Category Archives: Shooting

Short Term Gunsmithing Program Returns to FVCC!

First class to be offered in the updated program of Short Term Gunsmithing classes will be Taming Wildcats, taught by Fred Zeglin at Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) in Kalispell, MT.

This class will be offered during the Christmas Break, January 2018.  This is a one week class, non-credit.  Students learn the particulars of designing a wildcat cartridge.  Factors like the gun it will be used in, pressure, headspace, how to form brass are all taught.  Students also make reamer and reloading dies for the cartridges so they can experiment with the information they learn.Wildcat Cartridges by Fred Zeglin

If you are interested you need to know how to run a manual lathe and mill.  Fred has taught this class many times and students always come away surprised at how much they learn in just one week.  This class was the reason Fred wrote his book on Wildcat Cartridges.

This is just the first in a new Short Term Gunsmithing program to be offered in the summer of 2018 by FVCC.  Watch the Continuing Education pages for more classes soon.  This a  fun way for both hobby and professional  gunsmiths to build their skills and enjoy firearms even more.

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Filed under Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, reloading, Rifles, Shooting, tools, wildcat

Audio Report: Firearms Technologies Certificate program.

Katrin Frye of Montana Public Radio reported on both the NRA Short Term Gunsmith program and the new full time college credit certificate available at FVCC in Kalispell, MT.   The link below will take you direct to the audio file.

http://cpa.ds.npr.org/kufm/audio/2014/07/FVCC_Firearms_1.mp3

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Filed under Firearms, Gunsmithing, How To, Pistol, Rifles, Rimfire, Second Amendment, Shooting, Shotgun, Stocks, tools

Miller Precision Arms 300MPA, SHOT Show 2014

We reported on this gun when Miller Precision first introduced it on July 4th,2012.  More recently they displayed the MPA300 at the SHOT Show, 2014.  At Media Day they had several rifles there ready for writers to test.

Miller Precision MPA300

Not too surprising, the writers all wanted to shoot the 300 Winchester in favor of the other models in 308 Winchester and 5.56 Nato.

The MPA300 has the distinction of being the only 300 Winchester Semi-auto on the market that is truly on the AR platform.  While the upper, lower, magazine and bolt carrier are specific to the MPA, the rest of the parts are all AR-10 interchangeable.   So you can dress your gun with any of the various features that are already on the market for the AR-10.

Media day turned out to be a real endurance test for the MPA300.  When Brandon Miller saw that everyone wanted to shoot the 300 Winchester almost exclusively, he decided to see how long the gun would run without a cleaning.  It went about 2700 rounds before the first malfunction.  A quick inspection and cleaning had the gun back at the line and by the time the smoke cleared the gun had fired over 4000 rounds without a second failure. 

Actions are machined from billet aluminum.  These guys are selling quality, not big-box store discount products.  Finishes for the Miller Precision guns are about as varied as you can ask for.  Among other things they offer hydrographic coatings, so the choices are almost limitless.  These guns are impressive.

Brandon Miller w MPA300

Brandon Miller with his MPA300, Media Day 2014

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26 Nosler UPDATE, post SHOT Show 2014

Cartridge for 26 Nosler next to similar cartridges

26 Nosler is a new cartridge design, it actually fills a niche in the factory cartridge world.  Between the WSM cartridges and the RUM cartridges, the first being short action, the latter being full length magnum.  So the 26 Nosler is in between.

This may not sound like a big deal but it was a very good idea for a 6.5mm Magnum.  When the 7mm or 300 Remington Ultra Mag is necked to 6.5mm it’s not very satisfactory.  The case capacity is far overbore for the 6.5mm bore, so accuracy suffers and finding a good load is difficult.

By reducing case capacity as Nosler has done with this new design they have brought the balance between bore and capacity back into a range where load development is easier and barrel life will be better than with the full length RUM wildcat such as the 6.5MM UltraCat originated by Z-Hat Custom back in 1999.

26 Nosler drawingDesigned with a maximum cartridge O.A.L. of 3.340”, the 26 Nosler cartridge functions in a standard length magnum action with a 3.400″ magazine box.  It is very similar in length to a 300 Winchester magnum case.  This equates to a shorter bolt through and lighter weight gun than with the full length magnums like the 300 H&H or 7mm RUM.

The 26 Nosler is capable of pushing a 130gr bullet at a Muzzle Velocity of 3400 fps according to Nosler.  With that kind of velocity bullets must be made for the extra stress that velocity will bring to the jacket.  No disrespect to Nosler but this is a job for a NorthFork Bullet if I ever saw one.

The 26 Nosler is a non-belted, 6.5mm centerfire rifle cartridge.  With a useable case capacity of 93 grains of water, the 26 Nosler is speedy, it outperforms the 264 Win Mag by over 200 fps with a 130 gr bullet.  Loaded with the 129gr AccuBond-LR, the 26 Nosler retains as much velocity at 400 yards as the 260 Remington produces at the muzzle.

26 Nosler compared

Zeroed at 350 yards, the 26 Nosler has a maximum point blank range (PBR) of 415 yards.  It appears from the chart at the right that Nosler is figuring 5 inches +or- form zero to get to that 415 yard point blank range.

Nosler’s choice of a 6.5mm cartridge is a good one, sectional density and high ballistic coefficients make 6.5mm a good bet. Retained energy and accuracy at long range is always good with a 6.5mm.  This will be a good cartridge for wide open western hunting for deer class animals.  Thumbs Up!

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25-45 SRC (Sharps Rifle Co.) SHOT Show 2014

Found this little goodie at Media Day for Shot Show.  You might imagine seeing the Sharps name that has always been associated with single shots and then seeing nothing but AR-15 rifles in the booth.  I took a double take…  which is probably what they were hoping for all the writers that visited the event.25-45 SRC ammo

Having been in the gun business for so many years I have seen the rebirth of many company names.  Some have been successful and others have quickly died away.  No telling what will happen with this new company.  Sharps Rifle Company (SRC) is one of several brands, (five at present) under the one roof.

Turns out the item of interest was the 25-45 SRC cartridge.  This is the most recent iteration of a wildcat most commonly known as a 25/223 Remington.  Another well known variation came out in 1987 as the 25 TCU (Thompson Center Ugalde).  The TCU version was designed for metalic silhouette competition.  Of course that cartridge was intended for use in a 14″ barrel from a Contender pistol.  While they are not interchangeable the two cartridges are very similar.  Ahh, what’s old is new again.  I sense a theme here.

  • 65 Grain Rapid Expansion Varmint is advertised at 3300 feet per second from a 20″ barrel.
  • 87 Grain soft point or FMJ loads are advertised at 3000 feet per second also from a 20″ barrel.

Of course, headstamped brass and commercially loaded ammo is always a selling point and SRC is offering just that.  For more information on the brands and products associated with SRC click here.

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Filed under ammo, Rifles, Shooting, wildcat

Savage Offers New Model Axis II XP, Shot Show 2014

Axis XP

This new variation on the Axis XP features the AccuTrigger, which is adjustable from 2.5 to 6 pounds.  The rifle will come with a Weaver Kaspa scope mounted and bore sighted.  This is a 3-9×40 variable scope.

Barrels are 22 inches, matte blue on all metal surfaces.  The stock is a black molded synthetic.  A detachable five rounds magazine rounds out the package.  Eight calibers from 223 to 30-06 are offered.  MSRP is only $415

Axis barrels can be changed out just like the popular Savage 110 type barrels.  In fact our friends at 4D Reamer Rentals LTD. tell us that the barrels are interchangeable.  4D offers Savage pre-fit barrels in more calibers than any other maker we have found. So you can swap the barrel on one of these rifles and have the caliber of your dreams.

Rumor has it that 4D will be introducing a new barrel nut wrench, at the SHOT Show, for Savage smooth barrel nuts, like those found on the Axis series of rifles.

Finally, Savage is offering Youth models on the new Axis II XP series.  These rifles will have a 20″ barrel chambered for 243 Winchester.  Two camo patterns will be offered:  A woodland pattern and the very popular “Muddy Girl”.

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NEW Pistols, SHOT Show 2014

Taurus is showing a new variation on their model 85 called the “View”.  It sports a translucent panel where the side plate would normally be, allowing a view of the mechanism as the gun is cycled.  Designed for concealed carry it utilizes an aluminum frame and a titanium cylinder to hold weight down.

Chambered  for 38 Special this ultra-light revolver holds five rounds.  Empty it weighs in at only nine ounces.  With a snub nose 1.41″ barrel a round but and spur-less hammer this revolver would be easy to carry.  The side plate is a gimmick but one that many shooters would like.  Top it all off with a double action trigger pull of 10 pounds.

Desert Eagle compact 1911

Magnum Research is offering a new compact version of the 1911 for 2014.  Dubbed the “Undercover” model, or the 1911U this variant is a Series 70 style.  The DE1911U is built on an ultra lightweight frame made of aircraft grade aluminum alloy and features a 4140 high carbon steel slide and adjustable rear sight for windage and elevation. The .45 ACP DE1911U has 6+1 round capacity, an overall length of 6.85″, a 3″ barrel, height of 5″, and weighs just 25.8 oz. 

Standard features include checkered front and back strap, double diamond checkered wood grip, and stainless steel hex screws. The DE1911U also has a high-rise beavertail safety, skeleton hammer, and an aluminum trigger. It comes standard with two 6-round magazines.

 

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Colt Adds to the M2012 Line-up, SHOT Show 2014

Colt 2012 in 260 Remington

In conjunction with Cooper Firearms of Montana, Colt, is expanding the M2012 bolt action rifle family with the introduction of two new models. The M2012MT308T and M2012LT308G/M2012LT260G.

 “The durability and accuracy provided by the M2012 bolt action rifle family is outstanding,” said Joyce Rubino, Vice President of Marketing for Colt. “These new ‘crossover’ rifles transition easily from target shooting at the range to long-range hunting in the field.

All M2012 models feature a custom fluted, match grade barrel and a single stage, adjustable Timney trigger. A signed, serial numbered and dated test target is included with each rifle as a testament to its accuracy.  The new variations are available in 260 Remington as well as 308 Winchester.

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Skinner Express Sights, SHOT Show 2014

Peep sights have long been the best choice for accuracy with iron sights.  When peep sights are made for rugged use that only enhances their desirability.  Skinner Express Sights fall into that category.

Machined from solid bar stock the most recent additions to the Skinner line-up are tough as nails.  Models availble include: Marlin 1895 and 336, Remington 740 or 760 and variants, Ruger 10-22, Rossi, Winchester, Browning, TC, and many more.

Tough Sights for Hunters

Adjustable for windage and elevation.  These sights are low profile and easy to install.  Winged sight are available in some models, in case your really hard on your sights, or you carry your rifle in a scabbard.

http://www.skinnersights.com/index.html

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Winchester Rifles for SHOT Show 2014

Single shot fans will be happy to see that Winchester is offering the low wall Model 1885 in 22 LR, 22 Win. Mag., 17 HMR, and 17 WSM.  The low wall action has been popular with single shot fans ever since Winchester put it into production over 100 years ago.  While these new models are slightly different from the original design, they still provide good quality guns with out the collectors price tag.

Other offerings for this year include the 1873 with a color cased action.  A 20″ barrel, and full length magazine tube  bring back the “Load on Sunday and shoot all week” era in a fun and historic way.  Chamberings are 44-40 and 45 LC.  Stocks are straight grip walnut.

1892 lever guns are in the mix as well.  Large loop levers make you think of John Wayne and True Grit.  These rifles have full length magazines along with 20 inch barrels.  Calibers are 357 Magnum, 44 magnum, 44-40, and 45 Long Colt.  All finished with high polish blueing.

Cowboy action shooters will be glad to see this line up.

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