June 6th, 2021

Sunday Gunday: AR Service Rifle — Focus on Ammo & Reloading

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
The 600-yard target has an X-Ring 6 inches (1 MOA) across, while the 10-Ring spans 12 inches (2 MOA).

The following article is about reloading for NRA/CMP Highpower Rifle competition and is geared toward competitors shooting the AR15 Service Rifle. In Highpower Rifle competition, shooters fire in four stages: Standing slow-fire at 200 yards, Sitting rapid-fire at 200 yards, Prone rapid-fire at 300 yards, and Prone slow-fire at 600 yards. Competitors use a sling for support in all positions but standing. A typical AR15 Service Rifle sports a 20″ free-floated barrel and a 4.5-pound trigger. Service Rifle scopes are limited to maximum power of 4.5X.

Thoughts on Loading for Service Rifles, Particularly for 600 Yards

by Danny Arnold, Team CMP
Article originally published in CMP Shooting News

Before we get started, I want to stress that all of the information that follows is geared toward the .223/5.56 Service Rifle. That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing here for anyone else, but the .223/5.56 Service Rifle platform is where I’ve spent the majority of my time, so here we go.

There is only one “Perfect” 600–yard load for my rifle, True or False? This example is more anecdotal than scientific, but it provides some food for thought….

Team CMP spent the early part of March competing in the Orange Blossom Regional. As soon as we got on the range, Sara Rozanski (Team CMP member) started having problems with her 600-yard ammunition. Nearly 1/3 of her cases were exiting the chamber minus the primers. I offered to swap my ammunition for hers, suspecting that my Wylde chamber would be more forgiving than her CLE chamber — a solution that seemed to solve the problem. At least neither of us was blowing primers!

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

Sara’s ammunition was a factory load using a well-known 80+ grain bullet with an unknown primer and powder, using brass from a respected manufacturer. My load was a different brand of 80-grain bullet, with my choice of powder and primer, all in brass made by someone else. Given the color of the primers, the only thing that our ammunition could possibly have had in common was the brand of powder… maybe. So, how did we shoot?

Sara and I shot the two-person team together and the entire 2,400 Aggregate, although on different relays. Sara’s combined 600-yard score was 780-28X (97.5%). Mine was a 783-24X (97.87%). Our scores were never more than two points apart on any of the four days. Keep in mind that we were using each other’s ammunition the entire time.

So, we had different barrels, chambers and ammunition, but similar results. That goes back to the idea that a good load will perform similarly if fired in a good barrel.

Are We Too Focused on Ballistic Coefficients (BCs)?
The revailing wisdom has always trended toward loading the highest-BC bullet we could find and pushing it as fast as possible. Back in the early ’90s when I got started with the AR15, the 80-grain Sierra was state of the art. Actually, I picked up all of my Leg points with it, although today it looks a bit dated — kinda like me.

So, the question I’ll pose is this: Would you rather shoot a high-BC bullet that groups 3/4-MOA (minute of angle) or a lower-BC bullet that groups into one-half-MOA traveling 50 feet-per-second faster? The reason that I posed this question is a situation I found myself in a decade ago. Our coach decided that he wanted us to pair-fire some 600-yard for practice. Unfortunately, I hadn’t gotten the memo and all that I had available was my normal short-line ammunition, loaded with a 77-grain bullet. The shooter I was paired with was using a higher-BC bullet than I was, but in the end, we both shot 198s.

Admittedly, using 77-grainers meant that coach had to work a little harder to keep us together on target, but it was a teaching moment for me. I knew that my upper shot 77s better than the available bullets in the 80-grain range, so I cranked out a windage table for the 77-grain bullet at 600 yards and shot those for the rest of the season. After all, the wind blows ALL bullets around. It’s just a matter of knowing what YOUR bullet is doing.

With the shortages that we’re experiencing right now, a lighter bullet may be all that you have available for the 2021 season. That doesn’t mean that you’re disadvantaged though.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
Danny Arnold teaching Highpower Clinic at 2021 CMP Eastern Games

Loading High-BC Bullets
In the past decade, several bullets have appeared that weigh 80-grains or more. One thing that many of them have in common is a very sharp nose profile, whether metal or polymer. The question is: Are you using the right seating stem?

The jacket material in the bullet’s nose is very thin. If you section a bullet, you’ll find that there is a surprising amount of air space in the nose. If you’re using older seating dies, your seating stem may be contacting the bullet nose too close to the tip, where the jacket is the both thinnest and is unsupported by the lead core. This can manifest itself either as a deformation at the very tip of the bullet or as a circular dent around the bullet nose that you can see and feel with your thumbnail. I think we can all agree that denting a bullet is usually considered a bad thing.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

One company goes so far as to recommend their proprietary seating stem for use with their high-BC bullets. Other companies leave it up to you to find a seating stem that will allow the bullet nose to go deeper into the seating stem, moving the contact point further down the bullet where the jacket is thicker and supported by the core material.

Seating Depth and Bullet Preferences
Some bullets don’t mind some “jump” into the lands, but some really do. Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t tell you much about that. Your chamber configuration (Wylde, CLE, or some hybrid of the two) and the bullet that you choose will determine your optimal seating depth. Long and short of it, a quality measuring tool to determine seating depth is a necessity these days. Keep in mind that if you’re doing this with a brand new barrel, the throat is likely going to change slightly in the first 200 rounds and may need to be re-measured. Actually, since all of your short range ammunition has to be loaded to magazine length, you’re probably better off developing your short range loads before starting on long range load development. That gives the throat a chance to wear in a bit on a new barrel.

Brass Prep — Why It Is Important
When match-grade AR15s first arrived on the scene, it was amazing how little it took to get them to shoot well. Other than making sure that I had brass from the same lot and running it through a set of match-grade dies, I did nothing. Of course, we were also using a post front sight. Was the occasional bad shot me, the rifle, the load or just an archaic sighting system?

Transitioning to optics has caused me to reconsider how and what I do in my reloading process: That, and having some extra time on my hands to experiment.

A little (or a lot) of time spent with a neck turning tool, a primer-pocket uniformer and a flash-hole reamer will quickly show you how consistent brass is by manufacturer and even by individual lot. That exercise also makes the prices charged for high-quality brass seem ridiculously cheap. That doesn’t mean that I advocate neck-turning or other uniforming practices, nor do I advocate spending scandalous amounts of money on long-range brass. However, our sport is about consistency. The consistency of your brass is a matter of choice, whether you choose to simply segregate cases by weight (cheap option), neck turn (labor intensive) or open your wallet a little wider for premium brass.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

Weighing Charges vs. Throwing with Powder Measure
To measure or weigh? For a long time, I used a powder measure to throw all of my 600-yard loads. The powder I was using metered well, and the results downrange didn’t justify the extra time spent with a scale. That was in the day of iron sights though. Nowadays, I’m throwing my charges and trickling up to the desired weight as measured on a scale that weighs to a 100th of a grain.

To quantify the difference between individually weighing each charge versus throwing charges with a powder measure, I weighed six kernels of powder that I trickled into the pan and then dumped them into the hopper. Going through that process 10 times, I came up with an average weight of .08 grains for six kernels. Next, I threw 50 charges for weighing using my powder measure. If I felt the measure hanging up as it cut kernels, I put the charge back into the hopper without weighing it.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
That’s six kernels of powder sitting in the pan — average weight .08 grains.

Those 50 smoothly-thrown charges varied .26 grains from lowest to highest, with the majority varying no more than .16 grains from highest to lowest. If the desired weight was exactly in the middle, at worst you’d be .13 grains (9-10 kernels) low or high, with the majority being off no more than .08 grains (6 kernels) above or below the desired charge weight. Is that enough to send a shot outside the 2-MOA 10-Ring? Probably not.

Has more consistent brass and weighing charges to one-hundredth (0.01) of a grain added up to higher scores? Honestly, this question is hard to answer. Looking at the results on paper at 200 yards, using a powder that meters well combined with a consistent touch on the loading lever doesn’t appear measurably different than meticulously weighing each and every powder charge. Looking back over my 600-yard plots however, I can see a trend toward a group that is closer to X-Ring height.

Since the bullseye is widest at the center, shooting groups that are the height of the X-ring gives you more room for error when the wind is blowing. That can translate into higher 600-yard scores.

How You Load Your Ammunition vs. How You Load Your Rifle
The loading/chambering cycle of the AR-15 is, in a word, violent. You have a relatively heavy bolt and carrier assembly under power of a stout buffer spring slamming forward to chamber each round of ammunition. By design, those rounds were supposed to be held securely by the magazine feed lips until the bolt stripped them off the follower. Obviously, due to their overall length, 600-yard loads can’t be chambered that way. Although the barrel extension is funnel-shaped, it’s also got a lot of “teeth” ringing the inside of it (see below).

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels

Whether you’re using a standard magazine or a single-round loading device (SLED), dropping a round in the loading port and releasing the bolt is an act of faith in that you’re trusting the bullet to arrive in the chamber undamaged.

Ask yourself, how many times have you seen someone drop a round on the follower, press the bolt release and watch as the bolt jammed on a cockeyed round? If that happens once every 100 tries, how many times did the bolt close on a scratched, dented, or misaligned bullet? Could that be the cause of the occasional errant shot?

My technique is to drop each round on top of the SLED and then push it slightly forward with my finger, partially chambering it before releasing the bolt. Admittedly, some people may be unable to do this due to body configuration or left-handedness, but why go to all the trouble of loading “perfect” ammunition and then damage it on the way into the chamber?

Now that we’ve covered bullets, brass, and assorted errata we can move on to discussing loads for 600 Yards…

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels highpower target
The NRA Highpower 600-yard target has a 6-inch (1 MOA) X-Ring, and a 12-inch (2 MOA) 10-Ring.

Load Development for 600 Yards

Finding a load for 600 yards is a lot like finding a load for short range. Once I decide on a bullet, powder, primer, velocity range and a measured guesstimate of seating depth, I load 10 rounds of each test load, increasing in 0.2 (2/10) grain increments. I test them from the prone position at 200 yards. Ideally, I want to see two loads that are 0.2 (2/10) of a grain apart that shoot almost identical groups. The load that I choose will fall in between the two best shooting loads that I tested. If the first load is XX.2 grains and the second is XX.4 grains, my chosen load will be XX.3 grains.

Why develop loads in 0.2-grain (tenths) increments if I have a scale that measures in 0.01-grain (hundredths) increments? Or, why not test in 0.1-grain increments?

For me, working in 0.2-grain increments gets me to the results quicker. Also, there is a difference between accuracy and consistency in this scenario. Developing loads in 0.2-grain increments gets me to an accurate load. Producing that load using a scale that accurately measures to .01-grain insures a consistent load, assuming that I do my part.

Once I’ve settled on a load, it’s time to play with seating depth, if I choose to. If I’m lucky and the groups are acceptable as-is, I won’t do anything. If I think there’s room for improvement, I’ll experiment a little. Depending on the bullet, changing the seating depth by a couple of thousandths one way or the other may change the group size. During this phase of testing, it’s a good idea to chamber a round and see if the entire round will then extract. If you leave a bullet stuck in the throat, your rounds are too long. Finding that out at a match can ruin an otherwise good day.

High Power service rifle AR15 reloading 600 yard Danny Arnold powder kernels
Danny Arnold shooting his AR15 Service Rifle, standing position at 2021 CMP Eastern Games.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your barrel is not static. Every round fired has an effect on the throat, vaporizing and scouring away metal until the distance the bullet travels before meeting the rifling measurably increases. If you have chosen a bullet that shoots best when close to the lands, you’ll need to periodically re-measure and possibly change your bullet seating depth to maintain that optimal relationship.

The Elephant in the Room — User Skill Level

There’s really not a delicate way to put this, so I won’t try. There’s little point in spending time and effort developing a load that shoots into half-MOA off the bench if you’re only capable of shooting 2 MOA using a sling right now.

That doesn’t mean that there’s no hope. On the contrary, it just means that your time and effort is better spent practicing with some good short-range ammunition on reduced targets at a 100 or 200-yard range. At that distance, wind is not a factor and your technique can be improved more quickly so you’re in a position to benefit from that ½ MOA ammunition.

About Team CMP
CMP has created a Highpower Team with top competitors. Team CMP competes at several events throughout the year and most importantly, helps to teach Highpower Clinics at CMP Competition Events. Learn from Team CMP at Camp Perry during the Advanced Highpower Clinic, scheduled this year for July 30 through August 1, 2021. Visit the Highpower Clinic Web Page for more information.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally-chartered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, visit www.TheCMP.org.

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May 8th, 2021

Watch and Learn — Five Great Shooting USA Videos

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

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

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

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

2. Field-Stripping and Cleaning AR-Platform Rifles

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

2. MOA Defined — Jim Scoutten Explains Minute of Angle

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

4. How to Adjust for Parallax

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

5. How to Mount a Riflescope

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

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May 7th, 2021

Trigger Options for AR-Platform Rifles — Standard and Modular

AR15 AR10 Trigger Geissele Timney Elftmann 2-stage ALG Defense modularTrigger images from PrimaryArms.com, which sells all the triggers reviewed here: Geissele, Elftmann, Timney, and ALG Defense.

Are you thinking of upgrading the trigger system for your AR-platform rifle? There are dozens of options available, from $45 up to $350. Thankfully, Brownells has created video reviews of some of the more popular AR trigger options from Timney, Geissele, and ALG Defense. And we included a video review of the highly-regarded Elftmann Match Trigger. If you want the best solution for Service Rifle competition, you might favor the Geissele. For ease of installation, it’s hard to beat the Timney, a “drop-in” module. Like the Timney, the super-smooth Elftmann is a drop-in module. At $249.99 from Brownells it’s pricey, but it is one of the best AR triggers out there. If you’re on a tight budget, the best “bang for your buck” may be the “Perfected Mil-Spec” ALG trigger at $49.00.

Multiple AR Triggers, including Elftmann and Geissele, Reviewed

Though pricey ($249.00 at PrimaryArms.com), we really like the Elftmann AR trigger. It combines the best of both worlds — the precision and smoothness of the Geissele with the Timney’s ease of installation. This single stage trigger is user-adjustable from 2.75 to 4 pounds pull weight. It is offered with either straight or curved trigger blade. Primary Arms says: “The amazingly short take-up, glass-rod crisp break and [near-zero] over-travel can be compared to the finest custom 1911 triggers.”

Geissele Enhanced Two-Stage Trigger

Geissele makes a variety of quality AR trigger sets both single-stage and two-stage. Many High Power competitors like the two-stage Geissele trigger. This delivers a repeatable, controlled pull through the first stage with a very clean break in the second stage. The Super Dynamic Enhanced Trigger, shown above, features a distinctive, trigger blade. Reviewer Thomas Conroy says: “The flat surface is very easy to press against. Both stages are light and very distinct.”

Timney Drop-In Trigger Module

This trigger module is available for both the AR15 and the AR10 platform (see above video). Timney triggers are easy to install and come with multiple pin size and pull-weight options. Reviewer Thomas Conroy confirms that the single-stage Timney “breaks cleanly and crisply. This trigger is modular, meaning that the trigger, sear, hammer, and spring are all encased in a bright, shiny yellow aluminum housing.”

ALG Defense Trigger — Higher-Quality Basic AR Trigger

ALG AR15 AR trigger brownellsAccording to Thomas Conroy, ALG triggers “are the perfected version of the standard, non-adjustable mil-spec original trigger. They have the same geometry, but are made to higher quality standards, and come with … hardened and smoothed-out sear contact surface to eliminate all grittiness.” These are also offered in a nickel-boron coated version. Available for under $56.00, the ALG is a well-made, low-cost option for shooters who want a better factory-type trigger system.

For More Information about These Triggers
Learn more about Geissele, Timney and ALG triggers, plus two more AR trigger options (CMMG and Rock River Arms) in a Trigger Comparison Review by Thomas Conroy on Ammoland.com.

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May 2nd, 2021

Sunday GunDay: World’s Lightest AR Rifle — 3.8-Lb OIP Gen 2

GunsAmerica Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

One of the most radical black rifles ever created wowed the crowd at the SHOT Show Range Day back in 2019. At the Boulder Rifle & Pistol Club outside Las Vegas, Battle Arms Development showcased a true “UltraLight AR”. With Titanium and carbon fiber components, the Battle Arms OIP Gen 2 AR-platform rifle weighs just 3.8 pounds unloaded. Compare that to 7.5 pounds (or more) for a typical AR-15.

Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight
Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

Battle Arms 3.8-Lb Titanium/Carbon OIP 2 — World’s Lightest AR

At the Boulder City Range GunsAmerica Digest Managing Editor True Pearce talked with one of the Battle Arms gun designers who helped created this unique rifle, claimed to be the world’s lightest AR (yes it is lighter than ARs with polymer lowers). READ GunsAmerica Battle Arms OIP 2 Review HERE.

In the video below, True Pearce shows the key features of the $3290.00 Battle Arms OIP 2. Then he tests its function shooting offhand at steel targets. Despite its low mass, and exotic components, the Battle Arms OIP 2 AR carbine performed flawlessly.

The video above features the Battle Arms OIP GEN 2 AR that weighs just 3.8 pounds. To save weight, this carbine features a carbon fiber handguard and various titanium parts including a Titanium muzzle brake. Look carefully at how even small controls have been modified to save ounces.

GunsAmerica reported: “Battle Arms has done a lot of work to find all the ounces that can be spared to make this gun as light as possible.” Even at just 3.8 pounds, the gun is very controllable during rapid fire. Despite a steep $3290.00 MSRP, the first run of Battle Arms’ sub-4-lb GEN 2 OIP sold out. That proves that “light is right”, as least in the AR carbine market.

2019 shot show Battle Arms development 0.I.D. Gen 2 AR chassis system rifles
Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight
Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

Pew-Pew Tactical Review of Battle Arms OIP 2

GunsAmerica Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

The team at Pew-Pew Tactical also field-tested the Battle Arms OIP Gen 2 rifle. The reviewers were impressed, finding that felt recoil was very manageable, even given the rifle’s very low 3.8-lb weight:

Pew-Pew Tactical Battle Arms OIP Gen 2 Review

The Concept Behind the OIP — Why Go Ultra-Light

Recoil Magazine featured an earlier model OIP rifle back in 2016 (Issue 21). This design was later refined into the current OIP Gen 2 version. Recoil’s writers explained the concept behind this unique design:

Battle Arms OIP Rifle — How Low Can You Go…

“The OIP had its genesis as a simple idea to build a lightweight gun that just plain worked. Dave Lake and Matt Babb of Bentwood Gunsmithing spent years perfecting the concept, incorporating the latest components where they existed and working with companies to customize parts that didn’t. They wanted a well-balanced gun with an optimized operating system and literally no excess — to be as light as humanly possible.

Bentwood didn’t want to utilize polymer receivers and worked with Battle Arms Development to develop a super lightweight receiver set with intricate machining to shave as much weight as they could. They investigated some more exotic material choices, but found them to be prohibitively expensive.”
— Source: RecoilWeb.com

Battle Arms OIP 2 Owner’s Review on TFB

Last year, The Firearm Blog (TFB) published an extensive review of the Battle Arms OIP 2. TFB writer/tester Rusty S. had purchased this OIP 2 rig with his own funds — making a serious $3290.00 investment.

After using the rifle in the field, Rusty concluded: “Objectively, the Battle Arms Development OIP 2 is a very well put together, reasonably accurate and very lightweight rifle. It has proven to be reliable, durable, and soft shooting despite its lightweight configuration. Subjectively, the OIP 2 has proven to be the rifle I most often bring with me into the backcountry with the exception of during deer and elk hunting season. It’s nice to have a 500-yard-capable rifle with me that weighs so little. All that being said, the amount that the OIP2 will lighten one’s wallet by will be a real sticking point for most prospective buyers.” Rusty added: “At this price point, I would appreciate some sort of ultra lightweight flip-up iron sights. I also don’t think the rear of the buttstock is as ergonomically optimal as it could be.”

GunsAmerica Battle Arms Battlearms AR15 AR OIP Gen 2 light weight

Product Description from Battle Arms
[The Battle Arms OIP 2 is] the lightest, purpose-built, no compromise, production ultralight survival carbine[.] It took years in R&D, engineering and multiple U.S. Patents to create the most robust and reliable lightweight AR platform on the market. Building something that is not only lightweight but all the while not sacrificing strength and performance is the ultimate secret of the Battlearms OIP.

Every component, shy of a few detents and springs, are custom built and designed to work together as a complete system. No, you will not find a parts gun here….The OIP utilizes a patented OIP buffer system in conjunction with a lightweight titanium bolt carrier with ArmorTi finish for durability. It is balanced with a custom mid-length gas system and a specially designed titanium THUMPER compensator.

New in Gen 2 is the user-configurable M-LOK carbon fiber handguard and a carbon-fiber pistol grip that weighs barely one ounce. A new titanium billet CNC-machined bolt catch and a lightweight single-side Clutch charging handle are just a couple more of the new upgrades to the OIP. The rifle was designed to be an optics-ready carbine, providing a single stretch of Picatinny rail in the optimal spot for a red dot sight while eliminating the unnecessary weight of the rail elsewhere. The patented, lightweight 7075-T6 billet aluminum receivers are not simply skeletonized and hollowed out but is carefully engineered with structural consideration. The technology and engineering that foes into the OIP® Ultralight Rifle bring forth the next evolution of the AR platform.

Want to learn more? Check out this review of the Battle Arms OIP 2 Carbine on DefenseReview.com.

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March 19th, 2021

AR-Platform Rifle Cleaning Advice

AR15 cleaning procedure

AR-platform rifles run dirty — very dirty. The gas system blows carbon and powder residues back into the action and into the bolt carrier group. That’s why you need to clean your ARs regularly, and you have to pay special attention to the nooks and crannies in the bolt and bolt carrer. The majority of AR failures we’ve witnessed have been from a combination of lube, carbon, and tiny brass shavings that collected in the ejector recess and the extractor spring recess. After that, plain carbon build-up on the bolt can be a gun-stopper too. And you need to keep the barrel extension clean too.

If you’re new to the (dirty) world of ARs, here are two helpful videos from the folks who make Froglube. That line of cleaners/lubes is pretty good stuff, though not our first choice for all AR lubrication and cleaning chores. But these videos do provide many helpful tips. They show the disassembly process and highlight the problem areas to which you must pay special attention.

How to Clean Your AR-15 Bolt Carrier Assembly

How to Clean Your AR-15 Lower Receiver Assembly

NOTE: Froglube also makes a video showing AR upper, chamber, and barrel cleaning. There are practices shown there that we do NOT recommend. Nor do we recommend Froglube products for bore cleaning. We think there are more effective cleaning products.

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March 3rd, 2021

Marksmanship Training — PRO Tips from the USAMU

USAMU Shooting USA Pro tips

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), in cooperation with Shooting USA TV, has created a series of instructional Pro Tip pages covering a wide range of shooting disciplines. All totaled, there are more than 50 USAMU Pro Tips. Most relate to rifle marksmanship but there are also numerous tips for shotgunners and pistol shooters. Each Pro Tip entry includes multiple photos and 6-15 paragraphs, in an easy-to-follow format. Many Pro Tips also include an instructional video produced by Shooting USA. Here are three Pro Tip videos, and links to seven more Pro Tip web pages.

USAMU TOP TEN PRO TIPS

1. Reading the Wind with SGT Sherri Gallagher.
Apart from gravity, wind has the most pull on the bullet as it travels down range. Being able to accurately read the wind and mirage will greatly enhance your performance on the rifle range. National Champion, SGT Gallagher gives you some of her tips.

2. Angle Shooting with SFC (Ret.) Emil Praslick.
SFC Praslick shows you how to determine the angle to your target, and then how to include that to change your data necessary to hit your target on the first shot.

3. Rifle Grip, Stance and Body Position for 3-Gun with SFC Daniel Horner.
Professional 3-gun marksman SFC Daniel Horner, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), give tips on how to properly handle a semi-automatic rifle, including grip, stance and body position.

4. Service Rifle Positions (with SFC Brandon Green)

5. Rifling and Twist Rate (with SFC Ret. Emil Praslick)

6. Setting the Right Zero (with SPC Ty Cooper)

7. Practice Drills (with SFC Lance Dement)

8. Using the Sling

9. Getting Your AR Zeroed

10. 3-Gun Rifles By Division (with SFC Daniel Horner)

USAMU Pro Tips Sherri Gallagher Emil Praslick Daniel Horner

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February 13th, 2021

Triggers for AR Platform Rifles — Single-Stage and Two-Stage

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

AR-platform rifles are fun and versatile, but the standard, mil-spec triggers leave much to be desired. They tend to be gritty, with creep and heavy pull weight. One of the easiest, most effective AR upgrades is a trigger group swap. An improved fire control group makes a huge difference. There are many aftermarket trigger options for the AR platform rifles. Choose single-stage or two-stage, either standard trigger assembly or unitized “drop-in” trigger, such as those made by Timney or Triggertech.

Read Full AR Trigger Article in NRA Blog HERE »

AR15 Space Gun trigger
When upgraded with a precision trigger and match barrel, AR-platform rigs work great in NRA High Power competitions (Photo from NRA Blog, at Camp Perry).

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stageTwo-Stage vs. Single-Stage Triggers
Two-stage triggers have two separate movements. The first stage offers a light, spring-loaded pressure that works against the shooter’s pull until stopping at the second stage – this is called “take-up”. If there is no spring pressure, it is known as “slack”. Should the shooter continue to pull the trigger once he’s arrived at the second stage, the mechanism will operate like a single-stage trigger from there until engaging the sear and firing the gun. Some shooters prefer a two-stage trigger because it allows a mental preparation (first stage) before the final decision to “break the shot”.

Single-stage triggers feature no take-up or slack, as they begin engaging the sear as soon as the shooter begins pulling the trigger. Some competitive shooters prefer the two-stage trigger because of the feedback it provides during its first stage, while other shooters, including those using their rifle in tactical scenarios, may want the surety of a single-stage trigger, ready to engage and fire once their finger is inside the trigger guard. Regardless of preference, a good trigger will feature minimal creep and should be free of grittiness, providing a smooth, even break.

AR15 Timney drop-in trigger two-stage 2-stage single stage

Drop-In Trigger Assembly vs. Standard Trigger Group
Once you decide between a single-stage or two-stage trigger, you can choose between standard and drop-in trigger groups. Standard trigger groups feature all the fire control group parts separated, and need to be pieced together and installed much like a mil-spec trigger, while drop-in trigger are pre-assembled and contained within a casing that simply drops in to the receiver and accepts the pins, hence the name.

After-Market Trigger Comparison

Some shooters prefer drop-in triggers due to the ease of installation, while others opt for standard groups so they can access the components individually for cleaning adjustment or replacement. If one piece of a drop-in trigger fails, you’ll need to either replace the entire unit or send it to the manufacturer for repair, whereas you may be able to simply replace the broken component of a standard trigger without needing a whole new trigger set.

Trigger Terminology — “Creep”, “Stacking”, “Overtravel”
“Creep” or “travel” is the distance the trigger moves between the end of take-up and when the trigger breaks to fire the fun. Too much creep can affect accuracy, but no creep can be unsafe, as the shooter may not be prepared to fire. “Stacking” occurs when the trigger weight actually increases during travel — this shouldn’t happen. Lastly, “overtravel” is the distance the trigger continues moving back after the gun fires.

This article is based on a longer story in the NRA Blog.

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February 5th, 2021

Fundamentals — Sight Alignment and Trigger Control

Marksmanship Fundamentals iron sights USAMU

This video from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit focuses on two key fundamentals of marksmanship: 1) Sight Alignment; and 2) Trigger Squeeze. This video can assist any Service Rifle or metallic sights shooter. The USAMU instructor explains: “You’ve probably heard a lot about fundamentals — Breathe, Relax, Aim, Squeeze… Well that gives a shooter a lot to think about. Here we teach two main firing tasks: 1) align the sights, and 2) squeeze the trigger without moving the rifle. This allows the shooter a much more simplified format.”

The following tips are transcribed from the video:

Task One: Sight Alignment
Sight alignment is the process of putting the tip of the front sight post, the rear aperture, and the shooter’s eyeball all on the same plane. It’s very important to maintain the tip of the front sight post centered in the rear aperture. Just .002″ of deviation can cause a miss at 300 meters. Allow your eye to do its job. While firing, the focus should remain on the tip of the front sight.

Task Two: Trigger Control
Your second firing task is [to] fire the rifle without moving it. This is done through proper trigger control. You’ve probably heard a lot of words about trigger control — “surprise break”, “snatch”, “pull”, “squeeze”… well we teach one thing here: “smooth”. No matter the speed at which I engage the trigger, it’s always going to be smooth. Imagine trying to pull the trigger straight through the rear of the buttstock, holding it to the rear while the gun recoils. It’s important to constantly engage the trigger, never letting your trigger finger disengage from the trigger while firing. This is achieved through natural trigger finger placement.

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January 31st, 2021

Sunday GunDay: 7.5-lb AR for CMP’s Modern Military Matches

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Retro is back — at least in the CMP’s Standard Modern Military Rifle AR class. Though Service Rifle competition has evolved to allow optics and heavy barrel profiles, the Standard Modern Military Rifle (AR category) is truly a “blast from the past”. Overall weight is limited to 7.5 pounds, and the rifle must be equipped with iron sights (Rule 5.2.3). In addition, the rifle “be based on the M-16 rifle or be based on an AR design” with “exterior configuration similar [to] the original military or military-type rifle”. See Rules.

With this in mind our friend Dennis Santiago recently put together his own AR-platform Standard Modern Military Rifle for matches run under CMP Competition Rules. This is not quite a classic AR, as it has a metal free-float handguard (vs. plastic handguards), but it IS light (7.3 pounds), and it does have iron sights — a key requirement for Standard Modern Military class rifles.

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Here is Santiago’s CMP Modern Military Rifle (Standard Class) with an ultralight free float tube that has a titanium barrel nut, and mechanical, center-able front sight. The barrel is an AR-Stoner brand 20″-long 1:7″ Government contour chambered in 5.56×45 NATO. Dennis says: “This makes the 7.5-lb weight limit with a few ounces to spare. We’ll see how well it drives soon enough.”

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Dennis explains: “The Standard Modern Military (AR) is a category of military-style rifle that shoots the 200-yard, 30- or 50-shot courses alongside the M1 Garands, Springfields, Vintage, and M1 Carbines. This one boasts a Midwest Industries (MI) ultralight Free-float Handguard and a Yankee Hill folding front sight. Any Government contour or thinner profile rifle-length gas tube barrel with a 0.750″ gas block will work.” Colt makes a suitable Government Contour 20″-long, 1:7″-twist barrel, sold by MidwayUSA.

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

To test the accuracy of his rifle, Dennis fitted a Mantis-X unit on the top of the float tube. The Mantis-X records the movement of the rifle to interpolate shot placements. Dennis reports: “I spent some extra time at the range grabbing a decent zero for my Modern Military rifle. I stuck a Mantis-X on it to record a few shots shooting offhand at the plates at 200 yards. It drives very easily even with no shooting coat or glove.” The Mantis-X is attached just forward of the carry handle, on top of the MI free-float handguard. The Mantis-X works with live fire as well as dry fire. It communicates via BlueTooth to a smartphone App.

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago
AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Rifle Shoots Well with 77gr Sierra MatchKings
The gun is presently zeroed with 77gr Sierra MatchKing ammunition. Dennis reports his rifle “can easily hold the X-Ring on an SR target for both 100-yard and 200-yard CMP Modern Military Games matches. And it’s fun to shoot!”

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

CMP Standard Modern Military Rifle (AR Class)
This rifle is built from carefully selected and fitted parts to conform to the CMP’s 7.5-pound weight limit iron-sighted rifle rule. Officially, this is a CMP Standard Modern Military Rifle, Class “A” (AR type).

1. S&W M&P lower receiver
2. White Oak Armament match upper receiver with 1/4×1/4-MOA pinned rear sights
3. AR-Stoner 20″ 1:7″-twist 5.56x45mm NATO Government contour barrel from MidwayUSA*
4. MidWest Industries ultralight free-float handguard with a Titanium barrel nut
5. Yankee Hill Machine folding front sight with a 0.072″ square front pin
6. RRA 2-stage trigger
7. A2 length buttstock

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Easy Rifle Build Using Mostly Existing AR Parts, Plus New Barrel and Free-Float Handguard
Dennis was able to put his Modern Military AR together using components he had collected over the years: “Most of these parts were already in my bin of old AR parts available to be recycled. The barrel and free-float handguard were the only new acquisitions.” And with the AR’s modular format, this was an easy build: “Assembly time was about 30 minutes. I’ve done these parts swaps so many times now.”

Key Rules for Standard Modern Military Rifle (AR Type)

Dennis Santiago’s new AR rifle was built as a “Standard U.S. Modern Military Rifle”, Class A (AR Type), as specified in the CMP Competition Rules.

5.2.3 Standard U.S. Modern Military Rifles, Class A
Category A Standard Modern Military Rifles must comply with these requirements:

a) Rifles must be based on the M-16 rifle or be based on an AR design;
b) Rifles must be manufactured by a USA manufacturer;
c) Rifles must be equipped with issue-type metallic front and rear sights; rear sights with adjustments finer than one minute of angle are permitted;
d) Total rifle weight, with sights and without sling, may not exceed 7.5 pounds;
e) Rifles may be fitted with a float tube or free-floating handguard. A nonadjustable sling swivel may be attached to the forward end of the handguard; and…
f) The rifle must be chambered for the 5.56x45mm or .223 Remington cartridge.

Also, from Rule 5.2.2:
a) The exterior configuration of the rifle must be the similar to that of the
original military or military-type rifle;
b) The trigger pull may not be less than 4.5 lbs.;

Comments from other Modern Military Rifle Shooters:

“I built a Modern Military [Standard]. It was tough getting below the 7.5-lb [limit]. I had to carve off a bunch of the 20″ barrel diameter but wanted to stay with it for sight radius (over a 16″). I would just as soon shoot that little iron-sighted rifle at 200 yards as my 15-lb Nightforce-scoped Service Rifle. I love that little rifle.” — Kenneth S.

“I’m building one of these that will make 7.5-lb [Standard Modern Military] weight limit, with the long barrel and long sight radius. This has been on my list this winter.” — Tom K.

“We found that turning down a National Match barrel and taking a few inches off of it made a very accurate rifle.” — Jack A.

“My old (complete) A2 upper has been sitting forlorn on a shelf for a couple of years now. Perhaps I need to do a [Standard Modern Military] build of my own.” — Derek D.

Dennis Santiago replied: “Derek — that’s the reason I was attracted to this. I had bought a brand new WOA A2 pin upper receiver to make a new upper then the scope rule was adopted and it was all flat tops. This gives new purpose to the old parts.”

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

Standard vs. Unlimited, Class A vs. Class B

AR-15 AR15 A-2 Modern Military Rifle CMP Games iron sights Dennis Santiago

There are actually two different classes of Standard Modern Military Rifles, Class A for AR-type rifles and Class B for other military-style rifles, such as the M1A and FN-FAL. Ok, got that? Now, in addition, there is also a second division for UNLIMITED Modern Military Rifles, again with two classes (Class A — AR-type and Class B — other military rifles). These unlimited rifles can have optics, heavier weights, modern-design adjustable-length stocks, and other upgrades. Here is Rule 5.2.2 from the current CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules:

(more…)

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January 15th, 2021

MicroFit Takedown Pins for AR-Platform Rifles

JP Enterprises MicroFit Pins AR15 takedown pin

Does your Black Rifle have a sloppy upper/lower fit? That can be annoying; what’s more, loose fit can limit accuracy potential. Here’s a clever solution for poor-fitting AR-15 and AR-10 upper and lower receivers. The new JP MicroFit takedown pins can improve even the sloppiest ARs, providing a rock-solid upper/lower receiver fit.

MicroFit pins come in three sizes and two types: standard (“mean”), oversized, and undersized, with types for both front and rear of the receivers. The mean pins match standard takedown pin sizes while the over- and under-sized vary by slightly more than .001″ (+/-) from the standard diameter. NOTE: Although most poor-fitting receivers are loose, some are too tight. Very tight receivers, such as post-Cerakote, can be remedied with the undersized pins.

JP Enterprises MicroFit Pins AR15 takedown pin
Shown is JP Enterprises’ PSC-12™ upper assembly with LRP-07™ lower assembly.

“An AR with a loose upper/lower receiver… will not reach its accuracy potential. That was the goal with our original JP Tension Pin, but MicroFit™ pins provide the same result without tool-assisted takedown. The MicroFit pins require no modification to the receiver. They simply replace your current pins”, stated JP Enterprises founder John Paul.

JP’s MicroFit pins feature a polished black finish with a hard, durable QPQ coating. This provides smooth insertion/removal plus excellent corrosion resistance. All pins feature a two-faceted punch or bullet capturing recess. This allows the user to apply force to the pins safely without risking scratching the receiver. JP’s MicroFit pins are sold as both as individual pins and as replacement sets.

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December 31st, 2020

AR-15 Rifle Maintenance — How to Keep Your AR Running Right

Barrel cleaning AR15 bolt carrier carbon Jerry Miculek gas key direct impingement

Let’s face it, AR-platform rifles run dirty, at least compared to typical bolt-action rifles. The AR-15 works by piping gas from the barrel back into the bolt carrier, causing the bolt to unlock and the carrier to move the bolt backward. The “exhaust gas” from the barrel contains soot and carbon. The carbon will form hard deposits on the bolt. In addition, the carbon can combine with lube on the bolt carrier to make a nasty, paste-like sludge. This can be particularly problematic when the black paste pollutes the ejector and extractor recess.

This Editor has inspected dozens of ARs over the years. Other than mag-related malfunctions, the most common cause of AR cycling problems I found was oily gunk in the extractor and ejector areas. Many AR owners overlook these critical areas. Look at an AR that hasn’t been cleaned properly and you’ll probably find black gunk (and small brass shavings) in the ejector and extractor recesses.

If you want to keep your black rifle running smoothly and reliably, you must clean it regularly and follow the correct maintenance procedures. Here are three videos that explain how to properly disassemble and clean AR-platform rifles. And then they cover the essential lubrication ARs need to run reliably.

Take-Down and Full Cleaning of AR15 by Jerry Miculek

Here ace shooter Jerry Miculek takes down and cleans an AR-platform rifle belonging to his daughter Lena. This is a good video because Lena’s rifle was “run hard and packed up dirty” so you can see where carbon and grease build up. This 35-minute video is very thorough. Jerry is one of the nation’s top action carbine shooters, so listen carefully to his advice on cleaning and lubrication.

General AR-15 Maintenance and Lubrication

There are various schools of thought on AR lubrication. Some guys like to run “wet” with lots of CLP, while others choose to focus lubrication on the key spots that receive the most friction and wear, such as the contact point for the bolt carrier. We do advice check the ejector recess and extractor spring recess frequently as gunk can get in there, causing malfunctions. Here is a good video from Pew Pew Tactical — a 7-minute guide to cleaning and lubricating AR-platform rifles. This shows important details for both the upper and the lower.

How to Clean Your AR-15 Bolt Carrier Assembly

This video offers very specific advice on the bolt carrier group, which receives the dirty gas directly from the barrel. Be sure to check the extractor and ejector recesses. That’s where old lube, brass shavings, and carbon accumulate. Follow the directions in this video for lubrication, and don’t over-lubricate the bolt carrier — that will only capture more carbon.

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December 27th, 2020

SunDay GunDay: Doctor Paula Goes Distinguished at Age 67

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman
Paula Crenshaw earned Distinguished Badge #2521 in 2020 at age 67.

Feature based on story in CMP’s The First Shot
Paula Crenshaw, a 67-year-old grandmother, never stops reaching toward new ambitions. This November, Paula earned the prestigious Distinguished Rifleman Badge at the 29 Palms Marine Base. “I’ve always been late to the party,” Paula said. “I didn’t start medical school until I was 37.”

A physician from Reno, Nevada, Paula took up rifle shooting in her early fifties to support her husband’s interests and undertake a new challenge. Turns out she loved competitive shooting. And now, in 2020, many years later she earned her own Distinguished Badge, #2521 at the age of 67. Earning the coveted Badge was “The fulfillment of my dream” Paula notes.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman
Paula earned her “hard leg” 10 EIC points during the National Matches at Camp Perry in 2019.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Distinguished Badges are awarded to marksmanship competitors who collect at least 30 Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) “leg” points — earned by placing in the top 10% of an EIC match. This Distinguished Rifleman program was started way bay in 1884. Now, two decades into the 21st century, the badge continues to be a prized achievement for competitive shooters.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Paula is a member of the Coalinga Rifle Club in California and the Palomino Valley Gun Club in Nevada. She had been on the hunt for a Distinguished Badge since she earned her first points in 2018, then went on to claim her own “hard leg” (10 EIC points) at the annual National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, in 2019.

After that, “legging out” (that is, earning enough points to receive a Distinguished Badge) became a near obsession. “I dry-fired almost every day,” she recalled. “I worked out. I thought about winning first thing in the morning and as I fell asleep at night. I read many shooting books, sometimes multiple times. I drove my non-shooting friends away talking about shooting!”

By the end of 2019, she had been so dedicated to competing that she had wrangled up 22 EIC points, just eight points away from a badge.

Overcoming a Pandemic and Anxiousness about Earning the Badge
The start of 2020 met Paula with not only the difficulty of finding matches due to the enduring pandemic but also with some EIC nervousness that kept her scores below a point-earning level. With the close of the 2020 shooting season rapidly approaching, Paula decided to go to the 29 Palms Marine Base in California in November for one of her last EIC match chances — carrying within her a newfound resolve to capture those final points she had sought after for so long.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman
Click HERE to order mask like this.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Achieving the Goal — After So Many Years
Though her emotions were up, Paula competitive game was down as she fired a sub-par offhand score to start out the first stage of her match. “I was done for, and therefore totally relaxed and enjoyed shooting the rest of the match,” she said. Her new leisurely approach to her final three firing stages, without the pressure, shockingly boosted her scores — enough to earn herself the final points she needed for her Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

“No one was more surprised than me to learn I had won the eight-point leg,” she said, proudly. “I had finally done it”.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Husband and Wife that Shoot Together
Paula and husband Greg have shot together for many years. This demonstrates that competitive shooting can be a great activity for a couple to share. Paula told us that she often meets shooters’ wives at shooting matches who are interested in trying the sport, but some feel intimidated at first. Paula encourages them to get started. Interestingly, many shooting instructors find that women learn faster than men initially, primarily because they are better listeners, and they don’t let their egos get in the way.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

Paula notes: “For us, as a couple, to share in the joys and despairs of shooting competition has been really special. The wives and girlfriends of the men I shoot with have a really wonderful opportunity to grow in their relationships. So many men I shoot with have expressed remorse they don’t share this with the women they love. Greg doesn’t babysit me and we are independent at the range. But he really helped me get started, and continues to be supportive to this day. But I’m at a point I can help him too.”

Paula said husband Greg has been a great shooting partner — helpful and supportive from the very start. And Greg was very proud of Paula’s accomplishment in earning her Distinguished Badge. To celebrate and mark the moment she earned her final Distinguished Points, Greg pinned his own Distinguished Badge on her hat. “Greg most certainly helped make this possible for me….”

Details of Service Rifle — Components and Match Loads

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman
Click photo to see FULL SCREEN image.

Paula’s rifle features a 1:7″-twist Krieger barrel with Wylde Chamber, barrel sourced from White Oak. The Sun Devil lower is fitted with a Geissele Nat’l Match trigger. The stock is a Magpul UBR. The upper is fitted with a Hera Handguard. On top is a March 1-4.5x24mm Service Rifle scope with MTR-5 reticle. Paula uses a Hollis sling, Monard shooting coat, and both Monard and Creedmoor gloves.

Match Ammunition — For 200/300 yard stages, Paula runs 73gr Berger bullets, with Varget powder and Wolf primers. For 600 yards, she uses 75gr or 80gr Hornady bullets, also with Varget powder but with CCI BR4 primers. Bullets are loaded 0.060″ off the lands.

Paul Crenshaw AR16 service rifle distinguished
Here is Paula’s rifle from 4 years ago. She has upgraded her rig with many new components.

Shooting Sports — Multi-Generational Fun for All Ages
One thing Paula really likes about the shooting sports is that you can keep getting better even in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. Walt Berger has won Benchrest matches in his 80s! Few other sports offer true multi-generational competition like this.

“The really wonderful thing about shooting is that you can do it at any age, and even with disabilities. There is a discipline for everyone. We all seem to put lots of energy into the junior shooters. I’d like to see more energy put into helping older shooters get started. For an aging person who can no longer do some of the sports of their youth, shooting is a wonderful new venture. For me, my age, just was never a factor. I do work out to stay as strong since old age is somewhat of a slide into decrepitude. Whether you are young, middle-aged, or a senior shooter, you can all compete together.” — Paula Crenshaw

Paula is justifiably proud of her accomplishment, and she notes that there is, perhaps, an important message to be found in her earning the Distinguished Badge at age 67. Paula demonstrated that men and women can achieve important things even late in life, even after retirement. “Keep striving for your dreams” Paula told us, and “stay active with the outdoor activities you love”. A physician, Paula observes some people who remain vital and active even in their 80s, while some people in their 40s let things slide.

Even during this tough Pandemic year, Paula stays fit through weight-lifting, and she also enjoys motorcycle riding (on her own machine). She wants to encourage readers to continue all their outdoor hobbies as long as they can. As they say, you only go around once in life. The important thing, Paula tells us, is to continue to do what you enjoy, focus on your goals, and remain positive. Even at 67 Paula still enjoys mountaineering and motorcycling as well as shooting. Here is Paula in her younger days, rock-climbing.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Paula Crenshaw Coalinga service Rifle Doctor .223 Rem Rifle optic 67 years woman

NEXT Challenge for Paula Will Be Palma Shooting
What’s the next challenge for Dr. Paula Crenshaw? Well right now our friend Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine is building Paula a new Palma rifle, using his vaunted TubeGun chassis. Paula looks forward to competing in long-range Palma matches with the new rifle, which will be chambered in the .223 Remington. Yes, you read that right. With the latest generation of bullets and high-energy powder, a .223 Rem can be competitive with a .308 Win in many conditions.

Paula encourages women of all ages to try shooting. In her experience women often excel far beyond their expectations: “Women seem to have an advantage in shooting, in that they take to it quicker. They get better quicker. Everyone has theories. I watch beginning juniors. The guys fidget more and seem to feel embarrassed if they don’t do well. The girls don’t seem to worry if they do badly. They listen better. But I see many fantastic female juniors excel only to give it up later. So it seems men stick with it longer.”

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio
Photo courtesy photographer Jonathan Ocab, who himself earned the Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

Read more about Paula’s journey to earn her Distinguished Badge on the CMP website (search for Paula Crenshaw and then click on the Biography link).

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December 19th, 2020

ATF Issues Notice Regarding AR Pistols — Factors to Consider

ATF BATFE short-barreled rifle AR15 regulations

Do you own an AR-platform pistol, or are you considering purchasing one? Then you should read the Special Notice issued on 12/18/2020 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) concerning features of these firearms. Basically, the ATF is considering reclassifying many of these guns as “short-barreled rifles” because the attached braces effectively function like a rifle buttstock. For decades short-barreled rifles have been a registered item under ATF rules requiring an application and tax stamp. The ATF is now looking at multiple factors to consider the status of AR Pistols. These factors are listed in the ATF’s recent Special Notice: Objective Factors for Classifying Weapons with “Stabilizing Braces”.

ATF BATFE short-barreled rifle AR15 regulations

Here is text taken from the ATF’s notice in the Federal Register. Take heed — this is only a partial section of the document. You should read the FULL DOCUMENT (PDF Version).

ATF has observed that the development and production of firearms with arm braces has become more prevalent in the firearms industry and, relatedly, that requests for classifications for this kind of firearm design have also increased. Therefore, ATF is publishing this notice to aid the firearms industry and public in understanding the objective design features that FATD (Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division) considers when evaluating firearm samples submitted with a stabilizing brace or similar attachment.

The objective design features ATF considers in determining whether a weapon with an attached “stabilizing brace” has been “designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder” include, but are not limited to:

Type and Caliber. The type and caliber of firearm to which the stabilizing brace or similar item is installed. A large caliber firearm that is impractical to fire with one hand because of recoil or other factors, even with an arm brace, is likely to be considered a rifle or shotgun.
Weight and Length. The weight and length of the firearm used with the stabilizing brace. A firearm that is so heavy that it is impractical to fire or aim with one hand, or so long that it is difficult to balance the firearm to fire with one hand, is likely to be considered a rifle or shotgun.
Length of Pull. The “length of pull” refers to the distance from the trigger to the point at which a stock meets the shoulder. This is a measurement for rifles and shotguns used to accommodate shooters of different sizes. Because an arm brace need only reach the forearm, the distance between the trigger and the back of the brace is generally expected to be shorter than the distance between the trigger and the back of a stock on a weapon designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder. This measurement is not necessarily determinative of the intent of the manufacturer but is used in making an evaluation of the firearm. If a brace is of a length that makes it impractical to attach to the shooter’s wrist or forearm, then that may demonstrate that it is not designed as brace but rather for shoulder fire.
Attachment Method. The method of attachment of the stabilizing brace, to include modified stock attachments, extended receiver extensions, and the use of spacers. These items extend the distance between the trigger and the part of the weapon that contacts the shooter, whether it is a stock or stabilizing brace. Use of these items indicates that the weapon is designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder because they extend a stabilizing brace beyond a point that is useful for something other than shoulder support.
Stabilizing Brace Design Features. The objective design features of the attached stabilizing brace itself are relevant to the classification of the assembled weapon, and include:

— The comparative function of the attachment when utilized as a stabilizing brace compared to its alternate use as a shouldering device;

— The design of the stabilizing brace compared to known shoulder stock designs;

— The amount of rear contact surface area of the stabilizing brace that can be used in shouldering the weapon as compared to the surface area necessary for use as a stabilizing brace;

— The material used to make the attachment that indicates whether the brace is designed and intended to be pressed against the shoulder for support, or actually used on the arm;

— Any shared or interchangeable parts with known shoulder stocks; and

— Any other feature of the brace that improves the weapon’s effectiveness from the shoulder-firing position without providing a corresponding benefit to the effectiveness of the stability and support provided by the brace’s use on the arm.

Aim Point. Appropriate aim point when utilizing the attachment as a stabilizing brace. If the aim point when using the arm brace attachment results in an upward or downward trajectory that could not accurately hit a target, this may indicate the attachment was not designed as a stabilizing brace.
Secondary Grip. The presence of a secondary grip may indicate that the weapon is not a “pistol” because it is not designed to be held and fired by one hand.
Sights and Scopes. Incorporation of sights or scopes that possess eye relief incompatible with one-handed firing may indicate that the weapon is not a “pistol” because they are designed to be used from a shoulder-fire position and are incompatible for the single-handed shooting that arm braces are designed and intended.
Peripheral Accessories. Installation of peripheral accessories commonly found on rifles or shotguns that may indicate that the firearm is not designed and intended to be held and fired with one hand. This includes, but is not limited to, the installation of bipods/monopods that improve the accuracy of heavy weapons designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder; or the inclusion of a magazine or drum that accepts so many cartridges that it increases the overall weight of the firearm to a degree that it is impractical to fire the weapon with one hand even with the assistance of a stabilizing brace.

The ATF concludes: “These factors are based on known stabilizing braces and similar attachments. No single factor or combination of factors is necessarily dispositive, and FATD examines each weapon holistically on a case-by-case basis. …. Moreover, in addition to the objective design features of a submitted sample, FATD also considers the marketing of both the item and the firearm to which it is attached, compared to the manufacturer’s stated intent when submitting an item.”

CLICK HERE for BATFE General Notice in Federal Register Regarding AR Pistols

AR-Platform Pistols — Current Options on the Market

ATF BATFE short-barreled rifle AR15 regulations

If you are interested in learning more about AR-platform pistols with short barrels, PewPewTactical.com has published a useful article entitled: Six Best AR-15 Pistols [2020 Complete & Build List]. That article quickly covers the legal status of such firearms, at least before the recent ATF Guidance document:

So, what exactly is an AR pistol? If you want the complex legal definition of a pistol Check ATF’s Website.

“The short version is: An AR Pistol is an AR-15 that was built from the start to be a pistol — it also has a barrel less than 16 inches in length and does not have a stock. Generally, an AR-15 Pistol will have a stabilizing brace instead of a stock, but that isn’t required.”

ATF Changes May be Coming — And You Must Consider State Laws As Well
However, PewPewTActical notes that: “The ATF is reevaluating its stance on stabilizing braces. Pew Pew Tactical is monitoring the situation and will update our readers if there are any legal changes in the future.” And… the article further cautions: “Double check your state law before embarking on this kind of build, what federally qualifies as a ‘firearm’ or ‘pistol’ might be an ‘assault pistol’ in your state.” SOURCE: PewPewTactical.com

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Gunsmithing, News 1 Comment »
October 20th, 2020

Out-of-Battery Blast Breaks Rifle and Bones in Shooter’s Hand

out of battery kaboom bohica 50 bmg ar15

As posted in the Calguns.net a few years 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.

out of battery kaboom bohica 50 bmg ar15

The shooter was badly injured, with 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.

out of battery kaboom bohica 50 bmg ar15

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.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical, Tech Tip No Comments »
October 16th, 2020

Should You Buy an AR? Consider What the Future May Hold…

ar16 ar rifle sporting MSR palmetto .223 5.56 lower upper receiver sale discount bargain

The November 3rd election is just 18 days away. If Joe Biden wins, he has promised an aggressive anti-gun agenda starting with further restrictions on semi-auto rifles. Joe’s running mate Kamala Harris said she would enforce gun control via Executive Order. Gun confiscation by Executive Order happened in Canada when Prime Minister Trudeau, without legislative approval, ordered Canadians to turn in their magazine-fed semi-auto rifles.

Beto biden kamala gun confiscation

So, is it time to finally get an AR-platform rifle? Or get another if you already have one? Only you can decide that, but we have identified three great AR deals — two complete lowers under $190 and a complete AR Carbine for under $550. And yes, these are all IN STOCK NOW. Check out these deals:

PSA Complete Lower with Adjustable Stock — $179.99

ar16 ar rifle sporting MSR palmetto .223 5.56 lower upper receiver sale discount bargain

Complete Palmetto State Armory AR lower is fully assembled. It will take take standard complete uppers, which you can build or purchase later without an FFL. The lower is the section that much be purchased through an FFL with a background check.

Machined from Aluminum Forgings 7075-T6
Hardcoat Anodizing: MIL-A-8625F, Type III, Class 2
Milspec diameter Receiver Extension
M4 Stock
Staked M4 Lock Nut
Standard Carbine Buffer
Un-notched Hammer compatible with 9mm use

PSA Complete Lower with Adj. Magpul FDE Stock — $199.99

ar16 ar rifle sporting MSR palmetto .223 5.56 lower upper receiver sale discount bargain

Complete Palmetto State Armory lower with Magpul Flat Dark Earth grip and stock is fully assembled. It will take a standard complete upper, which you can build or purchase later without an FFL. The lower is the section that much be purchased through an FFL with a background check.

Machined from Aluminum Forgings 7075-T6
Hardcoat Anodizing: MIL-A-8625F, Type III, Class 2
Milspec diameter Receiver Extension
Magpul MOE Stock, Flat Dark Earth
Magpul MOE Grip, Flat Dark Earth
Staked M4 Lock Nut
Standard Carbine Buffer
Enhanced Polished Trigger (EPT)
Un-notched Hammer compatible with 9mm use

PSA 16″ Freedom Rifle Olive Drab ($539.99) or Black ($549.99)

ar16 ar rifle sporting MSR palmetto .223 5.56 lower upper receiver sale discount bargain

This is a full, complete AR15-type rifle with 16″ barrel, and M4-type receiver. Twist rate is 1:7″. Sold complete, except for magazine. This same rifle is also available in all-black for $549.99. This rifle must be transferred through an FFL with background check.

Barrel Length: 16″
Barrel Profile: A2
Barrel: A2 Profile, Chrome Moly Vanadium, Nitride finish
Muzzle Thread Pattern: 1/2″ x 28
Twist Rate: 1 in 7″
Barrel Extension: M4
Gas System Length: Midlength
Receiver Material: Forged 7075-T6
Receiver Type: M4
Handguard Type: Mid-Length Classic with heat shields, ODG
Fire Control Group: Standard Mil-Spec Trigger Group
Grip: A2-style, ODG
Stock: M4-style, ODG
Overall Length: 32 inches
Weight (as configured): 6.8 lbs

Top image from sale on GunsInternational.com.
Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals, Tactical 5 Comments »
September 16th, 2020

Lyman Offers Updated Reloading Manual for AR-Platform Rifles

AR ar15 ar10 reload reloading data handbook book volume second 2d 2nd edition amazon lyman

Lyman has just released an expanded, updated Second Edition of its AR Reloading Handbook. The original handbook was the first reloading manual dedicated exclusively to the most popular semi-auto rifle in the USA. The Second Edition of this comprehensive Lyman AR Reloading Handbook has been updated to include more cartridge types and significantly more load data. This provides AR shooters with reloading info for the vast majority of popular chamberings used in AR-platform firearms. GET BOOK HERE.

Reloaders will appreciate the extensive pressure-tested data covering a very wide selection of bullet types and powder types. The Second Edition provided data for newer cartridges such as the .224 Valkyrie, .22 Nosler, .24 Nosler, 350 Legend, as well as sub-sonic data. In addition, articles by well-known authorities are included, covering topics such as “Building An AR” and “AR15 Gas System Lengths”. This book is available right now direct from Lyman and will soon be avialable through Amazon.

Features of Lyman AR Reloading Handbook (Second Edition)
— Reloading data for popular AR-platform cartridge types, including the .223 Rem, .224 Valkyrie, 6.8 Rem, .300 AAC, 7.62×39, 350 Legend, 450 Bushmaster, .50 Beowulf and more.
— Many informative articles on specialty topics such as Reloading for Suppressors and Building ARs.
— Load Data covers all major brands of bullets and powders.
— Load Data for cast bullet data and sub-sonic loads.

AR ar15 ar10 reload reloading data handbook book volume second 2d 2nd edition amazon lyman

AR-Platform Insights — Operation and Maintenance Tips
Here are two helpful videos for AR owners. The first uses 3D computer animation to show how AR-platform rifles work — from the inside. The Cutaway views show the operation of the gas system and bolt while cycling. The second video, by legendary competitive shooter Jerry Miculek, provide helpful guidance on AR disassembly and maintenance.

Book publishing tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tactical, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 5th, 2020

Big Labor Day Weekend Sale at Palmetto State Armory

palmetto state armory labor day sale ammo AR15 rifles handguns pistols

In these trying times, with violence in our cities, and the Democratic Presidential candidate calling for the outright banning of mag-fed, semi-auto rifles, we know that many readers are seeking to purchase defensive firearms (while a citizen still can). If you are looking for a black rifle and/or a defensive pistol, check out Palmetto State Armory (PSA). This company, one of American’s largest Black Rifle retailers, maintains a large inventory of complete ARs, AR lowers, AR uppers, and handguns — all at very competitive prices. PSA also sells triggers and optics. And yes, PSA has ammunition in stock at fair prices.

Right now PSA is running a big Labor Day Sale. The sale has started, so you can enjoy significant savings for the next few days.

Black Rifles and Rifle Components on Sale

Whether you want a complete AR-platform rifle, a complete upper, or components for uppers and lowers, PSA has what you need. PSA also carries aftermarket triggers, sights, magazines, and other Black Rifle accessories. Here are some of the complete rifles, uppers, and lowers currently on sale at PSA. CLICK HERE for AR-Platform rifles, components, and accessories

palmetto state armory labor day sale ammo AR15 rifles handguns pistols

Handguns on SALE at PSA

With the record-breaking volume of gun sales in recent months, many smaller gunshops have very limited inventory of handguns, particulary compact pistols suitable for CCW. However, PSA has a large supply of pistols, including popular carry guns from S&W, Ruger, Springfield Armory and other leading brands. Here’s a small sample of handguns in stock today at PSA.

palmetto state armory labor day sale ammo AR15 rifles handguns pistols

PSA Ammunition on SALE

This is a small sample of the ammunition available now. This is in-stock now, ready to ship. Go to PSA’s Ammo Page to find other cartridge types on sale, including .40 SW, .357 Magnum, .308 Win, and .22 LR.

palmetto state armory labor day sale ammo AR15 rifles handguns pistols

Permalink Handguns, Hot Deals, News, Tactical No Comments »
August 30th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Collins Earns Distinguished Badge No. 2500

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio
William “Tom” Collins earned the CMP’s Distinguished Rifleman Badge #2500 this July. Collins earned his final EIC points at the Washtenaw Sportsman’s Club in Michigan.

One of the highest honors in competitive shooting is earning the Distinguished Rifleman Badge. This Badge was created by the War Department in 1884 to recognize members of the U.S. Army for Excellence-in-Competition (EIC) with the Army’s service rifle. Other U.S. Armed Forces soon adopted a similar program and in 1926 civilians were authorized to participate. This story is about William “Tom” Collins, 50, of Maumee, Ohio, who earned his badge in July 2020. His achievement was a landmark — Civilian Distinguished Rifleman Badge number 2500.

Collins Earns Distinguished Rifleman Badge Number 2500

Story based on Report by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Staff Writer
For over 20 years, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has issued Distinguished Badges to competitors who collect at least 30 Excellence-In-Competition (EIC) “leg” points — earned by placing in the top 10% of an EIC match. This story is about Ohio shooter William “Tom” Collins, who recently earned Distinguished Rifleman Badge number 2500. [Editor: To learn more about the history of the Distinguished Rifleman Badge and what is takes to earn it, read Distinguished Rifleman — the Chase for Excellence by Jonathan Ocab.]

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio

For Collins, this fulfilled a dream to join generations of elite marksmen before him. “The Distinguished Rifleman Badge has been a goal of mine since I learned about it,” Collins said. “I like to think back on the history of the badge … It makes me proud to be a part of that.”

Collins earned Distinguished Rifleman Badge #2500 in July. “Shooting is almost like meditation to me”, Collins said. “You really can’t think about anything other than the current shot. It’s very relaxing.”

He gives simple advice to other competitors hoping to one day earn a Distinguished Badge of their own: “Anyone working on it – quit thinking about it. Just shoot.”

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio
Collins is congratulated by his friend Jamie Root after “going Distinguished”.

Collins has been shooting most of his life. Growing up in rural Ohio, he received his first BB gun around seven years old and his first .22 at age 11. It wasn’t until he joined the Army Reserves in 1987 that he received any formal marksmanship training. After he left the Reserves nine years later, he started looking toward organized shooting sports.

One day, back in 2014, he picked up his rifle and took the 45-minute drive to Fremont, Ohio, to fire in his first GSM (Garand-Springfield-Modern/Vintage Military) Match at the Sandusky County Sportsmen’s Club. It was there that he met Jesse Bragg, who was running the event.

Jesse Bragg, a retired staff sergeant from the Marine Corps Reserve Rifle Team, took Collins under his wing and showed him the ropes. Collins says Bragg seemed to want to teach more than run the match. In fact, Bragg was the one who introduced Collins to the idea of pursuing a Distinguished Badge. Collins admits that he had no clue what “going distinguished” meant. Bragg went over the terms – legging out, finishing “first leather” and other related expressions.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio
Photo courtesy photographer Jonathan Ocab, who himself earned the Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

In 2015, Collins went to the National Matches at nearby Camp Perry, Ohio, and fired in his first President’s Rifle Match. Watching the elite shooters take their final shots inspired Collins: “Learning about the Distinguished Badge, learning about the President’s Match — I just knew that I had to get this Distinguished Badge on my way to, hopefully, getting into the President’s 100 or even the Top 20.” So Collins began traveling to GSMM competitions with his match rifle in tow, just to get in a little extra practice. It became his main focus. In June 2019, he earned his first set of six leg points at the CMP Viale Range 800 Aggregate and EIC Service Rifle Match at Camp Perry. It was a breakthrough.

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio

When I first started, I was shooting the Garand and the M1A. [But] once I realized I wanted to get my Distinguished Badge, I said, “None of the wood guns. It’s all my match rifle until I go Distinguished”.

He went on to earn eight points at his next match in July, followed by eight more in August. With one more match left in 2019 and only seven points away from the required 30 to earn a badge, his goal was within sight. But it wasn’t until the EIC match at the Washtenaw Sportsman’s Club in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in July 2020 that he was able to conquer his nerves and earn his final points: “The most rewarding thing – it’s when you get there. When you finally earn it, everybody knows it. Everybody at the range celebrates with you. All of your friends are there with you. It’s just rewarding in itself. You’re part of that tradition that spans three centuries.”

CMP Distinguished Rifleman Badge 2500 william Tom Collins Michigan Ohio

Friendships Made on the Road to Distinguished
More so than the time, effort, and skill it took to earn the badge, the journey to become Distinguished was almost as rewarding as the badge itself for Collins, given the relationships he’s made along the way:

“These guys I’ve met and hung out with — we’ve given jobs to each other, we celebrate each other’s birthdays, we know each other’s families. It’s just been a great group of guys. You always are rooting for your friends, regardless of how well you’re doing. If you’re doing bad, you root for them even more.”

Distinguished Badge-Earning Marksmen Will Be Honored in 2021 at Camp Perry
Part of the tradition of earning a Distinguished Badge is walking across the stage at Camp Perry during the National Matches award ceremony. There, badge winners are formally pinned by their peers on a stage that has felt the footsteps of prominent marksmen for over a century.

“Last year, when I got the first points, I told myself, ‘I’m going to walk this stage at Perry next year'”. Collins and all others who earned a Distinguished Badge in 2019 or 2020 will still have the opportunity to take the stage next year at the 2021 National Matches — and that’s just what Collins plans to do.

(more…)

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
August 29th, 2020

The Black Rifle — Is Time Running Out?

palmetto psa stripped lower ar aR15 receiver
Saint Victor AR-15 from Proven Arms & Outfitters.

With the 2020 Presidential election just 65 days away, and more riots in the streets, it may be time to think about getting that AR-platform rifle. Getting it while you still can. Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden and his VP candidate Kamala Harris both support banning of AR-type rifles. And Biden and Harris have praised Canada’s sweeping semi-auto gun ban carried out by Prime Minister Trudeau through dictatorial executive action (without parliamentary approval). The official Democratic Party Platform includes these provisions:

— Banning the manufacture and sale of ARs and modern sporting rifles
— Halting and criminalizing online firearm and ammunition sales
— Forcing states to require licenses for owning any firearms
— Instituting delay processes for background checks
— Criminalizing private firearm transfers

gun control AR15 black rifle biden harris beto confiscation second amendment

And during her Presidential campaign (before she was selected as Biden’s VP), Kamala Harris declared: “Upon being elected … I will give the United States Congress 100 days to get their [sic] act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws. And if they fail to do it, then I will take Executive Action”. That’s a chilling threat…

Got the message? The Dems want your guns. And the first guns they want to take away are the “evil” black rifles. As Robert “Beto” O’Rourke said famously: “Hell yes we’re going to take your AR15″.

gun control AR15 black rifle biden harris beto confiscation second amendment

AR Purchase Option — Lower Receiver

The restricted part of an AR15 is the lower receiver. This is the section that must be purchased through an FFL, with a background check. You can later add an upper (or multiple uppers), which can be purchased directly from a supplier. But the lower is what you need. If you’re short on cash, but want to get an AR, grab a lower and then add a complete upper receiver later.

One leading vendor of AR lowers is Palmetto State Armory (PSA). PSA has plenty of stripped lowers and complete lower receivers in stock right now at attractive prices. Here are two offers on 8/29/2020:

Complete AR15 Lower Receiver — $209.99

palmetto psa stripped lower ar aR15 receiver

This complete Palmetto State Armory lower receiver is fully assembled and ready for your complete Upper. This unit is machined from 7075-T6 Aluminum Forgings, hardcoat anodized. The lower comes with M4 Stock and Standard Carbine Buffer. The bolt and carrier fit .223 Rem/5.56×45 case heads.

Stripped AR15 Lower Receiver — $74.99

palmetto psa stripped lower ar aR15 receiver

This PSA Stripped Lower Receiver is machined from 7075-T6 Aluminum Forgings, hardcoat anodized. It does NOT include trigger group and pins for operation. You must purchase those items separately. This is just the bare lower receiver.

How an AR15 Works — 3D Animation

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August 11th, 2020

Ammo Reference Book Covers 200+ Cartridge Types

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Do you use factory ammo in your hunting rifles? Perhaps you buy bulk centerfire ammo for your AR15 or varmint rifle. Then this book is for you.

If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 6. This resource book lists over 2,600 different loads for 200+ cartridge types from .17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express, including the most popular centerfire and rimfire cartridges (both rifle and handgun). In this updated-for-2020 Sixth Edition, there are over 3,000 tables covering virtually every caliber and every load for all commercially-loaded hunting ammunition sold in the USA. Tables include velocity, energy, wind drift, bullet drop, and ballistic coefficients up to 1,000 yards.

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Ammo & Ballistics 6 helps you select ammo for a hunt — quickly compare the velocity and knock-down power of various commercial ammo. This book can help you choose a caliber/chambering for your next hunting rig.

Verified Book Purchaser Reviews
“Outstanding reference guide for shooters and ballistic enthusiasts alike. Has data on velocity, energy delivered, Taylor KO index, windage and elevation on numerous loadings for hundreds of [cartridge types]. Each cartridge has all dimensions labeled (i.e rim, case length, neck, etc.), and has an informative description of the cartridges history/relevance.” — S. Step, 2017

“Great heaps of data! This volume has pages and pages of new data for .22LR like the hot Velocitor, and also on the .22 WMR from 30 grains up into the 50s. Most importantly there is lots of range data, drop, windage, kinetic energy, etc. — Terrific reference guide….” — E. Svanoe

Ammo & Ballistics 6 contains data and illustrations on virtually every sporting cartridge sold in the USA. This 2020 Edition covers 200-plus cartridge types from .17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip No Comments »