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August 7th, 2022

Protect Yourself — Check for Possible Brass Case Wall Failure

cartridge case separation

We are re-publishing this article at the request of Forum members who found the information very valuable. If you haven’t read this Safety Tip before, take a moment to learn how you can inspect your fired brass to determine if there may be a potential for case separation. A case separation can be dangerous, potentially causing serious injury.

cartridge case separationOn the highly-respected Riflemans’ Journal blog, created by our late dear friend German Salazar*, there was an excellent article about Cartridge Case-Head Separation. In this important article, Salazar (aka GS Arizona) examined the causes of this serious problem and explained the ways you can inspect your brass to minimize the risk of a case-head separation. As cases get fired multiple times and then resized during reloading, the cases can stretch. Typically, there is a point in the lower section of the case where the case-walls thin out. This is your “danger zone” and you need to watch for tell-tale signs of weakening.

The photo below shows a case sectioned so that you can see where the case wall becomes thinner near the web. You can see a little arrow into the soot inside the case pointing to the thinned area. This case hadn’t split yet, but it most likely would do so after one or two more firings.

cartridge case separation

Paper Clip Hack for Detecting Problems
The article provided a great, easy tip for detecting potential problems. You can use a bent paper clip to detect potential case wall problems. Slide the paper clip inside your case to check for thin spots. GS Arizona explains: “This simple little tool (bent paper clip) will let you check the inside of cases before you reload them. The thin spot will be immediately apparent as you run the clip up the inside of the case. If you’re seeing a shiny line on the outside and the clip is really hitting a thin spot inside, it’s time to retire the case. If you do this every time you reload, on at least 15% of your cases, you’ll develop a good feel for what the thin spot feels like and how it gets worse as the case is reloaded more times. And if you’re loading the night before a match and feel pressured for time — don’t skip this step!”


* Sadly, German Salazar passed away unexpectedly on June 21, 2022 at age 62. German was a great inspiration to this site and help guide the creation of the AccurateShooter Forum. A brilliant man, expert attorney, and top-tier marksman, German will be sorely missed in the shooting sports world. We plan a more lengthy In Memoriam tribute to German in the weeks ahead.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
March 23rd, 2021

Incipient Case-Head Separation — How to Detect the Problem

cartridge case separation

We are re-publishing this article at the request of Forum members who found the information very valuable. If you haven’t read this Safety Tip before, take a moment to learn how you can inspect your fired brass to determine if there may be a potential for case separation. A case separation can be dangerous, potentially causing serious injury.

cartridge case separationOn the respected Riflemans’ Journal blog there was an excellent article about Cartridge Case-Head Separation. In this important article, Journal Editor GS Arizona examined the causes of this serious problem and explained the ways you can inspect your brass to minimize the risk of a case-head separation. As cases get fired multiple times and then resized during reloading, the cases can stretch. Typically, there is a point in the lower section of the case where the case-walls thin out. This is your “danger zone” and you need to watch for tell-tale signs of weakening.

The photo below shows a case sectioned so that you can see where the case wall becomes thinner near the web. You can see a little arrow into the soot inside the case pointing to the thinned area. This case hadn’t split yet, but it most likely would do so after one or two more firings.

cartridge case separation

Paper Clip Hack for Detecting Problems
The article provided a great, easy tip for detecting potential problems. You can use a bent paper clip to detect potential case wall problems. Slide the paper clip inside your case to check for thin spots. GS Arizona explains: “This simple little tool (bent paper clip) will let you check the inside of cases before you reload them. The thin spot will be immediately apparent as you run the clip up the inside of the case. If you’re seeing a shiny line on the outside and the clip is really hitting a thin spot inside, it’s time to retire the case. If you do this every time you reload, on at least 15% of your cases, you’ll develop a good feel for what the thin spot feels like and how it gets worse as the case is reloaded more times. And if you’re loading the night before a match and feel pressured for time — don’t skip this step!”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 3 Comments »
March 15th, 2015

Illustrated History of the Second Amendment (Part Two)

Last month we showcased an Illustrated History of the Second Amendment by attorney Robert J. McWhirter. That fascinating article, published in Arizona Attorney magazine, explained the history and evolution of the Second Amendment in a novel way. McWhirter included dozens of annotations with images from old books, magazines, even stills from movies and television shows. This was certainly the most entertaining discussion of the Second Amendment ever published.

Second Amendment Illustrated History McWhirter Part two 2 militia

This month, Arizona Attorney released Part Two of McWhirter’s Illustrated History of the Second Amendment. Like Part One, this article is informative and chock full of fascinating historical footnotes. The footnotes are just as interesting as the main article, as they feature dozens of eye-catching graphics — everything from 18th century lithographs to modern movie posters. Click the Links below to read both Part Two and Part One:

Second Amendment History PART TWO | Second Amendment History PART ONE

Part Two of McWhirter’s illustrated history addresses interesting historical subtopics such as: Guns and Colonial Slavery, Militias and Minutemen, and the Founders’ concerns about Government Tyranny. If you have any interest in American history or Constitutional law, check out this article — it’s definitely worth a read. Part Two of McWhiter’s Illustrated History is available FREE online in digital, eZine Format.

Second Amendment Illustrated History McWhirter Part two 2 militia

Story Tip from German Salazar. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Articles, News 2 Comments »
February 13th, 2015

Chariots of the (Gun) Gods

Ben Hur

Ben Avery

Was this Ben Hur or Ben Avery? With all the wheels rolling around the place, the Berger SW Nationals looked a bit like the Chariot scene from the 1959 Hollywood blockbuster movie.

Folks attending a big match such as the Berger Southwest Nationals must haul a lot of gear — both to the range and from vehicles to the firing lines (and then back again). This transportational necessity has inspired shooters to develop a wide variety of modern chariots. Here’s a selection of the “wheeled contrivances” we found at Ben Avery This week.

Don’t mess with Texas. That kind of says it all…

Folding carts were the favored mode of transport. Yes there are TWO carts in the back of this SUV.

Grizzly President Shiraz Balolia, appropriately enough, customized his cart with ursine artwork.

This rig had a custom bracket to support a rifle vertically. This clever invention preserves space in the main cargo section.

Felix Solis of the U.S. Veterans’ Rifle Team customized his travel van’s interior. Rifles are secured upright in the left compartment, with shooting coats on the right.

The little red wagon offers four-wheel stability. This one even has its own license plate.

Wait a minute — is that a stroller? Actually these rigs can be easily adapted to hold rifles and rests. Check out Craigslist for low-cost, “previously owned” strollers.

Past F-Class Nat’l Champ Larry Bartholome was seen rolling around with a familiar cart. This cart used to belong to our good friend German Salazar. Hey German, we all miss your presence at Ben Avery…

Permalink Competition, Gear Review No Comments »
November 23rd, 2014

Match Results for .308 Win vs. .30-06 — Surprising Findings

The .308 Winchester, a shortened version of the .30-06, has almost completely replaced the .30-06 in NRA competition. The .308 is required for Palma shooting, so it is also used by many Palma competitors in other long-range and mid-range prone matches. However, with the exception of M1 Garand matches, you won’t see many .30-06 rifles on the firing lines. Does that mean the .30-06 is obsolete? Is the .308 Win really much more accurate? Or does it just offer the advantages of reduced recoil and reduced powder consumption?

.308 Win vs. .30-06
Cartridge photos courtesy Deuce45s.com, a leading source of specialized military cartridges.

In his Sibling Rivalry: .308 vs. .30-06 article on the Rifleman’s Journal website, German Salazar argues that the .30-06 remains a viable competition cartridge, particularly for the long-range game. This isn’t just a subjective opinion. German has data to back up the argument that the .30-06 can still do the job.

German compares the actual scores produced by his .308 Win rifles with the scores from his .30-06 rifles. German analyzes scores, over a two-year period, shot by “matched pair” rifles (one in each caliber) with similar actions, stocks, sights, and barrels. For comparison purposes, German also includes score data from his 6XC, a modern low-recoil chambering.

.308 Win vs. .30-06

RESULTS: .308 Has Small Edge at Middle Distance, But .30-06 Is Better at Long Range
Surprisingly, the .30-06 performed nearly as well as the .308 at middle distances. The .30-06 delivered 99.2% of max possible scores vs. 99.5% for the .308 Win. Notably, at 1000 yards, the .30-06 racked up 97.7% of max scores vs. 97.3% for the .308 Win. So, at 1000 yards, the .30-06 actually proved superior to the .308 Win. German explains: “This isn’t too surprising when one considers [the .308’s] limited case capacity for the bullet weights typically used in Long-Range shooting. They just run out of steam and dip perilously close to the transonic range as they approach 1000 yards of flight. The extra 150 fps or so that can be safely obtained from the .30-06 case really pays off at 1000 yards.”

Mid-Range Comparison
In NRA Mid-Range matches (500 and 600 yards), the average score and percentage of possible score for each cartridge was as follows:

.308 – 597-36X (99.5%), 960 rounds fired
6XC – 596-35X (99.3%),1260 rounds fired
.30-06 – 595-31X (99.2%), 2580 rounds fired

If we look at the score averages, the .308 comes out on top at the Mid-Range distances… by 0.3% of the possible score. By the way, notice that the 6XC, as good as it is, simply straddles the .30 caliber cartridges; it is not the winner.

Long-Range Comparison
German rarely shoots the .308 in matches that are only 1000 yards; most of his 1000-yard .308 shooting is done in Palma matches which include 800, 900 and 1000 yards. To make the comparison useful, the Long-Range results are presented only as a percentage of the possible score and the 800- and 900-yard stages of Palma matches were NOT included.

In NRA Long-Range and Palma matches, the average percentage of possible score for each cartridge at 1000 yards was as follows:

6XC – 98.9%, 360 rounds fired
.30-06 – 97.7%, 460 rounds fired
.308 – 97.3%, 490 rounds fired

Editor’s Note: Among the three cartridges German studied, the 6XC actually proved best at 1000 yards, delivering 98.9% of the maximum possible scores. The .30-06 was second-best with 97.7%, slightly better than the .308 Win at 97.3%.

You’ll want to read German’s full Sibling Rivalry article, which includes an interesting history of the .30-06 and .308 in High Power shooting, along with tables showing German’s actual scores with his .30-06, .308 Win, and 6XC rifles. German’s story first ran in 2011.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo 9 Comments »
November 6th, 2014

Riding the Wave — Wind-Reading Advice from Mr. Salazar

German Salazar wind readingIn response to questions from a fellow F-Class shooter, German Salazar offered some expert advice in an article entitled: Basics: A Few Wind Reading Tips. Here are highlights from that essay. You can read the entire article on German’s Rifleman’s Journal Website. German cautions that: “I certainly am not attempting to make this short item into a comprehensive lesson in wind reading, but there may be a nugget or two in here for the newer shooter. There is, however, no substitute for range time and coaching.”

Preliminary Matters — Holding Off vs. Knob-Turning
Let’s begin by eliminating one topic altogether — I realize that the predominant method of wind correction in F-Class is holding-off with the crosshairs of your scope rather than adjusting the windage knob. I am a firm believer in aiming at the center and turning the knob as needed, but we’ll leave that for another time and focus on seeing what the wind is doing.

The Wave — Wind Cycles and Shot Timing
I find that most shooters begin to shoot immediately when the time commences rather than waiting for an appropriate moment in the cycle, this often leads to lost points early on. If you’ve been scoring prior to shooting, hopefully you’ve observing the flags and your shooter’s shot placement. It’s a very useful way of gaining some insight into the day’s wind patterns before shooting.

German Salazar wind readingMy technique is based on the understanding of wind as a cyclical wave motion. That statement alone should give you plenty to think about[.] Imagine for a moment, a surfer. He waits for a gentle swell, gets moving on it and rides it through it’s growth and ultimately its crescendo and hopefully avoids being swallowed in its crash. Wind typically behaves in the same fashion as that wave and a smart shooter behaves as does the surfer — get on early in the wave, ride through the major change and get off at the right moment. Knowing when to stop shooting is every bit as important as shooting quickly through the predictable portion of the wave; getting back on to the next wave is a matter of delicate judgment and timing.

When you are on that rising (or falling) wave, the idea is to shoot very quickly to minimize the amount of change between shots and to make a small adjustment on each shot. Too many shooters waste time trying to analyze the exact amount of the change, by which time it has changed even more! Get on with it, click or hold over a set amount and fire the next shot quickly. This is the foundation of how I shoot and it is very effective as long as you know when to start, when to stop and you have a good man working the target – a slow marker is the death of this method.

Watch Shots from Other Shooters
We all watch the wind flags, of course, and the trees if your range is so blessed (ours are fairly barren), and many other small wind indicators. Watching the shots of your fellow shooter can also be a very useful tool and should be observed whenever possible. When a good shooter next to you comes up with a poor shot, it should signal you to stop and reassess conditions as they may not be what they appear.

German Salazar wind reading

While scoring for another shooter, take a moment to scan the line of targets. You’ll be surprised at how most of the shot markers move in unison to one side and then the other. The sad truth is that most shooters are behind the changes in the wind and they will get carried to either side of the bull as the wind changes. You’ll see this in the targets as they come up, and once learned, you’ll find that the line of targets is as useful as another row of flags.

Permalink - Articles, Shooting Skills No Comments »
October 14th, 2014

Shooting a Tubegun in F-Class — G. Salazar Talks Equipment

When we recently ran a story about Dennis Santiago’s new snakeskin Eliseo Tubegun, folks asked us if this kind of rifle can be competitive in F-Class competition. Here’s a detailed answer to that question by G. Salazar, who runs the Riflemans Journal Website.

A while back, G. Salazar published a three-part article on Shooting The Tubegun in F-Class. Links for all three segments are found below. The article covers some of the hardware German engineered to adapt his tubegun for long-range F-Class shooting with scope. If you’re an F-Classer, or just a fan of tubeguns, you should read German’s article, in all its parts.

READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 1
READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 2
READ Tubegun in F-Class Part 3

In the intro to his multi-part F-Class Tubegun article, German explains:

Salazar: The tubegun has truly changed the face of High Power shooting over the past five years or so. Specifically, the CSS (Gary Eliseo) tubeguns, which are made for a broad variety of actions and configurable to single-shot or repeater, have truly helped the sport to grow. That’s not just idle talk, the two principal factors that made the tubegun so important to our growth are the ease of transition for AR15 shooters moving into a bolt-action rifle and the absolutely ridiculous length of time it currently takes to get a stock from the conventional stock makers. My last conventional stock took well over two years from order to delivery (plain fiberglass). One of my friends has now been waiting four years for a simple wood stock for a smallbore rifle. By contrast, tubeguns, which are largely CNC machined, are delivered in a reasonably short time — weeks or a couple of months at most.

German Salazar F-Class Tubegun

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the tubegun would never have attained its present success if it weren’t for one simple fact — they are brutally accurate. I have three CSS tubeguns, one chambered in .308 and two in .30-06 and they are my favorite prone rifles due to their accuracy and great ergonomics. Those factors are just as appealing to an F-Class competitor as to a prone shooter, and indeed, the tubegun is making solid inroads into F-Class. READ MORE…

READ MORE of Part 1, The Tubegun in F-Class

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Shooting Skills No Comments »
May 7th, 2014

Getting Started in F-Class Competion

We first ran this story a year ago. Since then, many readers asked us: “Is there a good article that explains how to get started in F-Class?” Indeed there is… Rod Vigstol provides tips for F-Class rookies, plus a checklist of items to bring to the range.

How Easy it is to Have Fun with Rifles and Equipment You Probably Already Have….
Forum member Rod Vigstol (aka Nodak7mm) has written a great Introduction to F-Class for shooters getting started in this rewarding discipline. Rod’s article, which appears in German Salazar’s Rifleman’s Journal website, covers F-Class basics and addresses concerns that “newbies” may have when trying a new shooting sport. Rod stresses that most guys who own a varmint-hunting or tactical rig likely have nearly all the gear they need to give F-Class competition a try.

Intro to F-Class Shooting

CLICK HERE to read Rod Vigstol’s ‘Getting Started in F-Class’ article on Rifleman’s Journal.com

Rod explains: “If you’re reading this, you have more than just a general interest in the shooting sports and in the awesome rifles that shoot tiny groups at insane distances. You probably even have friends that enjoy shooting as much as you do. The quandary you may find yourself in is your friends haven’t quite jumped into it head-first like you have and they haven’t spent a lot of money and time obtaining the equipment you have to go shoot these matches. But you know what? Your prairie-dog shooting buddy or coyote-hunter friend can attend these matches and shoot alongside with you. He or she more than likely already has the basic equipment needed to shoot a match.” Most varmint shooters already have a suitable, accurate rifle and the following equipment:

• A variable-power scope in the 4.5-14x range or higher.
• A front bipod like the trusty old Harris 9″-13″, or maybe even a basic pedestal front rest.
• A rear sand-bag or similar sand-sock to rest the butt stock.
• A basic shooting mat from Midway or at least a piece of carpet or canvas to lay on.

Intro to F-Class Shooting

Rod also provides a handy checklist of items to bring to the range. These include: Canvas or carpet strip (to set under bipod), Notebook, Kitchen Timer, Cleaning Rod, Camp Chair, Elbow Pads, Shooting Hat, and Open Bolt Indicator (OBI). Along with rifle, bipod (or front rest), rear bag, and ammo, that’s pretty much all you need.

Intro to F-Class Shooting

Rod encourages all shooters to give F-Class a try — even novices. Rod explains: “We have all been rookies, newbies, new kids on the block or whatever. So we all have a good idea of what may be going on in your mind, the questions and concerns you may have. I’m telling you this sport is full of fantastic people who deep down find it far more fulfilling to help a new shooter get started than running a clean target. You just have to take the first step to get involved.”

CLICK HERE To read the entire article on Rifleman’s Journal.com. We’ve only provided a small sample of Rod’s article; it is definitely worth reading in its entirety.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
May 3rd, 2014

Voyeur’s Guide to Barrel Chambering On Rifleman’s Journal

On German Salazar’s Rifleman’s Journal website, you’ll find an excellent 5-Part Series on barrel chambering. The Series, entitled The Voyeur’s Guide to Barrel Chambering, is not intended to be a “how-to” instructional treatise for gunsmiths. Instead, German’s 5-Part Guide is aimed at the end user — the shooter. German explains: “This Series isn’t intended for anyone who owns a lathe; instead it is for those of us who send an action off to get a new barrel installed. Those who have the equipment know what to do and how to do it and I have nothing to teach them. On the other hand, if you’ve ever wondered just what goes into barrel fitting, this is it.”
PART I | PART II | PART III | PART IV | PART V

With well-written text and dozens of very high-quality images, German takes you through the chambering, threading, shoulder-fitting, and crowning processes from start to finish. The idea is to give the “barrel consumer” a clear idea of the processes involved when a barrel blank is converted into functional form, complete with chamber, threaded tenon, fitted breech, and crown.

We highly recommend German’s 5-Part Voyeur’s Guide to Barrel Chambering. German, with the aid of John Lowther (who ran the machines), did a great job. The series has already drawn much attention from our Forum members, along with praise. After reading the articles, John C. from Australia wrote: “Your Chambering articles… really are excellent [and] informative for those of us too scared to watch our gunsmith chamber one of our barrels lest we distract him at a crucial moment!”

We know you’ll learn something from reading through German’s 5-Part Series. And if you see a photo on German’s website that intrigues you, simply click on it to see a larger, higher-resolution version. All the images in the Voyeur Series on RiflemansJournal.com can be zoomed to larger formats.

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
March 26th, 2014

ABCs of Neck Turning — Here is How It’s Done

On our main AccurateShooter.com site, you’ll find an excellent article by GS Arizona on the Basics of Neck Turning. If you’re new to the neck-turning game, or are just looking for good tips on improving your neck-turning procedures, you should read that article. Below we offer some highlights and photos from the article, but you’ll need to read the whole story to view all the illustrations and follow all the procedures step by step.

Why Should You Consider Neck Turning?
Let’s assume that your rifle doesn’t have a tight neck chamber that requires neck turning; if you have a tight neck chamber, of course, the answer to the question is “because you have to”. For the rest of us, and that includes the vast majority of Highpower shooters, neck turning isn’t a requirement, but it can be a useful way to bring your ammunition a small but meaningful step closer to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: perfection. I’m not talking about a theoretical improvement, but a real one, an improvement that lies in equalizing and optimizing the neck tension of your loaded rounds. Inconsistent neck tension is a real contributor to increased muzzle velocity variance which itself is a significant factor in increased elevation dispersion at long range. So there’s our basic reason for neck turning: to equalize and optimize neck tension in order to reduce elevation dispersion.

neck-turning basics reloading salazar

The Tools of the Trade
Here you see everything I use and a bit more. The press, a cordless screwdriver (always plugged in, turning is tough on the old battery), a couple of K&M neck turners (one set up for 6mm, the other for .30 caliber) an expander for each size, some Imperial lube, an old toothbrush or two to keep the cutter clean, a handle with a caseholder (for those emergencies when the screwdriver dies and there’s just one more case to go!), steel wool and a tubing micrometer finish the list of tools. Hey, I left the dial calipers out of the picture! They’re always handy, keep them around, but they are useless for measuring neck thickness, so don’t try. I usually use an Optivisor magnifier while I turn necks, very handy for a clear view of what’s happening on the neck.

neck-turning basics reloading salazar

Expanding the Neck
Put some lube on the inside of the case neck and run it into the expander. Really, this isn’t hard. I prefer to expand each case immediately before turning it as opposed to expanding all the cases and then turning them. Brass is somewhat springy and will tend to go back toward its original size; therefore, by expanding and turning immediately, you are more likely to have all cases fit the mandrel with the same degree of tightness and to get a more consistent depth of cut.

Cutter Adjustment for Cut Depth and Length
All the tools I’ve seen have pretty good adjustment instructions. The only thing they don’t tell you is that you should have five to ten spare cases to get it right initially. Anything of the right diameter will do while you learn, for instance, just use that cheap surplus .308 brass to do initial setup and save the precious .30-06 for when you know what you’re doing. Be patient and make your adjustments slowly; you’ll need to set the cutter for thickness as well as length of cut (just into the shoulder). The depth of cut (brass thickness) takes a bit of fiddling, the length of the cut is generally easy to set.

The Finished Product — A Perfectly Uniform Neck
If you read the whole article, and follow the procedures using quality tools, you should get very good results — with a little practice. To demonstrate, here’s an example of my finished, neck-turned brass. You’ll see there is a perfect, 0.0125″ thick neck. It’s very uniform around the circumference, usually I only see 1 or 2 ten-thousandths variance. Now, with the necks uniformed like this, we can select the bushing size that will give us our preferred neck tension and experiment with various levels of tension, secure in the knowledge that all of the cases will actually have the desired neck tension.

neck-turning basics reloading salazar

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
December 19th, 2013

Case-Head Separation — Spot Problems Before Things Go Boom…

cartridge case separationOn his Riflemans’ Journal blog, German Salazar wrote an excellent article about cartridge Case-Head Separation. We strongly recommend that you read this article. German examines the causes of this serious problem and he explains the ways you can inspect your brass to minimize the risk of a case-head separation. As cases get fired multiple times and then resized during reloading, the cases can stretch. Typically, there is a point in the lower section of the case where the case-walls thin out. This is your “danger zone” and you need to watch for tell-tale signs of weakening.

The photo below shows a case sectioned so that you can see where the case wall becomes thinner near the web. German scribed a little arrow into the soot inside the case pointing to the thinned area. This case hadn’t split yet, but it most likely would do so after one or two more firings.

cartridge case separation

One great tip offered by German Salazar involves using a bent paper clip to detect potential case wall problems. Slide the paper clip inside your case to check for thin spots. German explains: “This simple little tool (bent paper clip) will let you check the inside of cases before you reload them. The thin spot will be immediately apparent as you run the clip up the inside of the case. If you’re seeing a shiny line on the outside and the clip is really hitting a thin spot inside, it’s time to retire the case. If you do this every time you reload, on at least 15% of your cases, you’ll develop a good feel for what the thin spot feels like and how it gets worse as the case is reloaded more times. And if you’re loading the night before a match and feel pressured for time — don’t skip this step!”

cartridge case separation

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 1 Comment »
December 4th, 2013

FREE Classic Shooting Books for Christmas

Classic Gun BooksIn the spirit of the season, German Salazar offers this gift to our readers: free books. In his Rifleman’s Journal blog, German notes: “I can think of no better gift than knowledge, in this case knowledge of the early days of ballistic science, organized competitive shooting, the NRA and much more.”

Google, a company we all know for its internet search service, has undertaken a massive project known as Google Books under which they are scanning and making available millions of out-of-print books with uncertain copyright ownership.

Below you will find a list of books, each with a clickable title link and brief description. The title link will take you to the Google Books page for each book. You can read the entire book online, or you can download it to your computer as a PDF file and save it (or print it). You can also create your own Google Library and save the books there for access from any computer. Most of these books are hundreds of pages long, so consider your paper and toner supply before printing!


The Bullet’s Flight From Powder to Target, Franklin W. Mann, 1909, 384 pages.
This is the original and still widely read and highly regarded book on internal and external ballistics. Dr. Mann was a tireless experimenter and had the resources to pursue his interest with the best equipment available. A close friend of Harry Pope as well as other notable experimenters in the early days of smokeless powder, Mann’s work is thorough and well documented. If you’re interested in ballistics, this is the foundation that you must know in order to understand the ensuing century of work in that field.

Irish Riflemen in America, Sir Arthur Blennerhassett Leech, 1875, 216 pages.
This book chronicles the Irish rifle team’s trip to America in 1874 to compete against the best of America’s riflemen as organized by the Amateur Rifle Club of New York when the fledgling NRA ignored the Irish challenge. The book also includes a great deal of history of Irish target shooting and an account of a hunting trip in the American West by members of the party. Well worth reading.

The American Rifle, Townsend Whelen, 1918, 637 Pages.
Townsend Whelen was — and remains for many of us — the dean of American firearms writers. Here is a man who truly did it all and wrote about it with the authority of experience and the modesty of a true gentleman. Despite his roots in Philadelphia society, Whelen sought outdoor adventure and hard living and he found it; we are all richer for his ability to document it so well. This book, written immediately after (and during) the Great War gives a great insight into the period from a rifleman’s perspective: equipment, reloading, shooting — it’s all here. A long book and worth every page.

Whelen Military Riflemen

Suggestions to Military Riflemen, Townsend Whelen, 1909, 243 pages.
Townsend Whelen’s pre-war book on marksmanship which brought him to national prominence in the military establishment. Whelen, who coached the national championship winning Army rifle team at Sea Girt in 1906, covers all aspects of shooting the Model 1903 rifle, including long-range shooting. There is also an appendix covering the Krag-Jorgensen as it was still used by various state guard units at the time. Positions, sights, zeroing, windage, score books, slow-fire, rapid-fire, long-range, ammunition, vision; it’s all here. Every topic you see covered in a modern book on marksmanship was covered by Whelen in this book. You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been — this is a “must read” for the serious marksman and student of history.

Modern Rifle Shooting From the American Standpoint, W. G. Hudson, 1903, 155 pp.
Dr. Hudson was one of the leading lights of the early smokeless era (as well as the Schuetzen era), a contemporary and friend of Mann and Pope, Hudson was a tireless investigator of all things related to accuracy. This very hard to find book is an introduction to target shooting with a detailed overview of equipment and practices and is well illustrated with many plates of top level equipment of the day; a real gem.

Manual for Rifle Practice: Including Suggestions for Practice at Long Range, George Wood Wingate, 1879, 303 pages.
Wingate was the central figure in the founding of the National Rifle Association of America. Like Whelen’s manual 30 years later, Wingate’s book was adopted as the training manual by many military organizations. An authoritative view of marksmanship instruction in the day of the Trapdoor Springfield, Sharps, Remington Rolling Block, and Peabody military rifles. Includes diagrams and instructions for their care.

How I Became a Crack Shot — With Hints to Beginners, W. Milton Farrow, 1882, 204 pp.
Milton Farrow was one of the top shots of his time. Well-bred and highly educated, modesty was not among Farrow’s virtues. This makes for entertaining reading as he describes his travels and his many shooting accomplishments. The Hints for Beginners section has advice that remains sound even these many years later.

The Gun and its Development, William Wellington Greener, 1907 (8th Ed.) 786 pages.
Originally published in 1881, Greener’s book covers all aspects of the firearms world at that time and this 8th edition has many updates. While much of the text focuses on shotguns, there is a great deal of other material in this massive tome, including coverage of gunpowder and explosived, pistols, rifles, target shooting, rifle clubs and much more of interest to the modern rifleman. Many great period advertisements at the end will make you wish for a time machine!

Description and Rules for the Management of the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, Model of 1903, United States Army Ordnance Dept., 1904 (5th rev. 1914), 72 pages.
Here is the original US Army manual for the new Springfield Model 1903. A must-have for the Springfield 1903 buff or student of history.

Cartridge Manufacture, Douglas Thomas Hamilton, 1916, 167 pages.
This book is a well-written, technical presentation of small arms cartridge manufacturing during the Great War. An inside look at all processes at the Frankford Arsenal including case manufacture, bullet manufacture, loading and packaging. A useful historical treatise on the topic.

CLICK HERE for more FREE, downloadable Classic Shooting Titles.

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November 16th, 2013

.308 Winchester — Large vs. Small Flash Hole Test

Conventional .308 Winchester brass has a large primer pocket with a large, 0.080″-diameter flash hole. Last year, Lapua began producing special edition .308 Win “Palma” brass that has a small primer pocket and a small flash hole, sized 1.5mm (.059″) in diameter. Tests by U.S. Palma Team members showed that the small-flash-hole .308 brass possibly delivers lower Extreme Spread (ES) and Standard Deviation (SD) with some bullet/powder/primer combinations. All things being equal, a lower ES should reduce vertical dispersion at long range.

Why Might a Small Flash Hole Work Better?
The performance of the small-flash-hole .308 brass caused some folks to speculate why ES/SD might be improved with a smaller flash hole. One theory (and it’s just a theory) is that the small flash hole creates more of a “jet” effect when the primer fires. Contributing Editor German Salazar sought to find out, experimentally, whether this theory is correct. German explained: “During one of the many internet forum discussions of these cases, Al Matson (AlinWA) opined that the small flash hole might cause the primer flash to be propagated forward more vigorously. In his words, it should be like shooting a volume of water through a smaller nozzle, resulting in a flash that reaches further up the case. Now that kind of comment really sparked my curiosity, so I decided to see what I could see.”

More Primer Testing by Salazar
You can read more about this test and other primer experiments on RiflemansJournal.com.

Salazar Primer Tests: Small Rifle Primer Study | Large Rifle Primer Study

Large and Small Flash Hole .308 Cases — But Both with Small Primer Pockets
To isolate the effect of flash hole diameter alone, German set up a test with the two types of .308 case that have a small primer pocket: Remington BR brass with a 0.080″ flash hole and Lapua Palma brass with a 0.062″ flash hole. NOTE: German reamed the Lapua brass to 0.062″ with a Sinclair uniforming tool, so it was slightly larger than the 0.059″ factory spec. The Remington brass has a .22 BR headstamp as this brass was actually meant to be re-formed into .22 BR or 6 BR before there was factory brass available for those cartridges.

.308 Winchester Flash Holes

German set up his primer testing fixture, and took photos in low light so you can see the propagation of the primer “blast” easily. He first tested the Remington 7 1/2 primer, a primer known for giving a large flame front. German notes: “I thought that if there was a ‘nozzle effect’ from the small flash hole, this primer would show it best. As you can see from the photos, there might be a little bit of a flash reduction effect with this primer and the small flash hole, the opposite of what we expected, but it doesn’t appear to be of a significant order of magnitude.”

Remington BR case, 0.080″ Flash Hole, Remington 7.5 Primer.

Lapua Palma case, 0.062″ Flash Hole, Remington 7.5 Primer.

Next German tested the Wolf .223 primer, an unplated version of the Small Rifle Magnum that so many shooters use. German notes: “This is a reduced flame-front (low flash) primer which has proven itself to be very accurate and will likely see a lot of use in the Lapua cases. With this primer, I couldn’t detect any difference in the flash produced by the small flash hole versus the large flash hole”.

Remington BR case, 0.080″ Flash Hole, Wolf .223 Primer.

Palma case, 0.062″ Flash Hole, Wolf 223 Primer.

German tells us: “I fired five or six of each primer to get these images, and while there is always a bit of variance, these are an accurate representation of each primer type and case type. You can draw your own conclusions from all this, I’m just presenting the data for you. I don’t necessarily draw any conclusions as to how any combination will shoot based on the pictures.”

Results of Testing
Overall, looking at German’s results, one might say that the smaller diameter of the small flash hole does not seem to have significantly changed the length or size of the primer flame front. There is no discernible increased “jet effect”.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 7 Comments »
May 10th, 2013

Large vs. Small Flash Holes in .308 Win Brass

Conventional .308 Winchester brass has a large primer pocket with a large, 0.080″-diameter flash hole. In 2010, Lapua began producing special edition .308 Win “Palma” brass that has a small primer pocket and a small flash hole, sized 1.5mm (.059″) in diameter. Tests by U.S. Palma Team members showed that the small-flash-hole .308 brass possibly delivers lower Extreme Spread (ES) and Standard Deviation (SD) with some bullet/powder/primer combinations. All things being equal, a lower ES should reduce vertical dispersion at long range.

Why Might a Small Flash Hole Work Better?
The performance of the small-flash-hole .308 brass caused some folks to speculate why ES/SD might be improved with a smaller flash hole. One theory (and it’s just a theory) is that the small flash hole creates more of a “jet” effect when the primer fires. German Salazar (Rifleman’s Journal Editor) sought to find out, experimentally, whether this theory is correct. German explained: “During one of the many internet forum discussions of these cases, Al Matson (AlinWA) opined that the small flash hole might cause the primer flash to be propagated forward more vigorously. In his words, it should be like shooting a volume of water through a smaller nozzle, resulting in a flash that reaches further up the case. Now that kind of comment really sparked my curiosity, so I decided to see what I could see.”

More Primer Testing by Salazar
You can read more about this test and other primer experiments on RiflemansJournal.com.

Salazar Primer Tests: Small Rifle Primer Study | Large Rifle Primer Study

Large and Small Flash Hole .308 Cases — But Both with Small Primer Pockets
To isolate the effect of flash hole diameter alone, German set up a test with the two types of .308 case that have a small primer pocket: Remington BR brass with a 0.080″ flash hole and Lapua Palma brass with a 0.062″ flash hole. NOTE: German reamed the Lapua brass to 0.062″ with a Sinclair uniforming tool, so it was slightly larger than the 0.059″ factory spec. The Remington brass has a .22 BR headstamp as this brass was actually meant to be re-formed into .22 BR or 6 BR before there was factory brass available for those cartridges.

.308 Winchester Flash Holes

German set up his primer testing fixture, and took photos in low light so you can see the propagation of the primer “blast” easily. He first tested the Remington 7 1/2 primer, a primer known for giving a large flame front. German notes: “I thought that if there was a ‘nozzle effect’ from the small flash hole, this primer would show it best. As you can see from the photos, there might be a little bit of a flash reduction effect with this primer and the small flash hole, the opposite of what we expected, but it doesn’t appear to be of a significant order of magnitude.”

Remington BR case, 0.080″ Flash Hole, Remington 7.5 Primer.

Lapua Palma case, 0.062″ Flash Hole, Remington 7.5 Primer.

Next German tested the Wolf .223 primer, an unplated version of the Small Rifle Magnum that so many shooters use. German notes: “This is a reduced flame-front (low flash) primer which has proven itself to be very accurate and will likely see a lot of use in the Lapua cases. With this primer, I couldn’t detect any difference in the flash produced by the small flash hole versus the large flash hole”.

Remington BR case, 0.080″ Flash Hole, Wolf .223 Primer.

Palma case, 0.062″ Flash Hole, Wolf 223 Primer.

German tells us: “I fired five or six of each primer to get these images, and while there is always a bit of variance, these are an accurate representation of each primer type and case type. You can draw your own conclusions from all this, I’m just presenting the data for you. I don’t necessarily draw any conclusions as to how any combination will shoot based on the pictures.”

Results of Testing
Overall, looking at German’s results, one might say that the smaller diameter of the small flash hole does not seem to have significantly changed the length or size of the primer flame front. There is no discernible increased “jet effect”.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 9 Comments »
February 7th, 2013

Getting Started in F-Class by Rod Vigstol

How Easy it is to Have Fun with Rifles and Equipment You Probably Already Have….
Forum member Rod Vigstol (aka Nodak7mm) has written a great Introduction to F-Class for shooters getting started in this rewarding discipline. Rod’s article, which appears in German Salazar’s Rifleman’s Journal website, covers F-Class basics and addresses concerns that “newbies” may have when trying a new shooting sport. Rod stresses that most guys who own a varmint-hunting or tactical rig likely have nearly all the gear they need to give F-Class competition a try.

Intro to F-Class Shooting

CLICK HERE to read Rod Vigstol’s ‘Getting Started in F-Class’ article on Rifleman’s Journal.com

Rod explains: “If you’re reading this, you have more than just a general interest in the shooting sports and in the awesome rifles that shoot tiny groups at insane distances. You probably even have friends that enjoy shooting as much as you do. The quandary you may find yourself in is your friends haven’t quite jumped into it head-first like you have and they haven’t spent a lot of money and time obtaining the equipment you have to go shoot these matches. But you know what? Your prairie-dog shooting buddy or coyote-hunter friend can attend these matches and shoot alongside with you. He or she more than likely already has the basic equipment needed to shoot a match.” Most varmint shooters already have a suitable, accurate rifle and the following equipment:

• A variable-power scope in the 4.5-14x range or higher.
• A front bipod like the trusty old Harris 9″-13″, or maybe even a basic pedestal front rest.
• A rear sand-bag or similar sand-sock to rest the butt stock.
• A basic shooting mat from Midway or at least a piece of carpet or canvas to lay on.

Intro to F-Class Shooting

Rod also provides a handy checklist of items to bring to the range. These include: Canvas or carpet strip (to set under bipod), Notebook, Kitchen Timer, Cleaning Rod, Camp Chair, Elbow Pads, Shooting Hat, and Open Bolt Indicator (OBI). Along with rifle, bipod (or front rest), rear bag, and ammo, that’s pretty much all you need.

Intro to F-Class Shooting

Rod encourages all shooters to give F-Class a try — even novices. Rod explains: “We have all been rookies, newbies, new kids on the block or whatever. So we all have a good idea of what may be going on in your mind, the questions and concerns you may have. I’m telling you this sport is full of fantastic people who deep down find it far more fulfilling to help a new shooter get started than running a clean target. You just have to take the first step to get involved.”

CLICK HERE To read the entire article on Rifleman’s Journal.com. We’ve only provided a small sample of Rod’s article; it is definitely worth reading in its entirety.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills 10 Comments »