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Two Cartridges That Dominated the Summer of 2018.

Every year there are new cartridges offered by gun makers and ammunition manufacturers.  Usually at SHOT Show there is a release and a buzz about the new offerings.  Then for the months that follow there are articles one right after the other extolling the attributes of these “new” offerings.

This year we saw the 6.5 PRC was the new cartridge announced by Hornady.  This cartridge is clearly directed to the long range shooting market.   The Precision Rifle Series has provided a direct way for manufactures to learn what the shooting public wants for long range rifles, cartridges and accessories.

Ballistically the 6.5 PRC falls almost dead between the 6.5 Creedmoor and the 264 Winchester Magnum.  The case is a necked down version of the 300 Ruger Compact Magnum. The PRC has a published muzzle velocity of 2900 fps, making it about 200 fps faster than the 6.5 Creedmoor.  6.5 PRC still fits in most short action platforms (308 length).

65 prc vs

One reason the Creedmoor picked up such a large following was the relatively light recoil it produces.  If you are competing in a game that requires large numbers of shots fired, recoil can be an issue simply because of fatigue.  It may not hurt, but over the course of fire it can wear on you.  That will be the trade off that shooters deal with when looking at the 6.5 PRC, it will have more recoil than its smaller brothers in the game.

4D Reamer Rentals reports that the 6.5 PRC wasted no time in becoming a hot rental.  Custom gun makers all over the country have been ordering the reamer and gauges in amazing numbers.  Fred @ 4D says, “We bought tools as soon as we heard that Hornady was releasing the PRC.  Not long after SHOT Show we started filling orders. The is was like a floodgate opened, the demand for the PRC was off the scale compared to new releases in the past.”  He went on to tell that they ordered more tools but the demand from the reamer makers was very high as well so it took time to get the added tools into circulation.

It’s pretty likely you will see the 6.5 PRC in several production rifles in 2019.

Another cartridge that became popular this summer at 4D was the 7mm/300 Winchester Magnum. This is simply a  300 Win Mag necked down to 7mm with no other changes. Now there have been versions of this wildcat around for a long time, so what made demand explode all the sudden?

It may be as a result of the writing of Nathan Foster of New Zealand.  Nate created a wildcat variation of the 7mm/300 Win Mag that he dubbed the 7mm Practical.  Nate produced a book entitled, “The Practical Guide to Long Range Hunting Cartidges”  When I spoke with him recently he stated he believed the rise in interest in the 7mm/300 was at least in part do to the fact he had released his book for sale in the United States.

Foster also has an extensive web site that provides a wealth of information he calls, “Terminal Ballistics Research”  here I linked it to the page for the 7mm Practical.

7mm Practical Rev C Manson Web large

The down side, if there is one, to Foster’s 7mm Practical it is that the shoulder angle is changed and cases must be fire formed.  This is the reason that so many guys are opting for the 7mm/300 Win Mag.  Most shooters equate the ”practical” moniker with simple wildcats that are necked up or down from a parent case with no other changes.  Avoiding the need for fancy custom dies and lots of time at the reloading bench is what most shooters want from a practical conversion.

4D tells us that they have had a single reamer for the 7mm/300 Wincheser Magnum for a very long time.  “It rented once or twice a year until this spring.  Demand was so high we had to buy two more reamers to keep up and we still missed a few orders because guys did not want to wait.”

Foster’s starting loads below would work for either version of the cartridge as the case capacity is nearly identical.  His favorite powders for this cartridge is the very slow burning H1000 or Retumbo.  Yes- data is for both due to powder behavior in this case.

Bullet weight Start load Velocity Comment
162gr ELD-M 76 3200 Always reliable.
160gr TMK

162gr ELD-X

73.5 3200 Caution with TMK as bearing surface raises pressures. Caution with ELD-X and other heavy jacket bullets (pressures).
175 ELD-X 70 3050 Caution with this heavy jacket bullet (pressures).
180gr VLD 72 3050
180gr ELD-M 71 3000 Extremely accurate. Watch
for pressure spikes, approach 74gr with extreme caution.
195gr Berger EIEIO 70 2950




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CMP Announces that M1 Garands are BACK!

The Civilian Marksmanship Program has recently received containers full of vintage M1 Garand rifles long ago loaned to U.S. allies overseas.  Gina Johnson, CMP’s general manager stated that,  “The federally-chartered non-profit corporation has been moving the repatriated 30.06-caliber rifles into their warehouses.” in the final days of January, 2018.

Johnson also stated, “We have roughly 86,000 rifles from the Philippines and roughly 13,000 rifles from Turkey in our possession,”

The guns that returned from the Philippines have been in the news on many gun related web sites for quite a while. The State Department under Hilary Clinton blocked the return of these old war horses. CMP has kept the news on the Turkish M1s a little more quiet until now.

These vintage M1 Garand rifles, which the organization is authorized to sell to the public by Congress for safety training and marksmanship efforts around the country, is one of the biggest stockpiles the CMP has received for many years.

Not just anyone can buy from the CMP… You must show that you are eligible in order to place an order.  The CMP is careful to make sure applicable laws and regulations are followed for all transactions.


Most shooters have probably heard of the 1911 pistols recently released to the CMP, they are preparing to inventory M1911 pistols now as well.

In an update posted by the CMP January 29, 2018, the CMP announces that they have received 8,000 1911 type pistols from the Army.  They must first be inventoried and placed in secure storage.   This is where I laugh at all the keyboard commandos who have been spouting that they have no desire to own an old worn out 1911.  It’s my argument that these guys are just trying to talk down the price and scare of potential competition from even looking at the CMP site. Don’t let them fool you, there will be some awesome guns sold through this system.

An Army-approved building and armory infrastructure must be completed for the preparation of these guns for sale to the public, a process expected to take about 60 days. Once the facilities pass muster; inspection, test firing and grading can be completed. After that the guns can go up for sale, with CMP promising to post the order packets needed to buy the handguns 90 days prior to the order acceptance date and opening sales date.  So that potential buyers will have plenty of time to meet requirements.

In 2015, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, revealed that the military was and is spending about $2 per year per gun, to store 100,000 Model 1911s that are surplus to the Army’s needs.  Production of 1911’s for military contracts largely ended by 1945, meaning the guns in storage likely date to the World War II-era or earlier.  Many of the pistols have been stored  for over 30 years. They were withdrawn from service during the 1980s in favor of the then-new Beretta 92F (M9).

The Department of Defense’s 1033 Program allows eligible law enforcement agencies to apply for up to one pistol per full-time officer.  Approximately 8,300 of the stored 1911s have been sold or loaned in recent years under the 1033 Program.  So there are alot of handguns in storage that can be eventually sold through the CMP assuming the pilot program is a success and politicians continue to support the sales.

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Streak™ Visual Ammunition

I go to SHOT Show nearly every year to keep up with what is new and maintain those industry contacts that we need just to do business.  This year I came a couple of days early so I could attend the Anteris Alliance, “Try & Buy”.  This is only the second year for this new event and it is not affiliated in anyway with the SHOT, just happens during the same week for what should be obvious advantages for all attending.

The Try & Buy is made up mostly of Anteris Alliance Members who are there showing their wares and building business contacts.  One of the big differences from my point of view is the fact that many of the companies are small, often family owned and operated.  Which means the are working hard to meet customer needs and satisfaction. Even more important in my mind is the ingenuity and creativity they display.

Big companies have huge resources and can do amazing things to serve the buying public. But, small companies are much more nimble and not only can, but must adapt to a changing market quickly to survive.  As a result often these smaller outfits come up with really cool products that deserve wide distribution and press.

Ammunition Incorporated is probably a little bigger than many of the alliance members, many of you may already know their products.  For instance these are the guys that make the Jesse James line if ammunition.  They also have several proprietary lines of ammunition.  Stealth is subsonic, OPS™ or One Precise Shot is their self  defense and LE duty ammunition.

STREAK™ is a NEXT – GENERATION “Non-Flammable” visual “tracer style” ammunition, which is a non-incendiary round, safe for indoor and outdoor use. This round allows the shooter to keep a visual on the projectiles path towards the target which is great for training as well as exciting to shoot.  The dusk demo of this product was fun to watch, there is phosphor material boned to the base of the bullet and the burning of the powder provides a light charge so that the tracer glows.

The light can only be seen from the shooters point of view with a pretty narrow cone in which observers can see the trace as well.  Since it’s  not an incendiary there should  be little or no restrictions on this ammo in most locals.  Of course its up to you to know your local laws.

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RCBS, Brass Boss, Case Prep Machine

RCBS, the popular manufacturer of ammunition reloading equipment for rifles and pistols, will launch a new product to dealers at booth 14551 at the 2018 Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, January 23 to 26.  If your selling reloading gear this is a tool to check out at the show.

Quality handloads start with quality brass, and the new Brass Boss is a tool designed to make that work easier. Getting brass ready to reload used to be a long, arduous process. No more. The Brass Boss features six variable speeds, rotating stations that completely prepare trimmed brass for reloading, all in one machine. The Brass Boss includes tools for all six stations: an inside VLD chamfering tool, outside deburring tool, primer pocket cleaner (small & large), military crimp remover (small & large), case neck brushes (four diameters) and a tub of dry case neck lubricant. Designed to save time, elbow grease and process brass efficiently and uniformly the Brass Boss looks like a work horse.

MSRP of $189.95.BrassBoss_LG

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North American Arms, Ranger II

2018 SHOT Show release.

The Ranger II is a tip up action.  If you love those old “Lemon Sqeezers” and other top break action revolvers.  Here is a chance to have a brand new gun of good quality.  Available in either a convert able with two cylinders for 22 LR and 22 Magnum.  Or there is a single cylinder version in 22 Magnum only.

Naturally NAA is already providing accessories for the Ranger II like holsters and Branded Gun rugs.

Why Ranger II?   Well some of you might remember back in 2012, North American Arms (NAA) released a limited run of the Ranger break-top Mini revolver. Inspired by the Navy Schofield Founder’s Model .45 Colt.  Save for the fact that is was expensive to produce compared to other guns in the line, it was a hit with critics and consumers alike. Then the Ranger was discontinued and work began on a more competitively price Ranger II. NAA’s long awaited break-top was originally expected in 2016, it’s finally in production as of the NASGW Expo.   This will be one to check out at SHOT Show.

Caliber: .22 Magnum or convert able to 22 LR
Capacity: 5
Length: 5.16″
Height: 2.81″
Width: 1.06″
Weight: 6.9 oz.
Barrel Length: 1.63″
Sights: Bead Sight
Action: Single Action
Grips: Rosewood Bird’s Head NAA-22MC-BTII 22 Magnum, Ranger II Break-Top – 1 5/8″ Barrel

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Swedish Invade the U.S.

Well, in the economic sense at least.

Perhaps some of you have been under a rock the last ten years or so and have not noticed the increase in desire for what I like to call, #TactiCool rifles.  Basically that means everybody is trying to make rifles look like and AR, AK, or PRS type of gun.

So, that calls for all kinds of widgets and whizzbang goodies that look like you could snap it on and AR and be the coolest new kid at the range.  Now of course some of these products have real value and perform as designed.  I think I found one that I will be looking for at SHOT Show, in fact I liked it so much I made an appointment to see it.  Total confession I don’t make many appointments, mostly I just come and go as I please, there is so much going on that it can be hard to make it to an appointment at a set time.

Stop blathering and tell us what it is already…  Yes, I can hear you saying that.

Well, this is a gunsmithing blog after all.  So this is an item that a gunsmith might offer to the #TactiCool crowd and make more money.  Best of all it is professional in design and installation, so it makes us all look good.  Seller and buyer.

Kalix Teknik Inc. is the home of this product with two model variations called the CR1 and CR2.  The CR1 is a product for the market I described at the beginning of this post.  Long range and PRS (Precision Rifle Series) shooters will like this adjustable cheek piece.  “What’s new about that?” you ask.  Mainly that it is a high quality unit that can be added to and existing gun.  The company even offers a jig for gunsmiths for fast and accurate installation.

The CR2 will be more of a sporting version that shooters have seen on shotguns and rifles in the past.  The CR2 is a hidden installation with no exterior knobs or screws on the stock.  In the video below the mechanism is demonstrated on a sporter stock.  Note that no tools are required to adjust or lock the cheek piece at the desired height.


Finally, here is the jig they offer.


The stock is placed in the fixture for that CR1 can be installed.

I will let you know what I find out at the show…


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Gun Safety and Children

The Month of June is:

Project ChildSafe’s Friends & Family Campaign

Just recently, I watched my adult son working with his 5 year old, my youngest grandson. He was showing him the single shot rifle built by me many years ago to teach my kids to shoot.  Of course it was cool to see the gun being used by another generation.  But even better, as my son spoke, I heard the gun safety speech that I gave him over 20 years earlier.  Now that is a legacy I am proud of.


My little grandson looked up into his Dad’s face and told him before his pop could even start the safety lesson, “You have to ask permission to touch a gun.”  That tells you that he has already learned a valuable gun safety lesson and knows it will be enforced.

During the Month of June the NSSF is sponsoring a campaign the teach gun safety to the next generation.  Get involved, go to their site and learn more about how you can help your family be safe with firearms.   Oh, did I mention there is a chance to win some cool stuff too?

Firearms have given me a wonderful career and hobby.  Respect for and attention to the safe use and handling of firearms insures the safety of the shooter as well as anyone in range.  Think, and be safe.

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FVCC Announces registration for Firearms Program


Learn to build guns in a challenging program that really delivers.

Fall of 2017 the Firearms Technology Certificate program at Flathead Valley Community College is well established.  This will be the fourth year for this one of a kind program. This is the only such program in the United States and in 2016 was expanded to accommodate 16 full time students.

If you want to work in firearms manufacturing , this is the program.  Designed to help machinists gain skills and a “vocabulary” for the firearms manufacturing field, ultimately making them more employable.  The courses are constructed specifically to give the student a mechanical and ballistic understanding of firearms so that they comprehend how the parts they are building fit into the firearm system.  Issue like headspace, chamber pressure, accuracy and manufacturing tolerances are a major focus.

Employers have stated that this program give students the building blocks they need to be valuable in the firearms building business.

The instructor is quoted as saying, “This is a truly challenging and informative program. Students can come away with a wealth of knowledge and tools if they choose to apply themselves.  There is nothing more satisfying than sharing knowledge and giving someone with passion a leg up on the firearms trade.” Measure the bore to work with the reamer.

Click here to go to the College web site for more info.

Here are a couple of news item on the program.

Clean that barrel for accuracy

To register for the program, contact Will Richards at
756-4862 or

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22 Nosler

Just in time for SHOT Show 2017 Nosler announced the release of the 22 Nosler®, a cartridge designed to transform any standard AR-15 into the fastest, most powerful .22 caliber available for the platform.

This addition to Nosler’s cartridge family, delivers 30% more energy and is nearly 300 fps faster than a 223 Remington/ 5.56 NATO.


22 Nosler’s case design takes advantage of the AR-15’s unparalleled modular design, making the conversion from a standard 223 Remington/ 5.56 NATO to the 22 Nosler® simple with the least amount of modification. Simply swap out the upper to the new chambering, switch to a 6.8 Rem SPC magazine and use your existing 223 bolt carrier group.

The AR-15 is indisputably one of the most popular firearms among shooting enthusiasts across the globe” said John Nosler, Executive Vice President for the company. “While there are other hard-hitting cartridges that exist for the platform, as far as .22 caliber is concerned, nothing compares to the performance of our newly engineered 22 Nosler case.” Approaching 22-250 velocities in a significantly smaller package the 22 Nosler will attract many new shooters.

The 22 Nosler® is a SAAMI standardized cartridge making for consistent brass and chamber dimensions industry wide. The company will be supporting the new cartridge with Nosler® Brass and ammunition, with plans to chamber their full line of M48 bolt action rifles in 24” barrel configurations in the future.

Nosler® Trophy Grade™ Ammunition— 55gr. Ballistic Tip
–    3,500 fps (24” SAAMI test bbl) | 3,350 fps (18” gas-op semi auto)

Nosler® Match Grade™ Ammunition— 77gr. Custom Competition
–    3,100 fps (24” SAAMI test bbl) | 2,950 fps (18” gas-op semi auto)

4D Reamer Rentals LTD has already ordered reamers and gauges for this cartridge.  This will make custom gunsmiths and their customers happy.


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Remington Agrees to Replace Triggers

Remington has manufactured millions of rifles on the basic Remington 700 pattern over the years (about 7.85 million by one report).  At least two class action law suits are included in this settlement filed in Federal Court.  Settlement announce December 5th, 2014.

The settlement covers the Model 700, Seven, Sportsman 78, 673, 710, 715, 770, 600, 660, XP-100, 721, 722 and 725.  Any person who owns one of these rifles may if they so choose have the trigger replaced by Remington.

In Remington’s Quarterly report to investors in September of 2014, Remington revealed it had set aside $29.7 million in what the company called a “Model 700 settlement reserve.”

Watch the CNBC report: Remington 700 triggers to be replaced.

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