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July 22nd, 2014

DARPA Demonstrates First-Ever Guided .50-Caliber Rifle Bullets

DARPA Exacto .50 Caliber guided bulletImagine if you could “steer” your bullet to the target, after the projectile leaves the muzzle. That has been a dream of marksmen ever since the first rifle was invented. Well that dream is now one step closer to reality, thanks to America’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

DARPA has developed a manueverable .50-caliber rifle bullet. DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program recently conducted the first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets. Inside EXACTO bullets are optical guidance systems, aero-actuation controls, and multiple sensors. The top-secret technology permits the trajectory of the bullet to be altered in flight, allowing the bullet to move left or right, or even fly in an arc around an obstacle.

DARPA has released a video showing EXACTO 50-caliber bullets in flight. Watch carefully and you will see the tracked trajectory appear to bend off in one direction in the last segment of the bullet’s flight. Here is the DARPA Video:

According to DARPA: “This video shows EXACTO rounds maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are offset from where the sniper rifle is initially aimed. EXACTO’s specially-designed ammunition and real-time optical guidance system help track and direct projectiles to their targets by compensating for weather, wind, target movement, and other factors that could impede successful aim.”

DARPA Exacto .50 Caliber guided bullet

DARPA states: “For military snipers, acquiring moving targets in unfavorable conditions, such as high winds and dusty terrain commonly found in Afghanistan, is extremely challenging with current technology. It is critical that snipers be able to engage targets faster, and with better accuracy, since any shot that doesn’t hit a target also risks the safety of troops by indicating their presence and potentially exposing their location.”

The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) system seeks to improve sniper effectiveness and enhance troop safety by allowing greater shooter standoff range and reduction in target engagement timelines. The objective of the EXACTO program is to revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first ever guided small-caliber bullet. The EXACTO 50-caliber round and optical sighting technology expects to greatly extend the day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems. The system combines a maneuverable bullet and a real-time guidance system to track and deliver the projectile to the target, allowing the bullet to change path during flight to compensate for any unexpected factors that may drive it off course.

Technology development in Phase II included the design, integration and demonstration of aero-actuation controls, power sources, optical guidance systems, and sensors. The program’s next phase includes a system-level live-fire test and technology refinement[.]

Permalink New Product, News 4 Comments »
April 20th, 2014

.50 BMG Versus Peeps Horde — With Surprising Results

Rated RR Peeps Easter VideoJust for your Easter entertainment, we have an answer to the burning question: “How many Peeps does it take to stop a round fired from a .50 BMG?” Watch the video below to find the surprising answer. As one wag noted, shooting Peeps “sure beats eating them!”.

This light-hearted Easter video was created by Richard Ryan, producer of Rated RR, a popular YouTube Channel featuring trick shots and pyrotechnics. This video actually has some pretty impressive high speed photography. Along with the Peeps shots, you’ll see Chocolate Bunnies blasted (1:05 time-mark), and paint-filled eggs drilled — all in super-slow motion. Grins are guaranteed.

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January 14th, 2014

Big Barretts Shed Weight for 2014 — M107a1 and MRAD

There were many big tactical rifles on display at Media Day, none bigger than the .50 BMG Barrett m107a1. This beast also sported the largest suppressor we’ve ever seen, a “can” the size of a motorcycle exhaust. Called the “QDL” for “Quick Detach Large”, this suppressor fits over the regular muzzle brake. It is capable of reducing the m107a1’s report from 175 db to 158 db. We learned that the m107a1 has been made “leaner and meaner” for 2014, with a six-pound weight savings. That’s important to soldiers charged with carrying the big rig in the field. Watch the last half of the video below to learn about the upgraded m107a1 and the big new QDL suppressor.

Barrett 2015 mrad m107a1

Barrett 2015 mrad m107a1

Along with the m107a1, Barrett showed us the new MRAD (Multi-Role Adaptive Design), a modular rifle that can shoot .308 Win (7.62×51), .300 Win Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum. The MRAD’s design allows the operator to swap barrels and change bolt-heads quickly and easily with simple tools. In fact, you can even remove the trigger group in less than a minute, just by flipping up the MRAD’s hinged upper and pushing out the safety cross-pin (3:00 minute mark in video). The MRAD dis-assembly procedure is shown in the video below. The MRAD is a very well-thought-out design, and it shot very well when Jason tested it. At least in .308 Win configuration, the braked MRAD has good manners on bipod. It doesn’t hop or roll, but recoils straight back, making it very easy to get back on target.

Barrett 2015 mrad m107a1

Barrett 2015 mrad m107a1

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November 22nd, 2013

Got Gatling? GAU-19/B — Three Barrels of .50-Cal Firepower

Gau-19/B 19/A .50 50 Caliber Gatling gun general dynamics

Gau-19/B 19/A .50 50 Caliber Gatling gun general dynamicsHey it’s the end of the work week, so we thought you guys might enjoy a little display of honest-to-goodness American .50-Cal firepower. Today’s video features the General Dynamics GAU-19/B Gatling, shown in a vehicle mount (Part 1) and helicopter side-mount (Part 2). The HumVee-mounted version of this bad boy delivers 1300 rounds per minute of .50 BMG ammo. The effect is awesome to behold. We wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a GAU. The original GAU-19/A had a selectable rate of fire — either 1,000 or 2,000 rounds per minute. The GAU-19/B, introduced in 2012, provides the same firepower in a much lighter platform, weighing 106 pounds (not counting ammo storage systems).

Gau-19/B 19/A .50 50 Caliber Gatling gun general dynamics

Gau-19/B 19/A .50 50 Caliber Gatling gun general dynamics

Permalink - Videos, New Product 5 Comments »
November 12th, 2013

Hornady Announces ‘Match Grade’ .50 BMG Brass — ETA Unknown

Hornady 50 bmg brass cartridge case match gradeHornady plans to start producing .50 BMG ‘Match Grade’ Cartridge Brass. MSRP is $131.99 for twenty (20) cases (Item #8772). Hornady claims the new brass will have very uniform case wall thickness, and very consistent case weight and internal capacity. Hornady has not stated when its .50 BMG brass will start shipping. When the Hornady .50 BMG brass (Item #8772) does hit the market, we expect it will be in high demand. Our friends at the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA) tell us that it is “getting harder and harder to get your hands on good .50 Cal brass these days.”

Hornady 50 bmg brass cartridge case match grade

Grafs.com lists the new Hornady .50 BMG brass in its catalog at $101.99 for 20 cases, but inventory (Item HRN8772) is not yet in stock. CLICK HERE to check for updates.

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product No Comments »
July 29th, 2013

High-Quality One-Piece Rest with Recoil-Reduction System

Targetshooting.com 1000LP one piece rest recoil reduction 50 bmg 458 lott sorbothane

Do you have a favorite large-caliber rifle that sits in the safe because it’s just too painful to shoot? Perhaps you’re planning a big-game safari, and you need to comparison-test some ammo, but you dread the punishment you will take firing many dozens of rounds over the course of an afternoon. Well TargetShooting Inc. has a solution. Two new accessories are offered for TargetShooting’s model 1000LP one-piece shooting rest that tame the recoil of even the hardest-recoiling rifles. Up front, a 19.85-lb weight provides extra mass for the unit, keeping the 1000LP firmly planted. In the rear, an adjustable Recoil Pad Assembly soaks up recoil energy. The key component is a very thick Sorbothane pad that adjusts to the angle of the butt on your rifle.

Targetshooting.com 1000LP one piece rest recoil reduction 50 bmg 458 lott sorbothane

With the recoil reduction system in place, we have tested the 1000LP with a variety of hard-hitting calibers: 50 BMG (with brake), .458 Lott, .338 Lapua Magnum, .375 H&H. It handled all these big boomers well, and the felt impact on the shoulder was significantly reduced. We won’t say you can shoot a .50 BMG “all day long” with this rig, but this set-up is definitely a shoulder-saver. If you are testing ammo with a hard-recoiling caliber, the 1000LP with recoil reduction allows you to fire more rounds without abusing your body, or developing a bad flinch. We also tested the 1000LP with a common hunting caliber — the venerable .30-06 — and the felt recoil was really quite mild. Honestly, you could shoot many dozens of rounds of .30-06 or .308 Win with this rig without having to take multiple “time-outs” (or see a chiropractor). By itself, the 1000LP one-piece Rifle Rest costs $699.95. The adjustable Recoil Pad Assembly sells for $349.95 extra. The low-profile, forward counter-weight unit costs $139.95. The 1000LP and all its accessories are precision-crafted with very high levels of fit and finish.

The weight of the rifle and the shape of the stock/chassis will affect how the gun behaves on recoil. Light rifles with narrow fore-ends tended to jump a bit out of the front bag. Heavier rifles with a beefier chassis would recoil more in a straight line. But no matter what the caliber (or stock type), the Sorbothane recoil pad soaked up the lion’s share of the recoil, dramatically reducing the shock (or jolt) you actually feel on your shoulder. By the laws of physics, the energy of the rifle’s recoil can’t magically disappear. However, when using this system, the smack on your shoulder is much diminished and the perceived recoil “hit” (on your body) is far less extreme.

Targetshooting.com 1000LP one piece rest recoil reduction 50 bmg 458 lott sorbothane

Targetshooting.com 1000LP one piece rest recoil reduction 50 bmg 458 lott sorbothane

Note: The 1000LP is designed to slide a bit when used with a big-caliber gun. If the rest did not move at all, this could cause problems with stocks or optics. On a concrete bench-top the rest might slide back 1/2″ to 3/4″ after firing a big-caliber round. After a couple shots we would reposition the rest. This was easily done by sliding the rest forward on the three legs (you do not have to lift up the entire rest between shots — just push it forward, while keeping the rear “superfoot” pad aligned under the rear adjuster).

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
May 31st, 2013

50 BMG Barrett M107 — Off-Hand First-Shot-Hit at 1000 Yards

Ryan Cleckner 1000 yards off hand m107 Barrett 50 bmgShooting a 50 BMG, off-hand, at 1000 yards may seem absolutely nuts, but read on — this story should make you smile. At the Texas Triggers Ranch (Sonora, TX), former Army Ranger and Sniper Team Leader Ryan Cleckner, shooting OFF-HAND, hit a torso-sized steel silhouette target at 1000 yards with a 50-caliber Barrett M107. That would be impressive enough, but consider this — Ryan hit the target on his first shot. And yes he was shooting standing (on his hind legs), holding the 37-pound rifle with his arms (no support).

Watch VIDEO of Ryan Cleckner Shooting Barrett M107 Off-Hand at 1000 Yards

Ryan Cleckner 1000 yards off hand m107 Barrett 50 bmg

Jumbo-Sized Ammo, and Jumbo-Sized Recoil
The ammo Ryan used in his 50 BMG Barrett pushes a 661-grain bullet at 2900 fps muzzle velocity. This load (fired from this 37-pound rifle), has 12,357 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle, and 81.88 ft-lbs of recoil energy. To put things in perspective, an 18-pound, .308 Win F-TR rifle, shooting a 168gr bullet at 2750 fps, has 7.99 ft-lbs of recoil energy. So, Ryan was shouldering a weapon that delivered more than Ten Times the recoil energy of a .308 Win. (Energy numbers calculated with Point Blank software). And he made it look easy. Kudos to Ryan for proving what a properly-trained marksman can do. Rangers Lead the Way….

Ryan Cleckner 1000 yards off hand m107 Barrett 50 bmg

Credit Steve Johnson of The Firearm Blog for finding this video.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Shooting Skills 10 Comments »
March 14th, 2013

Monster BAT Discovered at Bruno’s

BAT .50 BMG — Now That’s an Action!, by GAS
A while back, I stopped into Bruno Shooters Supply for a jug of powder and looked into the display case where the new actions are kept. Amid the usual array of BAT Machine, Stolle and other actions, there was something unlike any action I’d seen before — all I can call it is the BIG BAT. I wasn’t too surprised at the weight (a beefy 13.7 lbs.), but until you lift it it’s hard to appreciate how solid, chunky, hefty, massive (pick your favorite adjective) this thing really is. The action is a 2.5″-diameter, 12″-long BAT for the .50 BMG cartridge. It is simply the biggest, slickest custom action on the planet. In order to give you some sense of scale, I photographed the action alongside a conventional BAT action for short-range Benchrest shooting and I put a .220 Russian case and a .30-06 case into the picture. I’ve handled and fired other .50 BMG actions/rifles before, but this BAT puts them all to shame, as far as fit and finish go.

BAT 50 BMG Action

BAT 50 BMG Action

The action is actually quite conventional in design and execution. The bolt is fluted and has two front lugs with a conventional, although super-sized, firing pin assembly. Any Remington-style trigger will mount by way of a normal trigger hanger, allowing for simplified maintenance or replacement in the field. The loading port is 5.5″ long and the barrel threads are 1.5″ x 16 tpi — nothing about this beast is small! There is a conventional rocker-type bolt release on the left side of the receiver body and a recoil lug is built into the bottom of the receiver. In reality, the action is very similar to any other BAT except for the size and it adheres to all of BAT’s high standards for quality of design, manufacture, fit, finish and just plain good looks. Slide that bolt back and it feels as tight as a small Benchrest action!

Given the BIG BAT’s $3,285.00 sticker price (2011 pricing), not many of us will ever have the opportunity to own or shoot one of these beauties (I certainly won’t). However, it is nice to know they exist and can be bought and enjoyed in many places.

BAT 50 BMG Action

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 7 Comments »
January 25th, 2013

Taming the Beast: McMillan’s Hydraulic 50 BMG Recoil Reducer

McMillan Recoil Reduction

At MEDIA Day 2013, we checked out McMillan’s interesting hydraulic recoil mitigation system for the TAC-50 tactical rifle. Named the TAC-50 A1-R2, this shock-absorbing device reduces the peak recoil from the 50 BMG cartridge by approximately 90 percent (90%). Additional recoil reduction is provided by the proprietary muzzle brake offered on the TAC-50 A1-R2.

McMillan hydraulic recoil reducer

The heart of the new TAC-50 A1-R2 recoil mitigation system is a proprietary hydraulic piston in the buttstock. As the rifle is fired, the piston compresses, softening the recoil by lowering the peak recoil force and spreading out the recoil over several milliseconds. The sensation for the shooter is that of a long push, rather than a violent punch.

Without the R2 recoil mitigation system, the peak recoil from a 50 BMG cartridge is approximately 7,500 lbs. of force. From start to finish, the recoil lasts 1 millisecond in a machine rest. With the R2 system, the peak recoil is only approximately 520 lbs. of force. What’s more, the force is spread out over 6 milliseconds. While the total recoil energy is roughly the same, the hydraulic piston lowers the perception of recoil dramatically for a shooter by lowering the peak force and spreading the recoil out over time.

McMillan hydraulic recoil reducer

McMillan hydraulic recoil reducer

McMillan developed the new R2 system in partnership with customers using the TAC-50 weapons system. Extensive testing with electronic load sensors and high speed photography documented the recoil mitigation. The result is a 50-Caliber rifle that is significantly more comfortable to shoot.

McMillan hydraulic recoil reducer

Story Tip by Ed LongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 9 Comments »
October 6th, 2012

.50 Caliber Shooters Association Photo Galleries Unveiled

Are you a died-in-the-wool .50 BMG fan? Got a hankerin’ for heavy artillery? Then visit the FCSA Photo Gallery page. There you’ll find hundreds of photos from Fifty Caliber Shooting Association (FCSA) matches and fun shoots in California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Washington. To access the photos from the Gallery Page, click on the colored tabs which indicate match location and date (such as NV2011-08).

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

Photo sets go all the way back to 2002, so you can see the evolution of the hardware over the years. Sample multiple archives to see the differences in terrain from one range to another — from Raton’s alpine setting to the hot, dry Nevada desert. This Gallery is really a treasure-trove of .50-Cal history. It’s worth a visit. Here are a few sample images.

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
September 14th, 2012

Beyond .50 BMG — The Jumbo .950 JDJ

Are you bored with your “whimpy” .50 BMG? Looking for something with a little more punch? Well J.D. Jones and his team at SSK Industries have created a truly big boomer — the .950 JDJ. As its name implies, rifles chambered for the cartridge have a bore diameter of 0.950″ (24.13 mm). This would normally make such rifles “destructive devices” under the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA). However, SSK obtained a “Sporting Use” exemption allowing the rifles to be sold without special restrictions as destructive devices. CLICK HERE to watch .950 JDJ being fired.

.950 JDJ Specifications
Rifle Cost: $8000.00
Ammunition Cost: $40.00 per round
Projectile Weight: 3,600 grains (more than half a pound)
Rifle Weight: Between 80 and 120 pounds
Muzzle Energy: 38,685 ft/lbs (52,450 Joules)
Momentum: 154.1 Newton-seconds

As crafted by SSK Industries, .950 JDJ rifles use McMillan stocks and very large-diameter Krieger barrels fitted with a massive 18.2-lb muzzle brakes. The ammo produced by SSK features solid 3,600 grain bullets and CNC-machined cartridge brass. It is also possible (through a lot of work), to use a 20mm cannon casing shortened and necked-down.The primer pocket is swaged out to accept a .50 cal machine gun primer. That 3,600 grain bullet is just massive — it weighs more than half a pound. The cartridge propels its 3,600 grain bullet at approximately 2,200 fps. This yields a muzzle energy of 38,685 ft-lbs and a momentum of 154.1 Newton-seconds. The energy on target (knock-down power) is comparable to WWI-era tank rounds.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 24 Comments »
July 16th, 2012

Wilkinson Wins Hunter Class at .50 Cal World Championships

Walter WilkinsonUsing a “box-stock”, 30-lb Steyr HS.50 rifle, Walter Wilkinson of Edgewood, NM, bested a field of 31 competitors (most using heavier custom rifles) to take the Hunter Class Score title at the recent Fifty Caliber Shooters Association World Championships. This event was held July 1st and 2nd at the NRA Whittington Center outside Raton, NM. This is the second year in a row that a competitor with an off-the-shelf Steyr HS.50 won the Hunter Class title. (Eduardo Abril de Fontcuberta won Hunter Class with an HS.50 last year.)

Wilkinson, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces sergeant major and current Gunsite Academy instructor, ran up a two-day Aggregate score of 274-6X out of a possible 300, beating his next closest competitor, .50 Cal legend Lee Rasmussen, by two Xs. The Hunter Class is a 1,000-yard course of fire consisting of six, five-shot strings, with three strings shot on the first day, and three strings shot on the second day. Due to the wildly varying winds on this range, competitors who shot in the morning of the first day were required to shoot in the afternoon of the second day, and vice versa, to equal the playing field.

Slotted in the first afternoon’s fourth relay, Wilkinson’s consistency, solid wind-doping and holding skills paid off as the winds made an especially tricky display with a 180-degree shift as thunderheads came over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Heading into his morning relay on the second day, Wilkinson found himself in second place with nothing to do but hammer the 10-ring to work his way into the championship title.

Walter Wilkinson

Wilkinson’s .50 Delivered Quarter-MOA Groups During Load Testing
Wilkinson said the Steyr .50-Cal has shown outstanding accuracy: “As I was working up a load for the HS.50, I shot groups that amazed me. I was getting groups of .214 MOA at 220 yards, and I didn’t know what to think. All the bullets were going in the same hole, and it was like ‘Wow, I’ve really got a rifle that can shoot here’. They were the best groups that I have ever shot in my life — and they were with the .50 BMG!” That surprised Wilkinson: “With my [military] experience with the performance of the same cartridge overseas, I didn’t expect that kind of accuracy out of it.”

Walter Wilkinson

Wilkinson Was Also Member of Winning .50 Cal Team
Along with his individual Hunter Class Title, Wilkinson earned team honors as a Ten-X team member. The Ten-X team won the Team World Championship with an aggregate score of 1081-24X combined with an average group size of 14.549 inches. Each team had four shooters with one from each of the four classes represented at the .50 Caliber Championships: Light, Heavy, Unlimited, and Hunter.

Permalink Competition, News 4 Comments »
May 14th, 2012

Specialized Products for 50 BMG Shooters

Alliant 50 BMG PowderAlliant’s Powder for 50-Caliber Applications
In 2009 Alliant unveiled Reloder 50, a new powder designed for long-range, 50-caliber rifle shooters. According to Alliant, the burn rate is “a little slower than Winchester 860″ and the powder is showing excellent lot-to-lot consistency. Load density is optimized for the 50 BMG and similar cases. Like Reloder 17, Reloder 50 employs a process which penetrates the kernels with the burn-rate-controlling chemical. This should allow a longer, flatter pressure curve, yielding more velocity than conventional powders can deliver. Alliant says that Reloder 50 offers “superior velocity and the ability to burn cleaner (with less residue).” Reloder 50 comes in both 1-lb (#150527) and 8-lb (#150528) containers.

Giraud 50 BMG Case/Bullet Comparator
Giraud Tool makes a comparator for 50-Cal cartridges. The double-ended comparator is quite versatile. In one orientation you can measure base-to-ogive bullet length and also measure cartridge OAL from rim to bullet ogive. When reversed, you can use the comparator to measure cartridge headspace. The $30.00 Giraud 50 BMG Comparator gauge is constructed of 303 stainless and fits most any vernier, dial, or digital caliper. CLICK HERE for more info.

Giraud Tools 50 BMG comparator gauge

Lyman 50 BMG AccuTrimmer and Forster 50 BMG Trimmer
50 BMG enthusiasts asked for a reasonably-priced 50 BMG case trimmer and Lyman responded with an Accutrimmer designed specifically for that cartridge. Easy-to-use course and fine cut-length adjusters are positioned on the right side (by the handle). The shell head fits into a special holder which centers the case. The unit comes complete the 50-Caliber neck pilot. This case trimmer, including pilot, costs $59.99 at MidwayUSA.com.

Lyman 50 BMG AccuTrimmer

Forster Products also makes a dedicated 50 BMG trimmer. Forster’s cutter tip is much sharper than the cutter on the Lyman AccuTrimmer. However, with the Forster tool you will pay more for that superior cutting ability — Forster’s 50 BMG trimmer costs $92.95 at Sinclair International.

Forster 50 BMG case Trimmer

Permalink News, Reloading 4 Comments »
March 1st, 2012

New Military Powders for 50 BMG — Just $4.88 per Pound

Here’s a good deal for you 50 BMG shooters. Wideners.com has NEW 8-lb jugs of military ball (spherical) powders on sale for just $39.00 per jug. That works out to just $4.88 per pound. Two types are offered at this price: WC867 and WC872. Both types are NEW never-loaded powders, not re-claimed or “pull-down” propellants. Wideners notes: “There is almost no difference between WC867 and WC872 powder and the same loading data is used for both. The slight differences will depend on the bullet used, the neck tension, whether you are shooting a bolt action or semi auto. Use loading data for AA8700, work loads up accordingly.”

While these powders are optimized for the 50 BMG, WC867 and WC872 can be used for other maxi-sized cartridges that require a very slow-burning propellent. To make this an even better deal, Widener’s will waive the Hazmat fee if you purchase six (6) 8-lb jugs: “Buy in Increments of 6 and we will pay the Hazardous Material Fee for you. That is 6, 12 or 18 Kegs etc.; if you buy less than 6, you will pay the Hazardous Materials Fees.” To order, visit Wideners.com or call 1-800-615-3006.

Wideners 50 BMG powder WC867 WC872

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading 6 Comments »
February 5th, 2012

SHOT Show Highlight: New Actions from Defiance Machine

There was a lot of buzz at the Defiance Machine booth at SHOT Show. The new Defiance actions are beautifully made, and they have already been used in some impressive custom rifle builds. Defiance, based in Columbia Falls, MT, has rolled out a line-up of four (4) custom actions: Rebel, Mutant (for tubeguns), Renegade (for .408 CheyTac), and Titan (for 50 BMG). These actions all feature beautiful machining, with Wire EDM-cut lug ways, advanced-design extractors, and a true one-piece bolt. All action materials are pre-hardened before machining to prevent changing tolerances during heat-treating. Southpaws will be happy that both right and left-hand versions of all four actions are offered.

The Rebel actions feature a Remington 700 footprint for ease of inletting and stock compatibility. Notably, the Rebel actions are available in four lengths. Buyers can choose Medium, X-Medium, Long, or X-Long lengths to accommodate all popular factory chamberings and extended-length handloads. Multiple magazine well cuts are available for all of today’s popular magazine types including hinged floorplates, DBMs, or single-shot. For a rock-solid optics installation, Defiance can supply Mil-spec Picatinny rails with various built-in MOA geometry. This stout rail is secured to the action with five pins and 1/4-28 X 1/2″ screws. Base price on a Rebel is $1270.00 (Medium) or $1300.00 (Long), with many available extra-cost options. Defiance says delivery will take at least 60 days from order date.

We were very intrigued by the Mutant action with its integrated recoil lug. Offered in Medium and Long action lengths, Defiance’s new Mutant receiver is made specifically for the Eliseo RTM and RTS Chassis Systems. The Mutant features an extended tenon length for increased barrel thread contact and bedding surface. (Extended tenon is optional on the Rebel). The Mutant’s integral recoil lug adds rigidity and simplifies tubegun assembly. Medium-action Mutants are typically built with a Guardian mag-well cut to accommodate AI and AW magazines, while Long-action Mutants fit AI single-stack magazines and can be of Badger length or the longer CIP length for extended-OAL cartridge loading. The starting price on a Mutant action is $1200.00 (before options), and delivery is at least 60 days out.

The beefy Titan (50 BMG) and Renegade (.408 CheyTac) actions look like they will become very popular with the big-caliber shooters. These jumbo actions share the advanced features of their smaller cousins, but they are sized up significantly to provide additional strength, stiffness, and bedding surface. On both big actions double-plunger ejectors are used in combination with M16 extractors for reliable case ejection. Both Titan and Renegade actions are offered either as a single-shot or repeater. The Titan is currently sold exclusively through Proof Research, while the Renegade is not yet in production. Defiance plans to build 600 Renegade actions later this year, after demand is filled for the Rebels and Mutants. The anticipated price for the Renegade is $1750.00.

OK, we suspect we’ve whet your appetite. For final pricing (with customer-ordered options) and availability call Defiance at (406) 756-2727. For specs, features, and lots more photos, visit DefianceMachine.com. Contact Proof Research, 406-756-9290, with order questions about the 50 BMG Titan action.

.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 3 Comments »
December 13th, 2011

.50 BMG Bottle Opener — Proceeds Benefit Wounded Warriors

Here’s a fun gift item from Vat19.com — a bottle opener made from de-milled .50 BMG cartridges. These .50 Caliber Bottle Openers are made by hand in the USA by a group that donates at least 15% of its profits to helping wounded soldiers via the Travis Manion Foundation.

50 cal bottle opener .50 bmg

The price is $14.99. Considering the simple design, we bet many of our readers could make their own bottle opener using an old cartridge, a Dremel tool, and a file. If that’s too much work, you can order the .50 Cal bottle opener from Vat19.com. This item has been so popular that it is currently sold out, but Vat19.com is expecting to receive more inventory on December 19th — right before Christmas.

50 cal bottle opener .50 bmg

Credit TheFirearmBlog.com for finding this item
Permalink New Product, News No Comments »
October 7th, 2011

New Lego-like Composite Interlocking Walls Stop 50 BMG Rounds

Ballistics Research 3D IPS AABCHere’s an interesting invention from Ballistics Research, a Georgia-based security company that specializes in projectile barrier and containment systems. Ballistics Research has come up with a Interlocking Protection System (3-D IPS) that uses interlocking composite blocks — similar to giant Lego blocks — that will stop rounds up to .50 BMG. Two layers of blocks will even contain a 23mm cannon round. The Anti-Armor Ballistics Composite (AABC) blocks are lighter than concrete or other building materials, and they withstand repeated fire much better than old-fashioned sandbag stacks. Ballistics Research claims that its AABC composite is “the only material in existence that actually gains strength with incoming rounds.”

Ballistics Research 3D IPS AABC

Most conventional protection units available to the military and corporate worlds (like sandbags or concrete) are non-portable, or they degrade rapidly under sustained fire. Ballistics Research’s AABC™ material actually becomes stronger with multiple hits. In fact, each of the 3-D IPS blocks is capable of absorbing thousands of rounds of machine gun fire without failure.

Video Shows Effectiveness of 3-D IPS System
The Video below shows a 3-D IPS Block wall being tested first with a full-auto 5.56×45 M16, next an M60 machine gun firing 7.62×51 rounds, and finally a “Ma Deuce” shooting .50 Cal API M2HB Armor Piercing Rounds. This is all done at very close range. The AABC material soaks up ALL the projectiles. Very impressive indeed….

While 3-D IPS block installations are designed primarily for military compounds, or commercial sites (such as power plants) where high security is required. However, they can be used in any location where secure protection from high-velocity projectiles is required. For example, 3-D IPS blocks could be used for a down-range storage building on a shooting range. For more information, visit BallisticsResearch.com, call (678) 679-1973 or email: wayne@ballisticsresearch.com.

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April 22nd, 2011

Out-of-Battery Firing Injures Big-Bore Shooter

As posted in the Calguns.net a while back, there was a nasty out-of-battery firing incident involving a BOHICA Arms .510 DTC AR15 upper. The cause of the out-of-battery firing is not certain but it appears that the ammo was not sized properly and the firing pin may have been stuck in the extended position. As a result, the round went off before the bolt was closed with the lugs seated. In the process, the bolt handle broke off, as the bolt retracted violently, actually ending up outside the bolt raceway.

The shooter was badly injured, with multiple broken bones and ligament damage to his left hand and tissue damage to his right hand. The shooter was holding the rifle with his left hand near the front of the chamber where a gas vent was located. Gas and shrapnel existed the vent hole causing the severe injuries to the left hand.

From range reports, it appears that the shooter had been struggling to chamber previous rounds, and was having trouble closing the bolt. After talking with one of the rangemasters, a poster on AR15.com reported: “The guy was using new reloads that weren’t exactly fitting well into his chamber. [The shooter] was slamming the bolt handle with his palm trying to get the cases to lock in. The guy was also slamming the bolt forward full force from the rearmost position back and forth trying to ram the cases into chamber in an attempt to squeeze the rounds in so the bolt could close. Finally, on one of the attempts … the possibly stuck firing pin rams into the primer and explodes the round when he slams the bolt forward (zero lug engagement hence the KB) and shooter puts himself into a world of hurt.”

Lessons Learned — Don’t Try to Force Oversize Ammo into a Chamber
By all reports, the shooter’s ammo wasn’t fitting his chamber properly. In an effort to force the ammo into the chamber, he worked the bolt with excessive force. That MAY have caused the firing pin to extend or the hammer to fall without the trigger being pulled. One theory is that the trigger system may have been modified, allowing the hammer to fall from the force of slamming the bolt forward. Others have speculated that the firing pin may have failed to retract because the bolt handle was over-torqued — a safety issue listed in the BOHICA manual.

Whatever caused the out-of-battery firing, it appears that improperly-sized ammo (or a poorly-cut chamber) was the root cause of the problems. If you go to a range and find your bolt does not close easily over the ammo — STOP SHOOTING — don’t try to force the issue. Disaster may result. To paraphrase Johnnie Cochran: “If the ammo doesn’t fit, it’s time to quit”.

Photos by Wildcard, originally posted on Calguns.net.

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April 16th, 2011

New Cabela’s In-Chamber Laser Bore-Sighter from LaserLyte

Cabelas.com and LaserLyte have teamed up to produce compact laser bore-sighters that fit inside your firearm’s chamber. The laser is housed in a brass assembly machined to duplicate an actual cartridge. To activate the laser, simply place the bore-sighter in the rifle’s chamber and close the bolt. There are two core units, the Laserlyte Cabela’s Premium .223 (collimated lens $99.00) and the Pro .223 (standard lens $69.99). Both the Premium and Pro bore-sighters fit a .223 Rem, but they can be adapted to other chamberings by adding a caliber-specific sleeve over the .223 core unit. In addition, LaserLyte makes separate in-chamber bore-sighters for the 17HMR and 50 BMG.

Laserlyte Cabela's

Laserlyte Cabela's

Adapt Basic Unit to other Calibers with SAAMI Sleeves
Both the Premium and the Professional .223 Boresighters can be used for a variety of chamberings by fitting additional caliber-specific sleeves (sold separately). Each sleeve is precision-machined from brass to SAAMI specs. Available chamber sleeve calibers include:

Laserlyte Cabela's

Bore-Sighting the Old-Fashion Way
We are not big fans of laser bore-sighters, as we think they are unnecessary for most situations — at least with conventional bolt-action rifles. Visual bore-sighting is not difficult. Set up your gun securely on bags, remove your bolt and set up a 50-yard target with a large bright orange or black center circle. Look through the back of the action and you should be able to sight down the bore with your own eyes just fine. In fact it may be easier to bore-sight the “old-fashioned way” rather that try to see a laser in bright sunlight at 50 or 100 yards.

When a Laser Bore-Sighter is Valuable
There are instances when having a laser bore-sighter can save time, such as when setting up a chronograph. Also, with many semiautos and lever guns, it is difficult to sight down the bore because of the action design. Without using mirrors, it’s hard to visually bore-sight an M1 Garand, for example. Likewise, it can be difficult to bore-sight an AR15, because the stock and buffer is in line with the bore. For these rifle types, a laser bore-sighter is a valuable tool.

In-Chamber Laser Should Be Safer
We like the new LaserLyte design because it fits in the chamber, rather than in the bore. In-Chamber laser bore-sighters are also made by Aimshot, Firefield, and SightMark, in a variety of sizes. With muzzle-entry laser bore-sighters, you could have a nasty accident if you forget to remove the device. There is always the chance you could chamber and fire a round with the muzzle-entry bore-sighter still in place. Instant Kaboom. That has happened more than once. The new LaserLyte/Cabela’s bore-sighter fills your chamber, so there is no possibility you could chamber a loaded round with the bore-sighter in place. That’s an important safety advantage. The LaserLyte K-50 in-chamber bore-sighter is shown in the video below.

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March 4th, 2011

Ransom Rifle Master ‘SL Mega Rest’ — Review Part One

Ransom recently introduced the Ransom Rifle Master ‘SL Mega Rest’, a large, modular rest system for FSCA, NBRSA, and IBS shooters and other shooting disciplines that allow a rest system. We persuaded accomplished NBRSA point blank and long range shooter John Crawford to check out this system and share his experiences. This article is Part One of a two-part series.

Ransom’s SL Mega Rest: Part One (First Impressions) by John Crawford

Ransom SL Mega Rest

Upon receiving the Ransom SL Mega Rest, the first thing I noticed was how well the rest was packaged. There were two boxes, a large box holding the two base plates and a small box holding all of the small parts for the rest. The large box is double-walled, cardboard construction. It held up well to the rigors of shipping, keeping the two rest halves, each in their own inner box, in perfect shape.

Unpacking the Ransom SL Mega Rest one could not help but notice the weight of each half and their very attractive, black, Rhino coating. [Rhino coating is a heavy, extremely durable and tough, textured polyurethane coating commonly sprayed in the bed area of pickup trucks to protect the bed from damage.] Unpacking the small parts, which were all packaged separately for protection, gave me a good chance to note their excellent fit and finish. The small parts are made of steel and have a black oxide finish, including the ½:20-threaded legs which have nicely knurled knobs and lock rings. The black oxide finish compliments the bases.

Ransom SL Mega Rest

Front Section
The front base and post, used exclusively for elevation adjustment, are well built and have some very nice features. The post, which is 1.25″ in diameter, has a keyway and key in the front to keep it from turning, and the lockdown bolt has a carbide ball in the end to lock the post in place. The mariner’s wheel has a cogged rubber belt on the outside (fits into a groove) and makes adjusting height easy and comfortable without hand slippage. The post assembly can be located, front-to-rear, in one inch increments, to provide a center-of-front-rest-base-to-center-of-rear-rest-base distance of from 24″ to 32″, thus accommodating an 8″ difference in stock length.

The Ransom SL Mega Rest’s elevation rest top is a modular system. The base for the rest top broke tradition and has two bolts, side by side, to hold it to the post, a welcome change from having a single bolt to hold the top on. With two bolts you reduce the stress when putting a heavy rifle on the rest. The front post is mounted to a plate that bolts down to the rest base. The rest base has a series of tapped holes that allows one to adjust the front rest location, front-to-rear, to fit different stock lengths.

Ransom SL Mega RestRear Section
The rear rest, used exclusively for windage adjustment, has the rest top holder bolted in place. As a modular system, you can put the elevation rest top bag holder or windage top bag holder in either the front or rear rest as needed. You could also have a few different elevation rest tops or windage tops for different rifles. Both front and rear rests have a bubble level.

The Ransom SL Mega Rest’s windage top and bag holder are also modular. You can put the windage top and bag holder, or just the bag holder, in either the front or rear rest by removing four thumb screws and changing the tops. You can buy different width rest tops and swap them out in a few minutes, a nice feature for different stock length and width configurations. The windage top has a dovetail fit with a center bolt to hold the top in place and has no perceivable side play or movement, nice and tight and the windage adjusts easily.

The forearm stop is well thought out and fully adjustable for height and length to accommodate different front bag heights and stock lengths/positions. It can be adjusted forward about 4″ and, in height, from 1-1/2″ to 3-1/2″. It easily adjusts with two thumb screws.

83 pounds of Steel Solidity
The bridge plate between the front and rear rests is also black Rhino-coated, matching the bases. There are four dowel pins in the bridge plate for alignment and six 5/16-18 bolts that securely hold the bridge plate in place. The rest can be shot with the bridge plate in place, as a one-piece rest system, or the bridge plate can be removed, making it a two-piece rest system.

Ransom SL Mega Rest

The rear rest with windage top weighs 38 pounds and the front rest weighs 45 pounds, for a total weight of 83 pounds. This is without sand bags or sand. Overall the all-steel-construction, Ransom SL Mega Rest is well thought out, nicely finished, and made to the standards and quality you would expect from the Ransom Company. The MSRP for the whole unit (everything except sand bags) is $1,330.00. This includes front heavy bag plate, and rear windage-adjustable bag plate. Additional plates (for different sized bags) start at about $90.00. Next step is to fill my sand bags and do some field testing. We’ll cover that in Part Two of this review, later this spring.

Test Arranged by Edlongrange.
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