Category Archives: Firearms

Flathead Valley Community College offers AAS in Firearms.

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Heading into our fifth year, this program started out as a two-semester certificate program created to provide a solid foundation in theory, design and function of firearms. In 2017 the program grew to include a second two-semester certificate. The second certificate will interest folks who are more interested in traditional gunsmithing and custom gun work. The Big new for 2018 is that the Board of Regents authorized a two year degree that combines all the classes into an Associate of Applied Sience (AAS).

Course topics will include firearms safety, manual mill and lathe operation, bench metal techniques, firearms repair, machine tools for gunsmiths and precision rifle building. Stock making, checkering, bluing and other finish techniques are taught along with custom modifications of all kinds of firearms.  Many of the classes have little or no prerequisites, so they are open to anyone who would like to learn and expand their experience with guns, contact the school for more information.

Students who successfully complete the program will be prepared for entry-level positions in the firearms industry and will have a better understanding and knowledge base for owning a gunsmith business. The program contains both lecture and significant hands-on training designed to instill an understanding of the design and function of today’s firearms.

“FVCC has the only Firearms Technologies Certificate Program of its kind in the country,” said FVCC Firearms Technologies Coordinator Fred Zeglin. “Students are challenged to develop skills that are not part of any other program. We are very proud to now offer a two year AAS degree that will jump start a student’s career in firearms.  By partnering with manufacturers in our area we have assembled a program that addresses the needs of the employers.”

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and able to legally own and possess firearms. A background check is required for all students who are accepted into the program.

The program was developed to build upon a foundational machining background, which is provided through the college’s Tier I Machining Certificate Program. Tier 1 Machining . Firearms Technologies Program applicants with industry or previous learning experience may opt to bypass the Tier 1 Machining Certificate Program by requesting testing and/or instructor consent.

Prospective students must apply both to the Firearms Technologies Program and for admission to FVCC. Firearms Technologies Program applications are available online at www.fvcc.edu/firearms or in the Admissions Office in Blake Hall on the FVCC Kalispell campus. For more information, contact Will Richards at 756-4862 or wrichards@fvcc.edu.

Download the application to attend classes

NPR story about the program

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Filed under accuracy, Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, Pistol, Rifles, Rimfire, Shooting, Shotgun, Sights/Scopes, Stocks, tools

You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out Kid…

Every time I pick up a BB gun I find myself in the backyard with my Dad at six years old.  Shooting my old Daisy BB gun at a cardboard box. A 15 foot target taped to the box and doing my darnedest to keep them all on the box.

Over the years I got to play with that BB gun a lot and it helped me to learn how to line up sights and squeeze a trigger, because if you jerked the trigger it was a foot off and you could watch the BB miss the box or whatever your target might be.

Naturally like every kid turned loose with a BB gun I shot at something that caused the BB to ricochet back.  That was a hard lesson, but not soon forgotten.  I’m in favor of letting kids learn a few hard lessons so long as they don’t loose and eye in the process.  I seem to recall a Christmas Classic Movie that focuses on  that very concept?!

Well the folks at Air Venturi have an answer for the BB ricochet of our youth.  They plan to stop them with Frangible BBs.  Most of the time I hate “New and Improved” ideas because the standard steel BB we all know.  And, when it hits something hard if fractures and falls apart, unlike the old steel BB we all know and love.

Many times I am not a fan of the “New & Improved” product, they tear away some memory or valuable lesson from our youth.  This one I can get behind though.  It allows the BB to travel at a velocity about 10% faster than the common steel BBs we all know and love and when they hit something hard, instead of bouncing back they turn to dust on the spot.  You can even call them “Green” because they contain no lead.

Next some Nam-by-Pam-by will tell us the kids have to wear a dust mask when they shoot these new Frangible BBs.  I draw the line there, just take the kids out and have some fun introducing them to the fun of the BB gun.

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So you say you wanna be a BAD Boy?

The Cimarron Firearms Company  introduces the Bad Boy .44 Mag. at the 2018 SHOT Show, a modern take on a classic single-action revolver design. Features include, a flat top receiver, a non-fluted cylinder, adjustable target sights and smooth hardwood grip panels.

Over the decades many others have brought similar large frame Single Actions to the market place.  Interarms™ imported the Verginian Dragoon.  Herter’s had a 44 Magnum.  EAA has the Bounty Hunter in 44.  Uberti™ has the Callahan and we cannot forget the Ruger™ New Model Super Blackhawk.

The Bad Boy is constructed of a polished blued steel Pre-War frame with an Army-style grip, but the octagon barrel is a feature that would be expensive if you went to a gunsmith to make one.  Rumor has it that there will be a 6″ version available, but all that is listed for now is the 8″ Barrel.  The adjustable sights make this a great choice for a hunting gun.

MSRP $687.70

 

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Filed under Firearms, Pistol

Christensen Arms, Modern Precision Rifle

Additional Calibers added to the Modern Precision Rifle™

Gunnison, UT – (January 16, 2018) Building upon the successful launch of the Modern Precision Rifle, Christensen Arms has expanded the caliber offerings for the popular rifle.  Beginning in January 2018, just in time for SHOT Show, the Modern Precision Rifle will be offered in a long-action configuration with .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 Norma Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum available. Additionally, Christensen Arms has added the new 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge to the short-action lineup.  Also chambered for 6.5 Creedmoor and 308 Winchester.

IMG_9868

The Modern Precision Rifle was developed with a proprietary chassis built with aerospace materials to optimize weight savings (16” .308 weighs under 7lbs).  It also includes an adjustable folding stock with a locking hinge mechanism, an oversized fluted bolt knob, and a black nitride coated bolt, receiver, and muzzle brake.  The Modern Precision Rifle is built with an aerograde carbon fiber barrel, free-floating handguard, and adjustable comb; and is guaranteed to shoot sub MOA.

“…as a benchmark, the MPR is going to be damned hard to top,” said Brian McCombie of American Hunter after his initial review of Christensen Arms’ new rifle.

About Christensen Arms
Founded in Utah in 1995, with roots in the aerospace industry, Christensen Arms developed the first carbon fiber rifle barrel. This patented technology resulted in one of the most innovative advances in firearms within the last two and a half decades. With more than 20 years of firearm experience focusing on incorporating top-tier aerospace materials and processes, Christensen Arms manufactures some of the most lightweight, precise, and accurate firearms in the industry and around the globe.

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10mm Carbine from Hi-Point

Stop laughing already…

Here’s the thing, Hi-Point Firearms is unapologetic about offering some of the lowest priced American-made firearms on the market.  But did you know they offer excellent customer service and stand behind the quality of the products they make?  They Do.

Some other gun makers to take a lesson or two from Hi-Point about reliability.  Over and over again I have read reports of reliability tests on these guns the just frustrate anyone who plans to hate them.  They feed just about any ammo and just keep running.  One of my buddies took all the reloads in .380 ACP that failed in his expensive big name guns and ran them through a Hi-Point without a single failure to feed or fire.  That’s a pretty tall order for any gun.

Being probably the cheapest carbine in the market place and being known for reliability will get many shooters to ignore the fact that the guns are not going to win any beauty contests.  Nobody is ever going to checker plastic stocks or engrave a Hi-Point.  But if your looking for a rough and tumble truck gun…  This is it.

In 2018, Hi-Point is adding power to its carbine line with a new 10 mm version that accepts a 10-round single-stack magazine and it’s +P rated. The rubber cheek rest, recoil absorbing stock and a trigger that is at least acceptable, will all contribute to more fun at the range. The 17.5″ barrel has a threaded muzzle with a sight rail for optics  and a lower rail for accessories, dare I refer to them as Pic-rails.   Until this 10mm came along I was not ready to own one, now I will have to add one to the collection.

MSRP: $389.99

 

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7.5 FK BRNO

I was working at the local community college with my associate Robart Schaefer.  We teach a firearms technology course there.  So naturally just about all conversations revolve around guns of one sort or another.  Robart mentioned he had seen a lot of Internet chatter about the 7.5 FK BRNO.  We had a good laugh when you brought up a post from a guy who asked if anyone had heard of the new company B_R_N_O?  He apparently have never heard of the famous city in The Czech Republic that has been producing firearms for at least 100 years.  Thus started a conversation with a lot of laughs that only a gun lover could appreciate.

First off, lets clear up some of the questions that pop to mind immediately.

  1. Is this company related to other well known BRNO companies from the Czech Republic?

Answer: No.  According to John Zent, Editorial Director for American Rifleman, this company has no connection the historical companies of the well known city of Brno in the Czech Republic.

2. What caliber is a 7.5 FK?

75brno

Answer: That would be a 30 caliber for the uninitiated to the Metric world of firearms.

3. What’s it look like?

Answer: A bottle-necked pistol cartridge.

 

Cartridge

Bullet Weight Velocity (fps) Energy (ft. lbs.)
5.7×28 40 gr. 1685 252
221 Fireball 40 gr. 3200 910
9mm Luger* 50 gr. 2000 454
460 S&W 200 gr. 2200 2150
30 Carbine 110 gr. 1990 967
7.62×25 85 gr. 1630 697

7.5 FK

100 gr.

2000

888

*Specialty ammo from Liberty Ammunition

The first article about this cartridge that caught my attention was an American Rifleman story by John Zent titled, “Worlds Fastest Pistol– 7.5 FK Brno”.  This was where Robert and I started kicking cartridges back and forth.  30 Carbine was the first cartridge that really came to mind as the AMT Automag III had long ago had this slot pretty well locked up, if velocity was the only measure.

So is it the Worlds Fastest?  I guess you will have to break it down for yourself.

Most shooters will also look at bullet weight and therefore energy numbers to determine the true value of a cartridge.  Available guns, ammo and their price ranges also enter into the discussion.  Of course the inevitable question of revolver vs. semi-auto comes into play as well.  For me the question of stopping power is a bigger concern if this is going to be a self defense gun.

In the buzz around the 7.5 FK BRNO pistol is a point that will limit the number of buyers for this gun.  Prices in several articles have suggested that the gun will sell for around $5000.  If that is the case the audience for this gun will be small.

It’s highly likely that custom pistol makers will offer guns with custom barrels in the 7.5 FK chambering.  4D Reamer Rentals LTD (our sponsor) has already ordered in the reamers and gauges for this cartridge.

7_5 FK vs 30m1

30 Carbine vs. 7.5 FK

As of this writing the pistols and ammunition are supposed to be available from at least one U.S. retailer: https://luxuryfirearms.com/ They are holding the pricing pretty close to the vest, so most folks would infer that the high prices that have been reported in other articles are probably correct.

Want to build your own?  You can rent the reamer and gauges here.

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Filed under ammo, Firearms, Pistol, Shooting

20 Nosler

Yes, it’s on the way…    How do we know?  Click here. It’s pretty obvious.   Well that and the fact that SAAMI has published the specifications already.  The same print from SAAMI comments that a 32 grain bullet will go 4100 feet per second (fps).

Like the 22 Nosler the 20 is based on the 6.8 SPC case or 30 Remington depending on how you view it.  They both have rebated rims so as to fit in a standard AR-15 Bolt face.

The 20 Nosler will have about eight (8) percent more case capacity by water weight than  the 204 Ruger.  So is the velocity claim of 4100 fps realistic?  On Nosler’s own pages they show the 204 Ruger doing that velocity with the same bullet, so I would say, sure, it just means you will have short barrel life if you load to that level.

It’s long been know that velocities approaching 4000 fps are hard on barrels, the throat is erodes much more quickly regardless of the bullet diameter.  I foresee the barrels for this caliber being chrome washed or Melonite® teated simply to increase barrel life.

The 20 Nosler might have some loading flexibility that the 204 does not in that if you loading for 3500 to 3800 fps there are probably a few more powders that will get there with the larger case capacity.  One thing I noticed in looking for comparisons, the 20 Nosler falls in its own class in terms of case capacity, the 20 BR has just a couple of grains less capacity, but it’s not designed for the AR platform.  The other popular wildcats in this general class either have a fair amount less capacity, or a lot more.  If for no other reason, this cartridge will have a following just based on the case capacity.

There is certainly no doubt, this will be a flat shooting varmint cartridge that will do the job in the dog town or out taking coyotes.22NoslerVs20Nosler

Nosler™ is a trademark of  Nosler Inc.  Most likely Nosler will release this cartridge at SHOT Show 2018.  Watch for updates here.

 

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Filed under ammo, Firearms, Gunsmithing, reloading, Shooting

6.5 PRC from Hornady

6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge) Hornady® introduced this new Short Magnum cartridge in the fall of 2017.  Gone are the days when such announcements were limited to the SHOT Show.

Factory ammo offerings in both a “Match” version (with 147gr ELD) and a “Precision Hunter” version (with 143gr ELD-X bullet). You can bet that in the future, Hornady will offer 6.5 PRC brass separately for hand-loaders, but it takes time to fill the pipe line with ammo and meet the initial demand.  6.5 PRC brass  is available right now from GA Precision at $86.00 per 100 cases. GA Precision’s George Gardner, who helped develop this cartridge, has posted: “It’s a non-rebated short mag based on a short RCM [Ruger Compact Magnum] case.”  It has 3-4 grains less capacity than the 6.5 RSAUM, so, the difference in ballistics will likely be 30-50 fps deficit as compared with the RSAUM.

The 6.5 PRC Match is aimed at the PRS (Precision Rifle Series) crowd and long-range tactical shooters. Hornady says the 6.5 PRC is, “designed to achieve the highest levels of accuracy, flat trajectory, and extended range performance in a sensibly-designed compact package. Utilizing moderate powder charges that result in repeatable accuracy, low recoil, and reasonable barrel life, the 6.5 PRC produces high velocities for target shooting with performance well beyond 1000 yards.”

https://player.vimeo.com/video/238317492

New 6.5 PRC is a short magnum that requires a magnum bolt face.  It’s dubbed the “big brother” to the 6.5 Creedmoor, the 6.5 PRC fits in short or medium actions with a standard magnum bolt face (.532”).  Much of the Creedmoor appeal is it’s ability to function in the AR-10 platform.  The PRC will have non of that.

Ballistics charts from Hornady’s 6.5 PRC page shows a muzzle velocity of 2910 FPS. That’s not much better than a 6.5 Creedmoor (which can push 140s over 2800 fps), and the venerable 6.5-284 pushes similar bullets at about the same velocity as the new PRC.  The 6.5-284 utilizes a standard bolt face and you can get Norma and Lapua brass for it.  The PRC will work better than a 6.5-284 in a short-action magazine.  An awful lot of 6.5-284 fans put them on 30-06 length actions so they can seat the bullets out — that may be what Hornady is thinking with the new cartridge…

It looks like this is an attempt to attract some of the PRS crowd and help Hornady visibility in that highly popular arena.  Unfortunately for Hornady there is a trend among top PRS competitors toward smaller cartridge with less recoil. The benefits of less recoil are probably more important to those shooters than a flatter trajectory, which has a cost in both noise and recoil.

Reality is there is a market for everything, there will be some shooters who are very excited about this new offering.  GA Precision, Gunwerks, PROOF Research, Stuteville Precision and Seekins Precision are among those already chambering for this cartridge.  Truth be told, everything in the ballistic equation is a trade off.  A flatter trajectory and shorter time of flight have value too.

6.5 PRC Ammunition for Hunters — Also New for 2018
Hornady will also sell a version of 6.5 PRC ammo design for hunters, naturally that is about the bullet selection being appropriate for the application.  After looking this cartridge over and where it fits in the market place, it might have been better for Hornady to partner with Ruger and call it the 6.5 RCM, since that’s really what it is. This cartridge seems a little like the reason that Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors… try to please everyone and by so doing sell more product.

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224 Valkyrie introduced by Federal Premium

Federal Premium® has announced introduction in time for the 2018 SHOT Show, a new cartridge designed to capture market in the popular MSR (Modern Sporting Rifle; Don’t you hate all these acronyms…) AR-15 platform.    The cartridge is design to capture the hearts of long-range precision shooters. The 224 Valkyrie produces flat trajectories, and  claims match-grade accuracy and supersonic velocities beyond 1,300 yards downrange.

“It beats the ballistics of all other MSR 15 cartridges, including the 22 Nosler, 223 Rem. and 6.5 Grendel. Plus, it offers comparable performance to larger rounds like the 6.5 Creedmoor, with roughly half the felt recoil—and at a more economical price,” explains Mike Holm, Federal Premium Centerfire Ammunition Global Product Lane.  “The 224 Valkyrie is based on a 30 Rem./6.8 SPC case necked down to .224 caliber,”

Shooters can review the technical specifications for the new round once it is approved by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) which is expected in January at the 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. At that time, information such as chamber specifications and cartridge pressure standards, proof pressure range and barrel length/twist recommendations will be communicated. Cartridge and chamber drawings will also be available soon after SAAMI approves the cartridge for standardization.

Testing conducted by Federal Premium engineers using 24-inch test barrels with a 1:7 twist revealed the 224 Valkyrie offers up to 128 inches less drop and 69 inches less wind drift (with a 10 mph crosswind) at 1,000 yards than other MSR 15 rounds. The new cartridge also offers significant advantages in velocity and energy.

Print

Courtesy of Federal Premium®

The 224 Valkyrie will initially be available in four loads: 90-grain Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing, 60-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip Varmint, 90-grain Fusion MSR and 75-grain American Eagle TMJ. These proven Federal Premium bullet offerings provide options for long-range competitors, target shooters and hunters pursuing game from varmints up to deer-sized animals.

Federal created a new 90-grain .224-caliber Fusion bullet specifically designed for hunting deer sized game. In a test barrel the 90-grain Fusion exits the muzzle at 2,570 fps. This is going to be the thumper that P.O. Ackley pushed for 50 years ago. He stated back then that a “bullet of the CORRECT DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION” was necessary for such cartridges.  Such bullets have not really been available until recent years.

224ValkyrieVs22_250

224 Valkyrie ammo dimensions estimated from reamer print.

Federal Premium engineers designed the 224 Valkyrie for gas-driven MSR 15 actions, bu it’s also extremely effective from bolt guns. “You can also buy a new upper and use it with your existing lower. A gunsmith or other person trained in building MSRs can also make the necessary modifications. The easiest way for shooters to capitalize on the new cartridge is purchase a firearm from one of the many gun makers jumping on the 224 Valkyrie bandwagon,” says Holm.

Reloading data will be available in spring of 2018, when SAAMI releases it’s specifications.  Reloading die sets will be available from RCBS, and other ammo-building components will also be offered by several popular brands.

There are nearly 20 gun makers who have already started producing guns for the 224 Valkrie.  So if your hoping to try one out, it should not be hard to locate a gun in your local store before long.  4D Reamer Rentals LTD has already bought reamers and gauges for this new cartridge, in stock even before SHOT Show.

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Engraving Class for Beginners is part of the FVCC Short Term Gunsmithing Program for 2018

So you like guns and you have always wanted to try engraving.  Here is a chance to learn from one of the best.DianeScalese100

Basic hand Engraving,  Instructed by:  Diane Scalese

One week long non-credit class  Monday-Friday, June 18-22, 2018

 This course is designed for the beginner engraver or for anyone who would like to review the basics of engraving in steel.  Starting with proper tool preparation, learn the basic steps to single point engraving.  Topics include:

*Proper tool preparation                  *Graver shaping and sharpening

*Shading                                                    *Background treatments

*Metal inlays                                            *Business practices

*Transferring patterns                         *Basic lettering

*Basic scroll design and discussion of the most popular styles

Engrave on steel practice plates.  You will need to supply your own equipment.  The course is designed for using air-assisted equipment and power hones.

Instructor, Diane Scalese is a full-time engraver and has been engraving trophy belt buckles, saddle silver, bits, spurs, jewelry and firearms for nearly 30 years.  She was named Engraver of the Year in 2003 by the Academy of Western Artists.  She resides in Big Sandy, Montana.

sweetw_frgr_spur     

This class will be available for online registration in January, 2018

For more information or to register,

call the Continuing Education Center @ FVCC (406) 756-3832

This class is part of the Short Term Gunsmithing Program @FVCC, for a full listing of classes for 2018 click here.

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