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July 31, 2006, BLOG

COMPETITION--NBRSA 100/200 Results: The NBRSA 100/200 yard Benchrest Championship recently concluded in Raton, New Mexico. Charles Huckeba had the magic touch throughout the match and came away the big winner. Charles took first Place in Two-Gun, Three-Gun, AND Four-Gun Overall Agg. Runner-up in both Three-Gun and Four-Gun Agg was Bill Goad. Bill also won the Heavy Varmint Grand Agg with a spectacular .1789, a possible new World Record. Bill demonstrated the phenomenal Agging capability of the current generation of point-blank Benchrest Rifles. Shooting a .1789 single group is impressive; to shoot that tight for an entire Grand Agg is nothing less than amazing. Lowell Frei shot well too, placing near the top in a number of categories. We congratulate all the participants and we give special kudos to Charles for a dominating performance (his 4-Gun Aggregate was .2570.) Photo courtesy Lawrence Weisdorn.

COMPETITION--Camp Perry National Rifle Championships: The National Matches, considered America's "World Series of the Shooting Sports", have been a tradition at Camp Perry, Ohio since 1907.Many of the nation's best shooters will vie for top rifle-honors in the next couple of weeks. CMP Rifle matches are slated July 31-August 5. The High Power matches run from August 6-10. The Long-Range Matches are August 11-14. For more info, visit the Camp Perry Website. Unfortunately, it appears that David Tubb will not be able to shoot this year because of serious complications from knee surgery. We wish David a speedy recovery and hope we'll see him on the firing line in 2007.

BRASS--Norma 6XC Brass has arrived: Brand Cole, of Superior Shooting Systems, reported that roughly 125,000 pieces of Norma-made 6XC brass is now in Texas, ready to ship. Back-orders are filling right now and SSS will be accepting new brass orders as of Monday, August 8, 2006. Brand added, "David (Tubb) wants everyone to know that the 6XC brass is harder than most Norma brass. This is not run of the mill stuff. David worked with Norma to produce a higher-performance case."

David posted today on our forum: "The employees are filling backorders as fast as they can (60,000 pieces went out today). The Norma brass is very uniform in all areas. It is priced at $0.49 each (compared to 6.5x47 at around $.60+). If you need some, call (806) 323-9488 at the beginning of next week to get your order filled." Regarding loaded ammo, David said "SSS will soon resume loading 6XC with the 115 DTAC, if there is any interest here (SSS has sold thousands to the Spec-Tac-LR Series buyers with "boy does it shoot" results). Norma is loading the 6XC in Europe and has already attained excellent results in 300m matches". David noted that in Norma's factory tests, the new brass withstood very high pressures (66,000 psi +) without loosening the primer pockets.

AR PLATFORM--Shilen offers Pre-fit AR15 barrels: We were chatting with Shilen Rifle's Wade Hull last week about twist rates for the new 6.5x47 cartridge. We both agreed it would be outstanding in an AR-10 platform. Wade then mentioned "you know we've brought out a line of 'drop-in' (pre-threaded and chambered) AR-15 barrels in a variety of calibers." This is great news for high-power, service rifle, and varmint rifle shooters. The pre-fit barrels come in two contours (service rifle or heavy varmint), and a choice of four chamberings: 17 Rem, .204 Ruger, .223 Rem Match, and .223 Wylde. (The .223 Wylde is a long-throat .223 Rem for the VLD bullets). Wade told us: "Using our pre-threaded blanks each barrel is assigned a bolt assembly and then chambered to the correct headspace for THAT bolt. Gas-block shanks are machined to +- .001 for proper fit. Each barrel is uniquely numbered to match with its corresponding numbered bolt and the barrel extension is installed. (Gas block and gas tube not included.) Customers can provide their bolt assembly for a discount or request that multiple barrels be head-spaced to one bolt assembly." Drop-in AR-15 Barrels cost $458. Shilen also offers barrel blanks, and AR15 barrels that are pre-threaded but need to be headspaced by a smith.

RELOADING--Digital "Hands-Free" Case Neck Micrometer: We look at a lot of new reloading gear. Rarely does a new product elicit a reaction of "Wow--now I NEED one of those." Well, when this Editor saw Sinclair's new digital case neck micrometer, I thought, "THAT will make the task of measuring case neck thickness way easier than those tools which seem to require three hands to operate." With Sinclair's latest piece of kit, just drop your brass onto the spindle (with ball tip) and read out the thickness. Rotate the brass to get readings at different points in the neck. Sinclair's Bob Blaine reports: "Here is something serious reloaders have been asking for--a digital version of the Sinclair Neck Micrometer tool. This will make it a lot easier for those of who have trouble reading the markings on a manual micrometer, or who want an ultra-stable, hands-free platform. Just because the tool is easier to read does not mean that features are lacking. The tool measures neck thickness to 0.0001" on all calibers from .17 all the way up to .50 BMG. The unit powers up (and zeros) at the touch of a button, and a large friction barrel makes it easy to adjust the contact pressure or "feel". You can change the measurements from SAE to Metrics by pushing the other button on the digital head, and the unit will shut down after five minutes of non-use. By rotating the friction barrel, the unit re-activates without losing the zero, data output, and absolute or relative measurements. The anvil, and Mic head are positioned so that the unit is very stable and comfortable to use, and you can tilt the display head to a position that is easy for you to see. The Sinclair Digital Neck Micrometer, item 09-900, comes with a hard case for the Mic head, two batteries (one a spare), and instructions." At $191.00, this is a pricey tool, but we think it is exceptionally well-designed.

CASE PREP--New 28° Chamfering Tool from Sinclair Intl: A basic "rocket-style" 45-degree chamfering tool, such as the Forster, actually does a pretty good job taking the sharp edge off case mouths, particularly if you use a little scotch-pad to smooth the edge of the cut. But if you want to smooth the entry of your bullets, a number of more expensive tools are available. K&M makes a depth-adjustable tool "high-angle" cutter which works quite well. However if you are not very careful it is easy to over-cut, slicing away too much brass and basically ruining your neck. Darrell Holland has offered a nice 28° chamfering tool for quite some time and we think it works very well. Sinclair has just introduced a new 28° chamferer similar to the Holland tool, with some additional features. The $25.95 Sinclair Chamfering Tool (14 degrees per side) will chamfer cases from .14 through .45 caliber. The cutter head/shaft segment, with a .250" diameter shank, can be purchased by itself for $16.95. This can be chucked in a drill or, with an adapter, it can be used with a power screwdriver when prepping large volumes of cases. One last thing to note--tools like this and the Holland chamferer are often described as VLD chamferers--that is really a misnomer, as bullets with long boat-tails actually seat easily with very minimal chamfering. In reality, these high-angle chamferers may be most valuable when preparing brass for flat-base bullets and bullets with pressure rings. Using a 28° chamferer can reduce the risk of cutting a jacket when using VLD bullets though--so long as you make a smooth cut.

TOOL TIME--Hot Digital Calipers Deal: This is a good, basic set of calipers at an extremely attractive price. We use a set of these Frankford Arsenal calipers from MidwayUSA, and they perform perfectly well for most measuring chores in the reloading room. Even if you have a high-end set of calibpers, these make a good second-set for range use. Through August 31, 2005, MidwayUSA has discounted these from $27.99 to just $19.99. Ask for product # 604242 or manufacturer # 672060.

INT'L COMPETITION--U.S. Teams Win Gold at Zagreb: This week, the 49th ISSF World Championship took place in Zagreb, Croatia. Americans Reya Kempley, Nicole Allaire, and Janet Raab took the gold medal in the World Championship 300 Meter Women's Prone match. The USA trio's combined score of 1776 is a new World Record (and quite fitting for an American team). Reya is a new Phoenix resident and shoots a custom 6BR smithed by her father. We plan to feature Reya and her rifle in an upcoming article. In rimfire competition, the American men's squad took first place in the 50m Prone Rifle team event. The three-man team was led by Spc. Michael McPhail of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit with a score of 597, followed by Naval Reservist Eric Uptagrafft, 595, and Olympic gold medalist Matt Emmons, 594. Click here for complete results.

VARMINT SPECIAL--Nosler Brass and Bullets: Lock, Stock & Barrel is currently offering a special on Nosler brass and bullets. Get $16.00 worth of free Ballistic Tip bullets when you purchase 100 pieces (two boxes) of Nosler brass. If you purchase two 50ct boxes of .223 Rem or 22/250 Nosler brass you get a free 100ct box of 50gr Nosler Ballistic Tips (.224 caliber, Nosler # 39522). You can't mix and match the brass, but must buy two boxes of brass for one particular caliber. The 22/250 brass and bullet combo costs $63.09, item NOS22250COMBO. For .223 Rem, the price is $48.60, item NOS223COMBO. Visit LockStock.com or call (800) 228-7985.

AccurateShooter.com Member MapBLOG Items Wanted: Can you share a smart reloading tip, or news of a great bargain on gear? Can you give us a report from a major match? Then contribute to our 6mmBR Blog. Just email your comment or news item to Mailbox@6mmBR.com. Please keep photos under 200kb in size.

July 13, 2006, BLOG

VARMINT COMPETITION--VHA Jamboree Kicks Off July 24: The VHA hosts the biggest Varmint Match in the world, July 24 - 28th, in Pierre, South Dakota. Hundreds of shooters will compete for $4900 worth of prizes. Whether you shoot a factory rifle or a custom, the Jamboree offers great competition, and great fun for the whole family, with cookouts and evening enter-tainment. There are five classes for the 2-Day Shoot-out: Stock, Modified, Limited (.224 or less) Open & Unlimited Open. Other events include a 3-Man Team Tournament, a 3-Gun Match, a .22 LR Match, and a Coyote Contest. For more info, go to VarmintHunter.org, or click this Jamboree Link.

BULLETS---Sierra Announces New 123gr MatchKing:
Good news for 6.5mm shooters. Sierra just released a 6.5mm 123-grain bullet, the latest bullet in its MatchKing line. Design is very similar to the 123gr Lapua Scenar, so expect a similar 0.54-0.55 Ballistic Coefficient. One major difference is that the new 123 SMK will have a shank diameter in the .2642-.2644 range. That's one-half thousandth fatter than the Lapua 123. In some barrels this could give the new Sierra bullet an accuracy edge over the Scenar. Sierra Tech Rep Rich Macholz told us: "The new MatchKing will be similar to the 123 from Nammo (Lapua), but it will have an American diameter and a Sierra jacket. Initially we're recommending an 8-twist, but a 9-twist might work, with enough velocity." Sierra will start shipping the bullets to vendors within a few days and they should be available by early August. MSRP is $33.61/100, stock #1727. Expect the going retail price to be around $24.00 per 100-bullet box, about one dollar less than 142gr MatchKings. This bullet should be ideal for the new 6.5x47 Lapua cartridge. Shank diameter will be about .0005" greater than the Lapua 123 Scenar, so the 123gr SMKs may perform better in some barrels.

LONG-RANGE BR--Joe 'Salt' Captures World Open Title, Baney Wins Heavy Gun: Over 140 shooters competed at Williamsport's World Open 1000-yard Championship July 7-8. Veteran shooter Joe Saltalamachia grabbed top honors, winning the Two-Gun Overall, AND the Light Gun Overall (with a 6.859/95.5 LG Agg). Joe campaigned a .308 Baer in both classes. Our own 1000-yard Editor, Jason Baney, shooting his 15.5-lb 6BR, took the Heavy Gun Overall Title, with a combined 8 points (4th in group and 4th in score). We will release a story on Jason's rifle in a few days. Gunsmith Mark King (who smithed Jason's 6BR) placed second in the Two-Gun Overall. And get this--Mark shot a 6mm Dasher in Heavy Gun! Rich DeSimone noted: "In looking over the list of equipment, I see 37 of 100 light guns were chambered in 6.5 x 284. In the top ten, four were of that chamber, a couple of Dashers (which did win), a 308 Baer, a 300 WSM etc. So, no longer are the 30 calibers dominating the long-range competition." CLICK Here for full match results (searchable by class, group, and score) and equipment lists.

COMPETITION--Vince's 7 WSM sets new UK record at 1000 yards: There are some great shooters on the other side of the pond. In June, AccurateShooter.com Forum Regular Vince Bottomley (VinceB), shooting a BAT-actioned 7mm WSM, posted a new United Kingdom 5-shot, 1000-yard record, of 2.670", beating his previous record of 2.866" set the month before. The photo shows Vince with his record-setting rifle and target. Vince tells us: "First time out, the ‘Seven’ rewarded me with an 8" group and a 10" Agg for my four groups. Unfortunately, I was unable to shoot it in the next competition as I was unable to get hold of any more Reloader 25 powder. I experimented with Vihtavuori 170 but just couldn’t get the velocity. Reloader 22 gave reasonable results and I was just about to resort to that when I managed by chance to get hold of a tub of RL 25 from Andy Bird, another shooting buddy. Sunday May 14th was a very cold day at Diggle, with a light headwind that had a tendency to ‘fishtail’. My first of the two morning groups was a promising 6", followed by a seven incher. On the afternoon detail, conditions were much the same and my third group was another seven. It was my fourth and final attempt of the day that broke Steve Dunn's previous 3.357" record with a 2.866" group, which I honestly couldn’t believe until I actually saw the target afterwards. It was a great feeling to beat a record that had stood for five years and I was hoping that mine would also stand for some time but, at the very next shoot in June it was broken again--but fortunately by me! The record now stands at 2.67 inches." We plan to do a feature on Vince's 7 WSM later this summer. In the meantime, you can read about it on Vince's Precision Rifle Webzine.

GREAT GEAR--Loh Hydraulic Front Rest: John Loh made this innovative product to help a fellow shooter with a disability. Reader John Adams reports: "I thought this custom front rest might be of interest to you. One of our Pala club shooters, had, some time ago, lost all his left fingers in a Baja racing accident. But he has full use of his thumb. So he and John Loh of JJ Industries came up with this special design. First John adapted a hydraulic windage controller (provided by the shooter) to a Loh rest. Then John put pinwheels on both the Vertical and Horizontal adjusting knobs so that the shooter could operate the rest completely just using his thumb." Hey, Mr. Loh--here's a thought--engineer a remote hydraulic system so F-Class shooters can adjust their front rests more easily without moving out of position.

INDUSTRY NEWS--Dakota Arms Files for Chapter 11: South Dakota rifle-maker Dakota Arms (parent of Nesika Actions) announced last week that it would seek Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. The Chapter 11 petition was filed July 6 with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minnesota. Dakota hopes to obtain additional financing and emerge from Chapter 11 in six to twelve months. Dakota Arms' president Charlie Kokesh declared: "We want to assure our customers, our dealers and our vendors that we are conducting business as usual. The sales team will continue to take orders and deposits. The manufacturing team will continue to produce the high-quality firearms that carry the Dakota name. We do not expect any disruption to customer service or quality control as a result of this filing. The rationale behind this filing is that Dakota Arms, one of America's leading manufacturers of quality firearms, will be able to continue to produce the world's most accurate and reliable rifles for hunters and sportsmen who appreciate the very best. In the meantime, there will be no loss of jobs in Sturgis, we will be honoring all customer deposits, and we will continue to make payments to all of our vendors, especially all of the businesses in the Black Hills."

RELOADING--Tuned Balance Beam Scales by Parker: Is your electronic scale giving you the blues? Does it drift with temperature or not hold accuracy tolerance? Scott Parker can modify balance beam scales to enhance sensitivity and more importantly, repeatability. Scott tells us: "You can literally count kernels with these scales--after tuning, the scales typically gain a half order of magnitude in sensitivity and a full order of magnitude in repeatability. Outside of a $250+ laboratory scale, a tuned beam scale is the most accurate and precise balance you can buy. I have tuned several 10-10s. They all have turned out very sensitive, consistent and hold linearity like a dream. The sensitivity after tuning is such that one kernel of powder registers a poise beam deflection. For repeatability, I remove the pan and replace it for the zero 10 times. The zero line and the poise beam balance line must coincide for each of those 10 tries. I then set the poises to read 250.0 grains. I remove and replace the pan 10 times with the calibration weight. For repeatability, the poise beam balance line must return to that same balance point ten times. I then adjust the poises back to zero and recheck the zero. A report is generated detailing the initial inspection of the balance, the corrective actions performed and any remaining concerns. I sell Ohaus type 10-10 and model 5-10 scales for $70.00 + shipping. I can also modify your existing 5-10 or 10-10 scales for $20.00 + shipping. Email me at VLD223@yahoo.com or call (661) 364-1199."

SKILLS TRAINING--NRA Gunsmithing Schools: NRA-approved gunsmithing courses are conducted at four locations across the country. There is still time to sign up for courses starting in late July and August. Classes offered at Trinidad State College in Colorado include Metal Finishing/Blueing, Stock Carving, and Handloading & Ballistics. Lassen Community College in Susanville, CA offers Law Enforcement Armorers' School Classes for AR15s, Long Guns, and Sniper Rifles, an M1/M1A Accurizing Seminar, plus courses in Knifemaking, Engraving, and Metallic Cartridge Reloading. Montgomery Community College in Troy, NC offers August classes in Welding for Gunsmiths, Knifemaking, plus High-Grade European and American Rifles. For more information, log on to the NRA Gunsmithing School site. College information offices and current summer schedules can be found at MidwayUSA's Gunsmithing School page. We know two people who completed Armorers' classes at Lassen CC. They reported the program was excellent. Photo courtesy MidwayUSA.com.

TECH TIP--Ultrasonic Case Cleaning Refined: Reader Fred Bohl reports: "Inspired by Jason Baney's article Ultrasonic Cartridge Case Cleaning Made Easy, I've been experimenting with ultrasonic cleaning. After some early successes, I've converted a couple more shooters here at the Twin City Rod & Gun Club into believers. Here's the preferred method we've developed from our experiments:

1. Remove primers from cases. 2. Place cases in parts basket. (Editor's Note: Jason prefers glass beakers to simplify clean-up when using a small machine). 3. Fill ultrasound unit to appropriate level with L & R Safety Ultrasonic Weapon Cleaning Solution Concentrate Non-Ammoniated diluted to 1 part concentrate to 15 parts distilled water (more than 1 to 15 does not seem to improve results and as little as 1 to 20 still works well). 4. Run unit for 10 minutes to de-gas the cleaner mix (this improves the results.) 5. Immerse loaded basket in ultrasonic unit being careful to fill cases full of solution. 6. Agitate for 6 to 10 minutes (depends on how many cases and how dirty they are). 7. Remove and rinse thoroughly (use gloves & distilled water). 8. Blow off excess water with compressed air (use gloves). 9. Allow to dry completely.

We found that the cleaning solution can be filtered through cloth and reused several times with little loss of effectiveness. Best results were on once-fired cases and when cleaned not too long after firing (after 30 days the primer residue seems more difficult to remove). The recommended solution above is very safe, nearly odor free, and does not seem to produce any detectable reaction with the case material when used in the above process. Cost is less than $4 per gallon at 1/15 mix ratio. If you want to re-use the solution, store the used solution for several days in a closed container to allow contaminants to settle out and then decant and filter through cloth before next use. By replacing the volume lost to decanting and filtering with fresh 1/15 mix, two test lots have been reused eight times with no detectable loss of efficacy."

VARMINT BARGAIN--Loaded 40gr .204 Ruger Ammo On Sale: This month, MidSouth Shooters' Supply offers Hornady-made loaded .204 Ruger ammo (with 40gr V-Max bullet) for just $11.03 per box of 20 cartridges. Hornady claims a muzzle velocity of 3900 fps. That gives it a flatter trajectory than a .223 Rem running 55-grainers. If you want to try a Ruger .204 but aren't set up to reload the round yet, here's your chance to stock up on good ammo at a discount. Ask for product number 003-83206.

AccurateShooter.com Member MapBLOG Items Wanted: Can you share a smart reloading tip, or news of a great bargain on gear? Can you give us a report from a major match? Then contribute to our 6mmBR Blog. Just email your comment or news item to Mailbox@6mmBR.com. Please keep photos under 200kb in size.

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