TSA, and Airline policies when transporting guns and ammunition. Following the rules will help ensure you (and your gear) make it to your destination without hassles, delays or (God forbid), confiscations.

Guidelines for Air Travel in 2021

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

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

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

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

F-Class National Championships Camp Atterbury Indiana
The 2021 NRA F-Class Nat’l Championships at Camp Atterbury, Indiana begin soon. The Mid-Range F-Class Nationals run July 22-26, 2021, while the Long Range F-Class Nationals take place July 27-30, 2021.

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

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

Plano Two-Gun Tactical Case

Plano Double Rifle Case Amazon Airport security travel bag check-in O'hare airline approved AW2TSA
The Plano AW2 two-gun case offers the functionality and durability of an SKB-type hard case for HALF the money. This is now just $116.67, while the equivalent SKB is around $300.00.

This Plano AW2 two-gun case is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in wheeled, heavy-duty firearms cases. This is offered in three sizes: 36″, 42″, and 52″. We like the biggest 52″ version, as it is long enough inside to fit most scoped match rifles. Alternatively, if you have a really long F-Class, ELR, or Palma rig, you can detach the barreled action from the stock, and run the two sections in the shorter 42″ case. This case is strong enough for airline travel, meeting FAA requirements for checked baggage. This Plano case offers a good balance between strength and weight, all for a reasonable cost — $116.67 on Amazon.

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July 7th, 2021

Say What? How to Prevent Serious Hearing Loss

Hearing Protection DB sound level ear plug muff

“Science tells us that exposure to continuous noise of 85 dB for eight hours is enough to cause permanent hearing loss, and worse, spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly.”
Source: NRA Blog.

The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”

Nobody wants to go deaf. But we often see shooters without effective hearing protection when they are walking around a few yards behind the firing line. That’s bad — even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. You MUST use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs.

Sound Levels for Common Noises:

9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB

Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB

.22 LR pistol: 134 dB

Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB

Noisy Nightclub: 110 db

Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db

Power Lawnmower: 95 dB

Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)

Ringing Telephone: 80 dB

Normal conversation: 60 dB

The Myth of the “Quiet” .22 LR
The NRA Blog notes that “many rimfire shooters, particularly those using the beloved .22 Long Rifle cartridge, argue that the small .22 LR caliber doesn’t produce enough sound to damage your hearing”. So, is that really true … or is it a myth?

In fact, a .22 LR can be much louder than you think — a .22 LR pistol can produce sound levels of 134 dB. That’s well above the normal human pain threshhold.

hearing protection ear muffs NRR earplugs osha deafness

Compact, Low-Profile NRR 27 dB-Rated Ear Muffs

walker shooting hearing protection muffs 27 db NRR

Many hunters and competitive shooters prefer low-profile ear muffs. As these typically have a lower Noise Reduction Rating, perhaps NRR 22-27, we recommend running earplugs under muffs. If you use low-profile electronic muffs, such as Howard Leight Impact Sport Muffs, you should still be able to hear range commands even with plugs underneath.

Another good option for hunters and range visitors are hearing bands, basically earplugs connected with a semi-rigid plastic band. These banded products provide “quick access” hearing protection for hunters. You can keep them handy around the neck while spotting game, and then insert the plugs before shooting.

Howard Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, Just $9.50 for 50 Pairs.

accurateshooter.com review Max-1 Howard Leight ear plugs

20 Pairs
50 Pairs

These Howard Leight NRR33 Max-1 Plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Howard Leight foam plugs in my ears 3-4 days a week. They are comfortable and the flared outer edge helps the NRR. There is also a Max-30 corded version, with the same excellent 33 dB Noise Reduction Rating. Get five pairs of Max-30 Corded Plugs for $6.65 on Amazon, or 100 pairs of Max-30s for $27.86.

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