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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.

GET FREE Legal Heat APP for Android or Apple

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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August 17th, 2021

Cartridge Base to Ogive (CBTO) Length — Factors to Consider

chamber length loading berger bullets
Here are two different bullet types, seated to the same CBTO length, but different COAL. Note the shiny scratches on the bullets made by the comparator tool which indicates a point on the bullet ogive near where the ogive will engage the rifling.

Berger Bullets COAL length cartridgeEffects Of Cartridge Over All Length (COAL) And Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) – Part 2
by Bryan Litz for Berger Bullets.
Part One of this series focused on the importance of COAL in terms of SAAMI standards, magazine lengths, seating depths, and pressure levels. Another measure of length for loaded ammunition is highly important to precision, namely Cartridge Base to Bullet Ogive Length (CBTO).

Figure 2. Chamber throat geometry showing the bullet jump to the rifling or lands.
chamber length loading berger bullets

Look at Figure 2. Suppose the bullet was seated out of the case to the point where the base of the bullet’s nose (ogive) just contacted the beginning of the riflings (the lands) when the bolt was closed. This bullet seating configuration is referred to as touching the lands, or touching the riflings and is a very important measurement to understand for precision hand-loading. Due to the complex dynamics of internal ballistics which happen in the blink of an eye, the distance a bullet moves out of the case before it engages the riflings is highly critical to precision potential. Therefore, in order to systematically optimize the precision of his handloads, it’s critically important that the precision hand-loader understands how to alter bullet seating depth in relation to the barrel rifling. Part of the required knowledge is understanding how to accurately and repeatably measure the Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) dimension. This is explained in the FULL ARTICLE.

Bryan Litz offers an extended discussion on how to measure CBTO using different tools and methods, including the Hornady OAL gauge. You can read this discussion in the full article found on the Berger Bullets website. CLICK HERE to Read Full Article.

Why Not Use CBTO as a SAAMI Standard?
If CBTO is so important to rifle accuracy, you might ask, “Why is it not listed as the SAAMI spec standard in addition to COAL?” There is one primary reason why it is not listed in the standard. This is the lack of uniformity in bullet nose shapes and measuring devices used to determine CBTO.

Benefits of Having a Uniform CBTO
There is another aspect to knowing your CBTO when checking your COAL as it pertains to performance. With good bullets, tooling, and carefully-prepared cases you can easily achieve a CBTO that varies less than +/- .001″ but your COAL can vary as much as .025″ extreme spread (or more with other brands). This is not necessarily bad and it is much better than the other way around. If you have a CBTO dimension that varies but your COAL dimension is tight (within +/- .002″) then it is most likely that your bullet is bottoming out inside the seater cone on the bullet tip. This is very bad and is to be avoided. It is normal for bullets to have precisely the same nose shape and it is also normal for these same bullets to have nose lengths that can vary as much as .025″.

Summary of Cartridge Base To Ogive (CBTO) Discussion
Here are four important considerations regarding bullet seating depth as it relates to CBTO:

1. CBTO is a critical measurement to understand for handloaders because it’s directly related to precision potential, and you control it by simply setting bullet seating depth.

2. Tools and methods for measuring CBTO vary. Most of the measurement techniques have pitfalls (which may give rise to inconsistent results) that you should understand before starting out.

3. A CBTO that produces the best precision in your rifle may not produce the best precision in someone else’s rifle. Even if you have the same rifle, same bullets, same model of comparator gauges, etc. It’s possible that the gauges are not actually the same, and measurements from one don’t translate to the same dimension for another.

4. Once you find the CBTO that produces the best precision in your rifle, it’s important to allow minimal variation in that dimension when producing quality handloads. This is achieved by using quality bullets, tooling, and properly preparing case mouths and necks for consistent seating.

CLICK HERE to Read Full Article with More Info
Article sourced by EdLongrange. We welcome tips from readers.
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August 17th, 2021

TECH Tip — When and How to Clean Your Reloading Dies

Hornady Die cleaning

After purchasing a new set of dies from Forster, Hornady, Redding, or Whidden Gunworks, you’ll want to disassemble the dies, inspect then, and then remove the internal grease and/or waxy coatings placed on the dies by the manufacturer. Here are two video that show how to de-grease and clean dies as they come “out of the box” from the manufacturer. In the first video, from Creedmoor Sports, Bill Gravatt (now President of Capstone Precision Group) shows various methods for cleaning dies both when new and after they have accumulated carbon and lube after use. This video is definitely worth watching. In the second video, a Hornady technician shows the method for degreasing dies before first use. A convenient aerosol spray cleaner is used in the video. You an also use a liquid solvent with soft nylon brush, and cotton patches. NOTE: After cleaning you may want to apply a light grease to the external threads of your dies.

Creedmoor Sports Die Cleaning Video with Bill Gravatt

Hornady Video Showing Aerosol Cleaner

Clean Your Sizing Dies and Body Dies Regularly
These same techniques work for cleaning dies after they have been used for reloading. Many otherwise smart hand-loaders forget to clean the inside of their dies, allowing old case lube, gunk, carbon residue, and other contaminants to build up inside the die. You should clean your dies fairly often, particularly if you do not tumble or ultrasound your cases between loadings. It is most important to keep full-length sizing and body dies clean. These dies accumulate lube and carbon residue quickly.

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August 16th, 2021

Bullets Spinning Fast Enough? Use Berger Twist Rate Calculator

Berger twist rate calculator

Berger Twist-Rate Stability Calculator
Berger twist rate calculatorOn the Berger Bullets website you’ll find a handy Twist-Rate Stability Calculator that predicts your gyroscopic stability factor (SG) based on mulitiple variables: velocity, bullet length, bullet weight, barrel twist rate, ambient temperature, and altitude. This cool tool tells you if your chosen bullet will really stabilize in your barrel.


CLICK HERE to Go to TWIST RATE CALCULATOR PAGE »

How to Use Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator
Using the Twist Rate Calculator is simple. Just enter the bullet DIAMETER (e.g. .264), bullet WEIGHT (in grains), and bullet overall LENGTH (in inches). On its website, Berger conveniently provides this info for all its bullet types. For other brands, we suggest you weigh three examples of your chosen bullet, and also measure the length on three samples. Then use the average weight and length of the three. To calculate bullet stability, simply enter your bullet data (along with observed Muzzle Velocity, outside Temperature, and Altitude) and click “Calculate SG”. Try different twist rate numbers (and recalculate) until you get an SG value of 1.4 (or higher).

Gyroscopic Stability (SG) and Twist Rate
Berger’s Twist Rate Calculator provides a predicted stability value called “SG” (for “Gyroscopic Stability”). This indicates the Gyroscopic Stability applied to the bullet by spin. This number is derived from the basic equation: SG = (rigidity of the spinning mass)/(overturning aerodynamic torque).

Berger twist rate calculator

If you have an SG under 1.0, your bullet is predicted not to stabilize. If you have between 1.0 and 1.1 SG, your bullet may or may not stabilize. If you have an SG greater than 1.1, your bullet should stabilize under optimal conditions, but stabilization might not be adequate when temperature, altitude, or other variables are less-than-optimal. That’s why Berger normally recommends at least 1.5 SG to get out of the “Marginal Stability” zone.

In his book Applied Ballistics For Long-Range Shooting (3rd Ed.), Bryan Litz (Berger Ballistician) recommends at least a 1.4 SG rating when selecting a barrel twist for a particular bullet. This gives you a safety margin for shooting under various conditions, such as higher or lower altitudes or temperatures.

Story idea from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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August 15th, 2021

Tech Tip: Better Viewing with Magnifier for Balance Beam Scales

RCBS 10-10 Scale

When he measures his loads or sorts bullets by weight, Forum Member Boyd Allen often employs his trusty RCBS 10-10 balance beam scale (although he does have handy digital scales as well). He finds that the balance beam scale works predictably, time after time, and it doesn’t suffer from the drift and calibration issues that plague some of the less expensive electronic scales on the market.

RCBS Balance Beam scale 10-10

To make it easier to see the balance point, Boyd has adapted a magnifying glass with a mirror. This makes the end of his balance beam easier to view from his normal position on the bench. Boyd explains: “This set-up uses a cheap magnifier with positioning arms that was probably designed to hold and magnify small objects while soldering them. I think that it came from Harbor Freight many years ago. The mirror lets you look at the scale as if is was at eye level, and of course the magnifier makes the image easier to see.”

If you have a balance beam scale, we suggest you try this simple enhancement. We predict you’ll find the magnifier speeds up the process with enhanced assurance of your load weight.

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August 14th, 2021

How Barnes Bullets Are Made — Videos Reveal Production Process

Barnes Bullets Factory

Barnes Bullets FactoryMany of our readers have been interested in learning how modern bullets are made. While a “boutique” bullet-maker, supplied with appropriate cores and jackets, can craft bullets using relatively simple hand dies and manual presses, factory production is different. The major bullet-makers, such as Barnes, employ huge, complex machines to craft their projectiles on an assembly line.

Modern hunting bullets are made with a variety of sophisticated (and expensive) machines, such as Computer Numerical Control (CNC) lathes, giant multi-stage presses, and hydraulic extruding machines that draw lead ingots into lead wire. Barnes offers an “inside look” at the bullet production process in a series of videos filmed at its Mona, UT factory. We’ve embedded four videos from the series here. These videos can also be viewed on the Barnes Bullets YouTube Channel.

Milling Slots in TSX All-Copper Bullet
This video shows how the slots (between the drive bands) in the TSX all-copper bullet are cut. The slots reduce the bearing surface that contacts the rifling. This helps reduce friction and heat, extending the life of barrels used with all-metal, drive-band bullets:

Varminator Bullets Produced in Jumbo Transfer Press
Here is the transfer press used in the production of Varminator and MPG Bullets. The process begins with a giant spool of flat copper material. The copper is stamped into jackets and eventually the formed Varminator bullets are ejected one by one into a bucket.

CNC Lathe Turns Bullets Automatically
In the video below, a Bar-Feed CNC crafts mono-bloc bullets from metal bar stock. Barnes uses a small CNC lathe to turn .50-caliber bullets from brass bar stock. We’re not sure which bullet is being made in this video. The material looks to be sintered metal. In the close-ups you can gold-colored shavings from when the machine was previously used for CNC-turned brass bullets.

Accuracy Testing in 100-yard Tunnel
Barnes regularly tests bullet samples for accuracy. In the video below, a Barnes technician loads sample rounds and tests them for accuracy in a 100-yard tunnel. The rounds are shot through a special fixture — basically a barreled action connected to parallel rods on either side. This allows the testing fixture to slide straight back on recoil (see it move back at 1:07-08 minute mark).

Upside-Down Trigger — Application for Unlimited Benchrest Competition?
Note how the tester actuates the trigger, which points UPWARDS, just the opposite of a normal rifle. The technician lightly taps the upward-pointing trigger shoe with a metal rod. Could this upside-down trigger work in benchrest shooting — perhaps with railguns? It could make for an interesting experiment.

Story suggestion by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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August 13th, 2021

Advanced Barrel Weight Calculator — Compare Lengths, Contours

Online Pac-Nor Barrel Calculator

pac-nor barrel weight contour calculatorCan you guess what your next barrel will weigh? In many competition disciplines, “making weight” is a serious concern when putting together a new match rifle. A Light Varmint short-range Benchrest rifle cannot exceed 10.5 pounds including scope. An F-TR rifle is limited to 18 pounds, 2 oz. (8.25 kg) with bipod.

One of the heaviest items on most rifles is the barrel. If your barrel comes in much heavier than expected, it can boost the overall weight of the gun significantly. Then you may have to resort to cutting the barrel, or worse yet, re-barreling, to make weight for your class. In some cases, you can remove material from the stock to save weight, but if that’s not practical, the barrel will need to go on a diet. (As a last resort, you can try fitting a lighter scope.)

Is there a reliable way to predict, in advance, how much a finished barrel will weigh? The answer is “yes”. PAC-NOR Barreling of Brookings, Oregon has created a handy, web-based Barrel Weight Calculator. Just log on to Pac-Nor’s website and the calculator is free to use. Pac-Nor’s Barrel Weight Calculator is pretty sophisticated, with separate data fields for Shank Diameter, Barrel Length, Bore Diameter — even length and number of flutes. Punch in your numbers, and the Barrel Weight Calculator then automatically generates the weight for 16 different “standard” contours.

pac-nor barrel weight contour calculator

Calculator Handles Custom Contours
What about custom contours? Well the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator can handle those as well. The program allows input of eight different dimensional measurements taken along the barrel’s finished length, from breech to muzzle. You can use this “custom contour” feature when calculating the weight of another manufacturer’s barrel that doesn’t match any of Pac-Nor’s “standard” contours.

Caution: Same-Name Contours from Different Makers May Not be Exactly the Same
One key thing to remember when using the Barrel Weight Calculator is that not all “standard” contours are exactly the same, as sold by different barrel-makers. A Medium Palma contour from Pac-Nor may be slightly different dimensionally from a Krieger Medium Palma barrel. When using the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator to find the weight of a barrel from a different manufacturer, we recommend you get the exact dimensions from your barrel-maker. If these are different that Pac-Nor’s default dimensions, use the “custom contour” calculator fields to enter the true dimensions for your brand of barrel.

Smart Advice — Give Yourself Some Leeway
While Pac-Nor’s Barrel Weight Calculator is very precise (because barrel steel is quite uniform by volume), you will see some small variances in finished weight based on the final chambering process. The length of the threaded section (tenon) will vary from one action type to another. In addition, the size and shape of the chamber can make a difference in barrel weight, even with two barrels of the same nominal caliber. Even the type of crown can make a slight difference in overall weight. This means that the barrel your smith puts on your gun may end up slightly heavier or lighter than the Pac-Nor calculation. That’s not a fault of the program — it’s simply because the program isn’t set up to account for chamber volume or tenon length.

What does this mean? In practical terms — you should give yourself some “wiggle room” in your planned rifle build. Unless you’re able to shave weight from your stock, do NOT spec your gun at one or two ounces under max based on the Pac-Nor calculator output. That said, the Pac-Nor Barrel Weight Calculator is still a very helpful, important tool. When laying out the specs for a rifle in any weight-restricted class, you should always “run the numbers” through a weight calculator such as the one provided by Pac-Nor. This can avoid costly and frustrating problems down the road.

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August 12th, 2021

How Cartridge Brass in Made — Production Secrets Revealed

deep draw cartridge brass animated gif
Deep-Draw Ram Illustration from Demsey Mfg.

When we first ran this story a while back, it generated great interest among readers. By popular request, we’re reprinting this story, in case you missed it the first time around. — Editor

Rifle cartridge brass manufacturingPrecision Benchrest and F-Class shooters favor premium brass from Lapua, Norma, Peterson, or RWS. (Lake City also makes quality brass in military calibers.) Premium brass delivers better accuracy, more consistent velocities, and longer life. Shooters understand the importance of good brass, but many of us have no idea how cartridge cases are actually made. Here’s how it’s done.

The process starts with a brass disk stamped from strips of metal. Then, through a series of stages, the brass is extruded or drawn into a cylindrical shape. In the extrusion process the brass is squeezed through a die under tremendous pressure. This is repeated two or three times typically. In the more traditional “draw” process, the case is progressively stretched longer, in 3 to 5 stages, using a series of high-pressure rams forcing the brass into a form die. While extrusion may be more common today, RWS, which makes some of the most uniform brass in the world, still uses the draw process: “It starts with cup drawing after the bands have been punched out. RWS cases are drawn in three ‘stages’ and after each draw they are annealed, pickled, rinsed and subjected to further quality improvement measures. This achieves specific hardening of the brass cases and increases their resistance to extraordinary stresses.” FYI, Lapua also uses a traditional draw process to manufacture most of its cartridge brass (although Lapua employs some proprietary steps that are different from RWS’s methods).

RWS Brass Cartridge Draw process

After the cases are extruded or drawn to max length, the cases are trimmed and the neck/shoulder are formed. Then the extractor groove (on rimless cases) is formed or machined, and the primer pocket is created in the base. One way to form the primer pocket is to use a hardened steel plug called a “bunter”. In the photos below you see the stages for forming a 20mm cannon case (courtesy OldAmmo.com), along with bunters used for Lake City rifle brass. This illustrates the draw process (as opposed to extrusion). The process of draw-forming rifle brass is that same as for this 20mm shell, just on a smaller scale.

20mm cartridge brass forming

20mm Draw Set Oldammo.com

River Valley Ordnance explains: “When a case is being made, it is drawn to its final draw length, with the diameter being slightly smaller than needed. At this point in its life, the head of the draw is slightly rounded, and there are no provisions for a primer. So the final drawn cases are trimmed to length, then run into the head bunter. A punch, ground to the intended contours for the inside of the case, pushes the draw into a cylindrical die and holds it in place while another punch rams into the case from the other end, mashing the bottom flat. That secondary ram holds the headstamp bunter punch.

Lake City Brass bunterThe headstamp bunter punch has a protrusion on the end to make the primer pocket, and has raised lettering around the face to form the headstamp writing. This is, of course, all a mirror image of the finished case head. Small cases, such as 5.56×45, can be headed with a single strike. Larger cases, like 7.62×51 and 50 BMG, need to be struck once to form a dent for the primer pocket, then a second strike to finish the pocket, flatten the head, and imprint the writing. This second strike works the brass to harden it so it will support the pressure of firing.”

Thanks to Guy Hildebrand, of the Cartridge Collectors’ Exchange, OldAmmo.com, for providing this 20mm Draw Set photo. Bunter photo from River Valley Ordnance.

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August 12th, 2021

Monitor Temperature and Humidity INSIDE Your Safe

GoldenRod GoldenRod Moisture hygrometer wireless sensor

Golden rod hygrometer wireless sensorHere’s a smart new product that monitors the temperature and humidity inside your gun safe — with a convenient LCD display unit located on the outside of the safe. You don’t need to string wires or cut a small hole in your safe — there are two separate components, one inside and one outside. The sensor unit (on the inside) communicates wirelessly with the display unit (on the outside).

The new GoldenRod Wireless Hygrometer was designed to display the temp/humidity in your safe without the need to open the safe. NOTE: the wireless LCD display can show BOTH in-vault AND in-room humidity and temperature levels. You can attach the display to the vault door with its built-in magnet, or simply place the display unit on top of the safe using the handy flip-out kickstand. The unit costs just $26.98 at Amazon.com.

Golden rod hygrometer wireless sensor
Golden rod hygrometer wireless sensor

GoldenRod Wireless Hygrometer Specifications and Features:

  • Measures In-Vault and In-Room humidity from 20% to 95%.
  • Measures In-Vault temperature range from 14°F to 122°F.
  • Measures In-Room temperature range from -4°F to 158°F.
  • Records Min/Max temperature and humidity history.

Another Important Accessory — GoldenRod for Inside the Safe
The GoldenRod, marketed as a dehumidifier, is a small, low-wattage electric heating element you place in the safe. Running 24/7 at 140° F, the GoldenRod warms the air in your safe. This changes relative humidity and raises the dew point in the safe so water vapor does not condense on your arms and valuable accessories. When combined with Desiccant packs that absorb moisture, the GoldenRod is extremely effective at keeping your guns rust-free during long-term storage. We do recommend wiping down your guns with Boeshield, Eezox, or Corrosion-X before putting them in storage. These are three of the best corrosion-inhibiting metal coatings you can buy.

GoldenRod GoldenRod Moisture hygrometer wireless sensor

You can get the 12″ GoldenRod heating unit for $31.99 on Amazon. There is also an 18″ model for $48.75 and a long 36″ GoldenRod for $39.99 on Amazon, just $8 more than the “foot-long”. The 36″ GoldenRod works well for cold climates and large safes. All GoldenRods come with a detachable plugs for easy installation. The 12″ is rated for 100 cubic foot safes, the 18″ for 200 cubic foot safes, while the 36″ model protects up to 500 cubic feet.

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August 11th, 2021

Front Forearm Sleds Stabilize ARs and Narrow Forearm Rifles

Whidden Gunworks Track Plate

ARs and Narrow-Forearm Sporters Benefit from Front Bag-Rider Blocks
Whidden Gunworks offers a smart product that will enhance the bench-rested accuracy of any rifle with an accessory rail on the forearm. The Whidden Track Plate fits securely in the forearm accessory rail on prone, cross-the-course, tactical, and Palma rifles. These guns typically have a narrow and/or rounded fore-end so they rock and wobble when used with a front pedestal rest. The TrackPlate cures that. Once installed it provides a rock-solid, 2.9″-wide platform that mates perfectly with a benchrest-type front sandbag. This gives sling-shooters maximum stability when testing loads or zeroing their sights or scope. Plus you can now shoot F-Class competitively with a prone gun. (The 2.9″ width is 100% legal for F-Open).

Whidden Gunworks Track Plate

The Track Plate is light-weight, has catamaran-style runners to aid tracking and prevent rocking, and can be easily stowed in a range bag. The Track Plate fits BOTH Anschutz and American style forends and is made in the USA of machined aluminum. The Track Plate is available from Whidden Gunworks for $49.50.

Plate designer (and 5-Time Nat’l LR Rifle Champion) John Whidden says: “The Plate is great for any rifle with a rail whether it ís smallbore, centerfire, or an air gun. Now you can try F-Class with your favorite prone rifle: the Plate has a perfect low-drag finish for riding a rest or sandbags and is competition legal.”

Bag-Riders for AR-Platform Rifles from EGW
AR owners should check out the 3″-wide Delrin bag-rider from Evolution Gun Works (EGW). There are two versions, one for front Picatinny Rails, and another that mounts via sling swivel studs. These EGW Bag-Riders were developed expressly to fit the fore-ends of ARs. The front bag-riders are contoured to match the handguard profile so they fits securely with no wobble.

EGW AR15 ar bagrider bag-rider front sled

The $49.99 EGW Picatinny Rail front Bag-Rider simply slides on your under-forearm rail and there is a a tension bolt. Attachment is quick and easy. Or, if your AR has no rail get the original $39.99 EGW front Bag-Rider that attaches to a front sling swivel stud anchor. That allows it to mount as easily as a Harris bipod — no rail needed! Just unscrew the swivel stud, put the front bag-rider in place and attach one hex-head machine screw.

EGW AR15 ar bagrider bag-rider front sled

Also with the two front Bag-Riders, EGW offers a Rear Bag-Rider for ARs that attaches via the sling swivel anchor. Overall, it is a slick system. Front and rear bag-riders can be attached in a couple of minutes. The Delrin blocks slide easily in the bags and make the gun ultra-stable. The gun tracks straight back.

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