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December 2nd, 2022

CMP Advanced Highpower Clinic at Camp Perry

CMP highpower clinic camp perry training
CMP Advanced Highpower Clinic Trainers: Dan Arnold, James Fox, Sara Rozanski, Brian Williams, Nick Till.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) Advanced Highpower Clinic, held each year at the annual Camp Perry National Matches in Ohio, is a great place to learn shooting technique, wind reading, equipment optimization, and mental management. One participant sates “This clinic is an excellent opportunity for Highpower shooters who really want to advance to the national level in the sport. I learned more in two days than I have in 10 years!”

CLICK HERE for More Information about Advanced Highpower Clinic

The Advanced Highpower Rifle Clinic is designed to improve participants’ shooting techniques and range skills. This could involve trying a different hand position, moving the sling up or down the arm, tightening jacket straps, or a myriad of other subtle changes. “Highpower is a game of points — gaining a point here and there means moving up a classification, winning your class, or winning an entire match,” said Dan Arnold, one of the instructors.

“While highpower hasn’t changed all that much over the years, we as shooters continually evolve,” Arnold explained. “We age, our bodies change, we buy a new glove or a sling – all these little changes mean that the process of firing a shot has to change too. Trying to use the same shot process that you’ve been using for years while ignoring all of the changes that have happened will result in score stagnation, at best. At worst, your scores will decrease.”

In the summer 2022 Clinic, during the classroom portion, instructors discussed wind reading methods, demonstrated shooting positions, explained how to adjust for uneven firing points and deal with high winds. The classroom sessions also covered mental management as well as rifle maintenance.

CMP highpower clinic camp perry training
The CMP Advanced Highpower clinic included two days of live-fire practice.

For the first time, the clinic included two days of live-fire training on the range. Day Two was spent on the range with firing points at the 200-yard line. Each instructor was paired with two students. For 30 minutes, students could dry-fire, then live-fire 10 to 15 rounds while their instructor evaluated their standing positions and suggested changes.

CMP highpower clinic sitting

Then, students worked on their sitting positions. After sighting shots, students fired two 5-shot groups — two shots followed by a magazine change and then three shots fired in 30 seconds. Once their two groups were fired, the students fired a standard 10-shot group in 60 seconds.

CMP highpower clinic camp perry training
The clinic provides specialized training, including wind reading with spotting scopes.

Day Three found the students and their instructors at the 600-yard line for prone slow-fire. The instructor checked the the students’ shooting positions and gave them tips on reading the wind conditions. After firing was completed, the students set up their spotting scopes and watched the mirage and wind flags while instructors called out the changes in velocity and direction.

If you missed the 2022 Clinic, don’t worry. The 2023 Advanced Highpower Clinic will be held July 21-23, 2023. The course is open to those who have attended the Advanced Small Arms Firing School at least once and have an “Expert” classification. Participants must bring their own ammunition and equipment for the live-fire portion of the 2023 Clinic. The entry fee is $40.00 for adults and $20.00 for juniors. All participants will receive a Clinic t-shirt and certificate.

CMP Advance highpower high power clinic

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October 21st, 2022

NSSF Sponsors Photo Contest for Hunters with MSRs

modern sporting rifle hunting contest NSSF

The NSSF is running a MSR Photo Contest for hunters. Submit a hunting photo with a semi-automatic modern sporting rifle (MSR) and you can win one of two valuable guided hunts — a Mississippi Deer Hunt or Louisiana Hog Hunt. Through its #LetsGoHunting with MSRs Photo Challenge, the NSSF encourages hunters to share memorable hunting experiences when using MSRs. There are many photo styles that can be submitted — selfies, trophy photos, group photos, and firearms in the field.

Enter by posting an Instagram hunt photo using an MSR, such as an AR-15 or AR-10. All valid entries must include a photo showing a MSR in use such as the AR-15, AR-10, carbine, and similar variants. Entries must be submitted no later than January 31, 2023. Winners will be selected by drawing. Photos are only eligible for this sweepstakes if they contain a modern sporting rifle and depict proper firearm safety. Please read the official Photo Challenge Rules for more information. It is easy to enter the contest:

1. Take a photo while hunting using a Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR)
2. Post the photo to Instagram including #LetsGoHunting in the caption.

modern sporting rifle hunting contest NSSF

Hunting with Modern Sporting Rifles
MSRs, today’s popular semi-automatic rifle designs, are used by more and more hunters. Modern Sporting Rifles are used for many different types of hunting, from varmint to big game. MSRs are chambered for a wide variety of calibers and cartridge types, from 20 Practical to .338 WSM. MSR’s ruggedness and versatility serve hunters well. And MSR modularity allows MSRs to be configured for various applications.

modern sporting rifle hunting contest NSSF
Tactical Life Night Shooter — #LetsGoHunting #nightshooter #hoghunter

NSSF thanks The Confluence Group for donating the prize hunts to help encourage hunters to participate in the MSR Hunting Photo Challenge. Learn more here.

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September 10th, 2022

How to Clean Your AR-15 — Three Good AR Maintenance Videos

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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August 18th, 2022

Watch and Learn — Five Great Shooting USA Videos

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

For decades, Shooting USA 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 formerly 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 2.7 million views, this is the second 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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July 26th, 2022

Comprehensive Print Guide to Factory Ammunition

Ammunition Ammo Factory commerical hunting load data ballistics hunt Bob Forker

Do you plan to use factory ammo in your hunting rifles? Perhaps you buy bulk centerfire ammo for your AR15s or varmint rifles. And you’ll certainly consider using factory ammo in all your rimfire guns. Then this book can definitely benefit you.

If you ever shoot factory ammo, you should consider getting Ammo & Ballistics 6. This resource 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 also 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 .22 LR 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 latest edition covers 200-plus cartridge types from .17 Mach 2 up to .700 Nitro Express.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
June 20th, 2022

Don’t Waste Money on Tacti-Cool Gear Says Larry Vickers

Training tactical tacti-cool accessories Larry Vickers AR15 Black rifle

Larry Vickers is a respected firearms trainer who has served with the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF). In the course of teaching classes he’s learned that many gun owners waste money on impractical gun accessories. In a well-reasoned Ammoland.com article, “Don’t Be a Tacti-Cool Fool”, Vickers examines today’s trend of over-accessorizing firearms, particularly AR-platform rifles. Vickers doesn’t mince words… he states that too many people are spending too much money on poorly-designed hardware that may be “useless” at best.

Equipment Selection Advice from Larry Vickers

Every class I teach I see and hear students talking about the realization that some things about their gear and shooting in general just doesn’t add up on the range. Everything looks good in a Brownells Catalog but a significant amount of the parts and accessories offered on the market today are: a) useless; b) poorly designed; c) of questionable value; or d) downright dangerous.

No one is better at taking fully-functional, factory-made firearms and turning them into junk than a certain segment of the American gun-buying public.

Some people really don’t apply the common sense approach of not messing with what is potentially a life-saving tool. Sadly some of those same people will get on the Internet and talk bad about how the firearm they modified no longer functions and therefore is junk. Or they will recommend to fellow shooters the same parts and modifications they have used to turn their gun into, at best, a range toy.

Some of this shows up in my classes and usually by lunch on the first day the obvious flaws of the equipment at hand become apparent for everyone in the class, most of all to the owner of said equipment. It may have cost the shooter some money but in turn he learned a serious life lesson –be careful what you read on the Internet about firearms modifications and there is no substitute for shaking out your equipment at the range in a structured class.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’ll learn more about guns and shooting in one class than you could in a month on the Internet.

READ about guns, gear, and shooting on the Internet. LEARN about guns, gear, and shooting on the range during well-thought-out and useful training. This approach is proven and consistently produces results and shooter confidence.

Training tactical tacti-cool accessories Larry Vickers AR15 Black rifle

Larry Vickers
Master Sergeant (Retired)
U.S. Army SOF Combat Veteran
https://vickerstactical.com

Larry Vickers is a retired U.S. Army Special Operations Forces veteran with 20+ years of service. Vickers served in Panama, the Middle East (Desert Storm), Somalia, Bosnia, and other locations. During his time with Delta Force, Vickers worked on weapons R&D, and served as a combat marksmanship instructor training new operational members of Delta.

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June 3rd, 2022

.300 Blackout Round in .223 Rem AR Upper — Instant Disaster

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56
Photos and Facebook post by Tactical Rifle Shooters

Yet another .300 Blackout disaster. Unfortunately, that .300 Blackout cartridge can fit in a .223 Rem chamber. Shooting a .308-caliber bullet in .223 bore is a recipe for disaster.

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56The .300 AAC Blackout aka “300 BLK”, is a compact 30-caliber cartridge designed to work in AR-15 rifles. It has a shorter cartridge case to accommodate the bigger 30-caliber bullet while still fitting in a standard AR-15 magazine. Unfortunately, that’s the danger. A careless shooter can toss a .300 Blackout cartridge in with .223 Rem rounds without noting. And because the case-head size is the same as the .223 Rem (5.56×45) the rifle’s bolt assembly will happily chamber and fire the .300 BLK round. Problem is, that forces a .308 diameter bullet down an undersized .223-caliber bore. Not good!

This images were provided by Tactical Rifle Shooters on Facebook. The message was clear: “Don’t try to run 300 Blackout in your .223/5.56mm. It won’t end well. The problem is identical rifles and identical magazines but different calibers.”

Image from Accurate Shooter Forum. Cutaway shows the jammed .30-Cal bullet:
.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56

For those who MUST have a .300 Blackout, here are some things you can do:

1. Use different colored magazines for .300 Blackout vs. .223 Rem.
2. Fit all your uppers with caliber-labeled ejection port covers.
3. Mark .223 Rem upper handguards with the caliber in bright paint.
4. Mark all .300 BLK Rounds with heavy black marker.

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56

Comments by Folks Who Viewed these .300 Blackout Disaster Photos:

“The .300 Blackout is simply a badly-designed round. A properly-designed round would have had a feature in the shape that would have prevented cross loading in the first place.” — D. Santiago

“I almost made that mistake… I had a magazine of 300 BLK inserted in my .223/5.56 all night. Fortunately, I never pulled the trigger. Once I realized the mistake, I almost got ill. [After that incident] I no longer own a 300 BLK.” — B. Welch

“Happened to me hog hunting from a helo. Gun exploded in my face.” — B. Hood

“Fire-forming projectiles [is] so wrong in centerfire!” — M. Stres

“Had some dude come into the store the other day wanting .300 Blackout ammo to shoot in his 5.56 AR. It took 15 minutes of explaining for him to understand you got to have a .300 Blackout Upper!” — R. Williams

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May 29th, 2022

Sunday Gunday: 20 Practical AR — Great Accuracy, Low Recoil

20 Practical AR uppers

If you want to use an AR-platform rifle in the varmint fields, consider getting a 20-caliber barrel chambered for the efficient, low-recoil 20 Practical cartridge. The 20 Practical is simply a .223 Remington necked down to 20 caliber. The parent .223 Rem cartridge of course works great in an AR, but the 20 Practical offers some notable advantages for high-volume varmint shooters. The 20 Practical delivers very high velocity with very low recoil while still providing outstanding accuracy. The 20 Practical is great option for folks who favor “fast and light” — smaller, lower-mass bullets traveling at very high velocities. This little cartridge can launch 40-grainers at over 3900 fps, and 32-grainers even faster. This makes the 20 Practical a great choice for an AR-based varmint rifle.

20 Practical20 Practical Ultimate Varminter
A decade ago, as a “proof-of-concept”, AccurateShooter.com created a 20 Practical AR15 Ultimate Varminter with a custom 20-caliber upper from Robert Whitley of AR-X Enterprises, LLC. That project rifle was ultra-accurate — every 5-shot group out of the gun was less than the size of a dime. That gun was auctioned off, but Robert Whitley continues to produce custom 20 Practical AR15 uppers. (The 20 Practical cartridge is simply the .223 Rem necked down to 20 caliber — you can use standard .223 brass and load with standard.223 Rem dies. Just swap in a smaller expander and use smaller neck bushings.)

Robert learned that the accuracy of the first 20 Practical AR15 was no fluke. After building six (6) more 20 Practical uppers, he tested them for accuracy and they all shot great. These uppers feature DPMS low-pro receivers with side-charging handles. They are fitted with PacNor 1:11″ twist, 3-groove stainless barrels.

20 Practical AR uppers

Robert reports: “We have been making more 20 Practical AR15 uppers and I have to say I am astounded by the accuracy of these things. For shooting little tiny groups out of an AR15 with bullets going 3500+ fps, it’s hard to beat the 20 Practical. Today I test-fired six more uppers, all with 11-twist barrels. Three of the uppers had 24″ barrels, two had 20″ barrels, and one had an 18″ barrel (we call it ‘Stubby’).

20 Practical Reamer print

In four of these uppers I shot re-sized Winchester brass using 25.3 grains of WC844 powder with Berger 40gr BTHP bullets loaded at 2.225″ OAL (about .015″ off the lands). WC844 is inexpensive military surplus powder that is nearly identical to H335. I tried three different primers and the choice did not seem to matter (CCI BR4, Rem 7 1/2s and Win Small Rifle — the old silver ones). All these four uppers shot great.”

Below is an animated GIF with targets from uppers #6, 10, and 11. All groups are mag-fed, 5-shot groups shot at 100 yards using a front rest and rear bag.


Targets Shot with Three Different 20 Practical AR Uppers

20 Practical AR uppers

For more INFO visit www.6mmAR.com, or email: rcw3 [at] erols.com.

20 Practical Shooters Explain Why They Love this Little Cartridge

A current thread in our Shooters’ Forum focuses on favorite variants of the .223 Rem cartridge. The thread asks: “What is your favorite and most versatile round that you have made from a .223 Rem parent case?” Many cartridges were named, but the wildcat cartridge cited most often was the 20 Practical. Here are some comments by Forum members, who explain the appeal of this great little 20-caliber cartridge:

“The 20 Practical is just a hoot to shoot. Outstanding precision, minimal recoil, easy case forming and inexpensive to shoot. What’s not to like? It’s a great way to introduce kids to centerfire, too.” — JLT

“The 20 Practical for me. Never had as much fun shooting a rifle as I did with the 20 Practical. Also, [it is] the easiest wildcat to form. Just get cases, a couple of bushings to get the right neck tension, and you are shooting.” — NMKid

“Favorite .223 Rem Wildcat? The 20 Practical hands down for me. I have two of them built on Savage actions right now. One has a 20″ BHW barrel and the other has a 26″ Criterion. It is my go-to caliber for shooting up a Prairie Dog town and the ones I have are insanely accurate. Here are some typical 100- and 200-yard groups with my 20 Practicals.” — IA_Shooter

.20 20 practical ar15 varmint cartridge wildcat .223 Rem Shooters' Forum

“My favorite was and is the 20 Practical. No fire-forming, no neck-turning, and with the increased BC of the 20 Cal bullets, it’s hard to wipe the smile off your face in a prairie dog town[.]” — Region Rat

“20 Practical and the [original] .223 Rem are my favorites. Accurate, cheap to shoot. The 20 Prac allows you to see your hits and it’s fast.” — Alguapo

“20 Tactical or 20 Practical. Both very easy to reload and/or form from .223 brass. And they are accurate, reach out on varmints at surprising ranges.” — Bill K

Smart Tips on Forming 20 Practical Cases

Varmint ace Warren B, aka “Fireball” in our Forum, explains how to form 20 Practical Cases. “Forming 20 Practical cases is very easy and no fire-forming is required. Start with any good quality .223 Rem brass. One can simply run the case into your bushing die with the appropriate bushing and call it done. I however like to make it a little more involved by doing the neck reduction in steps. I find that taking steps doesn’t overwork the brass as much as one step does. Also, if you resize the neck in too large of a step, sometimes, depending on the neck thickness, the neck will not be dimensionally what you would expect when finished. This is especially important towards the last step when one is getting close to the final required neck diameter.

For my cases the first thing I did was to run them into an old RCBS .223 Rem full length die with the decapping assembly removed. This will take care of any dented necks on the raw cases and bring the necks down to around 0.243″. Since all standard full-length dies oversize the necks way too much, starting with a .223 FL die actually reduces the neck diameter quite a bit–and obviates the need to buy an extra bushing for the first step. I then use my Redding Type-S die with two bushing sizes to get down to where I need to be. In other words, I start with the FL sizer, then move to a Type-S with a 0.233″ bushing and finish with a 0.228″ bushing. Notice how, as I get to the final step, I use progressively smaller increments in size between the reductions.” (Note: Depending on your brass your final bushing size may be different.)

20 Practical vs. 20 Tactical

Varminter Kevin Weaver, who shoots both the 20 Practical and 20 Tactical, states that: “Both the 20 Tactical and the 20 Practical are fine .20 caliber cartridges. However, my favorite would be the 20 Practical. The 20 Practical gives the SAME performance as the 20 Tactical without fire-forming, or having to buy expensive forming dies.

So with the 20 Practical you do less work, you shell out a lot less money, yet you give up nothing in performance. What’s not to like? To create 20 Practical cases, just buy a .223 Rem Redding Type “S” Bushing Die set with a .230 or .228 bushing and have fun with this great little cartridge.

The 20 Practical and the 20 Tactical are almost identical cartridges. There are only slight differences in case outside diameter, shoulder angle, and case body length. Neck length on the 20 Tactical is a bit longer, but there is still plenty of neck on the 20 Practical to grip the popular bullets, such as the 32gr V-Max.”

20 Practical and 20 Tactical Specifications:

Cartridge Bolt face to shoulder Shoulder O.D. Shoulder Angle Total length
20 Practical 1.5778″ .3553 23° 1.760″
20 Tactical 1.5232″ .360 30° 1.755″
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March 24th, 2022

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 19th, 2022

Saturday at The Movies: AR Platform Set-Up & Maintenance

Brownells tech tip video AR15 ar platform rifle gunsmithing

Do you own or shoot an AR-platform “black rifle”? Then you know these rifles run dirty, and have some unusual maintenance requirements. On the other hand, the AR “Modern Sporting Rifle” is fun and versatile with a vast range of options among buttstocks, barrels, handguards, and grips. You can assemble a simple 16″ barrel .223 Rem rig for home defense, or build a long-barreled 6mm ARC rifle with bag-rider buttstock and high-magnification optic for long range target work. The choice is up to you.

To help with your black rifle journey, here are eight helpful videos from Brownells. These will help ensure your AR rifle cycles reliably and runs longer, with reduced wear. Brownells also explains how to choose the optimal barrel twist rate. CLICK HERE to order AR parts, accessories, and ammo from Brownells.

AR Bolt/Bolt Carrier Lubrication — Smarter Methods

This video shows the proper way to lubricate an AR-15 bolt-carrier assembly. The video identifies the key metal-on-metal friction points where you actually need lubrication: the rails on the underside of the carrier, shiny wear points on top, and just a dab on the cam pin. How much oil/lubricant should you use? The AR-15 is pretty forgiving on that point. Some spots work best with grease, others work best with a lighter oil. Just keep it out of the combustion areas. Those little holes in the carrier are gas vent holes, NOT oil holes!

AR Maintenance — General Cleaning Procedures

Let’s face it, ARs with the original gas system tend to run dirty. You’ll need to regularly clean the bolt carrier and bolt. In addition you should regularly clean the chamber area and the inside of the upper. Also make sure to clean the lower (see video 3:15) and ensure the trigger assembly is properly maintained. This video covers general cleaning and maintenance of AR-platform rifles. We highly recommend that all new AR owners watch this video. NOTE: When cleaning the bolt, don’t forget the extractor recess and ejector recess. The majority of ARs we’ve seen that did not function properly had gunk (lube, carbon, brass shavings) clogging these areas.

AR Barrel Twist Rates — What You Need to Know

AR barrels can be ordered with a variety of twist rates from 1:12″ to 1:7″. Basically, the longer/heavier the bullet you plan to shoot, the faster the twist rate you need. For example, Sierra recommends a 1:7″ twist rate for the 90gr SMK. A 1:12″ could work with the small lightweight bullets up to 55 grains. The 1:9″ barrel will stabilize the light and mid-weight bullets up to about 77 grains. We recommend a 1:8″ or 1:7″ twist rate for the best versatility. You’ll find a detailed discussion of AR twist rates on PewPewTactical.com.

How to Install an AR15 Trigger Assembly

One of the most common AR upgrades done by black rifle owners is swapping out the trigger for a better unit (perhaps a two-stage). Trigger replacements on ARs can be done fairly easily with basic tools. But there are some recommended procedures to ensure the trigger group swap goes easily. You’ll want to have a proper mount to secure the lower, and tools that fit the pin diameters on your lower.

Must-Have Spare Parts for AR-Platform Rifle

With 350,000 views, this is one of the most-watched AR videos on the Brownells YouTube Channel. Brownells Gun Techs Steve and Caleb list key spare parts AR owners should have. Top of the list are bolt gas rings, which wear out through normal use. Also you’ll want a spare extractor spring and pin, because these both can fail. The cotter pin and cam pin can break, but more often they get lost when the Bolt Carrier Group is disassembled for cleaning. Additionally, the large buffer springs wear out with time, so have a spare. Downstairs on the lower receiver, keep spare springs and detents for the pivot and takedown pins. Finally, if you’ve upgraded your trigger, keep the original one as a backup spare.

Checking Headspace on ARs

In this Tech Tip, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem walks users step-by-step through the process of checking headspace on their AR-15 rifles, both new and used. It is very important to have proper headspace to ensure proper feeding and extraction, and to ensure good brass longevity (with less risk of dangerous case separation). Starting at 2:10, this video explains how to check headspace with go/no-go gauges and maximum headspace gauge. Ostrem notes: “If you have an AR that closes on a no-go gauge, we recommend taking it to a gunsmith before heading to the range.”

brownells AR AR15 headspace video go gauge
Excessive headspace in AR platform rifles can lead to dangerous case separation.

Setting Up Gas Tube Systems

This Tech Tip examines AR-platform gas systems, and shows how to select the proper length gas tube, and how to configure multiple tube systems if you change your barrel to different lengths. This is worth watching for anyone re-barreling an AR.

Barrel Gas Block Alignment — Key to Reliable Cycling

In this video, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains surefire methods to align your gas block. The most common problem with AR builds is poor cycling, commonly caused by misalignment between the gas block and the barrel’s gas port.

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December 31st, 2021

Mantis Blackbeard — AR15 Dry Firing System Resets Trigger

Mantis blackbeard ar15 ar ar-15 trigger reset dry firing system magazine blot carrier

Do you use an AR15 for service rifle, 3-Gun, or tactical competitions? Then you should consider dry-fire training. Many top competitors spend an hour (or more) dry-firing for every minute they shoot live cartridges in competition. The allows effective training without spending a fortune on live ammunition (which can run $1.00 per round or more).

There is a handy new system that resets the trigger on AR-platform rifles — the Mantis Blackbeard (see videos below). This permits you to make multiple successive shots without having to alter your grip and manually recycle the charging handle. This two-part system employs a replacement bolt carrier/bolt and replacement magazine. With these two components installed, your AR can automatically reset the trigger instantly after you pull the trigger. It works, it’s effective, and it’s affordable at $219.00 MSRP.

The Blackbeard system is used by the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army (including Special Forces), so you know it works. During training the Mantis Blackbeard allows unlimited, repetitive Dry Firing without resetting the charging handle. That eliminates a tedious task that requires altering your hold on the rifle.

No Gun Modifications
Same Trigger Weight, Break, and Reset
Installs in under a minute
Up to 10 shots per second
Up to 100,000 Shots per Charge
Save on Ammunition Costs

In the video below Top Shot Champion Dustin Ellermann shows how to use the Mantis Blackbeard. He vividly demonstrates the clear advantage of the Blackbeard compared to manually pulling the charging handle over and over (See 00:02 – 00:20 time).

Dustin Ellermann Review of Mantis Blackbeard Trigger Reset System

Mantis blackbeard ar15 ar ar-15 trigger reset dry firing system magazine blot carrier

This next video, from the manufacturer Mantis, shows how to install the Mantis Blackbeard, how to set the zero, and how to operate the unit with your AR-platform rifle.

The easy-to-install-Mantis Blackbeard replaces your bolt carrier and magazine in less than a minute, allowing easy training transitions. The magazine battery pack is good for 100,000 shots per charge and the Blackbeard is rated to reset as quickly as 10 shots per second, allowing rapid fire training for 3-Gun and tactical competitions.

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December 31st, 2021

3D Cutaway Animations Reveal How AR15 Rifles Work

ar-15 AR15 3D animation video youtube cutaway 5.56 AR .233 Rem

Americans love AR-platform rifles. However, they can be maintenance-intensive, as hot gasses are directed right back into the action to operate the bolt. Because ARs have a somewhat unique (and dirty) semi-auto operating system, we think all AR owners should learn how their rifles operate — from the inside out. This feature provides an “inside look” at the AR, with X-Ray and Cutaway views created through advanced 3D computer modeling.

AR15 Functions Revealed with 3D Computer Animation

Ever wondered how the parts inside an AR15 work together? Just exactly how does the reciprocating bolt carrier feed rounds from the magazine? How do the elements in the trigger group work and reset after each shot? How does the gas system bleed gas from the barrel and operate the bolt carrier? These and other questions are answered in this eye-opening video from 45Snipers. Using “cutaway” 3D computer animation, this 5-minute video shows all features of an AR15 inside and out. This fascinating firearms animation allows the viewer to look inside the upper and lower receivers, into the bolt carrier, chamber, barrel, and magazine.

This video starts off slow and has annoying background music, but it is well worth watching if you own or shoot any AR-platform rifle. It illustrates all the key operations during the charging, loading, firing, and ejection processes. The cutaway animation shows how rounds are stripped from the magazine and then chambered. It then shows how every part of the trigger group works, and how the firing pin strikes the primer. You can even watch the bullet move down the barrel before the empty shell casing is removed from the chamber and tossed out the ejection port. Here are sample frames from the video:

ar-15 AR15 3D animation video youtube cutaway 5.56 AR .233 Rem

How AR-Platform Rifles Work — General Introduction
To help reader understand the general operation of AR-type rifles, this video shows the control functions of an AR and how the upper and lower sections work together.

Cutaway 3D Animation of AR15/M16 Action — Watch Video

Here is an excellent “cutaway” animation by Thomas Schwenke that shows how an AR-15 functions — how the entire loading cycle works from start to finish.

AR platform rifles are semi-automatics version of the M16. These feature distinctive upper and lower receivers which can be readily separated via front and rear pins. The upper includes the barrel, handguard, forward gas tube, and bolt assembly, while the lower contains grip, trigger group, fire selector, and mag well. In addition the lower is attached to the stock which encloses the buffer assembly.

3d firearms modeling gun CGI software encylopedia gun disassembly

The original ArmaLite AR-15 was a select-fire, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle designed by American gun manufacturer ArmaLite in 1956. It was based on Armalite’s AR-10 rifle chambered for the 7.62×51 NATO (.308 Win). In 1959, ArmaLite sold its rights to the AR-10 and AR-15 to Colt. Some key modifications were made — most notably, the charging handle was re-located from under the carrying handle to the rear of the receiver. The redesigned rifle was adopted by the U.S. military as the M16 carbine, which went into production in March 1964.

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November 27th, 2021

Brownells Black Rifle Specials and Site-Wide Discount Codes

Brownells folding AR stock adapter

Brownells is continuing its popular Black Rifle Friday promotion through this entire weekend. Now through midnight on Sunday 11/28/21, enjoy big savings on uppers, lowers, barrels, buttstocks, rimfire conversion kits, AR optics, magazines and much more. Along with the attractive sale prices, you can save on nearly all Brownells products with special Black Friday weekend Discount Codes. NOTE: These codes are NOT limited to AR stuff — you can save on most products in stock.* But don’t delay, the codes expire soon.

Code RFA: 11% Off $200 | Code RFB: 12% Off $300 | Code RFC: 13% Off $700

Brownells folding AR stock adapter

Most Sale Prices Good Through 11/28/2021 at 11:59 pm CST. The special Discount Codes expire on 11/29/2021 at 11:59 pm CST.

Brownells folding AR stock adapter


*Promo Code Exceptions
Promo Codes are NOT valid on these brands: B&T, Bighorn Arms (Zermatt Arms), Crimson Trace, FN USA, Franklin Armory, Galco Int’l, Glock, Holosun, Kahles, LabRadar, Leica, Leupold, Nightforce, Raven Concealment, Ruger, SIG Sauer, Swarovski, Trijicon, and Zenith Firearms. Also Promo Codes are NOT valid on these product types (and more): barrel blanks, barrels (chambered), barreled receivers, bullets, case tumblers, cleaning rods, progressive presses, reloading kits, rifle stocks, shot, shotshell presses, ultrasonic case cleaners. See ALL Exceptions.

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November 5th, 2021

New Brownells AR Build Resource Site with How-To Videos

Brownells AR15 AR builder online how to build guide videos upper lower trigger

In the face of growing online censorship across many popular social media sites (such as YouTube), Brownells has launched a new online resource to help customers build their own AR-15 rifles at home. Hosted at Brownells.com/HowToBuild, the new web page features step-by-step, interactive videos. Featuring Brownells Gun Tech Caleb Savant, the videos show the AR-15 build process with easy-to-follow directions and expert advice. There are currently four AR Build videos: Introduction, How to Build Your Lower, How to Build Your Upper, and Troubleshooting Guide. See all videos at: Brownells.com/HowToBuild.

Access New Brownells AR Builder Video Resource Page »

Each of the videos have an easy search button on the upper left-hand corner, allowing viewers to navigate to specific parts of the video. This will help viewers access key parts of each video and find the information they need. For example, the Lower Video has specific sections on trigger and buttstock installation. There is also a video on how to properly test fire and troubleshoot an AR-15 once it’s built.

Brownells AR15 AR builder online how to build guide videos upper lower trigger

In addition to the instructional videos, Brownells’ AR Builder Site also provides links to all the parts, tools, and accessories required to build an AR-15 rifle. There are specific links to uppers, lowers, triggers, grips, buttstocks, bolt carrier groups, handguards, barrels, gas blocks, muzzle brakes and more.

Brownells AR15 AR builder online how to build guide videos upper lower trigger
Brownells AR15 AR builder online how to build guide videos upper lower trigger

“Several social media platforms have banned videos and other content showing how to build firearms,” said Brownells V.P. of Marketing Ryan Repp. “Because of Brownells’ long-time support of the Second Amendment and individual freedom, it made sense for us to create a professionally-produced video and resource center to assist rifle builders of all skill levels make the rifle of their dreams in the comfort of their own home or workshop.”

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November 5th, 2021

Colt Issues Safety Recall for AR-Type Rifles Made in 2021

Colt MSR AR AR15 safety recall double fire trigger issue

Colt has issued a Recall for certain Colt AR-type rifles made in 2021. Here is the official Recall Notice:

COLT’S Manufacturing LLC (“Colt”) has recently discovered a potential safety issue with certain Modern Sporting Rifles (“MSRs”). Colt is voluntarily initiating a recall to protect the safety of its customers because, under certain conditions, it is possible that some of these MSRs may discharge a second round when the trigger is released when there is a live round in the chamber.

For more information go to ColtRepairMSR.com

Colt is committed to the highest standards of quality and customer satisfaction. In keeping with that commitment, during routine quality testing, Colt discovered that hammers that do not meet Colt’s specifications were installed in certain MSRs that were manufactured beginning on March 5, 2021. The issue will be corrected by replacing the hammers in affected MSRs.

The recall only covers a portion of MSRs manufactured beginning on March 5, 2021, and includes the following models: AR15A4, CR6700A4, CR6920, CR6920-EPR, CR6920MPS-B, CR6921, CR6921-EPR, CR6933, CR6933-EPR, CR6960, LE6920-EPR, LE6920MPS-B, LE6920-OEM1, LE6920-OEM2, LE6920-R, LE6933-EPR, SP633784, LE6920SOCOM.

Chart lists all the serial numbers for those models that may potentially be subject to the recall:

Colt serial number recall

Model Marking and Serial Numbers

AR-15 A4: CAR022851 – CAR023250
CARBINE: CR036354 – CR099599
CARBINE: CR713001 – CR722100
M4 CARBINE: CR716801 – CR721500
M4A1 CARBINE: CR021580 – CR022024

To prevent the possibility of death or serious personal injury, Colt advises anyone who has purchased a Colt MSR since March 5, 2021 to stop using it immediately and visit ColtRepairMSR.com or call Customer Service at 1-800-971-3216 to see if your specific MSR is affected. Please note: Not all MSRs within the serial number range in the above chart are subject to this recall and this website offers easy, step-by-step instructions to determine if a particular MSR is affected.

Customer service agents will assist anyone who needs additional help. Our expert craftsmen are ready to upgrade all affected MSRs at our West Hartford, CT headquarters.

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