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March 31, 2006 BLOG

INDUSTRY--Graf & Sons Is Now a Lapua Importer: Good news for fans of Lapua brass, bullets, and loaded ammo--Grafs.com is now an official direct importer for Lapua products. Graf's first container full of brass and ammo is leaving Finland shortly. Included in that container will be a large quantity of Lapua 6BR brass and Scenar bullets. And we're told that there's about a 70% chance that the container will include quantities of the new 6.5x47 Lapua cases. Graf's has pre-ordered 50,000 pieces of 6.5x47 Lapua and they hope it will be available by early May. You may want to place your orders soon.

OPTICS--Scope Click Value Specs vs. Reality: OK, you check the specs on your new scope and see it's calibrated for quarter-MOA clicks. One MOA is 1.047" inches at 100 yards, so you figure that's how far your point of impact (POI) will move with four clicks. Well, unfortunately, you may be wrong. You can't necessarily rely on what the manufacturer says. Production tolerances being what they are, you should test your scope to determine how much movement it actually delivers with each click of the turret. It may move a quarter-MOA, or maybe a quarter-inch, or maybe something else entirely. (Likewise scopes advertised as having 1/8-MOA clicks may deliver more or less than 1 actual MOA for 8 clicks.)

Reader Lindy explains how to check your clicks: "It's easy to check the scope optically, using an unloaded rifle. Take a 40" or longer carpenter's ruler, and put a very visible mark--like the center of an orange Shoot'N'C dot, at 37.7 inches. (On mine, I placed two dots side by side every 5 inches, so I could quickly count the dots.) Mount the ruler vertically (zero at top) exactly 100 yards away, carefully measured. A laser rangefinder may not be accurate enough--a series of careful measurements with a long steel tape is better.

Place the rifle in a good hold on sandbags or other rest. With your hundred-yard zero on the rifle, using max magnification, carefully aim your center crosshairs at the top of the ruler (zero end-point). Have an assistant crank on 36 (indicated) MOA (i.e. 144 clicks), being careful not to move the rifle. (You really do need a helper, it's very difficult to keep the rifle motionless if you crank the knobs yourself.) With each click, the reticle will move a bit down toward the bottom of the ruler. Note where the center crosshairs rest when your helper is done clicking. If the scope is accurately calibrated, it should be right at that 37.7 inch mark. If not, record where 144 clicks puts you on the ruler, to figure out what your actual click value is. (Repeat this several times as necessary, to get a "rock-solid", repeatable value.) You now know, for that scope, how much each click actually moves the reticle at 100 yards--and, of course, that will scale proportionally at longer distances. This optical method is better than shooting, because you don't have the uncertainly associated with determining a group center.

Using this method, I discovered that my Leupold 6.5-20X50 M1 has click values that are calibrated in what I called 'Shooter's MOA', rather than true MOA. That is to say, 4 clicks moved POI 1.000", rather than 1.047" (true MOA). That's about a 5% error, which is about 20 inches at 1000--quite enough to miss the target entirely.

I've tested bunches of scopes, and lots have click values which are significantly off what the manufacturer has advertised. If you only shoot using the same rifle, scope, and load, under the same conditions, then your log book will tell you everything you need to know. However, that doesn't apply to most shooters. They switch scopes between rifles, change locations to places with different environmental conditions, and, then, the weather changes. So, being able to factor the actual value of scope clicks is vitally important to most shooters. You can't really on printed specifications--each scope is different. Until you check your particular scope, you can't be sure how much it really moves with each click.

I've found the true click value varies not only by manufacturer, but by model and individual unit. My Leupold 3.5-10 M3LR was dead on. So was my U.S.O. SN-3 with an H25 reticle, but other SN-3s have been off, and so is my Leupold 6.5-20X50M1. So, check 'em all, is my policy. And there are other benefits to doing this testing: if you have a good 100-yard zero on your scope for your load, this procedure will also tell you if your scope has enough elevation to get to 1000 yards or longer distances. If the reticle stops moving before getting to your predicted come-up for a given distance, you're out of luck. And the ruler can also be used to check the spacing on a mil-dot reticle. Mils should be 3.6 inches apart at 100 yards."

SHOOTING TIPS--Rimfire Cross-Training:
To date, this website has focused almost exclusively on precision centerfire rifles. However, we hope to give more coverage to the rimfire game in the months ahead. This editor has personally found that training with an iron-sighted Harrington & Richardson m12 rimfire rifle helped with my 600-yard 6BR shooting. I was able to train at a range just 15 minutes from the house. By contrast it is an hour's drive to shoot centerfire rifle. Practicing with the rimfire is inexpensive and it gives you immediate (and dramatic) feedback if you slap the trigger or let the gun wobble. Reader JER agrees: "Smallbore is awesome fun, extremely challenging, and will pay dividends when shooting centerfire rifles from the same positions. Smallbore prone has allowed me to go from the low 180s to the low 190s at 600 with my AR over the course of the fall and winter. First because a smallbore rifle, with its longer barrel time, is brutally unforgiving of any errors in technique, second because I don't have to spend time reloading, third because I don't worry about burning up a $300 to $500 barrel, and fourth because it takes me half the time (and gas) to drive to my smallbore club than it does to my HighPower club."

RELOADING--Russian Primers Now Distributed by Wolf: Russian primers have been quite popular with long-range shooters. Some 6.5-284 and .308 Palma shooters have found that the Russian primers produce great accuracy with low ES and SD. Unfortunately PMC stopped distributing the primers and we've had no commercial source for a few months. That will soon change. Wolf Performance Ammunition will be importing the Russian primers, which should be available soon from Grafs.com. The primers can also be purchased directly from Wolfammo.com, (888) 757-WOLF (9653). Click Here to download Wolf's latest catalog.

GEAR REPORT--DeSimone Praises Digital Powder Dispenser: It seems like most folks who have purchased the RCBS Chargemaster Combo recently have been very happy with their purchase. The updated version features a larger-diameter dispensing tube, double-sided hinge on the dust-cover, and improved software with "auto-dispense" function. However, with some powders, the 2006-model Chargemasters are a bit slower than earlier versions. Still, the unit will be a big time-saver if you load a large number of rounds. Rich DeSimone gave us this report: "Just thought I would let you know that I bought the RCBS Charge Master Combo powder/scale dispenser. This coming from a guy who swore by his RCBS 10-10 balance-beam scale. Having had only one digital scale which I bought about ten or more years ago (what junk), I came to rely on the balance beam for my long-range reloading. The only thing with the balance beam is, trying to watch the pointer while slowly trickling a kernel at a time near the end. With "old eyes" it gets fatiguing. So, after pondering and reading the report on your site (many times), I bit the bullet. WOW, was I impressed! I now have a new favorite toy. I thought I was going to throw a 'shy' charge from my measure and just have the unit top it off to save time. Well, it is not worth the motion to do it. The dispenser is just so quick and accurate. I checked 20 charges in a row against my beam scale and every time the pointer stopped in the same position. As was mentioned in your review, changing powder in the reservoir is effortless. Another feature I like is the 'auto-dispense' feature--you can just set the pan on the scale and it automatically throws your listed charge; no button to push. After many years, I finally have eliminated the task I most hated in long-range reloading; charging cases!"

RELOADING--Using a 6BR die to Neck Size 6XC Cases: Credit German Salazar for this smart tip. 6XC dies tend to be pretty expensive. If you already have a 6BR neck-sizing die, you can use it to neck-size 6XC brass. Redding sells a set of three washers that raise the die in the press, part number 80901. If you buy two sets (about $6 ea. at Bruno's) and use both 0.125" spacers and one 0.135" spacer then you can neck size 6XC with your 6BR neck sie without messing with the lock ring setting. You can also use the same spacers to switch pistol dies (e.g. between .38 Special and .357 Magnum). Redding Accessories Page.

HOT DEAL--Tipton Best Gun Vise on Sale:
Midsouth Shooters Supply has the Tilton "Best Gun Vise" on sale for $84.99 item 094-181181. This is a great product for cleaning ARs, Shotguns, and other firearms that hinge in the middle. The polymer construction is nearly impervious to solvents, and the rubber-padded clamps are gentle on your rifle's finish. This is a very good deal, as other vendors sell the same product for $104.99, a full twenty dollars more. NOTE: if your rifle doesn't need to tilt during cleaning, a standard Tilton Gun Vice will suffice. MidwayUSA sells these for $39.99, item 607786.

TARGETS--"Orange Peel": If you like the Birchwood Casey "Shoot-N-C" targets, you'll love the new "Orange Peel" targets from Caldwell. These feature a black target shapes (circle and/or diamond) and a bright orange background. A hit on the black bullseyes or diamond produces a bright yellow-green ring around the hole. A shot landing on the orange border leaves a bright white ring. Either way, with a 20-25x scope you can easily spot hits at long ranges. These targets work great for 300-600 yard training.

Orange Peel targets come in a variety of sizes. For 500 and 600 yard precision work, we recommend the 12" version with a large center diamond and four circles. Use the diamond for sight-in and then shoot for groups on the four outer bulls. MidwayUSA has this target (item 419572, $12.89 per 12-pak) and other Orange Peel targets on sale through April 30, 2006.

SAVAGE SHOOTERS--Stocks from SSS: Many site visitors have asked about "drop-in" aftermarket stocks for Savages. Some Savage stocks advertised by vendors as "ready to go" actually require a great deal of finishing work. The stocks from Sharp Shooter Supply (SSS) are true "drop-ins"--finished, painted, and ready to install. (Depending on the vintage of your action, however, some slight fitting may be required.) Among Sharp Shooter's line of stocks, we like the $345.00 LR Bench Rest stock (Tooley MBR clone) for use with a front rest, and the $325.00 Super VarTac (SVT) for use with bipod or front sandbags. These stocks are stiff and strong. The first stage epoxy gel-coat surrounds hand-laid fiberglass and carbon graphite cloth, impregnated with epoxy resins. An internal aluminum skeleton with contoured pillars and recoil block are added for extra rigidity. Finished stocks are painted with solvent resistant textured paint and come fitted with a 1/2" Uncle Mike's recoil pad. You can also buy either stock for $60.00 less, filled and primed, with minor finishing work required.

SITE NEWS--Welcome to New Sponsors: We'd like to introduce three new site sponsors: Creedmoor Sports, Bruno Shooters Supply, and Montour County Rifles. Creedmoor caters to the Highpower, cross-the-course, and rimfire crowd. Creedmoor, managed by Camp Perry Champ Dennis DeMille, is the designated dealer for Tubb 2000 rifles, and Creedmoor offers great deals on spotting scopes, shooting coats and other accessories. Bruno Shooters Supply is run by Lester Bruno, one of the top short-range BR shooters in the country. You'll find Bruno's has ultra-competitive prices on brass, barrels, optics, and stocks. Bruno's keeps benchrest actions and barrels in inventory, so you don't have to wait months to get a BAT action or Krieger barrel. Montour County Rifles, run by Kevin Cram, is a precision gunsmithing operation in Danville, PA. Kevin, who also makes some exceptionally high-grade reloading tools, specializes in long-range hunting rifles and benchrest rigs, including ultra-long-range heavy guns.

EDITOR'S DESK--Thanks for the Donations Guys!: I want to thank Harvey A, John Adams, John B, Tim B, Michael D, Herman H, Mike Lucas, Michael (from MOG), Barry O, NorCalMikie, Alan W, Chuck W, Silverfox, WalkerTR, and all the others who provided substantial contributions to the site this month. As our traffic has increased, so have our bandwidth and hosting expenses. In addition, contributions help us to upgrade the equipment used to build the articles you read. We are saving funds now for a scanner, a digital video camera, and another hard drive. If you'd like to add to the equipment fund, you can make a secure donation by clicking on the "PayPal Donate" button below this BLOG.

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.

March 23, 2006 BLOG

CARTRIDGES--More Details on 6.5x47 Lapua Cartridge: Lapua provided more information on the new 6.5x47 case at the recent Nuremberg firearms show. As revealed at the NSSF Shot Show in Las Vegas, the case features a small flash-hole and small primer pocket. European free-rifle makers are already gearing up for the new cartridge which should test the dominance of the 6mm BR Norma in 300m competition. Lapua's tests showed best accuracy with the 108gr 6.5mm Scenar, but Lapua's data sheet also shows impressive 2887 fps velocities with the 123gr Scenar. We want to thank Lutz Möller for providing these photos. Click Here for factory ballistics data for the new cartridge. An extensive write-up on the 6.5x47 is found on Lutz's outstanding website. It is written in both German and English, but you can use Google's translation tools to read the German text. Lutz is also developing an ultra-high BC 6.5 mm bullet, shown below.

TACTICAL COMP-- Snipers' Hide Cup Results: Terry Cross continued his winning ways by taking top honors in the 2005 Snipers' Hide Cup. Terry shot a straight Rem .260 in this match rather than his favorite .260 AI, as he'd worn out his AI barrel in the recent NASC competition and he had a plain .260 barrel ready to go. David Tubb finished second shooting his SpecTacLR rifle (with S&B scope) chambered in David's own 6XC Cartridge. S.Sgt. Shannon Kay took third while GA Precision's George Gardner placed fourth shooting a .243 Win. George, shown in photo, also took the Shumway Award for best long-range performance at 800, 900, and 1000 yards. We will by featuring George and his .243 in an upcoming story. Jim Clark, Terry Cross's team-mate at NASC, rounded out the top five. Based on this year's results, it certainly looks like the .308 Win has been surpassed by smaller, lighter-recoiling cartridges. All of the five top shooters ran either 6.5 mms (Cross, Kay, Clark) or 6 mms (Tubb, Gardner). Click HERE for match photos and field report.

POINT-BLANK BR--Costa and Sinclair Win at Cactus Classic while Kriegers Dominate: The Cactus Classic, the first major group-shooting BR match of the year, drew 179 competitors from around the country. Gary Sinclair shot impressively at both 100 and 200 yards, winning the HV Grand Agg with a 0.2326. Ed Adams was second with a 0.2388. Larry Costa had a strong showing in LV to win with a 0.2216 Grand Agg, followed by Gary Ocock with 0.2431. Ocock also had the top score for Two-Gun combined (most impressive considering he was also running the match). While you may read about alternatives to the 6 PPC, the 6 PPC is still king of the hill. 38 out of the top 40 competitors shot a 6mm PPC, with only one 22 in the top 20 in both HV and LV classes. And Krieger sure is the hot barrel right now. HV winner Sinclair shot a Krieger as did 14 of the top 20 HV competitors, and 16 of the top 20 LV shooters. No wonder John Krieger tells us his company has been busy. Success breeds success. FYI, if you want one of those great Krieger barrels, Bruno Shooters Supply has both LV and HV 14-twist Kriegers in stock for $269.95, products KRIEG-6MM-LV and KRIEG-6MM-HV. Bruno also has Shilen barrels on sale for just $219.95, 28" or shorter.

SITE NEWS--Editor Endures Allegheny Sniper Challenge Match: Check out the current March, 2006 edition of Precision Shooting magazine. The cover story about the Allegheny Sniper Challenge (ASC) was penned by our own 1000-Yard Editor, Jason Baney. Shooting a well-traveled .308, Jason completed the weekend course with flying colors. ASC's format was a far cry from Jason's typical shooting from the bench. Shooters were challenged with difficult up- and down-angle shots, and targets placed at unknown distances. Jason tells us you really needed to know how to use your ranging reticle and you had to have rock-solid come-ups from 100 to 1000 yards. Jason writes: "A long, slow trip winding through the rolling mountains of West Virginia finally landed Larry Stine and myself in the venue for our first Sniper-type match, at beautiful Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. Now I have shot 1000-yard Benchrest and other long-range BR comps for several years, but this was my first Sniper-style hump-and-shoot match, and I was not really sure what the weekend-long match would hold. I had good dope to 1000 yards for my 308 and plenty of ammo, and luckily had learned how to use the mil-dot master and my NP-R2 reticle to calculate range about 24 hours before the match."
Photo by C. Mullen, aka "Doc", used by permission.

RELOADING--Wilson Now Offers 6mm Dasher Dies: L.E. Wilson of Washington announced that it is adding a full range of 6mm Dasher dies to its inventory. This is good news for fans of the 3000 fps Wildcat version of the 6BR. Richard Schatz, whose Dasher set a 1000-yard six-target World Record observed: "I see that Sinclair has the Wilson 6 Dasher dies listed in the 2006A catalog. I know of several shooters that have had Wilson make them a set of custom Dasher dies and have been very pleased with them. With Redding also making dies, I think the 6 Dasher has come of age." Wilson dies are available from Bruno Shooters Supply and Sinclair Int'l.

BALLISTICS--Lightweight, High-BC 6.5 mm Bullet from Germany: Lutz Möller revealed to us that Germany's KJG Munition is working on a super-slippery new 6.5 mm bullet for the 6.5x47 cartridge. Using optimal ballistic shapes permitted by a machined, solid bullet form, the 0.598 BC rivals that of bullets in the 140gr class. These projectiles also employ a drive band design. The ridges, milled into the solid bullet, allow higher velocities with less bullet distortion and less copper fouling. At 71 mm 6.5x47 Cartridge Length the first drive band sits .006" in in the throat. Lutz reports: "Our lightweight 6.5 mm KSG (Kupfersportgeschoss) bullet is 35 mm long, weighs 109 grains and delivers a BC of 0.598. The 6.5 mm KSG is designed to combine low recoil with great ballistics in a 1:8" twist (or faster) barrel. That is achieved by turning the bullets from copper. Turned bullets can be designed with much more aerodynamic shapes than can pressed (jacketed) bullets. For more info, plus more photos and diagrams, visit Lutz's fine website.

POSTAL MATCH--Smack the Smiley (Spring Version) Kicks Off: Here's a great way to have fun and test your marksmanship skills. Created by our own Jason Baney, the Smack the Smiley competition tests your skills when shooting from bipod, sandbag or rucksack rest at 100 yards. All shots are taken from the ground--no benches or platforms. Don't kid yourself--to score the maximum amount of points you need a super-accurate rifle. The smallest smiley is just ¼" in diameter and you need a "wipe-out" to earn max points. Rules require you start from a cold bore, and each official target must be purchased from Jason. Under his direction, Smack the Smiley has blossomed into a very popular match with a serious purpose. $1 from each target fee is donated to the "AmericanSnipers.org". This provides needed gear for US combat marksmen in action overseas. For more info and to order targets (at $3 each), log on to SmacktheSmiley.com.

BULLETS--Production of JLK Bullets Resumes: Jimmy Knox may have retired, but his high-performance bullet designs will once again be available for competitive shooters. The JLK line of projectiles is now produced by Swampworks Inc., which acquired Jimmy's dies and components. Swampworks' Owner, Steve "Swampy" Milholland, tells us: "Yes we are in production currently, though I'm building from a "zero" balance of inventory. In the buyout from Jimmy I didn't get any saleable stock. So far I've made up a small run of the .224 90s and am in the middle of a decent batch of .224 80s. Those are the two most popular bullets. Next in line will be the .308 210 grain and the 6.5 mm 140 grain. I expect I'll be busy the next 2-4 weeks getting these finished and on the shelf. If I have the time after that I'll work some on the less popular bullets. By the time I get the 6.5s done I may be out of the 22s again and will have to start back on them to keep up with demand. I do have a few orders on hand for the 6mm 105s and the 7mm 180s, but I'm going to need several more orders in the stack before I can justify interrupting the flow of the popular sizes to make any of these for a while." So, you JLK fans, better get your orders in, particularly if you need the .22-caliber bullets.

BENCHREST for SCORE--Shooter of the Year Shoots More, Cleans Less: In case you missed our "Great Debate" article about bore cleaning methods and intervals, one of the interesting points was that top short-range Benchrest for Score shooters are brushing less and shooting long intervals between cleaning. Score shooters are using a very different cleaning regimen than the 6 PPC shooters in group competition. We recently talked with Dean Breedan, 2005 Score Shooter of the Year. He confirmed that "less is more" when it comes to brushing and barrel cleaning. Dean uses Danzac-coated bullets and typically cleans after a full weekend of shooting--over 200 rounds. He uses BoreTech Eliminator as a solvent, normally using a number of wet patches without brushing. Then he'll use JB every 700-800 rounds. When he won the Bud Pryor Classic, he shot over 300 rounds before cleaning at the end of the weekend. His primary 30BR barrel now has over 8000 rounds through it and it's still winning. He also shoots a 6 PPC and has won group matches, using coated bullets, without cleaning the entire match. He has one 6 PPC barrel that held its accuracy for 5000 rounds. Does he think group shooters are cleaning too often and possibly reducing their barrel life? "Absolutely", Dean replied, "I was in the same rut for a long time, but now I've seen the light."

COMPETITION--Benchrest School in California, April 9: The San Gabriel Valley Benchrest Shooters Club will host a training clinic for short-range BR on April 9 at the Club range in Duarte, CA. The all-day clinic will have 16 instructors for 24 students. This is a chance to learn from top guns like Walter Berger, Lester Bruno, and recent Cactus Classic winner Gary Sinclair. Of the instructors, two are Hall of Fame shooters and another four have points for the Hall of Fame and every one of them are seasoned veterans. The seven available group seminars will cover Bullet Making & BR Facts, Rests & Rifle Cleaning, BR Loading, Match Strategy, Gunsmithing & Safety, Case Preparation, Wind Flags, Scopes, Rules, BR Rifles and more. Cost is just $35.00 for a full-day session. For more info, contact Stephen Perry, BR School Director, (909) 949-9921, Stevmari@adelphia.net. While it's best if you can bring your own rifle, a couple instructors plan to bring "loaner" rifles for those completely new to short-range benchrest. Bring some primers and Vihtavuori N-133 powder though.

NEW PRODUCT--Sandbaggers Flat Sandbags: We saw this product at the Angeles Range recently and we really liked the design. Unlike conventional sandbags, Sandbaggers lie flat and can be stacked easily. The covering is very tightly woven so even fine sand won't leak around the seams. The built-in handles make it easy to carry Sandbaggers, or you can even use the straps as a tie-down point. Overall, this is a smart design, very well-executed. Sandbaggers come in Tan or Camo colors and cost $16.00. You can order Sandbaggers from Bruce Krell of Shooters-Edge.com. (Click "Online Store".)

MEMBER MAP--Easier Navigation for Shooting Ranges: Frappr.com recently upgraded its software to segregate "Member" listings from "Place" listings. This will make it much easier to locate Shooting Ranges on the map. Using the new software, we ask our readers to add their local ranges to the map. It's easy once you've registered on the main map page, Frappr.com/AccurateShooters. At the right of the page you'll see "Add Place". There enter basic information on the range, including web page if available. You can even upload a range photo or directional map. Once your range is mapped, map users can zoom in to see the roads leading to the range, and even switch to aerial photos to see the terrain.

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.

March 8, 2006 BLOG

BRASS--Bruno's Supply and GunStop have Lapua 6mm BR Brass: Better grab it while you can guys. We never know when the next shipment of Lapua 6BR brass will arrive, and this stuff is more popular than ever. Bruno Shooters Supply is selling the brass for $43.00 per 100 cases. Reader Preacher reported: "Just to let you know I just bought 500 6br Lapua cases from Gunstop (1-800-645-7644) for $209.00 @ 500 pieces. He just got them in and it's a very good price." Sinclair International sold out of the Lapua 6BR brass it received yesterday. You might also check with Grafs.com. Graf's should be receiving brass today or tomorrow. FYI Amy at Bruno's notes they have tons of 220 Russian brass (33,000 pieces), but the Lapua 6.5-284 brass is almost gone. If you need 6.5-284, you should order now as Amy doesn't expect to receive any more until summertime.

RANGE REPORT--A Tale of Two Chronos: Take this to the bank--an Oehler gives good results in bright sun conditions that will choke a Shooting Chrony. This Sunday we were testing some varmint loads at the Angeles Shooting Range. We normally try to do this early in the morning when there are overcast skies. With some cloud cover, our Shooting Chrony Beta Master performs decently. However, with direct, bright overhead sunlight at 11:30 am it was not happy. It delivered, in sequence, 3333, 3305, 3201, 2633, 2641, and 2630 for six shots. Since I'd weighed every charge to the tenth of a grain I knew something was wrong. Luckily, reader BOLO was three benches down and he had his Oehler set up. He kindly let me shoot some rounds over his model 35p. Once we got the barrel properly aligned with the sensors, the Oehler performed like a champ. The Oehler's printer tape showed an average velocity of 3242 fps, with ES of 13 and SD of 6. The proof channel numbers were consistent, each being 3 or 4 fps slower than the primary channel.

Factory Ammo Velocity: Confident in the performance of the Oehler I broke out a box of Lapua factory-loaded 105gr ammo. Using my Shooting Chrony, I had previously recorded velocities of 2832 fps average with this stuff. Firing five shots over the Oehler, we got an average of 2780 fps, with ES of 35 fps and SD of 14. So, the average velocity with the Oehler was 52 fps slower than with the Shooting Chrony. Our experience confirms that chrono results can vary by as much as 60 fps from unit to unit, even with the same make and model of chronograph. Keep this in mind when testing.

COMPETITION--Stu Harvey Sets New NBRSA 600-Yard Records: Stu Harvey is one of the best gunsmiths in California, and on February 26th he proved he's one of the best 600-yard shooters in the nation as well. Shooting a standard 6BR at the Sacramento Valley Shooting Center's 600-yard match, Stu set two new Light Gun records with new 95gr boat-tail bullets he made himself on Niemi dies. Stu's new 5-shot record group was 1.153", and his 3-target record Agg was 1.925". (Last year Stu also set an NBRSA 600-yard, 6-target Agg record of 2.7525".) Stu's record-setting rifle features a BAT action, Terry Leonard stock, and 30", 4-groove, .236"-bore Krieger barrel. He used a stout load of Varget and CCI BR4 primers. Congrats Stu! We plan to interview Stu and feature a couple of his benchrest rifles in an upcoming Gun of the Week article. Lynn added: "I tried buying [Stu] out of bullets but Match Director Ed Eckhoff, (last seen writing a check to Stu), said they were all sold out." Stu also has a 105gr version of his bullet that he prefers to use at longer distances with his "Super BR", medium-sized wildcat. The gun in the photo is Stu's 6PPC with Leonard stock.

Jason Gets his New 6BR--And it Hammers: 1000-yard Editor Jason Baney got his new 6BR to the range on 3/4. It has a Richard's "Low-Rider" stock, Stiller Diamondback action, and Broughton 5C 28" Barrel. Tests with Lapua 105gr Scenars .020" jammed and 2002-era Varget were very promising. On 3/11 he ran a higher ladder. At 100 yards he shot a number of groups in the ones. And at 300 yards he had one 5-shot group that gave just 1/4" of vertical.

The break-in routine was completed with Slip2000 Carbon Killer and Wipe-Out only, without using brushes. Jason loaded up a series of Varget charges all the way up to 30.9 grains. We thought he would hit max at 30.8 or so. But, either Jason has a very slow lot of Varget, or this 5C barrel can handle more powder. The brass showed no pressure signs, and Jason will next be running another ladder with more powder. He'll also shoot the more promising groups at 200 yards. Jason said he saw quite a bit of loose carbon in the barrel, but zero copper. The Broughton canted-land barrel just didn't copper foul at all.

As you can see from his 100-yard target with 3-shot groups, virtually all the test loads, from 29.5 to 30.9 Varget, cloverleafed with quite a few groups in the Ones. His average 3-shot group size, for everything, was under 1/4". And this is with no tuning. Just before dark, Jason also shot the 105gr Lapua factory ammo at 250 yards and it grouped really well, with about 1/2" of vertical. Results were good enough with the factory ammo that Jason may use it in his next match. The factory ammo velocities seemed much lower than expected, but the chrono may need to be re-calibrated. Jason noted that he'll need to use a slightly shorter rear bag with this low-rider stock, as he's getting some bag contact on the over-hanging section in the rear by the buttpad. But otherwise he said the stock performed beautifully, tracking straight and returning right to battery almost by itself.

TOOL TIP--Poor Man's Headspace Gauge:
Here is a simple, low-cost way to get reliable readings of case headspace when you "bump" the shoulder back on your 6BR, .243, or .308 Win brass. Credit Boyd Allen for this tip. First, you'll need one .45acp case, with primer removed. Make sure the .45acp case is trimmed square and that it is round. We recommend you first run it through an expander, then size it, trim it and chamfer. Next, take the .45acp case and slip it over the neck of a fired, unsized case with the primer removed. Align the two cases between the jaws of your calipers and note the length from rim to rim (Top Photo, striped case).

OK, now you have the length for a fired case. Next, take a sized case (without primer) and do the same thing, placing the .45acp over the neck of the FL-sized case (Bottom Photo). The difference between the two numbers is the amount of "bump" or set-back you are applying to the shoulder. Here the difference is .0015". The amount of bump you need varies with your chamber and your load, but .0015-.002" is a good initial setting. By using this simple tool, you can avoid bumping the shoulder too much. This will also help you set-up the depth of your full-length die to get the proper amount of bump each time.

GEAR BARGAIN--Burris 1" Signature Zee Rings on Sale: From now through March 31, 2006, MidwayUSA is selling the 1" Signature Zee (Weaver-Style) Rings for just $24.99 (Matte High version, product # 612622). We use Burris Signature Rings on our test rifles. Self-aligning, Signature Rings hold your scope firmly within leaving marks. No lapping is required, and with the Offset Insert Kit, product # 712472, can add up to 20 MOA of elevation, saving you the cost of expensive tapered scope rails. You can also "pre-center" your windage with the inserts.

BENCHREST--6.5 Grendel Demonstrates Accuracy Potential: Grendel Guru Arne Brennan of Competition Shooting Sports recently nailed a 1.198" group at 660 yards using Lapua 108gr bullets and 6.5 Grendel brass right out of the box. We've heard good things about the 108gr Scenar, and this demonstrates how accurate it, and the 6.5 Grendel cartridge, can be. Arne reports: "Here's a picture of a 1.198" 5-shot group shot at 660 yards at American Shooting Center in Houston. It was witnessed by two people who signed the target. No Competition--just out for a day of fun shooting F-Class style off the ground. The load was 6.5mm Lapua 108gr Scenar, N133, CCI 450 primer in new Grendel brass. The gun featured a Scoville Benchrest stock, 26", 8.5-twist Krieger barrel, Nesika C Action, and Nightforce 12-42x56 Benchrest Scope." Nice shooting Arne--your 6.5 Grendel sure looks promising.

SPOTTING SCOPES--Budget Celestrons Earn Praise:
In previous AccurateShooter.com spotting scope evaluations, we've concentrated on the higher-end products from Leica, Pentax, Swarovski, and Zeiss. Many readers have expressed an interest in entry-level spotting scopes that would be "good enough" for Highpower matches and resolving bullet holes at 100-300m. Recent purchasers of the new Celestron spotting scopes, priced under $250.00, have returned quite positive reviews. One owner wrote: "I have the U80 and use it for High power, works like a charm and at 600, I can see the spotters just fine. Damn good scope and worth the money." The Celestron Ultima 80, Angled Body, with 20-60x zoom eyepiece, has a street price (Telescopes.com) of about $189.00. The larger Celestron Ultima 100, with 22-66x zoom eyepiece, costs under $260.00 at most vendors.

OPTICS--Leupold Cuts Off Warranty Service for Premier-modified Scopes: Leupold & Stevens issued the following official statement recently: "Due to changing business models for both Premier Reticles and Leupold & Stevens, our two companies have decided to implement the following changes: Effective April 1, 2006, Premier will no longer be performing Power Boosts or Front Focal conversions to any Leupold products. Additionally, Leupold will no longer be able to extend product warranty service to any product modified or altered in any way by an aftermarket provider. However, Leupold and Premier will continue to jointly warranty scopes modified pre-April 1, 2006 consistent with historic protocols." We think this is a bit unfortunate, but that's the way of the world. Previously, Premier Reticles had announced that they will no longer boost Leupold scopes. To get a scope boosted or reticle modified, check out the next BLOG item.

OPTICS--Scope Boosting in the Post-Premier Era: Now that Premier Reticles no longer boosts Leupold Scopes, many people have asked where they can turn for a scope boost. Three shops still boost various scopes, but this may be limited. For example, Optical Services only boosts fixed-power scopes. You'll need to call and ask about your particular model.

Vendors Offering Scope Boosting and/or Reticle Modifications
Bill Ackerman
Optical Services Co.
(505) 589-3833
Wally Seibert
22720 S.E.56th.St.
Issaquah, WA 98029
(425) 392-3567
Cecil Tucker
1567 North Jude Ave.
Odessa, TX 79763
(432) 530-2919
Reticle Swaps. Boost on fixed-power scopes only. Call for model availability.Reticle Swaps and boosting on certain scopes. Call for model availability.Reticle Swaps and Tucker spring modification.

PROJECT GUNS--How to Get a Rem SS Receiver for $245.00 Net: One of our regular readers, Greg Wilson (Caduceus), was looking for a Remington 700 short action receiver for a MAK Enterprises tube gun project. Greg had read suggestions about buying a new rifle and parting it out so he decided to try it for himself. Greg reports: "I didn’t really want to mess around with a second-hand action of uncertain origin and serviceability. The absolute cheapest new rifle I could find was a blued ADL at Wal-Mart for $339 plus tax. However, I had a preference for a stainless steel action for this project so this meant moving up in price from the bargain basement model and Wal-Mart didn’t have what I was looking for. Although the initial outlay for the stainless rifle would be considerably more, I fully expected the components to attract a premium over the blued-ADL parts when I resold them later. In the end, I bought a stainless steel SPS model in 243 Win from a local dealer for $540 including tax. I was pleased with the action and the matte, bead-blasted finish looks like it will work well for a glue-in job in the MAK aluminum sleeve.

As soon as I had the Stainless Rem in hand, I broke the rifle down and photographed the unwanted parts for a series of eBay auctions. Two weeks later, I completed the last of four eBay auctions for the unwanted components and was able to analyze the numbers. I believe that my theory of attracting a premium price for stainless-SPS/BDL components was realized. The 243 Win barrel and recoil lug sold for $105. The floor-plate and magazine assembly sold for $78. The stock sold for $62. The trigger sold for $50. The bottom line--I now have a brand new stainless steel Remington 700 action which cost me $245 and a small amount of time and effort. All things considered, the exercise was worthwhile and overall, I think I did quite well. If you are thinking about doing this yourself and you are half competent at using e-bay and own a barrel vise and action wrench, I highly recommend it an affordable way to get a brand new action." Greg's tube gun is being built as a high-power cross-course repeater. It will be chambered in 6mm BR.

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