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BLOG: November 30, 2006

COMPETITION--New NBRSA 600-yard Target Unveiled: Perfect scores and high X-counts are going to be tougher to achieve with the new NBRSA 600-yard target. The previous NBRSA 600-yard target was 60% of the size of the 1000-yard target. The new NBRSA target is 40% of the size of the 1000-yard target. Scoring ring diameters on the new target are as follows: X = 1.2", 10 = 2.8", 9 = 5.2", and 8 = 7.6". The target paper itself is 17.5" wide by 22.5" high, but the "score-able" area is 17.5" x 17.5", with 5" extra below the blue line. Targets are available from Karl Huntstiger, wfo13@aol.com, 2901 E. Cortez Street, Phoenix, AZ 85068. Targets cost $25 per hundred (or $200 per 1000) plus about $15.00 shipping per hundred. Forum member ExPiper provided this photo of the new NBRSA 600-yard target (left) along with the current IBS 600-yard target (right). David Tooley reports that the IBS is finalizing a new IBS 600-yard target for 2007, which will also have tighter scoring rings and a smaller scoring field.

RELOADING--Norma Powders Now Available in U.S.A.: Well, it's been a very long wait, but most Norma powders will now be marketed in the American market again. Black Hills Shooters Supply in Rapid City, South Dakota is the new distributor for Norma powder and loaded ammo. Black Hills reports that many of the hard-to-find Norma propellants are in stock, including Norma 201, 202, 204 and MRP. Black Hills also has the new URP ("Universal Rifle Powder") which is similar in burn rate and density to Hodgdon's H4350. If you're shooting a 6XC, Rem 260, or 6-6.5x47 you may want to give this a try. Unfortunately, Norma 203B, a near-ideal powder for the 6BR with 100+ grain bullets, is NOT in stock and Black Hills does not expect to receive it until mid-2007. Black Hills is a wholesale distributor and does not sell powder directly to consumers. You'll need to get your local shop or favorite mail-order supplier to order from Black Hills, BHShooters.com, (800) 289-2506.

STOCKS--New Laminated Savage Stocks from SSS: Fred Moreo of Sharp Shooter Supply recently announced his new line-up of laminated stocks for Savage rifles. These are true "drop-in" products that come fully inletted and finish-sanded, with pillars already installed. All you need to do is apply a finish coat over the wood. (We do recommend a light skim-bedding job to enhance accuracy.) The $299.00 Long-Range Benchrest Stock (LRBR) shown in the picture is an MBR Tooley clone with a vertical pistol grip, 3/4"-wide rear flat, and a 3"-wide fore-end. The LRBR stock weighs approximately 5 pounds and comes equipped with a 1/2" Pachmayr recoil pad, standard. Sharp Shooter Supply also offers a laminated Varmint/Target (LVT) stock for $299.00. The LVT features a 2.5" beavertail fore-end (with a bit more angle) and is available with optional (extra-cost) accessory rail, adjustable cheek-piece, and butt-hook.

ARs and SPACEGUNS--White Oak Precision Buttplate: After our lead story on the Eliseo R5 Tubegun many readers enquired about the availability of a similar adjustable buttstock for AR15s and AR10s. Gary Eliseo offers his 4-way adjustable buttstock through Creedmoor Sports. Another great option is the White Oak Precision Adjustable Buttstock, created by John Holliger. This $425 unit is adjustable for: a) buttplate height; b) cast-off, 0-2"; c) length of pull, 9-16" (AR15 measured from trigger); d) buttplate yaw; e) camber; and f) cheekpiece height (using click-indexed wheel). The buffer tube and buttplate assembly are steel with a parkerized finish. The cheekpiece housing and buttplate hanger are anodized aluminum. White Oak Precision notes: "the cheekpiece does interfere with charging handle operation, so a carrier-mounted handle is highly recommended." The White Oak Buttplate is available for both the AR15 and AR10 in right-hand and left-hand models.

celestron digital spotting scope IS70OPTICS--New Digital Spotting Scopes Offer Image-Capture Capabilities: No, your high-end spotting scope isn't obsolete--yet. But new digitally-enabled spotting scopes offer a range of new features that can benefit the precision shooter and hunter. Being able to record (for posterity) targets and wind flags is a huge potential boon to shooting team coaches and match directors. Using the movie format, you could even record mirage and study that when analyzing the impact of your shots on target.

Celestron's new VistaPix IS70 Spotting Scope combines a spotting scope with a 3.1 megapixel digital camera. You can view targets and game at up to 22x and record digital images (and even movies) for playback on your PC or home television. Price is $479.95 including batteries, USB cable, software, and a 32-megabyte flash memory card.

kowa digital spotting scope td-1Not to be outdone, the new Kowa TD-1 is a serious high-end spotting scope with ED glass combined with a high-grade 3.14 megapixel camera. Max magnification is 30x. It offers true TTL (Through the Lens) viewing, plus auto-focus in both camera and spotting scope modes. You can view your subject through the spotting scope eyepiece or a built-in LCD display screen. Resolution is good enough that shooters should be able to record their groups on target at distances up to 400 yards. We haven't had a chance to test out this product yet, but the combination of a spotting scope with digital camera is very promising. Now if they just added a laser rangefinder, hunters would really have the ultimate do-it-all optic. The Kowa TD-1 retails for $1500.00. That puts it in the price range of premium spotting scopes such as the Leica and Zeiss, neither of which have digital recording capability. For more information, see the review on OpticsPlanet.net.

OPTICS TECHNOLOGY--Digital Scope with Remote Viewing Screen: In the not-too-distant future, big, heavy scopes just might become obsolete for benchrest shooters. Using a small light gathering unit with lens and CCD (image-sensing chip) from a digital camera, you could output video to a viewing screen on the bench. The compact lens/CCD unit could be rigidly mounted to the rifle, dispensing with the problems associated with internal or external adjustments. No more change in Point of Impact (POI) caused by mechanical drift. And the shooter no longer has to struggle to align his eye with a tiny exit pupil (which can be as small as 1.5mm in a conventional scope). Adjusting for windage and elevation could be handled by software--essentially the digital reticle would just relocate itself on the output screen. Sound far-fetched? Well the Israeli military has already adapted this technology to a firearm used by elite anti-terrorist troops. The gun, called the "Corner Shot", has an articulated front end allowing the shooter to engage targets while remaining behind cover. He aims by centering a cross-hair which appears on a remote, flip-out viewfinder. Click HERE to view a YouTube-hosted video showing the Israeli weapon in use, and Click HERE for an introduction to the technology.

Adapting this technology to Benchrest is simply a matter of increasing the magnification. This can be done with a combination of longer lenses and "digital zooming" software. With a tube just 8" in length and existing CCDs you could have up to 100X combined optical/digital zoom, with built-in image enhancement. "Come-ups" for various distances could also be pre-programmed into the software, allowing the shooter to "dial-in" a distance with the push of a button. Likewise, you could add/subtract windage without touching your scope. You could even have the reticle adjust for windage automatically based on input from linked, electronic wind-sensors.

NEW PRODUCTS--Borden releases new Remington Clone Actions: Borden Rifles has introduced two new hunting actions: the Alpine (Rem 700 short), and the Timberline (Rem 700 long). They are made in the Borden facility to benchrest standards, but with more diametrical clearance than premium Rimrock actions. A fluted bolt is standard and a Remington bolt handle is brazed to the fluted bolt body. Jim Borden tells us: "We wanted a less expensive action than the Rimrock action for those building 'economy' hunting rifles. These $850.00 actions are a good value for building hunting rifles compared to a 'trued' factory action."

Action bodies are made from pre-hardened 40 RC 15-5 PH Stainless Steel and the Bolt bodies are made from 4340 and 4142 that is hardened to 45 to 46 RC. Barrel tenon threads are 1 1/16 x 18 TPI. The bolts have Remington-style nose and utilize a Sako-style extractor to allow a low ejection angle. Jim notes: "We saw that two versions of the Alpine were needed. We have a standard Alpine version that has the same magazine well and loading port as a Remington 700 Short Action. A magnum version of this action has a 2.75"-long loading port and a magazine well that fits Wyatt-length Mag boxes for the Short Magnums. These actions have a direct copy of the Remington tang and fit nicely into stocks inletted for Remington 700 actions---no stock or action modifications required for the tang area, the bolt notch, the port or magazine well on the Standard Alpine Model. However, a small notch must be cut in the stock opposite the bolt handle to accommodate the bolt stop." Shipments of Alpine right-hand actions began October 30, 2006. Timberline right-hand actions will begin shipping week of December 1, 2006 while left-hand Alpine and Timberline actions will start shipping about December 15, 2006. Delivery time on new orders is about 12 to 16 weeks. Click HERE for more photos.

RELOADING--Free Bullets with Hornady Dies: Now through the end of December 2006, if you buy a set of Hornady New Dimension Dies, Hornady will kick in a free box of bullets. Not all bullets are available and you have to submit This REDEMPTION FORM to Hornady. The New Dimension Dies with Zip Spindle™ decapping rods are high quality, and have received positive reviews from many AccurateShooter.com Forum members. This editor uses New Dimension dies for most pistol calibers. Hornady also will provide multiple boxes of bullets to purchasers of Hornady Lock-N-Load™ Classic (single-stage) and AP progressive presses. Click here for more info on this special offer.

SHOOTERS' LIBRARY--New Shooting Resource from Nancy Tompkins: Nancy Tompkins has authored an excellent new book, "Prone and Long-Range Shooting". It is a must-read for serious Palma, F-Class, and Highpower shooters. The sections covering Mental & Physical training and Reading Wind & Mirage will benefit all precision shooters, regardless of discipline. Other topics include Shooting Fundamentals, International Competition, and Loading for Long Range.

Nancy Tompkins has been shooting competitively for over 33 years. She has won the National Long Range Championships four times, and is the only woman ever to win the National Highpower Championships. She has also won the prestigious Wimbledon Cup, and is a 5-time Leech Cup winner. Nancy has been on six Palma Teams (as both a shooter and a coach). Nancy's mentor is 6-time National Highpower Champion, Wimbleton Cup Winner, and 2005 World F-class Champion Middleton ('Mid') Tompkins, and she was able to draw on his considerable expertise in creating her new book. Hot off the press, the new book is available from Nancy's website, RifleShootingbyNancy.com, for $34.95 plus shipping. You can also order through Sinclair International. However, Nancy has signed copies of the book available to those who order directly from her website.

Monarch Nikon Scope saleBargain Bin--Hot Deals on Nikon Monarch Scopes: Midsouth Shooters Supply is running a great sale on Nikon optics through the end of December, 2006. If you're looking for a high-quality but economical 4-12x or 6.5-20X scope for that new varmint rifle, check it out. The Monarch 4x12x40mm Black Lustre Finish w/AO Nikoplex reticle is just $324.14, while the Monarch 6.5x20x44 Black Lustre Finish w/AO Nikoplex Reticle is just $399.63. Fine Cross-hair 6.5-20s are also available at slightly higher cost. Midsouth offers FREE ground shipping on all orders over $150.00.

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