Hi all, I hope this news letter finds you well.
This is just a brief news letter to let everyone know (especially wives) that we are near our deadline for Christmas book deliveries (postal services slowing down under heavy workloads). If you are wanting to buy a book set for a friend or partner for Christmas, please consider making this purchase within the next few days.
Note also that if you are concerned about delivery at this time, you might (again speaking to wives) like to consider the paperback + ebook version of the books. This will ensure that you have an immediate copy of the ebook files (zip folder – pdf, epub, mobi) which can be hidden away on a hard drive until Christmas day.
Please click here to shop for books (link to entire collection 25% discount).
What else has been happening? Well its been a challenging year for us. I was laid up ill for several months and am just now starting to rebuild some strength. This slowed down progress a great deal but we can now finally look at getting back on track with our projects for the coming year.
As some of you know, I have for the last year or so been working with Dave Manson towards optimizing some of our traditional cartridge / reamer designs. The goal has been to enhance potential with modern projectiles for which these cartridges were never designed. We are now getting closer to finalizing these designs which include the .280, .280 AI, 7mm Rem Mag, .30-06, .30-06 AI and .300 Win Mag. I won’t say too much more at this stage but would simply like to raise an awareness of the new reamers for those planning builds for 2019. The reamers are for your benefit, to make life easier on barrel makers, the smiths who fit the barrels and the guys who then have to shoot the rifles. Ease of accuracy, power, magazine lengths and throat longevity have each been taken into consideration. Please do not email me with questions about these at this stage. When we are ready, I will release a highly deta iled newsletter with exact specs, OAL’s and so forth.
Dave and Ann at SHOT, early in the morning before the crowds arrive.
Note that we will be at SHOT in Las Vegas this coming January. David and Ann Manson have once again kindly offered to sponsor us at this event. The Manson booth is on the bottom floor and very easy to find. Simply walk in the main doors, set your gaze at about 2 O’clock and walk about 30 yards, you’ll see us there. https://shotshow.org
Would you like to hear me waffle on for an hour or so? The following is a podcast with Dave Byrnes, owner of the website Hunting Arete (Australia), dedicated to creating a positive and supportive network for hunters.
While assembling footage for our upcoming tutorial videos, we took a small section of footage and uploaded this to youtube, titled – Is it me, or is it my rifle? This is just a short video but highlights the importance of working through the basic variables. The rifle in question was a factory Remington M700 Long range Hunter chambered in 7mm Remington Magnum. The client had used the Accurizing book (see also Remington M700 troubleshooting video)to break the rifle in. Many of you will be interested to know that with regards to the bore, it required three throat lapping sessions to reduce fouling to a point where the rifle began to play ball. Following this, the client came to me for a tutorial with the goal of refining accuracy further. The youtube video is a small segment of this foo tage. Of the variables shown, please pay close attention to the issue of chamber tolerances versus brass tolerances, especially if you are using a suppressor which can cause carbon caking at the chamber. I would also like to remind each of you that concentricity needs to be considered a priority when working up accurate loads. If the bullet is not squarely aligned to the bore, accuracy will be poor. Those of you who wish to reach out long would do well to consider the likes of the Sinclair concentricity gauge as being at the top of your shopping list, above both dies and a press.
This video shows the 180 grain Hornady ELD-M in action. I have refrained from uploading this to a public channel as the footage is quite graphic. Therefore, please use the link above to navigate your way to this footage. It can also be found within my online article- The 7mm Practical.
Some old footage I recovered from a defunct camcorder. The quality and sound are terrible but those of you wanting to see a .375 RUM in action will enjoy it. In this video, I was testing the 300 grain Woodleigh PP. It was pushed far beyond its limits and if you look closely, you can see that there was a risk of over expansion (shallow penetration). Still, this load and others had to be tested. Once again, this is an unlisted video so you will need to use the link here to navigate to this video.
That’s about it for us. I hope each of you have a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas. Steph and I would like to extend a personal thanks to each of you for supporting us throughout 2018. We hope that you continue to find value in our research.
Until next year, All the best.
Well heck, it’s been a long time since my last blog post! I trust each of you are well, enjoying the summer if you are in the Northern hemisphere while we are layered up and hunkered down for winter in the south.
We have finally launched our Ruger M77 video bedding tutorial. This is an extremely highly detailed video in the hope that by taking maximum footage, the user can play the video while concurrently working on his rifle. Along with this, I wanted to provide extra footage due to the fact that bedding is just one aspect of the M77. By addressing all of the factors covered in the video, the shooter is in a much better position to extract maximum performance from the M77 platform. These really are a neat little rifle once they have had a work over and I really hope that those of you who watch the video find it highly rewarding. The video is currently priced at U.S $10 and is hosted with Vimeo.com as a 3 Month online rental.
Along with our M77 video, we have also launched a troubleshooting video for M700 owners (Subject rifle SPS Stainless 7mm Rem Mag). This was a completely organic video in which a customer sent us his rifle to rectify stubborn copper fouling. After bedding the rifle, the customer discovered that the rifle produced terrible groups due to the stubborn bore. This was a grand opportunity to study what can go wrong with the M700 rifle with regards to both DIY work and flaws within rifle production. To help give the video structure, I have used the chapters of the Accurizing book as reference steps for the video. This footage also works in conjunction with our free Remington bedding tutorials hosted on youtube.
Those who have watched the M700 Troubleshooting draft have stated that this is one of the most helpful videos on DIY accurizing that they have ever watched. This video is perfectly suited to those just getting into the accuracy game as it covers the initial factory rifle set up, the barrel break in, followed by what to do when things go wrong – and a lot of things went wrong in this video which was absolute gold for learning. And best of all, it had a very happy ending.
Recently I revived a rifle from my youth, my old Long Branch N0.4 Mk 1 Lee Enfield. This rifle was badly in need of a new barrel while at the same time, I was in need of an accurate test barrel in 7.62x54R - the ‘almost a short magnum’ which has served the Russian military for so long. My old Long Branch was at one time fairly accurate but it would always be somewhat of a gamble as to how truly accurate it could be with a new barrel. Sometimes you just have to take a punt.
The new barrel was duly made and fitted by Grant Lovelock, co-owner of True-Flite barrels. To get the cartridges feeding, I had to lift the rear lips of the magazine just a touch and then sand the inner mag box just enough to ensure it was burr free. Following this, I jacked a round from the magazine towards the breach, at which point the fat case became hung up about a halfway into the chamber. With just the lightest filing on the feed rails, removing only about .5mm / 20 thou on each side, the cartridges fed nicely. After this, I gave the rifle a very basic bedding job. At the range, following the initial break in, the rifle shot at or just over MOA with Ordnance ammunition – Thanks Grant, you never cease to amaze me.
In the old days, we used to purchase .303 ammunition by the bandolier (from memory about 50 rounds). The Enfield was the rifle we utilized to learn marksmanship, how to hunt and for some of us, how to cull. But the days of cheap .303 ammo are long gone. Rebarreling the Enfield to the Russian potentially opens up ammo options. But alas, as I type these words, it is now becoming difficult to obtain Russian ammunition due to current global politics. Perhaps this will blow over in time. Failing this, perhaps we will one day have new options under the Hornady Black label. In any case, the Enfield Russian was a success, yielding 2560fps at the muzzle with 174gr FMJ ammunition.
Having had so much fun bringing this old rifle back to life, prospective clients will be happy to know that I am on occasion adding this rifle to the mix during tutorials. Why? Because with its extremely poor ergonomic form (thanks to the high optic mounts), the short length of pull and brass butt plate, this rifle puts technique into perspective. If the rifle is held correctly, it’s recoil is easily tolerable. But if it not held correctly, lessons are literally hammered home via pain. It is a rifle which ends all arguments over technique. Either you can shoot it, or you cannot.
During testing I have found that if the client adopts a solid method involving truly transferable skills, the client can switch from his rifle to this rifle and be dead on out at 600 to 700 yards without having to check the 100 yards zero for the Enfield. Such a rifle can also teach us what really matters when it comes to spending. For example, the factors of most importance have been an acceptable action, an excellent barrel, good epoxy bedding, suitable optics (in this case I utilized a Sightron scope) and solid technique. In contrast to this, a guy can spend a whole pile of money on tactical kit and still not achieve this outcome. This does not mean to say that I am into taking the cheapest budget plastic junk rifle you can find and expect expert results. Instead, its about putting the onus on ourselves to take the steps necessary to achieve excellent accuracy. As I have said time and again, you cannot buy the shot. Such an approach is never rewarding, lacking the flavor of success through self-discovery.
On a sadder note and as of this blog, we are no longer shipping our kits to international destinations. The rules and regulations of international shipping along with additional costs have simply become too difficult for us to navigate. I would like to offer my sincere apologies to those of you who have come to rely on our bedding products. The books will continue to be available worldwide along with our instructional videos and 7mm Practical die kits (packaged simply as tooling dies). I have really enjoyed working with those of you who utilized skype as a buddy platform. It was a joy to see these projects come together. New Zealand customers, please note that the Bedding product pages will be down for a few days while we make the necessary changes to the website shipping options matrix.
I never thought there could be such a thing as wildcat spam but there you go. Recently it was brought to my attention that somebody has created a reamer called the 7mm Practical Improved. Unlike my own cartridge, it is based on the shorter 7mm Rem Mag, but then shortened again before being improved, resulting in a rather low case capacity. Unfortunately, by using the name Practical (Impractical would have been better considering the case forming difficulties!) there is a potential for mix ups. Customers are therefore advised that in order to avoid confusion, please purchase your 7mm Practical reamers from David Manson reamers. These reamers are batched produced with no deviation within the design. The Manson Practical reamer is fully enhanced for both power, accuracy, and OAL’s versus mag lengths versus wear.
Over the past so many months, I have been working with David Manson towards the creation of a group of reamers with enhanced accuracy potential (and in one instance enhanced power potential) for some of our standard cartridges. These cartridges are well known but based on my research are long overdue for an overhaul. It is my greatest hope that these reamers will help barrel makers, gunsmiths and shooters to achieve better results with modern projectile designs and in doing so, help ensure positive relationships between each of these groups of people. We still have a way to go with these designs and I will report with a fresh blog post as soon as the reamers are in production.
Well, that’s about all for now. Both Steph and I wish you all the very best.
For those of you who do not have time to read this post, a brief of the contents are as follows:
Hi to all and my apologies for the recent chain of blog post emails. This post is for those who asked to be notified when we had our 7mm Practical die sets ready for sale. The dies are now finally ready in limited quantities on our website. Please click here if you wish to be redirected to the die shopping page.
U.S readers are advised to source dies from Manson Reamers. Dies purchased from us will incur double shipping and import duties having traveled to New Zealand and back again so again, please utilize Manson Reamers to purchase your dies.
For those of you who are not yet familiar with the 7mm Practical, our online article can be found by clicking here. For more detailed information on using the 7mm Practical at long ranges, please seek guidance within my book series (click here to view full series).
Note that we only have a limited supply of dies as we test the waters for this. There is much we have to learn here so please be patient as we explore how we are to best meet customer needs.
As many of you are already aware, we are now offering video tutorials, ideal for those who need visual aids beyond what is shown in the books. Video rental is still very new to us. One of the more difficult aspects of this was trying to figure out a fair price for the standard 3 month rental. On the one hand, I am offering information not found elsewhere, sharing many years of experience. On the other hand, what difference does this make to a would-be buyer who does not know whether the videos will truly help - where is the proof? Does Nathan Foster really know what he is talking about? One thing I do know is that those who purchase the book series from hard earned income generally excel in their path while those who are given the books or have them on loan, tend to skim read and often flounder. Very interesting for sure. In any case, for this week, we would like to offer both the Ruger American Accuracy video and our Tikka set up video at a heavily discounted price (50% o ff) in the hope of generating further interest. If you have been sitting on the fence and are not sure about the entire Vimeo / video process, now is the time to give it a go. The funds from this help us to continue doing what we do. We would also appreciate any supportive comments in the Vimeo feedback tab if you have time to write something after watching the videos.
Links and codes (ends Oct 9):
1. The Ruger American - Accuracy and trouble shooting: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/rugeramerican
Please use promo code: RUGERSAVE50
2. The Tikka rifle - How to set it up, break it in and shoot it straight: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/accuratetikka
Please use Promo code: TIKKASAVE50
I managed to wade my way through another podcast interview. I am hoping that we will do this again soon as there are several subjects that I feel I could have answered better or in more detail (hind sight) so if the host is willing and if time allows, expect a part 2 at some stage in the future.
To listen to the interview, click here or cut and paste the following link:
To view this on Vimeo (free) with a slideshow, please click here or cut and past the following link:
Many of you will also be interested to hear that we had David and Ann Manson visit here this last week. David Manson took an interest in our work some time ago. Believing that we had something of value to offer the worldwide hunting community, David sponsored our trip to the SHOT show, kindly sharing his booth with Steph and I. Now finally we would have a chance to hunt together.
David has also for some time been interested in the 7mm Practical and has helped me to standardize the reamer design for batch production. While visiting New Zealand, Dave was very keen to have Grant Lovelock at True-Flite, build him one of our original style rifles featuring True-Flite’s spectacularly accurate 4 groove 9 twist barrel design.
With the rifle delivered to True-Flite for its reno, Dave, along with my hunting buddy Kelvin and I hit the hills. However, as my Kiwi readers will be well aware, the weather was hell to say the very least. Nevertheless, we got off to a great start and Dave was a very lucky man.
The first animal down was a feral cattle beast, taken with my beloved .375 RUM. However, before you conjure up any romantic images of this hunt, I must tell you that although I had hoped to hunt the bull in his native surroundings, he had been sneaking out each night onto regular farm land to steal cows and enjoy some farm fresh pasture. On this final day, he took it too far, thinking he might stay a while, certainly good for meat retrieval but not exactly a wilderness hunt. To the outside observer, the bull having left the thick bush he was living in and broken through the farm boundary fence, now looked like any bull in a farm paddock. The trick would be to take him down at the request of a neighboring land holder without having him completely tear down the boundary fence should he attempt to head back into the wilderness.
My favorite rig for scrub cattle is the .375 RUM loaded with either the 300 grain Woodleigh PP between 2950fps and 3000fps or a 270 grain Barnes TSX loaded to between 3100 and 3150fps. But for some time I had been using this rifle with another barrel and had only just refitted the .375 pipe, guessing that the bull would have to be dealt with but thinking I would have some time up my sleeves. I had only just finished making up some ‘soft loads’ to get started again, going around 2800fps, nice and easy on the shoulder without a brake, provided the rifle fits well. For you young guys who have yet to experience such things, yes - a 300 grain bullet at 2800fps can be easy on the shoulder if you combine a good rifle design of sufficient weight with good form. In any case, here we were with an unexpected feral visitor weighing a minimum 600kg (1300lb), 10 minutes notice, mild loads and no chance to stalk inside 150 yards. The impact velocity would be just below 2600fp s.
The bull was lightly quartering on, head towards us, no good for a neck shot, the land holder also wanted the head undamaged. The shoulder would do nicely. Dave lined up and took the shot, the bullet struck dead center of the shoulder, the bull jumped but did nothing more than face up again. We waited for a moment to see if he would collapse then Dave took yet another shot. He jumped again, then bolted a short way. It was about now that I started to curse. I was playing back up with the .358 Norma but again, I did not have the loads on hand that I would have preferred. Instead, I was loaded with the 225 grain Sierra just on 2900fps, a load that Steph likes to tote around once in a while. I had to do something so I zig zagged in, never making eye contact or making a direct approach. After some distance I was able to flank him. A quick glance let me know that he was hit well but the result was more like a broadhead shot when bow hunting due to the low impact velocity. I need ed this guy down now. At around 30 yards I could see his neck and so I dropped to one knee and pulled the trigger on him. The Gameking bullet (not designed for such things) just managed to reach the spine. Finally - he was down.
A little less gore in Sepia.
Following this first round of excitement, we finally managed to get into the hills to spend a couple of days with the 7mm Practical. But due to the weather, access to the back valleys was impossible and game opportunities few and far between. At one point I sunk thigh deep in mud while trying to find a pass through to the areas both Kelvin and I were so keen to explore. Yes, it gets that wet and muddy here. Still, Dave was a champion, taking the cold, wet spring weather and mud in his stride. Kelvin spent a great deal of time glassing for pigs… while also managing to describe my epic fails at track clearing with home made dynamite in the old days and how it was a miracle that I ever managed to father a daughter after one exciting episode. Not long after this, Kelvin spied a small mob of pigs way out in a basin from our ridgeline position. Dave managed to take a single well placed head shot on a porker pig at 670 yards, shooting the Practical over his day pack. The s ecret to his shooting technique was a portable Amish style tactical beard. He kept this in the side pouch of his day pack.
A clean 670 yard shot with the Practical and 180gr ELD-M.
David also took a few feral goats which when hit with the Practical, went down so quickly that he thought he had missed.
“Are you sure I hit that, I think I missed”
“What do you mean missed - how dare you insult the Practical”
(Sarcastically) - “oh, so it completely vaporizes them into thin air”
“No, he’s down, he fell into the dead ground out of view… cheeky bastard”
It’s a funny thing, a difficult hunt with a good dose of mud, rain and cold really allows you to get to know a guy. You know what I am talking about, away from the internet, social masks and all of the fanfare. David Manson is simply a great guy to spend time with in the hills, a gentleman, down to earth. He guts his own kills, is serious about accuracy yet with a great sense of humor. He has endless energy and a contagious enthusiasm for all that he does. Both Kelvin and I very much enjoyed this time with him as did Riley (I had to tell both Dave and Riley off several times). David’s wife Ann is also a wonderful soul though not so keen on the knee-deep mud side of things. Fortunately, Steph and Ann worked out their own series of adventures which I am sure were just as exciting as our “hell I can’t stop shivering” experiences.
Good friends. David Manson (left) with my regular hunting buddy Kelvin and my dog Sarge.
Following our time in the hills, we hit the road and went to the Sika show in Taupo. This was a great chance to meet up with readers and shoot the breeze. We did not have a booth (I remained a moving target) which allowed us to mingle in a more relaxed manner. The Sika show also rounded off David’s visit, where we met Grant Lovelock with the rebarreled 7mm Practical, the rifle finally coming together with the purchase of one of Clive Judd’s Precision Platforms stocks - the assembled rifle now very much a Kiwi build.
Left to right, Grant Lovelock, Clive Judd, David Manson.
I suppose one could say that I am a bit of a black sheep within the industry, always was and probably will be forever more. Clive Judd is following an equally difficult path. I watched as customers came to the booth, held his stocks in the most awkward of manners and asked their many questions. At one point, I simply had to intervene. “Sir, what you think you want and what you need in order to achieve what you want are two completely different things. There are many gun and stock makers that will cater to what you want, but this man is making what you need, even if what he appears to be doing is quite different from the crowd.” And being the utterly terrible salesman that I am, I ended with, “perhaps you might want to go for a walk and think about this”.
The market for rifles (or any product) must at some stage reach a peak, after which there is little room for innovation. At that point, you may find divergence away from the central concept or the epitome of the design. Different = new = sales. In some cases, the design of a rifle never even reaches its peak before it is changed. The product is not better, it is simply different. After this, other manufacturers see that they are losing sales to those manufacturers who have made something different and then suddenly, everybody is hell bent on this one direction in design - away from the optimal. And because everybody is doing it, the buyer believes that this direction must therefore be the right direction. This completely galvanizes the market and sets new norms.
Then along comes somebody like myself, the elephant in the room, attempting to teach the ‘optimal’. But within the context of the current market, this simply appears to be grossly alien. Such is the path that Clive has chosen and good on him for doing so. Speaking from experience, this is no easy thing. But every punch he takes in the ring will fuel that fire in his belly. Just keep on poking that tiger.
Well, enough bull dust from me.
All the best in your endeavors, and remember, if you are having problems with a gun but are sticking it out, then you are learning. We learn by doing and by making mistakes. The more mistakes we make, the more we learn. As people, we are at our happiest when we have overcome challenges. To be sure, there are tough days when we want to give up, but the feeling of triumph when we finally achieve a successful result is a truly great thing. You cannot buy the shot. Those that do will never experience that true feeling of success. In this game, the results of your happiness depend purely on your efforts.
Finally, I want to thank all of you who have been supporting us thus far. Your kindness is truly and fully appreciated. Steph and I are so very grateful to each and every one of you for helping us along. Without you, none of this would have been possible so thank you.
This year, we attended SHOT for our first time thanks to the kind sponsorship of Dave Manson (Manson Reamers). To say that the event was overwhelming is an understatement. SHOT brought in 65,000 visitors, all crammed under the one roof over the space of four days. The event was so large that I only viewed around one third of the booths while trying to juggle time in our booth versus the time I needed to meet up with other specific booth holders.
Our sponsors Dave and Ann Manson with Steph and Riley. Kids were not allowed at the event so Steph missed much of SHOT.
Tight security as we approached the event.
The general feel of the event was very positive, reaching a climax when the new U.S president was inaugurated to the cheers of attendees that could be heard throughout the convention center.
As many of you know, the subjects and methods I teach are at times at loggerheads with this industry so I was interested to see what kind of a response we would receive and I put a good deal of time into observation of general trends. In talking to attendees, I felt that many hunters / shooters are now beginning to see through some of the gimmicks of the industry. I met people who had been sucked into past rifle and bullet designs, had learned the hard way and wanted to move forwards. This was all good verification on the back of the release of my second edition cartridges book. I also loved the matter of fact style of communication from Texas visitors.
Our booth with Manson reamers. UK gunsmith Mike Norris (multicam pack) and his wife stand to the side watching the foot traffic flow.
As time allowed, I was able to visit several booths of interest to me. To begin with, I met with Sierra Bullet staff who were immensely responsive to the research in my Long Range Cartridges book. I do very much hope to be able to contribute to the work Sierra are doing so that we as hunters can have the very best in bullet designs. I also met up with Dustin Worrell from DRT bullets, another bullet maker who I believe is doing great things. This company very much needs support from customers so that it can grow, expand (new bullet designs / calibers) and flourish long term. I was also able to meet with Hornady Staff members Mitch Middlestaed, Neil Emery (no relation to Dave) and Hornady’s senior ballistician Dave Emary. This was a highlight for me due to the fact that many years ago, though Dave may not remember, he helped me along during my initial learning phase. I could tell that being put on display for fans at SHOT was very hard on Dave (and others) yet he remained willing. When speaking of his past he stated - “I was such a nerd as a kid yet I was completely shit at maths. I just wanted to blow shit up. My father didn’t know what the hell to think”. But with great perseverance, Dave managed to overcome the many challenges of his trade and achieve mastery. It felt good to meet someone I was on the same page with. While speaking of one particular brand of rifle, I was about to mention my expected group sizes (out of the box) when Dave finished my sentence stating 2.5 MOA. This pleased me no end because I often hear of greatly exaggerated claims with this rifle out of the box. By the same token, I quite like these rifles, they simply need a good work over (bedding, trigger, lugs) before one can really get down to business. Again, Dave was on the same page, an everyday down to earth guy who has walked the walk. Dave also relayed some of his crazy experiences from earlier years when he did finally get a chance to 'blow shit up'. It was a very interesting chat.
Myself and Dave Emary, senior ballistician for Hornady.
Later in the event I got to talk with folk from Cutting Edge and also Lehigh. In both instances it was interesting to see that these homogenous copper bullet makers have come to understand the need for a bullet that loses some weight and SD as a means to maximize energy transfer. A main factor has been the .300 Blackout which can be a hopeless hunting cartridge if used with the wrong bullet design. This has pushed many bullet makers towards a deeper understanding of terminal performance. Prior to this, I felt that too much emphasis was placed more on getting the bullet to reach its target and generally expand to create a 'nice looking' mushroom. I very much liked the fact that Lehigh utilize a wide meplat for maximum energy transfer across all of their bullet designs. This is about doing what is right rather than doing what is fashionable (e.g maximum BC).
Funky bullet designs from Cutting edge. Note the heavy notches and wide hollow points (including behind Raptor polymer tips).
Cutting Edge Laser.
Cutting Edge are also using wide meplats but with polymer tips to boost BC’s, the Raptor line is for general hunting, the Laser line for long ranges. Cutting Edge also produce an extreme range bullet, but I am dubious as to its killing prowess on lean bodied deer at very low velocities due to the very small meplat on this bullet deign. I really need to test all of these for myself (as opposed to studying gel blocks and photos) to make further comments. The one factor I loved about both companies is that when I asked if it would be possible to order enhanced designs, both companies offered me custom options provided bullets are ordered in a decent quantity to justify CNC set up time. In plain terms, a distributor can ask for an extra deep hollow point bullet design. I cannot really go into more detail within this space but those who have read my books will understand the potential of this and how any loss in SD / penetration can be overcome via other factors. Please remember this as it is there for the taking. If you are a distributor wanting something with an edge to it, you may wish to consider an extra deep HP design and you are most welcome to put my name on it as a Foster style optimum long range killing bullet.
Justin Evans from Lehigh defense. I am holding the latest Blackout bullet from Lehigh, showing performance at 1400fps.
Close up of the Lehigh .300 Blackout bullet. The meplat is unashamedly large and deliberately weakened to maximize performance. It is no good being able to hit a live target if you can't kill it and to this end, the BC of a bullet must always be considered secondary regardless of what others may have you believe.
Further within the labyrinth of SHOT, I came across the NZ made Annealing Made Perfect case annealing machine http://www.ampannealing.com/. This really is an amazing little machine and it is no wonder that the manufacturer is fully booked with orders. I had been aware of this company for some time but it was not until SHOT that I was finally able to meet with Co-owner Matt Findlay.
I was also fortunate enough to meet Karl Lewis of Lewis Machine and Tool. The NZ army recently adopted LMT rifles as a replacement for the Steyr. LMT are a highly respected maker of reliable and accurate weaponry and it is very good to know that our soldiers are now being issued with this kit. While visiting, Karl could not help but show off the Compressor rifle, an extremely short AR-15 platform rifle coming in at just 24.5”. The system is such that our NZ rifles can be changed over to this configuration should various situations demand it. There was of course the duller side of SHOT which involved black rifles in just about every aisle. Many passers by complained to me that they were utterly sick of seeing hand guards and add-ons from booth to booth. Tactical bolt action rifles were also the rage. The hardest to find was a rifle that was neither welter weight with a piddly thin barrel or extremely heavy and cumbersome, such are the current extremes.
I also managed a visit to Bell & Carlson which proved fruitful. Those of you who are into bedding rifles for optimum accuracy will be glad to know that B&C are open to the idea of a floating lug in the B&C Tikka T3 stock if customers want it. This may however require you as readers to email B&C as a show of hands. Those of you who are into Tikka rifles may want to get onto this now while my conversations with B&C are still fresh. Howa shooters will be pleased to know that B&C now (finally) make a straight recoiling stock for the Howa action as a deviation from the basic Weatherby Vanguard stock shape. Per chance I bumped into the Weatherby stand and popped the question as to “when are you guys going to ditch your recoil increasing stock design” to which the salesman replied, “yeah, it kicks like hell but it’s our trademark look and we won’t be changing it any time soon”. I find this very odd considering that these companies blow vast amounts of money trying to find new ways to sell rifles, yet overlook the basics. Getting back to B&C - I really appreciated the no-bullshit response I got when I said that many rifles need epoxy bedding no matter how hard the stock maker tries for a perfect fit. I appreciated not being been given a pile of fantastical magical fit drivel.
Across at Shilen I discovered that this company are now making a rifle action (M700 clone) with a Savage type barrel nut, allowing end users to swap out barrels provided they have appropriate head spacing tools. This is certainly a clever way to deliver products to customers while at the same time, empowering the end user.
There were many tactical rifles at SHOT as one might expect. Here we see the Accuracy International for fans of Lego. These are the latest weapon from AI after a successful run of the Bob the Builder "fits like a rough sawn 2x4" stock design. More shit to get your pack straps caught up in. The posters were pretty cool.
Away from the booth, I tried my best to gather information, study recovered bullets and photos provided by companies. I spoke to several other companies including a fast feedback session with Sightron and a quick trip to Leica. Within the booth, I sat with my own readers and peers, discussing all manner of subjects. None of this would have happened for us without the kindness of Dave and Ann Manson. Dave is highly respected within the industry, has a quick wit and is as sharp as a tack. It was interesting to watch him as customers asked questions about reamer dimensions. Dave is the type to retain numbers in his head and could answer tech questions on the fly, whether the punter was asking about standard cartridge dimensions or potential wildcat creations. Dave also introduced Riley to Silly Putty which I had heard of but never seen. Talk about hours of entertainment for kids. Ann is yet another brave woman who makes such businesses happen. Like Steph, her work load over the years has been immense, yet she holds fast at the helm no matter the weather.
The event was extremely exhausting and with the poor quality of food in Las Vegas combined with thousands of punters in the one air conditioned space, one feels generally ill and in need of a bathroom at any given (most of the) time. At night, the foot traffic and taxi ques were of epic proportions, making for very long days. As I write this blog, I feel immensely ill and it is all I can do to type and distract myself from whatever has most recently ailed me.
On the back side of SHOT we took a trip to a local Gun show (guns for sale). I have never seen so many Holland and Holland rifles under the one roof. The value of the rifles and shotguns within the show would perhaps been high enough to purchase a good portion of my home district. But of all of these, one rifle that interested me was an original Griffin & Howe .400 Whelen. The picture below says it all.
Griffin & Howe .400 Whelen on a k98 action. A rare gem. For those unfamiliar with this - this is what a rifle looks like without an extra 10lbs of railing and other crap attached to it - and yes, these can shoot just as accurately.
H&H were well represented at the Las Vegas Gun Show.
We also visited the Gun Garage while waiting to check in to our next hotel after SHOT. We had a couple of hours to kill. The Gun Garage is a indoor gun range located just behind the Luxor hotel. We got busy with a Glock, an S&W M29 .44 Mag, an Uzi, an AK and an M4. But while I was busy trying to shoot a nice group with the .44 as far away as we could string out the target, a woman screamed out "50 cal" which was followed by a horrendous bone deep boom beside us. I don't know who the hell thinks its fun to fire a 50bmg at an indoor range with a rear gilled brake but there you go - only in Vegas. Following that, I backed off shooting until others were done playing with the 50. The Gun garage staff were very friendly and helpful but with a taste for rock music played at deafening levels, making any form of communication very difficult. I can see how this (and the .50) combined with the minimal lighting which managed to reflect more off our safety glasses than our sights would be highly distracting to the new shooter. Still, it was a chance to get away from the strip and I am sure most visitors would enjoy it.
A few hours later it was time to check into the Luxor, we arrived liberally coated with and smelling of powder residues. The Gun Garage is to shooting what Burger King is to fine dining was Steph's description of the place. Having said this, it was in its own way a good proof research facility considering the volume of rounds fired each day (800-1000 rounds per gun per day). The guns were caked with carbon by 11am. The AK would not reassemble after we stripped it for inspection at my request, so heavy was the carbon fouling. After we finally got it back together, it carried on in its usual manner, rattling when fired and shooting all over the show as these do once the bores wear and when fired in bursts. The Rock River M4 was simply excellent, remaining accurate whether fired semi or full auto when combined with disciplined technique. The trigger on this rifle was standard and yet much better than other stock AR rifles I have come across with no creep. No doubt the barrels were stuffed on any given weapon at any given time considering the daily volume of fire, their lives extended only via the use of chrome lining. The Gun Garage has two full time armorers cleaning and checking weapons and replacing fatigued parts as needed. The armorers do their best to make sure the weapons are accurate and this was certainly the case when shooting the likes of the M4 and Smith and Wesson.
Only in Vegas...
Vegas is hard to put into words. The strip is bold and bright, the mega resorts being incredible to behold. It is sexy yet ugly, it can be fun, yet makes most folk ill. The people are wonderful, yet the businesses and franchises are ruthlessly mercenary. Away from the strip, life in the suburbs is more or less the same as it is in any western corner of the globe. Beyond the city, the Nevada mountains rise like fortresses, dwarfing the city in the basin below.
Stephs idea of a good time, mule riding with Cowboy Trails at red Rock canyon.
I hope that some of this information is useful to our readers. There were many more questions I would have liked to have asked while we were at the event however time simply did not allow.
I cannot thank Dave, Ann and the team at Manson reamers enough for their wonderful support. Dave has such a hard working and extremely loyal team. I would also like to extend my thanks to those of you who came to sit and shoot the breeze at the booth. Dave Manson had some extremely cool kit at our booth and the string of gunsmiths that came to say thanks for past orders and offer success stories was high praise for the team. Besides chamber reamers, the Accurizing kit has proven extremely popular along with the book (again sold through Manson Reamers)- A Complete Guide To Precision Rifle Barrel Fitting by John L Hinnant. To view the full catalogue, readers can click on this link: https://mansonreamers.com/catalog/
End users will appreciate the fully match accurate muzzle recrowning hand tool kit. Yes, a hand (or cordless drill) tool that can be used to recrown barrels (also mentioned in my Accurizing book) yet produce optimum accuracy. This is extremely well designed and immensely useful when dealing with all manner of rifles, especially modern factory rifles with crowning swath burrs (again see Accurizing book). To see the kit in use on youtube, please click on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Xpzv1Spsnk
Rick, Dara, Ann and Scott (at rear) setting up the booth at the beginning of Shot.
All told this has been a wonderful experience for us (between dashes to the bathroom). Over time, I hope that we can put some of the products we saw into use and offer both our readers and the bullet makers some useful information.
Here I come to the end of my blog. I am sorry for myself that I do not have more to say as the action of typing is helping to prevent me slipping into a fully nauseated state. At least I have stopped trembling. Riley is dying to see the Tournament of Kings at the Excaliber, I do not know if I can brave another meal that Steph or I have not ourselves shot or killed. I tried the vegetarian route for a few days but this had equally dire results. It seems the only thing safe to eat here on the strip is coffee, though even the water will not agree with rural NZ folk. I am just glad it has to be boiled to make coffee.
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