Several Midsouth Shooters Supply customers have asked for explanations of minute of angle and the measurement term “milliradian” (mil) and how to use a mil-dot scope to measure the distance to your target at the range and in the field. In the accompanying two videos, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Ryan Cleckner explains both concepts and how to put them to best use.
Looking for more long range shooting instruction? Cleckner’s book, Long Range Shooting Handbook, is the complete beginner’s guide to long-range shooting written in simple every-day language so that it’s easy to follow. Included are personal tips and best advice from his years of special operations sniper schooling and experience, and as a sniper instructor. If you are an experienced shooter, this guide will help you brush up on the principles and theory of long-range shooting.
Prior to the 2016 SHOT Show, I was shipped Springfield Armory’s SOCOM 16 Model AA9611PK rifle. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I am a fan of the M1A platform. My only complaints are the fixed stock and heavy weight. The new AA9611PK not only addresses these issues, it does it in a way we modern shooters expect. We expect to be able to customize our rifles with aftermarket parts. We expect a variety of sight and optic choices. We expect a lot, and the new SOCOM 16 delivers.
Old-school M14 dudes might wince at the non-traditional pistol-grip stock. It is an Archangel chassis that not only trims the weight of the SOCOM, it also trims the overall length. The exterior is flat-black polymer. At the shoulder end is a five-position adjustable CQB buttstock. Part of the issue with the M1A was the fixed stock.
For some shooters kitted up with gear or wearing heavy clothing, the rifle was difficult to fire comfortably. The adjustable stock not only alleviates that situation, it also fits the rifle to a variety of shooter statures. It also features a rubber buttpad and a cheek riser. The cheek riser helps get a solid cheekweld on the stock, which is important for long-range shooting, and you will soon see what the platform is capable of out to 100 yards.
If you want to swap out the stock, you can choose any other aftermarket AR stock. The rear of the chassis is built like a buffer tube. There is no denying that the pistol grip is atypical, and no doubt it is comfortable to shoot. The Archangel pistol grip flares out at the bottom and is serrated on the front and rear straps for plenty of hold when the SOCOM starts barking. It also has a storage compartment for batteries and small tools.
The stock will take any aftermarket AK grip—another plus for shooters who like to customize their gear. The stock has three Picatinny rails attached, two three-slot rails on either side of the forend and one seven-slot on the bottom. Want to add vertical grips, a tactical light, or laser? The new SOCOM can. The magazine well is also a gaping mouth ready to suck in magazines. It ships with a 10-round magazine but is compatible with five- and 20-round mags.
The iron sights on the SOCOM 16 have always been top-notch, adjustable, enlarged military aperture with front tritium. It has a forward rail to mount a magnified, long-eye-relief, scout-style scope. This SOCOM 16 also has a Vortex Venom red dot reflex sight that uses a Springfield Armory clip guide mount, which places the red dot at the perfect height and distance while not interfering when the rotary bolt ejects empty brass. At 25 yards offhand, the red dot was fast and accurate. The perforated muzzlebrake tamed the recoil and muzzle rise. I easily smashed a few magazines of clay pigeons like I had been shooting the rifle for years. Distance, though, is the key.
With an assortment of .308 Winchester cartridges—Hornady Steel Match 155-grain BTHP, Black Hills Gold 168-grain A-MAX and Hornady Match 178-grain BTHP—I put the SOCOM 16 through its paces using a rest. Though aiming a red dot at 100 yards is not exactly precision shooting, at 50 yards and under the 3-MOA dot offers fast, accurate shooting. At 100 yards, the dot is large. I assumed at 100 yards I’d experience different results. The 3 MOA placed on an 8-inch target provided a nice sight picture, a red center with a black donut outside edge.
The Hornady Steel Match 155-grain BTHPs delivered 2,400 fps and shot 1.5-inch groups (three shots) at 100 yards. Black Hills Gold 168-grain A-MAX rounds produced 2,440 fps and 2.25-inch average groups at 100 yards. Hornady Match 178-grain BTHPs hit 2,390 fps at the muzzle and shot 2.5-inch average groups at the test distance.
With the rifle adjusted to me, it all came down to trigger work. The SOCOM 16 has a two-stage military trigger. After taking up the light first stage, the second stage proved to be nice with about a 5½-pound pull weight. The rifle was comfortable to shoot. Nice.
The new SOCOM 16 offers an out-of-the-box rifle ready for defense work or hunting. I can’t think of a better round and setup for feral pigs, deer, or black bears. The adjustable stock means it’s easier and more convenient to take in and out of a vehicle and store. The sight package is a nice setup. The SOCOM 16 adapts to how you want to shoot and the situation you are in and does it with a level of modularity and customization not seen previously in the M1A platform.
Robert Sadowski has written about firearms and hunting for nearly 15 years. He is the author of four gun books, editor of three others and is a contributor to numerous gun-enthusiast magazines, including Combat Handguns, Black Guns, Tactical Weapons for Military and Police, Gun Tests, Personal and Home Defense, Gun Hunter, SHOT Business, and others. He has a personal affinity for large-caliber revolvers and the AR platform.
John T. Thompson first began researching a portable hand-held automatic weapon in 1915, with the firearm later being known as the “Chicago Typewriter” because of its staccato sounds of report. Now, Auto Ordnance is producing a commemorative 100th Anniversary matched set edition of the Thompson 1927A-1 rifle and matching 1911A1 pistol.
“We are proud to honor the name and the legacy of General John T. Thompson with this special 100th Anniversary matched set,” said Frank Harris, VP of Sales and Marketing, Kahr Firearms Group. “There is a rich historical past attached to the Tommy Gun, and we feel General Thompson would be proud to see that what started as a research project in 1915 has served the military, law enforcement and shooting enthusiasts around the world so prominently for over 100 years.”
The limited edition Thompson 1927A-1 Deluxe Carbine is offered in .45 ACP and comes with one 20-round stick magazine. It features a 16.5-inch finned barrel (18 inches with compensator) and is prominently engraved with the classic Thompson logo, limited edition numbers, and displays the words “100th Anniversary” on the matte-black steel frame. The gun weighs 13 pounds and has an overall length of 41 inches. Other features include a pinned-in front blade and an open rear adjustable sight. The stock is fixed, has a vertical foregrip, and is made from American Walnut.
As a matched set, the limited edition series also comes with the Thompson 1911A1 GI Specs pistol likewise chambered in .45 ACP, with a 5-inch barrel and a matte-black steel frame. Overall length is 8.5 inches, and it weighs just 39 oz. The low-profile front and rear iron sights are set in dovetail cuts. The pistol is shipped with one 7-round magazine. Just like the Thompson 1927A-1, it too is engraved with the iconic Thompson logo, the words 100th Anniversary, and lists the limited edition numbers on the frame. Both guns must be purchased as a set and the MSRP is $1,971. The guns are shipped together in a polymer hard case with the yellow Thompson Bullet logo and the words “Chicago Typewriter” in white stamped on the black case cover.
The story behind the guns: John T. Thompson was born in Newport, Kentucky on December 31, 1860. His father, a graduate of West Point, served as Lt. Colonel during the civil war and, John, following in his father’s footsteps, also graduated from West Point and served in the Army. It was while he was in the Army that Thompson went to engineering and artillery schools and began researching small arms. He was later assigned to the Army Ordnance Department in 1890 as a 2nd Lieutenant and was responsible for arming and dispersing of weapons during the Spanish-American war.
During WWI, before the U.S. became involved, Thompson saw the need to assist the allies with better artillery, so he retired from the Army to develop a fully automatic weapon. By 1916, while employed as chief engineer at Remington Arms, he created a gun that could be used to clear enemy trenches, nicknamed the “Trench Broom” and this was the beginning of the Thompson submachine gun.
When the U.S. entered WWI in 1917, Thompson re-enlisted into the Army and was promoted to brigadier general. Once the war was over, Thompson continued to perfect the Tommy Gun, and by 1920 it was patented.
Once the war was over, there was little demand for military arms, so Thompson began marketing the Tommy Gun to law-enforcement agencies and also to the general public. Historically, it also became infamous as the weapon of choice for gangsters, including John Dillinger, Al Capone, and Baby Face Nelson.
Thompson died in 1940 at age 79 and was honored with a burial on the grounds of the United States Military Academy at West Point. Less than two years after his death, WWII broke out and the U.S. Army ordered significant quantities of the Thompson submachine guns.
For the handloader, it’s a great feeling to pop the flaps open on a new box of cases. New, shiny cases are a treat. However, new cases are not ready to load out of the box, and a look over them shows why — most will have noticeably dinged and dented case mouths. Here are a few tips on getting new brass ready to load:
Check Them All for Flash Holes
An easy flaw to watch for is a case without a flash hole. This is rare indeed, but I’ve seen one, and a few of my high-volume pistol-shooting friends have encountered more. Flash holes are almost always punched, but tooling isn’t perfect, or it breaks and goes unnoticed. I actually look at all of them just to get it off my mind.
Don’t Seat a Bullet to Size Case Necks
At the least run all the cases through a die that will size the outside and inside of the case necks. I just use my normal-duty sizing die. That way, I’ve also set case-neck dimensions to what I decided on; that means performance results consistent to my later loadings on these cases. There is not, or sure should not be, any worry about setting the case shoulder back to a shorter dimension than the new case has, if (and only if) the sizing die was adjusted in accordance with the concepts and process I outlined in the past articles.
Chamfer the Inside of the Case Mouth
After sizing, the next required step is to put a chamfer on the inside of the case mouth. The outside won’t need chamfering, unless you’ve decided to trim the cases.
I trim all my new cases, even though it’s not really necessary. For me, it’s more about squaring the case mouth than about shortening length. They’ll be plenty short enough. Just as I use the sizing die, I trim to the usual setting on my case trimmer that I have for used cases.
By the way, this is a simple way to set trim-to length on a case trimmer: Adjust the cutter head inward until it just touches the case mouth all the way around. That will be suitable from there on. Trimming, however, is purely optional.
Now the cases are ready to load. But there’s more you can do to get top results.
Do Any Other Case-Prep Steps
Any additional case prep steps are best done right now when new brass is at its softest. Especially if you want to outside-turn case necks, new brass is notably easier to work with. The exception is that I wait until after the first firing to do any primer-pocket uniforming. New primer pockets are snug.
Speaking of that first firing… This is important. “Fire-forming” is a term usually associated with describing changing a cartridge from its parent or original state into another state, which is a non-standard cartridge, when it’s first-fired in the non-standard chamber. Like making an Ackley-Improved version of a standard cartridge, or converting a .250 Savage into a 6XC. In other words, the firing itself expands and reforms the case to the shape of the new chamber. But! All cases are fire-formed to the chamber they’re fired in. That’s a lot of what I’ve been addressing in the past few articles.
Segregate Special Brass
I segregate my brass for my tournament rounds, and I do that when it’s new. Criteria and means are another article, but the reason I mention that now is because I select my “600-yard” cases, “300-yard,” and “200-yard” cases at the beginning, looking for the best, better, and good cases, respectively, for the three distances.
I need to know which are which before I make the initial loading because brass has a memory. More technically, it’s a “shape-memory effect,” a property that is shared by some other alloys also. It expands and contracts in a consistent pattern during each use.
Do not first-fire cases using a lighter (less pressure) load unless you intend to continue to use that load. Fire-forming with a lighter load and then using a nearer-to-max load in that same case will result in premature failures in that case. It doesn’t seem to matter much going the other direction, but, for instance, I would never charge up my 600-yard load in a case formed using my 200-yard load; there are significant pressure differences in those two.
And don’t forget to get dimensional checks and records on your new cases!
Burris Optics has released a set of ballistic tools to use with its riflescopes, including free software, cartridge and bullet libraries to match to Burris reticles, elements to build a dope card, help in programming an Eliminator LaserScope, and the ability to order custom elevation and windage knobs.
Vice President of Sales and Product Development Patrick Beckett said, “We are a company full of hunters and shooters, and we built these tools knowing we would want to use them ourselves. We believe our passion for the shooting sports and our riflescope and ballistics expertise have created a set of tools that will help anyone become a better, more confident shooter.”
The centerpiece of the roll-out are bullet libraries that contain nearly 7,000 cartridges and bullets from every major ammunition and bullet manufacturer. Rimfire, centerfire, muzzleloader and shotgun shells are included, as well as G1 and G7 profiles (where available) for precise accuracy. Other specific elements include:
This tool allows a user to select ammunition and define exact environmental shooting conditions, such as altitude, humidity, wind speed, and more to deliver accurate aiming solutions for a Burris reticle at any distance. The results are customizable and printable.
The Burris Eliminator LaserScope can range a target, calculate holdover, and provide a wind value to help you estimate the correct wind hold-off, all based on the exact ammunition you choose. The Eliminator Programming Tool helps you determine the correct Drop Number and Ballistic Coefficient, and lets you fine-tune your results by adjusting for your actual shooting conditions.
The 2016 NRA National Matches in Camp Perry, Ohio are right around the corner, and the NRA needs your help! They’re looking for Range and Pit officers to assist the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio. No experience necessary! They’ll train you. Contracted range and pit officers receive free housing. Application deadline to become a volunteer is June 13, 2016. Click Here to fill out your application!
As an added bonus, just send/email a copy of your confirmation as a volunteer from the NRA to us here at Midsouth Shooters, and we’ll send you an ambassador packet containing a Midsouth Shooters Hat, 6 Midsouth Moral Patches (3 PVC, 3 Embroidered), and 10 Midsouth Shooters Decals for you to hand out at the matches to some of your favorite competitors.
We appreciate your time, and the NRA is grateful for your consideration!
History of the National Matches:
The National Matches were first held in 1903, moved to Camp Perry, Ohio, in 1907 and continue to take place every summer at Camp Perry. The National Matches have become a huge, national shooting sports festival with well over 6,000 annual participants. School students and competition event shooters range from beginners to many of the world’s best.
More Info on the Matches:
The National Matches include Small Arms Firing Schools that are mandated by law and a series of CMP National Trophy Rifle and Pistol Matches and CMP Games Events as well as several National Rifle Association national championships that are held in connection with the National Matches. The CMP fulfills its responsibility to conduct the National Matches through a working partnership that includes the Ohio National Guard and the NRA.
The National Matches include the CMP National Trophy Rifle and Pistol Matches, the Pistol and Rifle Small Arms Firing Schools, CMP Games rifle events and the NRA National Pistol, Smallbore Rifle and Highpower Rifle Championships. The matches are conducted jointly by the CMP, NRA and the Ohio National Guard.
The First Shot Ceremony is the official “opening ceremony” of the National Matches. Each year an invited special guest makes brief remarks to assembled competitors, match officials, volunteers and state and local military and government leaders. Several hundred people attend the ceremony each year. After the First Shot Speaker makes their remarks, the First Shot Speaker has the honor of firing the ceremonial “first shot” of the National Matches.
Welcome to the new era of exclusive projectiles at Midsouth Shooters! Introducing the Match Monster™ Bullets, made by Nosler.
Experience world class accuracy with Midsouth’s Match Monster™ Lineup!
Midsouth Shooters and Nosler have unleashed a new MONSTER! Introducing the new – MATCH MONSTER! This new offering gives shooters the superior performance they demand, at a bulk savings they deserve. We put this selection together with Match shooters in mind. These, like our Varmint Nightmare and Varmint Nightmare Xtreme Bullets, are purchased in huge bulk quantities and then broken down into smaller amounts – so that you get to take advantage of bulk savings. These bullets use extremely precise lead-alloy cores that create an impressive standard for Match Monster™ bullets. The hollow point bullet provides a small meplat to reduce drag and increase aerodynamic efficiency. A pronounced boat tail design provides efficient flight characteristics over a wide range of velocities.
Midsouth Shooters Supply customers may find it hard to believe, but three U.S. Army engineers have received a patent for a bullet that will become “aerodynamically unstable” after flying a certain distance.
The proof-of-concept bullet developed by the U.S. Army will disable after flying a certain distance, helping to prevent injuries from stray rounds.
Recently awarded U.S. patent 9,121,679 B1, the bullet is equipped with a reactive material that will ignite when the bullet is fired and burn during flight, causing the bullet to become aerodynamically unstable at the desired range.
Brian Kim, Mark Minisi, and Stephen McFarlane filed collectively for the patent on May 7, 2013 and were notified of its approval on Sept. 1, 2015.
“We wanted to protect the US government’s interests and position,” McFarlane said. “The biggest advantage is reduced risk of collateral damage. In today’s urban environments, others could become significantly hurt or killed, especially by a round the size of a .50 caliber, if it goes too far.”
The concept for the limited range projectile includes pyrotechnic and reactive material. The pyrotechnic material is ignited at projectile launch. The pyrotechnic material ignites the reactive material, and if the projectile reaches a maximum desired range prior to impact with a target, the ignited reactive material makes the projectile aerodynamically unstable.
The original idea was intended to apply to .50 caliber ammunition. However, the patent covers the idea and technology, so it could theoretically be used in various small arms munitions.
The concept for the limited range projectile came to fruition when the small caliber ammo development team was funded to investigate the feasibility of a pyrotechnically actuated disassembling limited range .50 caliber bullet.
“It was essentially my idea to create a self-destructing small caliber round akin to the larger caliber ones,” Minisi said. “The type of reactive materials to use and how to test it was Steve’s idea.
“Brian was instrumental with executing the effort, particularly the modeling and simulation to confirm the concept,” he said.
Currently, funding for the project has ceased. However, engineers hope that their concept will resurface as the constant need to provide greater technology for the warfighter increases.
Kim, Minisi, and McFarlane are employees of the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) based at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
Federal Premium Ammunition is expanding the popular Fusion MSR line with a 90-grain option in 6.8 SPC. The load joins the existing Fusion MSR lineup, which includes 223 Rem. 62-grain, 6.8 SPC 115-grain, 308 Win. 150-grain and 338 Federal 185-grain options. Shipments of this new product are now being delivered to dealers.
Modern sporting rifles (MSRs) are the most adaptable class of firearms in history, handling everything from tactical applications to elk hunting. Fusion MSR loads are specifically designed for hunting with these rifles, performing to their ballistic peak through 16-inch barrels for AR15 platforms and 20-inch barrels for AR10 platforms.
The skived bullet tip ensures expansion at long ranges, and a fused jacket around a pressure-formed core produces excellent accuracy. Federal’s part number for the new 6.8 SPC 90-grain Fusion round is F68MSR2 and it lists for $29.95 per box of 20 rounds.
Midsouth Shooters Supply currently offers 112 Federal Ammunition loads. Click here to see when the new 90-grain round is in stock.
Owning firearms takes money, which comes as no surprise to anyone here at MSS. So one important question is, when you’re building your collection, what are your must-haves and can’t-do-withouts?
Everyone’s list is different, but here’s one that makes a lot of sense to us for five guns every shooter should own:
.22 LR rifle and ammunition to feed it. What action and brand of rifle? Your pick. How much is enough rimfire ammo to have on hand? We think keeping a rolling stock of 5,000 rounds minimum is about right.
.22 LR handgun. A complement to #1, so it can be semi-auto or wheelgun.
Defensive concealable handgun. Most will prefer semi-autos, but wheelguns are fine. Need to keep on hand at least 500 to 1,000 rounds minimum — and extra mags or speed-loaders depending on your pick.
Semi-auto battle rifle. 5.56 chambering is a mainstay, of course, but 30-cals do more farther away. Again, money raises its ugly head when you’re counting round inventory, but we think 1k is the minimum to have on hand for this.
A 12-gauge shotgun. Pumps are famous for their reliability, and upkeep is minimal. Rounds to have on hand include at least 250 bird-suitable shotshells (#7’s), a similar amout of buckshot loads, and a similar amount of slugs.
If we were to expand the list one slot, we’d next include a bolt rifle chambered in the same cartridge as #4, which would suggest the semi-auto and bolt gun both be .308s. Another way to go would be to co-chamber #3 and #4 in a handgun round, such as the 45 ACP. A handgun-cartridge-chambered carbine has a lot going for it, but you would have to accept reduced range.
What’s your lineup of five must-have firearms? Let us hear about it in the comments section below.