September 4th, 2021

Primer Blow-Out Danger — Yes Always Wear Eye Protection!

Primer Blown Gas defect winchester casehead

A few years back, Our friend Grant Guess had a “close encounter” with a bad primer. An apparently defective primer caused part of the casehead on one of his rounds to blow out. This, in turn, allowed high pressure gas to vent through the damaged primer pocket. Take a good look, boys and girls. This is yet another very good reason to wear safety glasses … EVERY time you shoot. The cartridge was a 6.5-06, handloaded in necked-down Winchester-headstamp .270 Win brass. Grant reports:

“I had a blow-through between the primer and the primer pocket today. The action was really smoking and I got a face full of gas. This was a reasonably light charge. Thank God for safety glasses.

I should also mention that it appears there is a 3/64 hole that is halfway between the primer and the primer pocket. Like it burned a small jet hole through both of them.”

Could this happen to you? It just might. On seeing this damaged case, one of Grant’s Facebook friends, Chris D., observed: “Search the internet, you will see a lot of these pin hole ‘in the corner’ failures. Obviously Winchester has some issues with the LR primers.”

Careful Examination Reveals Apparent Primer Defect
After this incident, Grant examined the damaged case: “I [measured] the flash hole and it is not over-sized or under-sized. The primer clearly has an area where it had a defect. At [50,000 CUP], it doesn’t take much of a defect to cause issues. There was a slight bit of pucker-factor on the next shot….”

Primer Blown Gas defect winchester casehead

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September 4th, 2021

Optics INFO: Mounting a Scope on Your Hunting Rifle

scope alignment tactical rifle scope level

Hunting season commences soon in many states. That means it’s time to inspect all your hunting gear, including your scope set-up. If you have a new optic, you’ll want to get it mounted correctly on your current rig. And if you have a new hunting rifle, you’ll need to mount the properly rings and install the riflescope so that you have the correct eye relief.

A proper scope installation involves more than just tensioning a set of rings — you need to consider the proper eye relief and head position, and it should be leveled correctly. This video shows a simple, quick method to mount a scope. The method assumes that the reticle (cross-hairs) are square without the turret. You’ll want to confirm that with a plumb line hanging straight down, a procedure you can do indoors.

scope alignment tactical rifle scope levelIn this NSSF video, Ryan Cleckner shows how to set up a scope on a hunting or tactical rifle. Ryan, a former U.S. Army Sniper Instructor, notes that many hunters spend a small fortune on equipment, but fail to set up their rifle to use the optics optimally. Cleckner likens this to someone who owns an expensive sports car, but never adjusts the seat or the mirrors.

Ryan notes that you want your head and neck to be able to rest naturally on the stock, without straining. You head should rest comfortably on the stock. If you have to consciously lift your head off the stock to see through the scope, then your set-up isn’t correct. Likewise, You shouldn’t have to push your head forward or pull it back to see a clear image through the scope. If you need to strain forward or pull back to get correct eye relief, then the scope’s fore/aft position in the rings needs to be altered. Watch the full video for more tips.

Tips on Mounting Your Scope and Adjusting Your Comb Height:
1. Normally, you want your scope mounted as low as possible, while allowing sufficient clearance for the front objective. (NOTE: Benchrest shooters may prefer a high mount for a variety of reasons.)

2. Once the scope height is set, you need to get your head to the correct level. This may require adding an accessory cheekpad, or raising the comb height if your rifle has an adjustable cheekpiece.

3. Start with the rifle in the position you use most often (standing, kneeling, or prone). If you shoot mostly prone, you need to get down on the ground. Close your eyes, and let you head rest naturally on the stock. Then open your eyes, and see if you are too low or too high. You may need to use a cheekpad to get your head higher on the stock.

4. If your scope has a flat on the bottom of the turret housing, this will help you level your scope. Just find a flat piece of metal that slides easily between the bottom of the scope and the rail. Slide that metal piece under the scope and then tilt it up so the flat on the bottom of the scope aligns parallel with the flats on the rail. Watch the video at 8:40 to see how this is done.

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September 3rd, 2021

Barrel Break-In Methods — What Do the Experts Recommend?

Barrel Breakin Break-in conditioning cleaning Wade Hull Shilen Walther Varminter.com Eric Mayer Video interview barrels
Photo courtesy Sierra Bullets.

The question of barrel break-in is controversial. Some folks advocate an elaborate, lengthy cycle of shooting and brushing, repeated many times — one shot and clean, two shots and clean and so on. This, it is argued, helps barrels foul less and shoot more accurately. Others say minimal break-in, with patching and brushing after 10-15 rounds, is all you need. Still others contend that break-in procedures are a total waste of time and ammo — you should just load and shoot, and clean as you would normally.

We doubt if there will ever be real agreement among shooters concerning barrel break-in procedures. And one must remember that the appropriate break-in procedure might be quite different for a factory barrel vs. a custom hand-lapped barrel. This Editor has found that his very best custom barrels shot great right from the start, with no special break-in, other than wet patches at 5, 10, and 15 rounds. That said, I’ve seen some factory barrels that seemed to benefit from more elaborate break-in rituals.

What’s the best barrel break-in procedure? Well our friend Eric Mayer of Varminter.com decided to ask the experts. A while back Eric interviewed representatives of three leading barrel manufacturers: Krieger, Lothar-Walther, and Shilen. He recorded their responses on video. In order of appearance in the video, the three experts are:

Wade Hull, Shilen Barrels | Mike Hinrichs, Krieger Barrels | Woody Woodall, Lothar Walther

Barrel Breakin Break-in conditioning cleaning Wade Hull Shilen Walther Varminter.com Eric Mayer Video interview barrelsDo I Need to Break-In a New Rifle Barrel?
Eric Mayer of Varminter.com says: “That is a simple question, [but it] does not necessarily have a simple answer. Instead of me repeating my own beliefs, and practices, on breaking-in a new rifle barrel, I decided to answer this one a bit differently. While we were at the 2016 SHOT Show, we tracked down three of the biggest, and most popular, custom barrel makers in the world, and asked them what they recommend to anyone buying their barrels, and why they recommend those procedures. We asked the question, and let the camera run!” Launch the video above to hear the answers — some of which may surprise you.

Long-Term Barrel Care — More Experts Offer Opinions
Apart from the debate about barrel break-in, there is the bigger question of how should you clean and maintain a barrel during its useful life. Some folks like aggressive brushing, other shooters have had success with less invasive methods, using bore foam and wet patches for the most part. Different strokes for different folks, as they say. In reality, there may not be one solution for every barrel. Different fouling problems demand different solutions. For example, solvents that work well for copper may not be the best for hard carbon (and vice-versa).

CLICK HERE for Long Term Barrel Care Article »

Shooting Sports Lohman Barrel

Chip Lohman, former Editor of Shooting Sports USA Magazine, has authored an excellent article on barrel maintenance and cleaning: Let the BARREL Tell You — Match Barrel Care. In this article, Chip shares the knowledge of a dozen experts including respected barrel-makers Frank Green (Bartlein Barrels), John Krieger (Krieger Barrels), Dan Lilja (Lilja Barrels), and Tim North (Broughton Barrels).

“Why worry about a little barrel fouling when the throat is subjected to a brutal 5,600° F volcano at 55,000 PSI? To investigate these and other questions about taking care of a match barrel, we spoke with a dozen experts and share their knowledge in this first of a series of articles.

After listening to folks who shoot, build barrels or manufacture cleaning solvents for a living, we concluded that even the experts each have their own unique recommendations on how to care for a match barrel. But they all agree on one thing — the gun will tell you what it likes best. Because the life expectancy of a match barrel is about 1,500 to 2,500 rounds, the objectives of cleaning one should include: preserve accuracy, slow the erosion, and remove fouling — all without damaging the gun. This article doesn’t claim that one cleaning method is better than the next. Rather, we set out to interject a little science into the discussion and to share some lessons learned from experts in the field.” — Chip Lohman

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September 2nd, 2021

Cleaning Cartridge Brass & Reloading Dies — Methods Explained

Bill Gravatt Creedmoor Sports Sinclair cleaning polishing brass reloading dies

Creedmoor Sports is a leading vendor of products for competitive shooters and serious hand-loaders. Along with great gear, Creedmoor Sports provides informative content for its customers. The Creedmoor InfoZone provides Reloading Tips, Gear Reviews, Shooting News, and basic gunsmithing information.

Bill Gravatt, President of Creedmoor Sports, is an expert on reloading processes and gear. He developed many of the popular tools marketed by Sinclair Int’l, and he brings that expertise to Creedmoor Sports. Bill hosts a series of “how-to” videos produced for the Creedmoor InfoZone.

Cleaning Cartridge Brass — Multiple Options Explained

In this video, Bill Gravatt demonstrates several methods to clean your cases. Bill tells us: “Powder residue should be removed before you insert your cases into your reloading dies. There are several ways to clean your cases. Many shooters use a combination of various methods…”

1. Manual Cleaning — You can use 0000 Steel wool for the outside of the case and a Case Neck brush for the inside. A paper towel can remove any remaining residue. This is a handy way to clean if you load at the range.

2. Vibratory Tumbling — This traditional method works well, particularly for pistol brass. Experiment with both Corn Cob and Walnut media. You can get a brighter shine by putting a small amount of liquid brass polish in the media.

3. Wet Tumbling with Stainless Media — This process can get your brass clean inside and out. Do check to ensure no pins are stuck in the flash-holes. Watch for peening of case mouths that can occur over time.

4. Ultrasonic Cleaning — Ultrasonic cleaning works great for small parts as well as brass. The ultrasonic process removes all carbon and traces of lube, which can leave the inside of case necks too dry. To smooth bullet seating, try putting a tablespoon of Ballistol in the cleaning solution.

Cleaning Reloading Dies

Cleaning your reloading dies is something that many hand-loaders neglect. In this 60-second Tech Tip, Bill Gravatt provides some smart advice on cleaning your dies. Bill notes: “After heavy use, case lube and carbon can build up in your reloading dies. It’s important to keep them clean. Also, with new dies, give them a good cleaning before first use, because they ship with a corrosion inhibitor.”

1. Step 1 — Prior to cleaning, disassemble the die and spray it with a good degreaser. Do this with brand new dies too.

2. Step 2 – Take a patch and run it in the die to remove old lube and gunk. Don’t forget the decapping assembly and other internal parts.

3. Step 3 — After cleaning the die, but before reassembly, spray the die with a good corrosion inhibitor, such as Corrosion-X or Starrett M1.

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September 1st, 2021

Measure Groups Precisely with Ballistic-X App for Android & iOS

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

Here’s something all shooters need — a smartphone App that calculates bullet-hole group sizes from your own photos. The Ballistic-X App is simple to use. Take a photo of your target, set some values (such as bullet diameter and distance to target), then use the touchscreen to place circles around each hole. The App will calculate group size (in MOA or Mils), distance to point of aim, and provide all the info in an overlay. Then click “save” to record your group for posterity!

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS
Ballistic-X Apple (iOS) version shown. There is also a Ballistic-X Android App.

This App works well, is relatively easy to set-up, and costs just $7.99. It is available for both Android devices and iOS (Apple) devices. There are other ways to measure group sizes from target images, such as the excellent On-Target program, which we have used for years. However On-Target requires a software installation on a Windows platform desktop or laptop. Ballistic-X is a simple, easy-to-install App with versions for both Android and iOS (Apple) Mobile devices.

Google Play app store source
Download Android App
Apple store Ios app store source
Download Apple App

The Ballistic-X App has a relatively easy-to-use interface. Of course you can choose either MOA or Milrad group values, and Inch or Metric dimensions. There are various labeling options that provide useful info for Load Development. There is even an ATZ (Adjustment To Zero) feature for adjusting your turrets.

How to Use Ballistic-X App

1. Select Photo Source — Choose Camera to take new photo or get image from Photo Library.

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

2. Set Reference Values — Select Bullet Diameter and enter Distance to Target.

3. Establish Scale on Image — Mark two points on target photo to set scale.
For example, if the target has a 1″-square grid lines, mark two points on grid for 1″ distance.

4. Mark Point Of Aim — Put the central X on the aim point.

5. Designate Shot Locations — Place the green circles around each shot.

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

6. Finalize Data Display — Position Overlay, select size/color options, and export file.

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

Android Options — Range Buddy FREE App
Along with Ballistic-X, there is another Mobile App, Range Buddy, that also measures shot groups. Range Buddy is currently offered for Android devices only. It is FREE, but has adverts. Range Buddy isn’t bad, but users complained about the program crashing, and there are compatibility issues with newer phones. We recommend you pay $7.99 and stick with Ballistic-X.

Ballistic-X group measure measuring plot software Android Apple iOS

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September 1st, 2021

Bloody Disaster — Loading Pistol Powder in Rifle Case

Varget Kaboom TiteGroup Hand injury reloading fingers accident

This is a grim tale. A man almost lost the use of his right hand, and did suffer terrible injuries to his fingers. All because he picked the wrong bottle of powder off the shelf. We have run this story before, and we will continue to run it every year, as a caution to our readers. This mistake is easy to make, but the consequences can be dire. Always, always double-check your powder labels before you start the hand-loading process. If you don’t, you may not have a hand to load with next time…

Similar Labels, Disasterous Consequences
The shooter, Denny K., was assembling some rounds for his brand new 7mm-08 Savage hunting rifle. He thought he was loading with Hodgdon Varget. Instead he had filled his powder measure with Hodgdon TiteGroup, a fast-burning pistol powder. The labels are similar, so the mistake is understandable. But the results were devastating. Here’s what 41 grains of TiteGroup can do in a 7mm-08:

Varget Kaboom TiteGroup Hand injury reloading fingers accident

Posting on the Firing Line, in a thread entitled “Lucky to Be Alive”, Denny writes:

“This is the hardest post to post. I know if I had read it a week ago my comment would have been: ‘You have no business reloading’. I had everything perfect, except pouring the wrong powder in the powder measure. I type this slowly with my left hand, embarrassed but … possibly saving someone else a tragedy or, like me, a long drive to the Emergency Room and surgery to save my finger.”

CLICK HERE for bigger, more graphic photo of injury.
Varget Kaboom TiteGroup Hand injury reloading fingers accident

The Still-Sealed Bottle of Varget
Denny did not initially comprehend exactly why the kaboom happened. He thought maybe his new Savage rifle was at fault. Then, on his return home, he discovered something…

Denny wrote: “The seven-hour period it took to go to ER, transport to Trauma Center and surgery made me think it was a Savage rifle issue. Brand new rifle, new brass, triple-checked loading data. The next day I was humbled when I realized the Varget powder was still sealed.

I knew what powder to use. I thought [Varget] was what I used. Not until the following day did I realize the Varget was still sealed.”

At that point, Denny realized what caused the accident — “operator error”. He knew he had to warn others about using the wrong powder: “I knew I needed to share my mistake, even though it is embarrassing, just to remind people. I’ve been reloading for 30 years…”

Editor’s Comment: Denny was not a novice reloader. His experience demonstrates that this kind of mistake can be made by any hand-loader, even one with decades of experience. Be safe guys, take your time when you load your ammo. Remove powders from measures after your loading sessions (pistol powders can look very similar to rifle powders). And by all means CHECK the LABEL on the jug. As the TiteGroup label says: “A little goes a long way.”

It’s not a bad idea to separate your pistol powders from your rifle powders, or perhaps even load for pistol in a separate part of your workshop.

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August 31st, 2021

Cartridge Cutaways — View INSIDE Loaded Ammunition

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

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

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

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

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

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

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

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

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

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

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August 31st, 2021

Hydro-Form 6mm Dasher Brass — Save Money & Barrel Life

6mm Dasher hydroforming case die hornady

Can you form a wildcat cartridge such as the 6 Dasher without expending primer, powders, and bullets? Absolutely. Using the hydro-forming method you can form improved cases in your workshop with no firing whatsoever, so there is no wear on your precious barrel. Watch this video to see how it’s done:

6 Dasher Case Hydro-Forming Demonstration:

Forum member Wes J. (aka P1ZombieKiller) has produced a helpful video showing how to form Dasher cases use the Hornady Hydraulic forming die kit. This includes a two-part die (body and piston), and a special shell holder. To form the case, you insert a primer in your virgin brass, top the case off with with a fluid (water or alcohol), then run the case up into the Hydro-forming die. A few stout whacks with a hammer and your case is 95% formed.

Whidden gunworks 6 6mm dasher hydro-forming hydraulic form die

This same procedure can be accomplished with a Whidden Gunworks 6mm Dasher hydraulic form die. We like the Whidden hydro-forming die for its production quality and consistent results. This Whidden system works great according to our Forum members.

6mm Dasher hydroforming hydraulic 6mmBR hornadyHydro-Forming Procedure Step-by-Step:
1. Insert spent primer in new 6mmBR brass case.
2. Fill with water or alcohol (Wes prefers alcohol).
3. Wipe excess fluid off case.
4. Place case in special Hornady shell-holder (no primer hole).
5. Run case up into Hydraulic forming die.
6. Smack top piston of forming die 3-4 times with rubber mallet or dead-blow hammer.
7. Inspect case, re-fill and repeat if necessary.
8. Drain alcohol (or water) into container.
9. Remove primer (and save for re-use).
10. Blow-dry formed case. Inspect and measure formed case.

Wes achieves very uniform cartridge OALs with this method. He measured ten (10) hydro-formed 6 Dasher cases and got these results: two @ 1.536″; 2 @ 1.537″; and 6 @ 1.538″.

Three or Four Whacks Produces a 95%-Formed Case
With a Whidden or Hornady hydro-forming die, hydraulic pressure does the job of blowing out the shoulders of your improved case. The process is relatively simple. Place a spent primer in the bottom of a new piece of brass. Fill the case with water, and then slip it into a special Hornady shell-holder with no hole in the middle. Then you run the case up into the forming die. Now comes the fun part. You gently insert a plunger (hydraulic ram) from the top, and give it three or four stiff whacks with a mallet (or better yet, a dead-blow hammer). Remove the plunger and you have a 95% formed case, ready to load.

Walter Queen Hydraulic Hornady DieSpecial Shell-Holder
Hornady supplies a shell holder made specifically for the hydro die; there’s no hole in the bottom of it. Just insert a spent primer into the primer pocket and you’re ready to go. The spent primer, combined with the solid shell holder, keeps the water from seeping out of the primer pocket. The primer pushes out a little bit during this process, but it’s impossible for it to come out because of the way the shell holder is designed. The shell holder has a grove which allows the case to slide out of the shell holder even when the primer protrudes a bit.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
August 30th, 2021

Watch .45 ACP Pistol, Ultra Slow Motion — 73,000 Frames/Sec

Mythbusters 1911 Bullet Pistol slow motion high speed Phantom .45 ACP
Mythbusters 1911 Bullet Pistol slow motion high speed Phantom .45 ACP

What if you could see a speeding bullet in the milliseconds it exits the muzzle of a pistol? How cool would that be… Well, the Mythbusters folks (Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman) have made that possible. Using an exotic Phantom super-high-speed camera running at 73,000 frames per second, the Mythbusters recorded a .45 ACP bullet being fired from a 1911-type handgun.

Watch Mythbusters Super-Slow-Motion Pistol Video:

Watch this FULL SCREEN to see the amazing details of the flame and smoke exiting the muzzle.

What unfolds is spectacular. First you see a ball of flame as the bullet emerges from the barrel of the 1911, then two distinct, separate swirling clouds form as the bullet races toward the target. Watch the video a couple times — it’s mesmerizing.

Mythbusters 1911 Bullet Pistol slow motion high speed Phantom .45 ACP

Co-host Adam Savage is nearly rendered speechless by the remarkable slow-motion footage from the Phantom. Filmed at 73,000 frames per second, the video reveals a dance of pressure and fire that would otherwise be missed by the unaided eye.

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August 29th, 2021

How the Human Ear Works and How to Best Protect Your Hearing

hearing protection inner ear anatomy science hearing medical electronic muffs earplugs

hearing protectionAll shooters, even rimfire enthusiasts, should always wear ear protection when at the range. A typical rifle gunshot is very loud — in the region of 140 to 170 decibels (the pain threshold is 130-140 db). Without ear protection, you can permanently damage your hearing during a single shooting session. We all know older shooters who are partially deaf, or who suffer from Tinnitus, because they didn’t use earplugs or muffs when they were younger.

How Humans Hear Sounds — Amazing Video Reveals All
The human sense of hearing involves multiple delicate internal membranes, bones, organs, and nerves. Shooters understand the importance of protecting their hearing, but they may not understand the bio-mechanics of human hearing. We hear sounds through Auditory Transduction. Sound waves vibrate the ear drum (tympanic membrane), but that is only the beginning. These vibrations are passed along via tiny rocker-arm-like bones to be “processed” in a spiral chamber, the cochlea.

This remarkable VIDEO explains how humans hear sounds. We strongly recommend you take the time to watch and learn. The hearing you save may be your own!

Click Speaker Icon to turn on the video’s soundtrack.

Vibrations moving through the cochlea are separated into frequencies and then sent as neural messages to the brain. It is an astonishingly complex process, one that truly seems miraculous when you examine the bio-engineering involved. In the video above, the process of human Auditory Transduction is explained and illustrated with 3D animation. You really should watch this amazing video. By the end you will have a new-found appreciation for your ability to hear.

hearing protection inner ear anatomy science hearing medical electronic muffs earplugs

Every shooter should own a pair of Electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are spotting for other shooters or are working near the firing line. They let you hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. You can also wear ear-plugs under muffs for extra sound attenuation.

shooting ear protection nrr 33 ear plugs howard leightPlugs PLUS Ear-Muffs — Benefits of “Doubling-Up” Hearing Protection
According to OHS Online: “The combined attenuation of an ear plug and an ear muff is not simply the algebraic sum of the performance of each individual protector. This is due to an acoustic and vibratory interaction between the ear muff and the ear plug that causes them to behave together as a system rather than as independent hearing protectors.

Generally speaking, when you combine two hearing protectors, with muffs over ear plugs, you can expect a Noise Reduction Rating improvement from 3 and 10 dB compared to the higher-rated hearing protector by itself. OSHA [now advises] 5 dB as the [typical] benefit offered by combining hearing protectors.” Source: OHSonline.com

Ear diagram courtesy Siemens Medical Solutions.

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August 29th, 2021

Work on Your Breathing to SEE Better and SHOOT Better

Vision Eye Target Scope Relaxation Oxygen Target

Do you find that the crosshairs in your scope get blurry after a while, or that you experience eye strain during a match? This is normal, particularly as you get older. Focusing intensely on your target (through the scope or over iron sights) for an extended period of time can cause eye strain. Thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce eye fatigue. For one — breathe deeper to take in more oxygen. Secondly, give your eyes a break between shots, looking away from the scope or sights.

In our Forum there is an interesting thread about vision and eye fatigue. One Forum member observed: “I have noticed recently that if I linger on the target for too long the crosshairs begin to blur and the whole image gradually darkens as if a cloud passed over the sun. I do wear contacts and wonder if that’s the problem. Anyone else experienced this? — Tommy”

Forum members advised Tommy to relax and breath deep. Increase oxygen intake and also move the eyes off the target for a bit. Closing the eyes briefly between shots can also relieve eye strain. Tommy found this improved the situation.

Vision Eye Target Scope Relaxation Oxygen Target

Phil H. explained: “Tom — Our eyes are tremendous oxygen hogs. What you are witnessing is caused by lack of oxygen. When this happens, get off the sights, stare at the grass (most people’s eyes find the color green relaxing), breath, then get back on the rifle. Working on your cardio can help immensely. Worked for me when I shot Palma. Those aperture sights were a bear! The better my cardio got the better and longer I could see. Same thing with scopes. Try it!”

Keith G. noted: “Make sure you are still breathing… [your condition] sounds similar to the symptoms of holding one’s breath.”

Watercam concurred: “+1 on breathing. Take a long slow deep breath, exhale and break shot. Also make sure you take a moment to look at the horizon without looking through rifle or spotting scope once in a while to fight fatigue. Same thing happens when using iron sights.”

Arizona shooter Scott Harris offered this advice: “To some extent, [blurring vision] happens to anyone staring at something for a long time. I try to keep vision crisp by getting the shot off in a timely fashion or close the eyes briefly to refresh them. Also keep moisturized and protect against wind with wrap-around glasses”.

Breathing Better and Relaxing the Eyes Really Worked…
Tommy, the shooter with the eye problem, said his vision improved after he worked on his breathing and gave his eyes a rest between shots: “Thanks guys. These techniques shrunk my group just a bit and every little bit helps.”

Read more tips on reducing eye fatigue in our Forum Thread: That Vision Thing.

To avoid eye fatigue, take your eyes away from the scope between shots, and look at something nearby (or even close your eyes briefly). Also work on your breathing and don’t hold your breath too long — that robs your system of oxygen.

eye vision Vince Bottomley

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August 27th, 2021

Get Smart — Read FREE Applied Ballistics TECH Articles

Want to improve your understanding of Ballistics, Bullet Design, Bullet Pointing, and other shooting-related tech topics? Well here’s a treasure trove of gun expertise. Applied Ballistics offers dozens of FREE tech articles on its website. Curious about Coriolis? — You’ll find answers. Want to understand the difference between G1 and G7 BC? — There’s an article about that.

“Doc” Beech, technical support specialist at Applied Ballistics says these articles can help shooters working with ballistics programs: “One of the biggest issues I have seen is the misunderstanding… about a bullet’s ballistic coefficient (BC) and what it really means. Several papers on ballistic coefficient are available for shooters to review on the website.”

Litz applied ballistics PDF articles

Credit Shooting Sports USA Editor John Parker for finding this great resource. John writes: “Our friends at Applied Ballistics have a real gold mine of articles on the science of accurate shooting on their website. This is a fantastic source for precision shooting information[.] Topics presented are wide-ranging — from ballistic coefficients to bullet analysis.”

READ All Applied Ballistics Articles HERE »

Here are six (6) of our favorite Applied Ballistics articles, available for FREE to read online. There are dozens more, all available on the Applied Ballistics Education Webpage. After Clicking link, select Plus (+) Symbol for “White Papers”, then find the article(s) you want in the list. For each selection, then click “Download” in the right column. This will send a PDF version to your device.

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August 27th, 2021

Know Your State Gun Laws — Legal Heat Book and FREE APP

Legal Heat 50 state book firearms CCW concealed carry laws

Legal Heat, a major firearms training firm*, has released the 2021 Edition of the 50 State Guide to Firearm Laws and Regulations. For each state, this $20 book covers key firearms laws, lists prohibited areas, and provides key statutory references for further research. With over 20,000 gun laws nationwide affecting concealed carry permit holders, Legal Heat’s 50 State Guide helps gun owners stay informed about important gun statutes and regulations.

The Legal Heat 50 State Guide is an authoritative reference guide on concealed carry and transport laws with concise synopses, including legal citations. Written and edited by attorneys and firearms instructors. This full-color, $20 book provides a comprehensive overview of state and Federal gun laws, serving as a quick reference guide for travelers.

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Legal Heat 50 state FREE APP firearms CCW concealed carry laws Reciprocity

Along with the $20 print book, there is a FREE Legal Heat APP that provides the same information at no cost to you. Just download the App to your smartphone or tablet. CLICK HERE to learn more about the FREE 50-State Law App. There are FREE versions for both Android (Google) and iOS (Apple). This is the only APP with comprehensive Concealed and Open Carry Law summaries written by attorneys.


Legal Heat 50 state book firearms CCW concealed carry laws

Key Topics Covered in Dedicated Sections
The Legal Heat 50 State Guide has specific sections dedicated to important topics, such as Gun Transport at Airports, Police Stops, Inter-State Travel, and Purchasing/Selling. Having these and other key topics clearly outlined is one of the compelling reasons to buy the book. Here are the Key Topics:

- Airports
– Police Encounters
– State-to-State Firearms Transport in Vehicle
– Purchasing/Selling A Firearm
– Castle Doctrines
– AMTRAK
- U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Land
– National Parks And Monuments
– BLM Land
– Indian Reservations
– May Issue Vs. Shall Issue States
– Contact Info For Attorney Generals

State by State Law Summaries
For every one of the 50 U.S. STATES, there is a dedicated summary covering:

1. All Prohibited Areas for Firearms
This Section Is Essential Knowledge For All Concealed Firearm Permit Holders.
2. Self-Defense and Firearms Laws
3. Reciprocity (Recognition of Other State’s Permits)
This lists ALL fiream permits from other states that are recognized.
4. Self Defense And Firearm Laws Statutory References (For Additional Research)
5. Ratings of Each State for “Friendliness” to gun owners.

Video Summary of 50 State Firearms Guide
This video covers the highlights of the Legal Heat 50 State Guidebook. This shows the 2018 Edition, but the latest 2021 Edition contains all those elements, updated with current law changes.


* With over 250,000 certified students, Legal Heat claims to be the nation’s largest firearms training company. Legal Heat provides in-person as well as online training, and works with major gun retailers including Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, and Sportsman’s Warehouse. CLICK HERE for more information on Legal Heat Training Programs.

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August 26th, 2021

Trim, Chamfer, and Debur Brass with Giraud Tri-Way Trimmer

Giraud Tri Way Trimmer Case Cutter tool
Close-up of the Tri-Way Trimmer with clear plastic chip guard removed.

Giraud Tool offers a case trimmer/chamferer device that works with a power drill (or other power source). Giraud’s patented Tri-Way Trimmer is a self-contained unit powered by your drill or motor. Using a sharp carbide blade it will trim your cases to length, deburr, and cut both inside and outside chamfers — all in one pass. That’s pretty impressive for a $105.00 tool that fits in the palm of your hand.

Giraud Tri Way Trimmer Case Cutter tool

Product Features
1. Fully adjustable for cartridge length (and depth of chamfer).
2. Carbide blade cuts a 15° inside case mouth chamfer and 45° outside chamfer.
3. Case holder supported by sealed ball bearing raceway.
4. Tool includes removable, transparent plastic chip guard.
5. Tool can work in any orientation (vertical, horizontal, or any angle).

The Giraud Tri-Way Trimmer is designed to be powered by a portable hand drill, drill press, or other dedicated rotating power source. The tool indexes off the shoulder of your cases, but the blade adjusts so that cartridge overall length (COAL) can be controlled with precision. Constructed out of 6061-T6 aluminum and 303 stainless steel, the Tri Way tool should last a lifetime. Note: This tool is not universal. The Tri Way is dedicated to a single cartridge and “related” cartridges with similar body dimensions. Thus you need a specific tool for each cartridge family. For example, the .308 Win tool will also trim .243 Win, .260 Rem, and 7mm-08.

Cartridge Sizes Available for Giraud Tri Way Trimmer:
.223 Remington (Also trims .17 Remington, .204 Ruger, .222 Remington, .222 Remington Magnum)
7.62 x 39mm (Russian)
.300 Blackout (Also trims .17 Rem Fireball, .20 Vartarg, .221 Fireball)
.308 Winchester (Also trims .243 Winchester, .260 Remington, 7mm-08)
.30-06 Springfield (Also trims .25-06, .270 Winchester, .280 Remington)
.300 Winchester Mag (Also trims ​Also trims .264 Winchester Magnum, 7mm Remington Magnum, .308 Norma Magnum)

Giraud Tri Way Trimmer Case Cutter tool

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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August 23rd, 2021

Wind Reading Tips from Bryan Litz and Emil Praslick III

Wind reading coaching bryan litz Ben Avery Phoenix wind video

Wind effects are complex. In trying to access wind speeds and angles, you’ll want to watch multiple indicators — mirage, dust, wind-flags, grass movement, and more. You’ll also need to be concerned about wind cycles. In the video below, Bryan Litz talks about variable wind speed along a bullet’s flight path. A respected ballistics guru, Bryan is the founder of Applied Ballistics and a designer of Berger’s Hybrid Match projectiles. He is also a past F-TR National Champion and a High Master Palma ace.

In this video, Bryan discusses how wind effects can vary in intensity at different points along the bullet’s flight path to the target. Sometimes the firing line is sheltered, and the strongest winds come into effect in the middle of the trajectory. Bryan concludes: “Wind matters everywhere … but the best thing you can do is try to get a handle on the wind [velocity and angle] where you are. That may or may not represent the wind down-range — that’s when you have to look downrange and make a judgment[.]”

Litz Competition Tip: Select your wind shooting strategy carefully. For beginners and veterans, most points are typically lost to wind. Successful shooters put a lot of thought into their approach to wind shooting. Sometimes it’s best to shoot fast and minimize the changes you’ll have to navigate. Other times it’s best to wait out a condition which may take several minutes. Develop a comfortable rest position so you have an easier time waiting when you should be waiting.

More Wind Tips from Wind Wizard Emil Praslick
In these two short videos, Emil Praslick III, former coach of the USAMU and USA National long range teams, explains how to find the wind direction and how to confirm your no-wind zero. Praslick is widely considered to be one of the best wind coaches in the USA.

When Winds Are EXTREME — Near Gale Force at Ben Avery

This video shows INSANE winds at NBRSA 100/200 Benchrest Nationals. This was filmed at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, AZ during the recent NBRSA 100/200 yard National Championships. Extreme to say the least. Based on what we’re seeing here, there are 20-25 mph crosswinds, with gusts to 35 mph — near Gale Force. Video by Hall-of-Fame Benchrest competitor Gene Bukys, whom we sadly lost to COVID last year. RIP Gene.

Texas gunsmith Mike Bryant reports: “This video shows the Unlimited Class 200 at the Nationals in Phoenix. I had three 10-shot groups in the low 2″ range with a 2.228″ being my big group and was glad they weren’t bigger. Thursday and Friday were the worst of the windy days. Unfortunately those were the days for the UL 200 and it was about as windy through most all of the Sporter 200.”

Excellent Wind Reading Resource

The Wind Book for Rifle Shooters covers techniques and tactics used by expert wind-readers. The authors provide a wind-reading “toolbox” for calculating wind speed, direction, deflection and drift. They explain how to read flags and mirage, record and interpret your observations, and time your shots to compensate for wind. Here are two reviews:

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

If you have one book for wind reading, this should be it. It covers how to get wind speed/direction from flags, mirage, and natural phenomenon. This is the best book for learning to read wind speed and direction. — Muddler

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August 23rd, 2021

Air Travel with Firearms — Smart Advice by Stan Pate

tsa luggage rifle case Stan Pate Airline Travel

Savage Arms offers a series of Shooting Tips in the Savage Blog. Here is a helpful article from Team Savage Shooter Stan Pate. This covers how to ship your rifle safely, and then re-establish zero properly when the gun is reassembled after transport.

Traveling with Firearms — Important Advice

Traveling with firearms can be stressful. You must comply with multiple regulations and then trust your expensive guns to airline baggage handlers. And after arrival you’ll need to put your rifles back together and confirm the zeros. This article offers helpful travel advice from Team Savage shooter Stan Pate. Pate has traveled the globe competing with match rifles. Here he shares his tips for making trips easier on you and your firearms.

Easier Air Travel With Firearms
TSA isn’t nearly as careful with your rifles as you are. Proper storage before sending your firearm up a conveyer belt and into the belly of a plane is critical. Stan Pate spends lots of time each year traveling the skies and has devised a system for keeping his rifle safe when going to and from.

“Never travel with your firearm completely assembled,” Pate cautions. “A fully assembled firearm is much heavier than one that has been broken-down and stored. More weight creates more in-the-case movement, which can result in damage. I learned this the hard way years ago. My rifle was actually broken in half when traveling to an international competition. Record your torque settings, use those settings during reassembly and your return to zero should be no problem.”

“Be sure to check on current TSA rules and regulations before travel to be aware of any changes that may effect how you pack your rifles,” says Pate.

Rifle Reassembly and Resetting Zero
The quicker you can reestablish your zero, the quicker you can relax and stop worrying about if your rounds are going to hit their mark during competition. Pate, over the years, has developed a system for rifle reassembly and getting back to zero as quickly as possible. While his torque settings may not be the same as yours, the process can still be used.

tsa luggage rifle case Stan Pate Airline Travel

“The barreled-action goes back on the stock, and then I tighten all three receiver screws finger tight,” says Pate. “Next, I tighten the front two receiver screws down to 35-inch pounds. The rear receiver screws on this particular rifle likes 15-inch pounds. [Note: Proper torque settings will vary with your action and stock type. Most actions have TWO screws, not three.] Scope attachment comes next, and I follow manufacturer settings when tightening it down. All that’s left to do now is go zero your rifle.”

This video explains an efficient method to Re-Zero your rifles

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August 21st, 2021

Berger Safety Notice for Four Lots of .223 Rem Ammo

Berger .223 Rem ammunition recall safety notice

Berger Issues Safety Notice for .223 Remington 77 grain OTM Tactical Ammunition
Berger’s Load Development Team has determined that some .223 Remington 77 grain OTM Tactical (Product # 65-23030) cartridges from Lot # P002745, P002745-1, P002745-2, and P002745-3 may cause function/ignition issues with AR-style gas operating platforms. Bolt action rifles are NOT affected.

Berger Ammunition Lots # P002745, P002745-1, P002745-2, and P002745-3 .223 Remington 77 Grain OTM Tactical ammunition, Item #65-23030 was shipped to retailers on April 2nd, 2021 to April 22nd, 2021.

If you own Berger ammunition from Lot # P002745, P002745-1, P002745-2, and/or P002745-3 or have questions regarding this notice, please contact Berger Customer Support at 660-460-2802 or support@capstonepg.com to arrange replacement of the product.

EDITOR: Once again, if you are running this ammo in a bolt-action rifle, there should be no issues according to Berger. If you had intended to use the ammunition in an AR-platform rifle, contact Berger for further information.

Recall is for Berger 77gr .223 Rem Ammunition when used in AR-Platform Rifles
Berger .223 Rem ammunition recall safety notice

Story notice from ELR Researcher. We welcome reader submissions.
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August 20th, 2021

“Can Do” — How Modern Suppressors Are Made — Step by Step

Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle
Image from SilencerShop.com Octane 45 HD suppressor review. SWR is now a part of SilencerCo.

Here is a cool video that shows the entire production process for a SilencerCo Octane pistol suppressor start to finish. Beginning with the raw materials, this video shows a wide variety of cutting, milling, drilling, burnishing, fitting, metal bathing, surface finishing, and laser etching processes.

If you have any interest in production methods you’ll want to watch this video all the way through, and maybe a second time.

SilencerCo states: “From cutting metal to chemical baths, to extensive quality control every step of the way, our streamlined process is more than just a few steps.” We think you may be surprised by how many steps are involved in producing this silencer (aka “suppressor”).

The Octane is a user-maintainable, multi-caliber centerfire pistol silencer featuring a modular mounting system for use across a wide range of hosts. High strength, stainless steel CTA™ (Click Together Assembly) baffles are easily disassembled for cleaning. This design makes the Octane one of the most durable small-caliber suppressors on the market.

In its Octane 45 review, SilencerShop notes: “When it comes to ease of maintenance, the Octane 45 is probably the simplest .45 suppressor on the market. It uses the new click-together baffle system from Silencerco/SWR – which allows the suppressor to come apart like a monocore suppressor, while providing performance that is closer to a K-Baffle design.””

Metal Rods Being Cut
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Heat Treating Components in Furnace
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Hand-Finishing Internal Components
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Parts Getting Ready for Metal Treatment
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Computer-Controlled Milling
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Liquid Chemical Bath
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Laser Text Etching on Outer Tube
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Final Assembly of Baffles in Tube
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

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August 20th, 2021

Create Handy Ballistics Table “Cheat Sheet” for Your Rifle

Hornady Ballistics Calculator

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

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

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

Hornady Ballistics Calculator

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

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

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August 18th, 2021

Verify Scope Clicks and Tracking with B2B Precision Targets

Box 2 Bench Precision B2B target dots Milrad Mil Scope checking target

Wouldn’t it be great if you could put up one BIG target that would handle a myriad of important tasks at the range: Zeroing, Load Development, Click Value Verification, and Click Tracking Repeatability Tests. Well the team at Box to Bench Precision (B2B) has developed what may be the most versatile (and biggest) precision targets ever developed. With ultra-accurate grid geometry, and razor-sharp printing, B2B’s targets set a new standard for target precision.

Click Tracking Grid Target
B2B box bench precision targetsThe best procedure for checked the true value of your scope click values is to use a tall target that can dial in at least 25 MOA of “up”, and check where your cross-hairs air compared to exact pre-measured reference lins. B2B developed an advanced target just for that task. The 30″ tall by 23.5″ wide Rex Grid Target (shown below) provides a highly precise grid for testing elevation and windage clicks. The unique grid design has small tics denoting 1/4 MOA, 1/2 MOA, and 3/4 MOA. 1 MOA is marked with a “+” and the 5, 10, 15, 20, & 25 MOA elevation lines are bolded for better visibility. There are aiming points at 5 MOA intervals over the full grid.

Box 2 Bench Precision B2B target dots Milrad Mil Scope checking target

This same target can also be used for “Box Tests” that verify click values and repeatability. with a box test you start in one corner with the initial shot (we recommend doing this with a warm barrel after a couple foulers). They you add “up” clicks to go straight up and take a second shot. Next add horizontal clicks to go across for the third shot. Then click down (the same number of cliks you went up) for the fourth shot. As a last step you reverse your horizontal clicks and take a fifth shot. If you have a good rifle and the scope clicks are repeatable, your fifth and final shot will be touching the first shot.

B2D’s Rex Grid Target can be used for Box Tests, as can B2B’s popularhttps://bit.ly/2BBe1jYLoad Development and Scope Tracking Target (left below) and B2B’s Sniper’s Hide 100-yard Target (right below).

B2B box bench precision targetsB2B box bench precision targets

B2B’s 100 Yard Long Range Load Development and Scope Tracking Target will perform many functions. This big, 30″ x 23.5″ target has specific aiming points for various tasks. In the upper left, there are 11 small orange circles for precision load testing. Over on the upper right are 7 more small, orange circles for doing a Seating Depth Comparison test.

The bottom half of the target has larger black-on-white circles that serve multiple functions. Use the corner circles to do a “Box Test” to confirm scope tracking. There’s another great feature on this target — running up the center of the target is a tall line that shows elevation in both MILs and MOA. That helps you confirm the TRUE click values of your optic. You’d be surprised how many scopes are slightly off — not exactly 1/4 MOA, 1/8 MOA, or 1/10 Mil as advertised. That’s why Long Range shooters absolutely need to verify their click values.

Buyers Praise the B2B Targets
We’ve handled the B2B Targets, which are printed on high-quality, tear-resistant card stock. We can attest the printing is very precise — with accurate elevation and windage values. These aren’t your ordinary targets — they are LARGE — nearly three feet tall. Verified buyers praise these targets:

“Thank you for talking to me about the MIL and MOA markers on your targets. They are very accurate. While using the Long Range 100-Yard Load Development/Scope Tracking target and my new scope, it helped me realize that my scope wasn’t tracking correctly (both turrets). So, I sent the scope to the manufacturer. When it came back, and using your target as my known constant… the scope is now ‘spot-on’ accurate. These targets are a great tool to gain a better understanding of your rifle, scope, turrets etc., all on one sheet.” — Stan, 2018

“Almost too nice to put holes in. I was in the printing industry for 35 years and these are really well done. Quality paper and precise printing … able to see bullet holes easily with these!” — Dan, 2018

Box 2 Bench Precision B2B target dots Milrad Mil Scope checking target

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