Scoring consistent hits on targets at long distances takes more than chance. Bryan Litz, founder and president of Applied Ballistics LLC., chief ballistician at Berger Bullets and champion rifle shooter, says accuracy at any range is a science. Litz shares how he got his start in long-range shooting and why he’s so passionate about the science of accuracy. For those interested in learning more about the science of long range shooting, Applied Ballistics will hosting several seminars throughout 2016. Enter promo code ABSEM100 during checkout and to save $100.
Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.’s Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite combines the attributes of the 10/22 Takedown line with a new, lighter weight barrel and the Ruger Modular Stock System.
This new barrel configuration consists of a cold hammer-forged alloy steel barrel mated with a 6061-T6 aluminum alloy sleeve. The barrel nut is torqued to precise factory specifications to optimize performance.
Taking a page from the Ruger 22/45 Lite, the 10/22 Takedown Lite’s aluminum alloy barrel sleeve is ventilated, resulting in the lightest-weight 10/22 target barrel yet from Ruger. The barrel and sleeve are torqued to an optimum setting to provide outstanding accuracy both at ambient temperatures and when heated by long strings of fire or by employing a sound suppressor.
The aluminum sleeve is manufactured with an array of small diameter, circular ventilations that not only provide a striking look but also aid in heat dissipation during extended use.
The 10/22 Takedown Lite weighs 4.7 pounds and is 34.50 inches long when assembled; each subassembly is less than 20.25 inches long. Disassembly is a simple matter of pushing a recessed lever, twisting the subassemblies and pulling them apart. The 16.12-inch tensioned barrel features a 1/2″-28 threaded muzzle and is fitted with a thread cap, which can be removed to allow for the use of muzzle accessories. The 10/22 Takedown Lite also incorporates the Ruger Modular Stock System and comes with both low and high comb and standard length-of-pull modules.
The rifle is shipped in a convenient carrying case, which provides ample storage with extra pockets and magazine pouches. Multiple attachment points for the padded, single shoulder strap offer a variety of carrying options.
The Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite Models include Model 21152, which has a black receiver and a list price of $659; the Model 21153 with a blue-anodized receiver and blue aluminum sleeve; the Model 21154 with a red-anodized receiver and red aluminum barrel sleeve; and the Model 21155 with green metal treatment.
A Model 1886 Winchester rifle presented to Henry Ware Lawton, a U.S. Army captain widely credited with capturing Apache leader Geronimo, is now the most expensive single firearm ever sold at auction after drawing $1.26 million at Rock Island Auction Company’s April sale.
According to Rock Island Auction Company (RIAC), other guns have sold higher as a pair, but no other single firearm surpasses this new world record.
The Winchester Model 1886 Sporting Rifle (serial number 1) was presented to Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Capt. Henry W. Lawton by fellow Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, friend and influential firearms designer and noted friend of the Browning family Lieut. George E. Albee. The rifle and a gold pocket watch were presented to Capt. Lawton by the “Cattlemen of Central New Mexico” as a token of their appreciation for his service in the capture of the Apache Indian Chief Geronimo and his band in 1886.
“It is an honor to be entrusted with an American treasure,” said Rock Island Auction Company President Kevin Hogan. “Being serial number one and possessing such outstanding condition would alone be enough to draw six figures at auction. When you add one of the most famous names in the history of the Old West you have a huge crossover appeal and set the stage for something special to happen.”
In the summer of 1886, a force under the command of Capt. Lawton and Capt. Charles Gatewood pursued Geronimo and other hostile Chiricahua Apaches into Mexico and the Arizona territory. In September 1886, Gatewood and Lawton found Geronimo and negotiated the surrender of the last band of hostile Apaches to the U.S. Army. Lawton and Gatewood escorted the Apaches to San Antonio for holding before the band was transferred to Florida.
Albee, a friend of Lawton’s from the Civil War, worked for Winchester and was able to secure serial number “1” of the company’s newest rifle design in 1886. He presented it to his old war buddy and lifelong friend to commemorate Lawton’s remarkable achievement.
Watch the video below for more about this remarkable rifle. Or click on the links below to read a detailed account of the men involved with the rifle.
Inland Manufacturing has begun making a .30-caliber Scout Carbine with a black-anodized-aluminum upper handguard and Picatinny rail, so that the shooter can mount long-eye-relief scopes on the rifle. MSRP: $1,239.
Inland’s Picatinny rail also makes it possible to mount red dots, lasers, lights and other accessories. The Inland Scout Carbine also has military-type iron sights. The rail/handguard is attached to the barrel.
The Scout Carbine is chambered in .30 Carbine and is fitted with a military-style conical flash hider. The barrel thread is 1/2×28, so the flash hider may be removed to fit a suppressor or other muzzle treatment.
The American walnut stock is sprayed with a proprietary industrial textured polymer that gives it a tough black finish.
Inland’s Scout Carbine will accommodate 10-, 20-, and 30-round military magazines, and it is sold with one 15-round magazine in all states except California, where it is sold with one 10-round magazine.
The rifle weighs 5.5 pounds (without bases, rings, and scope) and has an 18-inch barrel (including flash hider). Overall length is 35.75 inches.
Current Inland carbines are serialized starting at 9,000,000 and have a definitive barrel marking to ensure they’re not confused with original U.S. military carbines built during W.W. II.
Are you looking to get your hands on one of these Inland Manufacturing .30-caliber Scout Carbines?
This is a specially-adapted excerpt from the forthcoming book, “Top Grade Ammo,” by author Glen Zediker, owner of Zediker Publishing. Click here to order from Midsouth.
by Glen Zediker
Weight is another common means of case segregation. I can’t imagine doing this job without an electronic scale, because I have done this job without an electronic scale.
Most set a percentage tolerance for weight, not so much seeking identical weights. Otherwise, you’ll have to sort a lot of cases. The physically larger something is, the more variation can exist. 1% is pretty harsh; 1.5% is more reasonable; 2% is commonly used. You’ll figure out the viability of your segregation criteria after you go through a few dozen cases. If you have 10 piles, then the criteria might be too harsh. If you use a percentage, certainly then larger caliber cases will have a greater overall weight tolerance/variance than smaller ones. Think of it as: 1% in a 90-grain .223 is 0.90 grains, and in a .308 Win., it’s 1.7 grains, or about double.
This segregation method or means is nearly universally adhered to by NRA Long Range competitors. The belief is that weight reflects on case capacity: heavier cases, lower capacity; lighter cases, higher capacity; and, mostly, same-weight cases, same capacity. Most are not looking for “light” or “heavy,” just “the same.” There’s a correlation between wall thickness consistency and weight consistency, I’m sure, but it’s not direct.
Don’t confuse the ultimate results from an exercise in segregation. We will get what we look for, but that’s all we know for sure. No doubt, the combination of segregation by weight and wall thickness should result in the best of the best, but, dang, that might also result in a very small pile.
Important: Fully prep all the cases prior to weight segregation! The reason is a matter of reliability in the result. Primer pocket uniforming, length trimming, chamfering, and inside flash hole deburring all require removal of brass. The amounts will vary in each instance. I’ve collected and weighed enough shavings from prepping before and can tell you that, if you’re segregating by fine increments, you’re kidding yourself if you don’t follow this advice. The amount of brass removed does not at all directly reflect on the quality of a case because the areas where the weight is originating don’t influence the “overall” quality. But it can influence the scale. Which is the criteria, right?
The procedure used by most winning 1000-yard shooters is to segregate by weight and then outside-turn the case necks to make the neck walls consistent. Again, it ultimately will be a better test if the neck turning is done prior to weight segregation. At this point, however, we have done a lot of work.
So, looking back on the last article, which was segregating by neck wall thickness variations, here’s what I think: If most of your shooting is under 300 yards, go with neck-wall thickness. If you’re covering more real estate, I’d suggest sorting by weight. No doubt, a combination is the ultimate.
Since I focus on concentricity both before and after bullet seating, I can’t say any weight-segregated cases have outperformed my concentricity-selected ammo at 600 yards. I also know, from experience, that the cases I favor are demonstrably low in weight variation. For me, segregating by wall thickness makes more sense. I use the same brand/lot for 200, 300, and 600 yards; the difference is the load. I am pretty much looking for a good, better, best to coincide with my needs for accuracy at 200, 300, and 600 yards.
This might sound contradictory, but it seems that when firing on targets at short range, where weather conditions aren’t overly influential and bullet limits are not nearly being approached, it’s superior concentricity that prints the best groups. Further on down the pike, though, concentricity is important, certainly and always, but it’s really the consistency of bullet velocities that gets “10s.” A good long-range shooter (who can keep a handle on condition-influenced corrections) will lose more points to elevation shots than to wind. High-low shots are, for a Master or High Master, pretty much the fault of the ammo. The reason velocity deviations are just not that important to short-range groups is solely a time-of-flight answer. The longer a bullet is in the air, and the slower it’s moving, the farther and farther it flies, the more initial velocity consistency factors in.
The preceding is specially-adapted from material in the forthcoming book “Top Grade Ammo” coming (very soon) from Zediker Publishing. Check BuyZedikerBooks.com and ZedikerPublishing.com for more.
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.