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October 24th, 2016

Leupold Introduces Hand-Held Thermal Optic for Hunters

Leupold stevens hunting hunter Thermal Optic Imager LTO heat source spotter

The new Leupold Thermal Optics (LTO) Tracker is a hand-held, heat-detection device designed as a multi-purpose hunting tool for game observation and game recovery. A high-performance thermal spotter, the LTO Tracker can detect heat sources out to 600 yards. The advanced thermal imaging engine fires up in less than three seconds and offers fast 30hz frame rates.

The hand-held unit features a 20-degree field of view and 6x digital zoom. Five different thermal filters provide multiple viewing options. The LTO’s CR123 lithium battery provides more than 10 hours of continuous use. A user-controlled reticle allow the user to quickly pinpoint a game animal or other thermal source. MSRP for the LTO Tracker is $874.99.

Leupold stevens hunting hunter Thermal Optic Imager LTO heat source spotter

Use LTO Thermal to Track Animals and Guide your Hunt
From checking your ingress path to your stand, to helping track wounded animals, the LTO Thermal can perform many tasks. Hunters can use the LTO Tracker to spot their quarry’s heat trail and efficiently recover the downed animal. Using the LTO Thermal, hunters can also plan their walk to their stand or blind with minimal risk of scaring off game. Where legal, varmint or feral hog hunters can use the LTO Tracker to identify their quarry, leading to more successful hunts.

“We see thermal as a vital tool in any hunter’s kit, just like binoculars or laser rangefinders,” said Tim Lesser, vice president of product development for Leupold & Stevens, Inc. “For observation and recovering downed game, the LTO Tracker will help hunters find success in the field.”

Permalink New Product, Optics 3 Comments »
September 4th, 2014

Rutland Plywood Plant in Vermont Burns to the Ground

Terrible news. The Rutland Plywood plant in Rutland, Vermont burned down last week. Rutland was a major supplier of laminated wood stock blanks. Now the plant is nothing but ashes. Sadly, in the aftermath of this terrible fire, we can expect shortages of laminated blanks for some types of stocks.

A massive, five-alarm fire engulfed the Rutland plant on the morning of 21 August, eventually burning the facility to the ground. 100 fire-fighters from six departments fought the fire, but the conflagration was too large, too fierce and the factory was reduced to cinders. Watch this amateur video to see the Rutland blaze in all its hellish power:

Rutland Plywood Plant Inferno

After combing through the aftermath of the blaze, investigators ruled out arson. According to David Sutton, a fire investigator: “It was in an area of some machinery that has been known to start fires in the past and the evidence we found in that room where that occurred, it appears that may have happened again.” Thankfully no one was killed or injured, but the plant was a total loss. The Rutland Plywood Plant employed 170 person in Vermont. Now those plant workers must find new jobs.

Richard Franklin Low-Rider Stock made with Rutland Desert Camo Laminated Plywood
Desert Camo Laminate

News tip from Shiraz Balolia, Bullets.com. We welcome reader submissions.
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March 16th, 2014

Super-Wide Forearms Add Stability to Benchrest Rifles

Most long-range benchrest stocks are three inches wide because that used to be the max width under the rules for Light Gun Class. Many folks may not realize that the IBS, the NBRSA, and the Williamsport organizations have all modified their Light Gun rules to allow wider forearm widths in registered competition. A wider stock provides increased stability and resists rotation (torquing) as the gun is fired. If you’re building a new Light Gun, you may want to consider a 4″-wide or 5″-wide forearm. Do check the rules of your local club or regional organization to ensure the wider width is allowed in the matches you attend. And if you plan to shoot F-Class as well, stick to 3″. Under F-Class (Open) rules, “the width of the rifle’s forend shall not exceed 76mm (approximately 3 inches)”.

Wider Forearm Stock Options
Most stock-makers still only offer a 3″-wide forearm width with their Light Gun long-range benchrest stocks. However, there are some other options. On request, Joel Russo, Russo Rifle Stocks, can cut a stock with 4″-wide forearm, but that’s not a standard pattern.

If you want a 4″-5″ wide version of the popular MBR Tooley-style long-range stock, Bill Shehane offers a ‘Big Dawg’ version of his MBR Tracker stock. This features a longer, deeper, and wider fore-end for added stability and more resistance to torque with the heavy calibers. Along with having a wider forearm, the Big Dawg stock is cut 4″ longer than a standard Shehane ST-1000 Tracker. This provides a “longer wheelbase” for better balance with very long (30″+) barrels. (The ST-1000 itself is 3″ longer than most benchrest stocks.) The Big Dawg is available with a 4″-wide or 5″-wide forearm, and will handle barrels up to 40″ in length and 1.5″ in diameter. In the top photo, taken by Forum member Preacher, you see a 4″-wide Big Dawg next to a normal ST-1000 Tracker. (Both stocks are symmetrical; there is distortion caused by wide-angle lens.)

This color pattern is what Bill calls “Prairie Dog Camo”, a Rutland laminate in orange and dark gray, with olive ‘accent’ layers. The price for a ‘Big Dawg’ in Rutland laminate is $625. In African Obeche wood (any color choice), the price is $855.00. For more info, contact Bill Shehane at (704) 824-7511, or visit his website, www.ScopeUsOut.com.

Wide Stocks for Rimfire Benchrest
Ultra-wide stocks are also legal in many rimfire benchrest disciplines. Shown below is a rimfire rifle built with a 4″-wide Shehane Big Dawg stock. This gun is used in ARA Unlimited competition. Extra-wide stocks like this can also be used in the IR 50/50 Unlimited Class and RBA Unlimited Class.

Why use a wide stock for rimfire where recoil is not an issue? The extra width definitely provides more stability in the bags. This is noticeable when cycling the action during the loading process — the gun shows less “wiggle” when opening and closing the bolt. The larger mass of wood also, potentially, provides additional vibration damping. A wider stock design carries more weight (per inch of length) and more mass is distributed outboard. Initial testing shows that the wide stocks work well for rimfire shooters who like to grip their gun — the gun feels “planted” with less wobble when the stock is gripped or cheeked by the shooter.

Joe Friedrich Big Dawg rimfire rifle Shehane tracker

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
March 23rd, 2013

2012 IBS Long-Range Shooters of Year Recognized

As we commence the 2013 IBS benchrest season, it’s time to give credit to the 2012 IBS long-range Shooters of the Year. Bill Shehane of D&B Supply sent us photos and profiles of three winners, who all used his Tracker stocks. Bill writes: “I would like to thank all the many 600-yard and 1000-yard shooters for once again making Tracker Stocks the number one choice in long range shooting for 2012.” Bill notes that: “I’ve always said we get beat by women and children more than we own up to and 2012 was a perfect example of this.”


Photo Credit: Gordy Mitchell

Sally Bauer, 2012 IBS 1000-Yard Shooter of the Year
In 2012, Sally Bauer became the first lady to win the title of IBS 1000-yard Shooter of the Year. Sally earned that honor through hard work, dedication, and a burning desire to “be all she can be”. While helping her husband Jim rise to the top of the 1000-yard benchrest game, Sally was taking notes and working toward her turn at the top. Well friends, Sally took no prisoners in 2012. At the Nationals, Sally fought a very tight battle with several extremely good shooters. But then she “put the hammer down” and pull away in a very convincing manner to clinch the top title.

IBS 1000 yard shooter of year Sally Bauer

Mason Hildrith, 2012 IBS 1000-Yard Junior Shooter of the Year
Mason Hildrith not only had a great performance at the 1000-yard National Championship in his home State of West Virginia, but was once again the top Junior Shooter in the IBS 1000-yard Shooter of the Year program. Bill Shehane writes: “I know just how proud your Grandmother and Grandpa are of you and Diane and I are just as proud of not only how good you are with the rifles but the way you conduct yourself. You are a fine young man and a great example of an humble shooter willing to help others enjoy the sport too.”

IBS 1000 yard shooter of year Mason Hildrith

Mike Hanes, 2012 IBS 600-Yard Shooter of the Year
Mike Hanes is a reformed .22LR rimfire shooter who took a liking to 600-yard benchrest competition. At last year’s 600-yard Nationals in St. Louis, Mike put on quite a show against a steller group of the Nation’s best 600-yard shooters. After this performance, Mike never let up and captured the 2012 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year title

IBS 1000 yard shooter of year Mike Hanes

Congrats to Sally, Mason, and Mike for a fine season of great shooting. Bill Shehane adds: “Diane and I both thank all of you for choosing Tracker Stocks. Keep up the good shooting and have fun in 2013.”

Diane & Bill Shehane
D & B Supply
www.Scopeusout.com

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