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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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.

Mfix_kalixteknik

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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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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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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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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Gunsmithing Student Handbook Series; Comes to the Market in Time for SHOT Show 2018

cover

The first book in the new series of Gunsmithing Student manuals is Chambering for Ackley Cartridges.  Fred Zeglin the author says, “I have been teaching gunsmithing for some time and with my experience in wildcat cartridges and dealing with clients it became painfully obvious to me that that material available to reloader, gunsmiths and the like are spread far and wide and do not tell the complete story of the mechanics of headspace in firearms.”

Zeglin went on the talk about the fact that Ackley Improved cartidges seem to receive the most mishandling both in the gunsmith trade and by reloaders who do not understand the simple headpsace method that P.O. Ackley set up very early in his career.

Ackley was no fool, he set up a method that is easy to use and will produce both safe and accurate fire-forming of ammunition.  There have probably been hundreds of articles written that tout the value of the Ackley Improved principle that allows the firing of factory ammunition for the parent case in the chamber of an Ackley Improved rifle.  Unfortunately, many folks refuse to read Ackley’s simple instructions so they end up trying to set headspace without proper understanding of the process.  Both professional and hobby gunsmiths are guilty of this.

Prove it you say…  OK, call any die maker and ask them for dies for an Ackley Improved cartridge.  They will ask you for a chamber or reamer print before they ship the dies.  Quality Cartridge is a maker of custom head stamped brass.  The owner Pete tells me he will not ship brass for Ackley designs unless he has fired cases from the clients gun, this is simply because of poor headspacing by gunsmiths, or the reloader who does not understand how his dies are adjustable.

In this booklet that kicks off the new series of gunsmithing instruction books, Zeglin clearly and without mincing words tells the reader how to correctly headspace any Ackley Cartridge.  It’s not a book about how to ream a chamber but rather about the finesse that should be applied during the process to insure accuracy and longevity of the firearm.

There is a book on how to ream a chamber that will be out in 2018.  That title is the third book in this series and Zeglin invited well known Bench Rest Gunsmith Gordy Gritters to co-author that book with him.    That will be the book you need you want to understand what it takes to make a rifle shoot, you know we all want those tiny little groups!  Watch for a follow up about that book here in the future.

coverThe second title in the series is coming out now as well, it is called, “Understanding Headspace for Firearms”  Where the first title is narrowly focused on Ackley designs this title will help the reloader and/or gunsmithing student to understand headspace no matter what firearm you are looking at.

Zeglin is pretty easy going about his work and tells us he fully expects to hear criticism over anything that was not covered thoroughly enough or heaven forbid, missed all together.  He says he expects to start the second edition for these manuals as questions start to roll in.

These titles are available from www.4drentals.com

There is a review of the first two books on GunsAndGunsmiths.com

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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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